Listen to this Loser

Monday, November 30, 2009 by kate

If you’re drowning in gravy and pecan pies, and looking for motivation, Biggest Loser’s Ali Vincent has a life jacket for you. “Believe It, Be It” is her new memoir about being 234 pounds, turning her life around and losing 112 pounds. Vincent’s voice is honest and clear, and the book is easily digestible.
“My story is about weight loss, sure, but it’s also about coming back to life, emerging from a place of darkness and isolation. And I know there are others who share the very same struggles, who want so much more for themselves, and who have so much more to give to others than they can currently offer.” And knowing Ali is a real person, who lost real weight, gives weight to her words. She’s not some teeny tiny trainer who has never eaten peanut butter straight from the jar, or polished off an entire bag of chips. She made a change, so it’s more believable when she says we can do it too.

“Big, sweeping life changes really boil down to small, everyday decisions. I know counting calories can be a chore, but if I don’t count them, how am I going to know how many I put in my body? I want to stay aware; I don’t want to put my head in the sand.”

If the holidays are a struggle for you, pick up Ali’s book. Read it in a night or two and you’ll look at your next meal a little differently.

“Today I feel beautiful, I feel strong, I feel confident. Beauty is about feeling good, and it’s about going after what you want and believing in yourself. That’s what is going to make you fall in love with your life again. I can do and be and have everything I want in life. And so can you.”

Did you survive Thanksgiving? What motivates you?

Labels: , ,

A Berry with Bite

Monday, November 23, 2009 by kate

When you sit down to your turkey dinner this week (next to your sick uncle Sid) don’t forget to load up on that cranberry sauce*. According to new research, cranberries pack quite the punch. They help fight disease and infections including strep and E. coli.
The tangy little berry also contains antioxidants that may help protect against heart disease and cancer, and they’re also loaded with vitamin C and fiber. And don’t forget they’re also a low-calorie food!

And if you have any doubts, just visit the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. I don’t know why. Wisconsin just sounds trustworthy.

What’s you’re favorite cranberry recipe?

* or a Cape Coder … I think that still counts.

Labels: , ,

Healthy Holidays Survival Guide

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 by kate

You’ve got a lot on your plate (metaphorically speaking) during the holidays. So why add weight gain to the equation? It may feel like we gain 5 or 10 pounds during the holidays, but according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average holiday weight gain is much less than – just about 1 pound. So I’ve come up with a couple of tips to help tip the scales in your favor this year.

The dark truth
According to, 1 cup of white turkey meat has 220 calories and 4.5 grams of fat – 40 fewer calories and less than half the fat of dark turkey meat.

Eggnog = evil
At your next holiday gathering, opt for a glass of wine, which runs you about 100 calories, instead of spiked eggnog, which can cost you more than 300 calories a cup!

Cut the crust
Forget about making a crust for your pumpkin pie. You'll cut down on your cooking time, not to mention 100 calories and 5 grams of fat. Add a dollop of fat free cool whip for some flavorful flair.
Gravy makeover
Cut your gravy with apple cider to cut the fat and add a tangy taste of fall.

Ban on elastic waistbands
If you wear fitted, flattering clothes on Thanksgiving, you’ll be less likely to gorge yourself on stuffing. Plus you’ll look good!

Just remember – Thanksgiving is a meal, not a month.

How do you keep your holiday eating in check?

Labels: , ,

The No-Equipment Workout for Holiday Travel Fitness

Monday, November 16, 2009 by kate

The holidays are hard. So I've brought in the big guns. Here to help with your holiday health is Nicole Glor, an AFAA certified NYC personal trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan and fitness columnist for

by NikkiFitness
The most important part about staying in shape while traveling, for work or during the fall and winter holidays is packing workout clothes.

When you have a chance to exercise, the excuse "I don’t have sneakers and a pair of shorts" stops way too many people before they even get started. It is worth finding room in your bag because of the stress, bad food and sitting involved in traveling. Your body wants you to move. You'll get rid of stress, burn calories and release those feel-good endorphins.

If you don't have access to a gym or weights, there are plenty of things you can do with your own body's resistance. I took the photos of these moves in a small hotel room - and you can do them anywhere. You can also find these moves and more in my Fit Travel Workout DVD that was shot around the world and requires no equipment!

Start with a simple march and then jog in place for a minute. Move to a step-touch while lifting arms to the sides. Add an alternating hamstring curl and biceps curl with both arms. Then finish up the five-minute warm-up with light jumping jacks.

Push-ups with a glute raise
Start with regular style or add a multi-tasking move by lowering to the knees and adding lower-body sculpting. After the first modified push-up raise your right foot to the ceiling. Repeat 10 times on the right side after each push-up and then 10 times on the left side. You've just worked your pecs, triceps, core and glutes.

Low leg low ab crunch
Next, lie on your back and straighten your legs 80 percent straight, knees together and feet on the floor. Put your hands behind your head and crunch up for 50.. Be sure to keep your eyes on the ceiling, knees together, neck long and chin lifted.

Cardio interval
Jump rope (pretend to hold the rope and swing it for extra biceps work) for one minute or count to 100 — alternate from one leg at a time, to feet together and hopping. Maybe hop twice on one leg at a time. Have fun with it. For all cardio intervals in this workout, march in place for at least 20 seconds afterwards to get your heart rate back down to a comfortable level.

Triceps dips
Sit on a bench, footstool or chair with your hands at your sides and palms on the bench knuckles up and fingertips curling around towards the floor. Lift yourself off the bench and slightly forward. Lower your backside toward the floor while bending your elbows at 90 degrees. Finish the move by pushing back up so elbows extend again. You can make this more difficult by straightening the legs or lifting one leg off the floor.

Inner thighs
Lie on your right side and balance on your right elbow and right hip. Bend your left knee to place the left foot in front of your straight right leg. Be sure to keep the right foot parallel to the floor and lift the right leg 30 times. Repeat on the other side. Next lie on your back with your legs extended over your ribcage. Turn the toes out and flex the feet. Begin to open and lower the legs to the sides, away from one another. To finish the move, bring the heels back together. To intensify, only bring heels in halfway and press against your inner thighs with your hands for a true "thigh master" resistance move. Repeat step one on the left elbow and hip.

Stand up and do 20 jumping jacks with the right foot in front, 20 with the left foot in front and 20 alternating and crossing feet.

Outer thighs
Now lie again on your right side, and prop yourself up on your elbow but this time in a half-side plank. Bend the right leg lift hips off the floor. Keep the left leg straight as you lift it for 25 reps. Keep the abs tight because you're working them as well in this multitasker. Repeat on the other side.

Alternate from a middle plank (looks like a freeze frame of the top of a push-up) to a side plank and hold each for a count of 10 seconds. middle, right, middle, left equals one repetition. Complete 5 repetitions.

Cool down
Do a 5 minute cool down with the same moves in the warm up and then stretch your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, hip flexors, inner and outer thighs, glutes, triceps, pectorals, trapezious and rhomboids (upper back), and lower back with standing rolls or cat/cow.

Remember to drink a lot of water, and maybe treat yourself to a new exercise clothes as a souvenir to celebrate your healthy habits on the road.

Labels: ,

Cookies ... for breakfast.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 by kate

My mother never let me eat Cookie Crisp. Apparently, she didn’t think cookies were a well-balance breakfast. (Weird.) Instead, I grew up on Cheerios and Raisin Bran. Every. Single. Morning. So now, as an adult, I like to mix things up. The only problem is I’m scarred. I instinctively turn every cereal box on its side to look at the nutrition information. How I’d love to have my Cookie Crisp, if only it didn’t have 13 grams of sugar in one serving. (And who eats just one serving? I mean, really.)

It looks like the ladies* at Women’s Health had the same mother, and they’ve come up with a pretty swanky solution. Healthy mix-ins. By mixing Lucky Charms and All-Bran (or Cookie Crisp and Cheerios) you can cut your sugar intake in half and still enjoy your favorite morning treat!

It doesn’t just end there. Mix turnip** into your mashed potatoes and save 50 calories and 12 grams of carbs. Mayo can be cut with dijon mustard to thwart 43 calories and 6 grams of fat from sneaking into your sandwich. Even seemingly healthy fruit yogurt (which has 27 grams of sugar!!) can be upgraded with fat-free Greek yogurt***. You’ll double your protein intake while hacking off a third of the sugar.

For more ideas, check out Women’s Health Magazine.

How do you make junk food a little less junkie?

* I’m assuming they’re ladies, but I suppose men could work for Women’s Health, too.
** I don’t like turnip, but I bet cauliflower would work pretty well.
*** I like Fage greek yogurt. Not a fan of Oikos.

Trainer Tip of the Week

Thursday, November 5, 2009 by kate

Fitness, strength, and nutrition expert Brett Hoebel joins us today with a tip on how to organize your workout. Brett has a background in biomedical science and the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira, so I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about. And if you have any doubts, just take a look to your left. How can you not listen to a guy who looks like this??

Which Came First ... The Cardio Or The Strength?

Higher intensity cardio like sprints should go first before strength training. Lighter intensity cardio like jogging or biking should go after strength training. Any type of “very heavy lifting” should always go first as this is the most demanding on the nervous system and the most dangerous.

I also just got Brett's RevAbs 8-DVD set. So here's hoping I look like him in 90 days! (Minus the facial hair.)

So what's your workout regime? Do you switch it up? Do you have a workout buddy? How're you planning on staying in shape for the next two months??

Labels: , , ,

How do you treat a Halloween hangover?

Monday, November 2, 2009 by kate

With something sweet, of course. But this is a health blog, guys. Come on. I’ve got to be a good influence on you.

So here’s a recipe for a healthy pumpkin loaf* I whipped up this weekend. I tweaked this recipe to make it even better for you. Feel free to fool around with it yourself. I used less sugar and substituted I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter for the real thing. Sometimes I use just egg whites instead of the whole egg, but this time I used the yolk too. I also used honey instead of white sugar.

2¼ cups whole-wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice

2 sticks of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

¼ sugar in the raw

4 eggs

1 can of pumpkin puree (or mashed summer squash or sweet potatoes)

Mix everything together, pour the batter in a loaf pan and bake for 70 minutes at 350. If you want to make muffins instead of a loaf, bake each batch for about 40 minutes.

If you don’t have a can of pumpkin, grab that lonely pumpkin on your front porch. Just cut it in half, take out the seeds and put the pumpkin cut-side down on a baking sheet with an inch or so of water. Bake it until it’s soft (up to 2 hours depending on size). Scoop out the meat and puree it in a food processor or blender. Be careful. You’ll end up with lots of pumpkin puree!

*Of course this would taste awesome with a Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream frosting. But I wouldn’t tell you about that. ‘Cause it would be really irresponsible of me to have you make something so unhealthy. So don’t.