Shari Duncan

Tag: Fat Loss

Eat MORE Protein: For Fat Loss AND Muscle Gains.
Shari

by on May.26, 2012, under General Nutrition, Natural Bodybuilding, Weight Loss, Whey Protein Recipes

The human body is built and rebuilt everyday from and by proteins.

Protein plays an important role in any fat loss program. To lose weight you must restrict the number of calories you consume. However, when you cut down on what you eat, the body starts using muscle protein as energy – so it’s important to get enough protein from your diet to cover these losses. Among other important functions, protein is essential for

Eat protein with every meal.

stimulating cell growth and helping to repair body tissue.  Foods rich in protein help the body build lean muscle and can be converted into glucose for energy.  Because this method of

energy is more time consuming for the body, the body burns more calories digesting proteins, and does not convert as readily to stored fat. (As with food rich in carbohydrates and

fats)  This is one reason why high protein, low carbohydrate diets are popular for those attempting to lose weight and build muscle. And protein does a better job of filling  you up and keeping you full longer than carbohydrates or fats.

Any type of exercise or physical training increases the body’s need for additional protein which is why athletes and those with very active lifestyles generally consume a higher daily intake of protein. Since protein is the building blocks for new muscle tissue, it is a staple for anybody (or any body builder) wanting to pack on a little (or a lot) of mass. Training alone will not make the body grow.  And a lack of quality protein will result in a loss of muscle tissue and tone, as well as reduction in the function of your immune system, a slower recovery rate, and a lack of energy. If you fail to get enough protein on a daily basis, you’ll quickly lose strength and slow down your metabolic rate.  The body will also breakdown

muscle and conserve protein for basic, life sustaining needs and may not perform other duties such as healing and immune function if protein intake is not sufficient.

Protein Shakes make an excellent snack or meal replacement.

Proteins are found in all varieties of foods; however, some forms of protein are more healthful and beneficial than others. Choose foods that are complete proteins and do not contain high saturated fats or sugars. Fish and poultry are excellent choices of high protein foods, as are foods in the legume family including: beans and lentils.  Eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt (and other dairy); as well as various nuts and seeds are also protein rich choices.  Red meats contain a great deal of protein, but take care to choose lean cuts of meat, avoiding the extra fat.

A Whey protein shake makes for excellent snack  or a meal replacement for those trying to lose weight. Most protein powders mix easily with milk, water or juice and will quickly add 25 or more grams of protein a day. And shakes are easy to make and very portable, making it simple to get your protein on the go.   Here is a “recipe” that combines 3 of my all time favorite flavors:  Chocolate, Coffee, and Coconut!

Coco- Mocha Protein Shake

1 scoop chocolate whey protein

1 tsp instant coffee granules

~8 oz of coconut water (or unsweetened coconut milk)

ice (3-4 cubes)

Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes in a personal blender :  AWESOME!!

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WANTED: Healthy Food Fast.
Shari

by on Jan.15, 2012, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Healthy Snacks, Weight Loss

Healthy eating doesn’t really take any more time than unhealthy eating; it just requires a little more foresight.

Everybody has a story about when or why they gained weight, or why they have no time to eat right. When you’re constantly on the go, it can be hard to find time to eat, let alone eat healthy. So you turn to quick-fix foods that are high in fat, sugar, sodium, or calories, and low in essential nutrients.  But eating is what gives us the energy to do everything on our to-do list.  And when we are busy and “forget” to eat, or hurriedly rush into the nearest convenience store or hit up a vending machine for chips and a coke, we are not fueling bodies.  So how do you find balance?

The solution isn’t to find more time, but to work with the schedule you do have. Instead of  waiting in the fast food drive in line,  use this time to visit the grocery store, and pick up prepared salads, sandwiches, and meats, pre-washed and cut fruits and vegetables, canned soups, low-calorie and low-fat frozen meals, yogurt, string cheese, and cereals.

To lose weight, and keep it off  you must eliminate foods that aren’t healthy and eat foods that are good for your body. There is a strong correlation between how and what we eat and being well.  People hold on to the illusion that there is no time to cook, no time to shop, and no healthy options for “fast food” meals.  But just because there is no time to always sit down and eat, does not mean you have to eat poorly. What it boils down to is being prepared and carrying healthy snacks with you.

Healthy Fast Food...or is it Healthy Food Fast?

Here are some healthy tips to try:

  • Cook a bigger batch of food on the weekends, and refrigerate or freeze for weekday lunches or dinners.
  • Set an alarm for mealtimes. Even if you’re buried in work, don’t skip meals; designate a time to eat.
  • Try not to do anything else while eating. Mindless consumption prevents the enjoyment of food. When that happens, people tend to eat more and eat unhealthy alternatives.
  • Put fresh or dried fruit where you can see it to remind yourself of your goal to eat healthy. Bananas, grapes, and apples make handy and nutritious snack items.
  • If at a restaurant, turn down the supersize option, and choose baked and broiled instead of fried.
  • Order the lunch portion at dinnertime, and hold off on fatty condiments.
  • Keep handy snacks around, such as fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, trail mix, yogurt, cottage cheese, carrot or celery sticks, low sugar cereals,  and wraps

Eggs are by far the fastest cooking protein you can get. Scrambling 2-3 eggs takes about 2 minutes. Sauté some spinach with a little garlic, or add some diced ham and cheese, and you have a healthy homemade meal in less than 10 minutes. This works for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Hard boil eggs take about 10 minutes. Boil extra, peel and place in Ziplocs and carry

Protein Smoothies...Quick, Versatile and Portable Meal in a Minute

with you for a quick protein snack or for breakfast on the run the next day.

Fresh fruit protein smoothies are also quick, nutritious and satisfying. They are so versatile… almost anything goes. And they travel well. 1 scoop of  Whey adds approximately 25-30grms of muscle building protein for satiability.  I recommend buying one of the many personal blenders on the market like the Ninja or Magic Bullet.  Mix and go, in under 2 minutes.

Planning healthy meals and snacks ahead of time is especially crucial for people with junk food cravings.  If you must have junk food, give the healthier alternatives, such as baked chips, dried fruit, or sugar-free Popsicles a try. Look for low-calorie, low-sugar, and low-fat options.

In place of chips, try light popcorn, whole grain crackers, carrot sticks, red peppers, and rice cakes.

For the sweet tooth, sugar-free pudding, sugar-free Jell-O, fruit bars, baked apple, fresh fruits, and dried fruits are options.

If you put your mind to it, you can come up with your own ideas for eating well with little cooking. It’s just a matter of wanting to find solutions.

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Feed your Metabolism with Food.
Shari

by on Jan.01, 2012, under General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

All Calories are not created equal.

Contrary to what you may have been told, the body does not burn and store 500 calories of fruit and veggies the way it does 500 calories of refined, processed or fatty foods. Some foods take more work to eat–and therefore burn more calories while you’re digesting them.  Just the act of chewing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat can increase your calorie burn by up to 30%! On the contrary, many other foods lack certain nutrients and minerals that have been proven to stimulate the metabolism.  The higher your metabolism level, the faster you will lose weight, provided you eat healthy food and pursue an active lifestyle.

Depriving your body of fuel is a surefire way to slow it down.

When you slash calories, the calories burned by eating are greatly diminished and so is your metabolic rate. Restricting calories also signals the body that there is no food available, so it tries to conserve stores of carbohydrate and fat by slowing down its metabolism. The best way to keep your metabolism revved is to eat regular meals with snacks when necessary to give your body a constant supply of healthy fuel.

Nutritional Superstars that Burn Calories

There are proven nutritional superstars that can fuel your metabolic fire and help you to burn more calories as you kick your diet into high gear. These foods/beverages act similar to the way a thermogenic or a cardio session in how they affect the body. They can ramp up your metabolism, and in essence, assist you in burning fat.   When you wake up in the morning it is especially important to “break the fast” (and a sleepy metabolism) by eating breakfast. When you eat breakfast you start burning calories earlier, thereby burning more total calories through the day. And keep your metabolism pumping all day long, by eating several small meals through the day.  You will tend to eat less at one sitting, which puts less burden on your digestive system and lets it work more efficiently.

So what are you waiting for?   Let’s get your metabolism moving!

Food does some amazing things for our bodies, including fight disease.  Try adding some of these metabolism friendly foods to your diet each day:

1. Oatmeal If you’re looking to jumpstart your metabolism, start your morning off with a bowl of oatmeal. This super food is rich in fat soluble fiber, which requires a lot of calories to break down. Eating oatmeal can also help decrease your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

2. Grapefruit Studies indicate that eating grapefruit can reduce insulin levels. Lower insulin levels after meals can help your body process food more quickly and efficiently. This means that you burn more calories and store less fat.

3. Hot Peppers Adding some spice to your food can speed up your weight loss. Hot peppers, like jalapenos, contain a chemical called capsaicin, which gives these veggies their heat and causes a spike in your metabolism. This chemical also keeps the calorie burn going hours after you’ve finished your meal.

4. Lean Proteins The protein found in chicken, turkey and other lean meats takes a great deal of energy to break down. Therefore, your body burns a lot of calories during the digestive process. Protein is also an essential ingredient in building lean muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat.

5. Salmon and Tuna High levels of the hormone leptin have been linked to slower metabolisms and weight gain. A good way to lower leptin levels is to increase your intake of fish. The oil found in fish like salmon and tuna has been shown to cut leptin levels and help your body process foods more effectively.

Burn more calories with Green Tea

6. Low-fat Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is one of the best foods to eat if you’re trying to lose weight and boost your metabolism. Yogurt is full of calcium and protein. It gives you the energy your body needs to keep going all day and helps you build lean muscle mass. Yogurt can also help regulate your digestive tract.

7. Green Tea The caffeine found in green tea accelerates your heart rate and speeds up your metabolism. The tea also contains a chemical, known as EGCG, that stimulates the nervous system and helps you to burn calories at a faster rate.

8. Broccoli Broccoli is rich in both calcium and vitamin C. These two vitamins work together to help you burn calories faster and more effectively. Calcium activates your metabolism, while vitamin C helps you absorb more calcium.

9. Almonds Almonds may be high in calories, but they are also jam packed with essential fatty acids which are great metabolism boosters. And the healthy fat in almonds has been proven to help in lowering cholesterol.

10.  Apples,Pears, Berries:  These fruits are low calorie, high fiber, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.  Your body must burn calories to break down. Since they help you stay full for longer, you‘ll eat less.  And they are naturally sweet!

Spices can fire up your metabolism too!

In addition to some of the suggestions listed, certain spices such as chiles, cinnamon, curry and ginger fire up your central nervous system and can boost your metabolism by as much as 12%.

Metabolism-Slowing Pitfalls

Just as there are natural ways to boost your metabolism, there are also natural ways you slow  your metabolism — Here are a few:

  • Skipping meals–always eat breakfast!
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
  • Eating empty calorie foods–exchange them for low carb, low-fat, high nutrition foods.
  • Choosing processed foods–exchange them for whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

And don’t overlook the power of water!

Researchers in Germany found that subjects increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by up to 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. It is necessary to drink water at frequent intervals, because it is water that helps in digestion of food. So drink up! Make sure that you are starting your day with a big big glass of water and drink all day long.  It’s hard to get too much water.

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Fresh Start Solutions: A Healthy New You for the New Year
Shari

by on Dec.26, 2011, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Motivation, Weight Loss

Quick fixes don’t exist for long-term health. Slow and steady wins this race.

We are creatures of habit. To make health-conscious changes, the changes have to fit in with our habits.

Have you ever changed, or tried to change, the way you eat? While you may want to change your diet, it can feel too hard and time-consuming. And when you are busy with work, family…life, there is just no time for added complication, right?  But, it’s the New Year and you are making a promise to start (and stay) on a strict diet to lose weight, but are you just setting yourself up for more frustration and failure…again?

Shifting to healthier eating habits can seem complex.   Nutritionists tell you, “Eat more vegetables; reduce your saturated fat; watch the sugar; buy organic; avoid trans fats; get enough calcium; eat low carb; high protein…”   On and on it goes.

Little wonder most people put off changing their diet…or opt for trendy rapid weight loss plans.

You already know that commitment is crucial for success; so you consider one of the popular commercial diet programs that promise quick and easy results. This craving for instant gratification is why people gravitate to fad diets. Unfortunately, (and statistically); these plans don’t let you MAINTAIN weight loss.  Once you “go off” the diet, and return to old ways, the bad habits return along with weight gain and associated health issues.

But no need to feel discouraged.  Small, incremental changes are the key to success. Health altering changes simply involve re-education to meal options that promote consistency while keeping your body filled with nutrition.    It is more a mind-shift and a behavior change, not a diet.  Learn to change the behavior you are used to and focus on building habits of living that improve your life.

Shift your attitude to viewing food as a fuel to sustain life and not something that controls your quality of life. We all have different body compositions, likes and dislikes, and finding success in making healthy lifestyle changes is a process that will take a little time and experimentation. Start with small steps and before you know it, the small changes add up to become part of a healthy new lifestyle.  For example, when you wake up tomorrow instead of skipping breakfast, eat a small meal consisting of healthy carbs, protein and a little fat. Do this for a week. Once this works for you with little effort, it will be time to make another small change.

Eat Real Food (and less of it)

No matter what diet you follow, make sure most of it comes from food without bar codes. Whole foods, with minimal processing and preservatives are best. Concentrate most of your shopping time around the perimeter of your grocery store.  Chances are the fresh produce, whole grain breads, meat and seafood departments, and dairy cases are around the perimeter of the store. Then dip into the isles for staples, like oatmeal and olive oil.  And you don’t need nearly as many calories as you think you do. Most women will lose weight (or maintain it) on 1,250-1,600 calories and most men between 1,500-2,000. Cutting calories by about one-third is also one of the best strategies for living longer.

Suggestions for the New Year / and a Healthier New You:

  • eat more fruit and vegetables
  • have a better awareness of your eating patterns and how to make your diet work for you
  • try some different foods and increase the variety in your diet
  • be on the way to controlling hunger and the portions you eat
  • work out some strategies for eating well when you’re busy

Follow these eight rules of eating, and you’ll more easily manage your weight and improve your nutrition From YOU: The Owners Manual by RealAge experts Micael F. Roizen, MD and Mehmet C. Oz, MD.

http://www.realage.com/food/8-ways-to-improve-nutrition

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Me Exercise?…To be healthy, You got to GET UP and MOVE!
Shari

by on Dec.26, 2010, under Fitness, General HEALTH, Motivation, Weight Loss

The human body is not designed for inactivity.

You and I need to exercise to get healthy to maintain good health.  Period.

It is hard to admit that we are getting fat as a nation. While it may be hard to admit in words, it is not hard to see the evidence as we look around.  And it is no longer just one particular group that need to make lifestyle changes, it’s every where, every demographic…and every age group; even our children.

But, What many don’t realize is that even if you are not overweight, exercise has numerous benefits that are important for maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Besides a general increase in overall quality of life, here are 10 documented benefits of exercise.

  1. Lower mortality – a daily 2 mile walk can add years to a life over that of a sedentary person’s life.

    Grab a friend and get to it!

  2. Improves cardiovascular health – Heart becomes more efficient through exercise and heart rates decline (good cholesterol – LDL decreased).
  3. Has a positive effect on blood pressure and reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (Bad cholesterol –HDL increased).
  4. Reduced risk of certain types of cancer; particularly colon.
  5. Lower risk of diabetes because regular exercise lowers blood glucose levels; which help to control blood sugar levels.
  6. Regular exercise helps in weight control as well as favorable effect on body fat distribution away from abdominal area and aides in bringing dangerous body fat levels down to a healthy range.
  7. Exercise (especially weight bearing) can contribute to optimal bone density and help protect against osteoporosis.
  8. Physical activity counters anxiety and depressionimproves mood and the ability to cope with stress. Exercise releases chemical substances called endorphins that work as an effective anxiety reliever.
  9. Moderate activity enhances immune system and aides in resistance to colds and infections.
  10. Exercise improves balance, strength and flexibility – all which canreduce risk of falling.

BOTTOM LINE: Get up and move. Leave all of the excuses.  A little exercise not only does your body and mind good…. It may just give back to you much more than you put into it.

In good health,

shari

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The Competition Diet… A Little Art, A Little Science = A Lot of Lean.
Shari

by on Dec.06, 2010, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding, Weight Loss

GETTING LEAN:

Getting really lean is an art form…and a science. It is NOT about starving yourself. In fact starving yourself would be the worst thing you could do.

The months before entering a physique competition are extremely difficult and require plenty of discipline and perseverance.  Eating the correct foods in the proper proportions and at the appropriate time is vital to getting your physique  primed for the stage.

The information presented here assumes the reader has a certain level of nutritional knowledge.

HOW MANY CALORIES EVERY DAY?

Sculpting the physique for competition takes weeks of disciplined dieting

Sculpting the physique for competition takes weeks of disciplined dieting

Calories: A VERY general rule of thumb is 16 x your bodyweight. So if your goal is to weigh 125 pounds that would be 2000 calories a day intake to maintain a bodyweight of 125. To lose weight eat clean and eat with a slight calorie deficit, about 200 to 300 calories below your maintenance level.  Over time you will figure out the correct balance and will make adjustments accordingly.

PROTEIN: Eating the correct amount of protein is PARAMOUNT to helping you build and maintain a muscular physique, since proteins are the building blocks of muscle in your body. You should eat at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight EVERY day. Protein should be consumed at every meal.

CARBS: Fifty to sixty percent of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates until about three months before your competition. At this point, carbohydrate intake begins to be cut  to 20 to 40 percent. Eating the right types of carbs will make all the difference in your physique. Whole-grain carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole grains and quinoa digest slowly in your body. As weeks progress and the number of allowable carbohydrate grams is reduced, you will be getting more of your carbohydrate calories from veggies and limiting fruits to 2-3servings daily.

FATS: Fat intake will be reduced when preparing for a physique competition.  Most people can consume up to 30 percent of calories from healthy fats until about the three-month mark, then as weeks progress, gradually reduce fat intake to 10 to 20 percent.

You need to keep an eating log and record your food intake so you can make accurate adjustments. If you are very active you may have to eat more. If you are naturally obese and hold onto body fat easily you may have to eat less. The only way to really know (how a certain level of food intake will affect you) is keep an eating log and discover what effect eating a certain amount of calories for a month has on you. Ask yourself: Did I get leaner? Did I lose muscle? Did I gain fat? Then make adjustments.

** Remember metabolisms vary significantly from person to person – I am able to keep my healthy fats at ~25% during the leaning phase.  I focus more on gradually cutting carbohydrate calories, and increasing cardio sessions as the weeks progress.  I am also not as “carb sensitive” as some.

This basic template for macronutrient ratio’s works for me:   Protein: 35-40%, Carbs 35-40%, Fats 25%. As I begin to cut carbohydrate calories, I may gradually increase protein, (to keep calories up) depending on the progress I am making.

 Programs like Fitday.com provide online support for macronutrient tracking

Programs like Fitday.com provide online support for macronutrient tracking

Basic rules to lose body fat:

Eat every 3 hours. Six small meals a day. Avoid foods that spike your insulin levels (like bread, sugar, and pasta) or foods high in fat (bacon, cakes, butters, fatty meats). Focus on high fiber foods (vegetables, whole wheat, fruits) and protein foods (whey protein, egg whites, fish, lean chicken, low fat cottage cheese, and meal replacements).  This increases your metabolic rate. Remember to consume 200-300 calories a day below maintenance level. Also eating every 3 hours tricks your body into thinking YOU ARE NOT DIETING (constant blood sugar level) so it does not store fat (go into famine mode).

As weeks progress, gradually decrease carbs without cutting calories. Eat more vegetables and more protein. Low carb intake lowers insulin levels, you store very little fat, and activate fat burning mechanisms in the body. Keep the calories up though. As you begin to decrease carbs,  you will also increase cardio.

When your metabolism slows (from dieting), eat more for 1 to 3 days. Usually one day will do it. Exercise more (increase intensity) as well. Get your metabolism moving again. Usually 300 to 400 calories above maintenance will do it. Carb cycling works well for me when dieting.  I incorporate 1 – 2 “re-feed” days per week; with the 2 higher carb days falling on the most strenuous training days (eg squat, leg days). Having these 2 days also helps to restore depleted energy stores (physically and mentally!)

Water and Supplements

Water is one of the most important components of a competition diet and should not be overlooked.  Aim to drink at least a gallon of water every day leading up to the competition.  Avoid alcohol consumption. Certain supplements can aide you in the preparation phase as well.  Consider taking supplements such as a multivitamin and mineral; antioxidants, including green tea; branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s); glutamine and glucosamine.

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Pass the Hummus. Hold the Mayo , Please.
Shari

by on Aug.13, 2010, under General Nutrition

Fries dipped in ketchup … potato salad drenched in mayonnaise … and ribs smothered with barbecue sauce … You love it;  your waistline, not so much.

Maybe it’s time to downsize.

Dressings, dips, and sauces can be a big downfall when we are trying to cut back and eat a little cleaner. Ketchup, & steak and barbeque sauces are loaded with sugar.  Mayonnaise, sour cream  and salad dressings can be high in saturated fats. It’s  time to open your mind (and taste buds!) to these heart healthy alternatives.   These dips and spreads also add inventive flavors to everyday sandwiches, wraps and burgers.

Here are a few to try:

SALSA:

- The Fresh Veggie alternative to Ketchup

- The Fresh Veggie alternative to Ketchup

Salsa has the few calories, but salsa preparations can vary widely. A good salsa made with tomatoes, and without too much added sugar, can be treated as a vegetable: it has no fat, lotsof fiber, and many other nutrients.

  • Replace salsa for higher fat/carb salad dressings for a delicious taco salad.
  • Use as topping for baked potatoes
  • In place of mayo, ketchup on burgers and wraps.  (Turkey,chicken, beef or fish)
  • Stir into scrambled eggs or omelets.

HUMMUS:

Incorporate hummus as part of your balanced diet. Hummus is basically pureed garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Garbanzo beans contain many nutrients and have numerous health benefits.  They are high in protein and fiber.  An ounce of hummus has 7% of your daily fiber.  This high fiber also prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, which is especially important to diabetics.

Chickpeas themselves are relatively low in fat, but the presence of olive oil boosts the fat content in hummus. Olive oil, however, is rich in monounsaturated fat, a type that is heart healthy. Thus, not only does olive oil contribute its unique flavor to hummus, it also imparts significant health benefits relative to creamy or other high-fat alternatives.

Hummus is easy to make at home as well. If you have a food processor, throw a can of garbanzo beans in it with a little lemon juice, olive oil and garlic and you are done.  You can be

Made from heart healthy chickpeas. Available in many unique flavors

Made from heart healthy chickpeas. Available in many unique flavors

creative too.  Try adding a few roasted red peppers or jalapenos for more kick or a few canned artichokes.

At least one popular commercial brand lists a serving size as 2 tbsp. or 27 grams, an amount that contains 50 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein.

AVOCADOS:

If you love fatty, creamy, hearty foods and want to avoid the cholesterol and toxicity of meat and dairy, anchor your diet with avocado.  Avocados contain 60% more potassium than bananas; they are also sodium and cholesterol-free.  An avocado has a higher fat content (5 grams per serving) than other fruit, but the fat is monounsaturated fat, which is considered healthy when consumed in moderation.

  • Avocados can replace butter by using it as a spread on bread.
  • Use as healthy dip or dressing for veggies and salads.
  • Replace sliced avocados for mayo on burgers, sandwiches and wraps.

MUSTARD:

This condiment is hard to beat because it has minimal calories and fat, but the sodium can add up quickly by the teaspoon.

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (5 calories, 0.2g fat, 120 mg sodium)
  • yellow mustard (3 calories, 0.2g fat, 57 mg sodium.)

When purchasing ketchup, mayo, salad dressings and barbecue sauces; choose lower sodium / lower fat versions and downsize the amounts added to recipes.

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“Spot Training” Will not Whittle your Middle Away
Shari

by on Jul.18, 2010, under Fitness, Motivation, Natural Bodybuilding, Weight Loss

All of those ab crunches you’ve been doing will make your abdominal muscles stronger. But they will not whittle away belly fat.

Our hormones determine where we will store fat in our bodies.  Fat is lost in a pattern dependent upon genetics, sex and age. Overall body fat must be reduced to lose fat in any particular area.

We all have our trouble spots. For women this is typically in the hips and buttocks; the tummy; and/or the upper arms. Unfortunately, the first place we store fat is also the last place it leaves when we begin to diet and exercise.

But training one particular area of your body to reduce fat (also known as spot training) does not work.  So if you have a large tummy, then simply doing ab crunches and leg raises will not result in a flat stomach. Here is why. Fat loss occurs in the body as a whole. Unfortunately, the fat in a particular area isn’t governed by the muscles in that same area. So if you want to lose belly fat for example, you have to have a fat loss strategy that burns fat throughout your body.

Lose the OVERALL body fat to reduce fat in those trouble areas

Lose OVERALL body fat and you will reduce fat in those trouble areas


You must always treat your body as a whole which means changing your diet to a whole food diet (healthy eating) and exercising your whole body.

The answer is to combine weighted compound exercises that work all of the major muscle groups (like squats, rows, and presses to name a few) with high intensity cardio.

High intensity cardio releases fat burning hormones, and revs up the metabolism in a way that slow, steady state, and long duration cardio does not. Cardio raises the heart rate and determines how many calories are burned.  Strength training also helps to raise the metabolism, as well as build strong muscles. The more muscle you have, the more calories will be burned.  This is why strength and cardio exercise should be a part of your regimen to achieve the maximum fat burning results.
And if you’re serious about reducing your overall body fat percentage; you must incorporate a healthy and well balanced diet. This is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and grains.  This does NOT mean to starve yourself. If you deprive yourself of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) you will be counterproductive in your efforts to lose weight and body fat.  Essentially, you’ll end up slowing down your metabolism and stopping your fat loss before it even starts.

So, if you are ready to lose that excess fat, you can’t spot reduce it away. Spot training does not work. Instead,  focus on fat loss in the body as a whole.  The best way to lose fat from one particular area is to lose fat overall, then concentrate on toning individual parts of your body

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The SKINNY on F A T S
Shari

by on Mar.30, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation, Weight Loss

You got to EAT FAT to LOSE FAT!

Dietary fats supply the body with the most stable sources of energy fuel and since they contain more calories per gram than protein & carbs they burn more slowly making you feel fuller longer.  When you cut out fat, you replace the calories with faster burning carbohydrates which not only make you feel hungrier sooner, the “wrong” carbs  will play havoc with your glucose (blood sugar) levels.

Fat cells are necessary for hormone regulation, storing energy, and providing cushioning for our internal organs. The problem is not in the presence of fat but the amount. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults get 20%-35% of their calories from fats. At a minimum, we need at least 10% of our calories to come from fat. The key is to understand which fats are healthy and which are not so you can begin losing weight safely and successfully.

Healthy Fats in Foods:

The healthy fats are the mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated. The fats to avoid are trans fats and saturated fats as they put your body at risk for many diseases. To help you distinguish the “good” from the “bad, remember that saturated fats are solid at room temperature.

Fats to eat each and everyday...

Fats to eat each and everyday...

  • Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados, peanuts, natural peanut butter, olives and olive oil (extra virgin).

  • Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish, walnuts, pecans, almonds, soybean oil, sunflower oil etc

Omega-3 Fats:  the body does not manufacture Omega 3 fats, which means we must consume them either in the foods we eat or with supplementation.  Omega 3’s burn fat by helping the body respond to a hormone called Leptin which tells the brain to suppress the appetite, increases thyroid output – which in turn increases metabolism   Food sources for Omega-3 are: Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, flaxseed, pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts.

Omega 3’s are also known to boost brainpower, ward off depression and decrease inflammation.

Other Good Omega-3 sources

  • ground flaxseed
  • oils (like flaxseed oil, linseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil and soybean oil)
  • green leafy vegetables (like lettuce, broccoli, kale, spinach and purslane)
  • legumes (like mungo, kidney, navy, pinto, lima beans, peas and split peas)
  • citrus fruits, melons, cherries

Omega 6 oils are common in the diet and are not usually necessary to supplement. Raw almonds or sunflower seeds are a good source and a few can be eaten daily to ensure their supply.

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – Helps to burn fat and gain lean muscle at the same time. It is also found to boost

CLA - Supplement with this fat to help burn fat

CLA - Supplement with this fat to help burn fat

immunity and halt cancer growth. CLA also promotes cardiovascular health by preventing the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and around the heart.

CLA is found only in various meats & milk products – But remember CLA is a fat  & will not be found in skim milk or non-fat yogurts (where fat has been removed).  Consider also that the fat burning benefits of CLA  may be offset by the higher amounts of bad fats in many cuts of meat. So if you are staying away from full-fat dairy products and fatty cuts of beef, you might consider taking a CLA supplement.

Studies have shown that CLA helps people to lose weight because it’s a good fat. Consuming it accelerates the body’s metabolic rate while slowing the body’s conversion of dietary fats into body fat.   .

The recommended daily dose of CLA is 3-7 grams. If you supplement with CLA, be sure it contains 80% CLA to receive the optimum fat burning results.

_  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee strongly advises that healthy Americans limit their intake of trans fat to less than 1 percent of total calories.

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Based on current data, the American Heart Association recommends that consumers follow these tips:

  • Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, high-fiber foods, and fat-free and low-fat dairy most often.
  • Keep total fat intake between 25 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils most often.
  • Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil most often.
  • Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils or saturated fat.
  • Use soft margarine as a substitute for butter, and choose soft margarines (liquid or tub varieties) over harder stick forms. Look for ”0 g trans fat” on the Nutrition Facts label.
  • French fries, doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods that are high in trans fat. AVOID THEM!!
  • Limit the saturated fat in your diet. If you don’t eat a lot of saturated fat, you won’t be consuming a lot of trans fat.
  • Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Not only are these foods very high in fat, but also that fat is likely to be very hydrogenated, meaning a lot of trans fat.
  • Limited fried fast food. Commercial shortening and deep-frying fats will continue to be made by hydrogenation and will contain saturated fat and trans fat.

Something to take away from this blog:

When the body gets enough  –  (and healthy sources) of fat through diet, it will not feel the need to hoard fats by enlarging adipose tissue….hmm.   Food for thought.

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Mirrors don’t Lie… and the Scale don’t tell the Whole Truth.
Shari

by on Dec.27, 2009, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Motivation, Natural Bodybuilding, Weight Loss

Lose the Fat, NOT the Muscle!

a little tidbit about body composition.

Obtaining your best  physique requires monitoring your weight and body composition changes. It also requires documenting changes in strength and energy all while tracking nutrient ratios by counting calories and weighing foods. The amount of calories you need to achieve your desired goal is influenced by body composition. Your body is made up of water, protein (or muscle), fat, bone, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals. Body composition refers to the amount of lean body mass (muscle) and fat mass in the body.

The goal of your diet and weight loss plan should not be to lose weight, but to lose body fatwhile maintaining lean muscle.  Losing muscle results in a lower metabolism, and can ultimately cause your weight loss plan to fail.

Muscle is healthy, makes you look better, and burns calories. That is a good thing. But the scale doesn’t tell you whether

Don't judge your progress by weight alone!

Don't judge your progress by weight alone!

you are losing body fat or muscle, so you could be losing muscle and not realize it.

A scale also doesn’t tell you if you are gaining muscle.  Again, muscle is good. But when you are on a weight loss program, gaining muscle can be both confusing and discouraging if you don’t realize how it’s affecting your weight.

The solution is not to judge your progress by weight alone, but to calculate the percentage of your weight that is body fat and make it your goal to reduce that number, not just your weight.

So hard as it might be, DO NOT RELY ON THE SCALE as a sole measure of success (or failure). Mirrors don’t lie, and a mirror is actually a great way to see changes in your body. Clothes don’t lie either, and seeing how your clothes fit is a great way to observe the changes in your body. Or if you’d like to be a little more accurate and keep records of your progress, you can take measurements. Measure the circumferences of your upper arm (bicep), chest, waist, hips, and thighs using a flexible tape. Your goal with body tape measurements is consistency. Take them the same every time you take them and you will get an accurate view of your progress with each body part.

Use a flexible tape measure to monitor changes in body composition.

If you use the scale to monitor and document your progress, weigh yourself only once per week, the first thing in the morning. This is when your water content is most constant.

There are several methods available to determine your body composition, or percentage of body fat. The most accurate is called hydrostatic testing (immersion in water) but it is not practical as it is usually performed in a lab or hospital setting.  More practical options include Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) scales and skin fold measurements using calipers.

BIA scales are very convenient but do not give as accurate readings as calipers – unless the readings are done in a physician’s office.  The handheld body-fat analyzers that are often used in commercial gyms can often miscalculate the amount of fat you are carrying on your body. Results can be skewed by several factors because it has to factor in certain assumptions about the person and use those assumptions in the equations that are programmed. (Usually, height, weight, gender, age).

Skinfold Measurements measure the subcutaneous fat folds around specific body parts (triceps, waist, thigh, and back) with skin calipers and are available in either manual or digital formats. Either of these methods will enable you to monitor your progress at home.

An optimal body fat percentage for a non-athlete man is around 10-14%, while it is around 16-20% for a non-athlete woman. These percentages should provide a lean appearance. The difference between genders is due to the fact that men are naturally more muscular (lean) than women.

The American Council on Exercise provides the following ranges for men and women with classifications based on varying levels of body fat:

Classification Men Women
Essential Fat 2-5% 10-13%
Athlete 6-13% 14-20%
Fitness 14-17% 21-24%
Average 18-24% 25-31%
Obese 25% and above 32% and above

With proper nutrition and a healthy workout regimen, you will see those numbers get smaller as you burn fat.

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