Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’
This summer we ran our first ever Fitness By D Biggest Loser Challenge. In the past I’ve put more emphasis on performance based goals instead of weight and body composition. This Challenge was a trial to see how members would take on a challenge like this and how motivated the participants would be.
Beginning Date: Monday, June 11th
Finishing Date: Monday, August 27th
Entry Fee: $20.00
First Place; All of the money in the pool
Second Place; One free month of boot camp classes
Third Place; Any item from The Fitness By D store
Every participant was to be weighed and measured at their first class of the week. We took hip and waist measurements. Members were awarded one point for every pound lost and one point for every 1/4 inch lost. If you got to your goal weight and measurements you were awarded two points for every week of maintenance. One point was also awarded if you made it to all of your classes on time that week.
We had a total of 36 participants. A few dropped out early in the game but most made it to all of their weigh-ins until the end. Motivation was very high in the week leading up to the challenge and the first month. Once we had some front-runners the motivation level for the rest of the group started to wane down. Each week we posted the top three scores for the week and the top three scores overall.
I saw improvements in everyone’s participation in class. There was a great effort from most to get to all of their classes and to get there on time. This was my favorite part of the contest. To see members go from being 5-10:00 late for class to waiting for me at the door or running sprints as I was pulling up in the morning was an amazing thing.
If this contest motivated even one person to get closer to their health and fitness goals then it was worth it to try something new. We found that it motivated a lot more than one and I’m very proud of the effort that was put in this summer by the participants.
1. Mona Saltalamacchia
2. Anne Kroger
3. Erin Kelley
Later this week we’ll have an interview post with our first place winner!
Freshmen year in college can be a very exciting time. This first year is also notorious for packing on pounds. Here are 15 ways to help you avoid the freshman 15.
On large campuses like UMass Amherst the school provides buses to take you from your dorm room to your classroom. Skip the bus and enjoy the long walk instead.
2. Don’t Procrastinate!
Chances are there will be a lot of activities going on every week, especially for incoming Freshman. Make sure you set a schedule to get your class work done. Waiting until the last minute to finish a paper will cause you stress and possibly sleepless nights. If you are someone that deals with stress by eating junk then this can be a huge diet pitfall.
3. Get Employed
Find a low stress job where you can make some extra spending money. You may end up with more time on your hands being away at school than you’re use to. Don’t fill those hours with mindless eating.
4. Join a Club
Look for an activity where you can meet some new people and get some exercise at the same time.
5. Hit The Gym
If you’ve never worked out before now is the best time to start. Try a group exercise class if you’re intimidated by using weights on your own. A group ex class can teach you simple exercises that you can do on your own.
6. No Junk Zone
Stock your mini-fridge with healthy foods. Don’t go off to college with a Costco size box of assorted chips thinking it will last you all semester. You don’t wanna end up sitting in your room on a rainy day eating bags of chips and watching movies with your roommate. If you don’t have junk in your room, you can’t eat junk in your room.
7. Order With Confidence
It’s ok to be different. Don’t be afraid to order healthy options in front of people you’ve just met. They aren’t going to think you’re weird if they are all ordering pizza and you order grilled chicken. If they do that’s their problem.
8. Skip The Savings
Restaurants in a college town will be holding special sales and happy hours on food and drinks. Skip over the 10 for the price of 1 chicken wings and splurge on a better option for you and your waistline. Most of the time when food is that cheap it’s because it’s extremely low quality. Set higher standards for what you put in your body.
9. Reward Yourself
When you get a good grade on a hard test don’t celebrate with food and/or drinks. Find some other way to treat yourself when you do an extra special job. Splurge on a new shirt or go see a movie as an alternative reward to french fries and pizza.
10. Show your school spirit
If you’re not an athlete, going to school games as a spectator can be a lot of fun. Your school is your community for the next four years. Attending a game to support your team brings your closer to that community. Watching sports is another great way to spend your time at college instead of hanging out at the local restaurant.
11. Invite your friends to visit
Plan a weekend when a hometown friend can come for a visit. The first few months may be hard to adjust to and having a friend that you’re comfortable with can reduce your stress level. The anticipation of having a loved one come see you will give you something special to look forward to during the week. An old friend will be a good reminder of how great you are and help with your confidence in meeting new people.
12. Don’t Give Up
If you’re having a hard time adjusting you might turn to food to cope with these life changes. Keep trying new ways to settle into college life. If you have a bad day/week/month diet wise then turn it around when you can. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Every moment of everyday is a chance to start over.
13. Keep Track Of The Bad
Write down the things that you are finding difficult to deal with in college. Journaling can be stress-releasing and helpful.
14. Keep Track Of The Good
Write down the things you love about your new school. Think of the things you enjoy and any new and great experience you’ve had so far.
15. Educate Yourself
You may be someone that doesn’t have a clue as to what kind of foods are beneficial for your body and which are toxic. Take the time to learn the difference and use that knowledge to make good choices.
Photo Credit: http://wildcats.ehclients.com
Guest Post: Anne Francis is a current Fitness By D client. Anne has an amazing attitude and energy about her. She is a Weight Watcher’s meeting leader, she is also leading one of our Reach The Beach Relay Teams!
Today Anne shares with us her personal journey and how viewing “food as fuel” has been a key component to becoming the healthy and motivated individual she is today.
“My first Weight Watchers meeting was in 1988 and I finally hit goal in November 2007. I did not follow the program for 20 years to lose the almost 60 pounds … there were many gains and losses and lapsed memberships and even a baby during that time, but I always knew I wanted to make a change.
The last time I joined WW in March 2007, I realized it wasn’t a diet, it was a lifestyle.
I remember the moment I was standing in my kitchen deciding what to have for dinner. It had been a terrible day so of course I was craving a hot fudge sundae (my go-to since I was a kid). I knew what I “should have” was grilled chicken and a salad. Now, I can’t even remember what I picked, but the choice was mine. It was that simple. I could eat what I wanted, but I understood then that I would feel better and probably lose more weight that week if I chose the chicken and salad.
What has become even more obvious since being at my goal for the last 4 years is that food is simply fuel. If I have a lot to do and want to be successful, I need to eat right or I don’t have the energy to get it done. Even my brain doesn’t work as well if I am not drinking enough water and eating enough protein and fiber (especially fruits and vegetables). Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t make appropriate choices every day (there were 3 days between Christmas and New Year’s that I didn’t even see a vegetable) but I know that when I do, I feel much better and can get more things done.
Since I started thinking of food as fuel, I have run 3 marathons, am training for my second 200-mile overnight relay race, completed a sprint triathlon and run so many road races, I can’t even count. I have even managed to win some in my age category and there is nothing better than getting a medal or one of those little gold statues in front of friends clapping and hooting and hollering.
And now, I am doing boot camp and the days that I am there I face challenges that I never even knew existed (dead lifts, box jumps and the amazing burpee). Most days, I do pretty well, but as I learned the other day after not having eaten right the day before and staying up too late, it’s a lot harder without the right fuel.”
Now I eat to live the life I want, not live to eat the hot fudge sundaes.
With a new season comes new marketing schemes for food and beverages. While it’s exciting to try something new, be wary of what you’re putting into your body. Here are three fall drinks to stay away from.
Serving Size: Small
This coffee’s main source of calories is sugar. These nutrition facts don’t include any milk, cream or sweeteners that you may add in. The way The DD Pumpkin Coffee is advertised leads you to believe it’s just the flavor of the coffee, similar to French Vanilla or Hazelnut. This isn’t the case, these drinks are pre-sweetened. Drink in moderation if at all.
Serving Size: Small
This is another drink which gets most of it’s calories from sugar. Just because this beverage has the word “apple” in it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Blueberry pancakes have fruit in them too, it still doesn’t make this a good breakfast choice.
Serving Size: Tall
With many of Starbucks’ beverages, if you replace the whole milk with skim and say no to a whipped cream topping you can get a delicious drink without breaking the calorie bank. Not the case with the Pumpkin Spiced Latte. There is still a large amount of sugar and calories in this drink, even for a “tall” serving size.
Do some research when you’re trying something new. If you do choose to indulge in one of these beverages, make sure you account for it in your diet. These drinks are by no means freebies!
Is your iced venti triple chocolate whipped cream everything but the kitchen sink making you pack on the pounds?
Check out these summer drinks from Starbucks so you can cool off without breaking the calorie bank.
1. Iced Skinny Flavored Latte
2. Shaken Green Iced Tea Lemonade Unsweetened
3. Coffee Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee
Remember everything you put in your body adds up. Next time you hit the coffee counter know what is in that drink you’re about to order. Visit the Starbucks website for more of their nutrition information.
Photo Credit: http://starbucksorder.tumblr.com
Healthy meal options can be very limited at the beach. Snack bars are commonly stalked with chips, ice-cream and fried food. Skip the chips and try one of these great snacks instead.
1. Frozen Grapes
Place as many grapes in a zip-lock bag as you like. Place the bag in your freezer the night before your trip to the beach. The grapes should be frozen by the next morning. Pack this refreshing snack in your cooler for a sweet treat at the beach.
2. Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
Cut up fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Dress lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Store this in a Tupperware dish or bowl. This snack will keep you full and you won’t feel weighed down after eating it.
3. Fruit & Nuts
This time of year there are so many options for great tasting fruit. Cut up your favorite fruit and store it in a tupperware dish, sprinkle a handful of almonds on top and keep it cold in your cooler.
Pick a brand that has a lot of protein to stay fuller longer. My favorite brands are Chobani and Oikos. Bring a small container of almond or peanut butter to add to your yogurt for a balanced and delicious snack.
5. Hummus and Veggies
Sabra Hummus comes in small snack size containers. Pack a few of these with a bag of your favorite vegetables. Cut up some peppers, carrots, celery and cucumbers for a nice vegetable medley.
Your best defense against unhealthy eating is to always be prepared. When you know you’re going into a situation like a day at the beach, take the time to plan some healthy options for you and your family.
Ice cream season is upon us! Do you want to indulge in this sweet treat without feeling guilty? Well, you better get moving!
On average an “I like It” size dish with no toppings from Cold Stone contains 300-350 calories.
Here are 10 ways to burn that energy!
- Go for a 3 mile run
- Swim Freestyle for 45:00
- Jump rope for 35:00 (try breaking this up through out your day)
- Walk up and down your stairs for 30:00
- Trim your lawn with a push-lawn mower for 45:00
- Go for a 50:00 bike ride at a light pace (10-12 MPH)
- Play 45:00 of kickball
- Challenge someone to a 70:00 game of Table Tennis
- Belly Dance for 1 hour
- Play Flag Football for 35:00
Each of these activities on average burn 300-350 calories. The exact calorie expenditure will be different for everyone. Depending on your body weight and how hard you work at each activity you may burn more or less than the average. The most accurate way to determine how many calories you’ve burned is with a body bug or a heart rate monitor.
To learn more about calorie expenditure for your favorite games and chores try an activity calculator.
Advertisements are everywhere, and it’s your job to pay close attention to what these products are promising and what they actually do, especially when it comes to food choices. Here are 5 common marketing strategies geared towards the average dieter.
1. “No High Fructose Corn Syrup”
High Fructose Corn Syrup is a type of sugar that is found in many food products in the American diet today. It has the same caloric value per gram that table sugar does. Products are now advertising that they do not have this ingredient to make their product seem “healthy”. Just because a product does not have High Fructose Corn Syrup, does not make it a good food choice.
Heinz has an organic ketchup that has no High Fructose Corn Syrup, does that mean that ketchup is good for you? If you happen to be buying a product that has no High Fructose Corn Syrup that’s a great bonus, don’t base a meal decision off of that one selling point.
2. “Same Amount Of Protein As An Egg”
This advertisement was recently put out by Kashi Cereal. True that the cereal they are promoting in this ad has as much protein as an egg in a single serving. Let’s compare the rest of the nutrition facts for these two food choices.
GOLEAN Crunch! Honey Almond Flax
Serving Size; 1 Cup
- Calories; 200
- Fat; 4.5g
- Carbohydrate; 36g
- Protein; 9g
Serving Size; 1 Large Egg
- Calories; 70
- Fat; 5g
- Carbohydrate; 0g
- Protein; 6g
This Go Lean cereal has more protein than an egg. It also has 36 more grams of carbohydrate and 130 more calories per serving. Between these two choices the egg a far better choice.
3. “Excellent Source Of Protein”
What makes an “excellent” or “great” source of protein. When you see a food label that has this slogan check the actual nutrition facts. Be a smart consumer and know what makes a product an excellent source of protein. The advertisement may be referring to the price or convenience of the product as being “excellent”. What you really want, is a product that will give you best nutritional value.
4. “30% Less Fat Than Regular Potato Chips”
The product Sunchips uses this selling point frequently. Sunchips do have less fat than it’s leading competitor, does that make it a wise food choice? This product still has 6g of fat and 19g of Carbohydrate per serving. This is a processed food that provides minimal if any good nutritional value. Skip the chips and go for a hand full of almonds if you’re craving something salty.
5. “Gluten Free”
There has been a lot of buzz lately for Gluten free products. There are more items available today that are Gluten free which is good news for someone that is allergic to Gluten. For the average consumer that is not allergic to Gluten this should not be a selling point for you. Most ice cream is Gluten free, do you think that’s a good food choice?
Here are 6 tips to help you avoid falling for these diet marketing schemes
- Make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store
- Ignore the captions on the front of a food box or bag
- Read the nutrition label of any product you’re not familiar with
- Stick to the peripheries of the Super Market, most processed foods are in the middle isles
- Be a smart consumer, if there is a product you want to try do some research on it
- If it’s too good to be true, it most likely is. Don’t let these advertisements be your excuse to put junk in your body.
Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
Next week is April vacation for most schools. If you’re planning a trip or taking time off from work, follow these tips to help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals.
Brown Bag It
Stay away from airline food. Honestly, how good is it really going to taste anyway. Bring your own snacks to eat at the airport. If you’re in for a longer flight then pick up something healthy and balanced from one of the airport stores. Be sure to bring a large bottle of water on the flight. You don’t want to have to wait for the beverage cart to get all the way to your seat only to receive a half cup of water.
Get In Your Work-Outs
If you’re going somewhere new then you may be doing a lot of walking. Walking should not be the only exercise you get while you’re away. Take at least 30:00 to work-out either in your hotel room, gym or outdoors. There are plenty of exercises you can do with no equipment. After you work-out you will feel better and it will remind you make good food choices through out the day.
Many people take vacation as a week to eat whatever they want with the mind-set that they will deal with it when they get back. Don’t go overboard with your food-consumption. Allow yourself a couple of treats while you’re away, don’t make a day or week of it. If you want dessert, split it with someone and enjoy every bite. Don’t let it lead to two desserts or a donut the next day for breakfast. Coming back from vacation is hard enough you don’t want to add weight gain on top of it.
Get Enough Sleep
Traveling often disrupts our sleeping schedule. Make sure to sleep on the plane or take a couple of extra hours the next morning to rest. When you’re tired your body may react with hunger pangs because it is trying to restore your energy level. Side step this diet pitfall by getting enough sleep.
Keep Your Food Schedule
If you normally eat every 3-4 hours, continue to do that while you’re away. Yes, this will take a bit more planning but it’s worth the hassle. When you wait too long to eat then chances are you will be so hungry you won’t care what you put in your mouth as long as it tastes good. Pack some snacks if you’re afraid you won’t come across a good restaurant while you’re out. A good snack is something that will keep you satisfied for a few hours. Some of my favorite choices are
- .25 cup of almonds and 10-15 grapes
- 6 oz of non-fat Greek yogurt with 10 Almonds
- One medium sized apple with 1TBL. Peanut Butter
- Organic Protein Bar
If you are worried about your food staying cold, there are plenty of storage containers you can get that will keep your food insulated.
Remember to enjoy yourself and think about the reasons you are on vacation. You’re there to have fun and relax that doesn’t have to go hand in hand with eating junk all week.
Are you starting a “Biggest Loser” competition with your co-workers, friends or family? Here are 4 easy guidelines for getting started and measuring your success.
1. Ante Up
Give everyone an exact start date and when to have their money in by. It’s up to you to decide what you’re playing for. You can use money, household chores or bragging rights. Find what motivates you the most. Stick to whatever start date you pick, if you keep it an ongoing enrollment others will be less likely to commit.
2. Get Informed
Make sure everyone in the competition has the proper guidance they need. Each participant will have their own reasons for joining the contest. Some people may know how to eat healthy and exercise but they want the support of their peers to keep them on track. Others may need a lot more guidance than that.
Hold an information session for anyone wanting to learn more about what they should be eating and how much exercise to get. You can have someone that is experienced in the group give their best knowledge or hire an expert to come in and get you started.
Nutrition Made Easy
I find the most convenient way to track nutrition is through the website Fitday. Create a free profile with your current age, weight, height and activity level and you will be provided with a general estimate of what your daily caloric intake should be. Then use the food log to track your daily calories. At the bottom of your food log is a pie chart explaining the percentages of where your calories are coming from. It’s best to have 40% from Carbohydrate/30% from Fat/30% from Protein.
Get in a good sweat session at least three times per week. Your work-outs don’t have to be long ones but they should be intense. Try taking a new class like boot camp or starting a small group training session with others in your contest. Don’t just stick to cardio like walking, running and biking. Make sure you get in some strength training. Body weight work-outs are very effective, you can get a great exercise session done in your own home.
3. Weighing In
Everyone’s weight and measurements should be taken at the same time and day every week. Use three factors to measure results
- The Scale. All the participants need to use the same scale. It’s best if they wear the same outfit every week as well.
- Waist Measurement. Designate one non-participant to take everyone’s measurements. It needs to be the same person every week to insure accurate results. Take the waist measurement from the participants belly button.
- Hip Measurement. This measurement should be taken from the widest part of the hips. Be sure not to wear thick pants or ones that are made of slippery material to make taking hip measurements easy.
By using more than just the scale you will level the playing field for everyone. It’s common for some people to see small changes on the scale, however their clothes may be falling off of them. This often occurs in females and most commonly in ones that are 5-10LBS. away from their “goal weight”. When you exercise and use strength training to get in shape you’re building muscle and losing fat. This can makes the scale an inaccurate measure of your diet success.
Once all of the measurements have been taken award points for any losses and add points if any measurements should go up. Each pound is worth one point and each 1/4 inch is worth one point. Record everyone’s results in one notebook each week.
4. Finish Line
Give your group about three months before you end the competition. This will prevent people from trying crash diets but it’s also short enough so you won’t get into the mentality of “Oh, I’ll start this next week.” Count up each person’s points from the results notebook and the person with the most points is the winner. In the event of a tie, come up with a fun challenge for a “tie-breaker.” Use a physical challenge like the person that can do the most push ups in 5:00 or the participant that can run a mile the quickest is the winner.
Make sure you have fun with this and remember the real reason you’ve signed up is to get to a healthier happier life!
Website for image: http://wonkette.com