You gave up sweets, get plenty of sleep every night, and your pantry looks like a Whole Foods boutique, yet your waistline hasn’t budged an inch — so what gives? JJ Virgin, celebrity nutrition and fitness expert and co-star of the TLC series Freaky Eaters says that these healthy habits might actually be harming your weight loss efforts. We caught up with Virgin to debunk five sneaky food sins that seem healthy, yet are actually making you gain weight. Check out what they are below.
- You eat too much healthy food. “When it comes to your calorie intake, you have to think of your body as a bank account,” Virgin says. “Just because strawberries are healthy doesn’t mean you can eat 4 pounds of them. The same goes with nuts — yes, they are healthy but eat too many and they’re not. People I work with often experience the halo effect — they know they are eating something healthy so they eat more than they should, which counteracts eating healthy in the first place.”
- You’re eating healthy foods, but they might not be healthy for you. Your body has an inflammatory reaction to hold on to weight when you eat some staple items such as eggs, dairy, and soy. “When my clients pull these foods out of their diet, they lose 5 to 10 pounds almost instantly,” Virgin says. Try swapping coconut milk (she likes So Delicious Coconut Milk) instead of soymilk and start to see a difference in your middle.
- You skimp on breakfast. Not having a big enough breakfast sets your metabolic tone for the entire day. In a recent study, people who ate a larger breakfast (approximately 600 calories) lost more weight and kept it off than people who only had a 200 calories breakfast. Virgin recommends starting the day off with a shake for a healthy start. “Having a latte and a muffin will send your blood sugar crashing by 10 a.m.,” she says. “I tell my clients to make a pea rice protein shake with berries to keep your blood sugar stabilized and help you stay in fat-burning mode.”
A few weeks ago when we found out we’d be lucky enough to speak with Chopped host, author and food and entertaining guru Ted Allen, we decided to turn the tables and let you, our amazing readers, take the reins for the interview. A few of our Twitter friends (who are also fit bloggers we adore!) passed along the following great questions for Ted, and we couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say.
- @YumYucky: Your career is centered around so much delectable food and drink, yet you maintain a slim and fit appearance. How do you prevent overindulgence and weight gain?
- @FitBottomedGirl: Just like there are trends in fitness and fashion, there seem to be trends in food. What healthy trends are you seeing?
- @IowaGirlEats: I’ve read that you learned from, and are inspired by, your mother’s cooking. Me too! What’s your absolute favorite dish of hers?
- @EatingBender: I love to hear about people following their passion, so can you please fill in the blank: When I wake up in the morning, I am excited about my work because…
Press play to hear about Ted’s fitness routine, the meal that reminds him of his childhood and what motivates him to jump out of bed for work each day.
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- Chef Giada De Laurentiis’ Tips for Healthy Cooking and Staying Fit
- Rocco DiSpirito Dishes on Food and Fitness
- “Pretty Delicious” Recipes From the Stiletto Chef
When it comes to losing weight or making healthy choices, you probably think that it takes hours at a gym, plus long nights preparing and planning nutritious meals. But guess what? Quick and easy changes can also really improve your immediate health and wellness too!
So just how quick is quick? One minute—that’s it! Try any one of these 60-second activities to easily reap the healthy benefits.:
1. Drink a tall glass of water. We all know the many health benefits of drinking water, but did you also know that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue? So, the next time you feel your energy waning, grab a glass of water and guzzle it down!
2. Twist it out. So many of us spend every weekday seated in front of a computer. Not only can sitting all day wreak havoc on your posture, but it can also compress your spine and exaggerate its curvature. A simple twist can help undo this. As you sit in your desk chair, simply twist your upper-body to one side, hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. If you have the space to sit on the floor, try this torso twist stretch.
3. Take a deep breath. How often do you think about breathing? If you are like most people, you probably don’t think about it often enough. For a quick pick-me-up, simply take five deep breaths. Slowly inhale for at least five seconds and exhale for 10 seconds each time.
4. Put on a favorite song. There’s nothing quite like your favorite music to perk you up and get you feeling good. Listening to music has been shown to improve immunity and release endorphins. Bonus points if you dance along!
5. Sit up straighter. Did you know that bad posture can put unnecessary stress on your low back? Take a minute to focus on sitting up straight with your shoulders down and back.
6. Do 10 pushups. Being strong is important, but having functional strength is even more important because it makes everyday activities easier to accomplish. A push-up is a great, quick exercise for building functional strength. Drop down and give me 10—or as many as you can do in 1 minute.
7. Encourage someone. Isn’t it interesting how you always seem to feel better after helping someone else feel better? Whether you post a supportive comment on a friend’s profile page or write a few kind words in a card or an email, it can quickly boost your mood too.
8. Wash your hands. It seems like cold and flu season is always in full force (or just around the corner). One of the simplest and easiest ways to stay well year round is to wash your hands…or just grab your waterless hand sanitizer.
9. Try aromatherapy. A number of different smells can have a positive effect on your mind and body. For example, peppermint can energize you through a workout and jasmine has been shown to reduce anxiety.
10. Give yourself a mini-massage. Massage has a number of health benefits, including reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and speeding muscle repair. While you may not be able to spend the time or money getting one at a spa, pampering yourself with just 1 minute of self-massage by rubbing your own hands, feet or shoulders can do wonders.
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