Archives for November 2011

Six Treadmill Survival Strategies For Indoor Winter Workouts

Summer's over. Back to the dreadmill.

Summer’s Over.  It’s Back To The Dreadmill

This was my first morning to run indoors after being in the great outdoors since early spring.  The first mile on the dreadmill felt slow and was painfully dull.  I had forgotten how hard it is to stay motivated running in place, knowing that you’re not going anywhere.

But, there are some things we can do enhance the workout that will get us through until spring.

  1.  Decrease Your Distance Goal. I’m guessing most people have trouble logging miles on a treadmill compared to being outdoors.  Drop the mileage goal back to where it is bearable so you’ll actually be able to motivate yourself to do it.  If you usually run six miles outdoors, shoot for four instead.  Supplement the rest of the workout with other exercises.  Which brings me to . . . . .
  2. Mix Up The Cardio.  Switch to an elliptical or stationary bike for a portion of the workout.  Not only will you use different muscles in a different way, you’ll provide your brain some variety too.
  3. Climb  An Imaginary Hill.  If you’re doing six miles outdoors and decide to do only four on the treadmill, you can increase the intensity of the workout by adding hills or speed intervals.  Most, if not all, treadmills have a program specifically for this purpose or you can set your own.  The cardio burst you get from the intervals will help you use the calories the extra two miles you’ve given up would have burned.
  4. Work More On Your Muscles – Winter is a good time to start a strength training program that will increase muscle mass, bone density and overall metabolic rate.  People that love to do cardio often times don’t seek the benefits that a strength training program can provide.  Remember that additional muscle strength will improve your overall ability to cover ground once you get back outside.
  5. Take A Group Fitness Class.  If you’ve never taken a Turbo Kick, Body Pump, boot camp or Pilates class, it might be time to get out of the comfort zone and experience what people have been raving about for years.  In most cases, you’ll get a total body workout plus it’s fun to take a break from planning your own workouts every day.  In a group class, the instructor charts the course.
  6. Join A Winter Rec League.  Volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer, bowling all can be a fun change from the gym routine.  While you might not get the calorie burn you get from exercising alone, you’ll have an opportunity to get recharged mentally and meet new people.  Check the local YMCA or park district’s brochure to find the offerings in your area.

Whatever you decide to do to transition from a outdoor summer workout program to a indoor winter one, the mental advantage may be as valuable as the physical one.  By the time spring is here you’ll be craving outdoor running and have the motivation to take it to the next level.

The Brain’s Reaction To Sugar: Not All That Different Than Cocaine.

A Holiday Relapse Calls For Detox

I’m trying to get back on track after a few days of too much eating, drinking and sleeping. They all seem to go hand-in-hand.

I think the key is to break the sugar cycle. Most of the time I’m able to limit the amount of refined sugar I eat, but as soon as I enjoy a piece of cake or pie at a holiday gathering or dinner party, the craving starts and I’m drawn to the fridge where the rest of the goodies are lingering. It’s going to take a couple of days of detox for my sugar craving to subside.

The Chemical To Blame it On – Dopamine

Research labs have been studying the effects of sugar and fast food on the brain chemical dopamine for quite some time. The definition of dopamine, according to Psychology Today is: “a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.”

Drugs such as cocaine, nicotine or methamphetamine cause the brain to kick out excessive amounts of dopamine.  The excess dopamine creates such a sense of pleasure and excitement that over time, if the person continues to use the drug, nothing else can compete with it. If the drug use continues, the brain no longer responds to other pleasures that typically kick out dopamine plus it no longer reacts to the drug in the same way as when first introduced. When the user needs more and more of the drug to create the feeling of pleasure and lacks the ability to derive pleasure from other experiences addiction has occurred.

Our Brain On Sugar

Our brains may react to sugar and other addictive foods in much the same way they do drugs or alcohol.

In November, 2011 Princeton University unveiled the results of a multi-year project that studied the effects of sugar on rats. The research, conducted by Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology, revealed a number of things:

• The rats brains released dopamine when they were fed a sugar solution.
• When the sugar was decreased, the rats drank more alcohol than normal and had an increased reaction to a trace amount of amphetamine that they were given.
• When the sugar was completely taken away the dopamine levels dropped and the rats exhibited anxiety, their “teeth chattered, and they were unwilling to venture forth into the art of their maze.”

The research study at Princeton determined that when the rats ate large amounts of sugar it caused an increase of dopamine in the brain. After a month the brain adapted to the increased dopamine levels. The conclusion was that the affects of the sugar on the rats’ brains was similar to that of cocaine and heroin.

Of Mice and Men

Other research shows that sugar and fast-foods such as cheeseburgers, French fries and milk shakes can trigger the release of dopamine in the human brain. A November 2, article in Bloomberg quotes Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse as saying, “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.” Volkow says that the data is so “overwhelming the field has to accept it”.

This food-dopamine-brain-addiction theory may be why some people feel they have a lack of control over their food consumption. It may explain why someone like myself, who sticks to a low-sugar, no junk food diet 99% of the time is craving a piece of angel food pumpkin cake two days after my Thanksgiving feast.

We know that drugs and alcohol are addictive. Why is so hard to believe that sugar and fast food are too? I can’t see where there is any difference between the person that orders a cheeseburger, fries and coke at lunch, even though they are well aware of the risks their expanding waist line and high cholesterol levels are having on their overall health, and the person who continues to smoke cigarettes despite desperately wanting to stop.

Breaking The Food Addiction Cycle . . . .

Requires a cold turkey approach. Neal Barnard, M.D. and author of the book, “Breaking the Food Seduction” believes that certain foods contain chemicals that stimulate the brain and drive our cravings for them. The only way to rid ourselves of our addiction, according to Barnard, is to totally eliminate these foods from our diet. Barnard says staying away from the food items that you crave for a total of three weeks will often resolve the problem.

I agree with Dr. Barnard. Staying away from those foods will rid me of the cravings. At least until I have them again. Then I’m back to square one.

There Is Help

The way to counteract cravings is with foods that boost dopamine and seratonin, the well-being chemical in a healthier way. High protein foods like fish, chicken, turkey and eggs have been found to increase dopamine. Beans, coffee, black tea, green tea and milk also cause the brain to secrete more.

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, brown rice, oats, fresh fruits, vegetables and popcorn boost seratonin.

Daily exercise, eight ounces of water a day, and a return to our goal setting strategies will also help get us back on track for the upcoming week. It’s probably best to go ahead and own up to our addictions now since we still have Christmas and New Year’s to deal with.

 

No More Crunches: Five Core Muscle Exercises That You Can Do At Home With Minimal Equipment

There’s Only So Many Ab Crunches a Person Can Do

I’ve created a brief video that demonstrates five crunch-free core muscle exercises that you can do at home in about 10 or 15 minutes a day.  The only equipment needed is a five or six pound ball or dumbbell and a set of gliding discs or paper plates.


Lateral Lunge with Side Sweep: The first exercise, a lateral lunge with side sweep, uses a small weighted ball or dumbbell and incorporates all major muscle groups including the [Read more…]

Holiday Recipe Review. Whole Grain Bread Dressing and No-Crust Cranberry Pie Were Delicious.

No Crust Cranberry Pie

Holiday Recipe Review and Tips

As promised, I did make all of the recipes under the Holiday Recipe Collection tab for Thanksgiving or the day after. It was really fun to try some new dishes and a couple of them may well become established holiday favorites.

  1. Whole Grain Bread Dressing.  This is the recipe makeover that I was more apprehensive to try out on my family.  We all love bread dressing made with white bread.  It’s what my mom, grandmother, sister and I have all made over
    the years.  Two of my daughters said the whole grain dressing was the best part of the meal. I used whole wheat bread that I purchased at the grocery store bakery. The only changes I made to the recipe were I reduced the amount of onion to one but added a stalk of celery.  This recipe gets an ‘A’.
  2.  Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes.  The sweet potatoes were good but I think that I like plain baked sweet potatoes the best.  I enjoy the flavor of sweet potatoes enough that I don’t need to add maple syrup or lemon juice.  But, for a holiday, rather than serving plain baked, these looked pretty in the dish and were very good.  I would give this recipe a ‘B’.
  3. Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad

    Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad.  This was excellent.  Instead of using red wine vinegar I used balsamic and I added a couple of tablespoons of green salad olives and a dash of garlic salt to give it a little more flavor.  I made this the day after Thanksgiving for a family get-together and my brother-in-law absolutely loved it.  This recipe also gets an ‘A’.

  4. Pumpkin Angel Food Cake.  I followed the recipe to the letter.  There’s not much that can be changed on this one.  When my family and I tried it on Thanksgiving we weren’t crazy about it.  I refrigerated it and tried it the next day chilled with a dab of lite Cool Whip.  It was really good the second day; the texture and pumpkin flavor were so much better. I would definitely make this recipe again because it is such a light, low-calorie dessert.  I’ll just remember to make it a day ahead and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  Grade on Day One – ‘B-‘.  Grade on Day Two – ‘A’.
  5. No-Crust Cranberry Pie.  I’ll save the best for last.  I have no doubt this will be a standing recipe at holiday meal.  The texture and flavor were both perfect.  I realized that I had not included nutritional information when I posted the recipe, but have now added it.  This recipe gets at ‘A+’.
I would love for you to share your makeover or other healthy holiday recipes.  Send a recipe or link in the Comment Box below.

A Healthier Thanksgiving Feast Can Be Nutritious and Delicious!

Here’s To A Healthier Thanksgiving Feast

Like most people I’ve been busy planning my Thanksgiving dinner this week.  Since I’m the host and we won’t have a big crowd I’ve decided to try some recipes that will make for a more nutritious and delicious (I hope), albeit less traditional, meal.

I want to have a wonderful meal, but no longer feel that marshmallow covered sweet potatoes, or pasty white-bread stuffing is necessary. Of course we’ll roast a turkey but I’ve found several new recipes that I plan to try.  Here’s a few:

All of the recipes can be found under the Holiday Recipe Collection tab under this web site’s header. I’ll keep adding recipes as we move through the holiday season as part of the Maintain, Don’t Gain initiative.  

I’m anxious to see how they all turn out.  I’ll have some pictures and a review up this weekend.

I hope you all have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

 

Sit Less, Move More This Holiday Season To Keep Unwanted Pounds Away

Flickr photo by o5c0m

 

Holiday Help:  Start The 10,000 Steps Program Today

A few days ago this blog discussed the impact that exercise has on waist circumference, with or without weight loss, which is why staying physically active through the holidays is the best way to beat the battle of the bulge.

The blogosphere is loaded with diets and recipes to help people stay within a very modest 500 calorie range for Thanksgiving dinner.  If you have the willpower, go for it.  I’m not sure that would be a realistic goal for me to set for myself.  That doesn’t mean that we should just ignore calories, fat and sugar intake and portion control during the holidays.  We definitely want to set goals to keep us from overindulging at every meal, company pot luck, holiday party or shopping trip.

But trying to limit the Thanksgiving feast to 500 calories may set us up for failure.  We all know what failure does.  It makes up feel bad, we hate ourselves for eating too much and often times we end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.  We figure since we didn’t stay within our calorie range on Thanksgiving we probably won’t be able to do anything right so might as well forget it until after Christmas.   This is where setting lofty goals like ‘I’m only eating 500 calories at Thanksgiving dinner’ can get us.

Sit-Less-Move-More

What if instead of concentrating solely on what not to eat, we turned our attention to staying physically active everyday through the holiday season?  What if our goal was to take 10,000 steps a day?  Taking 10,000 steps a day, in itself, will burn approximately 300 – 400 calories.  This is not a scientific calculation; it is merely an estimate, plus we’ll be focused on something that we are doing rather than something we shouldn’t do.

If we burn an extra 350 calories a day, within 10 days we will have burned enough calories to prevent one pound of weight gain.  Keep it up for the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years and we may be able to keep the average five to eight pound holiday weight gain in check if we don’t totally overdo it on every sugary, high fat, super calorie-loaded food that comes our way.

Flickr photo by mjk 23

For about $10 you can purchase a decent pedometer at Wal Mart.  I hesitate to recommend purchasing one under the $10 range because it may not be durable enough, or it may reset whenever it’s bumped.  If you want to make more of an investment and have a pedometer that multi-tasks, The Polar Activity Monitor tracks all movement, energy expenditure, has a clock with an alarm and stores exercise files.  It costs around $80. Omron has a mid-range pedometer for around that has received good review in Google Products search.

Maybe you’ll decide to track minutes walked rather than wear a pedometer or use the walking tacker on your iPod.  Whatever you decide, a sit-less-move-more strategy is the first step to keeping the holiday pounds off.

 

Surrounded By Cookies? A Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Strategy Requires A BHAG

What’s Your Holiday Game Plan?

Thanksgiving is next week. If you haven’t had a chance to think about your game plan now that the season of eating has begun, it’s probably time to give it some thought.  We have a holiday strategy for everything else:  what gifts we’re going to buy for whom, who we’re sending cards to, what special dishes we want to prepare.  Why not spend at least some time strategizing how to get from Thanksgiving Eve to January 3 without gaining the average, and very dreaded, five to eight pounds?

What’s Your BHAG?

Set aside a few minutes now, before the holidays are in full swing, to figure out what your BHAG (your workplace needs) is.  Maybe your BHAG is to get through the holidays without your waistline expanding by two inches like it did last year.  That’s a good goal!  But big goals can easily become similar to New Year’s Resolutions if you don’t put a strategy in place to make sure you reach it.

The first step is to invest a couple of dollars in a colorful hardback journal that can be purchased at the local dollar store or CVS.  This journal will be your Holiday BHAG Book where you’ll write down your goals and track your progress (good or bad) each week.

On the first page write down your great big goal:  Example: My goal is to NOT increase my waist circumference by two inches this holiday season.  Now come up with three and four smaller strategy goals that you will do this week that will help you achieve your big goal.

SMART Goals

Make sure that your strategy goals are SMART and that they are reasonably attainable.  Remember that success breeds success, so don’t set yourself up for failure.  If you typically go to the gym three times a week, setting a goal to go seven times isn’t a good idea.

The first SMART weekly goal will look something like this:  I will to go the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. and do a combination of cardio and strength training exercises for one hour.

SMART goals are specific and measurable.  At the end of the week it will be very clear whether goal completion was at 100%, 75%, 25% or 0%.  Write the goal completion percentage in the journal at the end of each week.

Come up with two or three more goals that will help you get to the great big one.  These goals are very individual. The following are only examples that may or may not apply to your situation but they will give you an idea of what a SMART weekly goal looks like:

  • I will bring my lunch to work on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week.  The lunch will consist of healthy food items that I purchase at the grocery.  I will shop for the food to pack on Saturday afternoon and pack the lunch the night before so I don’t run out of time in the morning.  On Friday I will go out to lunch with my co-workers like I always do and I will use my Smartphone Fast Food Calorie Look Up app to help me make a healthier choice when eating out.
  • I will take two 10 minutes walking breaks everyday next week at work.
  • I will take 15 minutes to sit quietly in the chair by the picture window and listen to relaxation music before I go to bed on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.
  • I will eat a light snack consisting of four whole wheat crackers, peanut butter, a half of banana and a glass of water before going to the holiday party on Saturday night so I won’t be so hungry that I overindulge when I get there.
  • On Sunday evening after dinner I will write in my journal how I did with my goals and write new goals for next week.

Each week, as the holidays creep up, the goals will no doubt change and become more specific to the challenges we’re facing.  Goals that address portion control on Thanksgiving Day, food court fare when we’re shopping at the mall, or alcohol consumption on New Year’s Eve might help keep us on target for achieving the BHAG.

In summary, the holiday survival plan of action is:

  • Purchase an inexpensive hardback journal at the dollar store.
  • Set a big hairy audacious healthy holiday goal and write it down.
  • Set three or four more weekly SMART goals that will help you achieve the Big Goal. Write them in the journal.
  • Track the completion rate of goal achievement each week.
  • Reset the goals weekly.

By the way, if you love, love, love Smartphone apps that track food, exercise, calories, etc. feel free to use them along with the journal.

Are There Too Many Cookies At Work?

Once the holidays begin there seems to be no end to the junk that people bring into the office to ‘share’. Put Down The Cookie! was the name of the Maintain, Don’t Gain holiday program I launched last year at my workplace.  When we kicked it off we had one of our wellness committee members dress up like the Cookie Monster and come to the all-staff meeting to confess to his co-workers that he has a cookie problem.   Another committee member offered him Kale along with a recipe for Kale Chips in an effort to help.

Put Down The Cookie participants received holiday makeover recipes, weekly motivational tips and articles, games and quizzes and received a prize if they didn’t gain weight over the holidays. I’ll be launching the program again next week.  A holiday maintain, don’t gain program might be just what your workplace needs this holiday season.  We all know Cookie Monster’s not the only one with a problem!

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Beware The McRib and Healthy Fast Food Options

What exactly is a McRib made of?

What ‘healthy’ fast food breakfast item has more sugar than a Snickers bar?

Which ‘healthy’ sandwich has more than a thousand calories and
61 grams of fat?

If you answered pig innards and salt, McDonalds oatmeal, and a large veggie sandwich from Quiznos you passed the quiz!

Flickr photo by Eli Hodapp

Flickr photo by Eli Hodapp

What’s In The McRib

Lots of stuff!  There are 70 ingredients in the McRib; 34 of them are in the bun.  There’s been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere that one of the ingredients in the bun, azodicarbonamide, is a herethat is “most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like in gym mats and the soles of shoes”.  The McRib is 500 calories; 240 calories are from fat. Still thinking about grabbing one for lunch?  Check out pictures of the McRib, minus the sauce, McD’s oatmeal.

McDonald’s Finally Has A Healthier Breakfast Item
While we might suspect the McRib isn’t really meat, at least not by most people’s standards, and isn’t good for us, we aren’t nearly as suspect of Snickers bar that seems like a reasonably healthy choice for a breakfast on-the-go. McDonald’s oatmeal has 32 grams of sugar. A McD’s sweet tea has 28.8. Besides the sugar and oats, there are an additional 17 ingredients – not sure what several of them are but at least there are no pig innards – for a total of 290 calories.  It reminds me of thelarge veggie sandwich; the devil in disguise.

Quiznos Veggie Sandwich
Telling Quiznos to hold the meat on a sandwich doesn’t mean that it will be low-calorie or ‘healthy’.  Quiznos’ good breakfast has 1,200 calories of which 680 are from fat.  Total cholesterol is 45 and sodium is 3,310 mgs.  Even if you opt for the regular size you’ll still have 870 calories; 460 from fat.  A better choice would be the regular Honey Chicken Bourbon at 640 calories (still too many). Don’t get fooled into thinking the salads are a good choice either.  The Roasted Chicken with Honey Mustard Flatbread Salad at Quiznos is 1,120 calories; 670 from fat.  Ouch!  Maybe you should have a smoothie instead.

Sonic Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
More bad news here. The strawberry-banana smoothie from Sonic appears healthy enough but looks can be deceiving.  The smoothie has low fat milk, strawberries and bananas.  The regular size has 83 grams of sugar. If my math is correct that is the amount in two and a half Snickers bars.

Grocery List
Here’s a list of twenty items you can purchase at the local grocery that will provide a Almond Milk and lunch for a week and keep you out of the fast-food lane where you can end up with a bag of pig guts and azodicarbonamide:

  • Eggs
  • Tuna (canned or in foil packets)
  • Skim or Sweet mini-peppers
  • Shredded Wheat Cereal
  • Mini Whole Wheat Bagels or whole wheat English muffins
  • Peanut Butter
  • Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • Bag of mixed lettuce greens – such as Romaine
  • whole food items
  • Mini carrots – one bag
  • Apples, bananas, oranges (3 each)
  • Almonds – plain
  • Low-fat Cottage Cheese
  • Newman’s Light Honey Mustard Dressing
  • Low-fat String Cheese
  • Triscuits – one box
  • Hummus
  • Lite Microwave Popcorn – 1 box
  • Whole Wheat tortillas – 1 package
  • Package of deli turkey luncheon meat

These snacks can be mixed and matched to make salads, sandwiches, wraps andhealthy brown bag lunches.  Try purchasing the items on the list and get creative with making nutritious breakfasts and gag-inducing fast food for one week.

If you need just one more reason to make a point to shop for groceries on a weekly basis so you can pack your breakfast and lunch to take with you and stay out of the drive-through, check out these gag-inducing fast food gems at Shine.

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Three Reasons Why You Should Stop Relying On The Scale For Positive Reinforcement

Get Off The Roller Coaster And The Bathroom Scale

There are three reasons why you should stop relying on the bathroom scale to measure how well you’re doing with your weight loss and exercise goals.  I’m certain that you’ve heard them all before, but the third one may surprise you.

1.  The Scale Is Not Your Friend

Getting weighed on a bathroom scale is addictive.  You get on, look down and pray for good news.  If the scale says you’ve lost weight you’re ecstatic.  You decide that you deserve to treat yourself to some high calorie confection that you don’t need.  If it’s bad news you feel defeated and depressed.

You may very well decide to treat yourself in this case too.  You’re bummed.  You need comfort from something delicious to ease the pain of you beating yourself up for the rest of the day.

The worst part is the scale is unpredictable.  There are weeks when you think you’ve done great.  You went to the gym three times this week and passed on the double cheese pizza.  Surprise! You’re up two pounds.

How often do you get weighed?  Once a week?  Once a day? More than once a day?  Your life is a roller coaster of emotion that is wrapped around a number. You’ve become a bathroom scale addict.

I see this all the time with the people that I work with in weight management sessions.  Some days they walk in and say, “I don’t even want to get on the scale today.”  My answer.  “Don’t.”  If it’s going to hurt your feelings then skip it. Most of time they still want to weigh even if it ruins their day.  The weekly weigh-in is a ritual in most – if not all – weight loss programs, thus we’ve become addicted to it even though it’s not the best measure of our progress.  It can be a huge set-back for our attitude and ultimately our success.

2.  Muscle Tissue Has More Density Than Body Fat . . . .

which means if you’re exercising while you’re trying to lose weight the scale may not react in the way you’re hoping it will. We’ve all heard this: muscle weighs more than body fat.  It’s not exactly true. 

One pound of muscle = 16 oz. and one pound of fat = 16 oz.  Sixteen ounces of muscle takes up less space than the pound of fat does. So, if you lose a pound of body fat and gain a pound of muscle mass, the scale won’t change but you will have lost a bit of body mass since the fat was taking up more space.  You may actually gain a little weight when you start working out. I hesitate to even put that in writing, but it’s true.

Weighing in constantly after starting an exercise program is like checking the scale every day after starting a diet.  We expect instantaneous results.  If the scale isn’t moving we decide we’re doing something wrong and get discouraged.  We may even decide the exercise isn’t doing anything except making us hungrier and chuck the workouts completely.  Big mistake.

Staying away from the scale after beginning an exercise program is key to keeping the motivation going.  The exercise will help you feel better, look better, improve your cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and increase your energy.  Focus on enjoying the physical activity for its own virtues.  It’s going to take time for the fat loss, muscle gain, and metabolic changes to occur.  The scale is nothing more than a constant reminder of how long it’s taking.

3.  The Tape Measure Is Your Friend

It knows when you’re working hard, have your portions under control, and are skipping the morning McDonald’s Sweet Tea ritual.  It also knows that muscle tissue takes up less space than body fat, and it doesn’t fluctuate by three or four inches every time you eat something with too much sodium.

I have worked with individuals who were doing weekly weigh-ins along with waist circumference measurements.  When they reach a point that they are totally discouraged with what the scale is telling them we will do a waist measurement which will always reflect their efforts.

The scale gets stuck but the tape measure doesn’t.  It gives a much truer picture of where we’re at on our journey and for whatever reason does not trigger the same agony as a needle on a scale that doesn’t move does.

It’s Possible To Lose Body Fat Without Losing Weight

Research has been done on the effects of exercise on waist circumference (belly fat) with or without weight loss. My Healthy Waist.org says that “Although weight loss is the ideal outcome of chronic exercise in overweight individuals, the evidence suggests that even when body mass does not change, regular exercise can markedly reduce intra-abdominal fat and shrink waist circumference (belly fat) accordingly.”

It goes on to say that in studies that have been done where individuals consumed calories equal to the number they expended during exercise, so that they did not lose weight, waist circumference declined. And that “exercise training can significantly reduce total and abdominal obesity even with little or no change in body weight.” Go tell that to the scale!

Tape Measures Are Only $2 at CVS

The ultimate goal is to get back in your favorite pair of jeans or a gorgeous dress for the Christmas gala.  We don’t necessarily need the cooperation of the bathroom scale for that. If you’re working on a weight management strategy that includes exercise, put the bathroom scale on hiatus and invest in a tape measure that you can purchase at the local drug store for $2.  There’s no guarantee that it will help you reach your goals sooner or that it will be easier, but it will get you off of the weigh-in roller coaster that has you at the top of the ride one day and on the bottom the next.

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Brussel Sprouts Are Under Rated. This Recipe Will Change Your Mind About Them.

 

Did You Loathe Brussel Sprouts As A Child?
It’s Time To Give Them A Second Chance!

Now that we’ve determined that eating foods that contain folate can save us from the winter blues, brussel sprouts, which by the way are loaded with folate, can add variety to your leafy green veggie line up.

Here’s a quick and easy way to prepare the sprouts that will preserve their nutritional value and taste great!

Quick and Easy Skillet Brussel Sprouts

Rinse one pound of fresh brussel sprouts in cold water and drain.
Cut in half
Heat about two teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet.
Saute 1/2 teaspoon of garlic in the olive oil
Place the sprouts, flat side down, in the oil
Saute for about five minutes.
Add a 1/4 cup of water and let them simmer for five more minutes
Add slivered almonds and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm and enjoy.

Besides folate, brussel sprouts are rich in vitamins C, K and A, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, thiamin, iron, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Fresh sprouts can be found in the store at this time of year.  If you tried brussel sprouts when you were a child and hated them, it’s time to give them a second chance.  I think you’ll love them!

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