Thursday, December 19, 2013

Are carbs really that bad?

A client recently asked me about no-carbohydrate and low-carbohydrate dieting and some roadblocks they were running into -- upset stomach, general tiredness, OPTIONS!, not getting enough calories, gaining weight back quickly if they went off-track for just a day or 2...but on the upside they had lost a lot of weight in a short period of time!  

Of course I understand that if something has helped you lose 25 pounds its hard to adjust and change it, but for overall health and realistic maintenance you need a healthy balance of the RIGHT KINDS of carbohydrates in your diet.  
Carbohydrates are fuel for your body & something we need to get through our day - stored energy - so moderation is really key.  When eliminating something completely from your diet - especially something that is not BAD - you tend to gain weight back as soon as they reintroduce it.  Overtime, it's just not sustainable to have a no carb/low carb diet without jeopardizing other areas of health (like cholesterol, fatigue, nausea, lightheadedness, etc.)
While cutting out the white flour, white pasta, processed sugars and white bread is definitely a must, cutting out all things carb - fruit and whole grains especially - is not recommended for any period of time - even a day or 2!   Instead, look for fibrous carbs, which take longer to digest and keep you full longer.  
Whole grains:  Whole wheat bread has an average of 2g fiber per slice (compared to white's 1g) - I like the really hearty stuff from Kroger or Whole Foods - it's so hearty that one slice with peanut butter and honey and keeps you full all morning.  At Kroger I love homemade 9 grain in the bakery section.  At Whole Foods I am constantly changing it up based on selection & what looks seedy and grainy but not heavy - and believe me, they have some HEAVY breads.    Whole-wheat spaghetti has 4g per cup..Fiber One cereal 14g (Raisin bram, only 6g).

Fruits and veggies:  Raspberries, pears, blackberries, apples, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, green/red/yellow peppers, artichokes, brussell sprouts...all boast 4g or more per serving (most more - like almost double!)
Lentils:  Think chick peas, black beans, peanuts, kidney beans, lima beans, soy beans, white beans...

If you are looking to introduce some carbs into your diet - or eliminate some -  here are a few suggestions to help

Breakfast:  pick one....
a.  Smoothie with 8 oz skim or 2% milk, ice, 1/2 banana, 5 whole or frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or plain low-fat yogurt, you can add a little honey or stevia packet to sweeten if you need.
b.  One slice hearty 9-grain Kroger bread with 2 TBSP natural peanut butter, honey, 1/2 a banana
c.  1/4 cup dry oats, 1/4 cup granola, a whole bunch of berries and 2% milk (or milk of your choice) to cover.  
Mid-morning snack:  LARABAR OR similar snack --- apple with peanut butter, handful of almonds or unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
Lunch:  Lean fish/chicken with a serving a green veggies and brown steamed rice or a small sweet potato.   Or a salad with oil & vinegar with added protein.  
**one of my favorite recipes is tuna salad stuffed peppers:  1 can tuna, some chopped up celery, some plain yogurt and a drop of mustard and black pepper to season.  I cut a pepper in half and stuff the pepper then eat it open faced.  Because I need carbs in my lift I also either eat some brown rice on the side or pack just a serving size of sweet potato chips (or these new avocado oil chips I found at Kroger to have on the side)  I pre-bag and package everything because I am so so SO bad at stopping myself when I am eating something I like. 

Mid-afternoon snack:  hummus (I buy the individual packs) and some type of veggies to dip.  Varies based on what is in my fridge.  

Dinner:  Lean beef/chicken/fish - I vary it up here.  Green veggies, raw or lightly steamed are best! Try to avoid carbs here or go tiny sweet potato, brown rice, 1 cup of whole wheat pasta.

Remember, none of this will do any good if you don't watch your serving size...healthy does not equal free-for-all or low-calorie/low-fat.  I am a big fan of pre-portioning and buying individual servings, even if the cost is a wee bit higher.
Also a huge fan of giving into your cravings but just being careful about it.  If you want a small piece of something sweet just have it.  If the chugging water and waiting 20 minutes doesn't help curve the craving eat just a bite and really enjoy the moment. DO NOT try to replace the craving with another never will and you'll end up eating more than if you just went ahead and ate whatever it was you wanted!  

Don't deprive yourself, just be careful you don't over-indulge yourself either.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

10 things to do when you're snowed (or iced!) in....

1. Watch all of the good ‘80s movies – Sixteen Candles, Footloose, Breakfast Club….OnDemand, on Netflix, on Redbox, or whatever your cable company of choice offers. You will be a better person, with more to talk about.

2. Do yoga in your living room. Don’t have a yoga DVD? Grab a book or search online for some YouTube videos – it’s sure to calm your stir crazy stress.
3. Read that book you’ve had on your nightstand for like, two years. Weather events happen for a reason – maybe it’s so we can call catch up on our ready.

4. Call your mom/dad/brother/sister/best friend/hairstylist/chiropractor/personal trainer and tell them you love and appreciate them.

5. Clean your house – or at least pick a room - organize your shelves and drawers by color and item so you never again scramble to find that whisk, AGAIN.

6. Make a list of your goals for the next few months – or for 2014. Really take the time to think them out and write them down & share them with your kids/spouse/significant other so you’re accountable.

7. Clean out your phone contacts. Sayonara toxic friends and ex-hook up (unless of course you want to keep their number so you know not to answer – in this case I suggest renaming them as “DO NOT ANSWER”

8. Organize your iTunes. Make playlists that remind you of college or of your hometown. Make a playlist for your holiday party. Make a playlist for your birthday. Make a playlist for being snowed in.

9. Write someone you haven’t talked to in a while a hand-written letter and mail it when the ice clears. Make sure it’s personal – you have time for edits – everybody deserves to get a handwritten note! It’s a lost art.

10. Nothing’s gonna happen while it’s snowing this hard. Take the time to relax. Take a bubble bath until you turn into a prune. Wear and eye mask and meditate. Listen to the sounds of the snow outside and breathe deeply. Turn on some classical music and open a bottle of wine. Build a fire (or flip the switch if you have gas logs).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tis the Season for sharing…and sniffling, and sneezing…

As I fight my way through what has turned out to be a killer sinus infection I have been researching ways to alleviate this pressure in my head that does not include a trip to the doctors.     

My normal fix for sinus pressure is a Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar in a cup of boiling water in the morning and lying around the house in the evening with a heating pad on my head and Vicks on my chest willing the pressure in my head to cease.  But this time it’s getting worse before it’s getting better.  It’s like Santa sent one of his little elves down to sit on my shoulder with a rubber mallet and tap on my skull. 

I finally gave into the Alka Seltzer yesterday but am still trying to stay away from my GP and let this thing pass on its own.

BUT - since I did so much research, I thought it would only be fair to share with you all.  So here is a list of the things I found most interesting and helpful – read now, but save for later!

  1. Diet: Eat in moderation: whole grains, beans, lentils, lightly cooked vegetables, soups, and cold-pressed oils. Avoid flour products, eggs, chocolate, fried and processed foods, sugar and dairy products as these tend to be mucus-forming food.  Just what we do NOT want – more mucus. 
  2. Herbs: Cayenne pepper, garlic, onion and horseradish in your soups and meals to hep eliminate mucus build up.  According to the self-care guide, Prescription for Natural Cures, a powerful drainage remedy is to eat a small spoonful of crushed horseradish mixed with lemon juice, but make sure to be near a sink when your nose starts running. Japanese horseradish in the form of Wasabi paste taken with meals can also provide a quick release to the nasal passages. Just remember, “a little dab will do ya.”  Any of us who have had sushi can probably attest to this.
  3. Flush out your sinuses:  Dissolve a teaspoon of pure sea salt in 2 cups of warm water (not hot, not cold). Follow the directions, but depending on how bad your sinuses blockage is you may want to use 2 cups on one side and then refill and use on the other side.  Be sure to do this over a sink and use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water to make the solution.
  4. Apple cider vinegar:  At the first sign of infection combine 1-2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 6 ounces of water, a teaspoon of raw honey or stevia to sweeten and drink 3 times a day for 5 days. The apple cider vinegar helps to thin congested mucus, so it can be easily eliminated.  Added bonus – apple cider vinegar helps with digestion.
  5. Humidify: Start using a humidifier in rooms where you spent a lot of time. Just make sure to follow the instructions for regular cleaning. If you use a dirty filter, you might be spraying mold into the air – which is not going to help clear up anything!
  6. Breathe in steam vapors. You can either run the shower and sit in the bathroom or breathe deeply. The steam vapors may help reduce congested and swollen nasal passages.  If you have some oils at home, you can make some discs for the shower bath that will help open you up.  Combine 2-3 cups baking soda with 15 drops each of rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus and add water just a little at a time until you have a thick paste.  Spoon into muffin tins and  set overnight – and BAM!  Shower discs to open you up!    
  7. Apply heat. Put a warm, wet towel on your face.  I use a heating pad on low – it feels so good and usually starts to alleviate some pressure right away.
  8. Drink lots of fluids. They'll help thin the mucus, reducing the blockage in your sinuses.  Try to stick to pure, unfiltered or boiled water.  However, cut down on your alcohol -- it can actually worsen the swelling. (but help the sleeping, right? – I know that is what you are thinking!)
  9. Rest.  “HA! Right! I can’t even find time to get to my GP”  But when you've got a sinus infection, try not to overdo it. Get plenty of sleep and give your body a chance to recover. 

I also found this fun website if you need more remedies for a headache!  
18 Remedies for Headaches

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Electolytes and Sports Drinks...when are they really necessary?

“Electrolyte drinks containing sodium and potassium salts replenish the body's water and electrolyte levels after dehydration caused by exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, diaphoresis, diarrhea, vomiting, intoxication or starvation.  Athletes exercising in extreme conditions (for three or more hours continuously e.g. marathon or triathlon) who do not consume electrolytes risk dehydration.*
*Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism 33 (2): 290–298. 2008.   Author J,Estevez E,Baquero E,Mora-Rodriguez R"

Just read that first statement again: Athletes exercising in extreme conditions. 

Gatorade was developed in 1965 when the then head football coach requested that the College of Medicine develop something to act as a hydrating replacement during physical exertion during those hot, hot Florida days.  College athletes – who run 3-a-days in the Florida heat. 

For the 98.3% of us who are not professional athletes there is no need to down sports drinks pre- or post-workout.  Even though, yes, many of us are outdoors and yes, Arkansas is hot in the summer!  And if that doesn’t convince you, sports drinks contain about 80calories per 8 oz., and 21g of sugar.

Personally I am all about the water.  Just good old fashioned water, and lots of it -- maybe with some lemon, or some lime.  I am not knocking Gatorade or any other sports drinks. I actually think they offer a great product and I use them anytime I am really pushing myself to the point of exhaustion…a 14 mile hike in Arizona, a long run (over 18 miles), 6+ hours of yard work.  Just not before my daily workout session.

I know some of you won’t be convinced.  So, what is a good, healthy, low-calorie, low-sugar alternative to sports drinks (besides water)? 

Coconut Water: Pure coconut water is a great, healthy alternative to a sports drink.  “Mother Nature’s sports drink” It contains more potassium than a banana (some researchers say 4 bananas!).  Available at most grocery stores – just make sure you aren’t confusing the water with the milk.  (43 calories, 5.92g sugar per 8 oz)

Watermelon Juice:  A new study shows that watermelon juice helps minimize post-workout soreness.  It contains an aminion acid (L-citrulline) that boosts blood flow.  Just toss some fresh watermelon into a blender and there you have it -- watermelon juice! (46 calories, 9.42g sugar per 1 cup blended)

Chocolate Milk:  Possibly my favorite and it’s been around as long as I can remember.  Ideal 4:1 ration of carbs to protein make this a great recovery drink for the muscles. But watch the calories here – an 8 oz serving of 1% chocolate milk packs in  the calorie at a whopping 160 calories and 25g of sugar.

Beer:  I swear I am not making this up.  The barely-based beverage helps get the carbs your body is missing back into your body.  But to really reap a benefit here we are talking post-half-marathon, not post-1 hour workout.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is here! Thanksgiving is here!

Ah, Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday is finally upon us!

I have been waiting (im) patiently since the first crisp morning in September. It’s my personal New Year. A time to reflect on the so many things I have to be thankful for and an opportunity to start NOW with a new mindfulness that allows me to remember DAILY the oh so many things I have to be thankful for – my health, my strength, love, happiness, great new friends and fabulous old. And forget what I learned in Girl Scouts – there is no silver and gold - you are all PLATINUM to me!

And let's not forget family. This is the only week of the year I can spend infinite amounts of time surrounded by family members and not go bonkers. I love the chaos, I love the running around, I love the full house!

And 2013 is extra special – not only do we get to celebrate Thanksgiving, but Hanukkah as well!

Thanksanukkah if you will!

Other than family, nothing is more synonymous with Thanksgiving than overeating - hello turkey, and stuffing, and mashed potatoes - oh, and can someone pass the green bean casserole? Oh - and make sure you save room for the pumpkin pie with the whipped topping - and maybe just a slice of pecan later. And wine - yes - lots of wine please! And thank you!

And after the game (Steelers vs. Ravens, proof that all good things are meant to be) – how about a turkey sandwich and maybe just another small sliver of pie. No wonder everyone naps all afternoon – the 2ndmost popular thing to do on Thanksgiving! (as determined by me)

So, how do I keep a healthy mind& sneak in some fitness amid all this excitement??
  1. Jump start the morning with a quick circuit to get your heart rate up and your calorie burn on! You can even do this one in your bathroom or hotel room - or better yet - meet them all in the living room for a little family time before you fire up the oven!
    1. Warm Up: Alternating straight-leg toe touches – 1 minute
    2. Workout (x2)
      1. 10 burpees
      2. 25 squats
      3. 10 push-ups
      4. 20 mountain climbers
      5. 60 second plank
    3. Cool down: Down dog – 1 minute
  2. Or better yet – sign up for a Turkey Trot. Go Running! holds Little Rock’s Turkey Trot (free of charge!) with run/walk options of 3, 4 or 6.5 mile routes. So grab the family, lace up, and head out for a new family tradition!
  3. DANCE PARTY! Turn the music up and have a dance off – you’ll burn an extra 125 calories for every 30 minutes of rocking out -- and you are guaranteed to share more than a few laughs with your family.
  4. Remember that old tradition of football in the backyard? Let’s bring it back folks, let’s bring it back.
  5. Make your own cranberry sauce – skip the canned sauce, which is full of sugar and preservatives…
  6. Chose Pumpkin. Of all the pies on Thanksgiving, it’s the best of the bad. The pumpkin offers you some fiber, and the added sugar in Pecan Pie also adds an extra 135 calories per slice. And by slice I mean 1/8 of a standard pie. Not your monster slice that may say, only have you cutting the pie in 4.
  7. Walk it off! For every plate of food you eat, walk 10 minutes. For every slice of pie, tack on another 15. This will burn some extra calories, boost your energy level and I guarantee you’ll feel better come Black Friday! (and if you’re on a time crunch you’ll have to skip seconds to fit your walk in!)
Happy Thanksanukkah everyone!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are we unknowingly killing our motivation?

Whether climbing the corporate ladder or starting a new fitness routine people need motivation to achieve their goal, right?

But what is that goal? Do we even know? Have we given ourselves a specific, measurable, attainable landmark to work towards?

Instead of: "I want to lose a little weight" or "I want to lose 50 pounds"
Try: "I want to fit in a size 6" or "I want to lose 1 pound a week for the next 12 months"

The 9 Toxic Things that Kill Your Motivation listed in this article seem like common sense - but so often we overlook the obvious in our path to pursue our ultimate goal.

We can't strive for perfection, push to the point of burnout OR wait for the ideal moment to take action -- are you letting any of these keep you from your goal?  


Friday, November 15, 2013

A new twist on homemade gelato

Thank goodness for Pinterest and their weekly emails.  If it weren't for there nifty marketing I would have missed out on this fabulous recipe from Oh, Ladycakes

There is no nutritional information posted - well at least that I found in my spot reading this morning.  But I am sure it's full of fat - hello, it's made of yes, watch your portions - there are going to be a lot of calories and a lot of fats...but remember nuts provide us with HEALTHY fats.  Unsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, Fiber, Vitamin E, Plant sterols, L-arginine.....

I'm trying this this weekend and I hope you do too!  Just remember that healthy fats don't mean you can eat a quart at a time.

1 3/4 cups raw cashews
3 1/2 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
14 medjool dates, pitted and soaked 15 minutes
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
Place the cashews in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 6 hours, or overnight (if you don’t have a high speed blender, the longer you soak the cashews, the better). Once the cashews have soaked, discard the soaking water and transfer the cashews to the container of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the water and blend on high speed for 45-60 seconds. Add the dates (soaking water discarded) and cacao powder; blend mixture on high speed for at least 90 seconds, or until super smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Once it’s chilled, transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the gelato starts to thicken, add the pistachios. You can store it in a freezer safe container until ready to consume. Thaw for 20 minutes prior to serving.
Yield: about 2 quarts

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Don't stash that water bottle just yet!

Well the warm weather has gone, and most likely so has the water bottle you've been toting around to keep you cool on those hot, hot days.  But don’t toss that water bottle into the cabinet just yet.

Yes, we sweat less (well, some of us) in the winter, but we are also exposed to dryer air.  In addition wearing more layers, sleeping under more blankets, cranking the heat up in the house…all these keep our core temperature up a bit more than the lighter weight clothes and the air conditioning do in the summer.

Staying hydrated is important no matter what time of year it is!  Know your body and what your body needs – there is no set formula for anyone…8 8 oz glasses is a great guideline but it varies greatly by gender, size, activity level....I could go on and on.  The Pee Test is the best test.  If your pee isn't wheat colored, you aren't getting enough water in your day.  So drink up! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

BRRRR.....Baby It's Cold Outside!

When I stepped out the door this morning at 5:10 it was a nice and breezy 55.  By the time I left for work at 7:30 it was a cool 45 and the temps just keep dropping – 37 by the time we start out workout tonight at 6:30.  And if this wind keeps up we’ll be slathering on the Chapstick like it’s our job.

Mother Nature certainly wasn’t messing around when she ordered this cold front….And while I don’t necessarily consider what we are going to be experiencing “extreme cold” some of you native Arkansans and southerners may.

My standard rule of thumb is:  Dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer that it is.  If it’s 35 out, I ask myself, “What would I wear to be comfortable in 55 degree weather?” and go from there.  Not scientific, but it’s a piece of advice I read when the outdoors first became my gym and it’s really stuck with me. 

So, I got to thinking about today’s post and how important it is to have the right approach and gear to wear in the cold temps.  I decided that, while I will not get any points for creativity, it would probably be best to share the guidelines from one of my favorite websites, Ultimate Bootcamp

While there are no definitive standards for when it is considered “too cold for outdoor exercise” (just think about the marathoners in the North and South Poles at -40 or -50 degrees!), the following precautions will also help to make your workout even more enjoyable:

1. Dress in Layered Clothing. Several thin layers are warmer than one heavy layer. Layers are also easier to add or remove and thus, better regulate your core temperature. The goal is to keep the body warm and minimize shivering.

2. Cover your Head. Your head should be covered while exercising in the cold, because heat loss from the head and neck may be as much as 50 percent of the total heat being lost by your body.

3. Cover your Mouth. To warm the air before you breathe it, use a scarf or mask. Do this especially if breathing cold air causes angina (chest pain) or you are prone to upper respiratory problems.  

4. Stay Dry. Wet, damp clothing, whether from perspiration or precipitation, significantly increases body-heat loss. Those same moisture-wicking clothing you used in the summer make a great base layer in the winter.

5. Keep your Feet Dry. Use a fabric that will wick perspiration away from the skin. Polypropylene, wool or other fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin and retain insulating properties keep the body warm when wet.

6. Stay HydratedDehydration affects your body's ability to regulate body heat and increases the risk of frostbite. Fluids, especially water, are as important in cold weather as in the heat. Avoid consuming alcohol or beverages containing caffeine, because these items are dehydrating. 

7. Avoid Alcohol. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and increases heat loss so the odds of experiencing a hypothermic event increase. Alcohol can also impair judgment to the extent that you may not make the best or brightest decisions in a cold weather emergency. It's best to leave the alcohol behind when you head out into the cold.
8. Know your Limits. Everyone has their own idea of the perfect exercising weather.  You might love the summer heat that makes you sweat like you're in a sauna. Your friend might still be wearing shorts when it's 35 degrees outside.  When in doubt, do what's best for your body. That way, you can be sure to focus on the exercises, not the weather.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's all about choices...

I’m not even going to lie, this week's post was going to be about ways we’re sabotaging our salads.  But then Monday at lunch I was reading “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy, which talks about the importance of making the right decisions over time to get desired results.  But not just any results...right there in the 1st Chapter he was talking about WEIGHTLOSS SPECIFICALLY!  I was beyond excited and scrapped the salad bar idea – maybe next week!
Now, I am sure you remember that post about the importance of patience where I was going on and on about how changing your body is like cultivating a garden?  Well, it’s true – patience and hard work are key components to a successful health plan. 

Darren tells the tale of 2 similarly-sized friends, Brad and Scott, who have made some recent life changes.  Scott decided to start trimming 125 calories a day from his diet – seltzer instead of soda, mustard instead of mayo, etc.  Brad remodeled his house and put in a bar – what’s and extra beer a night, really?  Only about 125 calories for a Bud Light anyways!
No difference at the end of 2 months, no real noticeable difference after 10 months even, some change after 18 months. But after 31 months – whoa buddy! – Scott had lost 33.5 lbs! And not only that, Brad has GAINED 33.5 pounds! What a HUGE difference.
31 months = 940 days
940 days x 125 calories per day = 117,500 calories
117,500 calories/3,500 calories per pound = 33.5 pounds!
I am not here to tell you that it will take 31 months of bootcamp (or any workout program) to see a change. But I am here to remind you that it’s the choices you make along the way (good and bad) that will help you get to your goal – and that it TAKES TIME! It’s all about patience, my friends, all about patience. Be smart, and use the formula above to set a baseline for yourself and go for it. Just make sure it’s manageable and realistic – don’t set yourself up for failure either!
Of course my preferred method is to make healthy eating choices, but BURN those extra 125 by getting up and getting moving. Here are a few ways to burn an extra 125 and melt away a pound a month!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What's on your shopping list? Here's what's on mine!

I can rattle off the first 10 items of my shopping list like nobody’s business…they are the items that make their way into my cart week in and week out, no matter what might my crazy schedule might be.  Below, I share the reasons.

1. Bananas –The combination of carbs, iron, potassium and natural sugars give me the perfect fuel before a run or a hard workout.  They can also thicken up a smoothie and travel nicely when you are on the go.  Bonus – they repel mosquitos.  Maybe it’s a banana a day that keeps the doctor away…..

2. Blueberries and strawberries – ahh – the notorious super fruits…there are so many benefits: they may cut the risk of heart-attack by 30%, they can delay or reduce memory loss, are filled with potassium, and they taste good on just about everything!  Great on my morning cereal, as a mid-afternoon snack or tossed in a smoothie.  LOVE.

3. Kashi cereal – If you love your bowl of cereal, whether it’s for breakfast daily, or on the weekend, through in some of those berries I mentioned and grab a box of Kashi. Even if you (or your kids) prefer the chocolate-y O’s or the Cinnamon Crunch the most calories you’ll pack per serving are about 190 calories and 4.5g of fat…just watch those portion sizes!  ¾ cup is all you get!  Keep a measuring spoon in the pantry – I sure do. 

4.  Whole grain bread – For me, the grainier & seedier the better.  This week’s choice is Whole Foods Multigrain.  I have to be careful here, because there are extra calories.  But there is extra taste and extra health benefits from all the grains and nuts in their bread.  I just make sure I have one slice instead of two, or if I have a full sandwich I have a fruit side (perfect place for those berries or melons) or some carrots instead of more processed carbs.

5. Peanut Butter – natural – ie: peanuts are the only ingredient!!  Besides being a yummy, yummy treat, 2 TB of peanut butter a day decreases your chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  And 2 fun little facts:  the saturated fat/unsaturated fat ratio is the same as olive oil (score!) and each year American’s consume enough of the stuff to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon.

6.  Naked Juice Green Machine – it might look yucky but it tastes PHENOMENAL.  It does pack in the calories and sugar, though (all from fruit) but I still limit myself to 4 oz. a day.  I use it to wash down my vitamins and get some extra fruit in daily.

7.  Greek Yogurt – besides being packed with protein, full of potassium and friendly to your digestive system it’s versatile…I'll definitely be sharing some recipes with you!

8.  Granola – Protein-packed crunchy deliciousness!  That’s all I can say.  I alternate between Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Flax and Peanut Butter flavors.  I through them in with yogurt or even with dry oats and milk (1/4 cup each) and top with some fruit before an early morning run!

9.  Organic 2% milk with Omega-3s – the best out there.  I truly believe 2% milk is better any day of the week than skim.  Yes there are more calories, but there is also more taste!  Health-wise, though, they both pack the same amount of protein, sugar and carbohydrates.  So choose what works with your palette and go for it.

10.  Dark Chocolate – the more bitter the better!  And I buy the individually wrapped – or else I’d eat the whole bar.  Ghirardelli 86% Midnight Reverie packs just 60 calories in a square and is the perfect sized desert.  Especially when paired with a good red while.  If you don’t like it quite that bitter there is also a 72% Twilight Delight, but to get the health benefits don’t go any lower.  Anything with less than 60 % and you’re missing the health benefit.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT buy the ones filled with mint or raspberry! 

And the things I always have on hand…

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – literally a do-it-all condiment, , drizzle on veggies before you bake. Sprinkle in some rosemary and thyme and voila – bread dip! It’s endless the list.  And good for you.
Vinegar – white, apple cider, champagne, rice, balsamic, flavored balsamic…it can spice up just about anything.  Mix the two above together for a fabulous, healthy salad dressing!
USANA Nurtrimeal powder (…and first glance a bag may seem pricey but they average less than $5 per shake. But (with water) a 3-scoop serving weighs in at only 220 calories - doesn’t scream meal replacement to me!  However, stop at McDonald’s and buy a kids milk for $1 (drive-thru to avoid the temptation).  You’re up to 370 calories. They travel easily with a shaker and are great for when you are spending long days on the road and don’t have time to sit down for something more nutritious than fast food offers.  Now’s the time to grab that handy banana you bought as item #1.

Love a loaded gym!

Imagine my delight yesterday when I went in to hop on the treadmill yesterday and found a fully stocked weight rack!  

So here's my handy 30-minute hotel workout should you find yourself in a similar situation....I used 3 different weights - a 15lb dumbell for the squats, single-leg deadlifts & side lunges, a 10lb for tricep & bicep moves and 5lbs for the shoulder raises

Squats with single dumbell x25
Single-leg deadlift x10 per leg (w/row)
Single-leg kickback x10 per leg (w/ tricep kickback)
Plie Squat x25 (w/ overhead lateral shoulder raise)
Calf raise x20 (w/ tricep pulse)
Side lunge x15 per (w/ front should raise 1st half)
Stationary lunges x12 per leg (w/ bicep curl)
Walking lunges x10 per leg

REPEAT 3x with 60 rest between sets

Start with a light 5 minute warmup & end qith a good 3-4 minute stretch/cool-down.  

Good luck & get moving!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is the workout you don't want to do actually the most beneficial?

Michael and I were out riding the River Trail loop the other day and really had to talk ourselves into going.  Which then got us talking more...when we have to force ourselves to workout do we actually benefit MORE?

The answer we came up seemed to make the most sense to us:  19.3 miles is 19.3 miles, so the distance and workout are essentially the same whether we felt like going or not.  But the way we FEEL at the end is well worth deciding to step out the door and choose a workout every time.

When we are debating skipping a workout, what are the reasons?  I'm too tired, I'm too cranky, I just don't feel like it, I'm too stressed, I need to spend more time with the family...all actually GREAT reasons to choose to exercise.

Our brain is affected by stress, which in turn impacts the rest of our body (lots of nerve connections up there).  So,really, improving the way our body feels should help improve the way our brain feels!  I like to think of it as a give-and-take relationship, equally reliable on one another to make each person feel their best.
Exercise gets your blood moving around your body and brings fresh oxygen to the brain - making you feel more alert AND improving your mood.  So what happens when we chose to lace up and get moving?..we lose that sluggish, tired, moody feeling that is taking over our being every afternoon.

Family time is sometimes sacrificed through the week - work, sports and other commitments often come 1st - so making time for your family can sometimes be challenging.  So get everyone involved in your new active lifestyle!  Take the hubby and the kids to the park, talk a walk or a bike ride together on the river trail, or if you have Sunday afternoons free why not pack a picnic lunch and go walk the trails at Mt. Nebo or Petit Jean Mountain?  You get the idea.

This does not have to be a 19 mile bike ride or even an hour long workout - it can be as simple as a 10 minute walk outside (or in a conference room) at lunchtime.  You know that commercial "10 minute walk at lunch, no 2:30 feeling later"...ok so maybe that's not EXACTLY it but I'd much rather take a walk than slam down an energy shot.

Another benefit I found when reading recently...Raising your heart rate can actually reverse damage to your brain that is caused by stressful events (forgetfulness, dulled memories) and promotes the production of norepinephriene, which is a neurohormone associated with improved cognitive function, elevated mood and learning.  (1)

So you aren't just improving your mood, you are improving your brain!

(1) The Huffington Post | Meredith Melnick | 05/21/2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's lies I tell you! All lies!

As I did my not very regular weigh in this morning I had to remind myself that the scale is a big fat Debbie Downer!

148lbs...148lbs...148.4lbs?!?!?!?  Yes, it's true.  That is what the scale has been telling me on a regular basis.  When I was 23 and working out 7 days a week -- 145...when I broke my leg, couldn't work out for a year and ballooned up to a size 12?  You guessed it...150!  And now,just this morning, while I'm in my size 4's and after a 5 miles guess it...148.4!

We've all seen the picture above in some form or another.  The law of gravity insists that muscle does not weigh more than fat - 1 pound of feather is the same as 1 pound of lead - but muscle sure does take up a lot less room....and that pound of muscle that has replaced that pound of fat also burns more fat, even at rest. So when you increase muscle mass, you help your body burn more calories.  
--Read:  fat loss, increased metabolism, increase muscle mass--

For a number of years women were afraid of lifting weights - afraid of "bulking up".   I am ashamed to say I was one of them...boy was I wrong! Research, time, and trial and error has shown that strength training is a key component of overall health an fitness for EVERYONE.  

As we age our muscle mass naturally diminishes -- and is replaced by (you guessed it!) fat.  So we have to do something to counteract this cycle, and why not start NOW.   Combining the proper strength training (2-3 days per week, low weight/high reps) and cardiovascular exercise (2-3 day per week, intensity varies by individual) will give you ultimate results for your body.  

We see the health effects of cardiovascular exercise advertised daily - increased heart health, improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels,  and reduced risk of osteoporosis.   What we don't always see is that strength training, in addition to replacing depleting muscle mass, also helps you develop strong bones, control weight, boost stamina and sharpen your focus.  (The Mayo Clinic, April 2013)

When you have a lot of weight to lose, you will experience both a loss of fat and an increase in lean body mass when you are working out & you'll see a change when you step on the scale.  But if you're trying to lose that "last 5 pounds" do NOT continue to get on the scale and let the numbers get you down.  Listen to those pants that are falling off of your hips - and get them to the tailor so you can show off your newly sculpted bod!  

Remember my earlier post about patience? This is where it really comes into play!  It took me 30 years to find the patience to wait until I saw the results and to stop looking at the scale...but boy am I glad I did!

The scale might not always tell me what I want it to, but the mirror and the tags hanging in my closet sure do!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Morning Motivation

Let's face it, getting up at 4:45 (or earlier!) is just plain hard some days.  Especially when you can reason that you have THE REST OF THE DAY to workout.  But studies show morning exercisers are often the most consistent exercisers.  Rarely does something "pop up" before that 5:30 am session with an agenda to sabotage said workout. So for this gal, 4:45 it is.

Then I starting thinking - what can a little dose of motivation hurt? Now my morning starts with an annoying buzz and a friendly reminder that I can never take back what I choose to do in that moment.  So I get up, lace up and head out - even when I'd really rather roll over and snuggle in for another hour and a half.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Why haven't I seen a difference yet?

So many people start a 6-week BootCamp and halfway through are wondering..."why haven't I seen a difference yet?"  The answer is be patient, be diligent, and don't give up!

Think of your body like a garden.  If you plant seeds today, you don’t expect to eat a bountiful harvest tomorrow.  You continue to cultivate the seeds, giving them nourishment, water, and time to grow.  It takes time and patience to develop, as it does with a new workout regimen.

If philosophy and metaphors aren’t for you…think of it in these terms.  Print it out, tape it to your full length mirror, set it as your wallpaper on your work computer or your phone…just comitt it to memory!  Especially if you are just starting your journey to a healthier you!

By the end of week 4 you will start to feel a difference -- you won't be quite as  sluggish, those pants might be just a bit too loose, your skin will be a little bit brighter, you’ll be able to push out an extra 2-3 pushups in that 15 second block….

At the end of week 8 your closest friends & family will really start to see the will see the definition in your arms a little, maybe have to pin a pair of pants...wait, girl, where have those cheekbones been hiding?!?

Finally, at the end of 12 weeks the rest of the world will start to notice.  That cute barista at Starbucks just gave you a 2nd look, or one of your neighbors calls out "Hey, lookin’ good - tell me your secret!"  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to make dry shampoo for post workout fabulous hair!

Check out this video by my former BootCamp trainer, the spark that reignited my fitness passion, and the inspiration behind many of our workouts. Lucky enough to be called Chief Stiletto at BWell Couture, I follow her on Facebook (and now on YouTube).

I have always been a fan of the every few days wash (which one day my significant other will understand) please don't judge me now that you know!  This video tutorial shows a great and inexpensive way to keep your locks fresh without stripping them of color, nutrients or the body that can only be found in slightly under-washed hair!

Look up Lyndsey on Facebook at

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What shoes do I need to wear to BootCamp?

During our session Friday morning we starting talking about proper footwear....are  running shoes good for Boot Camp or should you buy something specific to cross-training?   Whatever the answer to this debate proper footwear is CRITICAL.

If you've never heard of the Kinetic Chain let me give you a quick tutorial:  The skeleton is a group of bones that are linked together by joints and covered in muscles.  They encompass the majority of organs and are controlled by the nervous system.  This system is responsible for all human movement and starts from the ground upIf one link of the kinetic chain is askew, the entire chain will react accordingly. (1)  So if you aren't wearing the right shoes, the base of the kinetic chain is already compromised.  And how can we have an effective workout when the foundation is already catywompas.

What is the proper shoe for you?  This all comes down to FIT....your shoe should fit and feel good the moment you try it on - there should be no "breaking in" period for a fitness shoe.  Studies show that shoes perform best when they fit best.

If you are a  runner (in marathon training or 20+ miles per week) and using boot camp as a cross-training activity no more than 2 days a week, one pair of running shoes may fit the bill for you.  

If you are mostly a gym or fitness class junkie and you supplement your weight training with light cardio then a pair of cross trainers will probably be your best bet.  Often running shoes do not provide adequate ankle stability or support for lateral movement required in many fitness classes and Boot Camp. 

I have always been in the 2 different activities = 2 different kind of shoes camp.  During training season I have a pair of running shoes for training runs only and a pair of cross trainers for all other activity.   Except hiking, when I wear my hiking shoes...but I digress.

I personally suggest taking a ride over to Fleet Feet Easy Runner if a running shoe is what you are looking for. They will help you with fit and observe you on a short run so that they can  prescribe the best type of shoe for you.  I bought a pair today and (even though I have been wearing the same model for years) had them take a look to see if I've picked up any bad habits and to make sure the model still supported me in the way that I need (or don't).

Follow this link to Energeia Boot Camp to hear what Jennifer Lima (owner and Head Trainer) offers on choosing the right shoe.  
(1) Quoted from Beachbody®  INSANITY® Certification Course Manual

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