Archive for October, 2009

Happy & Healthy Halloween

October 29, 2009

Happy (& Healthy) Halloween

Halloween is on Saturday and although it’s so fun to dress up, as fitness professionals it’s not one of our favorite holidays. The last thing our kids need is more sugar, fat and a candy binge! So how can you promote moderation and a healthy diet without coming off as the world’s worst parents?!

Go against the norm: The American Dietetic Association offers the following suggestions for nutritious Halloween goodies. You may not be the favorite Halloween house on your block but at least you can feel good about the fact that you’re not sending your neighbors’ kids into sugar oblivion!
• Mini rice cereal bites
• Packages of trail mix
• Cereal or energy bars
• Small boxes of raisins
• Small packages of dried fruit
• Sugar-free gum
• Mini juice boxes

Does it have to be candy? Many kids would enjoy just as much some cool, new Halloween pencils or pens, spooky stickers, tattoos, or spider rings.

Control Consumption: If you leave it up to the kids, they’ll have half their candy eaten before bed-time on Saturday night! Instead, sit down with their stash, and separate it into small sized snack pouches that limit how much candy they have per day. Not that we’re saying that kids need candy every day but at least it’s a start! Explain to them clearly how much and when candy can be consumed. For example, you may set limits that prevent candy intake before bed or in the morning before school. But you may allow a small snack bag only after they eat their nutritious lunch.

In Oregon and Washington, 24.5 percent of 8th graders are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight and this number is increasing every year. As parents and teachers, we need to limit children’s consumption of candy year-round so now is a good time to discuss the benefits of a healthy diet and the ramifications of an unhealthy one.

Move their bodies: The rise in childhood obesity is partly due to the fact that kids are just not moving their bodies as much as they need to. Computers, video-games, TV and the fact that only 54.8 percent of Oregon eighth graders participate in daily PE is wrecking havoc on our kids’ health. So take this weekend as an opportunity to promote an active lifestyle and get them outside for a hike, a long walk or a bike ride. Their bodies will thank you for it!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Happy & Healthy Halloween…

Posted in fat loss, Fitness, healthy, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Don’t buy Halloween Candy yet!

October 26, 2009

If you haven’t purchased Halloween Candy yet, don’t do it until Saturday. Because otherwise you know what will happen. You’ll probably end up eating half of it between now and then and will have to go out and buy more!

If you already have purchased, then put it somewhere very inconvenient to access. For example, put it in the garage on the highest shelf or in the attic that you would need to use a ladder to get at. Or store it at your neighbors house – just make sure you tell them they can’t eat any of it either!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Don’t buy Halloween Candy yet!…

Posted in fat loss, Fitness, health, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss 1 Comment »

Nutrition Principle #8 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 15, 2009

Nutrition Habit #8 – Avoid or Limit alcohol in your Diet

I’m probably not going to be very popular after today’s posting…

Although alcohol is low in fat content, it is very high in empty calories. In addition, alcohol activates the enzyme that uptakes fat from our bloodstream and stores it in our fat cells. Therefore any food you consume in combination with alcohol will more likely end up in our fat storage depot areas like our hips, thighs and abs. And finally as we all know, alcohol lowers our inhibitions making us more likely to make poorer choices – including poorer food choices! So practice moderation in this area.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #8 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in fat loss, Fitness, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Nutrition Principle #7 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 13, 2009

Nutrition Habit #7 – Eliminate any unhealthy temptations from your environment (work, home, car) and replace with healthy alternatives.

This is one of the most important principles for me. If you’re like most people myself included, if it’s there staring you in the face, you’ll eat it. Make it more difficult to access the foods that stumble you and sabotage your efforts. Eliminate the following from your environment:

*Cookies, chocolate bars, pastries, candy and any high-calorie, sweetened snack foods
*Salty foods such as potato chips, pretzels, taco chips, crackers, and other packaged munchies
*White bread, white rolls, white buns
*Ice cream and high-sugar frozen deserts
*High-fat spreads and dips
*Sugared soft drinks and beverages
*Alcoholic beverages
*Any food that can be classified as junk food or that you habitually binge on

Do you need a kitchen make-over?

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #7 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in exericse, fat loss, Fitness, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Nutrition Principle #6 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 9, 2009

Nutrition Habit #6: Commit to Shopping at least once per week and stocking up on healthy choices.

What happens if you get home and you are starved and there is nothing to eat? You are more likely to choose a less-healthy item or dial up a take-out restaurant and order something high in fat and calories. If you want to commit to a healthy diet, you have got to commit to setting up a framework for success. This includes planning a trip to the grocery shop weekly and then potentially one or two smaller trips to the store or Farmer’s Market to top up on fresh fruits and veggies. You can not expect to adhere to a healthy diet without making this very important commitment to yourself.

Shop from a grocery list prepared when you are not hungry or stressed out
Determine exactly what you need for a particular period of time. This is where meal-planning for the week ahead really helps. For example, keep what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks pretty simple and consistent. Then decide what you’ll eat for dinners each night. For example, you might decide Monday you’ll make a home-made vegetarian pizza. Tuesday, you’ll make salmon, vegetables and rice. Wednesday, you’ll do a vegetable and pasta marinara and salad. Thursday, you’ll do a shrimp and vegetable stir-fry. Friday, you’ll eat out. Saturday, you’ll do chicken or veggie burgers, vegetables and salad. And Sunday, you’ll make healthy burritos. Then buy what you need to make each meal throughout the week. Don’t overbuy – Be careful of bulk buying. And try never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!

As soon as you get home, plan time to clean, cut and chop fresh produce to ensure it’s ready to be eaten (unless you buy the pre-cut and washed). Cook-a-thons will also make sticking to your nutrition plan a lot easier. Opening the fridge to find a bowl of chili, home-made soup, pasta salad or chopped vegetables will make it more likely that you grab for these healthier items.

Great foods to put in your shopping cart:

Whole Grains:
Oatmeal
Cold cereal – Cherrios, , Bran, Granola
100% whole grain bread or English muffins (or other bread products)
100% whole wheat pitas
100% whole wheat tortillas
100% whole wheat pizza shells
Brown Rice
100% whole wheat pasta

Meats (unless you are a vegetarian then chose vegetarian options!):
Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves and/or frozen cut-up chicken for stir-fries
Skinless salmon filets / 1 whole fish
Skinless turkey breasts
Sliced cooked salmon, turkey or chicken
White porkchops
Ground turkey or lean beef
Frozen chicken or vegetable meat patties

Dairy:

Skim milk or low-fat soy/rice/oatbran milk fortified with vitamin D and calcium
Eggs
1 bag of part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Container of feta-cheese
Low-fat probiotic Yogurt cups

Frozen Foods:
Bags of frozen veggies – green beans, peas, broccoli, corn, stir-fry
Bags of frozen fruit – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Frozen Meals – Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice – When you’re too tired to cook or in a hurry, these are life savers. They are low in salt, calories, fat and Trans-fats plus they’re actually quite yummy!

Canned/Jarred Foods:

Beans
Soups – look for low sodium
Tomato Sauce
Kalamata Olives
Sun-dried tomatos
Soy-nut peanut butter or all-natural peanut butter (no trans fat, no added sugar)

Drinks:
Bottled Water/Flavored Water
100% Orange with pulp/Cranberry/Grapefruit Juice (fortified with calcium, magnesium and Vit. D)
V-8 (low sodium)
Green Tea

Fresh Produce: Fruits/Vegetables
You’ve got complete freedom in this area. Buy what you love. Here’s some must haves…
3-5 bags of salad mix like Romaine, Spinach or Mixed Greens (make it easy to make salads everyday)
Bag of cut-up stir-fry veggies
Pre-cut and washed veggies – carrots, broccoli, sweet peas, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, mushrooms (make it easy to eat your veggies!)
Peppers – red, yellow, orange, green
Tomatos/Cucumbers/Onions
Apples/Pears/Grapes/Bananas/Oranges/Grapefruit/Tangerines – plus whatever is in season

Spices/Extras:
Olive oil
Salt/Pepper/Garlic
Soy sauce – low sodium
Balsamic vinegar
Salad dressing/Salad spritzers – vinaigrettes are a great choice
Marinara sauce
Cinnamon
Other favorite spices
Flaxseed
Psyliium

Snack-Foods:

Rice Cakes
Popcorn
Nuts – raw walnuts/almonds unsalted– don’t buy too much. And once you get them home, put them in mini-ziplock snack bags separated 10 to a bag
Dried fruits – apricots, cranberries, apples…
If you have a real sweet tooth and are looking for healthier options to prevent the 500 plus calorie dessert binges, try the following:
Yogurt and granola
Weight-watcher deserts – they typically keep them at 100 calories per serving
Pudding cups – 60 calories per cup
Gum/Small bag of hard candies – when you feel a craving coming on, chew on some gum or pop a hard candy and suck on it for a while. It will often do the trick.
Frozen yogurt – but just buy the smaller cartons to prevent eating a whole gallon

I hope this helps give you some direction for your next grocery trip.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #6 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in fat loss, grocery store shopping, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Nutrition Principle #5 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 7, 2009

Nutrition habit #5 – Control your Portion Sizes

This is an important principle – you’ve got to pay attention to your portion sizes. We are victims of a society that is hooked on supersizing everything…supersize drinks, monster size cookies, muffins and bagels and astronomical sized restaurant entrees. For many of us, it may not be that our food choices are poor, we may just be eating too much of a good thing. Out of control portions will lead to weight gain and often cause people to feel lethargic.

Here is a very important message to remember. If at the end of the day, you have expended fewer calories than the number of calories you have consumed from any source, you will store these calories as fat. Here is how it works:

Let’s say you consume an extra 1,000 carbohydrate calories in the form of plain pasta. It takes about 30 percent of the calories consumed to break down the dietary carbohydrate and store it as body fat. So out of the 1,000 extra carbohydrate calories, 700 will be stored as body fat. Now, let’s say you consume an extra 1,000 fat calories in the form of creams. It takes about 3% of the calories consumed to break down this dietary fat and store it as body fat. So, out of the 1,000 extra fat calories, 970 will be stored as body fat.

It is obviously better to be consuming a diet rich in carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain products because less of the excess will actually be stored as body fat. But you will still store excess carbohydrates as body fat and you will gain weight, whether your diet is low in fat or not. If your diet contains more calories than you expend in a day, you will gain weight regardless of the source of the calories.

When reducing food intake and portion sizes, the reduction should typically occur in the following order:
*Reduce fat intake
*Reduce alcohol intake
*Reduce sugar intake
*Reduce starches (pasta, breads, rice)

It is also wise to pay close attention to serving sizes listed on labels. Sometimes what is listed as one serving size is unrealistically small. So you may trick yourself into believing that you are consuming an item that is low in caloric and fat content, when in fact, what you are actually consuming is four times the listed serving size.

Here are some realistic portion sizes:

*A serving of meat, fish or poultry should be about the size of the palm of your hand
*Your fruit and vegetable servings should be about the size of a tennis ball
*A serving size of cottage cheese, rice, pasta, cereal or other starch is the size of a tennis ball
*A slice of bread, one small roll, or a half bagel or bun counts as one serving
*A serving of sandwich cheese is one slice
*A serving size of fats, oils, nuts, seed is about the size of your thumb

Techniques for Reducing Portion Sizes:

*Use a smaller plate. Instead of using a traditional dinner plate, use an appetizer/salad size plate instead. This will force you to start with fewer calories right away. We’ve been taught as kids to eat what’s on our plate. So a bigger plate automatically means more calories.

*Divide your plate into 4 parts. A quarter of the plate will be reserved for a starch (whole grain rice, pasta, bread/roll), a quarter of the plate will be reserved for protein and the last half of the plate should be reserved for fruits and/or vegetables.

*20 minutes before you eat your meal, have a cup of soup, a handful of walnuts, a small salad, a cup of juice or 8-16 ounces of water. This will help to suppress your appetite.

*To help control portions, keep a food log and submit it to a professional.

*To help avoid mindless, late-night eating, brush your teeth after dinner. Pop a breath mint or breath strip. Go for a walk. Read a book. Take a bath.

*Buy single serving items or place snacks in small plastic baggies to help control portions.

*Avoid buying in bulk. Studies show that when people buy in bulk, they also eat in bulk. Remember – if it’s there, you’ll eat it!

*Eat slowly. The brain needs 20 minutes to receive the signal that you’re full.

* After food is placed in front of you, wait 5 minutes before you eat. Place small mouthfuls of food on fork/spoon. Completely swallow food before you add more food to fork/spoon. Put down utensils in between bites. Use smaller utensils. Consciously take time to taste, chew and savor food.

*Stretch out meals, making them last 30 minutes. Take a five minute break about 10 minutes into your meal

*Take sips of water or other non-caloric beverages between bites

*Introduce a one or two minute delay between courses

When eating out:
*Order one meal and ask for two plates so you can split the meal.
*Don’t order super-size meals; opt for regular or kiddie portions instead
*Share desserts
*Order water immediately
*Order butter and salad dressing on the side
*Ask for your meat broiled and without any additional fat added
*Ask for your chicken to be prepared without the skin
*Order a salad instead of french fries
*Ask for skim milk
*Order a tomato instead of cream sauce for pasta dishes
*Order plain bread instead of garlic bread
*Take one piece of bread from the basket and then ask for the basket to be taken away. Or ask for a complimentary vegetable platter instead of bread basket.
*Order tomato and broth soups instead of cream-based soups
*Order fresh fruit desserts
*Hold the sauce on burgers and instead use ketchup, mustard, relish, tomato and lettuce
*Do not be afraid to ask for any type of substitution

Become aware of your impulses and urges:

What traps you into overeating? Is it a certain time of day? Is it the people you hang with? Is it paired with some type of activity? Do you get the urge to eat in certain places? Do you turn to food when you’re tired after work?

*Make a list of substitute activities. They must be activities that compete with the action of eating – ie. it’s difficult to eat while doing the activity. For example, a hobby, gardening, play a game with family/friends, learn a new sport, visit your neighbors/friends, write in a journal, give yourself a manicure, read a magazine/book, plan your next vacation, Relaxation/breathing exercises, walk/jog/swim/bike ride/go to gym/exercise video/dance to some upbeat music, shower, bath, get a massage, listen to music, prayer, meditation, housework, pay bills, balance your check book, complete a home improvement project, rearrange your furniture, wash your car, clean out closets/drawers, run errands, floss, take dog for a walk, video games
*Then when your impulse or urge surfaces, immediately start your substitute activity. The urge should pass.

If you recognize that you need to focus on controlling your portion sizes, you may initially feel a bit hungry for a few weeks. But that hunger-sensation won’t last long. Your stomach is capable of shrinking and will learn to be satisfied with the smaller meals. Plus when you’re eating the right type of foods, you’ll have more energy and your appetite will effectively suppressed making your plan much easier to adhere to.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #5 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in exercise, fat loss, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Nutrition Principle #4 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 6, 2009

Nutrition Habit #4: Stop Eating Three Hours before Bedtime

If you have planned your meals correctly throughout the day, you shouldn’t need to eat anything right before bed. Often the calories that are consumed after dinner are those that are eaten not because you are hungry and need the energy but because of habitual patterns or boredom. Think of it this way – you are just going to sleep. How much energy do you really need? If you find yourself needing to eat late at night, choose something that is low in calories just to get you by until morning.

So many men and women, myself included, experience incredible results when they implement this action step. Try it and see what happens.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #4 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in exercise, fat loss, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Nutrition Principle #3 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 6, 2009

Nutrition Habit #3: Plan your meals so that you consume 5 small meals and snacks throughout the day

See if you recognize yourself in any of the following. You skip breakfast, guzzle coffee all morning and then, practicing great self-control, you eat a tiny lunch. By mid-afternoon, you are starving and so you grab a quick pick-me-up chocolate bar or muffin. By the time you get home, you are hungry, irritable, tired and ready for dinner. You stuff yourself at the dinner table and then snack all evening. You go to bed on a full stomach, and tomorrow the cycle begins all over again.

In today’s busy environment, this type of eating pattern is common and has your body working against you rather than for you. Many people who do not eat breakfast and consume only a very light lunch are tricked into believing that they are reducing their caloric intake when, in fact, they are actually setting themselves up for a snacking binge in the late afternoon, followed by an overload at dinner and into the evening. The result is just the opposite of what you intend: Total calories consumed during the day will end up being higher rather than lower! And the scale gives you the bad news that you are gaining weight.

The theory is this: Our bodies are not very good at burning calories from a big meal, especially in the evening when all our systems tend to slow down. Many of our evening calories, then, are more likely to be stored as fat.

Your metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories for internal functions, is like an engine – the more often you give it fuel, the better it works. When you deprive your body of food, even for short periods of time, your metabolism automatically slows down in order to preserve energy. And a slowed metabolism makes it much more difficult to lose weight and much easier to gain weight. The type of diet that is not consistent in caloric and nutrient intake will also lead to a more rapid loss in muscle tissue – we want to avoid this at all costs. The good news is you can get your body to work for you instead of against you. The rule should be that you do not go any more than three to four hours without eating something.

Think of starting your day by revving your internal engine. This means regardless of whether you are a breakfast person or not, you must develop the habit of having something to eat in the morning. Your momma was right – breakfast is the most important meal of the day but it does not need to be a 5-course meal. A piece of fruit with yogurt, or half a bagel with peanut butter or light cream cheese, or cereal and milk or eggs, toast and juice will do the trick. Then a few hours later, try a small snack like a piece of fruit and a cup of yogurt. By lunchtime, you are not going to have a problem making a healthy, low-fat, low-calorie choice. A half-sandwich and salad or bowl of chili or vegetable soup might be an appropriate lunch. A few hours later, in the afternoon, eat another light snack like a handful of walnuts, and some celery and carrot sticks or crackers and cheese. By the time dinner comes around, you will not be ravenous and you will be less likely to indulge and consume too many calories. This type of eating pattern keeps your metabolism revved all day, keeps your blood sugar at a healthy level, will keep your energy levels up and will help avoid the tendency to over-eat at any meal. You’ll be a lot more enjoyable to be around also.

Most of us have been conditioned to believe that dinner should be the largest meal of the day, so changing your eating patterns is not going to be easy. It will not happen overnight. You will probably have to change other old habits too. If, for example, you snack in the evening while watching TV, you might need to go for a walk in the evening instead. If you find yourself bored in the evening and eating because there is nothing else to do, think about enrolling in an evening course or start reading a good book. Breaking habits is very difficult in the beginning but eventually it will become second nature.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #3 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in eating breakfast, exercise, fat loss, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Nutrition Principle #2 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 2, 2009

Nutrition Habit #2: Drink More Water

Did you know that 50-70% of our total body weight is water? The brain is composed of 70 percent water, lungs are nearly 90 percent water and our blood is about 83 percent water, which helps digest our food, transport and eliminate waste and toxins, mobilize fat, and control body temperature. Think of it this way, every tissue cell, organ and system is comprised of water and functions optimally only in the presence of adequate water levels. So even fat loss will not occur at an optimal rate if you are in a dehydrated state. Plus water helps to suppress our appetite.

Water is our life force, in fact, we could only go a few days without water before our body would start to deteriorate and die. According to the American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, the average adult loses about two and a half quarts or about 10 cups of water daily through urine and sweat. Just cover your entire arm with a plastic bag and within a few minutes you’ll get a very visual display of how much water we lose in a day. Think of the good old-fashioned sweat suits designed to make you sweat and lose weight. Yeah, you lost weight but it wasn’t fat weight, it was very valuable water weight!

To maintain your body’s fluid balance, you need to replace at least the 10 cups of water (80 ounces) everyday. This amount needs to be increased in hot weather conditions or for those who exercise who may lose up to a liter per hour during a workout. Plus, as we age, there is a general loss of water in all tissues – it’s like the plum to prune effect! Wouldn’t you prefer to be a healthy, hydrated plum rather than a dried up, old prune?!

But, unfortunately most people exist on a daily basis in a dehydrated state. In fact common complaints like headaches, lack of energy, feeling tired and lethargic, being prone to sickness and injury, kidney stones, constipation and achy joints and muscles have been associated with dehydration. If most people would commit to drinking 10 glasses of pure water every day they would notice a great improvement in their overall health, body composition and energy levels.

Keep in mind though, we obtain water in our diets from drinks, either plain water or as part of other beverages and from solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables. So we encourage clients to get at least 80 ounces (10-8 ounce or 5-16 ounce glasses) of pure water and see how their body responds. Any other additional fluids you consume in the form of juice, milk, or herbal teas will be a bonus.

In the beginning, your body and its tissues are not used to this higher level of fluid and so they will initially just flush it out. And yes, you will be spending a great deal of time in the restroom but it won’t last long. Eventually, your need to run to the washroom all day should decrease. Your body will soon adapt to your hydrated state. You thirst mechanism will also become more efficient and you’ll find that the more you drink, the more thirsty you become. That’s a great sign!

Most people know they should be drinking more water but they don’t. We’ve found it’s not in the knowing, it’s in the doing! You’ll have to take some action steps to help you adhere to this goal. For example, purchase a water cooler for home and work so you always have cold, refreshing water available. Be sure to drink some water every time you pass the cooler. You can also purchase an 80 ounce water bottle from many grocery and department stores so you can fill up your bottle in the morning and make it a goal to finish the whole thing before you go to bed. This works great for a lot of people. Have your bottle with you wherever you go. If you don’t like the big water jug idea, drink a 16 ounce glass of water first thing in the morning and then 20 minutes before each meal and snack. You’ll easily hit 80 ounces. Many athletes use what’s called a ‘Camel-Back’, a water sac that hooks on like a back pack with a water-hose that allows you to drink easily and continuously throughout workouts. This is a great way to replenish all those extra fluids during tough workouts. During workouts, you should strive to drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes. Note: During long bouts of intense exercise (2 hours or more), you can drink TOO much water! It’s best to use a sports drink instead of just plain water, as this will help replace sodium and electrolytes lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening!

Take my word for it – water is important to your overall health. I hope this clarifies and provides better insight to the importance of water in your diet and weight loss.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #2 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in exercise, fat loss, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »

Nutrition Principle #1 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best

October 1, 2009

Nutrition Habit #1: Consume a balanced diet that is rich in Fiber

Carbohydrates (CHO):
are fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads, pastas and rice. Carbohydrates in your diet will be sent to your liver and either burned for energy or stored as fat (70% conversion ratio). Did you know the only energy your brain can use is carbohydrates? That’s why low-carb diets never work for the long-term. You wind up being tired, irritable and have a hard time focusing.

You will want to ensure your diet is 50-60% carbohydrate content – approximately 50% of your total calories should be in the form of fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates which are your whole grain products and no more than 10% from simple carbohydrates (cakes, cookies, ice cream etc.) Be sure to avoid white (enriched, refined, bleached) breads, pastas and rice. Avoid foods where sugars like High Fructose Corn Syrup are listed as one of the first few ingredients.

And you’re also going to want to limit your intake of no-fat or low-fat products. You are probably thinking “What? Limit no-fat foods? But aren’t they the answer to all my fat-loss prayers?” It is interesting to note that since the explosion of no-fat products onto the market, our population continues to get fatter and fatter! You would think we would start to get skinnier as we consumed more of these no-fat products! But what do you think makes those no-fat products taste so good? Sugar –and lots of it! And what do you think sugar is made of? A lot of calories! Excess calories, whether they come from no-fat cookies or full-fat cookies, are still going to show up on our hips and thighs and abs.

Protein: Protein gets broken down into small amino acids which go to the liver to be used for growth, repair, and maintenance of muscles and tissues. If not used, it will be converted to glucose and then fat (70% conversion ratio)

Balance your diet with 15-20% protein. You can go to our website at www.nwpersonaltraining.com to determine your individual protein needs. Click on Client Zone. Then click on Cool Tools.

Good Sources of Protein:
*Salmon, along with most other fishes and sea foods.
*Poultry (w/out skin and white meat is leaner)
*Beef (Lean cuts)
*Pork (white cuts)
*Soy Products
*Egg Whites
*Whey Products

Fat: Fats get broken down into smaller fatty acids and are used for cell functioning, insulation (protection and warmth) and energy. If not used, it becomes an amazing source of stored energy
The average person carrying 30 pounds of body-fat is carrying 105,000 calories of stored energy – that’s enough energy to complete 40 marathons back to back!

Your diet should be 20-30% fat content. Note: A no-fat diet is unrealistic and unhealthy.

Reducing Fat: While reading labels, look at the order of ingredients. If fat is listed as one of the first, second or third ingredients, the product is likely to be high in fat and is best to be limited or avoided. Items like lard, animal shortening, oils, butterfat, whole milk solids, shortening, and margarine are all fats.

Some obvious foods that you are going to want to avoid are as follows:
*Fried foods – fried foods are saturated in fat and oil and calories!
*Creams – very high in fat content
*Processed foods – like cakes and cookies, etc.

While a reduction in fat is usually a good thing for most people, there is a point of diminishing returns and health risks. Just so you know, fat is the best fuel ever designed! We can make fat out of almost anything we eat and use it for energy. Can you imagine if your car could do that? Put in potatoes and the engine miraculously converts them into gas. In goes apples and instantly we get gasoline. Fat is an amazing fuel that provides us with a limitless amount of energy. Instead of hating fat and blaming it for all our problems, we should be astounded and respect it for its outstanding capabilities. Certain fatty acids are also necessary for good health, and “fat soluble” vitamins require fat for absorption into the system.

It is true that most people do not have to worry about getting too little fat in their diet, but there is another reason to be less obsessed about reducing fat to super-low levels; fat contributes to feelings of satiety (fullness) and helps reduce food cravings. Many people who cut a lot of fat out of their diets, often eat far too much of other ”non-fat” foods that are high in calories. So the key is to just make sure that your total fat intake is within the accepted guidelines of 20-30% of total daily calories. No more than 10 percent of this should come from saturated fats. The average fat content of most diets is greater than 43 percent – this of course, is one of the reasons our society is getting fatter! When deciding to reduce your fat intake, remember that there are fats in your diet that are obvious – these are the ones you can see – foods such as butter, margarine, cooking oils, spreads, and fat on meat. And there are also fats that are hidden in processed foods such as cakes, cookies, ice cream and potato chips. It will be important to limit your intake from both these fat sources.

Unsaturated fats, especially the monounsaturated ones, are considered healthier and are found in nuts, seeds, olives, and vegetable oils. However, we’ve discovered many people consuming very high amounts of nuts because they’ve heard or read nuts are healthy. A healthy amount of nuts is a HANDFUL. More than this and you are consuming a huge amount of calories. They call it “Trail-Mix” for a reason! You should be on a HIKING TRAIL expending a huge amount of calories to need the energy from the trail-mix. It’s not called “Office-Desk Mix” or “Sitting watching football Mix”!

Increasing your Omega 3 & 6 Fats found in fish, walnuts, olives, avocados, flaxseed is also a healthy habit. You can obtain healthy levels by eating a 4 ounce serving of fish three times per week or 2-gram fish oil every day or an ounce of walnuts a day.

Saturated fats are found in animal products such as beef, butter, dairy products and lard. You have probably also heard of trans fatty acids. These are the end products of a process called hydrogenation, in which vegetable oils are hardened. You should avoid consumption of this type of fat. Butter is a saturated fat and margarine contains trans fatty acids, both of which can increase the risk for heart disease.

As you begin to reduce the amount of fat and increase the amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grain products in your diet, your fiber intake will automatically increase. Fiber is so important in our diets because it keeps us full longer therefore, helping to suppress our appetites. But as you initially start to adopt many of these healthy habits, you may notice that you start to experience a lot more intestinal gas. To reduce the initial negative effects of a high fiber diet, change your diet gradually, and soon your body will adapt to your new, healthier diet. You may also want to consider taking a product that will help you manage these side-effects such as Beano. You’ll get the recommended 20-35 grams of fiber each day by consuming a minimum of 2 servings of fruit, 3 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of whole grains.

Sample Meals when you’re Busy:

You’ve got to get the kids ready for school…laundry started….dishwasher emptied. You’ve got emails to answer…Appointments and meetings to make…Projects to complete…Your daughter needs to be dropped off at soccer practice; your son at basketball. Many people report that life is so busy that it’s difficult to stick to a healthy eating plan and instead, they find themselves resorting to fast-food way too often. But eating well is what’s going to provide you the energy and the mental stamina to perform at your best. Here are some quick solutions to eating healthy:

Try these balanced, quick breakfast options: You have got to eat breakfast no matter how busy you are. Think of it as filling up on an empty tank. Imagine how much better your engine will rev when it’s got what it needs.

*low fat yogurt and some mixed raisins, granola and dried fruit
*cold or hot cereal with milk and fruit
*toast and fruit
*peanut butter and banana sandwich
*bagel with cream cheese and a piece of fruit
*homemade muffin and a banana
*fruit smoothie made from milk, yogurt and fruit

Here are some easy, lunch ideas to go:

*raw veggies with a container of plain yogurt for dipping
*sandwiches (tuna in pita bread or thick whole wheat bread, vegetables & cheese on a bagel, turkey & vegetables in pita bread, ricotta cheese & jam on your favorite bread, hummus & tomato on a baguette, cottage cheese & pineapple on a kaiser bun)
*pita pizzas with vegetables and tomato sauce
*low fat crackers and cheese
*left-overs from dinner
*soup or chili made on the weekend
*baked potato
*pasta salad made on the weekend

Here are some healthy mid-morning and a mid-afternoon, low-fat, high-energy snack ideas.

*low-fat yogurt and fruit
*raw vegetables and yogurt dip
*fruit and yogurt dip
*Powerbar or Harvest crunch bar
*Rice Cakes
*glass of juice or milk
*hard boiled egg
*low-fat crackers and cheese
*a couple fig bars

Wind down in the evening with one of these dinner options:

*Whole grain Pasta with Marinara Sauce
*Salmon, Tuna or other fish option with vegetables and brown rice
*Vegetable stir fry with chicken, beef or fish
*Chili
*Homemade Pizza
*Hearty salad with chicken, nuts and crunched tortilla chips

It’s difficult to achieve great things and be great, when you don’t feel great. So make the commitment to paying better attention to your nutrition, and enjoy the positive consequences to all areas of your life.

Free Days:

And when we say balanced – we really means balanced. A balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy body composition and weight and provide you with the nutrients for optimal health and functioning. All foods can be eaten in a healthy diet – you just need to have some boundaries and parameters. A successful nutrition plan will focus on what you need to be consuming every day rather than what you should not be eating. For example, set a goal of eating 3 fruits for the day instead of deciding to not eat any chocolate. In addition, allow yourself one or two “free” days every week. For example, if you love pizza, and chocolate, then one day a week allow yourself to indulge in these items. This will eliminate the feeling of being deprived of your favorite foods and you will be less likely to experience the inevitable binge that goes hand-in-hand with total elimination of your favorites. This type of plan is feasible for most people. You are not telling yourself you are never going to eat chocolate again, but instead, just limiting how much and when you will indulge. Just make sure you don’t go crazy on your free days. It’s not a free ticket to gorge! And try to avoid making deals with yourself regarding your free days. If Saturday is your free day, make sure you stick to Saturday. For example, avoid indulging on Thursday because there’s an office party and then promising that on Saturday, you will skip your free day. Often you end up of taking more free days than you agreed to and all of a sudden every day turns into a ‘free’ day.

I suggest (and follow) the 80:20 rule for nutrition, which states that if you are eating well 80 percent of the time, you can allow yourself to indulge the other 20 percent. Eating well 80 percent of the time will definitely keep you healthy and will be a much more enjoyable process. This type of belief system is long-term focused. It is important that you decide to only do things that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. The only way to do this is to achieve your goals while upsetting your life as little as possible. Look at it this way – even our Northwest Personal Training Personal Trainers indulge so don’t try to be ‘perfect’. That will just set you up for disappointment!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Read more on Nutrition Principle #1 to Losing Weight and Looking & Feeling your Best…

Posted in exercise, fat loss, northwest personal training, Nutrition, Sherri McMillan, weight loss No Comments »