Archive for July, 2010

27 Ways to Lose Fat, Look Great, and Feel Even Better

  1. Have a clearly defined goal.  What do you want to achieve?  Put it down on paper.  Study it.
  2. Move at least 5 hours per week.  This is in addition to your structured exercise.  Those who train usually move for 1 hour/day and sit the rest. 
  3. Have a vegetable with every single meal.  At least 5 total servings per day.
  4. Drink more water.
  5. Eliminate soda.
  6. Eat more fruit.  At least 3 servings per day.
  7. Have at least 3 vegetarian days per week.
  8. Cook.
  9. Eat breakfast every single day.
  10. Don’t clean your plate each meal.  Always leave some on your plate.
  11. Eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.
  12. Include a lean protein with each meal and snack.
  13. Eat 1 oz of raw nuts each day (unless you’re allergic).
  14. Fill up half your plate with fruits or veggies — at every meal.
  15. Put your fork down between bites.  Eating more slowly is a simple way to lose fat.
  16. Eat with your non dominant hand.  It will slow you down (see tip #15)
  17. Sleep more.  At least 7 hours each night, ideally 8+
  18. Increase the intensity of your workouts
  19. Use smaller bowls and plates when you eat
  20. Eat clean 90% of the time and "relax" the other 10%
  21. Eat with your non dominant hand.  This will slow down your eating.
  22. Get a pedometer and walk at least 10,000 steps each day
  23. Keep a food journal.  This act alone will help you lose fat.
  24. Eliminate added sugars.
  25. Eat cold water, wild caught fish at least twice per week
  26. Eat more fiber.  That means replacing junk carbs with whole grains and eating more fruits and veggies.
  27. Don’t eat while distracted.  You’ll eat more calories when you’re not aware of what’s going in your mouth.

Healthy Superfood or Just Hype?

I was recently presenting at a conference called the Institute of Food Technology …

…I was part of a panel talking about whey protein and its role in the diet.

But then after the presentation, I had a chance to walk around the exhibit hall a bit before heading back to the airport to catch my flight.

First, it’s weird to think of "Food Technology" — why does technology need to be part of food anyhow? 

At the same time, there clearly is a role for a lot of what was there — various herbs, spices, and other very useful additions to the diet.

But when I was offered a "fiber filled ice cream sandwich" I thought it was a bit odd — really, now we’re trying to make ice cream into a "health" food.

Which brings up the next point.

Let’s explore some common foods that are advertised and marketed as the latest, greatest "health" foods — but are they really — or are they more hype than anything?

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee)

Acai berry is often advertised as a super antioxidant, one that can boost weight loss and help shed belly fat.  But what is it, anyhow?

Acai is a dark berry from South and Central America.  It is high in antioxidants — like all dark colored berries — and is typically found in the freezer sections of stores, like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  Of course you can also buy dietary supplement extracts as well. 

While it is a decent source of antioxidants, in our opinion the price doesn’t justify using the berry daily over other dark berries, like blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, for example. 

As for the weight loss claims — there is a better chance the Earth is flat than there is for the magic weight loss properties of acai.

Chia Seeds

We covered this one earlier this year.  Click here for a short video about chia seeds

 Very simply, these seeds (which look like sesame seeds), are a decent source of the same omega-3 as flax seed (called ALA).  They’re also a solid source of fiber.  Do they have some health properties?  Sure.  Are they worth the cost — I’m not so sure about that. 

I’d personally opt for flax seed if it’s an "either or" decision when comparing the two.

Agave Syrup

This sweetener has been hyped up recently as the greatest thing since sliced bread…the most common claim is that agave won’t raise blood sugar, so therefore won’t be stored as fat quite as easily as other forms of sugar.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details of the composition, agave isn’t actually much different than honey, with a large portion of the sugars coming from fructose.  Well, there is some thought that eating too much fructose may negatively effect triglycerides. 

All in all, I wouldn’t hang my hat on this one. 

If you’re going to use a sweetener, opt for a raw, local honey.  But, that’s certainly not magical either — added sweeteners aren’t great, regardless of the type you choose, including agave.

Bottom Line

When it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, particularly when it comes to foods and/or supplements making outrageous health claims.

 

 

“You’ll Gain 1 Pound Per Day”

A woman from boot camp just got back from vacation.

A Caribbean Cruise.

She was coming in for her assessment before camp and when she saw her weight said "GREAT!  I only gained 1 lb!"

Not knowing she was on vacation, we asked her to elaborate.

She told us about her cruise and said when she was walking onto the ship, one of the employees said "You’re going to LOVE the cruise — the food is incredible and never ending.  It’s so good, the average person on the cruise gains 1 lb per day."

Her eyes almost fell out of her head like a cartoon.

"ONE POUND PER DAY" she screamed!

"Yes, the buffet and food here is incredible — in fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid gaining weight while on a cruise. It’s included in your package, of course you’ll eat and drink and enjoy them both!"

And after that introduction and 10 Day Cruise, you can now see why the woman was so excited to gain just 1 lb in 10 days, unlike the "average" person who goes on the same cruise.

This brings us to the next point — how do you navigate a buffet?  Everything and anything you want at all hours of the day and night..

Here are a few simple tricks to avoid the dreaded weight gain when buffets are staring you in the face:

  1. Survey the scene.  When you start at the end of the line, you’re more likely to take some of every single food.  On the other hand, when you look at what’s available first, you can better judge the foods you truly want vs those which are impulse grabs.
  2. Use a salad plate.  And I mean to serve the main course.  Salad plates are smaller, which means you can’t overload them as much as you can large dinner plates. 
  3. Avoid multiple trips.  Just because food is there doesn’t mean it has to be eaten.  It’s not the last time you’ll eat, so enjoy a few options and push the plate away so you’re less likely to overeat.
  4. Fill up your plate with salad or veggies.  This will then leave less room for the main courses, which are more than likely to have a lot of calories and fat.
  5. Let your stomach decide if you’re hungry, not your eyes or nose.  Often our other senses dictate hunger — we smell or see tempting foods, we’re magically hungry. 

 

The Lost Art

We’ve have always said that weight loss is like a puzzle.

Like any puzzle, there are a lot of pieces to put it all together.

When it comes to weight loss, there is:

  • Food
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Daily movement
  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • And many more…

As you can see from that list, some of these puzzle pieces are "controllable" and others are not …

But there’s one piece to this puzzle that is easily controlled, yet it’s what we like to call, A Lost Art.

What is that lost art?  COOKING!

The more people we interact with, the more we realize how little people cook…or know about cooking.

Now, we’re not saying you have to be a trained Chef and spend endless hours in the kitchen, but to lose weight, maintain weight loss, and simply be as healthy as possible, you have to get a least a little comfortable in the kitchen.

It’s easy to follow a recipe — get some ideas from various cooking magazines mags. 

Our favorites are Eating Well and Clean Eating

Make sure you subscribe to your YouTube Channel where we have a few dozen different cooking videos and tips.  And pick up a cookbook or two to get started.

Maybe even find some local cooking classes in your area.

Here’s the deal — if you aren’t comfortable in the kitchen, you’ll rely on convenience — frozen meals, take out, fast food, and/or going out to eat almost daily. 

And there’s no way to have control over your eating when this is the case.

So do yourself a favor — get familiar, just a little familiar, with your own kitchen!  Your body will love you for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kara’s Got History with Lance Armstrong?

Did you watch any of the insanely exciting Tour de France race over the last few weeks…

Tour de France cycling…more than an impressive feat, it’s almost super human how these athletes ride for  2,263 miles, about 100 or so per day, in terrain that would "break" most in a matter of minutes.

Cobblestone roads.

Up miles (and miles) of hills in elevation. 

Speeds of 60+ mph.

Enjoy cycling or not, it’s truly impressive.

And how about this, Kara went to high school with Lance Armstrong in Texas and dated his best friend at the time.  So her and her friend used to double date with Lance and his…

…and then she ended up with someone who doesn’t ride 2200 miles in a race, but instead talks about the nutrition and hydration associated with those who do.

Did you know the Tour de France athletes eat around 7,000-10,000 calories each day JUST to try to recover and prepare for the next day?

Why is this important?

Think about how much training these guys are doing — 100+ miles each day, occasionally hitting 60-65 mph, climbing enormous hills…

…and that’s all they eat.

I say "that’s all" because now think about how much activity YOU do each day compared to how much you eat. 

It’s easy to "out eat" your exercise. 

Maybe you’re working to lose fat at boot camp, maybe you train at the gym for 30-60 minutes each day, or maybe you do yoga or some other activity.

Then you sit.  For the rest of the day.

So how many calories do you think YOU need each day?  With nearly 70% of the population overweight or obese, the amount of calories eaten is way more than what’s actually needed.

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