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Nutrition

Dieting Rules You’ll Love to Follow

Written on May 1, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Breakfast is the key to dropping a jeans size. (Photo courtesy of Laura Doss)

Don’t eat this, stay away from that — following a diet can seem like a total killjoy. If you’re feeling depressed about how restrictive your diet is, here are some proven weight-loss rules you’ll welcome with open arms.

1. Dig into a big breakfast: Skipping breakfast to save calories? That’s a big mistake because eating breakfast actually jump-starts your metabolism. Your first meal of the day should include protein to reduce sugar cravings, and fiber to satiate your hunger. A veggie omelet, fruit smoothie with spinach, oatmeal with fruit and nuts, or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit are excellent choices.

2. Say yes to carbs: Before you get all excited, I’m not talking about bagels, regular pasta, and pretzels. Simple carbs made from enriched white flour offer little nutritional value and more calories than you need. Stick to complex carbs like quinoa, brown rice, and oats, as well as foods made from whole grain flour such as pasta and crackers — the least processed and as close to nature as possible. (Of course, you still need to be mindful of portion sizes.) Complex carbs are not only full of fiber that keep hunger at bay, they also contain valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs such as vitamins B6 and E and iron.

3. Eat between meals: No need to feel starved all day! Aside from your three main meals, schedule a morning and afternoon snack to keep hunger at bay. Stick to munching on snacks that are 150 calories or less, and use your two snacks as a time to fill holes in your diet such as getting a little extra protein or fiber. Not sure what to eat? Check out these 150-calorie snack ideas.

4. Set a time to indulge each day: Whether it’s chocolate you long for or some crunchy, salty chips, choose a time each day where you can splurge on a little something you crave. Keep it under 50 calories and really take the time to sit down and savor it. Satisfying your edible desires is a great way to prevent breaking down and binging on huge portions of unhealthy foods later.

Keep reading for more weight-loss rules you’ll love following.

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5 Ways to Kick the Yo-Yo Out of Your Diet Vocab

Written on April 3, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

End the yo-yo diet cycle! (Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto)

The constant cycling of gaining and losing weight is a heavy load on your mind, but it also has very real repercussions on your body’s ability to metabolize what you eat. With a new season upon us, there’s no better time to set some healthy intentions and get the yo-yo out of your diet — we are exhausted just thinking about it! Here are five tips to take to heart if you’re ready to stop the cycle.

1. Losing weight doesn’t happen overnight. For those of us who have become accustomed to years of yo-yo dieting, it’s time to change our perception of weight loss. Healthy weight loss does not happen overnight, or right before your best friend’s wedding, or two weeks before you want to wear a killer party dress. While it’s tempting to restrict heavily before a big event, just say no. The weight will come back on your bod and only get harder to take off with time. The slower you lose weight, the longer you will keep it off.

2. Time to retrain that brain. Food can become quite a security blanket. Instead of finding stimulation or solace by chowing down, it’s time to start thinking differently. Take this tip from food journalist and professor Michael Pollan: “If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re probably not hungry.” When you go to grab a big bag of chips or check out what fun things are happening in the fridge, honestly ask yourself: “Am I hungry? Or am I just bored?” The more self-awareness you gain, and the less likely you are to mindlessly eat, the more stability you’ll bring to your diet.

3. Recognize that it’s a lifestyle change. The good news is your old days of going from binging to harsh diets are over. The other news is that if you want to lose weight and keep it off in a healthy way, your relationship with food is about to change in a big way. If you’re guilty of the yo-yo cycle, you may be surprised to learn that this constant crash dieting only makes your body cling to the calories you eat more. The reason? It’s not sure when you’re going to feed it next.

Keep reading for more ways to kick the yo-yo from your diet vocabulary.

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10 Weight-Loss Rules That Work
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#140Wednesdays: What Are the Ingredients of Your Favorite DIY Snack?

Written on March 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm , by

Snacking is a perfect way to keep from overeating later in the day. (Photo courtesy of Chris Gallo)

Ever since we were in kindergarten, snack time has been something to look forward to. After all, the options are pretty endless. (Sweet! Salty! Crunchy!) That’s why for this week’s #140Wednesdays we want know what your DIY go-to nibble is when hunger strikes. Read some of the responses below to get some healthy noshing inspiration.

@Shazsc06: Ants on a Log: Put peanut butter in the crease of a celery stalk, then place the raisins on top of the peanut butter.

@jrs14usa: I dip grapes in Greek yogurt and freeze them! Awesome when you want a guilt-free frozen treat!

@lcarolinec: Multigrain Cheerios and unsweetened almond milk!

@15Sunshyne: A banana protein shake.
Now tell us: What is your favorite healthy snack?

More from FITNESS: Healthy, Homemade Snacks Under 100 Calories

#140Wednesdays: If You Could Only Eat One Thing For the Rest of Your Life, What Would It Be?

Written on March 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm , by

What's your food fetish? (Photo courtesy of Laura Doss)

You can stuff yourself with salad until you’re blue (err, green?) in the face, but everyone has one food they just can’t resist. We’re right there with you! At any given day at the FITNESS offices we are faced with some pretty sweet temptations. Birthday cupcakes, treats from PR gals and leftover bagels in the kitchen are just a few that haunt our floor. But even cupcakes lose their luster after a while, so we had to know—if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Read below for what our Twitter followers said, we were pretty surprised by your picks!

@36laps: Healthy: Spinach. Not Healthy: Cookie ice cream sandwiches.

@StacyLazar: Cucumbers. I think I’d get sick of everything else, even gummies. (Wait, does wine count?)

@merv268: Probably #pizza (with #chickenbreast) because you can pick stuff off if you want to!

@Half_The_Girl: Cherries, or mangoes!

@Balanced_Life_: Cereal! I could eat it forever. If only it was more wholesome.

Read more

Small Diet Switches to Start Before Bikini Season

Written on March 5, 2012 at 11:30 am , by

Start getting summer ready now and reap the body benefits come May! (Photo courtesy of Denise Crew)

March is such a weird month. It is kind of spring, but the temperature outside tells you it is kind of not. Though we might be in weather limbo, bikini season will be here before you know it. To celebrate National Nutrition Month and help ease into the transition of shedding our winter layers, we chatted with Keri Gans, a New York registered dietician and author of The Small Change Diet on behalf of Thomas English Muffins and Bagels on how to make tiny changes to your diet for big results. Check out her tips below and tweak your eating habits today.

  • Don’t skip meals. “You shouldn’t be thinking of what you should eliminate from your diet, you should be asking yourself, ‘What should I include?’” Gans says. For breakfast, she recommends almond butter on a Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thin (only 110 calories per serving!), low-fat Greek yogurt (it doesn’t have to be fat-free), or cereal with fresh berries for fiber. Lunch should include some protein like chicken, shrimp or beans to keep you satisfied through the end of the day. For dinner, Gans says to learn to make sacrifices. “Fish is a great option for dinner, but if you want something fried, skip something else. Get the burger but don’t eat the bun or pass on the fries.”

Read more

How Your Bowl of Cereal Is Making You Fat

Written on February 28, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Stick to one bowl of cereal for a happy, healthy start to your morning. (Photo courtesy of Karen Pearson)

A bowl of cereal makes the perfect breakfast. It’s fast, easy, and inexpensive, and the right bowl of cereal is a good source of fiber, calcium, and protein. But if you make the wrong choices, your cereal may actually be contributing to weight gain. Avoid these mistakes when it comes to your morning bowl of cereal.

  • Your bowl is too big: Depending on the box of cereal you choose, a serving size is about three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter cups. If you use the biggest bowl you have and just mindlessly pour, you could be devouring over 400 calories instead of the usual 120 to 200 — and this is just the cereal alone!
  • You’re a little nuts: Sliced almonds, pecans, and walnuts offer healthy fats and protein, but they’re also pretty high in calories. Two tablespoons of walnuts is almost 100, so be mindful about how nutty you get.
  • You’re using a bottomless bowl: You measure out a serving of cereal, pour in the milk, and spoon away. But when you get to the bottom of the bowl, you have so much milk left, you have to add a little more cereal. But you add too much, so you need to pour in a little more milk. It’s a vicious cycle. Just drink the last of the milk and call it a day.
  • You load up on dried fruit to up the fiber: Raisins, dates, banana chips, and dried cherries do offer a little bit of fiber, but because they contain little water, dried fruits are super calorie dense. A quarter cup of dried cranberries is over 100 calories. You’re better off using fresh fruit since it’s lower in calories and higher in fiber, and the high water content will fill your belly up, so you actually end up eating less.

Read on for more ways cereal sabotages your weight loss efforts.

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5 Weight-Loss Rules You Shouldn’t Break
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Eating Tips and a Recipe from Cheryl Forberg, The Bigger Loser’s Former Nutritionist

Written on February 23, 2012 at 9:26 am , by

This “mayo” is a healthy alternative to creamy rich spreads on sandwiches. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Forberg)

When Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian, James Beard award-winning chef and creator of The Biggest Loser meal plan signed on to the show for its first season, she was shocked at the contestant’s state of health. “Most of what I did was not on camera;  at the beginning of every season the applicant pool was huge. Season 5 alone had 220,000 applicants. Once we weeded applicants out down to about 75, we could start doing physical tests while I met with them to talk about eating habits and their weight loss and weight gain tendencies,” she said. “The first season was shocking to hear their eating habits, but after a few seasons I realized I was hearing the same thing over and over again.”

Read below as Forberg shares her experiences with The Biggest Loser, the nutrition factors she used to make the meal plan and a healthy spread you can make easily at home.

What were you most surprised to discover about with the diets of the past contestants on The Biggest Loser?

I found all the contestants had things in common, like the belief that skipping meals promotes weight loss, drinking too many calories, having too much processed fast food, not eating very many fruits and vegetables, little to no water consumption, not eating enough whole grains and forgetting to plan ahead. Everybody had a different combination of one these things, but what they all had in common was prioritizing their family, work or something else over themselves. They needed to put their head in the game and get healthy so that they could be around to take care of the people and things they loved. They needed to start taking care of themselves.

For someone looking to make their own meal plan for weight loss, what foods should be on their list?

To start, steer clear from the white stuff. That includes flour, rice, sugar and pasta. Try to focus on whole grains instead. Also be careful of how many carbs you are eating, since they are often the biggest culprit for people who are looking to shed major weight. People feel like they need them at every meal and snack, but that’s just not true. Kick up the amount of fruits and veggies you normally eat, with a majority of that being on the vegetable side. They have high water content and little starch. Things like tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant and bell peppers are great to stock up on and low in calories, so it is OK to munch away. Make sure you are eating some lean protein such as egg whites, beans, edamame and vegetables (are you sensing a theme here?). Lean beef and pork work great for dinner, along with chicken, turkey and plenty of fish. And don’t assume fat is bad, we all need good fats which you can find in things like avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil.

Read more

Mariah Carey Teams Up with the American Heart Association

Written on February 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm , by

Mariah Carey is 30 pounds down and heart healthy! (Photo courtesy of Jenny Craig)

Before you go off and celebrate Fat Tuesday, you might want to read these shocking stats first. According to the American Heart Association someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds, with 1 in 3 women being at risk for heart disease.

That’s why Jenny Craig celebrity brand ambassador Mariah Carey is partnering up with the AHA in its healthy living initiative, My Heart. My Life. They’ve set a goal to reduce Americans’ risk for cardiovascular disease by 20 percent by 2020. To help, Jenny will be launching My Heart. My Life. My Jenny, which will help educate the public on weight-related diseases including cardiovascular issues and stroke. Check out the first PSA with Mariah below and then then get moving! You can sign up for one of 350 AHA walks around the country in 2012, get training plans, heart-healthy tips and more at jennycraig.com.

For more information on My Heart. My Life visit myheartmylife.org.

 

End January With a Jumpstart to a New Diet

Written on January 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm , by

Oh, did we mention that free juice and snacks are included during the workshops? (Photo courtesy of Juice Generation)

If you haven’t changed your eating habits for the New Year, it’s not too late! Juice Generation is teaming up with Equinox to host a series of Wellness Workshops throughout 2012 to bring in healthy eating experts to talk about what foods you should (and shouldn’t) be incorporating in your diet, along with other switches to make to lose weight and most importantly, feel great. Stop by the next one on Thursday, February 9 at the 97 Greenwich Avenue Equinox to learn about super-human foods with Robyn Youkilis, a holistic health coach. She’ll be talking about five foods that can transform your life and how to incorporate them into your everyday diet.

We snagged this healthy salad recipe from Youkilis that incorporates some of the super foods she’ll be talking about. Can you guess which ones they are?

Juice Generation Kale Salad Recipe

  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1/2 an avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

For more information on the Wellness Workshops and to RSVP, visit the Juice Generation Facebook page.

An Easy Way to Keep Your Health in Check in 2012

Written on December 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm , by

This little guy knows your health history and will hold you to it. (Photo courtesy of Macaw)

Put your laundry list of resolutions away and just have one goal this year, to be healthy. Easy enough, right? Don’t worry—there’s an app for that now. The Macaw Health and Fitness App will help keep you on track by transforming your smartphone into your own personal health hub in 2012.

Macaw takes all your separately downloaded health and fitness apps—everything from pedometers to glucose monitors and sleep logs— and keeps them in one place for easy tracking and viewing. With a quick seven question health assessment Macaw will also set up a personalized goal plan for you while sending automated preventative screening reminders based on your gender and age. Need some more incentive? Try the weekly fitness challenges the app provides to unlock some freebies. Goodies for getting fit? We like!

The Macaw app is free to download and is available at the iPhone App Store or Android Market.

Now tell us: What fitness and health apps are your favorite?

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