Come out of the holidays lighter and cheerier!
At our weight loss camp we know how important it is to continue our healthy eating during the holidays, but we also know that these holidays only come around once a year and it’s okay to indulge a bit!
On the actual holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas), eat what you want! It’s a special time of year with special foods that we don’t get everyday. But for all the days in between and around the holidays (there are 54 days between Halloween and Christmas and 60 till New Year’s day), stick to your food and exercise plan and you’ll be successful in continuing with your health goals even during the most challenging time of year.
Tips for Parties:
- Don’t go to parties on an empty stomach
- Eat very well the rest of the day, being mindful of portion sizes – and eat a little lighter than usual if you know you’ll be eating extra for dinner
- Limit snacking on appetizers.
- One-bite rule – if you feel obligated to or just want to try all of the dishes at a party, just get one bite of each item so you get a taste but don’t end up with too much by the end of the meal.
- Eat mindfully! Especially if you’re going for the one-bite rule, eat slowly and savor each bite. This will allow you to enjoy all of the same foods but be satisfied on smaller amounts.
- Make sure you bring a healthy dish – this guarantees you’ll have “safe” food to eat no matter what the circumstances.
- If you are in charge of planning a party (home or office party), give everyone a theme of “healthy holidays” where the goal is to bring lightened up versions of holiday recipes
- Try to incorporate all of the food groups into your main meal like you would for other normal meals. This helps to balance your plate and keep you from getting too much of any one item.
- Try hanging around areas other than where the food is located (out of site, out of mind!)
The rest of the time: (All the days around Thanksgiving and Christmas)
- Have a little extra discipline with food choices, making sure to watch portion sizes and eat an overall balance among all food groups
If you follow these simple steps, you can’t lose anything but pounds!
Planning and sticking with your healthy snacks can sometimes be even harder than it is to plan for meals. You can find yourself having unplanned cake at an office birthday party, nibbling on after school snacks with the kids, or caught in a past habit of having a before-bed splurge. Before you know it, your 100-200 calorie snack has turned into an extra meal…or two! This is an issue a lot of out weight loss resorts guests are having.
Becoming mindful of the times that you’re most likely to fall prey to over-snacking means you can now come up with a plan to avoid it in the future. Whatever your favorite time to snack is, make sure you allot yourself enough calories to have your snack and feel satisfied. Also be sure to include at least two food groups for your body to feel full.
If you’re a person who likes to snack throughout the entire day, five to six small meals as opposed to three larger ones might be a better way to stay within your caloric range without feeling deprived. If there is only one time where you really get caught over-eating, make sure you have a plan where you have a small snack that you enjoy every day during that time. Just knowing that you will be able to have something that you enjoy again the next day will help to avoid the need to overindulge on it.
Here is a healthy snack recipe from our Snack Simple booklet (that will be available soon!) by our weight loss resorts RD Megan.
Mayan Pumpkin Seed Dip
Makes 5 servings of 1/4 cup & 5 whole grain tortilla chips
- 1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced shallots
- 1 diced jalapeno
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 tbsp dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh
- 1/4 cup cilantro, lightly packed
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup water
- Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a large skillet for five minutes, tossing occasionally. Place seeds in food processor.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add shallots, jalapeno, and garlic cloves. Place mixture in food processor with pumpkin seeds.
- Add the parsley, cilantro, remaining olive oil, lime juice orange zest and water to food processor and puree until smooth. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.
Happy Peanut Butter Lovers Month! Here’s some information on this popular snack food in acknowledgement of this occasion!
Peanut Butter and other nut butters, such as almond butter, tend to get a bad reputation because they are about 180-200 calories per serving, which sounds like too much for those trying to watch calorie intake and lose weight. But, did you know peanut butter is actually packed with nutrition making those calories what we refer to as “nutrient-dense calories?” This means there are high amounts of nutrients per calorie. Foods like sugary soft drinks, cookies, chips, or other popular snack foods are referred to as “empty calories” because they don’t have many nutrients for all of the calories they contain.
When trying to get more nutrient-dense, satisfying, and healthy foods into your meal plan, peanut butter can be a great option.
Some nutritional highlights of peanut butter and other nut butters:
Good source of protein – Great for helping to fight off hunger
Fiber – Ideal for healthy digestion and may help reduce cholesterol
Source of healthy fats – Don’t let the high fat content of nut butters scare you; the fats found here are heart-healthy and also help you feel fuller longer.
Antioxidants – Also found in fruits and veggies, antioxidants may help prevent diseases
With all of its benefits, it can be easy to get a little carried away with our portion size of peanut butter. However, it is important to keep in mind that too much of anything (even a good thing) can contribute to weight gain. So make sure to measure out or pre-portion your peanut butter, so you still get the benefits without consuming too many calories.
Also, the type of peanut butter you eat is important. Make sure to purchase peanut butter (or any nut butter) that is natural. Look under the food label at the ingredient list–the best nut butters will have only 1 or 2 ingredients – for example, peanuts and salt. The more natural the better because many peanut butters, including reduced-fat versions have lots of added oils and sugar that take away from the great nutrition properties this food has all on its own.
Here’s a tasty Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie that tastes more like a milkshake than a healthy snack!
Makes 1 serving
- 1/2 Banana
- 1 TBS Cocoa Powder
- 1 TBS Peanut Butter
- 1/2 cup ice (preferably crushed)
- 1 cup plain Soymilk, Skim, or Almond Milk
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If needed, ingredients can be added individually if the blender is too full.
Approximate Nutrition Per Serving: 200 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 10g fat, 9 g protein, 121mg sodium, 12 g sugar
As a trainer, I hear “I don’t have enough time to workout” quite a bit and that is one of the biggest obstacles guests at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts weight loss camp ask me how to overcome. Work, kids, job, school, errands, the list goes on. But I promise you there are ways to make time! Here are a few suggestions for you to be able to fit exercise into your daily life.
1. Take 10!
For those of you that really can’t dedicate a full block of time for exercise, just commit to 10 minute exercise breaks.
The recommended amount of exercise for adults is a moderate to intense cardio respiratory exercise, 30-60 minutes; five times a week minimum and strength guidelines are to work each major muscle group two to three days a week. ACSM guidelines say this time can be divided up throughout the day with smaller bouts of exercise. For example you could complete 10 minutes when you wake up, 10 minutes on your lunch break, and 10 minutes when you get home from work and you have the recommended amount of exercise checked off for that day.
2. Plan ahead.
Here are a few ways to plan ahead:
- First, plan what time you will exercise. Morning, lunch break, after dinner?
- Second, schedule the time in your calendar just like an appointment you wouldn’t want to miss and keep that same schedule and time so it becomes a habit.
- Third, set out your clothes, gym bag, water, iPod, shoes, pre or post workout snack, and whatever else you may need the night before so you can grab it and go the next day.
3. Daily lifestyle and activities
Here are a few options to increase your caloric burn and fit in extra mini workouts:
- Take the stairs wherever you can. This will increase your heart rate and calorie burn as well as build your backside.
- Find a parking spot farther away from the entrance.
- Take 10! Run around with your kids or dog, or take a short walk around the block.
- Skip the chair. Standing may burn somewhere between 20-50 calories more per hour than sitting. This may not seem like much but over the course of the day it can definitely add up!
Most importantly, everyone is different! See which workout-timing strategies work better for you then keep up the hard work for amazing results!
Written by: Liz Mitchell, BS, CPT, NASM WLS
These days it seems that we are constantly bombarded with new ideas on how we should be eating to lose weight as fast as possible. Usually fad diets promote rapid weight loss and involve over-restricting certain foods and eating large amounts of other foods. It’s important to remember that we need an overall balance of the right foods in the right amounts to get all of the nutrients our body needs. Depriving the body of key nutrients can be very harmful in the long run. Keep in mind that like most things in life, if a diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The best way to lose weight and become healthier is to eat a well balanced diet along with regular physical activity.
Here are some examples of four popular fad diets that may sound like a good idea for shedding those extra pounds, but are really not good for your body and may even be harmful over time.
Main Principle: Replace 2 meals and all snacks each day with about 14 jars of baby food, and eat an adult-sized dinner. The idea is to reduce calorie intake during the day to jumpstart weight loss.
Why it’s not a good idea: Babies and adults have different nutritional needs, especially in terms of calories, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating baby food for most meals will not meet the needs of an adult, nor has this diet been proven sustainable, as most adults can only eat baby food for a certain amount of time before tiring of it.
2. The 5-Bite Diet:
Main Principle: Skip breakfast and eat only 5 bites of any food of your choice for lunch and dinner. No snacks. The idea is to train your body to be satisfied on fewer calories.
Why it’s not a good idea: This promotes a very low calorie diet, likely below the nutritional needs for the average adult. This promotes weight loss from water and lean stores (muscle), not from fat. Also, 10 bites of food each day is likely not anywhere near enough to get enough nutrition for the body each day. Even the creator of this diet recommends taking a multivitamin and including protein each day to address this issue. Healthy eating plans allow you to get enough nutrition through food.
3. Feeding Tube Diet:
Main Principle: Participants pay to have a feeding tube inserted through their nose and into the stomach, through which they are fed only 800 calories per day and monitored daily for complications. The tube is worn for 10 days at a time and is heavily promoted for use of brides-to-be.
Why it’s not a good idea: 800 calories through a feeding tube isn’t metabolically different than eating 800 calories of food. That amount of calories is also very low and can be considered unsafe, especially with long-term use. There are also many side effects to using feeding tubes, including discomfort, infection, dizziness, headache, dehydration, and more. Feeding tubes are meant for use in hospitals for patients who cannot eat food orally, and not designed for this type of use.
4. The 8-Hour Diet:
Main Principle: Eat whatever you want for 8 hours each day then stop eating for the next 16 hours. The idea is that extended periods of fasting on a regular basis will promote weight loss.
Why it’s not a good idea: Putting your body in a fasting state 16 hours each day puts the body in a state of stress, which may actually increase fat retention. Weight loss tends to be from water, meaning it will likely come right back. Also, what you eat is so important, and eating poor food choices instead of healthful ones during those 8 hours will not have beneficial health impacts on the body, and may cause harm long-term.
It is important to remember that there are no miracle diets. Even if one of these fad diets help you lose weight, chances are it’s going to be temporary and could cause other issues. At Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts we focus on the most proven way to lose weight and that is with physical activity and eating healthy, well balanced, nutritional meals. We also provide each of our guests with a personalized At Home Plan to help them reach their weight loss goals even after they leave.
Does it accomplish both Strength & Cardio Training, at once?
In the past few years, the concept of the ‘circuit workout’ has resurfaced in many clubs, and is actually the ONLY option offered in certain franchised gyms. Is this type of workout effective? Is it for you?
A circuit involves a workout designed for a specific set of machines that are all arranged in close proximity, and that each focus on a different muscle group. The group circuit class has gained popularity the past couple of years mostly due to its user-friendly nature. The fact that the workout takes no longer that 30 minutes, and the fact that the resistance choices are somehow pre-set (whether by the trainer or by the machine itself), causes it to attract a large market: all of those people who are pressed for time.
A traditional workout regime typically involves three components–cardio training, strength training, and flexibility training. The total time for even a trimmed-down routine would add up to about four and a half hours per week. The circuit workout promises the same results in about one and a half hours per week. This reduction of time makes the circuit routine very attractive to a busy individual. The question is: which workout is right for you? The fitness staff at Shane’s weight loss camps will help you find out based on the criteria below.
The circuit workout claims to be both a cardio and strength training routine, all at once. The promise of receiving a cardiovascular workout while going through the circuit is based on the fact that there are no 60 second “resting” breaks for muscle recovery, as there are in a traditional strength training workout; this requirement claims to cause enough constant movement of the client to produce an elevated heart rate that equals one produced by a traditional cardio activity. The question then is, are most clients actually in the ‘training zone’ while performing the circuit, thereby enabling them to kill two birds with one stone? The answer to that is directly related to the fitness level of the client.
A person just starting or re-starting a fitness routine will benefit the most from a circuit type of workout. This statement is true for two reasons. Firstly, the beginner is not yet conditioned to a high level of cardio work, so pushing that client through a circuit with no breaks would most likely cause that person’s heart rate to go above 120 beats per minute, putting them in the training zone. A beginner would very likely feel challenged in the lower end of the cardio training zone, which typically range from 120 to 156 beats per minute. Secondly, the unconditioned muscles of a beginner will be quite challenged from a one-set strength training routine on each machine, as long as the resistance choices are appropriate.
The type of client least likely to yield cardio benefits from a 30 minute circuit workout is the aerobically-conditioned person. Someone who usually does between three and five 45 minute workouts per week, and feels comfortable when the heart rate is in the upper end of the training zone, is not going to feel aerobically challenged in a circuit.
In addition, the person who’s used to doing a challenging two or three set strength training routine will not feel equally challenged by the one set routines that most circuits offer.
On the positive side, the benefits of a circuit workout for a starter or re-starter client are incredible. The circuit provides a solid conditioning base for strength-training, and at the same time, it does cause a beginner’s heart rate to push into the cardio training zone. Providing the circuit ends with stretching, in a mere 30 minutes, the beginner can accomplish a complete workout. The wonderful aspect of this is that if the beginner does establish the habit of exercising on a consistent basis, then the circuit has provided the perfect foundation for the next step: a more challenging, intermediate program.
A Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts, we find out what workout program is safe and best for your body. Any movement is better than no movement at all, but at Shane we strive to give you the biggest calorie burn for your buck and make it fun at the same time. The most important factor is to stay consistent and make it part of your routine.
Today may be Halloween but there are still going to be Halloween parties this weekend. Want to bring something delicious, but don’t want to undue all the hard work you’ve done to lose weight and stay healthy? Check out this recipe created by our Registered Dietitian at our weight loss camp in San Antonio!
Chocolate Pumpkin Popcorn Balls
Makes about 24 1-inch popcorn balls (serving size: 2 popcorn balls)
6 cups plain popped cornIngredients:
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 TBS chopped dark chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Put popcorn in a large bowl.
- Combine honey and peanut butter a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, cooking until mixture is bubbly and smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in the pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, and chocolate (the chocolate will melt in to the mixture).
- Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn and gently mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined.
- Dip both hands in the ice water. Press 2 TBS of the mixture at a time into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Make sure to press them tightly into a ball shape so they hold together. Place the balls on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
- Let the popcorn balls cool completely before wrapping them individually in saran wrap and store in an airtight container. Best if eaten within a few days.
Calories per serving: 70, Total Fat: 4 g, Total Carbohydrates: 8 g, Sugar 7gg Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g, Protein: 2 g
Fiber Facts: Understanding Food Labels and Isolated Fibers
Did you know that there’s fiber in my ice cream? Or did you know that there’s 3.6 g of fiber in one cup of blueberries? Have you noticed that recently the rise in foods (possibly some you eat on a regular basis) have much more fiber in them than they used to? Here are some of the eye-catching labels that you run into while grocery shopping:
- ⅓ of Your Daily Needs for Fiber
- An Excellent Source of Fiber
- Now With Twice as Much Fiber
Is it true? Did food manufacturers suddenly find a magical way to make all of our favorite foods healthier?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. What happened is that food manufacturers stumbled upon something called “isolated fibers.” Isolated fibers are insoluble fibers that help with our digestive system. Examples of these isolated fibers are inulin, maltodextrin, oat fiber, soy fiber, modified wheat starch, sugarcane fiber, and polydextrose.
Food labels count these isolated fibers when communicating how much fiber is in a serving of any given food. However, buyer beware, because these fibers absolutely do not lower blood cholesterol levels or reduce the risk of diabetes, like their natural counterparts do. Some of these fibers do help to promote regularity, but not all of them—for instance, inulin does not, but polydextrose might, and oat fiber, sugarcane fiber, and soy fiber almost certainly do. However, any of these isolated fibers can lead to gas and other gastrointestinal issues when eaten in large doses. In fact, any food that contains more than 15 grams of polydextrose must have a warning label stating that “sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excessive consumption of this product.
It looks like if you eat five high-fiber ice cream sandwiches, you have met your goal for the day, but that is absolutely not true. These fibers do not give you the same health benefits, and depending on them to meet your daily fiber needs is not nearly as healthful as eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The trouble is that some people might pick up a package of high-fiber toaster pastry, and decide that this is just as good as whole-grain cereal. In addition, many of these new high-fiber foods are very high in sugar and Trans fats.
100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat - This means the product contains no refined white flour.
Whole grain - Most of these products contain little or no refined white flour. Look at the label’s ingredient list to see how far down on the list the enriched wheat flour, unbleached white flour, or wheat flour appears—the lower the better.
Whole-grain white - This label usually appears on bread, but it does not necessarily mean anything specific. In the best case scenario, the bread was made with an albino variety of wheat. Most breads with this label contain a mix of whole and refined flour from red wheat. Look for the brands that contain more whole flour, and less refined flour.
12-grain or multigrain - It does not matter how many grains are in a product. It matters how many of those grains are whole grains.
May prevent heart disease - This claim is approved for use on almost any food that is made from at least 51% whole grains, and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Replacing isolated fibers
Instead of relying on highly processed food products with questionable marketing, you should rely on the following foods to meet your fiber quota, and rest easy knowing that you are certainly helping your health:
- Oat bran
- Breakfast cereals, including:
- All-Bran® Bran Buds®
- Shredded wheat
- Raisin bran
- Grains including:
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat breads and pastas
- All fresh fruits, especially:
- Dried figs
- Dried and fresh plums
- All fresh vegetables, especially:
- Green beans
- Winter squash
- Broad beans
- Artichoke hearts
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Dried beans
Difference between whole grain and high fiber
Different grains naturally contain different amounts of fiber. Bran products, for instance, are not whole grain. Bran is an excellent source of fiber, but is not technically a whole grain, because whole grains must contain the bran, endosperm, and germ of the grain.
Did you know that portion sizes have grown significantly since the 1960’s? At that time, the average American plate was about 9” in diameter. Since then it has increased to 11-12”, sometimes even larger! Portion Distortion is one of the big lessons we teach at our weight loss camps for adults. Because most people don’t realize that along with the plate itself, the portions that we put on that plate have grown as well, this is one of the contributing factors of the rise of obese and overweight Americans. Did you know that the correct size of a bagel should be similar to a hockey puck, and a serving of meat should be comparable to a deck of cards? These portion sizes are significantly different than what we are served in a restaurant, or buy in a grocery store.
Knowing proper portion sizes is crucial to staying within your appropriate caloric range and is key in helping with weight loss. Be sure to familiarize yourself with what is accurate! Use measuring cups at home when you can, and when packing food for work. Try picking one meal a day where you always measure out your food. Another option is to measure food one week a month- you’ll notice your portion sizes tend to grow a little during that off time.
When eating out, try to use comparisons; such as a pancake should be the size of a DVD or a potato being similar to the size of a computer mouse. Portions you receive will almost always be oversized when eating out, so boxing up half of what is on your plate will also help to avoid over eating and then you have an already portioned meal for later!
Knowing the proper portions is important for everyone whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. And being aware of how much you’re eating is helpful to keep track of your caloric intake. At our weight loss camps for adults, we know this is the biggest hurdle for anyone to overcome because most adults are used to the portion distortion that surrounds us all. For more tips and tricks to help out with nutrition and portion distortion take a look at one of the many government funded sites or check out our nutrition page.
At our weight loss camps, we know there is more to losing weight, getting fit and staying healthy than just exercising and eating nutritious foods. It’s making sure that you are getting the proper foods before and after a work out to make sure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to make sure that you have a good workout.
Pre-Workout Meals and Snacks
Making sure you are properly fueled before working out is crucial to having a successful workout in which you can push yourself to a good level of intensity and have enough energy to get through without feeling overly fatigued.
The timing of a pre-workout can vary from person to person so it might take time to find out what works best for you specifically. A good general rule of thumb is to have a snack about 10-15 minutes prior to any workout. If you’re having a full meal, you’ll want to give yourself 45 minutes to an hour to digest before starting to exercise.
For a pre-workout snack you’re going to want to make sure you have some simple carbohydrates that will break down quickly so you have an immediate source of energy to utilize. This can be anything from a piece of fruit to a small granola bar- something mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein.
For a pre-workout meal, make sure you have some complex carbohydrates and a serving of protein in your meal. If you consume your meal about an hour before working out, it will provide your stomach enough time to break down the food and have that energy available to you while working out.
Post-Workout Meals and Snacks
The body’s ability to recover properly after a workout depends significantly on getting appropriate nutrition it needs. During your workout, you are putting a lot of tiny tears in your muscles and it is extremely important to refuel properly afterwards so that those muscles can recover and heal as quickly as possible.
It’s important to make sure that you have your post-workout meal or snack with carbohydrates and protein 15-30 minutes after working out. This is the best way to optimize nutrient absorption. If you’re worried about caloric intake, a great way to stay on track would be to make your post-workout meal one of your main meals of the day. For a post-workout snack a banana with chocolate milk, or a peanut butter sandwich are great options. You put the hard work in during the workout, make sure to reap all of the benefits from it!
Planning and sticking with your healthy snacks can be even harder than meals sometimes. You can get caught in the middle of an office party, have an after school snack with the kids, or get sucked into that before bed binge. Before you know it, your 100-200 calorie snack has turned into an extra meal…or two!
Knowing the times that you’re most likely to fall prey to over snacking means you can now come up with a plan to avoid it in the future. Whatever your favorite time to snack is, make sure you allot yourself enough calories to have your snack and feel satisfied. Also be sure to include at least two food groups in order for your body to feel full.
If you’re a person who likes to snack throughout the entire day, five to six small meals as opposed to three larger ones might be a better way to stay within your caloric range without feeling deprived. If there is only one time where you really get caught over eating, make sure you have a plan where you have a small snack that you enjoy every day during that time. Just knowing that you will be able to have something that you enjoy again the next day will help to avoid the need to binge on it. Need some ideas? Take a look at a few of our recipes or buy our cookbook Meal Simple.