Monday, August 30, 2010


        This week is going to be hard for a lot of you. So I am only going to ask you to give up one thing...

                                   ( YES EVEN DIET!)

   I totally understand that drinking soda is addicting and it may be a hard habit for some of you to break. Especially those of you who start your morning with it for breakfast (ahhhhhhh!) and continually drink it throughout the day

  But in order to lose weight, you must give up the soda!

 Here's why I want you to give it up....

  The idea that regular soda is bad for us is a no brainer right? But did you know how much sugar is actually in one? If you drink a 12 oz can of Coke you are consuming 140 calories and 39 grams of carbs mainly from high fructose corn syrup! So if you drink 3 a day that is 420 calories and 117 grams of carbs! Or if you have one of those big gulps its 44 oz and 518 calories! Yikes!

   I know that many of you drink diet soda because you like to drink something with some flavor but you don't want the extra calories, so you figure it's pretty harmless. However, diet soda is actually counteracting your weight loss goals, because it makes you crave more sugar and feel hungrier. 
   When we eat sugar our brains understand that there are a lot of calories connected to that sweet flavor. However, when you drink a lot of diet soda, your brain gets confused because it is waiting for the calories that are suppose to be connected to that sweet taste but none are there. So it begins to think that our bodies need to consume more sweet foods to get the calories we need. Consequently, we begin to overeat because we don't realize how many calories we are consuming.  Overtime our brains can actually forget that sugar has calories! Then when we eat foods with real sugar our bodies don't burn up the calories in that food because our brain thinks there weren't any. Consequently, that sugar we actually did consume is then stored as fat! It becomes a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

What you can replace your soda habit with....
  If you feel lost without your soda,  remember it takes about three weeks to break a habit! You will soon forget all about them! (really I swear!)
 Here are some healthy alternatives, to help you out.

1. Green tea:
    Studies have shown that drinking 3 cups of green tea a day helps increase your metabolism. It also has lots of polyphenols and catechins that fight free radicals.

2. Puerh Tea:
   A much better way to start your day, with a little caffeine!
   Here is a link to my blog post telling all about the goodness of puerh tea!

3. Skim Milk
    If your stomach can tolerate skim milk, it is a great way to get a good source of protein. If you mix it with a few scoops of Chocolate Malt Ovaltine it makes a great post work out recovery drink!
4. Water:
   A study came out in August that said drinking two glasses of water before your meal will help you lose weight because you will feel fuller and eat less. Water is the best beverage choice to drink throughout the day to keep you hydrated and feeling full. Many times we think we are feeling hungry so we eat, but our bodies actually need more water. So before you start to snack on something, have some water and wait a bit before eating.

These alternatives may sound boring for your taste buds, but in a few short weeks without all that soda, you will feel a real difference in your body, mind and waistline!
So how did you do last week? Were you able to give up fast food, throw out your non clean eating snack and eat breakfast everyday?
  If you even tried to do all/or some of those things, great job! If you didn't even try, start today!  Remember, this fall challenge will be a continual work in progress.  You might have to take a little more than one week to make one part of the challenge a permanent part of your life. So if you weren't able to eat a clean breakfast everyday or you broke down and had McDonald's one day with the kids, that's OK, just refocus yourself this week. Plus try to exchange your sodas for healthy alternatives!

 Let me know how you are doing with any of the parts of the challenge so far. I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Size Does Matter!

So Ladies....                                                                                                               
 I know I don't need to tell you that
 Ladieeees... Focus!

 We're talkin PORTION CONTROL today!
 And with portion sizes....
Smaller Is Better!
   If weight loss or weight management is your goal, it is crucial to combine your clean eating with proper portion control.
 This means you are going to have to change your image of how much is a portion. Oversized portions are the norm now. We have been conditioned to believe that supersized portions are the healthy amount of food to eat.  When we go to restaurants, they serve us huuuge plates of pasta meant for one person, but actually, it's enough for a family of four to share. Bagels and muffins have grown to be three times the size they use to be, and sodas have increased from 8oz to 20 oz in the last 15 years.

   In order to stay within your correct daily caloric intake, you must know how much your eating.

Proper Serving Sizes for Common foods:
Protein = 2 1/2-3 oz = 2/3 deck of cards
Grains/Rice = 1/2 cup cooked = size of a light bulb
Whole Grain Pasta = 1/2 cup cooked = size of a light bulb
Low fat yogurt/ Skim Milk = 8 oz
Whole Grain Bread = 1 slice
Bagel = 1/2 of 2 oz bagel size of hockey puck 
Hard Cheese = 2 oz = size of 3-4 dice
Fats = 2 teaspoons = size of 2 dice
Potato = medium size = size of computer mouse
Cereal = 2/3 cup                                                                                                                  
Wine = 5 oz
        Here are some tips to keep your portion sizes in line:

1. Measure everything you eat.
    I know just the thought of measuring your food is exhausting, so I'm not saying you have to measure your food for the rest of your life. However, if you want to be able to accurately estimate the proper amount of food to eat, you need to see it measured out to readjust your perceptions. So for a couple of weeks, take out your measuring cups, liquid measures and food scales. Measure drinks, proteins, veggies and grains . You can use the nutritional labels on packaged foods to see what the recommended serving size is.  As you can see in the picture above to the right, we often think that the amount of food we are eating is a serving. However, a serving is actually a measured amount, a portion is how much we choose to eat.. The milk on the left is an 8 oz glass and the one on the right is actually double the size! The pancake on the left is the serving you should eat, about 4 inches, whereas the one on the right is about 8 inches and represents a common pancake portion.
These smaller amounts of food will take some time to get use to, especially if you have been eating double the amount you should be eating. But don't worry, soon your mind and stomach will adjust to the correct portion sizes.

2. When you go to a restaurant ask for a to go container right away.
   Chances are the amount of food you get in a restaurant is double the amount you should be eating. If the portion is too big, either split an entree with someone else or put half of it in a to go container right away, so you won't be tempted to eat more than one portion. You can also order an appetizer for your entree, which is usually a smaller amount of food and closer to an actual healthy serving size. If you order a sandwich, take off half of the bread.

3. Eat off of salad/9 inch plates for all of your meals including dinner.
   When you eat off of a large 12 inch dinner plate, it is natural to fill up the entire plate with food, because it feels as though that should be the size of our meal. However, you can put way too much food on a big plate like that. Simply using smaller plates, bowls and glasses, help us mentally feel that the amount of food we are eating is enough. It also helps us portion it out more accurately.

4. Split your plate into three parts
   If you don't feel like measuring one day, or you are somewhere that it just isn't convenient to pull out measuring cups, start with your 9 inch plate and imagine a line splitting your plate in half. You can fill one full half with veggies. On the other half, divide your plate into two quarters. One quarter you can put your protein on and the other quarter you can put your starch.

5.Fill up on low calorie foods
   If you are feeling hungry and feel totally unsatisfied with your new smaller portions, choose some low calorie, water based foods to fill up on.  Make a really big salad with lots of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and peppers, but don't top with a lot of high calorie dressing. Just add a teaspoon of olive oil and as much vinegar or lemon as you like. Another great thing to eat before your meal is a low sodium, clear broth soup. It will make you feel fuller before you even start your main meal.
 Here are some easy ways to use your hands to help you figure out how much a serving size should be:
 Lean Protein : 
 2-3 ounces  = Size of your palm
 Complex Carbs from fresh leafy greens =
 2 cups = 2 open handfuls
 Complex carbs from dense veggies (asparagus, beets, beans, broccoli)=
 1 cup = Size of your fist
 Complex carbs from whole fruit  (apple or orange) =
 1 piece of fruit =1 handful
 Complex carbs from loose fruit: (GRAPES OR BERRIES) =
 1/2 cup =  amound you can hold in cupped hand
 Complex carbs from whole grains or pasta =
 1/2  CUP = amount you can hold in cupped hand

  It might be time intensive at first, but measuring how much you eat will help you stay on track with your weight loss goals!
   See I told you smaller can be better than bigger...sometimes anyway!!!
   Let me know if you notice a big difference between what you were eating and your new measured portions!

Monday, August 23, 2010


 It's back to school this week!
  This year, our kids are going to be learning new things and will be asked to do activities outside their comfort zone to challenge themselves.  You can too!!
  In honor of our new school year, I am starting a.....


If you are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of switching from the way you eat now to a totally eat clean diet, I will try to make it easier for you by challenging you to make a few permanent changes each week so that the change is gradual and by the time the holidays roll around you will be on a solid path to a new you!

                          FIRST WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
                                                             It has 3 parts...

  That means you may not have any food from Taco Bell, McDonald's, Burger King, White Castle, etc... and yes, even pizza joints.
   The key to this part of the challenge is to plan your meals ahead of time.
 Do this the day before or on Sunday for the entire week. That way, you will have your entire day of eating planned out and you will feel less tempted to run to the nearest fast food joint for a quick bite.
  Another must, pack a cooler filled with healthy snacks to keep with you in the car. Don't forget to put water in there to stay hydrated all day..
   That way, when your running around you don't have to feel like you don't have any other option when your hungry than a drive through. Also, if you break down and get the kiddies a treat from a fast food place, you won't be tempted to buy a large fries and diet coke for yourself!

2. THROW OUT YOUR FAVORITE NON CLEAN EATING SNACK that you have in your house and don't buy it again!
  OK you know the snack I'm talking about...the one that you always reach for! YEAH THAT ONE. Maybe it is chips, pretzels, or crackers...the one you just have to have in the house or you feel lost .. Toss it out ! (or give it away if you don't want to throw food out. )  Even if you just bought a new one that hasn't even been opened.  If your favorite snack is fried, extra salty/sugary or loaded with preservatives, dump it! And don't buy it again!
  The key to being successful with this part of the challenge is to replace the snack you eat all of the time with a healthy alternative, and stock up on it.
   Here are some clean snack ideas:
   *If you like to have something sweet, buy some yummy apples and slice them up anytime you feel the urge to munch.  Top with plain cinnamon, which helps promote weight loss by aiding in blood sugar regulation. Or make a big fruit salad to keep in fridge for a few days so that it is ready to eat when you are craving something sweet.
   *If you are a chip-o-holic, invest in a popcorn air popper.  You can have 2 cups of air popped popcorn for about 60 calories.
    *If you love tortilla chips, Keep cut up veggie sticks in your fridge and dip them in salsa!

    Eating a clean breakfast everyday is crucial if you want to lose weight. It jump starts your metabolism and gives you fuel to start your day and power through your workouts. It also will make you less hungry throughout the day so you will not overeat later in the afternoon.
 Now is the perfect time to add breakfast to your routine.  Since you will be getting your kids up early for school you can be a good role model and have breakfast with them! This will ensure you all start your day off right!
  However, make sure you don't eat something loaded with excess sugar and fat such as a donut, sugary cereal, or a white bagel with cream cheese. It's important to have both complex carbs and some protein for breakfast. Some examples of a healthy breakfast are:
     * Unsweetened oatmeal with blueberries and 3 scrambled egg whites with coffee or tea.
      * Veggie egg white frittata (which you can prepare on Sunday night and just warm up a slice throughout the week) with a slice of whole grain toast with unsweetened fruit spread.  Coffee or Tea
     * Greek Yogurt mixed with cheerios or another whole grain, low sugar cereal and
         topped with blueberries and strawberries.

 So that's your challenge for this week. If you want, keep a journal to record how you did with each part. I know you can do it! Let me know how it is going and if you thought of some other tips to make this week's challenge easier!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fight Belly Fat with Yummy Avocados!

Yum!! Avocados!
  I love avocados and guess what? They fight belly fat! Woohoo! Recent studies have shown that foods rich in Monounsaturated Fats, like avocados, help the body use belly fat for fuel!
  They also help your joints and lower cholesterol.
  But remember, even though these monounsaturated fats are good for us, all fats are calorie dense. Which means you CANNOT eat a bowl full of guacamole with tortillas! Sorry!
   A healthy amount is a quarter of an avocado (couple slices), 2-3 times a week.
  It has such a rich flavor that is really all you need . Substitute it for mayo on a sandwich with with tomato slices, lettuce, and 3 oz of skinless baked chicken breast on whole grain bread for lunch. Or for dinner, skip the bread and have a salad with your avocado slices and your favorite veggies; top it with sliced chicken breast with a drop of olive oil and as much balsamic vinegar as you like!

    One word of caution:   Avocados are at great risk of having dangerous bacteria on their outside skin. Make sure to wash your avocado with warm water and a drop of all natural soap or veggie wash. Then dry it with a clean paper towel. Wash your hands well afterwards. Then enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yeah, We're Forty(ish)! And Freakin' Fabulous!

     Okay I'm forty (ish!)!
  And boy are there a ton of things around me lately reminding me of that fact! My greying hair (yikes already??), meeting up with old friends I haven't seen in 30 years (seriously that long???)  and teenage daughter. (hence the greying hair...)
    There's nothing that makes you feel older than listening to a bunch of 13 year old girls talk about how everything is sooo different nowadays from the stone ages when you grew up!  No cell phones, computers, or ipods?  Seriously, dude, you had to get up off the couch to change the channel? And there were only 5 of them! Man your old.     

                                       Hey wait a minute.... I don't feel old!

    So then,  what does it really mean to be a 40 (ish) woman in 2010?
    Should we just sit around waiting for our AARP membership to kick in?
    Does it mean we've run out of time to go back to school, try a new career or learn to play the piano?

                                  I say HELL NO!

    We have the best times of our lives ahead of us, let's move forward and make our dreams a reality!
    I truly believe that our 40's can be the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in our lives. It's a time when we know ourselves better then we ever did before. We know how strong we are and what we are capable of.  Now is the perfect time to explore new options and decide what we want our future to be.  We still have time to realize the dreams we might not have been able to pursue in the past.  Or, we may have new ambitions that we've only just begun to imagine!
  Need some ideas on where to begin this self discovery?    
  Ignite your passions through exercise....
  If you feel like you need a change, or just want to challenge yourself, improving your level of fitness and diet are a perfect place to start.
  Losing weight and getting into shape gives you the mental self confidence as well as the physical stamina you need to go after your dreams whatever they may be.  When you achieve your fitness goals you transform your life.  Soon you'll see options open up for you that you never thought possible!
  The question I always get is, 
  " Can a women who is forty(ish) really lose weight and build muscle after years of not eating right and not exercising as much as they should have?"
  Don't believe anyone when they say you can't lose the weight that has been a part of who you have been for so long.  And yes! You still have abs, and they can be found!
  .  But it is different in our 40's...
    Physically, our metabolism slows down starting around the age of 30,  due to muscle loss and a decrease in physical activity.
   You probably have noticed you can't eat (or drink) the same way you did in your 20's without gaining weight. Nutrition is key for us. If you exercise without consistently eating clean you will not see results.

   We need the whole package:
   2-3 days of strength training, cardio, and clean eating.
   These are the keys to being successful once we hit 40. 

   The sooner you start, the easier it will be, and the greater the impact you can make on your body and health
  Back to that 40 (ish) woman in 2010...
  I say she is taking classes, starting a new business, writing her first novel and getting into the best shape of her life!

  So to all those teens out there,
  Forty (ish) is Freakin fabulous!
  Does anyone want to learn to knit with me?

**Tell me about the new things you're trying in your life. If you are starting an exercise program, let me know how it's going.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is stress making us fat?

     Stress is one of those tricky dynamics in our life that can both help and hurt us. Under  pressure we can meet a deadline, be our most creative or score the winning run. But chronic stress can make our hormones unbalanced and this often can lead to fat storage in our bellies.  Here's some info on the dangers of belly fat.

      Why does this happen?
      You may have seen those infomercials late at night explaining how cortisol creates belly fat. Increases in cortisol can increase our cravings for foods high in sugar and fat and can decrease the times during the day that we feel hungry. So, when we have elevated cortisol levels we tend to eat less, for example skipping breakfast.  When we do eat, we tend to have bigger meals that are very calorie dense.
   However, as with most things, our bodies are way more complicated than these infomercials make them out to be. They usually leave out some very important pieces of the hormonal puzzle...The important roles that Insulin, HGH and Testosterone play in our metabolism.
   When we are chronically stressed, our bodies secrete specialized hormones to deal with it. These hormones release blood glucose. Your body works best when you counter this hormonal increase with physical activity. This need for exertion post stress can be traced back to caveman times. Back then, when we encountered a stressful situation (like seeing a lion chase after us) our reaction would be to counter it through intense physical activity (such as running away) or fighting which would naturally use up the sugar our body gave us for quick energy. The infamous "fight or flight" scenario.
  Nowadays,  in the short term, if you don't exercise regularly,  your body will deal with stress by balancing  cortisol with insulin to raise and lower blood sugar. But overtime this system will be taxed and your levels of cortisol and insulin will remain relatively higher than your muscle building hormones such as testosterone and HGH. This can create a destructive hormonal mixture that can lead to our bodies burning muscle and conserving fat.

    And of course,  it stores the fat in our bellies. 
    So how do we stop this from happening...

   I  First, we need to try to increase our growth promoting hormones to counter this insulin/cortisol combination. The way to do this is to
 1. Get enough sleep. (click here to read my blog about the importance of sleep and hormones)
 2. Exercise intensely ( here is some info on how to increase your exercise intensity)
 3. Consume adequate protein. Make sure you have protein with every meal, about 3-4 oz.
 4, Eat breakfast to combat naturally occurring higher levels of cortisol in the morning.
 5. Eat 4-6 small meals a day instead of 1-3 meals. When you eat only 1-3 meals you are eating more food and creating a greater insulin effect in your body.

  II Secondly, we need to try to control the stress levels in our life.

  Did I hear laughter when you thought about lowering your stress levels as the school year approaches?
  Well I know I snickered myself as I typed it!
  We all know that along with all of the wonderful things the school year brings it also means homework (for the kids and us ), arguments, tears (the kids and ours), late nights, crazy mornings and all around high levels of stress!

  ***Let me just admit right here that reducing stress and how I deal with stress is an area that is definitely a work in progress for me. So any additional advice you can give me on the subject would be greatly appreciated.  Just post comments at the bottom of this blog. I would love to share ideas.
But in the meantime I will share with you what I have figured out so far on this subject... (but not necessarily put into practice at all times! )

     Here are some concrete ways that I know of to reduce stress or at least not let it effect us as much when it arises...

1. Exercise (you knew I was going to say that right?) If you don't feel like jumping on the treadmill, blast some music and dance around the house. No one is watching I  promise...

2. Remember the 10-10-10 principle
    I once heard someone talk about a 10 10 10 principle. It went something like this...when something happens that makes you feel stressed think about whether it is going to matter in 10 minutes, 10 weeks or 10 years. Adjust your response and level of caring accordingly.  I find this idea very helpful. If I have an encounter with someone that upsets me, I think about whether that person or the situation is going to matter to me in those time frames. It really helps me put things into perspective.

3.  Realize you're not going to make everyone happy (this one is tough for women)
     As women I think we are natural people pleasers and even though in our head we know that we can't possibly make everyone we come in contact with happy, our hearts make us feel as though we should. We have to remember that we can't say yes to everyone who needs a favor and people are going to get angry at us for reasons that aren't fair or logical.  That's life right?  So when I feel stressed that I let someone down, I ask myself did I try my best? Was I honest? Did I do the right thing in that situation  for myself and the people I love? If I did then I let it go...(well I try anyway) 

4. Decrease your caffeine intake
    Caffeine can make you feel anxious so try to limit your caffeine consumption to a cup or two in the morning.

5. Laugh
    Remember not take things too seriously.  Call a friend that always makes you laugh or put on an old episode of Seinfeld. (it's always on and always makes our entire family laugh together!)

 6. Do something fun 
     Watch some guilty pleasure TV show, read a good book, knit....whatever makes you feel happy.

  7 Work on a project that is important to you
      Although work can bring on stress by itself, I often find finishing a project that I have put off really makes me feel less stressed and happy. Cleaning my messy desk feels great too!

  8. Think about the things that you are grateful for
    It's easy to get stressed about silly little things, so when you feel that way, think about everything and everyone your grateful for and those other things feel less important. You can even write them down and look at them when you feel stressed the next time.

  9. Get a massage (and then give one back)

  10.  Get close with your lover  (oh, you know what I mean!!)

What stresses you out? Do you have any great stress busting secrets? Let me know, I could use all the help I can get!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Make a Commitment to Yourself!

Let's be honest, its Monday and the weekend didn't go very well in terms of clean eating and exercising.
There was that get together with family and friends, maybe a birthday party and a lazy day at the pool?
All of which had tons of yummy, fattening foods that were just too hard to resist and no time to workout!
And then there was the alcohol...
And anyway it was just one weekend...

Okay, so maybe it was actually a couple of weekends...(or the entire summer....)

 Well, today is the day to stop making excuses and make a commitment to yourself.

. I know that you are good at keeping your commitments once you make them.  You never break a promise to your friends, family or coworkers. You meet deadlines, get your kids to school and playdates, clean the house. So why does it seem that we always find an excuse to not stay on track, when it is ourselves that we are letting down? 

If you have decided to make a lasting change in your weight and fitness, you will need to stay focused on the weekends and for special events. This can only be done if you make a true commitment to yourself.

If you're ready, here are some tips on how to make a lasting commitment to yourself.

1.Be honest with yourself.
  Be honest about how much weight you need to lose.  If you need to lose a lot of weight understand that that is ok, and that it will take time. A safe way to lose weight is between 1-2 lbs per week. So don't make a pledge to lose 20 lbs by September, it is not realistic or healthy. Sometimes we make huge weight loss goals and when we don't achieve them we use that as an excuse that we are meant to be overweight. If you create a 500 caloric deficit a day through eating less and working out more, you can lose a pound a week. 
   Be honest that it is going to be difficult. Understanding that making a lifestyle change is not going to happen without hard work is key when you see everyone around you eating fast food and drinking beer.

2.Make a plan
   When you make a commitment to a friend or boss you always know how you are going to fulfill your end of the deal.
                  Therefore you must do the same thing when committing to yourself!
*   You must have concrete plans for your fitness program (just like for all the other things you need to accomplish) or you will not follow through with it.
*   Set aside time every week to work out.  Put time in your planner in the beginning of your week for your workouts.  Never schedule anything else during that time.  Just as you wouldn't schedule something during a meeting you have for work. If you start making excuses for changing your workout plans you will continue to devalue your workout time and soon you will no longer be working out.
*  Create a written agreement that outlines your short term and your long term goals. Sign the agreement and have someone witness it.  Post the signed  document somewhere that you will see it everyday to keep you accountable.
 *Plan out what you will eat for the week. Think of healthy meals and snacks that you can take with you to work or when you're out for the day. Buy the food that you need and prepare any meals you can ahead of time. That way, when you are hungry you won't reach for something unhealthy.
* If there is a special event coming up, decide if you should eat before you go or if there will be "clean" food there for you to eat. If you continually say, "I'll cheat just this time" you will never see results. Stay committed even during fun activities.

3. Make it public
 Tell someone you trust about your goals and commitment.  Ask them to check in with you every week for an update on your progress.  Knowing that someone else is aware of what our goals are makes us more likely to follow through on them.
 * feel free to post a comments on this blog and inspire others to join you! Feel free to check in every week with a post about your progress and/or frustrations.

4.Get support
  Ask a friend who has recently lost weight or is in the process of losing weight now, to talk to you about the obstacles they faced.  Sharing tips with people who have made exercise and eating clean a part of their lives can help keep you going when you feel like you might want to quit.

 5. Make it easy for yourself
   Changing your lifestyle might feel like a chore at first. Slowly it will become a habit, and then you will feel strange when you don't do these things.  However, this usually takes about three weeks but it can take longer. So when you first start out, make things easy on yourself. 
 *Pick workout times that won't be conflicting with other pressures.
 *Set your clothes out the night before if you are working out in the morning. 
  *Workout with someone who will make sure you show up for your sessions.
  *Do exercise that you like at first, when you are feeling like it has become a habit, try different modes and push yourself harder to see more results.
   *Eat clean but don't make yourself eat foods you don't like. There is a huge variety of clean food to choose from. If you don't like broccoli, or Greek yogurt, don't eat them, even if you just read an article saying they are the must eat foods of the month!

6.Get motivated
  It's easy to lose sight of your long term goals when you are tired and don't feel like working out. Or when you are at a party and everyone is eating and drinking. So it is crucial to feel motivated everyday to stay focused. Some ways to stay motivated are:
*find pictures of people that look good and inspire you to change; put those pictures up somewhere that you may be tempted to eat something you shouldn't like the refrigerator. Or in your car to motivate you to go to the gym after work!
 *post your goals on your bathroom mirror so that you see them when you first wake up.
* read exercise books, magazines and blogs to give you good ideas and promote a healthy mindset.
* workout with someone more fit than you once in a while to remind yourself that hard work and persistence pays off.
*give yourself a non food treat when you reach small goals. Buy yourself some new music, a new workout outfit or makeup when you lose a certain amount of weight or exercise/eat clean for a certain number of days.

7.Keep a record
 I talk about this a lot and that is because it is known to be one of the most helpful tools to losing and maintaining weight. Write down everything you eat and all of the exercise you do. It is easy to think that you ate a lot less then you did. Add up your total calories every night and adjust your intake if needed.
 Keeping a food journal makes you feel accountable because you see everything you ate in black and white! It is also a great way to remind yourself of all of your hard work. When you look back over a month of clean eating and working out, it gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.

  ** Now, I'm going to go back to the first tip I gave you , be honest with yourself and those trying to help you. Don't write down only some of the food that you ate. If you are going to lose weight, you have to account for every bite you take. (Yes, even those you ate standing up!) Also, if you are working with a trainer,  please find one that you trust and be honest with them. If they are a good trainer, they will care about your success.  If you record only some of what you actually ate or if you say you worked out more than you did, then your trainer will not be able to help you achieve your goals and keep the commitment you made to yourself.

Think about all of the commitments that you have made and kept in your life. Don't you value yourself just as much as you value those people to whom you work so hard for?
It's time to make a commitment to yourself.

I know you can do it!!

Let me know what your goals are, I would love to support you in anyway I can. And if you have any suggestions on how to keep a commitment to yourself, please share them!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How High Fructose Corn Syrup is Effecting Our Health and Waistlines!

If you are always feeling hungry and can't seem to lose weight, part of the problem might be the High Fructose Corn Syrup in your diet...

   High Fructose Corn Syrup is a highly processed sweetener. It is not naturally found in nature!
   Although it is similar to Sucrose in the sense that they are both a combination of fructose and glucose,  HFCS is very different because it is made up of  90 percent fructose and 10 percent glucose.
(Whereas sucrose is about 50-50)    It is manufactured through a highly complicated process. Food manufacturers like to use it because it is cheaper and has a longer shelf life than sugar.
                            It's all about the bottom dollar, not our health!

                The consumption of HFCS went up 1000 percent from 1970-1990!*

   Here are some of the negative consequences of consuming HFCS in our bodies....

1. It creates oxidative stress in the body.
2. It causes us to overeat.
    HFCS doesn't decrease your Ghrelin levels, as sucrose does, so that you still feel hungry after you eat it, even the next day.
3. HFCS creates an insulin spike which in turn causes the decrease of testosterone.
4. It increases high triglycerides, which prevent Leptin from working in the brain, so it doesn't signal to you that you are full.
5.  It increases fat accumulation in the abdomen and overall weight gain.
6. It is thought to create liver vulnerability
7, It can contribute to heart problems and Metabolic Syndrome.
8. It is pro-inflammatory
9. It blocks anti- aging hormones

Why does all of this occur?
Scientists aren't totally sure but they think part of the reason is that fructose is metabolized by the liver and glucose is metabolized by your cells.

  What foods contain HFCS?

  In the past the most well know product that contained HFCS was soda. 
  However, nowadays you can find HFCS in just about anything. Some common foods that you might not think have HFCS are:
Pasta Sauce
Fruit Juice
Lunch Meat
Salad Dressing
And many, many more!

Here is a link to a study, recently released, that looked into the connection between excessive fructose consumption and cancer,
Cancer cells feed on fructose, study finds  

   So right about now you are thinking,  there is a consistent theme running through my blogs! 
   You're right.. and here it is again,

    Eat real food. Not Processed.

    Eat food that is in it's most natural state.
    Put aside time to make your meals yourself, using wholesome ingredients.
    Eat fresh fruits and veggies
    Look at  food labels. The fewer the ingredients listed the better.
    Eating this way everyday will  be better for your health and your waistline!!

Look in your kitchen and see how many products you have that contain HFCS. Are you surprised by what you find? Let me know if you throw it all out.

Monday, August 2, 2010

How Sleeping More Will Help You Weigh Less!

Are you still not seeing the pounds come off even though you are strength training 3 times a week and doing intense cardio? Here's one thing that might be missing from your workout routine...

               MORE SLEEP!

   Getting enough sleep is critical to regulating your fat burning hormones and keeping your metabolism running optimally.

 How does sleep effect our metabolism?
 When we sleep, different hormones within our bodies rise and fall signaling our bodies to burn fat and our muscles to grow.
  Stage 4 sleep starts about an hour after we fall asleep, and is the period during which we release our greatest amounts of growth hormone.  This hormone tells the body to burn stored fat.
   As our night progresses the hormones Leptin, Cortisol, Insulin and Adrenaline are lowered. This allows the body to respond to them better the next day.  Conversely there are increases in Glucagon, HGH, Testosterone and antioxidant hormones like Melatonin which help us burn fat.

If you sleep less than eight hours a night you may never reach your fat burning potential!!

    On top of that, studies have shown that if you do not sleep well for two nights in a row,  your leptin levels will drop about 20 percent and your Ghrelin levels will increase about 30 percent. In our bodies, Leptin sends signals to our brains that we are full and Ghrelin sends the message that we are hungry. Consequently, you will feel famished the days following poor sleep.
 And of course this hormonal imbalance does not make us crave salads!
 Our brains response is to want sweet and starchy foods... aka...chocolate and pasta.
 ( Oh , I know you have experienced that just like I have!)
 Our bodies also start to act insulin resistant, which makes us not process sugar properly and consequently store it as fat.

   One way to help insure that we create the best hormonal balance for fat burning in our bodies is to sleep more than the typical 5-6 hours a night.


   1.Don't exercise too late
   Exercising late in the evening often makes our bodies feel too energized to sleep. However, if this is the only time you have to exercise, don't stop.  If you simply enjoy doing something physical at night, try some yoga  with soothing music.

   2. Dim your lights at night
    Turn down the brightness of your lighting in the evening by using table lamps or dimmers instead of harsh ceiling lights. Or have a romantic evening by candlelight.  This helps your  body ease into sleep.

    3. Don't eat after 7-8 PM especially if its carbs!
      This is important...
     You need to have a high level of Ghrelin in order to get into the deep sleep stages and eating carbs depresses the level of ghrelin in our bodies. Also, your body needs to be in a semi starved state to release growth hormone which will not occur if you eat late at night.

  4. Stop watching TV or using the computer at least 30 minutes before bed
      Instead, read or listen to music or snuggle with your honey....

   5 Keep a journal
       We often toss and turn at night thinking about what we need to do the next day. Or we wake up in the middle of the night replaying an encounter that didn't quite go the way we had hoped during the day.  Journaling before you go to sleep allows you to organize everything you have to do the next day so you don't have to worry about forgetting something important. It also gives you a chance to write down all of your feeling about a stressful situation and then forget about it while you sleep.

   6. Go to bed by 10PM (about...)
     I know this is difficult, especially when you have older kids, or if you are working late. However, the longer you are exposed to light after sundown the more you push back your hormonal sleeping signals. When the sun rises, even if you are still sleeping, the hormones that promote fat burning are shut off. So going to bed around midnight really cuts down on your bodies ability to create that perfect fat burning time.

  7. Make sure your room is completely dark
     Night lights, TVs and computer screens that are on while you sleep interrupt the creation of melatonin in your body.  Try to make the room as dark as you can.

  8. Don't drink alcohol to fall asleep
      If you have trouble falling asleep, have a cup of decaf tea or take a hot bath. Alcohol will actually disrupt your sleep throughout the night.

  9. Create a nightly routine with all of the above  
     Do your own routine every night so that your body knows its time to relax and get ready for sleep.

  What time do you go to bed?  What kinds of things do you do to relax at the end of the day? Do you think what you do at night effects how hungry you are the next day? Let me know...