Monday, January 31, 2011

Creative Veggie Options for Winter Weather

Experiencing 36 Minnesota winters causes me to get creative about getting in veggies during cold months. There is no such thing as "fresh" vegetables since just about everything in grocery stores rots in a day or two. Not to mention, constantly combating the craving of comfort foods.

Try these veggies options for winter:

Soups. Weight Watchers markets three fabulous soup recipes that are full of veggies, low calorie and filling. It's easy to make a large batch and freeze for the week.

Try frozen. Frozen vegetables are generally cheaper and last longer. Mix with grilled chicken to create a stir-fry or steam them and serve as a side dish.

Choose veggies in season. Avocados are excellent this time of year and can be substituted for mayo on wraps or sandwiches. Try adding it to a BLT (using turkey bacon, of course!). Or, saute artichokes or mushrooms with a teaspoon of olive oil. Here is a great reference guide to seasonal vegetables and fruits:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Ways to Lower the Scale This Week!

Get moving. Start by looking for simple ways to get more activity in like take three 10-minute walks today.

If you bite it, write it. Choose fresh foods instead of processed foods. Measure and track what you eat.

Drink lots of water. Take your current weight and divide by two. Drink this many ounces of water per day to help flush out your system and reduce water retention.

Spice things up. Stay satisfied by adding jalapeno, green Tabasco or Mrs. Dash Spicy to your foods.

Get busy. Get back to hobbies you may have dropped. The less you're in the kitchen; the less tempted you'll be to eat.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's your excuse for not exercising?

What’s your excuse for not exercising?

I used to be a completely against exercise due to all of the reasons below, but I have changed! I’m not too tired or depressed, I do have time, I can afford a gym membership and I’m no longer embarrassed by my appearance.

Start an exercise routine today. Here’s how to beat your excuses:

Excuse 1: I’m too tired/depressed.
--Working out can help regulate sleep cycles. You will sleep better and feel well-rested. Try a morning workout to feel energized all day.
--It takes energy to produce energy. Even a 10-minute walk will increase your energy levels for up to two hours afterwards.
--Exercising will improve your mood since it boosts your brain’s feel-good chemicals and reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is produced by stress and is linked to increased abdominal fat.

Excuse 2: I can’t afford a gym membership or equipment.
--You don’t need a gym membership to workout. Find workouts online, in magazines, buy fitness DVDs or rent them from the library. Also, exercising at home eliminates excuses because you are there everyday.
--If you want a gym membership, check with your employer for reimbursement possibilities. Try your local community center instead of a high-end gym membership.

Excuse 3: I’m embarrassed by my appearance.
--No one is paying attention to you at the gym. If anything, people are cheering you on for getting to the gym.
--Baggy clothes don’t have to be a part of your workout wardrobe. Reward yourself with a nice pair of yoga pants and a well-fitting t-shirt.
--Remember that your appearance is improving with each workout!

Excuse 4: I don’t have time.
--Evaluate your priorities. If physical and mental health is a top priority for you, make the time for exercise.
--We are all busy with work, kids and 24 hours can go by quickly. Eliminate television watching or exercise while watching television. Get up earlier in the morning for a workout or go walking during your lunch break. Instead of trying to find time away from your children to exercise, involve them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Curb Your Winter Carb Cravings

Why do you crave carbohydrates in winter?

Natural sunlight converts to vitamin D and naturally boosts serotonin levels. This may be why spring weather puts you in a happier mood!

In winter, your serotonin levels are lower due to lack of vitamin D. Your body wants to increase seratonin and looks to do that through food. Enter: CARB CRAVINGS!

Don't let your carb cravings impact your weight loss efforts

--When choosing foods, always choose whole grain breads and pastas. Stay away from enriched carbs, such as white bread.

--Always eat protein with carbohydrates. Try turkey on whole-grain bread or brown rice with black beans.

--Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

--Use a light box for light therapy for 20-30 minutes per day.

--Exercise for 30 minutes per day. Even three 10-minute walks will help your mood.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Find hidden meaning in product ingredients

We are familiar with terms like “sugar” and “fat”, but manufactures don’t always display these words in black and white. Check out the list of related terms below, so you can figure out when they are hidden in your foods.

Sugar can also be stated as…

• Sucrose, fructose, dextrose, etc.
• Corn syrup
• High fructose corn syrup
• Honey
• Maple syrup
• Evaporated cane juice
• Mannitol
• Sorbitol
• Chicory/carob/inulin/tapioca syrup
• Caramel
• Molasses
• Cane juice crystals

Recommended sugar intake per day:

• Men = nine teaspoons
• Women = six teaspoons
• Current American average = 22 teaspoons (due to hidden sugars in products)

Trans Fat can also be stated as…

• Hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils
• Shortening
• Margarine

Recommended trans fat intake per day:

• Men & Women = No more than 2 grams
• Current American average = Up to 6 grams per day

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Learn to love morning workouts

I started working out in the mornings about 18 months ago. While it was tough to get used to at first, I've learned to love it. Plus, I don't have to worry about all the excuses for NOT working out after work!

--Exercising early in the morning gets your metabolism going and keeps it elevated all day to help burn more calories.
--You have a great start to the day, which is a gratifying feeling! It will keep you motivated throughout the day to make healthy choices.
--Exercise can increase mental acuity, keeping your brainpower working stronger all day.
--Ease into it. Try getting up just 10 or 20 minutes early at first for a quick workout. Plus, you get it over with for the day - before your day even gets started. No worrying about fitting in it later once your busy day begins.

Are you ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle? Ask yourself these questions.

You say you want to lose weight. You may have found the motivation to go to the gym this week and choose the right foods. But, it’s only the beginning. After a few weeks, your motivation may dwindle and unhealthy habits may find their way back into your life. What seemed fun and easy at first is more difficult. Do you treat unhealthy treats as “rewards” for losing a pound or two? Are you heading to happy hour more than the gym?

Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Many experience “yo-yo dieting” and can’t get past it. If this describes you, there is a way to get past it, starting with losing the word “diet” from your vocabulary. To be successful and stay successful, you must be ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle – forever. Are you ready to commit? Ask yourself these questions and find out.

Do you know why you want to lose weight and live healthier?
Are you trying to improve a health issue such as high blood pressure? Do you want to shop in a boutique rather than a plus-sized store? Whatever your goal may be, hang onto this. This is your motivation that will keep you going on tough days.
Do it now: Write down your goal and keep it where you can see it everyday. Hang a picture of the article of clothing you want to wear in plain view. Keep a reminder of your goals in sight at all times.

Do you compare yourself to others?
If others around you who have lost weight or have a healthy lifestyle make you uneasy, try focusing that energy on yourself! Believe in yourself that you can make positive changes rather than focusing on wishing you had your friend’s faster metabolism.
Do it now: Write down the five most important people in your life. Are you on this list? If not, add yourself and remember that you are worth it!

Do you keep procrastinating?
If you keep putting it off (“I’ll start Monday”, “I’ll start after the holiday/birthday/next month”, etc.), then you are not ready. There is no perfect time to start except for right now. Start TODAY! It doesn’t mean committing to a rigid diet and going to the gym every day. It means taking one step toward good health today. Take a short walk, choose a salad over French fries or cut down to one soda per day. Small habit changes now turn into big results over time.
Do it now: Write down one habit you will change this week and focus on it. When you have it mastered, repeat the process.

Do you give up easily?
If you eat one unhealthy meal, do you give up on your diet? If so, it’s important to recognize that one poor meal – or even one weekend of poor meals – does not ruin everything. Consistent healthy choices over time will help you meet your goals. We all make unhealthy choices, but moving on from them – not making more of them - is the key to success.
Do it now: Forget yesterday and start again today. Every day is a new opportunity for you to make healthy choices. Forgive yourself and learn to make a better choice next time.