Fats: A Necessary Evil?

April 18, 2014 By: office Comments Off

In the 80s everywhere you went, from the grocery store to your nearest vending machine, that familiar phrase “Low Fat” rang out time and time again. It was almost as though fat was worse for you than the myriad chemicals present in the diet soda or ranch dressing you were consuming. Now, years later, we find things to be quite different. So much so, that a few years back a certain soft drink company rebranded themselves by launching a “Throwback” drink whose singular claim to fame was that it was making use of real sugar again…leaving us all to question, “Well, what was I drinking before?” A return to basics is being touted as the healthiest way toward staying…well, healthy.

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Still, fat has been one of those persistently hounded culprits in the battle of the bulge. And with good reason, I mean…isn’t that what we’re all being told to burn and limit? Fat? Cholesterol? Calories? They are the enemy! Not necessarily. It’s important to stress, as a good part of any diet, the ability to differentiate between good fats and bad ones. So if you’re going to be watching fats as part of your weight-loss regimen, keep these important points in mind to dispel whatever myths you may have been fed about fat in the past.

  • Fats can be divided into two teams…the “hero” fats and the “bad guy” fats. Stick with the hero fats, unless you want to get locked up in a prison of your own creation! “Hero” fats include: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. “Bad Guy” fats include: trans fats and some saturated fats (excluding the aforementioned ones).
  • Never judge a food product by its label alone. “Fat-free” or “low-fat” isn’t an invitation to gorge yourself on whatever it is you’re consuming. In fact, many of these products have been reently found to include ingredients with addictive properties that leave you coming back for more and overeating, as a result, so watch it!
  • Become a fan of the “FANS” acronym. And keep it in mind when deciding which fats you should be eating more of. Fish, Avocado, Nuts and Seeds contain some of the very best complex fats that your body needs to consistently feel and look its very best.

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So to recap, not all fats you come across are out to get you, it’s just important to be aware of the ones that are!

13 Things I Learned At Weight Loss Camp

April 15, 2014 By: office Comments Off

By: Eugenia Correa, @eucorrea
Originally Published: April 11, 2014 on ‘Blog de BabyCenter’
(translation: Miranda Southwell)

A month ago I was invited to spend a week at a weight loss camp in San Antonio, Texas. Even though I don’t consider myself overweight, I will admit that since the birth of my baby, it’s been much more difficult for me to control my diet, do exercise and keep myself in shape. It was a hard week because it made me realize that I’m very far from my ideal physical condition. Additionally, my daily meal portions tended to be much larger than they ought to have been.

weight loss camp

A week in this resort was enough to make me see that I can improve, day-by-day and that daily habits are the ones that make a difference in your desire to lose weight. This experience granted me the tools for transformation that I needed to create substantial change in my daily life. While I was there, I lost a kilo (approx. 2.2 lbs.), and after one month at home, I lost two more by making simple changes to my routine. Here are some of the things that I learned during my stint in the program that have helped me keep the weight off:

  • You don’t have to wait until you become what you believe to be the worst version of yourself to join one of these programs. It’s a program of behavior modification that can help you far sooner.
  • Involving yourself in one of these programs is a decision rooted in self-love. No one can be obligated to go. It only works for those who are thoroughly convinced that they need a vital change to improve their lives.
  • It’s never too late to change your eating or fitness habits. Every day is a good day to start to work toward better health. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s also about changing your habits in ways that you can keep up with over time.
  • Doing exercise is a habit we can all acquire. In a weight loss program, you simply show yourself that it’s just a matter of taking that first step and discovering that exercise can be a fun habit, which also changes your energy levels and outlook on life for the better.
  • One of the most valuable tips that I learned is that you should stop drinking your calories! Sugary drinks are not your friend. There are lots of drinks disguised as “healthy” or “natural,” when in reality they’re anything but. There’s no healthier substitute out there for you than that clean, natural old staple…water.
  • There isn’t a better way to know what you’re really eating than by cooking it for yourself and choosing all your own ingredients. By avoiding processed products or fast food, you’re saving both yourself and your family, a boatload of calories and unnecessary toxins.
  • When exercise is a daily habit, your body starts craving healthier, lighter foods instead of greasy, heavy ones.
  • Cooking healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor! My favorite: a blueberry muffin recipe is one of many you can learn to make during your stay at Shane Diet & Fitness Resort, since healthy cooking classes are included in the program.
  • Eating slowly and enjoying each bite makes you feel full faster. Eating quickly is one of your enemies when trying to lose weight.
  • Upon arriving at Shane Diet & Fitness Resort, you quickly realize that you’re not alone. There are lots of other people who deal with many of the same battles you’re facing. Being able to discuss and listen to common experiences allows you to put your life (and your weight) into perspective.
  • In many cases, the way you feel in the clothes you wear has a direct impact on your self-esteem. In the Shane Diet & Fitness program, fashionable fitness accessories are provided to make you feel comfortable in your own skin.
  • The program at Shane Diet & Fitness Resort offers you a short, daily exercise program that you can complete in just a half-hour. This makes continuing the process at home much easier.
  • Temptations will always be around. They’re in the supermarket, on TV, at the movie theater and even in your own pantry. A behavior modification program gives you the tools you need to keep those temptations from overpowering you.

The program I went to is the Shane Diet & Fitness Resort. There, you’ll find programs for adults, children and entire families; although there are also many other weight loss camps out there to suit your own unique needs.

Simple Swaps for Baked Goods

June 21, 2012 By: office 2 Comments

Most baked goods are often high in fat and sugar. Muffins, often assumed as a healthier choice, can even sometimes be a “cupcake” in disguise. You may think it’s impossible to create a lower calorie, healthier baked good that is just as tasty as the original.

Try these simple swaps the next time you’re baking.

Ingredient Healthy Substitution
Whole milk (1 cup) 1 cup fat-free or nonfat milk plus one tablespoon of unsaturated oil like canola oil
Heavy cream (1 cup) 1 cup evaporated skim milk 

or

1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat cottage cheese (pureed)

Evaporated whole milk Evaporated skim milk
Sweetened condensed whole milk Evaporated skim milk
Cream cheese, full fat Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel 

or

low-fat cottage cheese, pureed until smooth

Sour Cream Plain Greek yogurt
Butter (1 tbsp) Vegetable oil
Oil Natural Fruit Purees (no sugar added) 

Examples: Applesauce, Pumpkin Puree, Mashed banana, etc.

Shortening (1 cup) Earth Balance or Smart Balance
1 Egg 2 Egg whites 

or

“flax eggs” = 1 tbsp ground flax seed whisked with 3 tbsp warm water until the consistency of eggs

or

1/4 cup egg substitute

 

Chocolate Chips (1 cup) 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 

or

Carob chips – similar to chocolate chips, produced from a carob plant, with a slightly bitter and nutty undertone, works best with baking when the chips are incorporated in the baked product.

Sugar Reduce sugar by half and intensify sweetness by adding vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. 

or

Honey, Agave nectar

Syrup Pureed Fresh fruit
Fruit canned in heavy syrup Fruit canned in its own juices, or fresh fruit
Flour, all purpose Whole-wheat flour for half what the recipe calls for along with the all-purpose flour 

 

*Note: Whole-wheat flour is less dense and works well in softer products like cakes and muffins

Chopped nuts, 1 cup 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts 

* By toasting them brings out their flavor and only need half.

Sweetened shredded coconut 1/2 cup toasted coconut + 1/2 tsp coconut extract
Traditional Pie Crust Graham Cracker crust

 

Busy Schedules Don’t Have To Be Unhealthy

February 7, 2012 By: consultant 1 Comment

The most common excuse I hear about why someone isn’t eating healthy is: “I don’t have time to eat healthy” (of course, there is always the “healthy foods taste like cardboard” excuse, but that’s an entirely different subject).  So why don’t people have time to eat healthy? School, work, and family are the most common healthy-eating deterrents.  However, a busy schedule doesn’t have to mean fatty, high sodium, processed foods.  It can be just as simple to eat healthy on a busy schedule as to eat unhealthy.  It takes the same amount of effort to order a salad than it does a slice of pizza and it takes even less effort to grab an apple than it does to heat up a pop-tart.

So when you wake up tomorrow morning think to yourself: “My eating yesterday didn’t make me feel very healthy. Today I want to make a healthy change.” It is as simple as that. When you start your day with a healthy mindset, making healthy decisions will easily follow.

The first meal of the day is the most important. Breakfast will give you the energy you need to stay on track all day, not to mention that when you start your day with a good food choice you are more likely to make better choices throughout the day.  We all know what a good choice is: oatmeal and other whole grains, fruit, eggs, veggies, and other natural choices.  If you don’t have time in the morning, prep the night before. A good breakfast is an essential part of a healthy day.  Before you leave the house, grab a few pieces of fruit, maybe some nuts or trail mix to have with you as snacks throughout the day.

So this is where the hard part starts; lunch out with friends, family or coworkers.  Whether you order out, eat out or dine in there is always a healthy option, even if it doesn’t seem like there is.  Half the battle in making a healthy decision is knowing what a healthy choice is, such as watch out for heavy dressing, added sodium and highly processed foods. Instead, stick with a protein source, a vegetable and a whole grain.  The other half of making a healthy food choice is having a healthy mindset. “I want to be the best I can be and feed my body what it deserves.”  With that mindset and the knowledge you already have, you are ready to make healthy choices every day.

At Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts, our fitness, nutrition and behavior change coaching classes can assist you in making those healthy food choices, and exploring your old bad habits and creating new ones.   Once you leave our program you will feel confident, look great, have more energy, and have a stronger and healthier mindset!  When you are good to your body, it will be good to you in return.

 

Weight Loss Tips: Eliminate These Four Empty Calorie Ingredients Today!

April 27, 2011 By: office 1 Comment
Misleading food packaging

Sometimes, food packaging can be misleading claiming to have health benefits when it actually does not.

These days it’s hard to tell what’s healthy and what’s not when you enter a grocery store, especially when you are trying to lose weight and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Many food companies are now trying to market their packages to look healthy, to appeal to a consumer.  They have even come up with some smart wording such as “all-natural,” “fat-free,” “vegan,” and “no trans fats.”  Unfortunately, as a consumer you may think you are doing “good” by buying these foods, but in reality, they can often still be very unhealthy.

Close your eyes.  Think of a food that is the symbol for health.  An apple or a broccoli stalk may have popped into your head.  Consider how they NEVER need any marketing schemes or “healthy” labels on them.  The healthiest diet is that of a whole-foods based diet.  Buy foods that underwent the least amount of processing possible, many of which don’t even qualify for food labels.  These are the foods that should be incorporated into your healthy lifestyle.

Now when you DO buy foods that contain a label, it is important to pay no attention to the front of the package. Your eyes should immediately find their way to the ingredients list.  Yes.  The ingredients list is even MORE important than the nutrition facts.  Why?  The ingredients list cannot be marketed to look healthy.  It is the most straight forward part of the package.

Organic Peanut Butter

Stick to an organic peanut butter with simple ingredients for added health benefits.

Take peanut butter, for example.  If we look at natural peanut butter, flip it over to the ingredients label-which may read: peanuts and salt.- that’s it.  If we take a more processed brand of peanut butter, it may read, peanuts, dextrose, hydrogenated oils (AKA trans fats) and salt.  It is your job to AVOID ingredients that you do not recognize, or ones that you KNOW are not healthy!  Beyond artificial ingredients, HFCS, and trans fats, learn to eliminate these four empty calorie ingredients out of your diet.

1.      Trans fats (hydrogenated oils)- Studies have shown increased trans fat intake leads to high LDL cholesterol and Triglyceride levels.  They also impair arterial dilation, which can cause high blood pressure.

2.      Omega 6 fatty acid rich oils (corn oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil)- Not only do these increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol, but too much can lead to an increased inflammatory response in your body.

3.      Refined sugars (maltose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, cane sugar)-Refined sugars send an intense insulin response to the body, therefore raising blood sugar quickly, which then tends to drop quickly shortly after.  This blood sugar rollercoaster can make you lethargic and even hungrier in the long run!

4.      Refined flours (“enriched”)-Many flours are made by stripping the natural plant seed and ridding it of any phytochemicals, antioxidants, or fiber it may have once contained.  This processing also makes the body quickly absorb and metabolize flour like it does sugar.

In addition to eliminating these ingredients from your diet, remember to balance your meals.  Utilize the plate method at every meal.  One quarter protein, one quarter starch, and the other half fruit or vegetables.  And remember these rules go for beverages as well!  Eliminate any added sugars you get from sodas or juices.  Make water your beverage of choice and drink it throughout the day!

Shane Diet Resorts, a fitness retreat for adults ages 18 and up, is a firm believer in whole-foods and portion control.  We serve our guests three portion controlled meals daily, as well as two healthy snacks.  Visit us online for more information about our weight loss program for adults and great healthy recipe ideas.

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