4 tips to lose the last 10 pounds

February 19, 2013 By: consultant 5 Comments

P1010360Why is it so hard to lose the last 10 pounds?” Weight loss is tricky in that multiple factors play into how much weight is lost, how quickly it comes off and for how long the weight loss is maintained. To successfully lose a sizable amount of weight, a person needs to be committed to significant long-term lifestyle changes. With a lot of effort you can achieve a new steady-state, but it requires a great deal of persistence and effective nutrition and physical activity strategies.

A few tips:

  1. Change up your endurance routine. The goal is to burn more calories. You can do this without increasing the amount of time spent on cardio by upping your intensity. Otherwise, you’re going to have to increase the amount of time committed to cardio whether that’s adding 15 or 20 minutes to your current routine or increasing the number of days per week.
  2. Strength train at least twice per week. When you lose a lot of weight, about a quarter of weight loss comes from muscle if you don’t include a strength-training component to your workout routine. This helps explain why those last few pounds are so hard to lose. Your metabolism has slowed down; therefore, you’re burning fewer calories at rest. The metabolic rate is directly linked to the amount of muscle you have. For every pound of lean muscle mass, you burn about six calories per day. While that doesn’t sound like much, if you lost 20 pounds of fat and kept all of your muscle mass, the five pounds of muscle mass you kept (versus what you might lose without a resistance training program) would help you lose about three extra pounds. Maintain muscle mass while continuing to lose weight by committing to your resistance training routine.
  3. Eat a little less. To have successfully lost weight in the first place you have to have made some significant dietary changes. If you want to continue to lose weight, you’ll need to make further cuts. Assess your approximate daily caloric intake and then come up with strategies to cut an additional 250 calories per day (provided that will still keep you at a healthy calorie level and not at risk for nutrient deficiencies). If you eat 250 calories less per day and do not make any changes to your exercise regimen, you’ll lose those last 10 pounds over the course of the next five months.
  4. If you exercise more, it will come off faster. Anyone can finish a 5K or a 10K but not everyone can finish a marathon. It takes a high level of commitment and ongoing diligence to successfully train for and compete in such a long race.

Weight loss application: Somewhere around 40% of women and 30% of men are trying to lose weight at any given time. Some are successful initially but most are unable to lose and keep off the weight.

Losing weight is tough. Keeping it off requires a constant effort. To achieve and maintain your weight loss goals you’ve got to be in it for the long haul. Slowly and steadily progress to your goal with each of the small decisions you make every day take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for the fresh apple instead of the apple pie. After all, being the first one done isn’t the goal, it’s just about having the strength, endurance, and mental toughness to successfully cross that finish line. And if you’re looking to lose your last 10 or first 10 Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts is here to help.  With help from our expert Nutritionist, Fitness instructors and Behavior Change coaches, we give you all the tools you need to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off for good.

 

Better Than a Magic Pill For Losing Weight & Getting Healthy

February 5, 2013 By: consultant 4 Comments

1   shutterstock_95045926Question: What has a major impact on weight reduction, better cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, improved blood sugar control, stronger bones, a healthier heart, and more?

Answer: Exercise, pure and simple.

If that weren’t enough for you to slide on your sneakers, here are some more reasons to get moving, get healthy and lose weight. Every month new studies appear listing more benefits. Here is a sample of some discoveries during 2012.

  • Arthritis: Aerobic and aquatic exercises reduce the disability of osteoarthritis in the knees and other forms of arthritis. The study form Annals of Internal Medicine also showed that strength training reduces pain and improves function. Adherence to an exercise program was the key to its success.
  • Brain Health: According to a study published in Neurology, older people who are more physically active experience less brain shrinkage (linked to cognitive decline and dementia) then their sedentary counterparts. MRI’s revealed that participating in mental or social activities did not affect brain size.
  • Breast Cancer: A large study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported that women who exercise regularly (both in the past and present), had a reduced risk of developing the disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is also essential, the study found. Weight gain, especially after menopause, nearly wiped out the exercise benefits, so it is important to work out and eat right on a regular basis.
  • Dementia: A multi-nation European study reported in the journal Stroke, found that exercise was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of cognitive impairment and a 60% decrease in vascular-related dementia (such as those resulting from a stroke).
  • Fatigue from Cancer: A study involving people with breast or prostate cancer confirmed that exercise like brisk walking or cycling can help reduce fatigue related to cancer and its treatments. This was a review of 56 different studies by the Cochrane Collaboration.
  • Longevity: Analysis from the National Cancer Institute in PLOS Medicine used data from 650,000 people in six long-term studies and found that physical activity can add years to people’s lives. Those who exercised moderately (like walking briskly 150 minutes per week) lived about 4 years longer than their sedentary counterparts. Even those who did modest amounts 975 minutes of walking per week) lived about 2 years longer and the benefits were seen in everyone from obese to thin.
  • Sense of Well-Being: Two studies from Penn State, published in Health Psychology reported that participants who increased their usual daily exercise by even modest amounts, reported a greater sense of satisfaction with life and positive attitude.

So log off your computer and get moving! Not sure where to start? Search the Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts web site for fitness ideas, or come to one of our resorts to become inspired and to get a jump start on losing weight and getting healthy!

 

Rosie’s Top Tips for After Shane

November 13, 2012 By: office 2 Comments

This is really special guest post for us- Rosie was a guest at the Shane Diet & Fitness New York resort this summer, and has become one of our Success Stories.  She’s been working hard ever since she left to continue to achieve her weight loss goals while attending college and studying to become a fitness trainer- something she never thought possible before this summer.  Rosie shared with us her top ten habits, thoughts and reminders that have helped her continue her weight loss.

  1. Stick to the routine, even if it isn’t strictly the Shane routine, pick times of the day that work for you to eat and exercise and stick to them.
  2. Don’t get hungry, whatever you do avoid going long periods of time without food, it won’t help weight loss and you’ll end up eating something unhealthy.  Also don’t save up all your calories to eat badly, if you’re going to eat badly plan for it but don’t avoid food all day.
  3. Don’t feel guilty, if you want something so badly you can’t think straight… have it, have a small portion, don’t do it all the time, work out a bit more that week but don’t beat yourself up about it. Own your decisions.
  4. Don’t forget where you’re going, or where you came from. If it feels like progress is slow once you get home don’t forget all the progress you’ve already made and don’t let slow progress stop you feeling achievement or set you back. Even slow progress is a step in the right direction and if you can accept it’s not going to happen overnight you’ll do better in the long run.
  5. Fight cravings, recognize that cravings aren’t usually hunger and tackle them, if it’s an appropriate time to eat have a healthy alternative. If not occupy yourself, take up knitting or paint your nails, read a magazine or have a hot drink like green or herbal tea. Do whatever works for you as a distraction.
  6. Reward yourself, every time you have a healthy home cooked meal rather than a take out or don’t buy that chocolate bar on the way home or take a pack lunch to work. Use the money you save to buy yourself a new outfit or a recipe book.
  7. Be goal oriented, without something to aim for its hard to stay on track, whether it’s a weight to lose, a weight to lift or a race to finish achieving goals is a great way to mark progress. And if it doesn’t happen first time round don’t despair, reassess and try again.
  8. Don’t weigh yourself every day, by all means once a week, even make a chart but don’t do it every day you’ll get sucked up in the little numbers and it won’t feel like you’re making progress when you are.
  9. Keep in touch, Shane creates an environment where you live, eat, sleep and work out with the same people, you go through a lot with them, they are your friends, your family and your support network while you’re there. Don’t lose that when you get home, the staff and the programme will be there for you long after you leave but so will everyone else and it’s a great opportunity to make life long friends. Make sure you utilize that.
  10. And most of all, do not, under any circumstances, give up. You might stop losing weight, you might even gain a few pounds, maybe you’re injured, something is going on at home or at school or you just don’t feel like its worth it. But this is your life, you only get one and it’s never too late to make the most of it. Take the opportunity to get healthy, get fit and enjoy your body.

 

An Apple a Day

October 17, 2012 By: office Post a Comment

One of the greatest enjoyments of fall is the abundance of fresh, ripe, delicious apples. Apples are a great low calorie snack to help you lose weight, great in a variety of recipes,  a natural mouth freshener, and are very inexpensive.

Why Are Apples Good For You?
Apples are a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber such as pectin actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of arteriosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system. It is a good idea to eat apples with their skin. Almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin. Eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content. Most of an apple’s fragrance cells are also concentrated in the skin and as they ripen, the skin cells develop more aroma and flavor.

HAVE AN APPLE TODAY!
Fuel up with this powerful breakfast with fresh fall apples to energize you through the morning!

Fresh Muesli with Apples and Almonds

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup unsalted almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 tbsp honey

Directions:
1. Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Toast the oats and almonds until aromatic (or  you can smell the nutty scent). Keep an eye on them and keep stirring because they will burn easily. Stir in cinnamon and let cool to room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the oat mixture, yogurt and milk.

3. Cover and refrigerate until oats are soft. About one hour or let soften overnight.

4. Spoon the muesli into two bowls. Top with a diced apple and a drizzle of honey.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 283 kcal
  • Total Fat: 7.4 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 51.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7.0 g
  • Protein: 7.7 g

Nutrition Tips:

  • The German word muesli means “mixture” and can include raw or toasted cereals (oats, wheat, millet, barley, etc.), dried fruits (such as raisins, apricots, and apples), nuts, bran, wheat germ that is mixed with milk and yogurt.
  • Muesli is very versatile and you can create it depending on the ingredients you like.
  • Greek  yogurt has a higher protein content than regular yogurt. If you do not like just plain Greek  yogurt, mix half the Greek  yogurt with the yogurt you are used to eating.
  • In the fall apples are in season. Try going to local farmers markets and get fresh apples. Also, try switching up the variety of apples you use.

Can’t get enough apples?  Check out Julie’s post about what types of apples are best for your recipes.

Winter Fitness Tips: Cardio Exercise in Cold Weather

October 8, 2012 By: afeldman 1 Comment

So you have committed yourself to a fitness program to continue your weight loss and have been following it steadily for the past couple of months. You have discovered a passion for running and want to keep your fitness levels up during the cold winter months that are now upon us. It is important to know how cold weather will affect our bodies from an exercise standpoint and also, how to stay safe while exercising outside in the winter. Below are some tips and suggestions that will allow you to stay outside for your morning runs and walks.

 

Our bodies in the cold

In an ideal exercise environment, our bodies heat up from physical activity and sweat will cool us off. Cold weather is different. We are more susceptible to suffering cold related injuries than we are to the overheating dangers in other climates. Since the air we are inhaling is much colder than the temperature of our bodies, it can also become very hard to breathe. With cold air, our body goes through a process to warm all oxygen to an acceptable temperature before it can be used by our muscles and organs. Also, the body will limit blood flow to the fingers and toes in order to keep the muscles and organs warm. If precautions are not taken, heat is lost very rapidly, especially from the head.

Dress appropriately (30-40% heat loss from head)

Since we are exercising in the cold, we need to dress appropriately. Important areas to cover from the cold are the hands, feet, ears, head and neck. Also protect your eyes and face if it is really cold outside. Wear socks that will keep you warm or even double up on pairs. Any layers of clothing that you wear should not be movement restricting, like a large winter coat or big fluffy pants. Layer up if you need to but make sure that you are wearing exercise friendly clothing. Shop for clothes with listed features listed like “breathable” or “dry-fit”. Make sure to dress warm, but remember that your body is still creating heat by exercising. If you overdress, or fail to wear breathable clothing during intense exercise, then you are at risk for overheating, even in the cold.

Warm-up first

Before going outside to run or jog, it is best to warm up inside. This means doing some light calisthenics (jumping jacks, walking/jogging in place or going up and down stairs) for 5-10 minutes to turn on your body’s natural heating system. If you are already warmed up when going outside, then it is a much easier transition to exercise in the cold.

Exercising in the snow or on ice

Be very careful in the winter extremes of snowiness and ice. Try to find a trail or a spot that has been plowed and salted. If you choose to walk/jog in snow, then go through special efforts to protect the legs and feet. This may mean wearing special boots to prevent frostbite. Also, look out for black ice as this will easy blend in with the sidewalks and roads and then sneak up on you. The last thing that anyone wants is an injury.

If it is too much, then stay inside

If the snow, ice and cold temperatures become too overwhelming, then stay inside. There are endless pieces of cardio equipment in the gym for days that you can’t go outside. You can even get creative and do some things in your house. Maybe try some interval training on the treadmill to keep it interesting.

Final precautions to take

Drink plenty of water. Many people make the mistake of not drinking enough fluids while working out in the winter. Your body needs to stay hydrated just like any other scenario. Also, you may need to use lip balm and/or lotions on any skin exposed to the wind in order to prevent skin irritations from the cold and dry air. It is possible to continue an exercise routine outdoors in the winter as long as the proper precautions are taken.

Interval Training for Weight Loss

September 11, 2012 By: afeldman Post a Comment

Let’s talk about this concept known as interval training. This is not some new type of training, it has been around for years. What is interval training? in simple terms, it is doing something hard until it is too hard, then easing up until you are ready to do it hard again. From an exercise standpoint, it would mean taking an exercise move and moving very intense with the exercise, fast and strong, until you become too fatigued to continue at which point you would slow the move down enough to catch your breath and then repeat. When this is done over and over in one session, it becomes an entire workout.

The question is, how does this type of training help you reach weight loss goals and how is it relevant? Even though interval training, isn’t the only way to get in an effective workout, it is still one of the most effective ways to challenge your body. There are 5 reasons here on how it can truly help get you get you to your goals.

1. It gets you used to a faster pace for better fitness – The faster you can move over a 30 minute time frame, the more calories you can burn in that period. Interval training will get you more comfortable with moving at that faster pace. It will get you faster and faster until you are shredding through calories during a 30 minute time window. For example, if you do not currently have the fitness level to jog for more than 1 minute until you get extremely winded, then interval training will get you to a point at which you can jog for 10 minutes without getting extremely winded. The more that you can go at that faster pace, the more fit you become and the more calories you have the potential of burning during a workout. Advanced exercisers can think of that jog as more of a full run.
2. It forces you out of the comfort zone that most people fall into during steady state exercise – As we find our groove with something, it becomes comfortable, which can be good because that means we are becoming proficient at it. The problem is that if you stop taking yourself out of that comfort zone then progress will stop. By having set times that you pick up the intensity and speed during a workout, it forces you to get out of that comfort zone that you’ve become good at maintaining.
3. It gets your heart better at recovery, making you more fit – Recovery takes time during exercise and after exercise. Interval training teaches your heart to recover faster allowing you to feel better more quickly during rest periods and when exercise comes to an end for the day. By working out at a high intensity for a period and then slowing it down for a period numerous times, your heart gets used to having that small recovery period and it begins using that time much more efficiently. This is just one of the many ways that your heart becomes more fit.
4. It breaks up the monotony of normal exercise – This is my favorite. When there is an hour of cardio, we tend to think “Great, 59 minutes until I’m done” or “halfway done, 30 minutes left”. Thinking like that makes time go by very, very slowly. With intervals, you are always thinking ahead to the next interval. The thought process becomes this: “30 seconds until my next hard round” or “only 15 seconds until my next recovery paced minute”. By the time you get through a couple intervals, 20 minutes may have already passed! It’s a great way to make the time during cardio exercise go by more quickly.
5. Learn to control pace and intensity better – This is especially important for those who have goals of completing 5ks, 10ks or eventual long distance marathons. Interval training will allow you to figure out your pacing and speed for running, walking, biking, etc. You’ll learn what a hard pace is for your current level, a medium pace and a complete recovery pace. The only way to learn that is through experimentation during exercise. This is done with interval training. Doing intervals on a track or a cardio machine (treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc.) in the gym will allow you to see your speed during hard, easy and medium paced exercise so you can get precise with goal setting and reaching the proper level of intensity during exercise to see progress.

Now that I’ve talked about why interval training is important for fitness and weight loss, I want to talk about how it should be incorporated into your exercise routine. A recovery pace should be one that is just easy enough to allow you to catch your breath. A medium pace is one that you should be able to maintain for 5-15 minutes, you are working. A hard pace is one that’s just as it sounds, hard. You should be too winded to continue it after 60-90 seconds.
The first thing to do is decide what you’re speeds/resistance is going to be for each pace. The resistance on machines should atleast be at a level where you are not bouncing through the move uncontrollably.
Speed: On a treadmill, find out the exact numbers for each pace. 2.5-3.5 mph is a walking pace, 5.0-6.0 is a jogging pace and 6.1 + would be considered a running pace. On an elliptical, bike or similar equipment, look at strides per minute or rotations per minute to experiment around with speed. Just make sure that the level stays the same if your speed is what is changing. If you are exercising away from a machine, just pay closer attention to what you are doing. Learn how fast you’re body should be moving to reach each level.
Resistance/Level: Instead of changing speed, you would play around with the level settings. On a treadmill, this would mean the incline; on other pieces of equipment, it would mean changing the resistance. At a consistent speed, figure out what levels what be considered recovery, medium and hard.
Example Interval Training Program #1:
5 Minute Easy Warm-Up
1 minute recovery/1minute medium/1minute hard x5
3 minute recovery pace
1 minute recovery/1 minute medium/1 minute hardx5
5 minute Cool Down

Example Interval Training Program #2

5 Minute Easy Warm-Up
5 Minute Medium Pace
1 Minute Hard/1 Minute Recovery x5
3 Minute Recovery Pace
1 Minute Hard/1 Minute Recovery x5
5 Minute Medium Pace
5 Minute Cool Down

Example Interval Training Program #3

5 Minute Easy Warm-Up
5 Minute Medium Pace
1 Minute Hard/2 Minutes Recovery/3 Minutes Medium x4
or 1 Song on your IPOD combining Hard/Recovery/1 Song Medium x4
5 Minute Easy Pace
5 Minute Cooldown

**If Running outside or around track, you may have to approximate time or bring a stop watch. On outside runs, you can also use place markers for the intervals such as stop signs, lamp posts or etc. With a track, time your lap to go off of distance for your intervals instead of time.

Healthy Diet Pizza!

November 21, 2011 By: consultant 1 Comment

Nutritious eating is key to your healthy lifestyle. The key foundation to any healthy diet is moderation.

Many “dieters” believe that pizza is off limits when trying to lose weight. That’s why diets don’t work. Try not to think of food as being “off-limits”.  The second you decide certain foods are off limits, it becomes natural to crave them more.

Think smaller portions. Start small and think about serving sizes in realistic terms. Restaurants typically have 2-3 servings on one plate, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Split an entrée with someone and order a salad with it. At home, try using smaller plates to encourage a healthy portion for weight loss.

Growing up, my family usually ordered pizza on Friday nights.  Many people on a weight loss diet view foods like pizza as “cheating.” No food should be viewed as cheating because after eating it, a feeling of guilt will occur. You can still enjoy pizza without feeling the guilt.

Healthy Diet Pizza

Tip #1: Enjoy your pizza with a side salad.

Tip #2: Cut your piece of pizza in half. Now you have two pieces to enjoy.

Tip #3: Skip the extra cheese and meat for toppings and swap for vegetables.

Tip #4: If the pizza place offers a whole-wheat crust, choose that.

Tip #5: Try thin crust pizza.

High Intensity Fitness Tips to Bust through Plateaus

November 11, 2011 By: afeldman 2 Comments

Recently, one of my former clients from Ohio got in touch with me to inform me of her progress in the weight room.  She asked an interesting question that I would like to address in order to help others with their weight loss efforts.

Fitness Tips

If you feel like you've reached a plateau in your fitness plan, it's time to mix up your routine.

Since she has recently hit a plateau in her training, she asked me for some tips to turn her routine from boring to intense.  Once you start a workout plan, whether it is something you read in a magazine or something that was designed for you, it is very important that it becomes harder as you get in better shape.  The goal of any program is to make progress, in whatever form it comes.  So, once you see progress, your body is adapting to the demands of your workout and you must make adjustments to accommodate greater intensity.  If your body is no longer adapting to physical demands, the progress will stop. Examples of challenging your body during a workout include adding weight to an exercise, changing the movement, adjusting speed, etc.

I would like to share some personal techniques that raise the intensity and force you out of your comfort zone.  If you recently started an exercise program, stick to weight increases during strength movements and speed/resistance increases during cardio exercise.  The tips below are for the intermediate to advanced exerciser that has been at it for at least 4-6 months with a higher level of knowledge on how to perform weight room exercises safely and correctly.

1. Drop sets – Instead of religiously sticking to the three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, throw in a week or two of drop sets.  A drop set is a workout set done normally, followed by you adjusting the weight to a lower setting.  Without resting, immediately go into a second set at the lighter weight (10 to 30% lighter).  For example, after you finish a set of dumbbell bench presses with 25 pound weights, grab the 15s or 20s immediately after and keep going.  You can also do a triple or a quadruple drop set if you’re really feeling strong.  If done correctly, this will greatly fatigue your muscles after just one set.

2. Interval Supersets – These are a good way to break up the monotony of a generic cardio routine that has you on a machine for 20-30 minutes.  A superset is a combination of two exercises that are done back to back without rest.  For this one, pick two total body movements; one of them being high intensity, while the other is low intensity.  For four to ten minutes, alternate between the two exercises.  You will need to come prepared with a watch or stopwatch.

For my example, jumping jacks will be my high intensity exercise and alternating high knees will be my low intensity exercise.  Perform 1 minute of fast moving jumping jacks followed by alternating knee lifts for a minute in which you allow your heart rate to go back down.  Each minute, switch back and forth between exercises.  Sandwiching 10-20 minutes of these intervals in the middle of 10 minutes on a bike or treadmill will make for a high intensity cardio workout.  Some other examples of high intensity movements include jump squats, quick jumping rope, mountain climbers, burpees and step-ups done on a platform at a quick pace.  Some examples of low intensity movements include the modified jack, alternating punches in place, slow jogging in place or step-ups at a much slower pace.

Interval Running

Try doing interval sprints on a track or treadmill for a short and sweet workout.

3. Track sprints – This is a good way to make cardio exercise short and sweet.  An ideal track for these is one that is sized 1/8 to 1/10 of a mile, but this can also be done on a larger track or a treadmill if needed.  Start by walking a lap and follow that with a lap running as fast as you can.  Repeat this 6-12 times.  On a larger track, such as the quarter mile tracks at most high schools, walk half of a lap and run half of a lap.  When doing this on the treadmill, walk for two minutes then run at a fast pace for two minutes.  When running, your goal is to sprint at a nice fast pace.  For advanced exercisers, try jogging instead of walking.  For beginners, your sprinting pace may be a jog.  Start out at the pace that feels challenging, but not impossible, and continue to work your way up to build stamina, endurance, and strength.

4. Time under Tension – This is an interesting exercise for people who are becoming bored with their resistance training program and are looking for something different.  Time under tension is a routine in which you take an exercise and slow it down greatly so that one repetition takes 20 seconds to complete.  For my example, we will use a chest press machine.  While pressing the weight up, count 10 seconds in your head and slow the movement down so that it takes you the full 10 seconds to extend your arms.  Repeat the counting as you lower the weight back down.  Try this for 4-6 repetitions.  Your weight should be between 40-50 percent of what you would normally do.  This can be done on just about any exercise including leg presses, squats, curls, rowing machine and etc.  If done correctly your muscles will be burning quite a bit at the conclusion of your workout.

5. Isometrics – Another way to change up a workout that has become monotonous is by incorporating isometrics.  An isometric exercise is one in which you hold resistance at a certain position without movement.  For my example, we will use the dumbbell side raise (an exercise in which you hold dumbbells in both hands and lift them out to the side, elbows slightly bent).  In the isometric version of this exercise, you raise your dumbbells to the side, and hold them there.  Pick a weight that is between 50-60 percent of a weight that you would use normally.  The goal is to hold those dumbbells up so your arms are parallel with the ground for 30-60 seconds.  These can also be done with squats (the bottom part of the motion), pushups or chest press machine (the bottom part of the motion) and crunches (the top part of the motion).  If you start shaking towards the end of a set, then congratulations, you are doing it correctly.

Obesity and Overeating: Breaking a Bad Habit

November 9, 2011 By: office Post a Comment

Do you ever find yourself eating when you’re not even hungry? Do you need to have a snack at the movies or while watching television? If you said yes to both of these questions, you may be in the habit of overeating. It’s a bad habit, but the good news is, any bad habit can be broken! This was the topic of discussion in a recent article from ABC News.

Obesity and Bad Habits

Research finds that some people have gotten into a habit of eating when engaging in certain activities, such as popcorn at the movies.

Psychologists David Neal and Wendy Wood from the University of Southern California have come up with a simple formula that may help break the habit of overeating, which may lead to weight loss for many people who struggle with this habit. They say that rather than trying to overwhelm the habit with a strong sense of self control, alter the environment that triggers the automatic response, or habit. This conclusion comes from the findings of a very interesting study involving a movie theater and a bag of stale popcorn.

Neal and Wood, along with several colleagues, wanted to find out if people who nearly always eat a bag of popcorn when at the movies would eat it, even if it was old and stale, simply because it has become a habit.

Several hundred participants were recruited, some who really wanted popcorn with a movie, some who sometimes wanted popcorn, and some who really didn’t care either way. Each person attending a showing in a regular theater was quizzed on how much they liked popcorn, how hungry they were, and several other things. They were not allowed to sit near anyone else.

Half of the participants were given a bag of freshly cooked popcorn, and the other half were given a bag that had been sitting around for several days, leaving it stale. After the showing the bags were collected and weighed. Participants who could take it or leave it left the stale popcorn almost untouched. But habitual popcorn eaters ate the whole thing, regardless of whether their bag was new or stale. This goes to show that it isn’t so much about the taste or hunger level for these participants, but rather about the habit.

In the second experiment, new participants sat in a meeting room, as opposed to a movie theater. Again, half the participants were given a fresh bag of popcorn, while the other half received a stale bag. This time, even the habitual popcorn hounds ignored the stale popcorn and the only change was the setting. This goes to show that a small alteration can greatly impact the habit.

In a third experiment with new participants, the setting was back to the movie theater. Again, half the participants received fresh popcorn, while the other half received stale popcorn. This time, however, the participants were instructed to eat only with their “non-dominant” hand. None of the participants cared much for the stale popcorn, even in the movie theater setting. This goes to show that even a small cue can overwhelm a habit because it causes the person to have to think about what they were doing, rather than just going through the motions.

“On average, people have more good habits than bad,” said Neal. But bad habits can be particularly destructive, contributing to the current obesity crisis, he added.

Neal has some simple tips to help you in your weight loss efforts on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Put the cookie jar where you can’t see it. Look only at the salad menu in your favorite restaurant. “Basically, it’s not really a matter of setting the right goals or having enough will power,” he said. “Those things are valuable, but they don’t really get you over the line. The critical thing to focus on is the environment.”

This news should be encouraging to most, because bad habits can be broken. Camp Shane weight loss camps for children and Shane Diet Resorts weight loss program for adults know the importance of getting into good lifestyle habits, while leaving the bad ones behind. If you eat healthy every single day, it will become a habit. If you exercise daily or a few times per week, it will become a habit. If you currently experience bad habits, it is time to make small adjustments in your life!

Do you have any bad habits that you need to break? Or, have you already broken a bad habit? We would love to hear from you.

Weight Loss Breakfasts

November 7, 2011 By: office 2 Comments

We’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it is important to make sure that the first meal of the day sticks to your healthy diet plan for weight loss. There is no need to over-indulge and eat too many calories in one sitting, so it’s best to keep your breakfasts homemade rather than driving through a fast-food restaurant. A recent online article from Prevention highlights the worst fast-food breakfasts, with their healthy alternatives. Don’t subject yourself to extra calories and potential weight gain! Stick to a low-calorie meal to lose weight.

Starbucks Zucchini-Walnut Muffin

Muffins may be delicious, but they can definitely pack on the calories and leave your stomach grumbling. Although the Starbucks muffin seems to be made with healthy ingredients like zucchini and walnuts, it still has close to 500 calories and 28 g of fat.

Try Instead: Zucchini-Raisin Muffin

These delicious muffins are half the calories and nearly a third of the fat as the Starbucks alternative. Be sure to load up your bread batter with lots of zucchini shreds and add raisins for sweetness.

Zucchini-Raisin Muffin

Zucchini-Raisin Muffin

Ingredients (makes 12 servings)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 cup raisins

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and butter a 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, honey, and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center, add the egg mixture, and stir just until combined. Fold in the zucchini and raisins.
  4. Pour the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tin and cool on a rack.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 198.9 cal, 10.4 g fat, 1 g sat. fat, 184.2 mg sodium, 25.4 g carbs, 15.6 g sugar, 2.1 g dietary fiber, 3.5 g protein

Sonic Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Toaster

A classic sausage, egg, and cheese seems harmless enough- filling and protein-packed. However, the Sonic  version has over 620 calories, 42 g of fat, and 1,400 mg of sodium. That’s the sodium equivalent of eating an entire bag of salty potato chips before lunch!

Try Instead: Open-Faced Broiled Egg, Spinach, and Tomato Sandwich

Swap out the sausage for tomato and add spinach to get a serving of veggies first thing in the morning. This alternative has nearly a third of the calories of the Sonic sandwich, a quarter of the fat, and over 1,000 mg less sodium.

Ingredients (makes one serving)

1/2 whole wheat english muffin

1/4 cup fresh spinach, cooked and squeezed dry (about 4 ounces)

1 slice tomato

1 hard-boiled egg, sliced widthwise

1 tablespoon omega-3-enriched mayonnaise

salt-free seasoning blend (such as mrs. dash)

1.    Set the muffin half on a toaster oven pan or double sheet of foil. Top with the spinach and tomato. Lay on the egg slices in an overlapping spiral. Dollop on the mayonnaise and swirl slightly to partially cover the egg slices. Sprinkle on seasoning to taste.

2.    Place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, watching carefully, until the mayonnaise is lightly browned.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 213.3 cal, 11.4 g fat, 1.8 g sat fat, 389.6 mg sodium, 18.8 g carbs, 3.9 g sugar, 4.2 g dietary fiber, 11.2 g protein

McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hot Cakes

The immediate red flag in this menu item is the word “big.” You don’t need to eat a tremendous breakfast off of a fast-food menu. This breakfast includes scrambled eggs, sausage, a buttermilk biscuit, hash browns, and two hot cakes. That is a lot of food! You can see why this one dish has over half your day’s calories and over 55 g of fat, plus a whopping 2,150 mg of sodium.

Try Instead: Pancakes with Berries and Cinnamon

Try these light and fluffy low-calorie pancakes as an alternative. The trick is baking them in the oven. Top them with berries and cinnamon and you’ve got a delicious and nutritious breakfast for the whole family to enjoy.

Pancakes with Berries and Cinnamon

Pancakes with Berries and Cinnamon

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

4 large eggs

1/2 cup 2% milk

1/3 cup oat flour

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons raspberry or blueberry fruit spread, warmed

  1. In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, flour, and salt. Process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Remove to a medium bowl, cover, and let rest for 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 9″ oven-safe skillet over medium heat and cook until frothy. Pour in the egg-flour mixture. Place in the oven and bake until puffy and set, 14 to 16 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cinnamon. Spread the fruit over the pancake, and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Using a spatula, fold the pancake in half (or roll it up) and slide it onto a platter. Slice into 4 pieces.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 222.7 cal, 14.9 g fat, 7.5 g sat fat, 120 mg sodium, 14.7 g carbs, 7.8 g sugar, .8 g dietary fiber, 8.4 g protein

Cinnabon Regular Caramel Pecanbon

If you’ve ever been to a shopping mall, you probably know how amazing Cinnabon can smell. Try to resist that urge to eat one of their treats, as one caramel-pecan bun comes in at almost 1,100 calories. It’s also loaded with more fat than nine chocolate chip cookies.

Try Instead: Maple-Pecan Cinnamon Roll

This homemade version still has the delicious gooey characteristics, with nearly a third of the calories and a quarter of the fat. You can even pop it in the microwave for that “just baked” taste and scent.

Maple-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Maple-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients (makes 12 servings)

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 large eggs

1/4 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 cups white whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup raisins

3 tablespoons trans-free margarine

3/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

  1. Warm the milk in the microwave until the temperature reaches 100° to 110°F, 30 to 40 seconds. Stir in the brown sugar and yeast and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until bubbles form. Combine the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
  2. Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon, and the salt in a large bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Slowly add the milk and yogurt mixtures while the mixer is running on low. Knead for 8 minutes, adding the raisins after about 5 minutes. Coat the bowl and dough with cooking spray. Cover and keep in a warm place until the dough is doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  3. Meanwhile, mix the margarine and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside. Combine 1 cup of the pecans, 1/4 cup of the syrup, and the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon in another small bowl and set aside. Coat a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray and pour the remaining 1/4 cup syrup over the bottom. Cover with the remaining 1/2 cup pecans. Set aside.
  4. Punch down the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick. Spread the margarine mixture over the dough, leaving a 1″ border around the edges. Slowly pour the pecan-syrup mixture into the center and spread over the margarine mixture.
  5. Starting on a long side, carefully roll the dough into a log shape. Slice into 12 equal pieces. Arrange the pieces cut side up in the baking dish. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls uncovered for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 421.7 cal, 14.8 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 156.5 mg sodium, 64.7 g carbs, 26.9 sugar, 7.8 g dietary fiber, 9.1 g protein

Hardee’s Double-Loaded Omelet Biscuit

This omelet packs 800 calories and comes with three types of breakfast meat – bacon, sausage, and ham – all on top of a buttery biscuit.

Try Instead: Hearty Egg Sandwich

This sandwich alternative still fills you up but swaps out the fatty breakfast meats for avocado and tomato slices. This version has less than 400 calories and cuts down on fat and calories with reduced-fat Cheddar.

Hearty Egg Sandwich

Hearty Egg Sandwich

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

1 whole egg

1 egg white

1 toasted whole wheat English muffin

1/4 C mashed Hass avocado

1 slice reduced-fat cheddar cheese

2 tomato slices

  1. Scramble 1 whole egg with 1 egg white in a skillet coated with cooking spray. Place on toasted whole wheat English muffin spread with 1/4 c mashed Hass avocado, and top with 1 slice reduced-fat Cheddar cheese and tomato slices.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 367.5 cal, 16.8 g fat, 4.2 g sat fat, 723.6 mg sodium, 34 g carbs, 7.2 g sugar, 8.6 g dietary fiber, 24 g protein

Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate-Coconut Cake Donut

You probably already know that a doughnut isn’t a very safe food for your healthy diet. This particular doughnut accounts for over a quarter of your day’s calories and has nearly as much sugar as a whole chocolate bar.

Try Instead: Strawberry-Banana-Topped French Toast

You can still satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard on calories. This rich meal is less than half the calories of just one doughnut.

Strawberry-Banana-Topped French Toast

Strawberry-Banana-Topped French Toast

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

1 egg

1/4 cup fat-free milk

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 slice (1 ounce) whole grain bread

1 teaspoon trans-fat free spread

1/4 cup sliced strawberries

1/4 cup sliced banana

  1. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg with the milk and cinnamon. Dip both sides of the bread in the milk mixture.
  2. Melt the spread in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place the bread in the pan. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden and cooked through. Cut in half diagonally. Place half on a plate. Top with half of the strawberries and bananas. Cover with the other toast half and the remaining strawberries and bananas.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 254.2 cal, 9.7 g fat, 2.8 g sat fat, 267.9 mg sodium, 29.5 g carbs, 11.9 g sugar, 4.5 g dietary fiber, 13.5 g protein

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