Read this before Thanksgiving!

Many of us are still dealing with Halloween Candy and now Thanksgiving is about a week away. It’s enough to take even the most-disciplined, die-hard exerciser off track.

In America, Thanksgiving dinner goes hand-in-hand with an all-out gorge until you’re about to burst. A retreat to the couch follows because you’re just too stuffed to move. It doesn’t have to be this way – everyone always regrets it afterwards. Remember last year’s moans and groans “Ugh, I shouldn’t have ate the second helping of stuffing and sweet potatoes!”

This year, we’re going to help you be more pro-active:

It’s estimated that the average American can consume 5000+ calories on Thanksgiving Day. Most people enjoy a bigger than usual breakfast, Thanksgiving meal and we can’t forget the left-overs later in the evening. Now if you were an Olympic Athlete this wouldn’t be too much of a problem but since the only activity most people do on Thanksgiving is the walk from the kitchen to the TV, Thanksgiving can wreck havoc on your health.

Plan a Healthy Thanksgiving Meal:
If you’re in charge of dinner or helping to plan, keep these tips in mind:

• Schedule the meal earlier in the day. Thanksgiving Dinner between 2:00-5:00 will allow some time for the body to digest the heavy meal before you hit the sack. Or do Thanksgiving the European way – schedule Thanksgiving as an all- day celebration and serve small dishes every hour or so. This seems so much healthier and civilized than mom busting her butt all day long preparing a meal that is consumed ravenously in 5 minutes. Spread the calories out throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to feel awful.
• Minimize the carb overload – Instead of preparing sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and rolls choose only one or two of these dishes. It will save a ton of calories and you’ll feel less ‘stuffed!’ (pun intended!)
• While guests are arriving, have a vegetable platter available for them to munch on
• Serve a delicious soup as the appetizer
• Serve a beautiful salad
• Serve two or three different types of vegetables at the table
• Use skim or semi-skim milk for all your recipes
• Serve water with dinner

You can have Desert: But before desert is served, insist everyone go for a beautiful walk around the neighborhood. Or plan some fun activities while you allow your body to process the meal. For example, plan a fun game of charades, break out the WII, or maybe pull out the Holiday decorations and have the family help get your house looking festive. Or maybe earn some brownie points with mom, grandma or Aunt Jane by raking some leaves.

Get your workout in: Head to the gym for a quick workout (many are open for limited hours including our facilities in Portland and Vancouver WA) or take a run, walk or bike ride around the neighborhood. If you’ve got family visiting, do it first thing in the morning before people wake-up. A workout will actually make you feel better and help to suppress your appetite so you’re less likely to overeat. And consider ramping up your workouts over this next week so you’re expending a little more energy in anticipation of the increased caloric intake next Thursday.

You can still enjoy a wonderful dinner and atmosphere without having everyone feeling bloated and horrible for the rest of the evening and suffering a Thanksgiving Hang-over the next day!

Forward this email to everyone you are celebrating Thanksgiving with this year so you’re all on the same page!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

When was the last time you saw a guy in a wheelchair Bungee Jump?

We place our own limits on ourselves. When I lived in Vancouver BC, I had the fortunate honor to be Rick Hansen’s Trainer – the man who wheeled around the world raising millions of dollars for spinal cord research. He told me once he had to decide to focus on the 1000 things he couldn’t do anymore because he didn’t have the use of his legs or the 100,000 things he still could do. And he has gone on to live the most incredible life inspiring so many others that you can do anything if you want it bad enough.

He just recently Bungee Jumped in Whistler BC. You’ve got to watch this clip. It is both hilarious and inspirational showing you that you can do anything when you put your mind to it! It will be a highlight of you day!

If you can’t see the clip above, clip on this direct link.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

ps. If you are local, please join me this weekend for our 3 hour Exercise-a-thon to collect food and clothing for a local shelter. Click below for more details. We’d love to see you there.

When was the last time you had Geese chasing you?!

Happy Monday!

I just finished presenting at the fabulous CanFitPro fitness conference in Vancouver BC. I often hear from clients that they have a hard time keeping up with their fitness routine when they travel. I always explain to them that if you want something bad enough, if your health and fitness is really that important to you, then there are NO EXCUSES! That’s right – no excuses. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired, jet-lagged, your hotel doesn’t offer a fitness facility, or you can’t find a gym in the area – you’ve got to make it happen.

For example, today it was raining in Vancouver BC so it would have been easy to talk myself out of going for a run. But I went anyways and here’s what happened. First, I found a beautiful trail along the river that was a breath of fresh air and once I got outside, the rain didn’t bother me at all and it was actually quite incredible. I would have never got to experience this had I not left my hotel. Then I stumbled across the new 2010 Olympic Oval being built and was able to run all around it and check out how awesome it was. That was pretty cool. And then on my way back there was this group of Canadian Geese hanging out by the trail. It felt so nice to connect with nature. And then as I ran by the geese, a few proceeded to chase me and nip at my butt. I think they were mad that I moved to the states! 🙂 So anyways, had I not gone out for my run, I would not have experienced that exciting adventure!

Bottom line, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you need to do something to move your body today. Don’t ask yourself “Should I workout today?” That’s the wrong question because the answer will always be yes. Instead ask yourself “WHAT should I do to move my body today so that I can look and feel my absolute best!”

Have a fabulous week!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

ps. If you’re starting to look for good stocking stuffers for the holidays, one of my books might inspire one of your loved ones to get off the couch. Click below for more details.

Happy & Healthy Halloween

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

Don’t buy Halloween Candy yet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:
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


Skim milk or low-fat soy/rice/oatbran milk fortified with vitamin D and calcium
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:

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)

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
Apples/Pears/Grapes/Bananas/Oranges/Grapefruit/Tangerines – plus whatever is in season

Olive oil
Soy sauce – low sodium
Balsamic vinegar
Salad dressing/Salad spritzers – vinaigrettes are a great choice
Marinara sauce
Other favorite spices


Rice Cakes
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

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

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

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

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