Thinner on Monday: Keep Off Weekend Weight

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You’re only human if, halfway through a workweek, you’ve already  begun a countdown to the weekend. What’s not to love? There’s extra time  to spend with the kids, dining out with friends, and sleeping in. But  if you’re not careful with your choices, the weekend can really wreak  havoc on a waistline. Between Friday happy hours and Sunday brunches,  the weekend is jam-packed with opportunities to eat tempting food. Some  people use it as the perfect excuse to let their diet slip away. You’ve  worked hard all week to keep your weight in check. From Friday night to Monday morning, keep these 10 tips in mind so you don’t end up with more weight than when you started!

1. Don’t be a weekend warrior. Putting pressure on yourself to lose weight while trying to enjoy your downtime can potentially stress you out and lead to emotional eating.  Take a more realistic approach, and aim to maintain your weight instead  of losing it. If you wake up on Monday at the same weight you were when  you left the office on Friday, consider yourself a success!

2. Start strong. The first few hours of your weekend  can set the tone for its entire duration. For instance, if you start  off your Friday night with happy hour and a couple slices of pizza for  dinner, you’ll probably continue this behavior all the way to Monday  morning. It ruins the effort you put in all week, and makes you less  likely to reset your good habits when the workweek begins. Kick off your  weekend the right way with a flavorful yet reasonable dinner option.  Try a lean cut of red meat, such as filet mignon, to ensure satisfaction  without tons of calories. Or if you’re craving Chinese food, allow  yourself to enjoy some Moo Shu chicken; just skip the pancakes and opt  for lettuce wraps instead. It’s perfectly fine to rewardyourself after a  week well done, so long as you choose something that will keep you on  the right track!

3. Get in some “you” time.  Lazy weekends are great every once in a while, but allot some time into  your morning to work up a sweat. Putting it off until later in the day  gives you the chance to get too busy and just not go. Simply get up a  half-hour earlier, and hit the gym. Even twenty minutes will help!

4. Take advantage of breakfast.  It really can be the most important meal of the day. I recommend  clients take a few moments of their downtime to enjoy some morning fare.  There are so many healthy, smart options readily available. Nix the  pancakes and calorie-laden waffles, and order an omelette instead. An  egg-white omelette with spinach, mushrooms, and peppers only has about  250 calories, but tons of satiating protein. Switch it up and choose hot  sauce over ketchup since it contains less sugar. Avoid starting your  morning with any type of simple carb such as bagels, Danishes or  muffins. These types of foods will only lead to additional carbohydrate  cravings throughout the day.

5. You snooze, you lose. If  you do decide to sleep in, don’t feel as though you have to make up for  the meal you may have missed. Move on to whatever meal is next, and go  from there. You may need to add a second snack later in the afternoon,  but it’s much more ideal than doubling up your meals.

6. Think ahead, and be prepared.  Planning meals ahead of time and packing a few healthy food items can  be your best defense against fast food and mindless weekend snacking.  Why waste the calories on the drive-thru when you can enjoy something  scrumptious at dinner with friends instead? Save your indulgence for a  time that is really worth it. Keep a fiber bar and a piece of fruit with  you at all times. You’d be surprised how this pairing can fill you up  and ward off future cravings.

7. Embrace finite foods.  Extra free time can mean extra pantry time. There’s less structure on  the weekend, which increases your chance of going on a random pretzel  binge. Keep finite foods on hand, so you know exactly where your snack  begins and ends. Stick to items like a Greek yogurt with a pack of  almonds or a high-fiber nutrition bar. Avoid snacks that aren’t  pre-portioned or, next thing you know, you’ll have seven servings of  trail mix under your belt!

8. Enjoy one extravagance.  Dining out is one of the most enjoyable ways to relax after a hard  week. It can seem virtually impossible to stick to a boring grilled  protein and a side of steamed vegetables when everyone around you is  partaking in a decadent meal. Whether it’s a second cocktail, a shared  dessert, or a reasonable portion of starch, allow yourself to enjoy one  extravagance. Be sure to plan it at a time when you’re around loved  ones. It automatically makes the treat that much more enjoyable.

9. Stay hydrated.  Daily hydration routines usually fall by the wayside on the weekend.  People tend to weigh heavier on Monday because they’ve dined out for the  past few days and consumed considerably less water. Aim for at least a  liter by lunch to ensure proper hydration.

10. Recover on Sunday.  Unwind after a busy weekend, and opt for a low-calorie frozen entrée  for dinner. Choose one that’s under 300 calories and has at least 3 to 4  grams of fiber. It’s a controlled, finite meal that will give you a  head start on your week. Or, partake in a “veggie night” dinner to  recover from a particularly rough weekend. Choose 2 cups of your  favorite non-starchy vegetable, and pair with one baked white or sweet  potato. Simple yet slimming!

Fast Food the Healthy Way: A Guide

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Let’s be real, everyone loves fast food. (Whether or not you want to admit it, but there’s something about French fries that really gets people going.) As a nutritionist, it’s hard for me to approve calorie-laden burgers, milkshakes or double decker bacon-filled ranch-dressing-topped nutritional nightmares. They’re not providing a ton of good nutrients, and instead are passing along sugar, fat and carbohydrates that will leave you feeling sluggish in its place. That being said, you have to live your life. It’s your life, not your diet, that takes precedence.  So I never want you to eliminate things you love completely. Why not? That will not only make you want those foods MORE, but it’s unrealistic. You’re not going to go the rest of your life without eating a hamburger. (Even I like one occasionally.)

Maybe you just really want a little fast-food treat, or you’re on the road and have no choice. Here are some healthy options for some of the most popular chains. You never have to ban entire restaurants or types of food from your life. That only leads to wanting those foods more! Small indulgences like the ones I’ve chosen below can get you far:

 

McDonalds:
1.) Fruit and yogurt parfait — 160 calories 2.) Caesar salad with grilled chicken and low-fat balsamic vinaigrette — 260 calories
 

Taco Bell
1.) Grilled steak soft taco (Fresco) — 150 calories 2.) Gordita supreme, chicken — 270 calories

Burger King
1.) Tender grilled chicken garden salad with Ken’s fat-free ranch dressing — 290 calories 2.) Small burger with a bun (260 calories). This counts as one angel carb. (What’s an angel carb? A good carb, because some bread is bad, but not all of it!)

Pizza Hut
1.) Two slices of a 12-inch pizza, — 300 calories, 2 angel carbs.

It is possible to eat fast food (very occasionally) and still keep it healthy. These are splurges, but not outrageous ones. No matter your lifestyle, job scenario or wallet, you can eat well.

Get Out to Get Fit!

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The amazing things about summer can also be the most detrimental to your workout routine. We often opt for spending the majority of our time outside on a beautiful sunny day or laying beachside during the much needed summer vacation in lieu of a sweaty cardio session and grueling free weight repetitions in a low-lit, stinky gym indoors. And I don’t blame you, but we have to keep up the good work and stay healthy, even in the summer. If you’re worried about staying on top of your exercise routine in the summer, don’t sweat it. These are my helpful tips and tricks that will make it a breeze to squeeze in your fitness routine while still enjoying your vacation as well as the best ways to optimize your exercise routine outdoors.

 

Traveling can be extremely detrimental to your exercise routine- not only do you not want to exercise while on vacation but it messes up your schedule, making it difficult to get back on track once you’ve returned home. Plus, the resorts’ infamous local fish tacos, bottomless strawberry daiquiris, and decadent molten flourless chocolate cake quite literally weighs down your motivation to take that early morning run on the beach you promised yourself you would do every day. Working out while on vacation is a struggle in itself so let’s start by making realistic goals- ditch the 7 am run on the beach and pick one of my favorite ways to stay in shape while traveling and to return home healthier than when you left.

 

Nu-Train Travel Tips:

  1. Pack your 6-pack: There is no reason to not bring your favorite workout with you; exercise DVDs are the easiest way to stay fit on vacation and they take up almost no space in your suitcase so your cute new wedges will still fit in your overstuffed bag! I make sure to never leave without my physique57, yoga or boot camp DVD. It’s also extremely easy to throw in lightweight exercise equipment like a yoga mat or resistance bands. If you are bringing your computer along for the trip you can always visit Shape.com for workout videos online.
  2. See the sites: While a 7 am run may not be on the agenda, that doesn’t mean you need to cut into your site seeing time to get an afternoon workout in. I love to use Map My Run (www.mapmyrun.com) to find local running trails that are scenic; ditch the car and get a workout in and explore the area by running, hiking, rock climbing or riding bikes.
  3. Do as the locals do: No matter if you’re traveling near or far there is always something cultural that you can do for exercise. Do a little research ahead of time or once at your hotel inquire about exercise activities- it could be anything from a unique form of martial arts or dance to a great boot camp class. This is a great way to spend quality time with your family too; it’ll be an experience you’ll never forget!
  4. No equipment? No problem: The easiest cop-out for not exercising on vacation is the lack of facilities available at the resort. Get your cardio in by doing something outside and try my top 10 in house moves that will keep you toned without needing any equipment. Try doing two-to-three sets for best results.
    1. Burpees/Squat Thrusts
    2. Push Ups
    3. Wall sits
    4. Plank
    5. Tuck Jump
    6. Supermans
    7. Plies
    8. Mountain Climbers
    9. Sumo Squats
    10. Roundhouse Kicks

 

So, what about all of the days we aren’t on vacation but the beautiful weather makes us feel guilty if we don’t spend time outdoors? Thankfully this isn’t actually a problem! There are endless options for exercising outdoors: biking, swimming, skating, volleyball, soccer, kayaking… really the list could go on for the rest of this post so I think I’ll stop there. However, when you want to optimize your outdoor workout, there are some activities that are better than others. Let’s break them down so we can slim you down.

Outdoor Activities

Running: Leading the pack, running is your go-to outdoor exercise to burn the most calories. It’s also a great way to explore your city; running at 7-mile per hour pace for 1 hour burns nearly 700 calories! However, if you are running on the beach or concrete it can be extremely hard on your knees and lower-back so take that into consideration if you have any injuries. Try finding a local outdoor track to relieve the stress on your joints.

Swimming: If you’re catching rays poolside- jump in! Did you know swimming at 50-yards-per minute can burn over 500 calories in one hour? Don’t forget about kickboards and water aerobics either! These are great ways to tone your legs to get long, lean muscles so swim your way to slim.

Biking: While the weather is nice (unfortunately it’ll be cold again before we know it), grab that bike out of your storage unit and start biking to and from work. Biking at 12-14 miles per hour for an hour burns up to 560 calories, and it’s a great way to avoid the gym and save time, leaving more time to spend with your friends and family at that great new restaurant with outdoor seating you’ve been dying to try!

In-line Skating: I know it feels like forever since you slapped on those blades and went for a skate, but this summer it’ll let you burn calories while rediscovering your youth! This fun workout is shockingly effective- skating at 12-14 miles per hour can burn around 500 calories. Just don’t forget your helmet and knee-pads if it’s been a while since you’ve been on 8 wheels.

Volleyball: Often overlooked, volleyball is a fun group activity for the summer that is so enjoyable you won’t even realize how many calories you’ve worked off. An hour long game can burn about 480 calories and leave you sore in muscles you didn’t realize existed!

Kayaking: For the adventure-seeker this is the perfect way to enjoy mother nature and work on your core and arms. Burning more than 350 calories per hour and trying something new…. Where do I sign up?

Soccer: Try organizing a pick up soccer game with your friends. Since soccer is primarily a running sport, you can burn more than 600 calories per hour if you are continuously moving.

 

And when you’re looking for something to compliment your workout, or just want to do something active outside, try taking an outdoor yoga class, doing yard work, horseback riding or even washing your car. All of these activities burn at least 200 calories in an hour!

 

So now you know… get out and get healthy!

 

The Secret Sauce to Surviving Holiday Parties

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Spirits are bright, bells are jingling, and it has already been eight, crazy nights – the holidays must be upon us.

For most of us, starting around Thanksgiving, our weekends are packed with shopping, wrapping and of course – holiday dinners and parties. And even though we might feel spread thin from the packed schedule and far too many commitments, the holiday magic has a way of keeping things merry and bright. The good tidings and cheer shouldn’t be interrupted by guilt – from eating at least – as your Bubby will still talk your ear off about how you don’t visit enough.

Go armed with holiday spirit and ten tinsel-time tips for surviving the onslaught of get-togethers.

1. Get party pampered… Even if it’s just a good old gathering at a friend’s house, use the get-together as an excuse to hit the salon. Get your hair blown out, finally treat yourself to a well-deserved manicure or maybe just plan your regularly scheduled roots touch-up that day. Getting glammed up will set you up to feel super-fly all night and less likely to over-indulge.

2. Dress for success… Now’s the time to whip out that LBD that you triumphantly scored outlet shopping on Black Friday (a little holiday gift to yourself). Feeling fabulous starts with dressing the part and will perfectly complement your Christmas coif or Hanukkah hairdo. Try picking out something fitted as well, and you’ll want to work the room, not scour the room for treats.

3. Snack attack on track… You definitely don’t want to be the guy or gal at the party gnawing on a granola bar from home, and that’s definitely not expected. What you can do is munch on a healthy snack beforehand. Aim for 150 calories or less, such as 2 Fiber Rich crackers with a Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge, or a Gnu bar. The invite might read “Cocktails for Christmas” but it’s fairly reasonable to assume there will be at least some noshes for the night, so don’t arrive ravenous. Plus, if cocktails are the only item on the menu, it won’t hurt to have food in your stomach before a night of drinking.

4. Know before you go… If you know beforehand that there will be food at the party, decide if the offerings will be your dinner. If yes, stick to the “4 napkin rule” – fill up 3-4 napkins worth of appetizers throughout the party and then stop – and no munching when you get home. If temptation is too fierce, make solid plans for after the party. Be it a fun dinner reservation at a favorite place or date night – just you, your couch, Will Ferrell (as Buddy the Elf, of course) and a portion-controlled organic frozen dinner, such as an Amy’s or Organic Bistro meal.

5. Delay your way… No matter what, a good trick is to delay your eating from the start. When you walk in and saunter over to the bar area, grab a bottle of water instead of a cocktail and a helping of appetizers. This way there will be less time to overdo it, and you will be proud of your restraint from the beginning. If you are at a holiday dinner and manage to skip the hors d’oeuvres altogether, it will leave you more room for flexibility at the dinner.

6. Protein packed… If you are going to indulge in appetizers and munchies at the party, stick to the veggies and proteins like shrimp cocktail, chicken satay or sushi (not fried or drenched in mayo!). Again, stick to the “4 napkin rule” and only help yourself to four servings eaten off of a napkin or cocktail plate. Not allowing yourself to pick and pop in your mouth will help you to keep track and be mindful.

7. Hold on… These events are the place to whip out your (seemingly impractical) but fabulous clutch. Keeping it in your clutches all night, along with a drink in the other hand, will help you to avoid snacking for the sake of keeping occupied. Gentlemen (and some ladies!), sparkly handbags might not be your thing, but keeping a drink in one hand and the other one free for firm, friendly handshakes could go a long way at the company party.

8. Chat it up… Remember why you’re there – it’s a party after all! Even if it’s a work event, it’s a great opportunity to relax a bit and enjoy the office crowd. Or maybe it’s a yearly get together with gal pals that is sadly becoming one of the only traditions you’re able to keep where everyone actually is able to make it out. Make the night about conversation and connection – not cocktails and confections.

9. But be careful about mixing it up… Visions of sugarplums might be dancing in your head but don’t let them boogie on into your beverages. Beware of the super sweet drinks! It’s really cute that your gracious host spent weeks coming up with her “Yuletide Poolside Patron Margarita” but her themed drink goes down way too easy. One too many of those babies and you’re simultaneously belting out “Mele Kalikimaka” and gorging yourself on pineapple upside down cake among many other treats from the dessert spread. Stick to wine, light beer or vodka mixed with club soda and limes. Pick something refreshing that you will sip slowly.

10. Good list, bad list, who cares… Above all else, it’s the holidays after all. If you make it the “5 napkin rule” or indulge in your pal’s “Yuletide Poolside Patron Margarita,” don’t go home and worry that Santa will be skipping your house this year – and certainly don’t crunch down his cookies with a gulp of his milk. Instead, tuck yourself in, rest snug in your bed, and maybe play a few extra reindeer games the next day.

Healthy holidays to all, and to all a good night!

Get Outta Town! How to Eat Well and Enjoy Your Vacation.

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Summer time and the livin’ is easy – so naturally it’s time to take a few precious days off and kick up your feet.

Even if your schedule is crammed with BBQ’s, kids’ swim practices, and a multitude of other events, life moves slower in the summer and most of us save and save and save up our carefully coordinated vacation time for a few glorious days out of town. Whether it be just a weekend getaway or a “bucket list” worthy adventure, summer is universally a time for traveling. But despite being in the thick of bathing suit season, the inevitable war-cry of “screw it! I’m on vacation!” could wreak havoc on your eating habits long after the suitcases are un-packed.

But sticking around town in the sticky weather isn’t the only way to cure a case of the vacation inspired “eff its”. Just like you learned back in Girl Scout day camp, always be prepared. And just like back then you were prepared for mosquito bites, you’ll be prepared for bites this time too… and nibbles… and cocktails…

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Listen All of Y’all, It’s a Sabotage!

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We all have them – those friends in life that for one reason or another seem destined just to sabotage all your hard work.

 

 

Maybe it’s the well-meaning bestie, or the unintentional husband, but the people closest to you have some weird sort of knack for knowing when you’re on a role and then knocking you down a peg or two – and maybe it’s not always on purpose, but it’s there.

Sure, “frenemies” are a fact of life and I’m sure you might have one or two toxic folks in the mix that might simply just be jealous of your success. But no matter what the reason, you can’t let the input of others derail you – keep on keepin’ on.

Of course it’s easier said than done. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Cause I’m the Wanderer…

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No matter what part of the world you live in, everyone experiences bouts of yucky weather.

Maybe it’s somewhere very seasonal where the winters freeze you to your core and the summers turn you in to a walking puddle or maybe it’s just three, solid months of unceasing rain. No matter what Mother Nature throws your way, that weather witch has a knack for messing with your diet.

Snowstorms keep us holed up for days with nothing but snack to keep us company, sudden rain showers have us dashing in to coffee shops to keep dry and even sunshine lures you out for picnics in the park.

A wonderfully welcome sweep of springtime has hit NYC and this blast of nice weather has led to the unfortunate phenomenon I’d like to share with you now: “The Wander”.

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Foodie Frenzy

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Between long days at the office, sports games and ballet recitals, there are nights when eating out is an inevitable part of life. For the run-of-the-mill chain restaurant, survival is pretty straightforward. At this point I’m confident you all know your way around the every-day mall stops and how to make clean eating choices on the go.

But what about for the true foodies?

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Get Your Snack Attack on Track

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I’m not sure why snacks have become this daily staple for so many folks. Maybe it’s a growing appetite, or maybe a lingering remnant from childhood serving as an afternoon comfort food. No matter how or why they’re here, snack attacks have more of a potential to be all filler and not really hunger killers.

“Snack”- it sounds like just a little harmless treat! But there can be some serious trouble lurking behind that cute little word. If you’re just popping, non-stopping for the sake of it – it’s time to nip your nibbles in the bud.

To start re-evaluating snack-time, ask yourself these questions:

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An Al Fresco Mess-co

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Recently I was vegging out with my favorite guilty pleasure – reality television. As I was enjoying indulging in the one kind of junk I don’t have to save calories for, I noticed a commercial that snapped me out of my reality-tv induced stupor and back to real-reality.

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