Archive for May, 2012
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I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I had to make sure I was ready to follow through with it myself. I’m finally ready! For the next week, I challenge you to eat one serving of veggies at every meal and snack. You read that correctly, every single meal and snack! The rules for the challenge are as follows:
- Eat 1 serving of veggies at every meal and snack.
- If you do not currently eat a lot of vegetables, then you may substitute one serving of fruit for a serving of veggies at some of your snacks and meals.
- Veggies can be fresh or frozen.
- A serving of veggies does NOT count if it is drenched in butter, cheese, or ranch dressing. (e.g. spinach casserole, broccoli with cheese sauce, salad with ranch dressing)
- Veggies can be seasoned with any herbs, spices, or sodium free seasonings.
- Veggies can be raw, baked, broiled, sauteed (small amount of oil, cooking spray would be better), steamed, food processed, added to smoothies, and any other healthy preparations you can think of (please comment below if I’ve left something out).
- Salads do not count if they are drenched in ranch, bleu cheese, thousand island, or any other creamy, high calorie dressings.
- On the salad note, I’m going to have to disqualify iceberg lettuce as a veggie. But you can use it as a bed for other vegetables!
- Veggies can be paired with hummus, Greek yogurt, natural nut butter, or any other healthy dip choices that you can think of. (Comment below with any recipes you may have.)
- If you miss having a veggie at one meal or snack, you can double up on veggies at the next one.
For lists of vegetables and serving sizes, check out choosemyplate.gov.
And finally, I’ll leave you with some tips to sneak veggies in to your daily diet:
- Add veggies to an omelette. (e.g. spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes)
- Have a mixed veggie salad with your breakfast like this one.
- Add veggies to your pizza. (I’m not condoning the consumption of pizza, but if you do eat it, at least add some veggies!)
- Add avocado, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and/or onion to a sandwich.
- Add frozen broccoli to a smoothie. I promise you can’t taste it!
- Go old school and have ants on a log. Spread a natural nut butter on celery sticks and top with raisins. Or have ladybugs on a log and top it with dried cranberries.
- Have a big salad. Toss spinach, peppers, onions, avocado, tomatoes, and any other veggies you want with lemon juice or a light vinaigrette dressing.
- Cut up some carrots, cucumbers, or peppers and dip them in hummus.
- Cut up some carrots, cucumbers, or peppers and dip them in Greek Yogurt dip. (mix 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice to taste, garlic to taste, and dill to taste)
I would love vegetable and recipe suggestions. We tend to stick with what is familiar to us, so I want to hear what kind of veggies are consumed around the world!
Are you the kind of person that turns to a spoon and a pint of ice cream when you’re depressed? Do you eat half of a cheesecake when you’re feeling sorry for yourself? Do you drown your sorrows in a tube of cookie dough when you’ve had a bad day? Why do I ask? Because I have a feeling many of you do. And why do many of you turn to food when you’re in a funk? I have no scientific evidence to prove what I’m about to point out, but I will tell you where I think women are learning this gloomy grubbing.
Just turn on your TV. Flip on a show or a movie with at least one female character and you’ll see why I have come up with this hypothesis. I might be dating myself a little here, but growing up, I watched the ‘Golden Girls’ constantly gossiping over hundreds of decadent cheesecakes, and ‘The Nanny’ constantly kvetching while shoveling spoonfuls of ice cream down her throat. Even today you can catch at least one woman, on every episode, on every show, drowning her sorrows in food. And it’s funny…right? Well, I’m not laughing. What a horrible example this is setting for the female population. Television executives have created this disturbing formula (women counteracting a bad experience with an overload of calories), and women are blindly following it. Well, I’m putting my foot (and my spoon) down! I will not tolerate this obesity- causing formula any longer!
The next time you feel like crap, go for a walk, do a crossword puzzle, read a book, listen to a Rick Astley song, watch one of my desir80s videos…do anything other than head for the fridge or pantry for a session of gloomy grubbing. I know it’s not always easy, but try to do something to get your endorphins pumping or distract your mind from the sad thoughts that are in there. It takes 3 positive thoughts to outweigh 1 negative thought. Focus in on those positive thoughts instead of drowning that negative thought in sugar. A sugar coated negative thought is like a chocolate-covered piece of leather, once the chocolate’s gone, your just going to be chewing on leather.
Another downside of dwelling on the negative…it could shorten your life! (Click here for a quick synopsis of a study done at Harvard on this topic.)
So, next time you’re in a funk. Think of 3 good things that you experienced that day. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.For instance, whenever I ask my dad what’s new, he always responds with “I got up in the morning.” Well, that, my friends, is a VERY positive thing, so now all you need is 2 more things and you can combat your funk with fortitude instead of fork-titude.
Challenge: Count how many times you see a sad or angry woman on TV turning to her fridge for comfort this week.
**Science side note:
A small study was done in Italy showing that levels of ghrelin (appetite-stimulating hormone) increased for 2 hours after people ate their favorite foods.
Sounds like the beginning of a vicious cycle to me!
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Over the past few years, I have noticed a common theme that runs rampant within the female population, self consciousness. It doesn’t matter the size, shape, age, or fitness level of the woman, more often than not, they are self conscious. I’ve been fighting this battle for a while, myself, but I’ve gotten better and I want you to get better as well.
I am not a doctor, nor do I consider myself a life coach, so I am going to speak from experience, as one of you, as someone who cares. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do not compare yourself to others; and that you do not wish for what you may not have. I think this tends to be a brick wall in some women’s health and fitness regimens.
There seems to be a cycle some women go through, which has negative consequences. First, a woman will try to adopt a healthier lifestyle by changing her diet dramatically and going full force at the gym. Then, when she doesn’t see the results she wants right away, she immediately begins looking at other women, and comparing body parts. Soon the woman becomes sad, or even depressed, because she doesn’t have what some other woman has. Eventually the woman quits working out because she believes there is no hope for a more desirable body. Boom! Game over. It’s back to pizza and doughnuts alternated with periods of starvation. Every one of you should be conscious of that cycle, and should do your best to avoid it. Remember that you are working to better YOU, and you must be happy with what YOU have, and what YOU are working to be in the future. There are so many body types in this world, so when you start your fitness program, keep in mind that you are working with yours, and yours is unique. J Lo is not Beyonce, who is not Giselle, who is not Shakira, who is not Serena, who is not Jennifer, who is not Teraji. All shapes and sizes, right? Create your best body. I am sure you’ve heard that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, well guess what, it’s just as green on your side, but it may just need a little yard work.
As women, I think that we have a natural tendency to be envious of other women, and that envy can really bring us down and obliterate our self esteem. I was no different. I used to battle that envy demon everyday, but I became much, much happier when I learned to turn my envy into admiration. We are all different in so many ways and there is always going to be something about ourselves that we are unhappy with, but if we learn to focus on our positive attributes rather than our negatives, then we can, one by one, work to improve those negatives without having to hate ourselves in the process. Turn your envious thoughts into compliments. You don’t necessarily have to express them out loud, but you can certainly do it in your head. If you see another woman with great legs struttin’ her stuff, instead of thinking, “Ugh, she must think she’s all that with her short shorts and long legs,” think, “Wow, she has awesome legs” and be done with it. Try it sometime. You will find that it gets easier every day, and frees you from the crippling effects of envy. Can you imagine everyone hating Michael Jordan because he was an awesome basketball player? I can’t. And everyday, millions of men wear the jerseys of other guys they admire. It’s their way of saying, “Wow, he has awesome legs.” Well, it doesn’t quite mean that, but you know what I mean. It’s respectful admiration rather than unsettling jealousy. Ladies, let’s emotionally wear each others’ jerseys by showing admiration for each other instead of jealousy.
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So your big day is upon you, and whether it’s an audition, a competition, a photo shoot, or a wedding, your instinct is probably to starve yourself. Well, your instinct couldn’t be more wrong. My big day has come and gone (side note: incredible photo shoot, can’t wait to share the pics), so I thought I would share my day of event diet guidelines with you.
The week of your event is an important time, nutrition wise. What you consume during this week can make or break you. That’s why it is IMPERATIVE that you follow my next bit of advice:
This week is NOT the time to try something new and it is NOT when you want to make big changes to your diet and exercise.
My first year in grad school, I was an assistant for Dan Benardot, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., FACSM’s general sports nutrition class. He’s a brilliant man, and has worked with some of the world’s most elite athletes, so his teachings are my religion. Much of what he said in the class helped me to develop my pre-contest diet. One thing in particular stuck with me and changed my competition prep for good. It was something along the lines of, “why would you train and prepare for months to get to where you are and then the week of your event, change everything?” It was the best thing I had heard pertaining to contest dieting and it made so much sense. Why, if I’ve been doing one thing to reach a certain point, would I change things once I’ve reached that point? Duh!! It was at that moment that I left depleting (both carb and water) in the dust.
Now that you know where I’m coming from, here are my guidelines for day of event eating:
- Eat breakfast! Make sure it’s a food that you’re used to. Don’t skimp on breakfast just because you’re going to be in a tiny outfit or bikini. That is the worst thing you can do, as it can lead to bloating later on, perhaps while you’re on stage or in front of the camera.
- Eat foods that are familiar to you. You should know what foods bloat you so you can avoid them; this is where keeping a log comes in handy.
- Eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours! Skimping on meals could lead to bloating as well.
- Drink the same amount of water that you drink every other day. Again, skimping on water and messing around with water intake, can cause bloating.
- 3 hours before your event, you should have your last pre-event meal or snack, mine is usually a bar of some sort. Chug some water. Once you have excreted the liquid (trying not to be graphic), sip a sports drink every 20 minutes to keep your blood sugar regulated and your energy levels up.
- And as for physical activity, a quick low impact total body workout with resistance bands or body weight would be ideal. You’ll find fitness competitors doing body weight calisthenics like squats and push ups in their heels right before they walk out on stage, very entertaining.
There you have it, my simple guidelines for day of event eating. Remember, these are guidelines, everyone’s day of event diet is going to be different. I am very different from other fitness competitors. As I said, I base my diet on my experiences and education. The only way to figure out your perfect diet, is by trial and error. Every body is different, which means everyone’s diet will be as well.