Holiday Help

ThanksgivingHere's a healthy Thanksgiving twist to some of your favorite recipes and some cooking and devouring tips for the holidays:

  1. If you are making mashed potatoes, leave the skin on.  There is fiber in the skins and if you use red potatoes, it gives your dish a dash of color.  Try using spray butter and skim milk to give it smooth texture without added calories.  Minced garlic works well to give flavor if you are trying to cut down on your sodium.
  2. When cooking your turkey, try using cooking bags instead of basting your turkey with oil.  It will remain moist without the added calories (don't forget to take the giblet bag out of your turkey– I've forgotten myself!!).
  3. Try offering your guests some healthy appetizers before the dinner.  Apples paired up with fruit dip, veggie trays, and wheat crackers with low fat dip will help curb appetites so as not to overeat at the dinner table.
  4. Use smaller plates for your guests to eat off of.  They will take smaller portions (or they might just fill up several times).
  5. If you make homemade cranberry sauce, try using Splenda instead of sugar.  It tastes just as good without the extra calories.  If you would like to boost the flavor, try adding oranges or raspberries to the mixture.  If you would like to increase the protein, add diced walnuts.
  6. Leave your guests time to sit and digest their meal before bringing out dessert if you cook it.  By whisking the dinner plates off the table and serving dessert immediately, guests may eat more than they are hungry for.  You can also serve your guests smaller portions of dessert by precutting it and having it on plates for them to pick up themselves.

Hope some of these tips help!!

I Don’t Have Time!

Schedule“You just don’t understand; I don’t have the time to exercise.”  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this as a reason for not joining my gym.  I DO understand.  I have three boys (all in different sports), a business to run, a household to keep clean, and a dog that enjoys keeping me occupied with scratching her behind the ears any time my hand hangs over the side of the couch.  We are all busy.  However, it is important to prioritize your life and figure out what makes you SO busy that you can’t spare 20-30 minutes to get yourself in better shape.

    For those of us with children, it is necessary to be able to keep up with them.  If you are chronically tired, it may mean that you just need to get up and get moving.  For those of you with desk jobs, the sedentariness of your job will make you feel exhausted even though you are well-rested.  Walking over your lunch break may not only wake you up for the rest of the day, but also get you burning calories!

    In may be a good idea to try to organize your family’s busy schedule and learn how to time manage.  For instance, your one son is playing football, the family needs to eat before the game, and you would like to take your dog for a walk.  Throw dinner in a crock pot, take your dog (and your kids) for a quick walk, eat dinner, and get to your football game.  Eating before the game will also keep you from over-snacking at the football game that evening.

    Have a favorite TV show that you never miss?  There’s 30-60 minutes you can spare right there.  My husband and I regularly use our exercise bike to watch CSI in the evenings.

    Make good use of your weekend time.  Lots of us like to sleep in on the weekends, but if you give yourself 30 minutes of alone time before the kids get up for the day, you can put an exercise tape on, go for a run with your friends, or work out at your local gym.

Safety in Numbers

One of the biggest trends in fitness today is to take part in group exercise classes.  With classes ranging from abdominal classes to kickboxing, there is a class geared for almost anyone’s likes and abilities.  Many local fitness centers now offer active older adult exercise classes geared for those seniors that want to stay fit.  Now the question is:  which class is right for you?

    When choosing a group exercise class, first you have to get an idea as to what you are looking to achieve.  Do you want to lose weight, increase muscle tone, help your aching back feel better, or just get in better shape?  Next, look at what times are convenient for you.  Many people, when they join a gym, make their lives revolve around their gym schedule.  This leads to stress and eventually you will quit because you have made your schedule impossible.  Fit your group exercise classes and your gym time into your life.  Make sure you find a class that you enjoy, also.  If you are making the time and commitment to your exercise regimen, make sure you are having a good time.

    Once you have committed to a group exercise class, get to know your instructor and those that are in the class with you.  You will find that you will make friends with those in class and will end up having a great relationship with your group exercise instructor.  You will then be accountable to those relationships in class!  When you don’t show up for class for a few days, the troops start calling you to find out why you haven’t been in class.  This accountability is great for keeping you motivated during times when it’s easy to quit working out.

    Look at your local gyms to find out more on group exercise classes.

Benefits of the Barbells

BarbellThink you’re too old to lift weights?  Perhaps you’re too busy, or just don’t like weights.  I have ten good reasons to change your mind:

  1. You’ll fight heart disease.  Strength training is proven to decrease cholesterol levels and strengthen your heart muscle!
  2. You’ll be able to fight arthritis and body aches.  Studies have shown that weight training can strengthen joints and ease arthritis pain.  It can also strengthen low back muscles to alleviate low back pain by taking the pressure off the spine.
  3. Your new muscle will help fight weight gain.  When you begin to increase your muscle mass, your metabolism speeds up and you are burning more calories a day.
  4. You’ll be a stronger person.  Your everyday activities will be easier to perform and you will move around better.  You will breeze through your daily tasks!
  5. Mental health will strengthen as well.  Those that weight train feel more confident, and have a positive self-image.  There have also been studies done to prove that depression is greatly reduced in those that lift weights.
  6. You’ll be a better athlete.  Whether you are the occasional golfer, hunter, or an avid 5k runner, weight training can help in any sport by increasing lean muscle mass.  It will also help keep injuries at a minimum.
  7. Weight training helps at any age.  Strength training improvements can help those in their 20s as well as those in their 80s.  Lean muscle mass can be achieved at any age.
  8. You can reduce the risk of diabetes.  With weight gains, the chance of adult diabetes grows.  Lifting weights can increase glucose absorption by the body and reduce sugar issues very quickly.
  9. Osteoporosis will be reduced.  You can increase the density of your bones with weight bearing activities such as strength training.  Once you have osteoporosis, you can’t get rid of it, but you can prevent it from getting worse.
  10. You will lose fat and gain muscle.  One does not turn into the other.  You will decrease your body fat as you get stronger, and as you put muscle mass on, you will lose weight.

    With all these reasons, what are you waiting for?