Don't throw the baby out with the bath water...

Thursday, December 31, 2009 by kate

I know. I know. Resolutions are cliché and so overdone. But even if your cliché turkey on Thanksgiving is overdone, you wouldn’t just stop cooking turkeys on turkey day, would you? So why would you avoid a New Year’s Resolution when the New Year comes? What can it hurt? Worse comes to worse you’ll be in the same boat as those non-resolvers.

I’ve been on this resolution kick a few years myself. One year I gave up chocolate. (No joke. I really did. I was in college and I would visit my housemate just to sniff her jar of candy. She was Japanese and I’m sure she thought I was a very weird American.)

Another year I resolved to run 1,500 miles that year. Not only did I meet my resolution, I hit about 1,800 for good measure! Last year I hit a bump and couldn’t think of anything good, so I just resolved to ‘Be healthy.” And that’s where my trouble began.

I’ve learned that in order to have a successful goal, you’ve got to make it tangible. Saying you want to “be healthy” or “lose weight” in 2010 is way too vague (which is probably why my meaning of “be healthy” became “eat-what-you-want-when-you-want-and-wash-it-down-with-some-wine!”

When I wanted to lose weight, I focused on what would get me there. Running burns calories, so I resolved to run more. But I didn’t just say I’d run more. I set a goal. I had a number. I knew I had to run roughly 30 miles a week to reach my year-end goal. So I got a datebook and recorded all my runs. At the end of every month, I tallied my runs and wrote that number next to the month. Seeing that number motivated me to keep going.

Once you write your resolution down, post it in a high-traffic area. If you’re goal is to lose weight, having that resolution slap you in the face every time you look at your fridge, you might be less likely down that tub of Rocky Road.

Set yourself up for success.
If your resolution is to floss your teeth more often, it might help to get some floss. Just a thought. Go out and buy a butt-load of it. Then sprinkle them along your daily path – in the bathroom, in your purse, in your car, at your desk. If it’s within reach, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your resolution.

Within reach
I know. Your mother always told you to shoot for the stars. But you’ll never get there if you don’t like flying. Don’t go crazy making your resolution. That’s why so many people have given up on resolutions. If you’re a bona-fide couch potato, don’t make it your goal to run 10 miles a day. Instead, find a 10K race you’d like to enter in the fall and train for it.

Be more active is a good goal, but how do you measure it? Instead, say you want to work out 5 days a week for at least 20 minutes a day. Set up a chart, or make a note in your planner every day you meet your goal. At the end of every month, go back and take a peak at your progress. Seeing all the days you met your goals (even if you missed a few days) will motivate you to keep it up.

Here are my resolutions:

Floss 3 times a week
I know dentists say you should floss every day, but that’s not a realistic goal for me. Three times a week is much more doable, and it’s better than the rate I’m at now.

Take a daily multivitamin … daily
I tend to use vitamin pills like tic-tacs, popping one only when I’m not feeling so fresh. I’m going to bring my multivitamins to work and stick them next to my computer. If I’m staring at them all day, I’ll be much more likely to take one.

Get back into yoga
I’m eyeing a new gym that has more convenient yoga classes.

Run a marathon
I’ve got the half-marathon down pat, but that 26.2 mile race just sounds so far! There’s a race in July I’d like to give a go.

Be on time
I like to call myself a Time Optimist. I always think I’ll have plenty of time to get places and I always end up rushed and late. Maybe I’ll set all my clocks ahead.

What are your goals for 2010? Share them in the comments section, and I’ll post an update next month!

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Fit Gift Guide

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 by kate

Shopping for a health-conscious friend is a tricky task. You want to find the perfect gift they’ll enjoy and use without hurting their feelings. Example: Last year my dear, sweet, lovable boyfriend bought me a scale. That’s right. A. Scale.* And, no. I did not ask for one. His mind was in the right place – I am health-conscious. And it was a high-tech, bells-and-whistles scale. But still. It was A. Scale.

So unless you know a person really, really well, stay away from Weight Watchers memberships and scales. Especially scales.

To help you with your holiday shopping, I’ve compiled a few safer items for your fit friends, healthy hubbies or dear dieters. Enjoy!

Heart rate monitor
I bought myself one of these heart rate monitors in the summer and I’m in love.
The Suunto t3c heart rate monitor takes fashion and fitness to a whole new level. Now in Sporty Red, your loved one will sport this number on the track or out on the town.
This watch calculates your heart rate and calorie consumption while also measuring your speed, distance, and cadence. It’s easy to use and a great guide to gauge your workouts.

Land, Sea and Wheels
For the triathlete in your life, you’ll have to bring out the big guns. Garmin’s Forerunner® 310XT isn't afraid of getting wet. It tracks distance, pace and heart rate, and can easily be mounted on a bike as well.
Smitten with mittens
Looking for something for that crazy winter runner friend? Saucony has the mitten for you. The ViZi-PRO Ulti-Mitt is orange, has a pocket to stash things, cloth wipes for that runny nose and an LED light on the right mitt.
The gift that keeps on giving
A magazine subscription to Men's or Women’s Health is a great catchall for that health nut who dabbles in everything. Plus they’ll think of you every month for the next year.

If a magazine isn’t your friend’s cup of tea, get her a Fruit of the Month subscription.

Picky eater?
Buy the Automatic Yogurt Maker by Euro Cuisine. It’s easy to use so you can have fresh yogurt without any mystery ingredients.

Fit benefits
Get your eco-friendly fitness buff a Yogamatic printed yoga mat and feel good about giving – a percentage of every purchase benefits Global Green’s work on climate change and global accountability for the environment. Fits like a ShoeGlove
The first time I laced up a pair of mesh-top running sneakers in the winter, I felt like hibernating. Apparently, the guys at RunWarm felt the same way. Their ShoeGlove is the perfect stocking stuffer for a winter runner. It’s a comfortable, water repellent, wind resistant layer that will keep you feet nice and warm on those winter runs.

Who wouldn't want a t-shirt like this to remind them to make healthy choices?
"But zombies don't have to worry about getting fat, so it doesn't really matter."

Have you started your holiday shopping? What’s on your wish list?

*And we’re still together. Can you believe that??

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Nix the nog

Thursday, December 10, 2009 by kate

Your tree is trimmed, your stockings are hung and you’re yearning for some spiked eggnog. But with all those holiday goodies awaiting you, why waste your calories on nog? According to Calorie Count, just 1 cup of eggnog has nearly 350 calories and 19 grams of fat.* And who really has just 1 cup?

Hungry Girl has come up with a couple of substitutions that should keep you as jolly as St. Nick without all that jiggling.

No-Nonsense Nog
150 calories, 2 grams of fat

Combine all ingredients in a blender:
4 1/2 cups light vanilla soymilk
1 small (4-serving) package sugar-free fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix
6 packets of Splenda
5 oz. rum
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Top with Fat Free Reddi-wip and cinnamon

Refrigerate in a covered container for at least a few hours to allow nog to thicken.


Almond Joy Hot Cocoa
124 calories, 0 grams of fat

1 1/2 oz. (3 tbsp.) coconut rum
Diet Hot Cocoa
1 drop almond extract
Top with Fat Free Reddi-wip


Winter Wonderland Peppermintini
125 calories, 1.5 grams of fat

1 1/2 oz. (3 tbsp.) 80-proof vodka
2 tsp. Coffee-mate Sugar Free French Vanilla powdered creamer
1 packet of Splenda
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
Optional Garnish: 1 small candy cane

Dissolve powdered creamer and sweetener in 1/4 cup warm water. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add creamer mixture, vodka, and peppermint extract. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a candy cane.


What’s your holiday drink of choice? How do you lighten it up?

As a side note, I’m working on a Gift Guide for you guys. Do you have any suggestions? What’s on your holiday wish list?

*And that’s not even mentioning the spiked part.

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Soothing foods

Monday, December 7, 2009 by kate

The stress of Santa’s sleigh hovering on the horizon may be cutting into your pillow time. But the way to a good night sleep may actually be in your kitchen. According to the Impact Lab, there are 10 foods that specifically help you get a good night sleep.

Bananas contain magnesium, which is a muscle relaxant.
Milk has tryptophan – an amino acid that has a sedative-like effect.
Honey turns off a neurotransmitter linked to alertness.
Almonds contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Oatmeal is a rich source of sleep-inviting melatonin.

So for a good night sleep, have a bowl of oatmeal with almonds, bananas, honey and milk. Sounds like a pretty tasty tranquilizer.

Or check out their recipe for Lullaby Muffins, which are chock full of soporific ingredients.

As a side note – I’m compiling a Weigh In Gift Guide. Are there any awesome health/fitness gifts on your wish list?

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Skinny takes on birthday cake

Thursday, December 3, 2009 by kate

By Deanna M Murray
Director of Content

"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," – Fashion Model, Kate Moss.

Chocolate tastes really, really good – especially Godiva or Ghiradelli. And let’s not even talk about how awesome cake tastes with sugary frosting and a little whipped cream. It’s totally insane.

I bet I am not the only one reading this who frequently eats most of the leftover birthday cake just to get it out of the house, therefore getting rid of the temptation to eat more birthday cake (that doesn’t even make sense, does it …).

But as a person who frequently looks in the mirror the next day and wishes she hadn’t eaten all that goodness, I can relate to what Kate Moss is being ridiculed for saying.

"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels …"

In her quote’s purest sense, I can see why nutritionists, fitness gurus and even some people who really have no stake in the matter, are getting all riled up. Eating is good. Eating is important and we can’t live without the needed nutrients and substance it provides. But Kate’s not saying don’t eat.

Moss admits the phrase is her ‘motto’ – how she tries to remind herself to be careful of what she eats. And while the way-too-thin model probably carries this devotion to her motto to an extreme, judging by her -10 size, it’s actually a great way to look and evaluate what you put into your body. After all, ‘eat now, pay for it later’ as a motto has caused this country to have an unacceptable obesity rate among its kids, adults and elderly.

To me, a person who’s been trying to lose weight on and off after having 6 kids, Kate’s motto declaration caused me to kind of take a double take and gave me something to ponder as I try to get rid of this excess baggage.

Since the famed 35-year-old mom/model was quoted in mid November, and the accompanying tirade induced, I have thought of her words over and over again. And as I ate, considered eating and evaluated my appearance in the mirror. The result? Eleven pounds lost and feeling a little more bounce in my step.

Eating healthy is at the top of my list – learning appropriate portions (with the help of my sister, Dawn who happens to be a nurse) and figuring out what types of foods are OK to eat together.

Also, documenting each and every single thing I eat helps me get a global look at what I have devoured in a day – giving perspective to calories I have taken in and what I can still eat.

My sister, who lives a thousand miles away, keeps me accountable through texts and phone calls each day, and I do the same with her – as we are committed to feeling better about ourselves and setting healthy examples for our kids – and the fact we’ll be able to squeeze into a smaller size swimsuit in the summer? Well, that’s just bonus.

Those of you who’ve fought the battle know it’s true. The journey to getting chunky is/was full of fancy flavors, divine tidbits and savory sauces … but when all is said and done, the sweet, sweet taste of success when the scale says skinny is the sweetest sugar of them all.

So, thanks Kate Moss for the wake up call. And hey if you’re reading this, I have a few fabulous recipes for fat-free chocolate cookies and cakes … because some things are just too hard to give up.

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