Stay-Trim Tricks of the Trade: What Diet & Fitness Experts Eat
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Stay-Trim Tricks of the Trade: What Diet & Fitness Experts Eat

Diet and fitness pros aren't just naturally slim. Conquer any diet challenge with the weight-loss secrets and superfoods that trainers, doctors, and other experts swear by.

Secrets of a Fit Physician

Seeing patients, saving lives, conducting research, teaching, writing books, and giving lectures: Job stress could send Lori Mosca, MD, PhD, FITNESS advisory board member, and director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, straight to the cafeteria's chocolate cheesecake. "I have the kind of schedule that can lead to eating poorly," explains Dr. Mosca, who has crossed the finish line at more than 100 triathlons.

On Her Lunch Tray

Consistency is key to Dr. Mosca's diet. Her lunch tray in the hospital cafeteria looks the same practically every day:

A sensible sandwich Dr. Mosca buys a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato for lunch.

Fruit salad This triathlete keeps thirst at bay by snacking on fruits high in water, such as watermelon and grapes.

Cranberry "cocktail" When she wants a break from her usual H2O, Dr. Mosca mixes equal parts cranberry juice and club soda. "The antioxidant-rich juice cleanses your kidneys, and the soda cuts calories and sugar," she says.

Stress-Busting Secrets

How does she keep stress under control when she's squeezing so much into her workday? With these three strategies:

Rise and dine. You should never be too busy for breakfast, Dr. Mosca says. Her go-to a.m. meals include low-fat, low-sodium cottage cheese mixed with canned mandarin oranges ("I pour out the juice, because there's a lot of sugar in it," she notes) or an omelet with low-fat Swiss cheese, tomato, and spinach.

Start smart. A peaceful morning routine preps your mind and body for a jam-packed day. "I do a medley of stretches when I wake up," Dr. Mosca says. Try this one: Stand with your hands on your hips and make 10 clockwise circles with your hips, then switch directions.

Buddy up for the burn. Squeeze in exercise that doubles as quality time with family or friends. Dr. Mosca and her husband go for a long run on Sunday mornings, followed by a relaxing breakfast.

Secrets of a Diet-Savvy Dad

When it comes to nutrition, Father knows best. Meet David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut. He has five kids, ages 21, 20, 15, 14, and 10.

In Dr. Katz's Cooler

Dr. Katz always packs a cooler full of healthy snacks before a road trip. "It's part of my routine. I control our food choices by making them in advance," he says. Take a peek inside the family cooler:

Fresh fruit Bring types that are easy to eat and not too sticky, Dr. Katz says. His gang loves bananas, grapes, apples, and pears.

Veggie pockets Lunch is whole wheat pitas stuffed with produce such as bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce, along with two tablespoons of hummus and a quarter of an avocado.

Baby carrots and hummus Carrots are the perfect potato chip alternative when Dr. Katz craves a crunchy snack. His kids love to dip them.

Road-Trip Rules

If you run out of snacks in your cooler or just get tired of them, here's how to make other smart choices:

Upgrade the classics. You can still enjoy on-the-road favorites like chips. The Katz clan favors minimally processed Guiltless Gourmet Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.

Explore your options. "Whether you're at a roadside restaurant, a drive-through, or a convenience store, there's almost always a healthy choice," Dr. Katz points out. Look for grilled chicken, a salad, or a vegetable sandwich on whole-grain bread.

Kick the cooler. If packing a cooler involves too much prep, stick with nonperishables, such as dried fruit, nuts, and cereals. Dr. Katz chooses high-nutrient but low-cal options, like Barbara's Shredded Oats and Nature's Path Organic 8 Grain Synergy Flakes.

Secrets of a Toned Traveler

San Francisco-based triathlete, runner, and former fitness instructor Erica Dublin created to help women stay fit on the road. "I fly several times a month, so I know how tough it is on your body and well-being," Dublin says.

In Dublin's Suitcase

Check out Dublin's bag of healthy tricks -- she takes packing light to a whole new level:

Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oatmeal Buy a Dual Voltage Heating Coil beverage heater ($12.85, so you can prep a 110-calorie packet wherever there's an electrical outlet.

Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber Bars "They taste like candy," Dublin says, but they have only 130 to 140 calories and almost a half day's worth of fiber.

Popchips These all-natural snacks are -- you guessed it -- popped, so they have less than half the fat of regular chips.

On-the-Go Advice

Steal this travel guru's secrets for a fit trip.

Don't pass the 'Bucks. "I stop at Starbucks on layovers; there's a store in practically every terminal," Dublin says. She relies on the Classic Salad or the Strawberry Banana Vivanno Smoothie, either of which has less than 300 calories.

Drink like a fish. Dehydration is a common traveling companion, especially now that you can't bring filled water bottles through security. Dublin sticks an empty one in her carry-on and fills it up once she gets to the gate.

Sweat in suite. Dublin packs Gaiam's reversible travel yoga mat ($29.98,, but she kicks hotel-room workouts up a notch with this total-body towel move. On a slick surface (try the bathroom floor), start in push-up position with a single towel under both feet. Keeping legs together and abs tight, slide feet toward your chest. Slide feet back to start; do 10 reps.

Secrets of a Pumped Personal Trainer

Energizing snacks are key if you spend up to nine hours at the gym most days, like Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer Elise Gulan, who created the popular Burn Bliss class for Equinox Fitness Clubs.

In Gulan's Gym Bag

"It's hard to inspire others if I'm tired or overweight," says Gulan. See what's stashed in her gym bag:

Spicy trail mix Gulan mixes 1/4 cup of almonds; 1/8 cup of chopped dates, apricots or cranberries; plus a dash each of salt and cayenne pepper for a 220-calorie snack that supplies lasting energy.

Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bars These 120- to 140-calorie bars contain whole grains, nuts, and sun-dried fruit -- and enough fiber and protein to fill you up without weighing you down.

Hard-boiled eggs For affordable, high-quality protein, Gulan takes a crack at these.

Workout Wisdom

Here are some of the tips Gulan gives to her celebrity clients, including Becki Newton of Ugly Betty.

Fuel your body. Gulan recommends having a small snack 30 minutes before a workout. "Exercising on an empty stomach, especially in the morning, when your body has essentially been fasting for hours, can cause dizziness and nausea," she explains.

Treat yourself. But not with food. Instead, set aside an hour of "you" time for every hour you exercise. Use it the same day to read a good book or soak in the tub, Gulan suggests, or take a whole night for yourself at the end of the week.

Skip sweats. After you shower, slip into a figure-flattering outfit instead of comfy, elastic-waistband pants. "You'll notice how amazing you look and feel after a workout and be less likely to overeat," Gulan says.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2010.

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