Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

Risky Business

October 10, 2014

1231000093

 

There is a new study out which shows the startling correlation between an increase in waist size, and breast cancer risk.
It’s pretty common for our waistlines to expand a bit as we age. Now there is a new, and very compelling reason to battle that bulge!

The British Medical Journal reports that going up just one skirt size every 10 years between the ages of 20-60, can result in a 33% increase in post-menopausal breast cancer risk. A two-size per decade growth spurt equated to a 77% increase in risk.

Research suggests that excess body weight, especially in the midsection, can spur cancer development. Midsection fat triggers estrogen development and inflammation, both of which could be factors in the elevated cancer rates. It is also thought that belly fat is more metabolically active than fat tissue in other parts of the body, therefore promoting the spread of cancer cells.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page!

 

 

What The Scale Means When It Says You’ve Gained Weight

October 9, 2014

4093600718

Last week I wrote about the flawed concept of “calories in/calories out,” based on my own, non-expert findings. Today, a real expert weighs in on weight fluctuation, and explains what I have been experiencing.

According to Richard Talens, fitness coach, co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Fitocracy, the number on the scale may not accurately reflect whether or not you are losing fat.

And no, it’s not because a pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat. They both weigh just that: a pound!

Talens begins with a mathematical equation, which looks like this:

Scale weight= true weight +/_ weight variance.

He attributes weight variance to the following factors:

Glycogen stores: When you consume carbohydrates, your body stores glycogen to be used later, for energy. For every gram of carbohydrate stored via glycogen, your body stores three grams of water.

Ah-ha! So that’s why I get puffy and the scale jumps up every time I have a major carb-fest.

Water retention/depletion from sodium: Large consumption of sodium causes your body to retain water. Low sodium consumption causes your body to release water. A hormone called aldosterone helps your body to adjust to the new sodium level, so simply cutting sodium from your diet is not a long-term solution. Maintaining moderate sodium levels will help reduce bloating, as will drinking enough water to regularly flush your system out.

Cycle related bloating: Women generally retain water at certain points in their menstrual cycle. Embrace it; it’s part of life. And it sucks.

Dehydration: When the body is dehydrated, it means it is holding onto less water. While this does cause the number on the scale to move south, it is an unhealthy and temporary state of being, and should not be used as a weight loss method.

Fast forward to the days after a binge, when the body is holding on to all that excess glycogen, and the water that accompanies it. Not only does the scale say that you have gained several pounds, but the mirror reinforces it. Talens claims that “bloat weight” makes you look heavier than actual “fat weight”. He recommends taking photos of your self throughout the month, especially after a big carb blitz to illustrate this fact. He contends that you will look fatter in the post-binge photos than in those where you weighed the same naturally. Chances are, the weight ends up in certain places, vs. being evenly distributed. For me, it’s across the lower belly. The good news is that a few days of clean eating and a lot of water consumption will allow your body to return to it’s “real weight.” (Whew!)

The other disconcerting fact that Talens points out is that scale variance tends to be asymmetrical. contends that the upper limits of scale variance tend to be +4% of your normal weight, vs. only -2% on the lower side. For someone weighing 150 pounds, that is 6 pounds more, or 3 pounds less that usual!

It’s hard not to be frustrated, and even harder to stay the course of healthy diet and exercise. It’s good to know that “binge weight ” is only temporary, and there are legitimate reasons for it.

To read more on the subject, and how to accurately respond to those pesky scale fluctuations, check out Talens’ article on Greatist.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page!

Challenging Math and Science

September 29, 2014

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a doctor, or a nutritionist. I am not good in science and I absolutely suck at math. Therefore, please take this post with a grain of salt, or better yet, skip the extra salt completely and just keep reading.

Conventional wisdom states that 3500 calories make a pound. A pound is a pound, whether it is fat, muscle, butter or carrots. It is presumed, that if you reduce your calorie intake by 3500 calories over a period of time, you will lose 1 pound. If you over-consume by that much, you will gain. Makes sense,right? Well, not so fast…

What you eat, and how you burn it off is as important as the elimination of those 3500 calories. Case in point:

I am admittedly obsessive about food and fitness, hence the premise of this blog. I keep a food and activity journal, and try to be as accurate as possible. Based on my current size, if I only consume 1,110 calories per day, I will lost 1 pound per week. Before you all go crazy and think I starve myself, when I enter activity, it adds those calories burned back to my daily food quota. Because I am so active, I am able to eat more than that and still be on target to lose a pound per week.
I take hardcore cycling classes four times per week, I weight train, do weight circuits and toss in a Pilates class when I can for good measure. I also walk 1-1/2 hours per day on average, as transportation. In most people’s eyes, that should be a free pass for the all-you-can-eat fish fry, with extra dessert, right? WRONG!

IMG_3117

According to my Lose It app, I have saved 5369 calories over the last 4 weeks, over and above the 3500 per week deficit built in. That would mean I lost 5.5 pounds. According to the scale in my bathroom, I have gained almost that much. Say WHAT?

The big differential for me these last few weeks is not the amount of food I am eating, but the type of food I am eating.  Based on my personal experience, here are the cold, hard realities of healthy eating and exercise, according to me:

Just because it came from Whole Foods, or is organic, low fat, gluten free or whatever else the package says, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sorry, but real healthy food does not come in a package, and therefore does not state it’s virtures.

I do not have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, and gluten does not make me sick. Foods that contain it however (with the exception of french fries, that would be all the really delicous ones!) make me fat. And by fat, I mean bloated, and thick around the middle. Maybe it’s not the case for you, but for me, if I want a flat belly, I need to lay off the white stuff, most of the time. And while we’re at it, the whole grain goodness of whole wheat isn’t any better on my middle.

For many, many years, I avidly avoided sugar. Not even a bite of a cookie, or a lick of ice-cream. Now, if I have a little sweet something, it makes me want more. Like a junkie, that bite becomes the whole thing. And then I have a stomach ache. My body is trying to tell me something. Why don’t I listen to it? Do you listen to yours? You really should.

Protein is the building block of muscle or something like that. (See disclosure above.) I am clearly not eating enough of it lately. I don’t like meat, so getting to the fish market has to be a priority, otherwise I just eat fruit and vegetables, and later become ravenous and down half a bag of  trail mix or something else masquerading as “healthy” in a  package in my pantry. It’s important to fuel properly during the day to avoid the ravenous binge, especially post workout.

My exercise routine is intense, followed by long stretches of sitting on my butt in front of a computer or drawing table all day. I get out of my chair sometimes and can barely move I’m so stiff. Studies show that even a couple of  hours a day of physical activity cannot offset being sedentary for the rest of the day. I need to get up and move around every few hours, to rev my metabolism and stretch my sore limbs. Perhaps a stroll to the nearest fish market would solve multiple issues?

While we are on the subject of walking, I regret to inform you that walking does not burn very many calories. For those of you that think walking for 30 minutes per day a few times a week is exercising, you are wrong. It is better than not moving at all, but it doesn’t do much for increasing your heart rate or decreasing your fat rate. Lose It says that I burned 69 calories during a 30 minute walk, or the equivalent of  1-1/2 tablespoons of trail mix. And that’s not the kind with M&M’s in it. Bummer, right?

This is the calorie equivalent of a 30 minute brisk walk.

This is the calorie equivalent of a 30 minute brisk walk.

The media touts salt as an enemy. It’s not the salt that we sprinkle on our home cooked meals that is the problem. It’s the huge amounts lurking in those bags and tetra packs, and glass jars (no plastic please! ) that is the issue. That organic, gluten free, low fat, high fiber soup my be a BPA free sodium bomb. Making soup is so easy and tastes so much better. It’s time to get off my duff and make a few different kinds to put in the freezer in individual containers so that I can have homemade convenience foods at the ready. While salt doesn’t cause fat gain, that jump in the scale after consuming large quantities of it is due to good old bloat. Drinking a lot of water can help to eliminate the retained water in a day or two.

4093602688

The bottom line is that whole foods; the kind that are produced by nature, not factories, are the best for us. There is no debate there. Eating the freshest, highest quality foods, without added chemicals, additives and flavorings will produce the best results in terms of health, fuel and weight management.

Moving throughout the day is important for your health, but adding bouts of high intensity activity ( intervals for example,) will yield you better results.

It’s true what they say: You can’t out train a bad diet, and abs really are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.

Expansion Plans

September 25, 2014

4263000260

The American obesity epidemic continues to take it’s toll, despite warnings to the contrary. What is really alarming, is news that although our collective body mass is not expanding, our waistlines are.

The New York Times reports that the average overall waist circumference in 2012 was 38.7″, up from 37.5 in 1999.

Abdominal obesity, defined by a waist circumference of more than 40″ for men, and 34.6″ for woman, is a key indicator of metabolic syndrome, which puts us at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Getting on the scale is a good indicator of weight, but monitoring your waistline could be a better indicator of good health.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Like us on Facebook, follow us on TwitterTumblr, Instagram and Pinterest too!

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Cleaning a Reusable Water Bottle

September 2, 2014

bottles, water, glassTo avoid plastic bottles, I tote a reusable water bottle to the gym. Mine is stainless steel, and sports the logo of my favorite charity, Cycle for Survival on the outside. Using a metal or glass bottle is better for the environment, and for your health. That is, if it’s kept clean.

Although I wash it out every night, sometimes it needs a little more love to keep it germ free.

Before leaving for a short vacation, I left it filled with water and baking soda to disinfect it. When I went to rinse it out, the water inside the bottle was the color of tea. Yuck! To completely clean your bottle and kill the germs that might be harboring in the bottom, try a few of these simple tips:

Soap and Water: Of course, good old soap and water is always a safe bet. Add a few drops of dish soap and let it soak.

If you ever use the bottle with flavored water, or other drinks, it might need one of the other methods to remove the taste and coloring left in the bottom of the bottle.

Baking Soda: As mentioned above, baking soda and water are a great way to clean the bottle. Add a nice amount of baking soda and fill the bottle with water. Give it a few shakes and let it sit.

Vinegar: A vinegar and water mixture is also an effective way to disinfect your bottle. If you are really adventurous, add a little baking soda for some fizzing action. ( Be sure to use white vinegar!)

Denture cleaning tablets: Drop one denture cleaning tablet into a full bottle of water and let it do it’s magic.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to thoroughly rinse the bottle to get any residue out, and to avoid having an unpleasant flavor when you add water. Pour out any excess and allow it to air dry completely.

Don’t forget to wash the cap and outside of the bottle as well.

photo:Glasshouse Images

Like us on Facebook, follow us on TwitterTumblr, Instagram and Pinterest too!

What’s On My Mind This Week

August 7, 2014

After almost 10 months of traveling endlessly for work, I am back in New York for awhile and settling into my new, OLD routine again!

I am finding joy in the mundane things that I haven’t been able to do lately. Here are just a few of them:

IMA95659

Cooking and eating greenmarket fresh vegetables : I love vegetables and finding a variety of fresh, simply prepared produce isn’t so easy to come by on the road.

Many hotel restaurants don’t offer a lot of vegetable choices, and slathering them in butter, a creamy sauce or frying them doesn’t help matters. My current fixation is zucchini. It has become my main course when the family is having meat ( which I don’t like,) or pasta, ( which doesn’t especially like me!) In addition to spiraling it into noodles and eating it with my other current fascination, tomatoes, I am playing with it in zucchini bread, and instead of lettuce in a salad, among other things. I’ll keep you posted with unrecipes soon!

Old Paint Tin

Nesting: I am reveling in being home, and taking time to do some improvements. I shampooed the bedroom carpet, and am slowly reorganizing.  My sofa needs recovering, and the whole loft could use a coat of paint. I have been discussing this for months, but the current downtime is allowing me to look at fabrics and paint chips, and actually make it happen. I didn’t plan to do anything else, but yesterday I swatted a mosquito that had flown in through the kitchen window, and both the insect and the glass backsplash in my kitchen did not survive. I’m thinking of replacing it with mosaic glass tiles in neutral tones. Any ideas?

4286000182

Training…hard! I have been a gym rat for many years, but it’s not easy to keep up with a fitness routine on the road. Yes, there are hotel gyms, and I do run outside a little, but those workouts tend to be maintenance, not real training. Travel days and early morning meetings wrecked havoc on my schedule, and I have been finding my fitness level has slipped. I was lifting lighter weights, running shorter distances, and biking at lower wattages. I am back on a serious regimen, and feeling great about it!(Okay, a little sore, but energized!)

Slow foods: I got a slow cooker a long time ago, but lately, I am actually using it! I can prep everything early in the day and leave it cook while I do whatever else I need to do. It means that I am not scrambling to get dinner ready at 7, or slaving over the hot stove when it’s hot outside. So far, BBQ pulled pork and Bolognese sauce were a hit, and I popped my favorite coconut miso chicken with shiitake mushrooms in there a few hours ago. It smells great!

Rebooting: It feels so good to relax, reconnect with friends, and think about what’s next. I love what I do, and the busier I am, the happier I am. Yet, I have missed a lot of social events, kid’s milestones, and just sitting back and relaxing! It’s also giving me enough breathing space to think about what I really want to do next, instead of just taking on the next project blindly. I usually panic at this stage, but this time I am enjoying it. Before the craziness began, I was working on a new concept for Indigo Jones. Perhaps now, I can take it to the next level. I’m pretty sure that will be what I will obsess over next week! I can’t wait to be able to share it with you.

Finding balance: These days it seems like it’s all or nothing with me. I’m not retired and I do still have work to do. I need to find the balance between committing myself to it fully, and living a normal life. And that is what I intend to do.

photos: Glasshouse Images

 

Eat To Win

August 6, 2014

4116100095

I am always intrigued by how nutrition plays such a strong role in athletic performance. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains is  usually the norm for good health. But when you are racing a bike through the mountains of France for 6 hours a day, for 3 weeks straight, it seems one needs a bit more than that to power through.

Esquire magazine tracked Tour de France champion Thor Hushovd’s food consumption  for the day, and the amount he eats is truly staggering!

Breakfast consists of oatmeal, toast, ham, eggs, cereal and rice. Once on the bike, he snacks on 4-6 Clif bars, 2 packs of shot blocks and 2-3 gels, some rice cakes, and a small sandwich,washed down with 6-8 bottles of a special energy drink made for his team.

Post race, there is more rice, curried chicken or a tortilla of some kind, and 2 bottles of a recovery drink,consumed on the bus ride home.

Once back at the hotel, dinner consists of stuffed tomatoes, zucchini and more rice, beet salad, avocados, spaghetti, turkey and prunes, and sorbet for dessert. It all adds up to about 9,000 calories a day, or almost a week’s worth of food for me.

Although Hushovd burns about 6,000 calories on the bike, the most the body is capable of absorbing during exercise is about 250-300 calories per hour. Fueling up is more than just loading up. He is careful to go light on gluten and fiber, to avoid bloating and intestinal issues during the ride. Rice is his carb of choice.

So far, it’s all paying off, with Hushovd holding a top spot in the race so far.

I rode about 16 miles in 45 minutes in my indoor cycling class today, and burnt about 650 calories. While that may be child’s play for these athletes, surely it qualifies me for a little treat, doesn’t it?

photo: glasshouse images

Like us on Facebook, follow us on TwitterTumblr, Instagram and Pinterest too!

Inspired Living

July 28, 2014

1231000456

As a frequent business traveler, I tend to encounter some of the same people working at my destinations. Whether it is the room service waiter, the taxi driver or the check in clerk, there is something pleasant and comforting about encountering a familiar and friendly face.

In one city, I rely on a taxi service to shuttle me from my hotel to the office and back. It is not uncommon for me to have the same drivers over and over again. In the 30 minute rides, we make idle small talk, and they all know me on a first name basis. They know a bit about my family and where I live, among other tidbits we share on our journey together.

This week, I had a unique and gratifying experience. I was greeted my one of my regular drivers and he immediately inquired as to my well being, and my family. After a few minutes of polite chit chat, he told me he had been on a health kick and had lost about 30 pounds since we last spoke. He attributed it to getting active, and eating healthier. He began cooking his own food, and gave up on junk. I congratulated him on his accomplishment, but I was unprepared for came next.

He said, “Chatting with you about healthy eating and your exercise regimen really inspired me. I decided after I dropped you off one day, it was time to get serious about my weight and my health.”

That really blew me away and made my day. In a week that I was feeling less than good about myself, I realized that our actions, however small can have an influence on others. We probably have an effect on people all the time, through the positive, and not so positive things that we do.

I am so happy to have been able to help this man change his life for the better, however inadvertently that may have happened.

Congratulations Bill the taxi driver! Keep up the good work and pay it forward!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Like us on Facebook, follow us on TwitterTumblr, Instagram and Pinterest too!

 

Chilling at Bedtime

July 21, 2014

 

d4jm9-331.jpgI love to sleep in a cold bedroom at night. I prefer to burrow under the covers, rather than have the room warm and toasty. While it can sometimes be a bone of contention , this article in the New York Times gives another, perhaps more compelling reason to turn the thermostat down at night.

Sleeping in a cooler room can alter the amount of brown fat our bodies carry.
Brown fat, which has been discovered in tiny amounts in the upper backs and necks of adults, is thought to have be metabolically active.  This healthy fat aids in   burning calories, maintaining core body temperature, and taking sugar out of the bloodstream.

Studies performed on healthy men showed that sleeping in a room cooled to 66 degrees, allowed their bodies to double their stores of healthy brown fat in just four weeks, and improved their insulin sensitivity.  When the same men slept in an 80 degree room for four weeks, their brown fat levels fell lower than they were at the onset of the study.

While the effects of these findings were minimal, it is interesting to note that subtle tweaks in temperature could offer small metabolic health boosts.

The original article can be found here.

photo: glasshouse images

Chic Trackers

July 16, 2014

031414-fitbit-tory-burch-594

Fitness tracking devices have been gaining prominence, and it seems many of the chicest women are sporting rubber wrist bands, to record their activity, calorie expenditure and even sleep cycles.

It certainly comes as no surprise that Fitbit, one of the early adopters of fitness tracking bracelets has teamed up with designer Tory Burch to create a line of fashionable jewelry with tracking technology.

images

images-2

From colorful printed bands with Burch’s signature logo, to gold caged bracelets and pendants, these pieces are designed to house Fitbit’s “core”, which pops out of the original bracelet.

While Tory Burch is not the first to merge fashion and fitness, she certainly is the most high profile.
Watch for a flurry of activity around this concept as fashion firms and tech firms begin to collaborate on this type of product. It’s only a matter of time before Apple steps in and blows the competition out of the water.

pictures courtesy of Tory Burch.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 525 other followers

%d bloggers like this: