Archives for September 2011

Stay On Track With Your Healthy Behavior Goals Even On The Weekend

Set Your Weekend Goals Early 

How often, after a week of being spot on with our healthy behavior goals, do we head into the weekend without a plan in place to make sure Saturday and Sunday run as smoothly as Monday through Friday?

There are plenty of challenges on the weekend. Our weekend schedule is different.  We may stay up later, sleep longer, relax more, go out to dinner with friends, and not even think about hitting the gym.  So when Monday comes we end up back at square one. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Five Weekend Goals That Will Prevent Taking Two Steps Back

Goal One – Create at least two healthy meals for you and your family this weekend. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even better, try something new.  Wholefoods.com has recipes and cooking tips so that your time in kitchen will be spent creating meals that are as delicious as they are good for you!

Goal Two – Go out to eat and make a healthy selection.  This can be easier than you think with the Restaurant Nutrition App for both the Android Smartphone and iPhone. This app is totally free and provides nutritional information for over 100 restaurants and 15,000 menu items plus an option to track the foods that you eat.

Goal Three – Take A Hike.  Visit a fall festival, apple orchard, or find a hiking trail and get some additional steps in this weekend.  Keep track of your steps by wearing a pedometer for at least one day.  Just having the pedometer on will increase your awareness of how much you’re walking as opposed to sitting.

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Reebok Settles Lawsuit for $25 Million Over Easy Tone Shoes. Skechers and Ryka Could Be Next.

Easy Tone Shoes Have Rocked Their Way Out Of $25 Million 

Reebok settled for $25 million out-of-court with regards to a lawsuit that claims the company exaggerated the effectiveness of their toning shoes.  Reebok’s ads for the toners said that the shoes would increase muscle strength in the hamstrings and calves by up to 11 percent and consumers could see up to a 28 percent increase in the buttocks.

The lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on the grounds that the commission had received consumer complaints about the Easy Tone shoes and that the results of testing done on the shoes did not support the advertisements.

According to a news article in the Global Post, Dana Barragate, an FTC attorney involved in the case said, “We think this is a real victory for consumers,” “We hope it sends a message to businesses that if they are going to make claims they must be justified.”

Apparently, other companies that manufacture toning shoes and make unsubstantiated claims could be facing similar scrutiny including New Balance, Skechers, Ryka and Avia.

Reebok settled out-of-court to prevent a lengthy legal battle.  The $25 mil will go to consumers that are unhappy with their toning shoes. If you’re one of them, you can apply for a refund here: Reebok Refunds

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Does Your Motivation to Exercise Change With The Seasons? Tips to Keep Your Workouts Going As The Leaves Change Colors

Days are shorter, evenings are longer and my mood has taken a swing towards melancholy. I need some motivation to keep my workouts going.

A Change of Seasons Requires A Different Plan Of Attack. 

In the summertime, when there are 15 hours of daylight, motivation is not a problem.  But I live in a state where the change of seasons is inevitable, and staying motivated to workout is even more of a challenge when the leaves begin to turn colors.

Since I’m an early morning workout girl I’m now required to get up in the dark.  Today, on top of being dark, it was raining and chilly. It would be pretty easy to talk myself out of getting up to go to the gym on a morning like this.

The same is probably true for people the after work crowd. I’m guessing these folks are leaning towards heading home for King of Queens reruns and some comfort food.

Here’s some of the ways I deal with my fall mood. [Read more…]

Pick Out The Body You Want. The Six Week Body Makeover . . . . Is It For You?

Hope Makes All Things Possible. Even the Six Week Body Makeover.

I am not only a fitness junkie, I’m also addicted to politics.  So, after watching Face The Nation Sunday morning I lingered on CBS for a few minutes before switching to Meet The Press and caught the hour-long infomercial for The Six Week Body Makeover.

I don’t typically watch informercials so the Body Makeover is new to me even though it’s been around for 15 years, which tells me people are still sending their money in.

Don’t Send Your Money Just Yet 

Of course, my first reaction was, “Wow.  Another weight loss gimmick.”  But, I was intrigued enough by the commercial to take a look at the web site, read some reviews
(not solicited by Michael Thurmond) and have formed my own professional (a-hem) opinion.  There’s some good, some bad, and some don’t-waste-your-money comments for me to share.

Before I begin my totally judgmental blog about the ‘makeover’, let me say that I have not tried the system, don’t plan to try it, and don’t think you should spend your hard-earned money on it either.  Here’s why:

  • The infomercial starts out by telling the audience that on this program they will eat more, exercise less.  Have you tried that lately?  Once in awhile I’ll do that on the weekend and the scale on Monday morning greets with me a wake a call that says, “Quit eating so much and get to the gym 15 minutes early tomorrow.” This just doesn’t work. However, for people that are eating ALL of the wrong foods and not exercising, this sounds very appealing. The program sets them up with lots of low-calorie foods (more food) and 18 minutes a day of exercise (not an hour and a half). If you’re eating Big Macs for lunch, Taco Bell for dinner and not exercising, you will lose weight on the Makeover.

    [Read more…]

If You’ve Started The Ten Day No Fast Food Challenge, I’ve Got Some Tips For You

Are you working your way through the Ten Day Challenge? 

I had planned to launch the challenge at work last week, but got bumped because some folks in another department wanted to treat the entire organization to lunch on Friday, which meant people would have to exercise enough willpower to decline free ‘fast’ food and I didn’t think it was worth it.  You don’t get in the car to go for a trip if you know a huge roadblock is ahead.

So, anyway, the celebratory food is set up on the tables in the atrium  and, no, I have not gone out to read the labels on the packages or otherwise turn my nose up at what is being served.  I’m already referred to as the on-site food police which isn’t a very flattering label, so I’m going to eat the salad I brought for lunch and keep my mouth shut.  The challenge will start officially on Monday.

If you’ve been doing the challenge you may have noticed I’ve added special pages and have been trying to post some daily ‘tips’ if you want to check them out:

  • Day One – Shop The Perimeter of the Store
  • Day Two – What About Wine?
  • Day Three – Portions and Calories Still Count – I thought about naming this page “Don’t Shoot the Messenger”
  • Day Four – Label Reading
  • Day Five – Eating Out Is Easy!
  • Day Six – Have Fun In The Kitchen Again

I have several teams signed up to start Monday and some of them are super pumped up about the challenge.  So far it’s been entertaining just hearing some of the questions, like, “can we have soup?” and “how many ingredients are there in wine?”

I’ll keep you posted.  It’s going to be fun!

Biggest Loser Trainer Bob Harper Says Dancing With The Stars Dangerous For Chaz Bono.

Hey, Bob.  Worry about your own show! 

For a guy who co-hosts a show where it’s not all that unusual for a contestant to be carried out on a stretcher I thought it was a little strange that Bob Harper would suggest that Chaz Bono might be risking his life on Dancing With The Stars.  He’s afraid he might get hurt trying to do some of the moves?

Bob thinks that Chaz might be more suited for The Biggest Loser which is the scariest show on television in the eyes of many fitness professionals.  I can’t bear to watch the BL because of the extreme workouts they require very overweight/sedentary people to do.  It’s a miracle they haven’t killed someone.

There are plenty of horror stories on the internet from some of the reality show’s former contestants and tons of derrogatory articles from fitness professionals that think the show is inhumane, disgusting, sad, and in one case described as “a made-for-TV spectacle that has morphed into a cruel hoax perpetrated on the typical overweight person in America who is desperately looking for the weight-loss secret.”  

I’m glad to know there are plenty of people who, like me, are offended, maybe even outraged by the Biggest Loser.

I’m guessing Bob is a little envious of the media bump DWTS is getting from picking Chaz.  Do you think this calls for the creation of a Celebrity Biggest Loser Show? [Read more…]

Don’t Underestimate the Power Of Music To Increase Your Motivation

Need A Little Energy From Music? . . . . Click here: (02 If We Ever Meet Again)It’s one of those days.  I’m having trouble getting motivated to run.  While I wait for the mood to grab me I get the music started and am able to get moving with a little help from my iPod shuffle.

My favorite running tunes are on the shuffle that I’ve downloaded fitness music to. Each song is between 130 and 135 BPMs.  Most of the songs are remixed top 40 hits, but once in awhile something new will come along that I haven’t heard before, or an old tune will reappear like Sean Paul’s “We Be Burnin’” and it gives me the push I need to keep going.

Two great resources for re-mixed fitness music is Dynamix and Power Pro. These are the companies that I’ve relied on for years for a variety of mixes that have a great beat and inspire me to move. I’ve recently gotten hooked on Power Pro’s Top 40 Vol. 47 – track #2 is my favorite and have added it to the shuffle.

John Sines at 32 Mixes.com has a totally awesome collection of mixes that are created using the original artists, but because of royalty infringements he is only allowed to sell to fitness instructors. (We all know one of those, don’t we?) You can listen before you buy at all three music companies.

Workday Music

Sometimes at work my motivation isn’t quite where I need it to be either.  Again, I rely on music for inspiration. But there I mix it up a little bit more.  I have a Nano iPod that I just recently deleted all of the music off of and am starting to re-load so that it’s more organized.

I’m really enjoying Adele’s “21” and Florence and the Machine “Lungs”, but after awhile I’ll switch over to the Michael Jackson playlist or a jazzy CD called Chocolate Groove Mix that is totally instrumental.  The Groove is a mix that I hardly notice is playing, but my brain derives energy from it even when I’m not paying attention. By the way, it is actually a fitness music mix built for Pilates.

Pandora’s a great option when the iPod isn’t doing it for me.  If you like unobtrusive music while you work, put Enya in as radio station keyword.  The station that Pandora creates from Enya is my favorite so far, but I’m still exploring.

With Music I Go Farther, Faster . . . .

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5K Races Are Everywhere This Fall. Sign Up For One and Turn Your Dream Into Reality

Not signed up? What are you waiting for?

Are you ready to run? 

There are 5K events nearly every weekend in the fall and you don’t have to travel far to join in the fun.

If you’ve been working on your Couch to 5K program this summer, it’s time to sign up for a run and be rewarded for your hard work.

If you’ve never participated in an event, the best thing to do is sign up and let the anticipation of how you are going to perform take over.  There is nothing like knowing race day is coming to motivate you to keep up with your workouts.

Challenge Yourself With Speed Drills

If you have the distance under control, it’s time to start working on speed.  Figure out how fast you want to run your race and get to work on making sure you can be within the timeframe.  Start adding one-minute speed intervals to your workouts three weeks prior to the race to improve your overall performance.

If you’re still not totally confident that you can complete the race without occasionally walking, skip the speed intervals and focus on getting the distance under control.  Once you can accomplish the 3.2 miles with ease, you can move on to increasing your speed.

Wherever you are in your training program, it’s time to take the plunge and find a race to run. Check out the complete list of running events at Active Running.

Workday Snacking: Let’s Make It Healthy. Part Three of a Three Part Series

Part Three of a Three Part Series: Eating Healthy During the Work Day

We’ve covered breakfast-on-the-go and healthy brown bag lunches.  Let’s talk about snacks.  This is probably the hardest part of the day.  Whether it is before lunch snacks, mid afternoon, or satisfying our cravings when we get home, picking the right foods to eat in between meals can be a challenge.

I Have Two Goals With Snacking:

One is to not rely on the pre-packaged ‘snack’ food like granola bars, 100 calorie snacks, or chips and cracker.  Too many of these foods have too much sugar and while they satisfy our hunger or craving temporarily, the feeling of satisfaction is very brief and we’re right back to thinking about what else we can eat.  I don’t know about you, but with the 100 calorie packaged snacks, I usually eat two packages which is self-defeating.

Edamame – flickr photo by brownpau

The second goal is to include protein and/or veggies.  I’m not anti-fruit because it does have vitamins and anti-oxidants that we need, but the sugar content is a little too high for me and I’m hungry again in a half hour.

An orange can jump-start my appetite faster than anything, so I usually eat fruit with protein.  Think about adding a serving of fruit to one of the protein sources below if you want to snack on fruit.  It will help slow down the sugar getting to the bloodstream.

Think Outside The Wrapper

The list of snacks below are, for the most part, whole foods or whole grains.  These can be mixed and matched, but the goal is to have a snack that is nutritional and satisfies our hunger so that we’re not rummaging around for another snack before the next meal.

  • Almonds  – high in calories, so keep portion control in mind
  • Low-fat string cheese – add a small whole wheat bagel or half of a pita
  • Small, whole wheat bagel with a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Small apple with tablespoon of peanut butter – here’s an example of adding protein to the fruit
  • Boiled egg(s) – great source of protein
  • Carrot or celery sticks (or other veggies) dipped in hummus – if you want to make your own hummus check out the recipe from Food.com
  • Whole wheat pita bread dipped in salsa
  • Almond milk
  • Small can of tuna
  • Edamame
  • Popcorn –  the small ‘lite’ microwaveable bags work
  • Cottage Cheese with tomatoes
  • Single-serve veggie steamers
  • Herbal Tea – sometimes we’re not that hungry but just need something
  • Flavored Iced Coffee – coffee is a standard pick-me-up in the afternoon and I love flavored iced coffee.  I make a pot in the morning take it with me and pour it over ice in the afternoon.

There are many more snacks that are good for you and will satisfy your hunger for ‘real’ food.  I hope this list will get your thinking outside of the box, or in this case the wrapper.

 

Should Ten Days Without ‘Fast’ Food Really Be This Hard? Mealtime in America Is In More Trouble Than I Thought!

Bring It On:  The Ten Day No ‘Fast’ Food Challenge

Mac and Cheese out of the box is not on the diet

This has been a week of revelation for me.  After reading and blogging about Lisa Leake’s commitment to 100 days without ‘fast’ food I decided I would scale down (that’s an understatement) the challenge and launch it to my workplace for 10 days.  I made it a team challenge so people didn’t have to go it alone:  Go ahead and rally some co-workers for support

The rules I published were:

  1. No fast food that is handed to you in a bag through your car window.
  2. No fast food that is handed to you in a bag from behind a counter.
  3. No fast food that you buy in the grocery store. In other words, no heat-and-eat or Crap Macaroni and Cheese type stuff.
  4. No foods that have more than five ingredients.  (More on this later.)

Once I sent the e-mail out the e-mails started coming back:

Q.  Is Subway considered fast food?
A.  Please refer to Rules 1 and 2 and 4.

Q.  I’m on Weights Watchers and I’m eating WW meals for lunch and dinner. Is that okay?
A.  Please refer to Rules 3 and 4 and good luck with that.

Q.  I’m on the Nutrisystems diet.  Will you make concessions for this?
A.  Please refer to Rules 3 and 4.

Q.  The people on my team all eat Lean Cuisine for lunch, will they have to give that up?
A.  Please refer to Rules 3 and 4 and pick another team.

A-ha Moment

So, this is pretty much how my day went which caused me to have a profound a-ha moment at which point I said to myself, “Wow.  Mealtime in America is in more trouble that I thought.”

If you take away food handed to you in a bag through the car window or across a counter, heat-and-eat fast food grocery store stuff, and foods that contain a bunch of ingredients that no one can even pronounce, there’s nothing left for people to eat.

However, stressful this is, it does provide an opportunity to encourage staff to follow in the footsteps of Lisa Leake and discover that there are a lot of really great tasting, filling, and nutritionally satisfying ‘whole’ foods out there that if consumed for 10 days, 100 days, or a lifetime will change the way you think about food in a rather profound way.

Are you up for taking the Ten Day No Fast Food Challenge?  Check out Lisa’s blog for a list of foods you can eat and recipes, plus learn how she and her family became hooked on good food.

One Thing At A Time

As far as the rule about foods that have more than five ingredients, I’m going to have to make a concession for grain products. Many whole wheat breads and pastas have more than 20 ingredients that we can’t pronounce.  I can’t put the staff through giving that up just yet so for now we will settle for breads, pastas, etc. where the first ingredient is whole what flour.

If we get through the 10 days, maybe we can work on eliminating ammonium sulfate and silcon dioxide from our diets.