Weigh In Day

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 by kate

In honor of Weigh In Day* today, here are a few things you can do to grease your metabolic gears.

Some of these suggestions are pretty obvious, but I think it’s a good reminder:

Break your fast
Eat a good breakfast every morning. If you don't, your body goes into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism to a crawl to conserve energy.

A recent study showed the average metabolic rate of people who drank coffee increased 16% over those who drank decaf.

Pick protein
Aim for about 30 grams of protein – one cup of low-fat cottage cheese or four ounces of chicken – at each meal. It builds lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.

Drink your milkshake!
Calcium helps your body metabolize fat more efficiently.

Kick it up a notch
Capsaicin, the spicy kick in chili peppers, fires up your metabolism. Just one tablespoon of chopped red or green chilies temporarily spikes your metabolism by 2%.

Put the drink down
Having two mixed drinks stops fat burning by 73%.

*Email me your weekly weight ‘cause we’re getting down to the wire! I lost a grand total of nothing this week. Just sharing.

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Look, but don’t touch

Monday, May 24, 2010 by kate

Today I’m going to go against the grain here and show you the Holy Grail of fatty foods. Beware. This is junk food smut. I stumbled across this site last week and haven’t been able to get my mind off the Twinkie Casserole, Breakfast Cabin
or the red velvet pancakes … Mmmm …

Just don’t go out and try to get your hands on one of these. I’ll get in trouble. I’m supposed to be a good influence on you.

What’s your junk food fantasy?


Weigh In Day

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by kate

While you’re weighing yourself today, consider your goals for this week. Last week I toned down my salt intake. This week I’m on to drinks. According to a recent study, we drink 450 calories a day – that’s amounts to 23 pounds a year. Imagine losing nearly 2 pounds a month simply by cutting out drinks?

I found a Men's Health article uncovering the worst drinks in America. Here are a few that caught my attention. You can check out the rest of the list here.

Worst Juice Imposter:
Arizona Kiwi Strawberry
360 calories
84 g of sugars

Worst “Reduced Calorie” Smoothie:
Dunkin Donuts Reduced-Calorie Berry Smoothie
490 calories
4 g of fat (2.5 saturated fat)
97 g carbohydrates
83 g sugars

Worst Holiday Coffee Drink:
Starbucks Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
660 calories
22 g fat (15 g saturated)
95 g sugars

Worst Drink in America (This actually made me sick just reading it!)
Cold Stone Creamery PB&C Shake Gotta Have it Size
2,010 calories
131 g fat (68 g saturated)
153 g sugars

The article actually suggested you have ice cream (at 370 calories and 24 grams of fat) instead of this drink. Hard to believe ice cream is the healthier choice here.

What are you going to focus on this week? What’s your downfall drink?

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Making your workout work

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 by kate

Working out can be as simple as popping in a DVD and grabbing two tubs of Skippy. (see photo below) A coworker of mine actually sent me this picture yesterday. She didn't have any weights at home and the 10 oz. cans of SpaghettiOs just weren't cutting it. (Plus, she ate them for lunch!) I think Jillian would approve of 3 lbs of peanut butter -- as long as you didn't dip into the jar post-workout!

What McGyver moves do you use when working out?

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Slimmer Summer Sips

Monday, May 17, 2010 by kate

Chips and cheese, burgers and beer – why are these such summer staples? (And why are they all alliterations?) In a season that forces you to bare it all, why are we eating like bears in hibernation mode? Bears don’t have to wear bikinis! And if they did, you certainly wouldn’t say anything about their love handles! Damn lucky bears.

So anyway. While you’re trying to slim down for the summer, I’ve got some refreshing drinks that won’t give you a gut or deck out your derriere.

My favorite low-cal drink is easy, and great on the go. (Not that you’d be drinking on the go …) Get yourself some crystal light packets. The single-serving ones. Try a fruit punch or grape. Simply mix it in a glass with water and a shot (or two) of vodka. For an added boost, choose a flavored vodka and throw in a lime wedge. The crystal light packets are only 5 calories and one shot of vodka has about 100 calories. This is probably the biggest bang for your buck, so to speak. Plus it’s tasty and tropical.

What’s wrong with Juan?
I went to Mexico last year and fell in love with a man. His name was Juan. My bartender. Juan knew how to treat a girl right. He was caring, attentive and didn’t charge me no matter how many mojitos I drank. (Maybe that’s because it was an all-inclusive resort, but I’d like to think Juan and I had a connection.) The only problem with Juan was my waistline. Twelve mojitos in one day (ha ha … no I’m kidding … who would drink 12 mojitos in a day … hm …) does not a slim girl make. So, I’ve crafted a mini-cal mojito that’s as close as they come.

6 oz. Diet Sprite
Mint leaves
¼ Lime
1.5 oz. Rum

It's all about the mint. Muddle the mint, squeeze in lime juice and toss in the rind. Add the soda and rum and stir well. Add ice and garnish with mint and a lime wedge. You'll save roughly 150 calories a drink. I don't know about you, but that can add up on a warm summer day!

Mix it up
Of course you can do the traditional rum and diet coke, but that’s a little boring. Mix things up. Here are a few ideas for low-cal mixers:

Diet soda or diet tonic: 0 calories
Orange juice (6 oz): 84 calories
Cranberry juice cocktail (8 oz): 136 calories
Light cranberry juice (8 oz): 40 calories
Light lemonade (8 oz): 5 calories
Coffee, tea: 0 calories
Baja Bob's sugar-free margarita or sweet 'n' sour mix: 0 calories
Lemon or lime juice (1/2 oz): 10 calories
DaVinci or Torani's sugar-free syrups: 0

And remember – the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calorie content:
80-proof vodka (40% alcohol; the most common type) has 64 calories per 1oz
86-proof vodka (43% alcohol) has 70 calories/1 oz
90-proof vodka (45% alcohol) has 73 calories/1 oz
100-proof vodka (50% alcohol) has 82 calories/1 oz

Of course you can cut out cocktails all together, but let's be reasonable.

What’s your low-cal cocktail of choice?

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Fighting fat for our kids

Thursday, May 13, 2010 by kate

Here’s what Michelle Obama and the Childhood Obesity Task Force think we should do to fight childhood obesity, according to USA Today:

•Schools need to make sure elementary students get recess.

•Restaurants need to offer healthier choices on children's menus.

•The government should put more healthy foods in schools.

•The food industry increase advertising for healthy foods and beverages. Within three years, the majority of food and beverage ads directed to children should promote healthy foods.

•Media and entertainment companies should limit licensing of their popular characters to healthy food and beverage products.

•The government should have economic incentives to increase production of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

•Government, businesses and foundations should work to increase the number of safe parks and playgrounds.

•The federal government and local communities should distribute information about health guidelines through simple messages, such as: Drink water instead of soda; eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins; choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products; and, when possible, eat dinner together as a family.

The task force wants to lower the childhood obesity rate to 5% by 2030. Right now, about 32% of kids are overweight.

What do you think? Will this work? What would your recommendations be?

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Tricks to Tip the Scales

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 by kate

Afternoon! It's weigh in day today, so I'll keep this short so you can go bond with your scale.

Attention Challengers: I will be emailing you this week if I don't hear from you! Yes. That's a threat. Are you scared?

It's Shape up for Summer today at work, so I've stolen a few screens from the network to share with you. Let me know if you have any other healthy alternatives to the usual fair weather fare.

(The nutrition information below are rough guestimations. They're just examples of how you can cut fat and calories without depriving yourself.)

What's your trick for surviving grilling season without ODing on potato salad and chips 'n dip?

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Monday, May 10, 2010 by kate

Everyone’s journey is different. Here’s a powerful story about a woman who decided she needed to lose a few pounds. Lisa started out at a healthy weight of 138 pounds. She shrunk down to skin and bones, then ballooned up to nearly 200 pounds.

I highly recommend you take a look at Prior Fat Girl’s blog. The pictures alone will make you reconsider your own struggle with weight. Five years later, Lisa weighs in at 136 pounds. Years of struggle to lose two pounds.

So read her story and realize how important it is to love yourself no matter what weight you are. You may not be your ideal size, but you can work on being your ideal self.
What's your story?

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Take a stand against salt

Thursday, May 6, 2010 by kate

Last week, when I posted my favorite office lunch, people commented on the sodium content (40% of your daily intake). To be honest, I rarely look at sodium. I never add salt to my food (Well, except for popcorn. I have a problem with popcorn. But I’ll save that for other post.) and don’t eat all that much processed food, so I figured I was safe.

I get so wrapped up looking at fat, calories, carbs, protein and sugars while trying to avoid partially hydrogenated oils that it’s hard to give sodium the attention it needs. So because of last weeks’ comments, I looked into the sodium situation, and it’s a scary sight!

Besides the superficial bloating, sodium can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

While it is an important part of our diet (remember that runner who died because she drank too much water?), the average American eats 3,400 mg of sodium a day – roughly twice the amount we're supposed to have. But it’s not just about snubbing the shaker. Nearly 80% of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods and only 11% comes from salt we add to our foods.

The govt is way ahead of me on this one. A few weeks ago, the FDA said it’s planning to gradually (so we don’t notice it) reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans in processed foods. They say if you slowly decrease the amount of salt you eat every day you’ll eventually no longer crave it.

But if you’re crazy about all that salty goodness, don’t fret! Helen sent me a story about Frito Lay attempting to rejigger the shape of a salt molecule so there's more surface area. This would allow Frito to use less sodium in its products without cutting the flavor. Sounds a little too good to be true (remember Olestra?), but apparently Britons have been eating this stuff for years and they seem fine.

Here are a few foods that secretly stash a surplus of salt:
Deli meats
Canned vegetables and soups
Cottage cheese
Salad dressings
Tomato sauce (especially in a can)

So here’s your challenge for the week: Try to watch how much salt you eat for the next 7 days. See if you feel a difference. Do you still crave it? Add oodles of herbs to your meals so you don’t feel the need to add salt. I’m not saying you have to make everything from scratch, just peak at the nutrition label and become aware of where the white devil lies!

Help me out here. Were you surprised by the amount of salt in something? What was it?

Also, if you're competing in the Challenge, don't forget to email me your weight loss progress. I lost 1 pound this week! That may just be because I've been watching the salt in my diet. Let me know what's working for you!

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Chocking Depression up to Chocolate

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 by kate

I eat chocolate when I’m happy, sad or pretty much whenever I can get my hands on it. Some experts seem to think this could mean I’m depressed. (Which I don’t understand -chocolate makes me so happy! Well, that is until I realize how much I’ve eaten … then it makes me sad. Really, really sad.)

A recent study screened nearly 1,000 people for depression. Those who screened positive ate a little more than 8 servings of chocolate a month. (That it?!) People who weren’t depressed consumed only about 5 servings a month. And those who were the most moodiest (a word?), ate nearly 12 servings of chocolate a month. (That’s it?! God, I’d hate to find out how depressed I am!)

Researchers don’t really know why chocolate and depression are linked, but they think it might be that depression stimulates chocolate cravings as a form of self-medication, since it releases chemicals in the brain that produce feelings of pleasure. But chocolate isn’t a long-term solution, experts say, and it may eve leave you feeling worse than before.

Another theory is that chocolate contributes to depression or that stress drives both depression and chocolate cravings.

"It's unlikely that chocolate makes people depressed," said Marcia Levin Pelchat, a psychologist who studies food cravings. "Most people believe the beneficial effects of chocolate are on mood and that they are learned. You eat chocolate; it makes you feel good.”

So, either way, if chocolate makes you happy, chow down! But if you find that you’ve been glum, try ditching the dark stuff. (You might even lose weight in the process!)

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