5 Nuggets of Advice For Guilt Free, Low-Cal 4th of July FUN

biggerThere’s really no way to avoid the caloric dangers that will lurking on the picnic table this Saturday afternoon. It’s pointless to warn you of the hidden sodium, fat and sugar in your favorite holiday snacks and beverages. The burgers will be greasy, the hot dogs will be over processed, and the potato salad will be mayo laced carbs. But all are must-haves for the 4th. So instead of setting yourself up for disappointment by planning to abstain from these fatty fatty treats, just accept that you’re probably going to dabble, and take a different approach: Moderation.

Here are five nuggets of advice to help you moderate your way out of a calorie ridden situation:

1. Nibble on the veggie plate first. It’ll fill you up and [just maybe] you’ll eat less potato salad than you would other wise.

2. Grab the ‘light’ beer option, especially if you’re going to have a few.

3. When you grab the cheeseburger, load it up with some veggies like extra lettuce and tomato. It’ll fill you up more and add some nutrient goodness.

4. WARNING: You’re going to see a super yummy desert at the end of the table. It’ll probably be a cake with white icing and strawberries for stripes and blueberries for stars. Its the Fourth- have a slice…. A SLICE… ONE.

5. If you know you’re the kind of person to go up for seconds, wait 15 minutes. Remember, the hormones in your stomach that signal ‘I’m full!” to your brain are slow pokes! So give them time to get up there before you grab a another plate.

As for tomorrow:

In the world of weight loss studies there’s something called the ‘weekend effect.’ While following the trends of caloric intake, researchers found that intakes typically spike for Saturday and Sunday. So it might be wise to have a little fun and let yourself goon a holiday, as long as you make up for it over the next couple of days. There are two ways to do this:

  • If you take in roughly 500 calories more on the holiday than usual, try to cut 250 calories from Sunday and Monday. Which is really just a slightly smaller lunch and dinner….Not too bad, right?
  • Aim to burn the calories the next day by going for a slightly longer jog (or your choice of cardio activity). Quick calculation: If you jog 11-12 min. miles for an hour, you’ll burn around 530 calories. Break that up over two 3o minute jogs (Sunday and Monday) and you’re golden!

Go enjoy some potato salad!

A New Water To Love

cuc4Tired of lemon water but still want to avoid the calorie loaded alternatives? Drop a few slices of cucumber in a tall glass of H2O for a refreshing new flavor that wont pack on the pounds.  Its a delicious spring beverage!

Coffee or Calorie Fest?

latte-grandeYour morning beverage might be making you fat by adding more calories than you think.  If your morning delight contains 250 calories or more, it could be causing you to gain almost a pound every two weeks.  That’s a whopping 24 L-Bees a year! Yikes!

Does your favorite cup of Jo make the cut?

Grande “Skinny” Vanilla Latte: 130 kcals

Grande Vanilla Latte: 250 kcals

Grande Caramel Frapaccino: 380 kcal

Grande Tazo Chai Tea Latte: 240 kcal

Caramel Macchiato: 240 kcal

Grande White Chocolate Mocha: 470 kcals (Oh my God- Breath)

Grande Coffee of the Day: 5 kcals (adding some skim adds only about 10 kcals for a total of 15 kcals)

Hit up the treat twice a month if you must- but on the daily, better to skip the sugar rush and calorie fest by grabbing a brew of the day.

The Low Cal Tricks You Need For Happy Hour

Many health officials will advise skipping happy hour all together, but Im more realistic. There are many ways to let loose with out waking up tomorrow in a pit of self loathing because you had 5 margaritas, a plate of nachos, and then ordered Pappa Johns when you got home. If you’re going out for Happy Hour tonight, stick to some low-cal rules:

  • Order an unflavored, clear liquor (like vodka or light bacardi) with soda water. Flavor it with your favorite cirtus fruit like lemon, lime or orange. It’ll cut back on the calories and sugar significantly.
  • While everybody else is eating nachos and french fries, order a salad with chicken and maybe a couple slices of bread. You’ll feel less weighed down throughout the night and you’ll wake up ready to have a fun and productive weekend.
  • Order a water everytime you see your server. It’ll ensure that you’re hydrating enough and cut back on the alcoholic beverages.
  • Walk to your car tomorrow morning to burn a few extra calories. If you cab it- have the driver drop you off a few blocks away.
Have a good weekend!

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Welcome the new year! And the New YOU!

As you’ve heard from CNN, ABC, and NBC, the number one New Year’s resolution is to diet and get into shape. Unfortunately, too many people fail to follow through with this self improving goal and are left more discouraged than ever. Some of the most common reasons people fall off the weight loss wagon include: not personalizing a resolution and plan, and setting the bar unrealistically high. Here are 6 tips to give you the upper hand and help you achieve your 09 success.

  • Give yourself a goal. Deciding to just “lose weight” or “get into shape” is too general and allows for you to make too many compromises. Whether you choose to lose 5 pounds, 50 pounds, or just an inch around your waist, make a decision. Once you have a goal and a finish line in sight- you’ll be much more likely to see it through.
  • Be realistic! Lofty goals aren’t accomplished over night. Most people forget they even made a New Years resolution by March! Why? Because they expected too much and too quickly! They were way to hard on themselves, became discouraged, went for the cake, and never came back. Accept that this weight loss business takes time and commitment, you’ll be thankful you stuck to it.
  • Personalize your plan. There is no easy way out of this one! What worked for your best friend might not work for you. We all have different metabolisms, different cravings, different weaknesses and different strengths. Accept that. Find what works for you and go with it.
  • Remember your feelings. Rule of thumb: if eating something makes you feel good about yourself, go with it! If you feel like you’re falling into a pit of self loathing crap 20 minutes after you eat it- remember that feeling. Chances are you wont want to feel that way again for a loooooong time.
  • Count! Yeah yeah yeah- counting calories is annoying and tedious. But guess what? It works. You wanna lose a little everyday? Go to this handy calculator. As you’ll see it takes a number of factors into consideration when figuring the appropriate number of calories one should consume daily. Simply aim to consume fewer calories than needed to maintain your current weight. It’s just math. Burn more than you consume- even if slowly- the weight will come off.
  • Create a mantra. I didn’t even really know what a mantra was until I started examining what diet tricks worked for people, and many people have had great success with this one! My favorite thus far “I don’t want to feel like crap anymore!” (This person remembered her feelings!) And when you’ve met your goal you can change that to “I never want to feel that way again!” Another good one: “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Whatever works for you- whatever your motivation is, don’t let yourself forget why you chose this resolution in the first place.
What seems to work for people most frequently is commitment. Its the single more important factor in a health plan. And should you fall off the wagon for a day, or even two, don’t allow it to discourage you so much that you quit! Instead, remember how it makes you feel and make it your motivation.

5 Ways to Beat the Lazies

There is an old Italian saying which says “the appetite comes while eating.”
This simplistically wise old saying could really be applied to so many aspects of life. Around this time of year is when people start to get the ‘lazies.’ Often times it is frowned upon to ‘go through the motions,’ but how bad could it be if in the end you find exactly what you need? It’s like sex, you may not be in the mood, but if you go through the motions, you get in the mood- quickly- then it’s all you can think about wanting. So when the ‘lazies’ strike, it is best to push right through and stop them before it becomes your way of the winter. The truth is this: energy yields more energy. Pushing yourself to do something you don’t want to do will make it easier and easier each time you do it; eventually you’ll just WANT to be active. Forcing yourself to go for a long walk or a run will eventually make you want to do it over and over again. Next thing you know- you have more energy, you sleep better through the night, and the force can be removed; the deign will be replaced with desire. This goes for eating habits as well. Once you go through the motions of eating a healthy diet, it will become routine. You’ll soon look at all the sat fats and sweets and think “ew gross” or “ruin the work out I just forced myself to do?- never!” Before you know it you’ll crave things like veggies and lighter meals. The hardest thing is getting over the hump and forcing yourself to do what you don’t really feel like doing. But you have to trust that, just as the appetite will come while eating, your desire for health will come once you start to try. Here are 5 ways to trick yourself into kicking the ‘lazies’

  • Set yourself up for success: Surround yourself with things that’ll get you in the mood. Fitness magazines are a great way to get motivated. Or try putting your running shoes or yoga mat by the door so that every time you leave the house you’re reminded of the work out that ought to be done once you return.
  • Bag it up!: Hit the produce section when you go to the grocery store. It’s not only less expensive than a lean cuisine, but it’s fresher and healthier. Purchasing the ingredients for fun veggie snack or salad will motivate you to skip the ‘other’ finger foods available at lunch time.
  • If your work-out isn’t quite doing it for you, switch it up a bit. Most people lose interest in their work-out but that doesn’t mean they should just quit it on it. Maybe a yoga class can replace your spinning class. Maybe the stair stepper or a run outside can replace the treadmill. How ever you opt to switch it up and keep things interesting is on you- but the work-out should not be forgone.
  • Move: When all you want to do is lay on the couch and do nothing, DO SOMETHING! Throw on the ipod and slip into your running shoes. Set out to go on a 20-30 walk and take in the crisp fall air. Maybe all you end up doing is walking around the town, but maybe you get a burst of energy and run a few miles. Either one is better than doing nothing.
  • The buddy system! It made sure you didn’t get lost on field trips in 3rd grade and it can make sure you don’t get lost now. If you have a friend that you’re meeting for a run, walk, or gym class, you wont bail on it. Sometimes it’s just not enough to be dedicated to yourself. Having somebody else in the wing who is depending on you will ensure you don’t skip out.

So, though it’s oh so hard to force yourself to do things that you don’t really want to do, once you start things up, they’ll all fall into place and the motivation will surface. The important thing to do is to go through the motions. Afterall , the more health you go for, the more health you’ll desire.

Topping the Perfect Bread Time Snack

Question: Is putting butter on bread really that bad? Please say no- I love it.

Ha ha! Well lucky you- No, its not THAT bad. But it’s not that good either. Often times when choosing foods (or toppings, which is always my weakness too), its simply a matter of ‘pick your poison.’ While often times eating a certain food item isn’t THAT bad, you can typically find an equivalent that is just more nutrient dense. If calories were money, wouldn’t you rather get more for your money?? That being said, lets compare some stuff!

Butter is actually full of some nutrients that you want and need. Its high in vitamin A, and has a touch of vitamins E and K. It also has some stronium, which works with calcium and magnesium to promote bone health, and some chromium which helps your body maintain normal blood sugar levels. The bad, however, is that butter has 11 grams of fat per tbsp, and 63% of that is saturated fat which is no good.

Olive oil on the other hand is a whole other ball game. It has 14 grams of fat per tbsp, however, its a monounsaturated fat that is high in omega-3 and it is only 14% saturated fat. It too has high levels of stronium as well as lots of vitamin E and K. You can even amp this up to add even more flavor and nutrients by sprinkling in a tbsp of parmesan cheese (or another hard/grated cheese) which boosts the nutrient value of this bread business ten fold. Then you receive stronium, chromium, calcium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, B12 and riboflavin, as well as a complete protein. Additionally, you’re likely to use less olive oil than butter because it spreads more easily.

So pick your poison, but it looks to me like you get a lot more for your money (akhem…calories) with some olive oil and cheese sprinkle, which I personally think tastes more flavorful too.