Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday's WI

diet So I have been taking a different approach the last week or so on this dieting journey. I got tired of counting calories ... points ... carns ... weighing in all the time, exercising more than any normal person should have to do to lose weight & guess what it got me? 2 oz gone for the second week in a row. Hmmm, could be something to this less streeful way of living. I have eaten anything I wanted ... cookies, ice cream, high carbs ... you name it I have eaten it, but I have controlled my portions. I basically only worked out on Monday morning at Curves but I have been sick since Monday. I tried exercising Tuesday but after 10 minutes I gave up & laid back down ... nothing Wed or Thur. & the way I'm feeling right now I won't be doing anything today either.

nutrition I wonder what my dietician will say when she see's I'm not only losing weight but doing the complete opposite that she said. She told me 45-90 minutes of cardio/weights 6 times a week & 3 fruits, 6 veggies a day. I also had to get my fiber to at least 35 but she really wanted it at 45g per day. Well lets see ... the only fruit I had yesterday was a banana & the only veggie came from veggie soup last night. Exercise was only 40 minutes all week long & I lost ... kinda want to call her & say HA ... you're wrong! You don't know what your talking about.

 horse Tomorrow ... hoping I feel better. DD was asked by her riding instructor to go watch a dressage show. It's the type of thing she is learning about. Never been to one before so I don't know what to expect. I'm hoping it's interesting cause if I'm gonna sit there sick I want to be entertained. Know what I mean. DD is still begging us for a horse on a daily basis but I just don't see it happening. Dad is trying to get some land so he can get her one but I still don't see that happening. I love him for trying but I almost want to tell him no. The only reason I don't is because grandparents are supposed to spoil their grand babies so who am I to tell him he can't. He moved here to be near them ...

good bye Ok ... so I'm outta here for now. My head is killing me, the meds aren't working ... hubby says to take his meds so I may just have to do that. I just want all this pressure to go away. Sinus infections suck! Have a great weekend ... I'll try & post pics Monday. Not a computer chick on the weekends anymore.

Truth About Carbohydrates

Not all Carbs are Created Equal --

By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian

It’s true. A carbohydrate-rich diet can inflate appetite and girth. Low-carb diets do promote short-term weight loss, but are accompanied by some severe dangers. So what should you do? The truth is, you can have your carbs and eat them too—you just have to know how to choose them.

The Truth about Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates are the body's ideal fuel for most functions. They supply the body with the energy needed for the muscles, brain and central nervous system. In fact, the human brain depends exclusively on carbohydrates for its energy.
  • Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy products, foods made from grain products, and sweeteners such as sugar, honey, molasses, and corn syrup.
  • The body converts digestible (non-fiber) carbohydrates into glucose, which our cells use as fuel. Some carbs (simple) break down quickly into glucose while others (complex) are slowly broken down and enter the bloodstream more gradually.
  • During digestion, all carbohydrates are broken down into glucose before they can enter the bloodstream where insulin helps the glucose enter the body’s cells. Some glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for future use, like fueling a workout. If there is extra glucose, the body will store it as fat.
All carbohydrates are not created equal.
There are basically three types of carbohydrates:
  1. Simple carbohydrates are composed of 1 or 2 sugar units that are broken down and digested quickly.

    Recent research has shown that certain simple carbohydrate foods can cause extreme surges in blood sugar levels, which also increases insulin release. This can elevate appetite and the risk of excess fat storage.

  2. Complex carbohydrates (also referred to as starch) are made up of many sugar units and are found in both natural (brown rice) and refined (white bread) form. They are structurally more complex and take longer to be broken down and digested.

    Complex carbohydrate foods have been shown to enter the blood stream gradually and trigger only a moderate rise in insulin levels, which stabilizes appetite and results in fewer carbohydrates that are stored as fat. Unrefined or ‘whole grain’ carbohydrates found in products like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and bran cereals are digested slowly. They contain vitamins, minerals and fiber which promote health. Fiber and nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits and beans which are carbohydrates also have many important functions for the body and are important for good health.

  3. Indigestible carbohydrates are also called fiber. The body is unable to breakdown fiber into small enough units for absorption. It is therefore not an energy source for the body but does promote health in many other ways.
Simple carbs, complex carbs, and fiber are found in many foods. Some provide important nutrients that promote health while others simply provide calories that promote girth.

  • Sugar, syrup, candy, honey, jams, jelly, molasses, and soft drinks contain simple carbohydrates and little if any nutrients.
  • Fruits contain primarily simple carbohydrate but also valuable vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water.
  • Vegetables contain varying amounts of simple and complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water.
  • Legumes such as beans, peas, lentils and soybeans contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein.
  • Milk products contain simple carbohydrates along with protein, calcium and other nutrients.
  • Grain products contain complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein. The amounts vary depending on the type of grain used and the amount of processing. Selecting whole grain options whenever possible is recommended.
What You Should Know About Low-Carbohydrate Diets
Following an extremely low-carbohydrate diet is disastrous, dangerous, and above all—boring! Carbohydrates are NOT the enemy. Including the appropriate amounts and types of carbohydrate-rich foods in your diet is essential for long-term health and weight loss/maintenance.

The Body’s Immediate Reaction to Very Low Carbohydrate Diets
When there is a severe deficit of carbohydrates, the body has several immediate reactions:
  • With no glucose available for energy, the body starts using protein from food for energy. Therefore this protein is no longer available for more important functions, such as making new cells, tissues, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies and the regulation of fluid balance.
  • When carbohydrates are lacking, the body cannot burn fat in the correct way. Normally carbs combine with fat fragments to be used as energy. When carbs are not available, there is an incomplete breakdown of fat that produces a by-product called ketones. These ketones accumulate in the blood and in the urine causing ketosis, which is an abnormal state. Ketosis does cause a decrease in appetite because it's one of the body's protection mechanisms. It's an advantage to someone in a famine (which the body thinks it's experiencing) to lack an appetite because the search for food would be a waste of time and additional energy.
  • Due to the lack of energy and the accumulation of ketones, low-carb diets are often accompanied by nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, bad breath, and dehydration.
  • Because of dehydration and a lack of fiber, constipation can result.
  • Exercise and fitness performance is reduced on a low-carb diet. Do not be surprised if your energy level is so low that you cannot make it through your normal workout routine.
The Long-Term Effects of Low Carbohydrate Diets
When you severely restrict carbohydrates, your consumption of protein and fat increases, which has several long-term effects:
  • The risk of many cancers increases when fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, and beans are eliminated from the diet.
  • Protein foods are also high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid. Elevated levels of uric acid in the blood may lead to needle-like uric acid crystals in joints, causing gout.
  • Kidney stones are more likely to form on high protein, ketosis-producing diets.
  • Over time, high protein diets can cause a loss of calcium and lead to osteoporosis.
  • The risk of heart disease is greatly increased on a low-carb diet that is high in protein, cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat. A temporary reduction in cholesterol levels may be experienced, but this is common with any weight loss.
The Million Dollar Question
How do you include carbohydrates in you diet in a safe, effective, and controlled way? The “Please KISS Me” (Please Keep It So Simple for Me) plan for carbohydrate control is a wonderful tool that only contains 3 simple rules:

RULE 1: Include the following in your diet:
  • Fruits: 2-4 servings daily
  • Vegetables: 3-5 servings daily
  • Whole grain breads, muffins, bagels, rolls, pasta, noodles, crackers, cereal, and brown rice: 6-11 servings daily
  • Legumes, beans and peas: 1-2 servings daily
  • Low-fat and non-fat dairy products: 3 servings daily
RULE 2: Limit the following to less than 2 servings daily:
  • Fruit Juice
  • Refined and processed white flour products (bread, muffins, bagels, rolls, pasta, noodles, crackers, cereal)
  • White rice
  • French fries
  • Fried vegetables
RULE 3: Eliminate the following from your diet or eat only on occasion:
  • Sugary desserts, cookies, cakes, pies, candies
  • Doughnuts and pastries
  • Chips, cola and carbonated beverages
  • Sugar, honey, syrup, jam, jelly, molasses
That’s it! A simple, effective carbohydrate-controlling plan that, when combined with your SparkDiet, allows you to reap the countless benefits of complex carbohydrates and fiber while enhancing your health and maintaining a healthy weight. The long term result will be a healthy you!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seasonal Foods

Exceptional Flavor & Nutrition that Fits in Your Budget

You ate them in February, from half a continent away, and they were flat and bland—passable, but nothing to write home about. Now, you take a bite from one grown half a mile away, and it’s spectacular—sweet, juicy, and flavorful.

We’re talking in this particular instance about tomatoes, but we could say the same thing about any of a dozen produce items you’ll find at your local farmer’s market now. 'Tis the season to eat fresh, as the tender new growth of spring ripens into the rich abundance of summer. So why settle for "so-so" when you can savor the sensational? Consider the benefits of eating foods at the peak of their season. Seasonal foods…

  • serve up the most flavor.
  • pack the biggest nutritional punch.
  • boost your budget.
  • are  tied to the special days and seasons of our lives: sweet, luscious watermelon paired with the memory of fireflies and fireworks; fragrant hearty soups that temper winter’s chill; sweet young vegetables that accompany spring’s first warm day.

As consumers today, we’re very lucky in some respects. The crisscross networks of our global village provide things our ancestors could only dream about, such as oranges in December. On the other hand, as we shed our rural roots, we tend to lose sight of the seasonal rhythm of life, relying heavily on processed foods and a worldwide distribution system that makes our grocery shelves look pretty much the same year-round. The out-of-season produce we buy has often traversed 1,000 miles or more by the time it reaches our kitchens—with a corresponding loss of flavor and nutrition and an increase in wax coatings, chemical ripening agents, and other preservatives.

But locally-grown seasonal foods often harmonize with our nutritional needs. For example, the beta carotene in the orange pigment of pumpkins and other squash will help bolster your immune system just in time to help ward off winter colds. And the oils of nuts—fats in their purest form—will provide nutrient-rich calories that help keep you warm as the temperature drops.

In fact, recent research shows that eating seasonally may have major health implications. A British study in 1997 found significant differences in the nutritional contents of pasteurized milk in summer as opposed to winter: iodine was higher in the winter, while beta-carotene (an antioxidant and immune system booster that helps the body create vitamin A) was higher in the summer. Similarly, a Japanese study found a three-fold difference in the vitamin C content of spinach harvested in summer versus that harvested in winter.

In practical terms, this means that you’ll get the most nutrition—not to mention the most affordable enjoyment—by eating seasonally. Although the exact season for specific items varies from region to region (you’ll almost certainly get that big beefsteak tomato much earlier in Georgia than in Ohio), follow these basic guidelines for optimal nutrition and taste:

  • In spring, pick the new growth of the season: tender leafy vegetables such as spinach, Romaine or leaf lettuces, Swiss chard, and early peas, as well as fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, and dill.
  • For summer, try lighter produce, with fruits such as strawberries, pears, apples, and plums, and vegetables such as summer squash, broccoli, corn, and cauliflower. You can also incorporate other summer-type herbs, such as mint or cilantro.
  • During fall, choose hearty harvest foods, including sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic. When cooking, emphasize “warmer” spices and seasonings such as peppercorns, ginger, and mustard seeds.
  • In winter, also pick hearty foods. Keep in mind the principle that foods which take longer to grow are generally more sustaining than foods that grow quickly. In this category are most root vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic, as well as eggs, corn, and nuts.

As you choose the best foods of the season, remember that the healthiest and most enjoyable diet involves diversity. Although you may have to compromise sometimes due to convenience and time constraints, try as much as possible to make food shopping and cooking an adventure, something you can enjoy or share with family members. Try these tips to enhance the journey:

  • Focus on the fresh, minimizing the use of prepared foods as much as possible. When you must use prepared foods, make an effort to embellish them with one or more fresh ingredients.
  • Pick a new produce item to try every week, whether the neglected rutabaga or the tropical mango.
  • Cook at least one new dish each week, and look for recipes that will help you get acquainted with new ingredients. You can subscribe to a food magazine, plug in keywords on the Internet, or even swap new recipes with friends. Since food writers generally base their topics and menus on the foods of the season, take advantage of their offerings to reward yourself with wholesome, tasty meals.
  • Experiment with regional or ethnic dishes. Most regional cuisines, developed in horse-and-buggy times, used local ingredients close by. Exploring new foods will keep mealtime both interesting and healthy.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of the useful food information your grocer provides. Whether you consult those little description cards that hang above specific fruits and veggies, or hold a friendly discussion with the produce manager on how to peel the leaves of an artichoke, you’ll find a wealth of ideas about preparing food.

Let the backdrop of the seasons be your guide to happy and healthy eating—you’ll find that Mother Nature does indeed know best!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

De-Stress in 3 Minutes or Less

Stop Emotional Eating Before It Starts

By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert

What is the single, most common problem that most dieters face when trying to lose weight? Will power? Nah. Temptation? Sometimes. Emotional eating? Bingo! That’s why it takes so much more than good intentions and information about nutrition and exercise to be successful. The ability to manage difficult situations and feelings effectively—without turning to food and eating—is a necessary foundation for a successful weight loss plan and healthy lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are many proactive steps you can take to keep functioning on all your mental cylinders during tough times. These steps range widely from basic relaxation techniques to the development of a reliable support network. Other options include:

  • Keeping a food journal to help you identify your emotional eating triggers
  • Cultivating mental and emotional well-being through practices like meditation, mindfulness, massage, and yoga
  • Developing good problem solving skills
  • Turning to the Message Boards for help and support when you need it; offering help to others as a way to get your mind off your own troubles and gain a little perspective on things
But all of these things take time, and there are many instances when you need something you can do right now, to keep yourself grounded, focused and able to make good decisions. After all, you don’t always have time to take a walk, relax in a hot bath or call a friend to talk things over. That’s what we’ll be talking about here—a 3-minute trick for handling stressful situations in the moment.

Minute 1: Stay Grounded
Emotional eating happens when you lose your connection to your grounded self. Stress itself is not what makes you reach for something to eat. In fact, stress is often a good thing and your grounded self knows this! We need the physical stress of exercise to keep our bodies in good shape just as we need the stress of intellectual and emotional challenges to keep our minds healthy.

Nine times out of ten, what really leads to emotional eating is getting caught in a "mind storm" of worst-case scenarios, projections, misinterpretations, and all the emotional overreactions that come with these thoughts. This "storm" turns a manageable challenge into something that makes you feel helpless, overwhelmed, ashamed or afraid—and sends you to the kitchen to find something to stuff those extreme feelings. When you can stay grounded in the moment of stress, you have many more options.

Here are some simple ideas to keep you grounded when something (or someone) pushes your buttons and your feelings start to spiral out of control:
  • Take a few deep breaths. (You can also count to 10, if that helps.) If the stressful situation involves someone else, take a timeout and agree to continue the discussion in a few minutes.
  • Remind yourself where you are. Take a look around, noticing and naming the colors and shapes in the space around you.
  • Notice the physical sensations you are experiencing. Whether it's a sinking feeling, turmoil in your stomach, tension in your hands or jaw, restricted breathing, or heat on the back of your neck, try to name the feelings that go with the sensation. Is that sinking feeling fear, or dread? Is the heat a symptom of anger?
The idea here is to stay in your body and in the moment—with what’s real—instead of going inside your mind where all those unreal scenarios are just waiting to get spun out-of-control.

Minute 2: Reality Check
Once you’re calm enough to start thinking productively, put all those thoughts that are clamoring for attention inside your head through a quick reality check. Here are several very common thought patterns that have no place in reality. Do any of these apply to you?
  • All or nothing thinking
    Example: You go over your calorie limit or eat something on your “forbidden” list, and then decide to keep eating because you’ve already “blown it” for today. Reality: Weight loss is not a one-day event. If you stop overeating now, you’ll gain less and have less to re-lose later. That’s something to feel good about!

  • Reading your own thoughts into someone else’s words
    Example: Someone made a mildly critical or unsupportive remark to you, and you feel completely devastated. Reality: The more bothered you are by such remarks, the more likely it is that you are being overly critical of yourself. When you treat yourself with respect, what others say won’t matter nearly so much.

  • Either-Or thinking
    Example: You make a mistake or have a bad day and feel like a complete and hopeless failure. Reality: No one does well all the time. Mistakes are a necessary and valuable opportunity to learn—if you don’t waste them by getting down on yourself.

  • Taking care of other people’s business
    Example: Something is going badly for someone you care about, and you feel responsible, or pressured to fix it. Reality: People need to learn from their own problems. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by trying to fix things just to make yourself feel better.
Minute 3: Putting Things in Perspective
Most common problems that you face in everyday life are much easier to handle when you keep them in perspective and avoid making mountains out of molehills. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you aren’t in the mountain-making business:
  • How big a deal is this, anyway? If I knew I was going to die in a week, would this be something I would want to spend this minute of my remaining time on?
  • Will any bad things happen if I postpone thinking about this until I have more time to figure things out?
  • Do I have all the information I need to decide how to respond to this? Do I really know what’s going on here, or am I making assumptions? Am I worrying about things that might not even happen? What do I need to check out before taking action?
  • Is there anything I can do right now that will change or help this situation?
  • Am I trying to control something I can't, like what other people think, say, or do?
  • Have I really thought through this problem, and broken it down into manageable pieces I can handle one-at-a-time?
Use this approach whenever your thoughts or situations begin to feel overwhelming, and you'll quickly find that the mountains that seem impossible at first can quickly morph into what they really are—manageable hills that you DO have the ability to climb. All it takes is three little minutes of your time.

Summer Frozen Fruit Bars

Summer Frozen Fruit Bars

Serves: 4

Make your own popsicles!

2 cups cut-up summer fruit (strawberries, peaches, watermelon, etc.)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. Place the fruit in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.
2. Add 1-2 tablespoons water, if necessary. Add sugar and lemon juice. Cover and blend until well mixed.
3. Pour into 4 oz. ice-pop molds or paper cups. Insert sticks. Freeze until solid.

Calories: 36
Fat: 0.3 g
Carbohydrates: 9 g
Protein: 0.5 g

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fund raiser

I know this is a little off diet topic but I wanted to share this with all of you. One of the ladies in TC (ThinChicks) group is holding a fund raiser for her daughters family. It's a fire relief fund. If you love magazines like I do then please click the following link to help Kathy's family, get great magazines but best of all save BIG $$$. Lots of diet & fitness magazines to choose from but other types to pick from to. If you already have subscriptions you can renew them online & she still gets credit for them. I've already renewed my kids magazine & prevention. =)

Everyone saves up to 85% on magazines. And our group keeps 40% of all purchase amounts!
Thanks for your support!

******** (Kat, Kspiritwmn) ******* !

Fire Relief Fund

Low Fat Dark Chocolate Muffins


Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 12
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 148.8
  • Total Fat: 2.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.5 mg
  • Sodium: 83.2 mg
  • Total Carbs: 29.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
  • Protein: 4.2 g

These muffins are sweet and chocolatey; you'd never guess they're low fat 100 Minutes to Prepare and Cook


1 c. old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 c. non-fat milk
1 c. whole wheat flour
2/3 c. Splenda brown sugar
2/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4-6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)

Soak the oats in milk for about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and then spray the muffin pan with cooking spray.
Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips. Do not over-mix of the muffins will be tough. Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan, forming a total of 12 muffins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until done. Remove from pan and enjoy.

Number of Servings: 12

Kick Your Metabolism Into High Gear!

The Do's and Don'ts of Efficient Fat-Burning -- By Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior ExpertIf you’re reading this, chances are pretty good that you don’t have a metabolism that lets you eat as much as you want without ever gaining an ounce. Maybe (like me) you’re even at the other extreme, where it seems like all you have to do is smell the foods you love to start packing on the pounds. Does this mean you’re doomed to a lifetime of munching on carrot sticks with fat-free dressing, while watching your hollow-legged friends enjoy their pasta Alfredo and chocolate cheesecake? Not at all.

There are lots of things you can do to turn your body into an efficient fat-burning machine, and they don't include depriving yourself of foods you love, resorting to unhealthy gimmicks, or taking expensive “fat-melting” supplements that fail to deliver what they promise. All you have to do is avoid a few common mistakes, and include some simple ways to boost your daily calorie burn.

Metabolism DON'TS
  • Don’t reduce your calorie intake too low. The fact that you gain weight easily is proof that your body likes to shift into fat-storage mode at the drop of a hat, and going too low on calories is one of the easiest ways to trigger that reaction (often referred to as starvation mode). Don’t fall for the mistaken idea that the less you eat, the more you’ll lose—that’s just not how your body works. Staying within your recommended calorie range will keep your internal furnace stoked so that you have more capacity to burn stored fat.

  • Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals affects your body chemistry in ways that can make weight loss more difficult. Most people can manage their hunger and avoid cravings and overeating by spreading out their calories into four to five small, well-balanced meals or snacks during the day. Try not to go more than four to five hours without eating something.

  • Don’t short yourself on shut eye. More research is showing that chronic sleep deprivation plays a significant role in weight gain. Your body needs plenty of “downtime” for the internal housekeeping that keeps your metabolism in good working order. The occasional late night won’t hurt you, but consistently sleeping just one hour less than you need may slow down your weight loss considerably.
Metabolism DO'S
  • Build muscle! This is the most important action you can take to maintain a high metabolic rate while trying to lose weight. Strength training prevents you from losing a lot of muscle along with the fat you lose when dieting. If you don’t strength train regularly, up to 30% of the weight you lose could be muscle tissue. Considering that a pound of muscle burns about 3 times more calories per day than a pound of fat even when you’re sitting still (and up to 15-20 times more calories per minute when you're physically active), you can see the problems this can cause. If you lose 20 pounds of weight (and 30% of that weight loss is muscle—seven pounds), you’ll be slowing your metabolism and your fat burning capacity down by a significant amount. A simple strength training program twice a week can limit your muscle loss to almost zero, and keep your metabolism running high.

  • Stay as active as possible. The more you use your muscles, the more calories you will burn. Moderate exercise like walking can burn three to six times more calories per minute than sitting still, and high intensity exercise like interval training can burn more than 12 times as much. Likewise, the more you vary your daily activity and exercise, the more you keep your body on its fat-burning toes.

  • Don’t just sit there. If you’re watching TV or sitting at your desk, get up frequently to do a few exercises. Keep those resistance bands and dumbbells nearby at all times—you can fit a complete strength training workout into the commercial breaks of a one-hour TV show. Ditch your chair and sit on a stability ball (or a stationary bike) instead—even fidgeting can help!

  • Exercise in the morning or in frequent bouts. Both strength and cardio exercises boost metabolism by increasing your calorie burn even AFTER your session is done. You can get the most out of this perk by starting your day with a workout or by incorporating multiple exercise sessions into your day. Longer or intense workouts have a greater "after burn” but even a 15-minute walk will make a difference.

  • Try interval training. The harder you work, the more calories you will burn both during and after exercise—plus your fitness level will really improve. Studies show that exercising as intensely as you can, for at least 10 minutes per day, produces the best results. Interval training is an effective way to increase the intensity and duration of your workouts without running yourself into the ground or risking injury.

  • Include mental exercises. One of the most important (but least recognized) factors in keeping your metabolic fires well stoked is managing stress effectively. Chronic stress disrupts the hormones that regulate everything from appetite to fat storage, and can defeat even the best exercise and eating plans. The more effort you put into recognizing and handling stress, the better off you’ll be. Include some time in your schedule every day for relaxation exercises, yoga, journaling, and other stress management activities.
And Most Importantly…
Make exercise and healthy eating FUN! Experiment frequently with new exercises and recipes, or anything that keeps you interested and adds some spice to your program.  Well, don’t stop there. The more variety you can put in your diet and your exercise routine, the more stimulating it will be. That makes it easy to put your best efforts forward, and get a major metabolic return on your investment.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Can't Wake Up!

sleep I went to bed around 9 last night cause I was so tired ... knew I had an early morning. Ha, going to bed early didn't help me at all. I kept waking up all throughout the night & then this morning at 5:30 I pulled on my clothes to head to Curves. I totally sucked through the whole damned workout. My heart rate never even reached the 50% ... I feel like I wasted an hour of sleep. I came home & headed for bed ... couldn't sleep then either.

I feel like a zombie. I don't know what's wrong with me.

scale The scale was not my friend this morning ... I'm up yet again. 195.8 Friday, 199.8 this morning before my workout & 2 oz lost after my workout. Totally sucks. When I go back to the dietician in March if I have gained again then I am so done with her. I'll schedule another appointment with my doctor & say look ... something isn't right, why am I not losing but gaining?

 Thyroid Survivor I keep reading all these articles in different magazines that say 1 out of 4 women have a small thyroid problem & most doctors aren't reading the signs or their numbers are so borderline that the doc. think everything is fone. Uggg, I'm so frustrated cause in my mind I'm doing everything I should be with no weight loss to show for it. I do feel thinner ... my clothes feel somewhat loser, my emotions (until this morning) haven't been all over the place, I've flet at piece with being me but now ... I keep thinking I'm at ris for all these diseases & I can't seem to keep the weight from packing on. What to do?

Ok, off to drink some coffee in hopes of waking up. I'll have to put in anotherworkout since this mornings was so crappy. I lost my workout buddy for a good week cause she's going to see her grandbabies ... not really that much of a big deal though cause I have been thinking of dropping out of curves anyway. It's a 15 min drive there ... I'm leaving my kids at home sleeping (totaly creeps me out), I can only workout for 30 minutes so I feel like most days I'm not getting enough, I can't go more than once a day & it's $30 a month. I can workout here for free ... I have a weight bench, free weights, boke, treadmill & videos & I can go as long as I want & more than once a day. Oh well ... I'm just babbling on now ... have house work to get on then off to do a workout. I'm thinking my step video by Susan Powter, that'll wear my little ars out!

Winter Workout


When you think of exercise and sports, do you think of fun in the sun? Summer's long past and winter's right here, but it's not time to hibernate. Winter offers you plenty of opportunities to keep active, fit and healthy. So put down that hot chocolate, gear up and enjoy all that winter has to offer!

Build Snow Strength
Getting around in the winter through deep and sometimes heavy snow can require real strength. David W. Douglass, MS, CSCS, owner of San Diego-based Mobile Health and Fitness suggests preparing for action before you visit a winter playland. "Because sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing put a great deal of strain on the lower body, you should prepare yourself in the off-season," Douglass says.

"Participate in some type of resistance or high-intensity training regimen such as weight training, hill walking, running and stair climbing." Mixing up these activities also lessens the likelihood that you'll be sore when you hit the slopes, whether you're on skis or the back of your child's sled.

Choose from this menu of cold-weather fun.

Both downhill and cross-country skiing provide an exceptional hip and thigh workout. If you're an old pro, make sure you take a few warm-up runs before tackling the double diamond trails. If you're a newbie, take a lesson or two to learn the basics of safety and technique. Stick to the bunny slope until you can effectively turn and stop. When downhill skiing or snowboarding, consider wearing a helmet. And remember: Always ski in control.

Snowboarding isn't just reserved for young, brash, extreme athletes anymore. People of all ages are doing it. While the motion is a bit different than skiing, it also affords you a superb workout from the waist down. And it is also a good cardiovascular workout. As with skiing, be safe and take a lesson or two, and consider wearing a helmet. Before long you'll be out there carving up the powder!

You can use your favorite hiking trails all year, just strap on some snowshoes. If you're vacationing at a ski resort, ask about snowshoeing. Some resort areas offer day trips including snowshoe and gear rental. Consider using trekking poles for balance and some extra arm and shoulder exercise. Snowshoes come in many different styles; some are geared for jogging over the snow.

Sledding is a great way to fit in a workout and family time. Of course, sliding down a hill is exhilarating, but it's the climb back up to the top of the hill that'll work your cardiovascular system and leave your lower body begging for mercy. Start off on small hills and work up to the bigger ones. Like with any activity, too much exercise too soon (even if it's for fun) can lead to soreness the following day.

Build a Snowman or Fort
Building a snowman or a snow fort can be a lot of fun and a great workout. Rolling and lifting heavy snowballs will work your cardiovascular system and stress all the muscles in your body. Make sure you use proper lifting technique. Bend at the knees, not at the waist. Keep the snowballs close to your body and breathe out as you lift.

Winter Safety Tips

Dress warmly.
Tune in to the weather report and dress appropriately. Wear layers, starting with a synthetic wicking layer next to your skin to prevent chills. You can always remove a layer or two if you become hot.

Wear sunscreen.
Even though your swimsuit is in the attic, don't leave your sunscreen there. You can get burned in the winter. In fact, the reflection off the snow can intensify the sun's harmful effects.

Drink water.
Dehydration is a very real concern even on cold winter days. Winter air is both cold and dry. This provides the perfect environment for evaporative sweat loss. You also lose body water through respiration. Drink water throughout the day even if you're not thirsty.

Warm up.
Start off slowly and ease into all winter activities. This will divert blood flow to your exercising muscles, tendons and ligaments, thus reducing your risk of injury. Stretch the muscles you will be working. And don't push yourself to the extremes unless you are properly trained. Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing.

Friday, February 22, 2008

TC News


We still have one more week to go in this challenge so let's give it everything we have in us to get some of the extra off of us. 


 Please don't deprive your body of anything ... listen to it. Your body is an amazing piece of work, if you listen to it carefully it will tell you when your truly hungry & also let you know when it's had enough to nourish it. If you want fast food because you crave it or because your out & it's quicker I say have it just watch your portions. Skip the mayo/katsup ... mustard is so low in everything that it's basically a freebie. If you can't do a water order a diet soda or even a tea (no sugar) add sweetner for a zero calories drink. Actually it's about 10 calories but I call it a freebie to cause 10 min. of standing will burn it off.

  Stay active ... now I don't mean train for a marathon or become a gym rat, cleaning your house non stop for 30 minutes is staying active ... park in the back of the parking lot & walk in. Use the mall as a walking track that's sheltered from the weather, take the stairs whenever possible. While brushing your teeth do leg lifts ... carring bags of groceries in; do bicep curls. Use anything & everything as a way to stregthen your body. You can do it & each & every one of us is so worth it.

Early to Rise

coffee 5:20 is just to damned early to be getting up in the morning for a damned workout ... I need coffee to get up this early but who the hell wants to go use the pisser every 5 minutes?

 curves Ok so I'm off to do my workout at Curves ... Debbie is gonna work her behind off this morning. I'm gonna push her so maybe she'll get the hint that I need an extra push. That's what workout buddies are for aren't they? My hamstrings are still sore ... I'm hoping they will losen up over the weekend. I'm not sure if I'll be going tomorrow or not. Saturdays are optional ... don;t know if Debbie will be going with me & not sure I want to go alone. There's a small window on Saturday ... just 8-12! I want to get the most out of my free week ... I will also want to get my moneys worth to. I wish you could go more than once a day but I understand their reasoning to ... they want your muscles to have plenty of time to repair themselves. Although a session is only 30 minutes you can stay & workout as long as you want ... who knows, maybe I will tomorrow. May end up going on a trail walk though ... it's always fun.

fat Ya know how I took my DS to the dr.'s yesterday? Well, he says that he weighs to much (150 lbs at 5 foot). He says I want lab work done to see if he has a thyroid problem. I wanted to flippin scream you ignorant piece of chit ... do you know how harmful it is to talk about being fat in front of a child? Now my DS is a little chunky but in his defense he's also built like a flipping tree trunk. The boys food is the same size as DH he's also wearing the same size pants. His shoulders are just as wide as I am. His problem area is just like me ...t he belly. It's the only place I really carry my weight ... the boy has so much muscle in his arms that it sometimes scares me when he gets angry ... he will punch his pillow & I fear he'll punch a hole through his bed. He's a strong little guy! DH & I have decided not to subject him to blood work but he will be getting away from the video games just so we know he is getting in enough activity. I know he's eating fruits & veggies so the only way to get a little weight off is through more activity & of course more water. It's really hard to get him to drink it. He's a soda lover but he will only drink diet ... water is still best though.

friday Have a happy weekend ... TOM is gone & I need to play catch up with the monkey love.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Curvier new me

curves This morning I was up by 5:30 ... I was so pumped to head off to CURVES. I got my dad's g/f interested enough in it to sign up ... now I have a workout buddy which of course always makes a workout go by faster. I pushed myself a little more this morning than I did yesterday ... still loving the place ... still feeling the muscles ... gonna make it my morning ritual. embrace curves I'm thinking that Curves will be my toning workout & in the afternoons I will do a cardio workout. I love to workout & I have tons of videos to use ... do you think it's to much? I'm not so sure that it is since trainers & dieticians are saying 45-60 minutes of cardio to lose weight.

Ok ... lunch is over, school work is complete, hubby is heading back to work ... it's cardio time. Have a great day!!!

Video of the Day ... For my girl EVIL ... if you haven't already tried it your gonna love it, if you've already tried be careful around Donna! he he he Let us all know how you like it ... I hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is a crazy hot way to workout & get sexy at the same time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008



CURVES is so different from using free weights at home. Their machines are hydraulic so the faster you go the more you’re actually working the muscle which I have to get used to. Free weights are the slower the motion the better muscle you will achieve. The local Curves Logo here aren’t in a circle like I have heard others talk about but the trainer (Roxanne) said they also had many more machines than the average place so more ladies get a chance to work out at once.  I worked out on 15 machines then marched in place 15 times. The music was just like last night … high energy! Every minute a voice will come up & let you know it’s time to switch activities & about every 6 you had to check your heart rate. Of course I never made it out of the 50% range but I rarely do here at home when I push myself really hard. Roxanne told me to check my resting heart rate cause I just may have a body type that’s heart beats fewer times per minute than average so therefore my heart rate won’t get up to a certain number but I’m still getting a great workout. I know I was sweating about 15 minutes into the workout & I wasn’t pushing myself at all. I just wanted to get a feel for the machines & make for sure I was working them correctly. I’m still so shocked at the difference between machine & free weights.

I’ll be going back first thing in the morning … 6:30am. I’m hoping it won’t be as busy at that time as it was this morning at 10.

Wanna know more about CURVES & find one in your area? Click --> CURVES


Ok ... so I'm still pumped up from this mornings workout so what's a workoutoholic to do? If you guessed workout again then you guessed right. What can I say when I'm in the groove I just can't get enough cardio in. So ... todays video of the day is;

Redbook Shape Up 1-2-3This workout tape is a wonderful way to burn calories, tone and stretch out each morning. I love the beach and the background on this workout tape is beautiful, it's in Hawaii (oahu) The video is broken into 3 segments; 15 min aerobics which I felt was challenging enough to keep me interested (high impact option was shown as well), 15 min toning section ... I was thankful there weren't lunges cause my poor old knees can't take much more of those, then a 15 min stretch segment. I'm not big on lots of stretching afterward. I like my 5-7 moves that I hold for 10-15 sec but if ya like to stretch then this section is nice & calm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dynamite Legs

That's the video of the Day.

Dynamite LegsThis is one of my ebay videos. I'm slowly working my way through all of them. This workout is from 1989 but all in all I would say I can't find out dated information like some of them. Although I didn't add weights to this workout (wasn't even part of the video), I more than likely will next time as it's not really challenging for those of us who tone weekly. I believe adding weights to be very beneficial. Either later today or tomorrow I will be doing the abdominal one in this series.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stop the Insanity!

Lean, Strong and Healthy with Susan PowterRemember Susan Powter? Well, my videos that I won on ebay came in today & after reading the backs of most of them I settled on this one. It said step optional & since I have been stepping for a long time I decided to go ahead & pull mine out for an optimal workout. OMG, this video is like no other step video I have ever done. The music starts slow & I'm thinking oh crap ... this is gonna be a total waste of time. 5 minutes into the warm up & my arms are feeling fatiged. You use your arms as much as you want & for me after the first 5 minuts my arms were pretty much spent. It may have been because lots of repitition on my shoulders bothers me ... I have major shoulder issues. Anyway, she states over & over again to tuck you tummy which I love this reminder ... she also says don't dance around, pay attention to your muscles. Don't kick your leg out, push it out. Let me tell ya, by 30 minutes my legs felt like they were going to fall off. I did push through the full 45 minutes but wow ... I bet I'll be sore tomorrow.

 veggies Onto my food. I know some of you are used to my meal plans & tell me that you have been taking my ideas & running with them ... I think that's great, I hope it's working for you. Unfortunately, my own food plan isn't working for me. I have tried about every diet out there & none of them work for me so I'm not gonna worry about keeping track of my food for a while. I'm going to choose smart balanced foods, stop when I feel full, eat when I feel hungry & eat whatever kind of food I want.

This journey is not about quick fixes & big weight losses. It's about finding a way to live healthfully for the rest of my life. If that means I only lose 2 ounces a week then that's all I will lose. I'm jealous of everyone who loses 3-6 pounds in a week but I know my body well enough to know that everytime I have lost quickly I gain it back even quicker. Yo-yoing up &down on the scale isn't the way I want to live my life. I don't want to be worried about eating a slice of pizza or celebrating my childrens b-day's with a piece of cake. As long as I do portion control & limit these not as good for me foods I think I will be just fine.

I'm tired of worrying what my weight will be in the morning ... I'm tired of planning out my meals & sticking to an every 2-3 hour food schedule. It's just to much for me to deal with. It's also not the way I want to live my life.

My daughter will be 11 on Tuesday ... the age where weight starts impacting her vision of her self worth. I don't want her to constantly see how unhappy I am about my weight & then have her think that she needs to be rail thin to matter. I want her to know that she's beautiful inside & out no matter her shape or size. That's a lesson I need to put in place for myself & live it ... be her example.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Body Composition

Body composition is the amount of fat vs. lean muscle tissue in the human body. This is commonly expressed as a percentage of a person's total weight. Body weight alone is not a clear indicator of good health because it does not distinguish how many pounds are from fat and how many are from lean body mass. The popularity of body composition (as a measure of progress) is growing as people realize its value in determining health risks.

If you’ve read Body Composition Measures Results, then you know how helpful it is to track your body fat, rather than relying on weight alone to measure your fat loss.

There are several methods of measuring fat in the body—some are simply estimates based on a formula, and others are more invasive. Use this reference guide to find an option that best suits you.

Height/Weight Tables

What is it:  In 1953 the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company developed the first height/weight tables to calculate how overweight or underweight individuals were. The data were based on "averages" from its client base for both men and women. In 1999, the tables were revised based on updated data.

How it works: The function of a height and weight table is to help determine if weight is within an appropriate range for height and frame size. Frame size is an important, subjective factor in the development of the tables; small, medium and large frame determinations change the "ideal weight" recommendation.

Accuracy: On an individual basis, height/weight tables can provide very inaccurate conclusions about an individual's health risk. But they can be a good indicator of whether or not you are within an average range. If you outside of the range, have another kind of test conducted to confirm if you are at risk for health problems related to your weight.

Limitations: Scales cannot determine the lean-to-fat ratio of a certain weight. An individual can be "over-weight" and not "over-fat." A bodybuilder, for example, may be 8% body fat, yet at 250 pounds, considered "over-weight" by a typical height-weight chart. Therefore, these charts are not a good indication of a person's ideal body weight for optimal health, much less for athletic performance . Also, much of the data collected for the Life Insurance tables came from upper and middle-class Caucasians, and therefore may not reflect an appropriate weight for other races and socioeconomic groups.

Where you can get it:

Body Mass Index

What is it: Body Mass Index is a quick and easy method for providing a general guide in determining if one’s weight is appropriate for one’s height. It has recently been used to quantify an individual's obesity level.

How it works: The equation for BMI is weight (in kilograms) divided by height squared (in meters). To convert pounds to kilograms, divide by 2.2. To convert inches to meters, multiply by .0254. For example, if you weigh 170 lbs and are 5’6 (66 inches), your BMI would be (170/2.2)/(66*.0254)(66*.0254), or 27.5. The USDA healthy weight guidelines are a BMI ranging from 19-25 for women and 14-20 for men.

Accuracy: Since only an individual's height and weight are used, BMI does not provide a differentiation of fat and nonfat weight. For most adults, however, there is a clear correlation between higher BMI and negative health consequences.

Limitations: BMI is an average based on population studies. Because it does not differentiate between fat and nonfat weight, it may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build. In the same way, it may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass.

Girth Measurements

What is it: The use of girth and length measurement is a quick, easy and inexpensive method to estimate body composition or describe body proportions. It is based on the assumption that body fat is distributed at various sites on the body, such as the waist, neck and thigh, so that is where measurements are taken. (Muscle tissue, on the other hand, is usually located in places such as the biceps, forearm and calf.) The subject’s weight, height, girth size and body part comparisons are used to calculate percent body fat.

How it works: Using a cloth tape, girth and length measurements are taken from specific points on the body. The waist-to-hip ratio is one of the most commonly used values to reflect the degree of abdominal obesity.

To calculate your waist-to-hip ratio, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Then measure your waist at the smaller circumference of your natural waist, usually just above the belly button. To determine the ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.



Health Risk
Based Solely on WHR

0.95 or below

0.80 or below

Low Risk

0.96 to 1.0

0.81 to 0.85

Moderate Risk



High Risk

Most people store fat in two distinct ways- they are often called 'apple' and 'pear' shape. These terms refer to the weight around your middle ('apple') and around your hips ('pear'). If you carry more weight around the middle then this puts you under additional risk from heart disease and diabetes.

Accuracy: Using this method gives a high-level assessment of an individual, and the accuracy is typically within 5% of the value measured using underwater weighing (the “gold standard” for body composition analysis).

Limitations: The major disadvantage of this method is that the measurements provide little information about the fat and nonfat components of the body. For example, a body builder may have a thigh that has a larger circumference (yet less fat) than an obese individual.

Skin Fold Measurements

What is it: Skin fold measurements require the use of a "caliper device" to measure the thickness of fat stores. The assumption is that these stores are proportional to overall body fat, and thus by measuring several sites, total body fat may be calculated. Little equipment is needed, the test can be done quickly, and the interpretation is simple. Therefore it is one of the most common ways to measure body fat.

How it works: Calipers are devices that pinch your skin, pulling fat away from muscles and bones. Typically, the tester pinches three or four different sites on your body, such as your abdomen, arm, and back. The thickness of each pinch is plugged into a formula to determine your body fat level. There are many sites on the body where skin fold measurements can be taken. Currently, over 100 different equations are available to estimate body fat with the use of skin fold calipers.

Accuracy: The American College of Sports Medicine states that skin fold measurements, when performed by a trained, skilled tester, are up to 98% accurate. Because of the consistency in results, the high success rate, and the low margin of error, this is generally accepted as the best field test, outside of clinical testing, such as hydrostatic weighing.

Limitations: The estimation results obtained from skin fold measurements vary widely from technician to technician. The "art" of skin fold measurements requires the technician to properly identify a site measurement and pinch the skin gathering only the fat store and no other tissue. If the tester does not pinch exactly the right spot, or pull all the fat away from the muscle, the test will be inaccurate. When skin fold calipers cannot open wide enough to measure the total fat thickness, this technique tends to grossly underestimate body fat percentage in the obese population.

The wide variety of equations (number and location of sites tested) reflects the problem with the accuracy of this method.

Where you can get it: Many local gyms, YMCA’s, and community centers offer this as a free service free or charge a minimal fee. This test should be done by a trained professional to ensure accurate results.

Bioelectrical Impedance

What is it: This method is based on the fact that the lean (muscle) tissue of the body is much more conductive due to its higher water content than fat tissue. The more lean tissue present in the body, the greater the conductive potential, measured in ohms.

How it works: While you’re on your back, the bioimpedence meter is attached to your body at the extremities (one electrode attached to the foot and one on the hand). A small 500-800 micro-amp (50 kilohertz) signal measures the body's ability to conduct the current. The current flows through the body, finding varying resistance depending on the density of the muscle, the amount of body fat encountered, and the hydration of the tissue. The slower the signal, the more fat is present, because fat interferes with the signal.

This technique is commonly used with a hand held device (found at many local gyms) or a digital scale (found at most retail stores). The limitation with these instruments is that the hand held device only measures upper body fat, and the scale only measures lower body fat.

Accuracy: Bioelectrical impedance can have a large margin of error, especially if the subject is extremely obese or extremely lean. In one study, female distance runners averaged 20 percent body fat using this method, but more reliable methods showed that they were actually closer to 10 percent. Dehydration can also skew the results; the signal slows down, and the subject appears to have more fat than they actually do. Compared to other testing methods (girth, skin-caliper) this is the less accurate.

Limitations: If protocol is not followed (no eating or drinking 4 hours prior to the test, no exercising 12 hours before the test, etc.), the test will be inaccurate. Inconsistency in hydration, body fluids and intestinal content can result in high degree of variation from day to day. This makes this method less suitable for repeated testing when measuring small changes in body fat level. The test also tends to overestimate percent body fat in very lean individuals and underestimate body fat in obese people.

Where you can get it: Bioelectrical impedance testing can be found at local gyms, YMCAs, community centers and universities. Prices range from free to $30 per test. Home machines can be purchased for anywhere from $100-$400.

Hydrostatic (underwater) Weighing

What is it: Hydrostatic measurements are based on the assumption that density and specific gravity of lean tissue is greater than that of fat tissue. In other words, lean tissue will sink in water and fat tissue will float. By comparing a test subject's mass measured under water and out of the water, body composition may be calculated. A person with more bone and muscle will weigh more in water than a person with less bone and muscle, meaning they have a higher bone density and lower percentage of body fat.

How it works: A large tank of water, usually 1000 gallons, must be maintained at a constant temperature. Equipment to measure residual lung volume, and a scale connected to an "under-water chair" are also required. Test subjects are asked to exhale as much air as possible and be immersed for 10 to 15 seconds for an underwater weight measurement to be taken. This procedure is repeated 7 to 10 times. Total test procedures may require 45 minutes to one hour.

Accuracy: Hydrostatic weighing is currently considered the "Gold Standard" of body composition analysis. It is the most accurate way to measure body fat.

Limitations: The equipment required to perform hydrostatic measurements is bulky and maintenance intense. The procedure is also time-consuming and complicated, especially if the subject is unable to expel all of the air from their lungs. Fear of immersion in a tank of water, fear of infection and obesity are additional barriers to this technique.

Where you can get it: This test is usually only available at research institutions and universities. Typical cost is $10-$75 due to the involved nature of the test.

Considerations Related to Body Composition

Although two people can have the same body fat percentage, that doesn't mean they face the same health risks. Where body fat is located can place a person at far greater risk for fat-related health conditions such as: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and even certain types of cancers.

Fat around the abdomen may present the greatest risk for health problems. Abdominal fat is most common in males and is associated with increased risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. In contrast, fat around the hips and thighs is most common in females and seems relatively harmless with respect to these health problems.

It is important for good health and well-being to not only know your body fat percentage, but to pay attention to where that fat is located.

So which test is the best one for you? If you are looking for an average estimate of your body fat percentage and how you compare with the population, BMI and girth measurements are easy to do at home. For more accuracy and personalized results, the skin fold test is best. It’s usually easy to find somewhere that does skin fold testing for a minimal cost. Bioelectrical impedance and hydrostatic weighing are more complicated tests that are more costly and harder to find.

Number on the Scale

Body composition. We hear a lot about it... but what exactly is it? Well, to be considered "fit," you have to meet minimum standards in 5 different areas, known as the Components of Fitness. Body Composition is one of them (in addition to flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and aerobic fitness). Body composition itself deals with four areas: weight, fat mass, lean mass, and fat distribution.

Weight measures total body mass. We're all too familiar with this one, in most cases. But weight alone doesn't tell you the whole truth about your progress or fitness level. For example, it doesn't tell you how much fat you carry. People want to lose "weight." You could start lifting weights and actually gain weight...but that doesn't necessarily mean you are tipping the scales towards obesity.

How to use it: Forget your preconceptions about the number on the scale. Knowing your weight is good, but not crucial--you want to lose fat, not necessarily weight. If you must weigh yourself, don't make it a daily habit. Weight tends to fluctuate throughout the day, and from day-to-day, by as much as 5 pounds or so. Most of these regular changes are due to food and water. If weight is an important record to you, then do it under the same circumstances (no clothes or shoes, first thing in the morning before eating, etc) and no more than every 1-2 weeks.

Time Involved: A few seconds, once every couple weeks

Body Benefit: Look for trends in your fitness level

Measure Progress Without the Scale An Arsenal of Tools for Your Motivation -- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer
Frustrated. Disappointed. Hopeless. Skeptical.
Whichever you choose, these emotions are enemies of people trying to lose weight—especially when you feel like you have done everything right. For many trying to shed pounds, the elation from that initial weight loss is brought to a screeching halt when the scale stops moving. But, instead of viewing this as a setback, look for other ways to measure your progress besides the scale. After all, good health isn’t always measured in pounds.
Losing weight usually involves a relatively simple calorie equation: burn off more calories with daily activity than you consume through food. So what happens when these numbers indicate progress, but the scale doesn’t? Before the aggravation sets in, consider why this might be the case. If you’ve been hitting the gym on a regular basis, participating in both cardiovascular and strengthening exercises, then chances are good that you have shed some fat. But the scale might not indicate this because you have also been building lean muscle. Since muscle is dense (a small volume of muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat), the scale might not reflect your hard work. 
Non-Scale Signs of Progress
  1. See results by taking a trip to your very own closet. Take out a pair of pants that fit snugly before you began your new, healthy habits. Are you able to ease into them, when before you had to sit (or lie) down and yank them up your legs? This is a sure sign of progress toward a leaner you! What about an old shirt? Is it now a little loose around your waist or arms? Also look for improved muscle definition when you check out your body in the mirror. There are many everyday indicators that you are firming up your body, from how your clothes fit to sitting more comfortably in a booth or small chair.

  2. Aside from weight, use other numerical signs of progress. When you first start your program, take measurements of your waist, arms, neck and hips. Even if you are not losing pounds, you very well may be losing inches all over your body as your figure slims down and tones up with muscles. Measuring your body is more reliable than the scale alone. Other numerical indicators include a reduction of blood pressure or cholesterol, BMI, and body fat percentage.

  3. Monitor how a healthy diet and regular exercise affects your energy levels. Not only will you be able to work out for longer intervals of time, but everyday chores will also become easier. Whether cutting the grass or simply walking up the stairs, these behaviors will come effortlessly. Think of all the daily activities you could use more energy for—grocery shopping, house cleaning, playing with your kids, and more. Pretty soon you’ll be training for your first 5K!

  4. Lastly, be conscious of how you feel emotionally.   You’ve been working hard to reach your goals. Hopefully, the hard work will come with a boost in self-esteem, confidence, and happiness. Are you beginning to feel more comfortable in your own body? Work to build a positive vocabulary to stay motivated.

Just because the scale has stopped moving doesn’t mean that you’ve hit a plateau in reaching your goals. Don’t give up out of frustration—all healthy behaviors are well worth the effort. Whether it’s better sleep at night or more energy throughout the day, start listening to the signs your body gives you that all of your hard work is paying off!

Facts & Myths of Chocolate

Whether you prefer a gooey chocolate truffle or a mug of hot cocoa, chocolate is the number one indulgence for most of us—especially on Valentine’s Day. But this indulgence comes at a price, right? After all, isn’t chocolate is bad for us, full of caffeine and saturated fat? Not so fast—new research has shown that chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet after all.

Here are some common myths about this Valentine’s Day (or any day) treat, along with the facts to set the record straight.

Myth: Chocolate is high in caffeine.
Fact: While eating chocolate may perk you up, chocolate is actually not very high in caffeine. A 1.4-ounce chocolate bar or an 8-ounce glass of chocolate milk both contain 6 mg of caffeine, the same amount as a cup of decaffeinated coffee. (For reference, regular coffee contains about 65-135mg of caffeine.)

Myth: Chocolate is loaded with saturated fat and is bad for your cholesterol.
Fact: Stearic acid, the main saturated fat found in milk chocolate, is unique. Research has shown that it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels the same way that other types of saturated fats do. In fact, eating a 1.4 ounce chocolate bar instead of a carbohydrate-rich snack has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Myth: Chocolate lacks any nutritional value.
Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. It also contains polyphenols (an antioxidant also found in tea and red wine) that have been associated with a decreased risk of coronary disease. An average chocolate bar contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of red wine.

A daily serving of dark chocolate, which contains more antioxidants than milk chocolate, can also help lower blood pressure and improve insulin resistance according to a joint study between Tufts University in Boston and the University of L’Aquila in Italy. The findings do not suggest that people with high blood pressure consume dark chocolate in lieu of taking their prescribed medication, but that the flavonoids in dark chocolate may have a positive effect on blood pressure and insulin resistance. Learn more about the health properties of chocolate.

Myth: Chocolate causes cavities.
Fact: Candy alone is not responsible for cavities. Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars and starches from any type of food (soda, candy, juice, bread, rice and pasta) to produce acid. This acid then eats through the enamel of the tooth, causing a cavity.

The protein, calcium and phosphate content of milk chocolate may actually protect tooth enamel, and its naturally-occurring fat content means that chocolate clears the mouth faster than other candy, reducing the amount of time its sugars remain in contact with tooth surfaces.

Regular fluoride use, proper oral hygiene to remove fermentable carbohydrate residue and the application of plastic sealants can all help prevent the formation of cavities—whether you avoid chocolate or not.

Myth: Chocolate causes headaches.
Fact: While sited as a common cause of migraines, a study by the University of Pittsburgh has shown no link between chocolate and headaches. The results of that double-blind study of 63 participants known to suffer chronic headaches were published in the neurology journal Cephalalgia. Chronic headaches were once thought to be caused by amines in foods (including histamine and beta-phenylethylamine) such as cheddar cheese, peanuts, cured meats, chocolate and alcohol, but this study eliminated chocolate as a possible headache cause.

Myth: Chocolate causes acne.
Fact: Regardless of what your parents or grandparents may still say, studies in the past twenty years have eliminated chocolate as a cause of acne. In fact, many dermatologists doubt that diet plays any significant role in the development of acne. Acne is now believed to be caused by a combination of high bacterial levels and oil on the skin. For more information about the causes and treatment of acne, click here.

Myth: Chocolate causes weight gain.
Any food can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation. An average chocolate bar contains 220 calories, which is low enough to be a part of a weight control diet if other high-calorie foods are eliminated. Enjoying the occasional piece of chocolate may reduce the risk of severe bingeing, which can occur when you feel deprived of your favorite foods.

Chocolate’s bad reputation is slowly changing and research now shows that chocolate can be a part of an overall healthy lifestyle, when consumed in moderation. If you keep your portion sizes small and select dark chocolate whenever possible, the occasional treat can be a guilt-free part of your diet.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sick of food


Feels like no matter what I eat or how I exercise I am doomed to fail. The scale was up yet again today ... 201! If I had it in me to give up I would ... I feel like I'm spinning my wheels for nothing. Sure I gained lean mass but what good does that really do me if the scale keeps going up & my clothes keep getting tighter. There' only so much I can stand of DH telling it's ok, I love you no matter what.

Evil tells me I need to cut out fruit/juice, just for a few days to see if that will help me so that's what I'm gonna do. As long as it isn't anything close to Atkins I'll try it. I tried Atkins 3 times in the past & I gained big time after not being able to stick with it.

Cal Fiber Fat Carbs Ptn
Bread, whole wheat 2 slice 200 6 2 34 6
Regular Coffee, 2 cup (8 fl oz) 5 0 0 0 1
Cream substitute, 2 tbsp 20 0 0 4 0
Fiber Choice Supplement 16 4 0 4 0
Meal Totals 241 10 2 42 6
Fat Free Pudding 34 1 0 8 1
V8 V.Fusion Light 8 oz 50 0 0 13 0
Fiber Choice Supplement 16 4 0 4 0
Smart Ones Ravioli Florentine 250 4 5 40 11
Meal Totals 350 9 5 65 12
Chicken Breast, no skin, 3 ounces 94 0 1 0 20
Cauliflower, cooked, 0.5 cup (1" pieces) 14 2 0 3 1
Brown Rice, medium grain, 0.5 cup 109 2 1 23 2
Broccoli, cooked, 0.5 cup, chopped 27 3 0 6 2
Meal Totals 244 6 2 31 25
Popcorn, air-popped, 4 cup 122 5 1 25 4
Peanut Butter, smooth style, 2 tbsp 190 2 16 6 8
Milk, nonfat, 1 cup 86 0 0 12 8
Meal Totals 398 7 18 43 20
Daily Totals 1,216 30 29 181 63
Daily Goal 1240 - 1590 25 - 35 33 - 58 168 - 242 60 - 130

5 Fitness Myths ... BUSTED

Even if you’re determined to get in shape, it can be quite difficult to sort through the long-standing fitness myths and misnomers. Whether you’re a believer in spot reduction or are afraid to lift heavy weights for fear of becoming bulky, it’s time to separate fact from fiction.


Myth: No pain, no gain.
Exercise should not be painful. Even at the height of your workout, you shouldn’t be so out of breath that you can’t carry on a conversation. It’s also important to distinguish between muscle fatigue (feeling "the burn") and muscle/joint pain (sharp and uncomfortable pain during movement). Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you’re doing something wrong. Listen to your body. If something hurts, stop.

Myth: Big weights mean big, bulky muscles.
Fitness experts agree that when it comes to strength training, everyone responds differently, depending on their body type, existing muscle, body fat, age, and gender. If you’re an endomorph, a body type characterized by a more rounded, voluptuous shape, you’ll probably need to lose body fat in order to see a change in shape from lifting weights, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). For mesomorphs, ectomorphs, or people who are a combination of these body types, a regular routine of strength training will produce different results. Women’s testosterone levels are also much lower than men’s, so in most cases, they’re not capable of building large muscles. In fact, since muscle takes up less room than fat, women tend to lose inches when they strength train. So in addition to the physical benefits (increased metabolism, decreased risk of osteoporosis, increased power), strength training will help you slim down, too.

Myth: If you can’t exercise hard and often, there’s no point in exercising at all.
Even moderate activity is shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you don’t have 30 minutes in your day to exercise, try splitting it up into 10-minute increments instead. There are also simple things you can do to increase your activity without having to go to the gym: take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus a stop early, or take a short walk after lunch. Remember, any exercise is better than none.

Myth: Crunches will give you a six pack.
This is an example of the spot reduction myth, another common fitness misnomer. While it’s true that exercises such as these may be good for you, it’s probably not in the way you think. Crunches or leg lifts, for example, will build muscle—but they won’t burn fat, which is key to reshaping your body. To burn fat, you must elevate your heart rate through cardiovascular work. As you dance, bike, or run, the body draws upon fat for energy, say ACE experts.

Myth: Running on a treadmill puts less stress on your knees than running on asphalt or pavement.
Although running is an excellent workout, it can impact the knees. And since it’s the force of your body weight on your joints that causes the stress, it’s the same whether you’re on a treadmill or asphalt. The best way to reduce impact to your knees is to vary your workout, say experts. Trying mixing it up with other cardiovascular activities such as the elliptical machine or a stationary bike.