Where Has All the Vitamin D Gone?

December 17, 2012 By: office 3 Comments

D IMG_0139This time of year is hard enough to try to stay on track with our weight loss goals, because of the holiday parties and all of the food and treats associated with them. But to top it off, there is yet another thing getting in our way, the sun. Winter is the time of year when there is little to no vitamin D production due to atmospheric conditions that block UVB rays.  Now you might be thinking, ‘why does this affect my health and weight loss goals just like the holiday parties and food?’ It’s because vitamin D does more than just help us maintain our calcium and phosphorous levels. It has been found to be a key nutrient to weight loss and creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Since the winter months make it more difficult for us to get the vitamin D we need from the sun, Amber Ketchum, Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts Registered Dietitian for our Texas Resort made a list of 10 foods that can help us receive the essential vitamin D we need.

1. Salmon – This tasty fish is loaded with nutrition!  Just 3 ounces provides over 100% of your daily vitamin D needs.

2. Tuna – Canned tuna is a great option if you’re looking for a healthy, affordable, and versatile food.  One 3-ounce serving of tuna (packed in water) will provide almost half of your daily dose of vitamin D.

3. Fortified Milk – Most cows’ milk these days is fortified with vitamin D since it is essential for absorbing calcium in the body.  If you don’t drink cow’s milk, many milk alternatives such as soy or almond milk are now fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D as well, just be sure to check the label.

4. Fortified Yogurt – Just like milk, many yogurts are fortified with Vitamin D, but just make sure to double check the label on this food to be certain it is fortified.

5. Fortified Orange Juice – This is a great way to increase your intake of vitamin D if you don’t drink any type of milk or consume fish.  1 cup (8 ounces) of 100% orange juice fortified with Vitamin D will provide about the same amount as 1 glass of milk.

6. Sardines – These small fish are an excellent source of both calcium and vitamin D. They may be small, but sardines are considered a fatty fish, which means they provide big nutrition in a tiny package!

7. Liver – Liver may not be one of the most popular food choices, but it is one of the few foods that naturally contains Vitamin D, along with many other essential nutrients.

8. Egg (whole, including yolk) – Sometimes eggs get a bad reputation due to the high cholesterol content of the yolk.  However, eating the whole egg provides many vitamins and nutrients, including Vitamin D, that are simply not found in the egg white on it’s own.

9. Ready-to-eat fortified cereal – There are so many breakfast cereals available on grocery store shelves today.  Many of them are good sources of Vitamin D since they are fortified, just make sure your cereal is 100% whole grain and try to choose those with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

10. Mushrooms – There are many varieties of mushrooms that are now grown under tightly controlled conditions with exposure to UV light, which increases their Vitamin D content.  These are a delicious option as a plant source Vitamin D.  The package will say if the mushrooms are Vitamin D enhanced.
Try incorporating these 10 foods into your diet and you’ll be on your way to getting the vitamin D you need for a healthier life and weight loss.


Calories Are Everywhere & Yet We Can’t Track Them

December 11, 2012 By: office 1 Comment

Every day calories are consumed by the billions, and all too often at and between meals. Calorie information appears everywhere with an increasing frequency on food labels, menus, recipes and web sites. But few people understand what that information means and how they work. Especially how they have worked to create a population in which over 64% of adults and a third of children are overweight or obese. The human body does an impressive job making sure that it gets enough calories to meet its needs, but it does not know when the calories are in excess.

The average American spends about 10% of their disposable income on food and with food now being offered in places it never has before; such as, Staples, Bed, Bath & Beyond and book stores, it’s becoming too readily available. Portion sizes, especially in restaurants, are also out of control; for example, bagels are now on average 500 to 600 calories each and sodas are now available in larger sizes such as the 7-Eleven Big Gulp – a 64 ounce drink that is 800 calories. Individuals who check calorie information on nutrition labels often do not note the size of the serving it applies to. For example, a serving of ice cream is only a half cup, and uncooked pasta is merely two ounces.

“Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics” written by two experts Marian Nestle – a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at NYU and Malden Nesheim – professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, explains what calories are, where they come from, how different sources affect the body and why it is so easy to consume more of them than most people need to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.   As seductive as the current food environment is, with words such as ‘organic’, ‘low-fat’ or ‘heart-healthy’, it’s still easier not to gain excess weight in the first place.

Dr. Nestle and Dr. Nesheim also reviewed the weight-regulating effects of different sources of calories. Evidence was found to support the popular idea that any type of nutrient is responsible for our obesity. “The source of the calories may make a small difference in weight maintenance or loss, but appears to be much less important than the ability to resist pressure to overeat calories in general”, the authors wrote.  Since most people cannot come close to estimating how many calories they consume or expend in a day, a better way to measure intake and output is to regularly check the notches on one belt or numbers on the scale.  “It’s much easier to lose a pound or two than 20 or 30” says Dr. Nestle. Of course, the amount of calories consumed is not the only factor influencing ones weight.  Calories expended count as well. The more active people are, the better able they are to balance out.

At Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts we think that it’s not only important for you to exercise and learn about calorie intake and expenditure, but through our nutrition education classes, you will learn how to calculate your daily calorie intake, create a healthy eating and exercise plan as well as how to cook fresh healthy meals and snacks. Because knowing the why’s and how’s behind things are the keys to a successful weight loss journey.

10 Ways to Avoid Overeating at Parties This Holiday Season

December 6, 2012 By: office 8 Comments

The holiday season is often filled with invitations to parties galore from friends, families and co-workers.  And the holiday season cycle begins – overeating, weight gain, and a setback on our weight loss goals.  It doesn’t have to happen! Follow these 10 simple steps from our guest writer Skye Cutrupi to avoid holiday weight gain.

1. Eat Breakfast: Every Fitness and health publication will tell you….EAT BREAKFAST. Without eating breakfast, you’re more vulnerable to cravings and less likely to make healthy eating choices in the morning and throughout the day.

2. Carry A Snack Reserve: Holiday schedules can be busy and impromptu; having one or two healthy snacks on hand can help prevent impulse eating at parties.

3. Eat Pre-Party: Going to a party on an empty stomach can be even more dangerous than doing your grocery shopping famished. You are not only more likely to eat things that you would otherwise be able to resist, but to eat them quickly and in great quantity as well, since all the food is immediately available. Your best bet is to eat something small but filling, even if it is just an apple, right before your event. This will break down the hold that an empty stomach has over the mind.

4. Be Aware of What You Are Drinking: Most of us have heard the adage, ‘Don’t Drink Your Calories,’ the holiday season only increases the need for awareness of the caloric intake of our beverages.  With multiple parties, and tins of cookies from neighbors, chances are the month of December provides you with double the opportunities to indulge in sweet treats. If your daily coffee is along the lines of a caramel macchiato, try switching to something with fewer calories if you know that you will want to indulge in treats at a party later in the day. The same goes for any daily sugary drink intake.

5. Bring A Healthy Dish Or Bottle: Volunteer to bring a healthy/lower calorie dish, treat, or beverage that you like to the party. This way you know that there will be a healthier alternative that you can choose from. Fruit platter, vegetable dish, cookies or brownies that you have made with healthier substitutes, low calorie beer, Skinny-Girl Alcohol…you get the idea.

6. Make Choices: Deprivation as a form of dieting is neither healthy nor is it effective. Moderation and balance is key. Do you love Grandma’s holiday brownies, enjoy one of those, and skip over the treats you might be tempted to eat simply because they are there. You still get to enjoy your holiday favorites, but avoid the guilt of overindulgence. There are enough other factors during this season that can create stress, don’t let food be one of them.

7. Help Out: Lending a hand to a party host is not only in the holiday spirit, but can also be a good way to avoid the temptation of overeating. If you’re greeting guests and taking coats, playing DJ or pouring drinks, chances are you won’t have time to linger at the dessert table.

8. Wear Zippers & Buttons: Being comfortable in what you’re wearing is the most flattering look of all; elastic waistbands however can be a screaming invitation for overeating. When picking an outfit for a holiday party choose something that you like and are comfortable in, but also something with button or zippers, to help keep you aware of your food and drink intake.

9. Play With The Kids & Pets: Family gatherings and parties can be wonderful, but for many of us they can also be extremely stressful. Playing with children or household pets is a great way to sidestep and alleviate some of the stressors that can stem from such get togethers. Not only is it simply difficult to be stressed when you are making a fort of blocks, or tugging on the tail of a dragon hanging from a dog’s mouth, but you have also created a fun way to still be engaged at a function, that you might have been otherwise dreading.

10.Don’t Judge Your Insides By Other People’s Outsides: What does this statement mean? People have a tendency to compare their lives to the lives of others, and the holiday season can sometimes provide even more than the normal opportunity to do this. We see family members that we have not seen in months, friends back from college etc. What was your year like, their year like? How is your job, school, and so on. It’s easy to begin comparing the events of our year to those that we are hearing from others, and for some this could be a significant source of stress. Maybe your cousin got engaged, while your significant other of four years gifted you with a Keurig this year; your high school friend made deans list or an exclusive fraternity, someone got a big promotion, had a baby….Don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides, is a way to remember that such a comparison will never be a fair one. Think about it, we have all the information about ourselves…good, bad, ugly, in between, and are attempting to compare it to a tiny fraction of what we know about the life of someone else. Be kind to yourself and remember this imbalance should you find your mind comparing your years’ events to those of others’.  Avoiding the comparison trap can save you from unwarranted and unjustified stress and depression, and the possible desire to eat every sweet treat at the party.

If you follow these 10 simple steps you will still be on your way of getting and staying healthy and losing or sustaining your weight this holiday season.

This post was written by a guest author, Skye Cutrupi. Skye is a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor in Training, holds a B.A. In Political Science with an emphasis Conflict Resolution, and is a clumsy but devoted enthusiast of Yoga.

How To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

December 3, 2012 By: consultant 2 Comments

The #1 trick to avoid weight gain over the holidays is to only celebrate that one special day. Stick to your regular routine before and after the holidays.

Here are some other tips to keep you on track of your healthy weight goals:

Avoid the pre-holiday indulgences:
Are you the chef of the family like I am? I do a lot of baking early on in the week. Enjoy your hard work on the special day. Limit your “tastes” while cooking and baking. Limit yourself to 1-2 bites of tasting pre- and post- seasoning. You’ll get to enjoy what you made on that day. For recipes that you have made many times before like your famous cheesecake, challenge yourself to not taste it until the day it’s being served.

Do NOT restrict:
Thinking you may “save your calories”, restricting is not the answer. When restricting, you end up over eating because of being ravenous and won’t listen to fullness as well.

Keep eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day like at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts. This way you will never feel hungry and less likely to overeat.

Focus on socializing:
Don’t let your main focus of a holiday party be the food. Many times during the holidays you get to see family and friends that you are not able to see regularly the rest of the year. Enjoy the company around you. After you take food walk away from the table and engage in conversation and you’ll be less likely to walk up for seconds.

Be Picky:
When it comes to holiday foods, be selective. Go for foods you typically wouldn’t eat on a regular basis. For example, if it’s a decision between a plain old chocolate chip cookie or your grandma’s famous mini chocolate éclairs, choose the éclairs and savor those indulgences by eating slowly and truly enjoying the flavors.

Get Moving:
Just because you may be home for break or traveling to visit family, keep moving. Go for a walk, run, do push-ups, sit-ups, etc. You can still have a great workout even if you are away from the gym. If you really want to go to the gym and you are away from home, many gyms allow guest passes for the day.

Avoid the post-holiday indulgences:
Avoid bringing home leftovers that are too tempting. You got to enjoy those treats the day before. Get back to your healthy eating and exercise routine the next day!

Always remember that the holiday is only one day of the year. One day will not ruin all your hard work. With that being said, that one day it is not a free pass to go crazy and eat anything. Healthy eating is all about balance.

Have a happy healthy holiday and enjoy!


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