Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Shake It Up

May 2, 2016

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Lately, I have been feeling like my workouts need shaking up. I have fallen into the habit of taking a variety of cycling classes four times a week, and an endurance based weight circut class, followed by abs class once a week. I toss in a post-cycling pilates class when I can. I take one day off, where the most strenuous exercise I do is walk. That leaves one day per week to fit in weight training, running or another much needed rest day. With my regimen of extremely healthy eating and tough, consistent workouts, I seem to have hit a plateau, even sliding down the mountain a bit, if you will.
This week, fate seems to be taking my need to shake it up into their own hands.
About a month or two ago, one of my favorite instructors dropped many of his morning classes, two of which were mine. I found great replacements and continued my regular schedule with minor tweaks. This week, two different instructors announced their recent promotions to corporate, which means they are dropping my classes. I have been feeling like one of my other classes with a longtime favorite instructor is getting stale. The workout feels punishing and exhausting, rather than envigorating, while pushing my body past it’s limits, and out of my comfort zone. Maybe this is the universe telling me to lift more and spin less.

Truth be told, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again without results, I am at the precipice of crazy town. It is time to move along. 

Starting a new month is the perfect time to re-evaluate my fitness goals and how to achieve them. I am exploring new classes, other gym locations and plan to get into the weight room instead of the cycling studio a few days a week.
I don’t want to give up the blood pumping, heavy breathing and  exhilaration of cycling. I just know that I need to mix it up to get better results.

Do you ever get in a fitness rut? Share you experiences in the comment section.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Find Your Comfort Zone

April 7, 2016

 

4989100064_compYou know that commercial for Weight Watchers, where Oprah talks about how much she loves bread, and how glad she is that she can lose weight and still eat bread everyday? I hate that commercial.

I hate all the diets that let you eat sweets, and bread and pasta. I cringe at celebrities and models who say that they believe in moderation, not deprivation, or even worse the ones who say they don’t diet or exercise, and fill their Instagram feeds with In and Out burger photos and triple scoop icecream cones, all while having a flat, toned midriff.  Or Kim Kardashian’s nutritionist discussing her 1800 calories per day diet, which includes 4 oz. of cheese, and how it is very restrictive to help her lose the baby weight. (1800 calories for not very active 5’2″ woman is far from restrictive!)

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Why do I hate all this? Because for me, none of that works. And because some of them are out and out lying.

First of all, for those of you that I haven’t met, let me state that I don’t have a weight problem. I am on the small side of the equation, but an extra few pounds really shows up on me in all the wrong places. I work out 5-6 days a week, and I walk almost everywhere I go. I eat a healthy diet, but I go rogue every once in awhile and it gets a bit out of control. Because of my usually healthy lifestyle, losing a few unwanted pounds means I need to resort to drastic measures. Calories in and calories out does not work for me. If it did, I would weigh 27 pounds. Nor does “moderation’, eating sugar and carbs, or drinking alcohol.

I don’t think that I have any major food sensitivities but after eating a refined carb heavy diet, or increasing my sugar intake from 0 to daily for awhile, I start to bloat up. I get a gut, and it is a gut that is upset most of the time. It isn’t how I want to look, or feel.
After doing a couple of Whole 30s, I have discovered that I fare best on a fairly rigid program of eating only vegatables, fruit, chicken, fish, eggs and some nuts. When I know that a cookie, or french fries are strickly off limits, I simply don’t eat them. If I try to eat them in “moderation”, I tend to fall off the wagon and over indulge. And it is a wagon I am comfortable being on, most of the time.

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I think it is important to figure out what type of diet and exercise person you are, and figure out how to make that work for you. It may in fact be comprised of a little of everything, or it may be a strict regiman that is completely different from mine. For me, staying the course for at least 30 days, and then allowing pre-meditated treats, works. That means deciding to have a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine at a nice dinner out, but not wavering, just because its Tuesday and there’s cookies in the office.

Exercise follows the same idea. If you find what you like, you will actually do it. In my case, a very set regimen is key. I get up, I go to the gym. When I get too relaxed about it, I find I don’t go, or go so late that my window of opportunity has closed and I am not performing at my best. I know I need to shake it up, and try to diversify my workouts so that each day is different from the one before it. I build in rest days, where I can regroup and recover. Much like my diet, if have to I miss a day or two, I don’t get crazy, and go back to my routine as soon as I can, but I never simply don’t go because I don’t feel like it. This keeps me on track, feeling energetic and strong. If I adopt a “whatever” attitude, I know I will lose the momentum that I have spent years establishing.

I see a healthy lifestyle as important as anything else…I schedule in exercise and plan ahead so that I am not stuck in a situation where I have to eat something unhealthy and unenjoyable, simply because I don’t have a better option. If I am going to eat something that is off my regular diet, I want to enjoy it and move on without regret. I wouldn’t blow off a business meeting, so why should I skip out on the gym? You may find that going for a walk a few times a week is all you need. It really is a matter of to each his own.

Now that I finally know what type of plan works best for me, I can comfortably follow it without feeling too restricted or deprived. That is, as long as Oprah stops talking about all that bread!!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unbelievable

January 22, 2016

We try to keep up with the innovations and discoveries in the health and wellness genre, as recent studies reveal better ways of eating and exercising all the time. While many findings are premature and only point to certain conclusions, they come from reputable sources and are worthy of a look-see.

Some, however sound too good to be true, perhaps because they are.
My Facebook feed is full of people posting that certain things are good for their health, because they so desperately want them to be. Diet soda better than water? A glass of wine the equivilent of an hour in the gym?  A chocolate bar a day for weight loss? Pretty doubtful. Yet these are actual headlines that have popped up recently, that people have taken seriously.

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The University of Alberta, in Canada found that rats who consumed one glass of red wine per day had similiar benefits to an hour of exercise. Hmm. Although many studies have lauded the resveratol found in red wine, we find this one a little hard to swallow. Compared to an hour in the gym doing what? Drinking wine?  I love a glass of red as much as the next guy, but I don’t think I am going to give up on the gym quite yet.

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That study that found that drinking diet soda is better for weight loss than drinking water?Funded by an organization that has Coke and Pepsi execs on the board. The researchers were also paid a stipend by the group, and the lead author was paid by the British Sugar Bureau. Of the 55,000 studies carried out, only the information from three of them were used. Only one of the three was able to show a weight loss benefit for the diet soda drinkers, as compared to those that drank water. Credible? We say highly questionable.

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John Bohannon, a journalist embarked on a prank study which bestowed the virtues of eating a chocolate bar a day to promote weight loss. While the news from the faux German study swept the world, the conclusions were, in fact unfounded. You can read Bohannon’s account of the hoax here.

Like with anything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before you settle in for a night of Netflix, accompanied by a glass of wine, a bar of chocolate and some diet soda thinking it is a magic bullet for weight loss, I’d like to chat with you about purchasing a certain bridge in New York.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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In Good Health: Fitness Trends To Watch in 2016

January 7, 2016

 

7091300071_compAs one year comes to a close and the new year begins, we view the clean slate before us and resolve to eat better, exercise more and take better care of our bodies than we did the previous year. The new year’s resolutions will come and go, but trends in health and wellness will continue to manifest throughout the year.

In 2015, we saw a new crop of juice bars, boutique fitness studios and athleticwear brands mulitply like rabbits across the country. Superfood juices became superfood bowls, and those that dared to eat carbs ate avocado toast. Exclusive, expensive and specialized studios popped up everywhere, with a better, more novel way to ride a bike, lift a weight and burn a calorie. These once unique boutique gyms soon started to spread their wisdom and some, like Soul Cycle, have become more prevelent in the New York City landscape than McDonalds.

Last year, we went hard. HIIT, or high intensity interval training was the common denominator in many of the hottest workouts. Gasping for breath and dripping with sweat were key determinators of a great workout. While we still see a preponderance of high intensity experiences leading the way, a few key factors will change.

This year, competition will take over the scene, with gyms like Orangetheory and Flywheel using leaderboards to track anything from speed, watts, mileage and heart rate across all participants. Full service gyms, like luxury player Equinox, are getting into the act with their specialized cycling programs being rolled out across the chain.

The concept of “Go big or go home” will take on a new sense of importance, with rest and rejuvenation becoming just as important and going all out in the gym. This will manifest itself in interesting ways, from planned active recoveries to a influx of regeneration activities breaking into the scene. Meditation studios, such as MNDFL are cropping up, as are sensory deprivation and cryotherapy outlets. L.A. leads the way with a new facility called Wanderlust Hollywood,which challenges members to “find your true north, and cultivate your best self,” through yoga, meditation, food, festivals and mindfulness.

We are discovering the benefits of sleep are much greater than we thought, and getting a full 8 hours could become way cooler than staying out all night.

If you can’t get to the gym but still want the experience, no worries. Peleton’s special bike allows you to stream into a class taking place in real time in their NYC studio, or select one from their extensive library. The Daily Burn allows you to stream classes with some of the top instructors in the fitness world today, and choose from a variety of genres to tailor your at home workout just for you. Watch for this concept to grow, allowing people to access the best class experiences when and where they wish to have them. Think of it as the Netflix effect.

Functional training, and bodyweight training are also gaining popularity. They require no fancy equipment, and train us not just to lift a heavy weight, but to be able to get our bags in the overhead compartment of an airplane without help, and lug our groceries up a few flights of steps. What’s the point of building muscles if you can’t use them?

Where we once we willing to scramble from studio to studio to get in our workouts, we are now looking for a more wholistic approach that gets it done all in one place. With fitness publications striving to answer the age old question of which should come first, cardio or strength training, these classes throw caution to the wind and mix it up. (Also, please stop writing those articles. I’m pretty sure that unless you are training for an elite event, it doesn’t really matter. Just do it!) From Equinox’s cutting edge introduction of Shockwave a couple of years ago, which incorporated rowing intervals with strength segments, to Barry’s Bootcamp which uses the treadmill, these classes aren’t exactly new on the fitness horizon. They are, however gaining momentum. Watch for more of these hybrids to pop up, and new combinations to emerge. Rowing and weights, cycling and yoga, boxing and pilates? Who knows what the next big idea might be!

Speaking of boxing, that is another form of training that seems to be having a resurgence. Whether it is true boxing from Aerospace or Shadowbox, or boxing inspired workout classes, like Equinox’s new The Cut, there seems to be renewed interest in this genre. Victoria’s Secret models swear by it, and from the looks of some of the participants, if you want to be strong, lean and cut, this could be the ticket.

Group reboots, which include training programs, nutrition and lifestyle coaching are gaining momentum. With goal setting, accountablilty and the support of a team driving their success, these specialized programs have proven to be very effective. Look at Barre 3’s 28 to Great, Anna Kaiser’s Transformation, and Equinox’s ETC as examples.

Technology will continue to grow as we monitor our stats, track our progress and compete against our peers. Whether it is apparel, accessory or equipment based monitors, this area will only get bigger, and more complex as new technology is developed. Watch for new developments to continue to astound us. Chances are, whatever you want to track, there is an app for it.

Stay tuned as we delve into our predicitions for the new year in wellness and food!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Body Love

August 26, 2015

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Body acceptance is a hot topic these days. The media is reaching out to encourage women everywhere to love their bodies, regardless of how they look. Body shaming, and setting an unrealistically high (and often photoshopped) bar for beauty is the subject of many news stories and ad campaigns.

I completley agree. Women should be able to go to the beach without panicing about their “beach body”(something I am completely guilty of). A jiggle here and a bump there shouldn’t keep women from enjoying their lives. A few extra pounds or a little “junk in the trunk” is nobody’s business but our own. Every story about women being fat shamed, or called out by total strangers for exposing thier stretch marks from childbirth on the beach makes me cringe. It is time that society comes to terms with our imperfections being part of who we are and move on.

Ok, so here comes the kicker. I mean, you knew there was going to be one, right? If we should love our bodies regardless of thier flaws, than shouldn’t we love them enough to take care of them? And by taking care of them, I don’t mean going on an all kale diet, exercising three hours a day, or being a size 2. I don’t mean never leaving the house without full pagent makeup and a fresh blowout. I do mean eating healthfully most of the time, getting a moderate amount of exercise and maintaining a weight that prevents chronic and serious illnesses to manifest. I would never, ever make a rude comment to someone of any gender about their weight, or how they look. It is rude, and frankly, none of my business. But, I have a hard time condoning a lifestyle that allows people become so over weight that they develop heart problems, hypertension, diabetes or even joint issues as a result of over-indulgence in food, and a lack of significant movement. Just walking at a moderate pace is considered exercise, yet I watch people circle the parking lot, looking for the closest possible parking spot so they don’t have to walk a few extra feet. Should we tell those women (and men for that matter)that it is ok and they should love their sick, unhealthy bodies as they are?

It is all a self fulfilling prophecy. Once the health issues begin to set in, physically being able to exercise becomes more problematic. Once the bad eating habits form, it is very hard to break them. You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you aren’t going to eat all the foods you are used to and stop cold turkey. Super clean eating requires discipline, both in choosing to avoid the unheatly items,and in buying and preparing the right ones. There is not a fast food, convenience store version to fall back on. I get it. Its not easy. Busy women with families and jobs don’t always have time to exercise, and commuting by foot or by bike is often not an option. So is the solution to say its ok, you are beautiful anyways? Isn’t that a twisted way of objectifying women? As health care costs rise, isn’t it cheaper to eat well, and less time consuming to exercise than take time out for frequent doctor visits and sick days?

BTW, skinny shaming people, such as celebs like Amal Clooney and Guilianna Rancic is just as offensive. Sometimes being overly thin is a natural state, but it can also signal health issues. We are very quick to say “eat a sandwich” to someone who is very thin, but not so quick to accept someone saying ” put down the cookie” to someone who is over weight. Until we can come to terms with the equality of the situation, we aren’t ready to embrace body love fully.

Are we, the media and society in general doing women a great disservice by focusing on accepting how our bodies look, vs.how our bodies function?

Sound off in the comments below!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Healthy Reset: How Its Going Week One

July 3, 2015

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The new eating plan got off to a rocky start on Monday morning, when I discovered that the only thing to make a smoothie out of was a few freezer burned strawberries and some pineapple chunks. Those mixed with water left me a bit cold, but it was better than a completely empty stomach as I headed to the gym. The lesson was quicky learned; be prepared.

In order to eat fresh, whole foods, one has to have them on hand. On the way back from the gym, I detoured through Chelsea Market and picked up lots of fresh produce and some fish to facilitate easy meal preparation. I am lucky to live in New York where I can walk out the door and have my pick of places to buy healthy food within a block or two. A word to the wise: if you have to drive to get groceries, stock up!

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The rest of the day went off without a hitch. While the program allows snacking if you are hungry, it is preferable to eat three healthy and filling meals instead. Some of the snacking cycle is in our heads. We get bored, or tired and think we need a snack. Sometimes we do, but often times we just need a glass of water or a cup of green tea and a diversion. Yesterday, I needed a snack.

Most Whole30 participants complain of headaches and low energy during the first week. This is a result of our bodies coming off of sugar, caffeine ( although coffee and tea are permitted, without dairy or sweeteners) and much of the excess junk that we previously consumed. My diet is not all that different on a daily basis, with the exception of dairy, mostly in the form of Greek yogurt, so I am hoping to bypass the hangover feeling that many people endure during days 2-7. Afterall, it was that hangover feeling that I got when I ate poorly that prompted me to try this. So far, I made it through a cycling class followed by a pilates class, so I guess I am doing fine.

Although the plan strongly urges you not to count calories or weigh yourself for 30 days, I recorded my food and exericise in my journal anyways, and discovered that even though I ate three healthy, balanced meals, my caloric intake was extremely low. Most experts advise eating at least 1200 calories per day, without exercise. Given that my workout burnt over 700 calories today, eating less than 700 calories can’t be good, so I treated myself to a little Monkey Salad. It is a paleo fruit salad, consisting of a sliced banana, a handful of cashews, and a liberal sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes. It is considered an acceptable indulgence since it uses approved foods, contains fruit, fat and protein, and doesn’t mimic something we are trying to avoid. It hit the spot, and could become a go-to. It also contained almost 300 calories, so it is important not to go crazy with it under normal circumstances. However, it drives home a good point: although Monkey Salad has as many calories as a cookie (or 2), or a bowl of ice cream or some chips, it is healthy, nutritious and contains no additives. ( Check the labels when buying coconut and cashews to make sure that is all that is listed on the ingredients. Sweetened, salted or preserved coconut is a big no-no.)

Day three brings no news, and if I continue to be home, without travel or social plans, this could be easy to sustain. It requires a lot of shopping, and chopping, but I know that I am not putting anything into my food that is against the rules. I love vegetables, so eating lots of them is fine. I am not longing for anything at this stage, but I am only a few days in. The weekend presents a challenge, when we typically eat out for brunch, and I indulge in a little wine and whatever at night. I am committed to NOT doing that this weekend.

Day 4 brings an ooops into the equation. In repurchasing a few things that I had on hand, I read the labels more carefully and low and behold, I have been using a few non-compliant items.

Srirachia contains sugar, a big no-no on this plan. The rules state that you must start over if you eat non-compliant foods, but there is no way I am going to go nuts over a tiny squirt of hot sauce that probably contained mere grains of sugar. But, speaking of nuts, Trader Joe’s roasts their cashews in rice bran oil. Yep, not on the list. Today I bought raw cashews, and will roast them myself, without any oil at all. While all of this sounds a bit extreme, the lesson here is to read labels carefully, and avoid packaged foods wherever possible. Freshly roasted nuts are delicous, and Tabasco sauce and Chola are both compliant, so I am not really giving up anything else here.

Whole 30’ers report feeling nasty and viscous on day 4, but so far, I don’t feel any malice towards anyone. I didn’t sleep as well as I should last night, so I am a little tired, but otherwise, all is normal. Many of the participants don’t workout, but I am keeping up with my workout schedule as usual. I guess the more detoxing you need to do, and the worse these first few days are. I don’t recommend going cold turkey on this plan, if your normal eating habits are poor. If you decide to do it, it might be best to start weening off the addictive foods on the list a bit before embarking on the full deal.

I am planning to invite a few friends over for Fourth of July dinner. I don’t mind making a dessert for them and not eating it, and I often serve meat to my family or guests that I don’t eat, but I would like to make all the side dishes compliant. With vegetarians in the mix, it will be a challenge to give them enough heft without dairy, beans, soy, grains or flour. Perhaps putting non-compliant ingredients on the side will be the answer. Check back for the verdict on how the holiday weekend went, temptations and all!!!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Move It or Lose It!

May 27, 2015

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The New York Times recently reported on two large-scale studies which link the role exercise plays on longevity.

One of those studies, conducted by Harvard University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and The American Cancer Society among others, reviewed aggregated results of six surveys, in which respondents reported thier exercise habits. The over 660,000 adults were then categorized based on their activity levels. The categories were:those who didn’t exercise, those who exercised less than the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio (or just 21 minutes a day), those who exercise two to three times more than that, and those who exercise three to five times the recommeneded amount. They also reviewed 14 years worth of death records for the group.

Those who exercised less than the recommended amount still had a 20% lower mortality rate than those who did not exercise at all. Those who did one to two times more than the minumun recommendation (approximately 42 minutes per day) had a 31% lower rate of mortality, and the group who exercised two to three times the more that the minumum (about 64 mintutes per day) had a 39% lower rate of mortality.

The second study reviewed the mortality rates of those who exercised vigorously, versus those who worked more moderately. Of those who met the minimum guidelines, the people who categorized 30% of their workouts as vigorous lowered their mortaltiy rate by another 9%. When an even higher percentage of their workouts were listed as vigorous, the rate dropped to  13%.

The bottom line? Get up and move! Even a few minutes per day can make a difference. Finding an hour per day, and pushing hard for just 19 minutes of that can reduce your chance of death by a full 39%! Isn’t that worth the effort?

Let’s go!!

 

photo GIF: Come Alive |Glasshouse Images

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Fitness Falsehoods

January 28, 2015

 

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You are almost one month into the new year. So, how are those resolutions coming?

Yeah, it’s been cold. Yeah, it snowed. We all need carbs to survive a natural disaster, right? (I know I do!)

Sometimes we talk ourselves into believing that things are going better than they really are. Here are a few of the fitness falsehoods that people use to justify how things really are.

Some of my favorites:

“I weigh more because muscle weighs more than fat.” Ah, sorry, but a pound of muscle weighs a pound and a pound of fat weighs…you guessed it, a pound. You can’t convert fat into muscle. It’s simply not possible. It’s like turning water into wine. You can, however, burn off fat and replace that space with muscle. You need a healthy diet and training program to do that.

“I can’t lift heavy weights or put too much resistance on my bike or I’ll bulk up.” Oh, if it was that easy! Most women generally don’t have enough testosterone to build gigantic muscles on their own. It takes a lot of heavy lifting to build any muscle. Tossing around those 2 pounders aren’t doing much for you, and using cardio equiptment with out any resistance isn’t going to get you results either. I bet your purse weighs more than those little dumbells you are curling with. If you want the rewards, do the work.

“I’ve been walking and I’m not seeing results.” Chances are, you aren’t walking fast enough to make a difference. Slow walking, or using cardio equiptment without speed and resisistance doesn’t burn enough calories to offset your latte. Assuming you are healthy, you need to ramp it up to see results.

“Lots of crunches will give me flat abs.” Lots of crunches, and other (better) abs exercises will build abdonminal muscles, but if they are hidden under a layer (or 2) of fat, you won’t see them. There is an old saying that 80% of great abs are made in the kitchen and 20% in the gym. Sadly, it’s true. Revamp your diet, and reap the benefits.

“This week is a bust. I’ll start my diet on Monday.” We’ve all been there. But why wait until Monday? You are just one meal away from getting back on track. Which do you want more? To have a six pack, or to consume one? Make a choice and move on.

Vintage photo: Glasshouse Images

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Don’t Start the New Year Fat

December 15, 2014

Girl in party hat, blowing up balloon

It’s holiday season, which often means  lots of celebrations. Celebrations mean food and alcohol, late nights, and skipped workouts.

Today, I overheard a conversation between some women on the mat while stretching after spin class. It went like this: Person 1;” I can’t wait until January, so I can stop eating too much and get back to normal.”

Person 2: “I know, right? I got on the scale and couldn’t believe my eyes. I will get on track after the first of the year.”

Male person 3: Why not just reel it in now?

{crickets}

Sorry ladies, but the guy is right. It’s easy to over indulge at a party, and it’s also perfectly ok to do so once in a while. But every meal is not a party, and there is ample opportunity to practice good judgement to offset the less healthy treats you will be partaking in later.

It’s a slippery slope. We get off track, and then adopt a WTF attitude for the rest of the week, or the entire holiday season.  I’ve been there. I get it. But this year, I am committed that I am not going to enter a new year feeling bad about myself. I want to start the year off on the right foot.

There is no time like the present, and I have been more diligent than ever to amp up my workouts, and eat healthfully and mindfully when I am home, knowing full well that when I go out I am going to enjoy myself. This doesn’t mean starving myself between treats. That never ends well. It does mean viewing my meals as fuel and nourishment, and not just stuffing cookies in my face. With the recent launch of indigo jones eats, I have been elbow deep in cookie dough and chocolate for days on end. It hasn’t been easy not to sample every batch, but I know I feel better by not doing so.

Here are a few of my personal strategies to manage holiday indulgences:

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1. Know when the parties are, and that is when you are going to throw caution to the wind and imbibe in whatever you want. All other times, eat healthfully.

2. In between, set strict eating guidelines, and stick to them. I have been eating a very high protein, low fat, low carb diet. I make sure that I have the right foods on hand so that I don’t grab the wrong thing when I’m hungry, by default. When I have a craving, I remind myself that I can have whatever I want at the upcoming party. So far, that tactic is working.

3. I consider what the upcoming event might be. Should I eat something first, so I am not at a cocktail party or an open house, eating fattening nibbles instead of a healthy meal? Is it a sit down event with a menu. Can I make a healthy choice for the main course, and then share a dessert?

4. For every cookie, candy, or cheesy, carb-y whatever, ask yourself if it’s worth the calories. Why waste them on a mediocre, stale pastry, when you can walk away and feel good about your self control, and the way your pants fit? If the answer is yes, by the way, go for it!

5.If it’s special, if it’s decadent, if it’s out of this world delicious…eat it, savor it, enjoy it and don’t look back. After all, you only live once.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Can You Exercise and Still Gain Weight? SPOILER: YUP!

November 19, 2014

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Did the New York Times act responsably when they wrote about a recent study of weight management and exercise?
The article, entitled “Exercising but Gaining Weight,” takes a look at research conducted at Arizona State University, following 81 healthy, but sedentary women who were overweight.

The women participated in a supervised exercise program where they walked on a treadmill 3 times a week for 30 minutes, at a pace that represented 80% of their maximum endurance.

They were told not to alter their diet or eating habits during the 12 week study. At the end of the study, all of the women had significantly increased their aerobic fitness, but many had also gained weight attributed to fat, not added muscle.

Are you shocked? I certainly am not. The average 150 pound person would burn about 142 calories walking briskly for 30 minutes.A 200 pound person might burn about 172 calories in the same time. Do the math, and at best, these people would have lost between 1.4 and 1.7 pounds over the 12 week period. That’s it. Less than 2 pounds!

I would venture to guess that the increase in activity led them to be a little hungrier, and maybe a little more tired, causing them to eat a bit more and move a bit less throughout the day. It’s no surprise to me, that these people gained weight.

I see woman at the gym struggle through a cycling class, only to spend the next hour or two at the juice bar, replacing practically every calorie they burned with carbs. Exercise isn’t a magic pill. Slow, consistent cardio doesn’t burn much fat. To see results, it takes a combination of strength training and cardio with intervals to spike your heart rate.
What you put into your body is of even greater importance. Moving more and eating more, especially more of the wrong foods, is going to cause weight gain. It’s that simple.

A congratulatory post workout snack at Starbucks would run about 600 calories for a tall Pumpkin Spice Latte and a muffin. Try that three times a week and see where that gets you.

I calculate a 6 pound weight gain from that alone!

It doesn’t take a degree, or an elaborate study to come to these conclusions.

Did the Times do a disservice to it’s less fitness conscious readers by printing this study? Does it send a message that exercise isn’t going to help you lose weight so you shouldn’t bother?

While I am sure people are using this study to validate their sedentary existence, I am not going to give up my gym membership just yet.

Read the article in it’s entirety here:

photo: Glasshouse Images

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