Even health pros struggle with making smart diet choices all the time. FITNESS advisory board member Pam Peeke, MD, admits that she “turned to food for comfort” after a family illness when she was a teen. “Bridge Mix was my ‘crack’ and seemed to numb my pain,” she says.
Peeke learned to avoid her trigger foods, and says that we can all learn to bypass temptation or emotional eating by doing the same. According to Peeke, it’s sometimes necessary to “reclaim your hijacked reward system in your brain” to conquer this issue (for example, going for a walk rather than scooping up a bowl of ice cream when you are stressing out about your upcoming performance review).
Easier said than done, though. So we asked Peeke to share tips from her new book The Hunger Fix, on sale today, for some examples of how to overcome life’s most stressful situations and still be able to slide into our skinny jeans afterward.
Struggling with a work deadline…
- False fix: Staying up too late, using caffeine as a crutch, stress eating
- Healthy fix: Eating nutritious foods every three to four hours, sipping green tea, standing up every 30 minutes to stretch
Usually I give you all a sneak peek into the trainers’ lives who create our popular Express workouts, however, this man really needs no introduction. But so many things are happening for our favorite TV and all-time trainer, Bob Harper, that I had to fill you in on some of his latest projects!
Bob’s first book, The Skinny Rules, was released this month (it’s already a New York Times bestseller!), he’s got a line of supplements called Smart Success on the market, and his new interactive website, BobHarper.com powered by Watch It Now Entertainment, is a totally cool online fitness club that anyone can be a part of. The website is the closest you’ll get to working out with Bob himself, without taking a trip to the ranch. You’ll also get daily videos of Bob leading workouts, giving cooking demos and providing you with motivational tips so you’re inspired to stay on track. Plus, the thinking is done for you—get new workouts to try everyday, three circuit exercises to incorporate into your routine each week and a group fitness class to join to get your social fix from. Of course, you’ll find a place to track your weight-loss progress, food journal and workouts as well as chat with other members (and other Bob-fanatics too). It’s only $9.95 a month, and compared to other weight-loss clubs, this one is truly a deal. And let’s be serious, part of the reason we couch-potato it up every Tuesday night is to see Bob make others sweat on national TV, so why not indulge every single day?
Check out my one-on-one with our beloved renaissance man, Bob Harper and see what he had to say about our 20th anniversary issue!
I love that Ben Ward, husband to Olivia Ward season 11 winner of The Biggest Loser, was part of the reason you were inspired you to write your book, The Skinny Rules. He said he followed you on Twitter and from that guidance he was able to lose 100 pounds before Olivia came home. That’s amazing! [Check out Bob's article "Eat What I Tweet!" HERE.] Do you have one rule that you make sure you never break to stay in shape?
I wanted to give people what I have been doing with my contestants on The Biggest Loser for a long time and that is a set of rules that they could live by that was going to give them the results that they wanted. I think the number one rule that you make sure you never break is to NOT DRINK YOUR CALORIES. All those sugary sodas, coffee drinks, and smoothies add up to a lot of calories and sugar. I would rather eat all my calories.
Healthy living doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Laurel House, AKA the QuickieChick, is out to prove just that in her new book out today QuickieChick’s Cheat Sheet to Life, Love, Food, Fitness, Fashion and Finance on a Less Than Fabulous Budget. We started off 2012 with some simple health upgrades from House, and now we have three more smart steps from her to help take your nutrition, fitness and motivation to the next level.
1. Make your meals count. Food doesn’t just provide energy (calories). Many pantry staples offer lesser-known health qualities. House’s favorite “Bites with Benefits:”
- To burn fat: ginger, jalapeno, cayenne, grapefruit
- To ease a hangover: asparagus, spirulina, oranges
- To focus: rye, yogurt, oatmeal, blueberry
- To boost energy: oatmeal, lentils, black beans, sweet potato, peanut butter, apple, figs, dates
2. Sweat for 100. You may not have time to run 10 miles or fit in your favorite fitness class every day, but you can crank out 100 reps or 100 seconds of these effective exercises. “It’s your no-excuse workout and a great way to burn a few extra calories, tone your muscles and get in a fit mindset,” House says. Start your morning with any—or many!—of the following:
3. Place healthy reminders. Stick Post-It notes on your bathroom mirror, alarm clock, fridge or any other location that you often see. Then write motivational messages on them that will inspire you to keep working toward your wellness goals like, “If you worked out when you started thinking about working out, you’d be done by now” or “Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.”
Now tell us: What quote would motivate you to get moving or make smart diet choices?
It’s a busy new year for Jennifer Ashton, M.D., co-host of ABC’s The Revolution. In addition to her job on the new daytime show, the super-fit ob-gyn wrote a new book Your Body Beautiful: Clockstopping Secrets to Staying Healthy, Strong and Sexy in Your 30s, 40s, and Beyond. She also still treats patients in her New Jersey practice and trains for triathlons. No wonder she was sneaking in a little indoor cycling while we talked to her during a filming break!
In Your Body Beautiful, you recommend a Five-Day/Two-Day diet plan—sticking to a healthy eating routine (filling up on plenty of lean protein, veggies and fruit, whole grains while avoiding added sugar and refined carbs like bagels) during the week and relaxing a bit on the weekends. Why does it work?
Anyone can do anything for five days. Then you get to lighten up a little and reward yourself for just 48 hours and then you reset and start again. We’re talking about lightening up a little…have a cup of ice cream or some dessert. But mathematically, five days beats two days when you do it over the course of a several months for a year and then your metabolism slowly adapts to the more sustained pattern, which is the five-day pattern. So after a while, behaviorally, what happens is that you don’t want to go crazy on the weekends. You won’t see as much of a difference between what your doing Saturday and Sunday and what your doing the rest of the week.
How do you fit in exercise—especially triathlon training—with such a busy schedule?
I work out about two hours a day. I do a lot of cardio and a lot of The Bar Method, resistance kind of work. I lift weights, too, which I think is really important for women.
So now with the new show and still seeing patients in my medical office, I will get up at five in the morning to do at least an hour of my workout before I start my day. And then I’ll fit in the other hour at the end of the day. It’s a real priority to me, mentally and physically. My family knows that I am cranky when I don’t work out. Working out makes me really happy. It makes me feel good, I stay healthy and I get fewer colds. Last summer I did two triathlons for the first time. My message for the book, as well as my method for the show, is that women in their 40s can be more fit then they were 10 or 20 years ago. I think that that’s really exciting so I make it a priority.
Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern
It’s almost February, which means many people have ditched their new year’s resolutions. Are you one of them? Was 2012 the year you decided to get healthy, but realized that there’s a lot of work that goes into that goal? You’re not alone. Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, recently released Working Out Sucks (and Why it Doesn’t Have To) for fitness newbies looking to make a lifestyle change or workout veterans who may have fallen off course.
The book is based on the idea that it takes 21 days to learn a new habit and 66 days for it to become ingrained in the brain. So, if you started your new year off on the right foot and are still going strong, you’re well on your way to a new, healthy lifestyle! For those of you who may be a little late to the race, this book provides a great guideline to help you get started.
The book is divided into four parts:
- Working Out Sucks, But…
- Changing Behavior Sucks Too, But…
- Nutrition Sucks Too, But…
- Fitness Sucks Too, But…
Each section breaks down any excuse that may be bouncing around in your head and teaches you how to cut out the mental clutter. Runyon, along with co-authors Brian Zehetner and Rebecca Derossett, explain why living an unhealthy lifestyle actually sucks more than working out and eating right. The book offers multiple tips on how to get on track (and stay there!) for the long haul, no matter how much you may think it sucks at first. We promise, it gets better.
Working Out Sucks also comes with a 21-day nutrition and fitness plan for that extra burst of motivation. The meal plan focuses on whole foods and steers clear of the processed, prepackaged stuff. And if you’re on the go but want to access your workout of the day, you can head to anytimehealth.com and find all of the moves there.
More from FITNESS:
In her latest book, Today Show contributor Joy Bauer, R.D., explains that if you make the right diet choices, you can boost your mood, improve your memory and even see healthier skin, hair and teeth (not to mention drop a few pounds)! Bauer gives you her eating prescription in Food Cures, a book that follows her motto “life is hard . . . food should be easy.”
Food Cures highlights 17 different conditions or common health complaints and offers solutions or suggestions based on cutting-edge science to eat your way to your goals. We asked Bauer to share three tips to try today for two areas our readers often ask for help with: easing exercise-induced muscle soreness and busting through a weight-loss plateau.
If you experience post-workout aches and pains…
- Eat salmon twice a week. “The omega-3s are potent anti-inflammatories. I like canned if I’m in a hurry or hoisin-glazed,” Bauer says.
- Eat one red bell pepper a day. Surprise! Red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges. The vitamin can ease body aches.
- Add a few slices of fresh ginger to hot water. “Ginger has the same compounds in it as many anti-inflammatory medications,” Bauer says.
If your weight loss efforts have slowed…
- Spice up your meals. Add hot sauce, jalapenos or other spicy components to your dishes, as they “suppress appetite and rev metabolism,” according to Bauer.
- Drink two glasses of water before meals. It will help you feel less hungry by the time you begin to eat.
- Start dinner with vegetables. Whether it’s salad, a vegetable-packed soup or a handful of carrots or cucumber slices, these bites will fill you up without many calories.
Looking for a bit more guidance? Try this simple sample meal plan from Food Cures, which Bauer recommends for those trying to lose a few pounds. Bonus: It contains a few of the foods she also recommends for achy muscles.
Click below for the 1,500-calorie multitasking menu.
Rocco DiSpirito has had one busy year. The James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef launched his Bravo reality show Rocco’s Dinner Party, released his Now Eat This! Diet cookbook in March and today his latest book, Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts goes on sale. The FITNESS advisory board member knows weight loss: He dropped 20 pounds training for a triathlon and has kept them off for more than two years.
We asked DiSpirito to share a few of his top tips that offer a taste of all that you can savor in his new book.
Get the Scoop
DIY frozen yogurt and ice cream bars are all the rage, but topping with reckless abandon can lead to a much heftier indulgence than you were expecting! Follow this cheat sheet from DiSpirito of goodies to resist and enjoy. (All calories based on 1/2-ounce scoop of toppings, except cinnamon.)
Shake Some Flavor
- Resist: Chocolate sprinkles (64 calories)
- Enjoy: Dash of cinnamon (0 calories)
Pour it On
- Resist: Hot fudge topping (99 calories)
- Enjoy: Fat-free fudge (40 calories)
Crush Creaming Cravings
- Resist: Walnuts in syrup (127 calories)
- Enjoy: Whipped topping (18 calories)
- Resist: Gummy bears (38 calories)
- Enjoy: Blueberries or cherries (7 calories)
Tote Smart Snacks
We’ve all had those times when our stomachs rumble while we’re stranded far away from our well-stocked fridge and healthy snack stockpile. DiSpirito says that you can save cash and calories by carrying your own 100-calorie snacks rather than relying on store-bought ones (or a supersize cupcake from the bakery down the block). Some suggestions:
- 12 to 15 almonds
- 10 walnut halves
- 2 cups reduced-fat popcorn
- 6 dried apricots
- 12 mini cheddar rice cakes
- 10 baked corn chips
- 1 Now Eat This! Diet Red Velvet Chocolate Square
- 2 Now Eat This! Diet PBJ Cookies
How does self-compassion help with weight-loss?
Most weight-loss plans revolve around deprivation and neglect. You’re supposed to stick to the plan no matter what. If you’re starving, keep eating tiny portions. If you’re exhausted, keep moving—no pain, no gain. Going on vacation? Keep counting…calories, carbs, points. It’s not a very compassionate or effective approach, and it’s no fun.
What I’m saying: when you treat yourself with self-compassion, you’re more apt to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full; rest when you’re tired and move when you feel energized. When you do that, you lose weight naturally.
So what is self-compassion, exactly?
Most simply put, self-compassion is treating yourself like you’d treat a friend or a loved one—with care and concern.
My favorite definition comes from research psychologist Kristin Neff, Ph.D., who defines self-compassion as having three essential ingredients: mindful awareness, loving-kindness and common humanity.