Dining Out and Healthy Eating Tips
July 24th, 2013, Write comment »

Whether it’s because you travel  a lot or are just too busy to shop and cook, some of us spend more meals dining out than eating at home.

I used to have this problem. My weight suffered because of it and then I got a grip.

If you want to keep in shape and eat out often here are some friendly words of advice:

  1. It’s a meal not a party. Part of the problem for me was that if I was dining out or ordering in, I looked at it as an event. I would not eat as extravagantly if I was cooking at home, so why was I all of the sudden, ordering things with cheese on top or fries on the side? I look at dining out differently now.  If it’s not a special occasion then it’s just an easier meal. That means, healthy choices, sauces and dressings on the side, grilled not fried.  If I’m celebrating an event then, I might loosen up the rules a bit otherwise I eat as lean and clean as possible.
  2. Keep it simple. Don’t let the menu sidetrack you. Focus on items that are simple. Grilled chicken over a salad, a veggie burger on a whole grain bun, broiled fish with vegetables. Skip sides like fries, extras like cheese and mayo-based spreads.
  3. Speak up. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to make requests. Find out if the chicken is grilled ‘dry’ or if they use added oils. Get your dressings on the side and find out if there are healthy alternatives available.
  4. Cyber surf. Before heading out, head to your computer. Many restaurants (particularly fast food and chain restaurants) not only offer their menus online but provide nutritional information as well. This can be your best friend. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was making a healthy choice only to look up the listed nutritional information and find I had consumed 3 times the calories and fat I thought I was.
  5. Put blinders on. Ideally you’ll know what you want before sitting down or placing your order. Maybe you’ve dined there before or looked the place up online. Go in with your plan and stick to it. Don’t let the excitement of the moment, aromas of the place and the grumble in your tummy sway you from making your healthy choice into a spur-of-the moment, caloric treat!

What do you do to keep in shape and on-track when you eat out?

Eating to lose weight
July 19th, 2013, 15 Comments »

When I was younger it was all about the fad diet.

And I tried them all. From low carbs to no fat to the cabbage soup diet, I tried it.

Along the way I learned something. Diets don’t work.  However, you have to watch what you eat and feed your body properly if you want to maintain a healthy body and weight.

Here are my rules to eating healthy. For the record, I have shed over 100 pounds and have kept it off for nearly 4 years – In addition to good eating I also run and maintain an active lifestyle.

RULES:

Fat is not the enemy. I used to be the fat-free master. Fat free ice cream, fat free butter, fat free mayo. I believed (like many) that fat makes you fat. Our bodies need fat. New rule: Eat fat. Keep it portion controlled and keep it heart healthy. Stick to fats found in nuts, avocados, coconuts, flax seed oil, and olive oil. Avoid unhealthy saturated fats and fats found in dairy and meat.

Fiber is your friend. Bulk up meals with beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, healthy grains like quinoa and brown rice. These types of bulky foods will keep you feeling fueled and full – you’ll have the energy to power through your most challenging workout.

Skip the box. Strive to make nearly all your meals with whole foods and skip the pre-packaged, processed foods. This means ‘diet’ frozen dinners, canned soups, sugary cereals, etc. It wasn’t easy for me. I became a person of convenience and I became dependent on ‘low fat’ convenience foods for a long time. Truth is, your body will be so much healthier and happier with foods that are unprocessed. I now make big batches of  soups, chili, brown rice, veggie burgers, turkey burgers and more – I freeze and then heat for my own quick convenient meals.

What are some of your rules?

Do it yourself sports drink
July 1st, 2013, Write comment »

If  you run or exercise hard for an hour or more you need to be hydrating and replenishing your electrolytes to ensure your body doesn’t break down or cramp up.

While many people rely and use store bought sports drinks, I prefer to avoid some of the excess sugar and artificial colors and flavorings found in some of them.

Here’s a homemade version that will save you money, skip some of the stuff you don’t want and give you what your body needs:

3.5 cups of plain coconut water

1/4 cup of orange juice or pineapple juice

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/4 tsp of salt

Do you have a favorite store-bought sports drink or homemade one?

Photo Credit

Knowing your BMI
June 25th, 2013, Write comment »

When it comes to your health the number on the scale tells just part of the story. Age, height, gender and other factors come together to help translate your over-all well-being.

Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is another tool used to gauge where you are at.

BMI isn’t 100% foolproof.  There is the occasional soul who’s BMI rates as ‘over or underweight’ but the person is as healthy as they come (perhaps much of their weight is in muscle, for example). As always, this type of feedback is a guideline and one you should discuss with your doctor.

What is BMI? Simply put, figuring out your body mass index is an easy and fairly accurate way to calculate how much “body fat” you carry.

What is a healthy BMI? Generally speaking for adults: 18.5 – 24.9 is normal, 25 – 29.9 is overweight and 30.0 and over is obese.

How do I figure out my BMI? You can figure out your BMI by using this formula:

Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

Calculate BMI by dividing weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.

Example: Weight = 150 lbs, Height = 5’5″ (65″)
Calculation: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96

Or, if you are lazy like me, you can use the free BMI calculator found here and it’ll do all the math for you.

Keattikorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Keeping it Healthy at the Coffee Shop
June 17th, 2013, Write comment »

If you’re like me you like to get a little coffee pick-me-up every so often. Luckily for me and for other caffeinated indulgers, caffeine has been proven to have a few health benefits and seems to be relatively safe.

However, some of those delicious mocha-choca-la-ta-lattes can really pack a punch when it comes to fat and calories.

So if you’re trying to not undo all that hard work on your Ab-Coaster, here are some tips for your next trip to the coffee counter:

  1. Skip the whipped. Adding whipped cream to the top of your cappuccino or coffee drink is adding an unnecessary scoop of fat. There’s not an iota of health in whipped cream and you’ll barely notice it’s missing when you’re sipping your beverage.
  2. Stay slim by choosing skim. A small swap from regular milk to skim milk in your coffee can save you hundreds of calories a week. If you are used to the full-fat stuff it might take a few days to get used to it but the effort is worth it. Start by moving to 1% or 2% first if that will help.
  3. Back to black. Fancy, high-calorie coffee drinks should be considered a dessert or treat. An everyday habit can quickly add pounds without even knowing where they came from! Stick to a basic cup of coffee, cup of espresso or skim latte. Save the fancier, higher calorie coffees for special occasions or once a week.

Are you a coffee drinker?

Stop waiting and start doing
June 5th, 2013, Write comment »

Recently I signed up for my first sprint triathlon race. I am not a strong swimmer and I haven’t been on a bike in 20 years. However, I have until September to train and get myself in decent enough swim and bike shape to not drown or crash.

I posted my goal on my personal Facebook page and immediately a girl I went to high school with posted, “Someday I would like to do something like that. Maybe someday when I’m thinner and in better shape.”

Her comment made me flinch.

I once was a person who ‘waited’ to do stuff. “Someday” often came out of my mouth with no real commitment.

Along the way to good health I’ve learned that “someday” needs to be now or it may never happen. I’m not saying that you should do the triathlon tomorrow if you’re not trained but strategically finding one 3 months out, that is within your physical capabilities and then training can happen now.

I told my old friend that. Get started today. Don’t wait to go for your dreams or set goals. There is no time like the present!

She is now training and we’ll be side-by-side as we cross the finish line.

What goals are you striving towards?

PS: Nothing like Ab Coaster to get your core strong for swimming, biking and running so I’ll be on mine double time! ;)

Photo credit

Foods for flat abs
May 28th, 2013, Write comment »

If you’ve been hitting your Ab Coaster but your abs aren’t quite as flat as you’d like them, then you might want to take a look at what you are eating.

Recently, Fitness Magazine put out this great list of: The 10 Best Foods for Flat Abs – What to Eat to Boost Abs Exercise Effectiveness and Control Belly Bloat.

Making the list was pantry staples like almonds, eggs, yogurt, berries and leafy greens.

These foods will banish bloat and are a healthy addition to your diet.

3 healthy summer swaps
May 23rd, 2013, 1 Comment »

As we head into summer don’t let having fun in the sun mess up your health goals.

Here are 3 food and drink swaps that can save you tons of calories in the long run!

Cocktails: Daquiries, Pina Coladas and Margaritas are often flowing when the temperature heats up. However, those beverages usually come at a high calorie cost! Instead of swilling one those, opt for a light beer, white wine spritzer or vodka with a splash of tonic or fruit juice and you can potentially save hundreds of calories per beverage.

BBQ: Heavy dips and mayo-based salads can pack on the pounds. Bring some fresh tomato salsa or whip up some homemade guacamole to stay on a healthy course. Instead of the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, consider grilling vegetable and shrimp kabobs for a fresh and healthy new take!

Dessert: Instead of celebrating with a bowl of ice cream, save tons of fat and calories by serving up your favorite fruit with creamy greek-style yogurt.

Are you an Ab Coaster success story?
May 15th, 2013, Write comment »

Find some of success stories of Ab Coaster users here!

If you have a success story to share, please contact us so we can feature your story!

5 Healthy Mother’s Day Gift ideas
May 10th, 2013, 1 Comment »

Stumped about what to give Mom for Mother’s Day? Give her the gift of better health with these ideas:

  • A juicer like the Power Juicer. Many studies show that juicing is one of the healthiest things a person can do for their health.
  • A gift card to a local farmers market or Whole Foods to indulge in organic and fresh ingredients.
  • A gift certificate for a few Zumba, Yoga or Spin classes.
  • A subscription to a magazine like Runner’s World, Health, Fitness or Shape.
  • A pedometer, Ab Coaster, or workout DVD to help her get inspired.

Don’t forget the power of pampering. She might appreciate a day of beauty, a pedicure or massage. Sometimes a little rest and relaxation can go a long way for good health.

What healthy gift are you planning to give Mom this year?