Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Portion Teller. Small Changes will bring big results with boot camp!

Americans eat too much of everything. There isn’t one food group responsible for our expanding waistlines. In order to avoid cravings and lose weight, we need to cut food from all of the food groups instead of cutting out entire groups. This book provides a simple plan to help us eat the right foods in the right amounts.
  • Fruit (2-4 servings daily)
We all know that fruits contain loads of vitamins and minerals, but they also contain a lot of sugar which is why we’re told to limit our fruit intake to 2-4 servings per day. Dr. Young tells us that the most helpful visual for determining the right serving size of fruit is a baseball. A baseball’s volume is approximately 1 cup. So 1 cup of berries and 1 baseball sized apple or orange would be good examples of a fruit serving. According to The Portion Teller, the best fruits, nutritionally, are berries, kiwi, melons and citrus, and we should avoid fruit juice, dried fruits, canned fruits in syrup due to their high sugar content.

  • Non-Starchy Vegetables (3+ servings daily)
Yippee! We can eat as many servings of vegetables as we want! Again, the visual of choice is the baseball. A serving size of raw vegetables is 1 cup, while a serving size of cooked vegetables is 1/2 cup. The best way to maximize your vegetable nutrient intake is to eat as colorful a plate as possible. Some of the most nutrient packed vegetables include spinach, red peppers, asparagus, broccoli and carrots. There’s no need to avoid any of the non-starchy vegetables because according to Dr. Young, “No one ever got fat from eating too many carrots.”

  • Grains and Starchy Vegetables (4-8 servings daily)
The Portion Teller Pyramid allows us to eat more servings of grains and starchy vegetables than any other food group. But it also provides us with a warning for the types of grains we’re supposed to eat. It tells us to choose healthy grains such as whole wheat, rye, and oats while avoiding white bread, muffins, bagels, and pasta. However, the most important thing to consider when eating our grain servings is the correct serving size. Remember, “white flour products, such as bagels and muffins, have increased in size over the past few decades, sometimes as much as 400%.” A computer mouse is the right size for a baked potato, a CD is the right size for a pancake or a pita bread. And a CD case is the correct size for a piece of bread. Be careful with your grains, the average American eats 17 Portion Teller sized servings of grains every day.

  • Fish, Poultry, and Meat (2-3 servings daily)
6-8 ounces of meat will provide us with all of the protein we need each day. Dr. Young recommends one serving of meat with every meal and she stresses that low fat, high protein meats such as poultry, fish, and the leaner cuts of red meat are the ones we should be eating. You may also want to include eggs and legumes into your balanced diet as these contain different types of fats that might not be found in the other types of protein. The visuals provided to help us size up our meat servings depend on the type of meat being eaten. More often than not, a deck of cards will be similar to a serving of meat. However, if you’re protein source is a flaky white fish, a standard check book is a good visual that approximates 3 ounces.

  • Dairy (2-3 servings daily)
There are many benefits to including several servings of low-fat dairy into your diet on a daily basis. Dairy products are wonderful sources of calcium and the B vitamin Riboflavin; some sources are even fortified with Vitamin D. Another huge benefit of consuming dairy products is that the protein in them fills you up so you don’t feel hungry. I like dairy products a lot and find it hard to keep within the recommended 2-3 servings per day for dairy–I guess there are worse things that I could be cheating with. Dr. Young provides several visuals to help find the right serving size when it comes to dairy products. My favorite one is the “4 dice visual.” Whenever I go to a party, often the thing that trips me up is the cheese tray–certainly one more of those little cubes couldn’t hurt? But how many have I already had? My new trick is to use a plate. Every five cubes basically equals about one ounce, or one serving of dairy. I put all my “dice” on my plate at the beginning and don’t go back to the buffet. I don’t have to limit myself to just one serving, but I make sure to budget those extra cubes in to my day.

  • Fat (1-3 servings daily)
1 to 3 servings of fat daily is not very much fat. The Portion Teller provides simple visuals for doling out your fats as well. A golf ball is about 1 oz, a shot glass is about 2 tablespoons and a walnut is about 2 tablespoons. The fat visuals are by far the smallest of the visuals provided in the book because gram for gram, fat has about 3 times as many calories as carbohydrate and protein. It’s recommended to steer clear of the “bad fats” such as butter, coconut oil, cream cheese and mayonnaise so that you can concentrate on consuming good fats such as olive oil, tahini, avocado, nuts, and nut butters.

  • Treats and Sweets (0-2 servings daily)
Everyone agrees that treats and sweets aren’t good for us. But they are part of life–I’d never give them up completely. Like fats, treats also have very small visuals to help you relate to serving size because they are calorie dense foods. You’re supposed to think in terms of 1/2 of a baseball or 1 tennis ball. The Portion Teller also gives us some tips to help us deal with the sweet tooth in all of us:

  • Avoid your triggers–if you can’t stop with one serving of chips, then don’t eat any.

Only splurge 1 day a week–avoid eating sweets on a daily basis and they’ll seem like more of a treat.

Skip soft drinks–you’re better off chewing your calories than drinking them.

Fat free still means calorie laden–be careful when eating those low fat cakes, cookies, and ice creams.

Share–order one dessert for two people when at a restaurant.

I highly recommed picking up a copy of the Portion Teller - small changes can make big differences on the scale! If you combine the principles of this book along with our total body workouts at Texas Fit Chicks boot camp, your body will completely CHANGE! Check out Melisa, who successfully changed her portion sizes and trained with us - her results are proof it works!

Ready to be our next "After model?" We serve women in McKinney, Plano, Prosper, Allen, Frisco and all of the N Dallas area. Lose weight, tone up and live the healthy life you deserve. All fitness levels welcome - start any Monday! Hurry and save your spot....we are INDOORS for the winter - so space is limited!
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

100 easy ways to cut 100 calories per day

Here are 100 painless ways to cut 100 or more calories a day. Making small changes can add up to big results when you are trying to lose weight, and keep it off.

1. Spread 1 tablespoon of all-fruit jam on your toast rather than 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
2. Replace 1 cup of whole milk with 1/2 cup of nonfat milk.
3. Eat 2 poached eggs instead of 2 fried eggs.
4. Replace 1/2 cup of granola with 2 cups of Cheerios.
5. Instead of using whole milk and eggs to prepare 2 slices of French toast, use nonfat milk and egg whites.
6. Snack on an orange and a banana instead of a Snickers candy bar.
7. Munch on 35 pretzel sticks instead of 1 ounce of dry-roasted peanuts.
8. Replace 1 cup of sweetened applesauce with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
9. On your lamb-and-vegetable kabob, replace 2 of the 4 chunks of meat with fresh whole mushrooms.
10. Dip an artichoke in 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise instead of 1 1/2 tablespoons of regular mayonnaise.
11. Steam your asparagus rather than sauté it in 1 tablespoon of butter or oil.
12. Instead of a 5-ounce glass of wine, opt for cherry-flavored sparkling water.
13. For a chewy snack, have 1/2 cup of dried fruit rather than 9 caramels.
14. Replace 3 slices of bacon with 3 slices of Light & Lean Canadian bacon.
15. Eat a Lender's egg bagel instead of a Sara Lee egg bagel.
16. Select 1 cup of home-style baked beans instead of an equal serving of baked beans with franks.
17. Replace 2 biscuits with 2 dinner rolls.
18. When making a sandwich, use 2 slices of Roman Light 7-grain bread instead of Pepperidge Farm wheat bread.
19. Eat 1/2 cup of steamed fresh broccoli instead of 1/2 cup of frozen broccoli in cheese sauce.
20. Make a burrito with 1/2 cup of fat-free refried beans and 1 ounce of nonfat cheese instead of the same amount of traditional refried beans and cheese.
21. Replace an apple muffin with a high-fiber English muffin.
22. Reduce a typical serving of chocolate cake (1/8 of a two-layer cake) by one-third.
23. Switch from 1 cup of whole-milk hot chocolate to 1 cup of steamed 1% milk flavored with a dash of almond extract.
24. Replace 1 cup of caramel-coated popcorn with 2 1/2 cups of air-popped popcorn.
25. Switch from 1/2 cup of yogurt-covered raisins to 1/2 cup of plain raisins.
26. Snack on 1 cup of nonfat plain yogurt instead of 1 cup of custard-style yogurt.
27. Top your celery sticks with 2 tablespoons of fat-free cream cheese instead of 3 tablespoons of regular cream cheese.
28. Replace 2 fried-chicken drumsticks with 2 roasted drumsticks and a cup of peas and carrots.
29. Instead of eating 5 chocolate-chip cookies, savor the taste of 2.
30. Lighten your 2 cups of coffee with 2 tablespoons of evaporated nonfat milk instead of 2 tablespoons of half-and-half.
31. Replace a 12-ounce can of cola with a 12-ounce can of diet cola.
32. Thicken your cream sauce with 1 percent milk and corn starch instead of a roux of butter and flour.
33. At the appetizer tray, choose 4 fresh raw mushrooms instead of 4 batter-fried mushrooms.
34. Use 2 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream instead of regular sour cream (on baked potatoes or in stroganoff). If done twice in the day, 100 calories will be cut.
35. Reduce the size of your steak from 4 1/2 ounces to 3 ounces.
36. Grill a cheese sandwich with nonstick cooking spray instead of margarine.
37. Replace 1 cup of chocolate ice cream with 2/3 cup of nonfat chocolate frozen yogurt.
38. Snack on 2 ounces of oven-baked potato chips instead of regular potato chips.
39. Instead of topping your salad with an ounce of croutons, get your crunch from 1/4 cup of chopped celery.
40. Instead of 1 cup of macaroni salad, eat 3 1/2 cups of spinach salad with 2 tablespoons of low-calorie dressing.
41. Cut the peanut butter on your sandwich from 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon.
42. Serve your turkey with 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce instead of 1/2 cup.
43. Order a sandwich on cracked wheat bread instead of a croissant.
44. Complement your hamburger with 1 1/4 ounces of oven-baked tortilla chips instead of a side of fries.
45. Split an apple Danish with a friend rather than eat the entire thing.
46. Order 2 slices of cheese pizza instead of 2 slices of pepperoni pizza.
47. Grab a Dole Fresh Lites Cherry frozen fruit bar instead of a Sunkist Coconut frozen fruit bar.
48. Snack on 1/2 cup of fruit cocktail canned in water instead of 1 cup of fruit cocktail canned in heavy syrup.
49. Switch from 1 cup of fruit punch to 1 cup of sparkling water flavored with 2 teaspoons of concentrated orange juice.
50. Instead of eating garlic bread made with butter, spread baked garlic cloves on French bread.
51. Rather than snack on 1 cup of grapefruit canned in syrup, peel and section 1 small grapefruit.
52. Dip your chips in 1/2 cup of salsa instead of 1/2 cup of guacamole.
53. Switch from 1/2 cup of Frusen Gladje butter pecan ice cream to Breyers butter pecan ice cream.
54. Use 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise in your tuna salad instead of 2 tablespoons.
55. Hold the tartar sauce on your fish sandwich, and squeeze lemon on it instead.
56. Replace 3 fish sticks with 3 ounces of grilled halibut.
57. In sandwich spreads or salads, use 3 teaspoons of dijonnaise instead of 4 teaspoons of mayonnaise.
58. Use 2 tablespoons of light pancake syrup instead of 2 tablespoons of regular syrup.
59. Top your pasta with 1 cup of marinara sauce instead of 1/2 cup of alfredo sauce.
60. For each serving of pasta salad you make, reduce the oil or mayonnaise by 1 tablespoon.
61. Replace 1/2 cup of peaches canned in extra-heavy syrup with 1/2 cup of peaches canned in water.
62. Prepare 1/2 cup of steamed peas and cauliflower instead of frozen peas and cauliflower in cream sauce.
63. Cut back on sampling during cooking. The following "tastes" have 100 calories: 4 tablespoons of beef stroganoff, 3 tablespoons of homemade chocolate pudding, 2 tablespoons of chocolate-chip cookie dough.
64. At an Italian restaurant, snack on a large breadstick instead of a slice of garlic bread.
65. Eat a 3/4-cup serving of pudding made with skim milk rather than a 1-cup serving of pudding made with whole milk.
66. Choose 1/2 cup of brown rice instead of 1 serving of frozen rice pilaf with green beans or 1 serving of frozen Oriental rice and vegetables.
67. Compliment your sandwich with 3/4 cup of split-pea soup instead of 1 cup of chunky bean and ham soup.
68. Replace 3 tablespoons of strawberry topping on your ice cream with 3/4 pint of fresh strawberries.
69. Pass on the second helping of mashed potatoes.
70. Eat 3 grilled prawns with cocktail sauce instead of 3 breaded and fried prawns.
71. Make a pie crust with 1 cup of Grape-Nuts cereal, 1/4 cup of concentrated apple juice and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, instead of using a traditional graham-cracker crust. You'll save 100 calories per slice.
72. Replace 8 sticks of regular chewing gum with sugar-free chewing gum.
73. Snack on a papaya instead of a bag of M&Ms.
74. Substitute 3 ounces of scallops for 3 ounce of lean beef in your stir-fry.
75. Rather than spread 4 tablespoons of cream cheese on two slices of raisin bread, dip the bread in 1/2 cup nonfat apple-cinnamon yogurt.
76. Munch on 1 cup of frozen grapes instead of an ice cream sandwich.
77. Rather than drink a strawberry milkshake, make a smoothie of 2/3 cup of low-fat milk, 1/2 cup of strawberries and 1/2 a banana.
78. Replace 2 brownies with 2 fig bars.
79. Eat 2 meatballs instead of 4 with your spaghetti.
80. On a hot day, quench your thirst with a glass of ice water with lemon or mint instead of a can of light beer.
81. Eat 1/2 cup of black beans instead of 3 ounces of roast beef.
82. Replace 1 1/2 tablespoons of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Nucoa Smart Beat margarine.
83. Choose 1 serving of vegetarian lasagna instead of lasagna with meat.
84. Eat 2 Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars instead of 2 Kellogg's Pop-Tarts.
85. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of low-calorie French dressing on your salad instead of 2 tablespoons of blue cheese dressing.
86. Replace 1 large flour tortilla with 1 six-inch corn tortilla.
87. Eat a turkey sandwich instead of a chicken salad sandwich.
88. Choose 4 1/2 ounces of tuna packed in water instead of 4 1/2 ounces of tuna packed in oil.
89. At Burger King, have a Whopper Jr. Sandwich with regular fries instead of a Whopper With Cheese Sandwich.
90. Order your Quarter Pounder without cheese.
91. At Jack in the Box, eat a regular taco instead of a super taco.
92. Fix 1 cup of turkey chili with beans rather than regular chili with no beans.
93. Use 1 cup of fat-free cottage cheese instead of regular cottage cheese.
94. Order a sandwich with barbecued chicken instead of barbecued pork.
95. Replace 1 cup of corn with 1 cup of carrots.
96. Reduce your helping of turkey stuffing from 1 cup to 2/3 cup.
97. Have a single scoop of ice cream instead of a double scoop.
98. Replace 2 ounces of corn chips with 2 ounces of SnackWell's wheat crackers.
99. Eat 1 hot dog at the baseball game instead of 2.
100. Shred 2 ounces of fat-free cheddar cheese on nachos instead of regular cheddar.

Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., is a nutritionist in private practice and editor of the Nutrition Report. Her latest book is Nutrition for Women: The Complete Guide
We offer fitness training for women only - with our boot camps in McKinney Texas. Serving women of Frisco, Plano, Allen, Dallas and Prosper Tx. Our trainers are all nationally certified fitness trainers and have a passion for helping women lose weight and regain health through exercise! Join us for a 5 wk boot camp and start any Monday.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

No more excuses. Personal story from your trainer.....

Do you have an excuse?

Making life changes can be difficult. Humans are creatures of habit, and sometimes those habits can have a really negative effect on our daily lives. One of those is being sedentary. Modern conveniences make it really easy to not get moving. It’s interesting to me that very rarely do you see old black and white photos of obese people. Granted, none of them seem to smile, and they don’t look particularly happy most of the time, but I can’t think of many pictures I’ve seen with overweight people! Back then, they didn’t have the conveniences we do and they didn’t have the weight problem either. The number of people that will become diabetic this generation is staggering. The childhood obesity rate is steadily climbing and something has got to be done. Parents have the first influence on our kids, and what we do at home is an example to our kids, that starts at an early age. It’s our responsibility to show them how to take care of our bodies and exercise is an integral part of that. There are lots of excuses that we make though, and we need to really reflect on whether or not it’s truly a reason to not get up and get moving.

It takes the first step to start a new lifestyle. I have been there. I gained around 75 lbs with my first baby. I remember watching a Cowboys game, seeing Emmit Smiths' stats and being horrified that I was only 12 lbs less than him! Totally sedentary during pregnancy, diagnosed with toxemia, put on bedrest and had an emergency C-section 3 weeks early. I had a lot of weight to lose after that baby, but with diet and exercise was able to get back to pre-baby weight. Maintained it pretty well, then baby #2 came along. I gained another 50+ pounds and again, had a lot of weight to lose. This time though, it wasn’t so easy. Baby 3 came soon after, and I was determined to do this one differently. I exercised throughout the entire pregnancy, still gained around 40 lbs, but she was a big baby, and I lost it within 2 wks. It was night and day different. Then, my thyroid decided to give up on me. I was diagnosed with Hypo-Thyroidism at 27. Had all the symptoms, extreme fatigue, hair loss, difficulty losing weight, etc. It’s something that completely changes your life, since that little thyroid controls your metabolism. It’s not fun – sometimes I think it’s not fair – but it is what it is, and I work around it. Exercise and clean eating makes a ton of difference in the way that I feel on a daily basis, and it’s critical that I stay on top of both aspects of that to make it through the day.

Do you have an excuse? When I ran the San Francisco marathon in 2005, it was amazing. The feeling of accomplishment was awesome and running across the Golden Gate on that July morning was surreal. While training for that, I found out that I can do 5 miles just fine, but after that, I have to take off my shoes and walk on the pavement for about 2 mins to fix the shooting pain I get in my toes. Many trips to the podiatrist and expensive orthotics later, I still could only do 5 miles before having to take them off. It’s just the way my foot is built – nothing the Dr could do. So during the 26.2 mile run, I did that about 5 times throughout. Finishing fast wasn’t an option for me. There was a moment that I got frustrated and started to be irritated by this taking off my shoes process, and then I saw something that gave me lots of gratitude and humility. I was coming up to mile 10 and saw the ½ marathoners that had already finished. One of them had 1 leg, and a prosthetic for the other. My self pity went away, and I was quickly put back in my place. What an amazing person that didn’t let any excuses or disabilities slow her down.

Decide that you are not going to allow your excuses determine your health today. Take that first step towards creating a better life for yourself, and taking charge of your fitness. In the process, you will be a great example for your family, and those in your life. It’s always easier to “stay on a roll” than to get on a roll, but it only takes 21 days to create a habit. Go mark the calendar and decide that today is your day 1 of creating positive lifestyle changes that will lead to your success!

I love my job as a personal trainer, and am passionate about helping women lose weight anand change their lives through health and fitness. Our womens only bootcamp teaches you exercises that can be done at home – on travel – or anywhere you have a space! We use equipment that you won’t find in a gym (or maybe you will find it but don’t know what to do with it!) and it’s functional training. Meaning, it helps you in everyday life. Climbing the stairs is easier, holding a baby that feels like a sack of potatoes is easier, carrying loads of laundry is easier…all the fun stuff we get to do! lol. Bootcamp is a great way to shock your body and lose weight. In the process – you will meet great friends that are all women with a common goal…better health.

Decide today, Commit to your goals and let us help you succeed. Texas Fit Chicks bootcamp is the most fun fitness you will find in McKinny Texas. Also serving women from Frisco, Allen, Plano, Prosper and Dallas. We are indoors for the winter and out of the cold! Join us and start any Monday. Ready to commit?
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All exercises shown at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels - so you will always be working at your own level. One last thing...we DO NOT sell any type of supplements, vitamins, equipment or candles! (little sarchasm on that last one) I've been approached by many reps wanting me to do so, but I feel like my clients are here for a great workout, and not an infomercial. With our program, women get a free meal plan that was created by a registered dietician....we want you to do it the healthy way and will never push any product.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why the scale lies...and why you should ditch it!

I continue to warn everyone that the scale is a springy, beady-eyed, lying menace.

We've been told over and over again that daily weighing is unnecessary, yet many of us can't resist peeking at that number every morning. If you just can't bring yourself to toss the scale in the trash, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the factors that influence its readings. From water retention to glycogen storage and changes in lean body mass, daily weight fluctuations are normal. They are not indicators of your success or failure. Once you understand how these mechanisms work, you can free yourself from the daily battle with the bathroom scale.

Water makes up about 60% of total body mass. Normal fluctuations in the body's water content can send scale-watchers into a tailspin if they don't understand what's happening. Two factors influencing water retention are water consumption and salt intake. Strange as it sounds, the less water you drink, the more of it your body retains. If you are even slightly dehydrated your body will hang onto its water supplies with a vengeance, possibly causing the number on the scale to inch upward. The solution is to drink plenty of water.

Excess salt (sodium) can also play a big role in water retention. A single teaspoon of salt contains over 2,000 mg of sodium. Generally, we should only eat between 1,000 and 3,000 mg of sodium a day, so it's easy to go overboard. Sodium is a sneaky substance. You would expect it to be most highly concentrated in salty chips, nuts, and crackers. However, a food doesn't have to taste salty to be loaded with sodium. A half cup of instant pudding actually contains nearly four times as much sodium as an ounce of salted nuts, 460 mg in the pudding versus 123 mg in the nuts. The more highly processed a food is, the more likely it is to have a high sodium content. Thats why, when it comes to eating, it's wise to stick mainly to the basics: fruits, vegetables, lean meat, beans, and whole grains. Be sure to read the labels on canned foods, boxed mixes, and frozen dinners.

Women may also retain several pounds of water prior to menstruation. This is very common and the weight will likely disappear as quickly as it arrives. Pre-menstrual water-weight gain can be minimized by drinking plenty of water, maintaining an exercise program, and keeping high-sodium processed foods to a minimum.

Another factor that can influence the scale is glycogen. Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and its packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it's stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small imperceptible increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with its associated water. It's normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level. These fluctuations have nothing to do with fat loss, although they can make for some unnecessarily dramatic weigh-ins if youre prone to obsessing over the number on the scale.

Otherwise rational people also tend to forget about the actual weight of the food they eat. For this reason, it's wise to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you've had anything to eat or drink. Swallowing a bunch of food before you step on the scale is no different than putting a bunch of rocks in your pocket. The 5 pounds that you gain right after a huge dinner is not fat. It's the actual weight of everything youve had to eat and drink. The added weight of the meal will be gone several hours later when you've finished digesting it.

Exercise physiologists tell us that in order to store one pound of fat, you need to eat 3,500 calories more than your body is able to burn. In other words, to actually store the above dinner as 5 pounds of fat, it would have to contain a whopping 17,500 calories. This is not likely, in fact it's not humanly possible. So when the scale goes up 3 or 4 pounds overnight, rest easy, its likely to be water, glycogen, and the weight of your dinner. Keep in mind that the 3,500 calorie rule works in reverse also. In order to lose one pound of fat you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in. Generally, it's only possible to lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week. When you follow a very low calorie diet that causes your weight to drop 10 pounds in 7 days, it's physically impossible for all of that to be fat. What you're really losing is water, glycogen, and muscle.

This brings us to the scale's sneakiest attribute. It doesn't just weigh fat. It weighs muscle, bone, water, internal organs and all. When you lose "weight," that doesnt necessarily mean that youve lost fat. In fact, the scale has no way of telling you what youve lost (or gained). Losing muscle is nothing to celebrate. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns, even when youre just sitting around. That's one reason why a fit, active person is able to eat considerably more food than the dieter who is unwittingly destroying muscle tissue.

Robin Landis, author of "Body Fueling," compares fat and muscles to feathers and gold. One pound of fat is like a big fluffy, lumpy bunch of feathers, and one pound of muscle is small and valuable like a piece of gold. Obviously, you want to lose the dumpy, bulky feathers and keep the sleek beautiful gold. The problem with the scale is that it doesn't differentiate between the two. It can't tell you how much of your total body weight is lean tissue and how much is fat. There are several other measuring techniques that can accomplish this, although they vary in convenience, accuracy, and cost. Skin-fold calipers pinch and measure fat folds at various locations on the body, hydrostatic (or underwater) weighing involves exhaling all of the air from your lungs before being lowered into a tank of water, and bioelectrical impedance measures the degree to which your body fat impedes a mild electrical current.

If the thought of being pinched, dunked, or gently zapped just doesn't appeal to you, don't worry. The best measurement tool of all turns out to be your very own eyes. How do you look? How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Are your rings looser? Do your muscles feel firmer? These are the true measurements of success. If you are exercising and eating right, don't be discouraged by a small gain on the scale. Fluctuations are perfectly normal. Expect them to happen and take them in stride. Its a matter of mind over scale.

- Article by Skwigg

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top 5 Trainer Tips for the Holidays

So the holidays are upon us! This time of year is filled with parties and crazy busy schedules. All a recipe to crash your fitness...and gain the 5-7lbs that most Americans start the new year with. Here are your trainers top 5 tips to get you through the holidays! I tell my clients to shoot to MAINTAIN....and NOT GAIN. That's a more realistic approach and if you can do that, you're ahead of the game!
Tip 1: Plan your splurge. Those of you that know me, are fully aware that I don't eat "clean" 100% of the time. Life is more fun with a box of Milk Duds every now and then! The 90/10 rule still applies during Christmas. Eat well 90% of the time and 10% of the time do what you want...and you will be just fine. If you've got 2 parties to go to this week, decide ahead of time which party will be your day to indulge, and which one will be a little less decadent...then stick to it. A couple of ways to stick to it would be to avoid alcohol if it's there - so that you don't throw all your eating plans out the window...and eat a little before you go so you aren't starved when you get there.

Tip 2: Break a sweat for 30 mins every single day. No, that doesn't mean crank up the heater in the house either. Go for a power walk, do a workout DVD, hit the gym, come to bootcamp! If you've got no time to devote - do it in 10 minute chunks 3 times a day. Studies show that you will get the same benefit if you work hard enough in those intervals - as when you do it all at once. If you've got the time, crank that up to an hour and burn off that decadant splurge you had at that party last night!

Tip 3: Sneaky Substitution. There are sooooo many things you can substitute for the high fat stuff, that are still tasty and fun! Love starbucks? Swap your full fat latte for a Skinny Vanilla latte, and save yourself a ton of cals! Want a brownie? Get a box of cake mix and mix it with a can of pumpkin (and nothing else) bake for 25 mins and Voila - you have 1 pt (WW) brownies!!! (thank you, Sarah!) At Chick-Fil-A? Get a grilled chicken sandwhich rather than the fried ones, and have cole-slaw instead of fries...etc. You can eat healthy versions of your favorites and not see the number on the scale move in the wrong direction.

Tip 4: Find Accountability. If you are a client at Texas Fit Chicks bootcamp, you've already got it! Our trainers are all dedicated to your success and encourage our women to journal their food...and share it with us so we can suggest improvements if needed. Food journaling is a powerful tool in helping you know just what has gone down the hatch...so that you are on top of your day, calorie wise. If we aren't your trainer yet, find a friend that has similar goals over the holidays, and talk daily about it! Having a girlfriend in the same boat as you makes things a ton easier, and accountability can make the difference between eating a twinkie or an apple :)

Tip 5: Don't sweat the small stuff. So holidays are sort of crazy times that are busy and stressful as well. Try to decide that the traffic on the way to the mall isn't going to make you drive through Wendys for a Frosty and Fries. Emotional eating doesn't fill you up ~ it just makes you feel guilty afterwards but the stress is still there. Take some time out just for you each day ~ do some yoga breathing and maybe get a mani/pedi to relax and de-stress. Be good to yourself.

Our fitness boot camp, led by certified female trainers will get you through the holidays! Start on any Monday, and join us on the road to better health and fitness in a fun environment! McKinney locations for our womens only boot camp are all INDOORS for the winter! Get up. Get Out. Get Fit!
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How much belly fat is dangerous...and what is Visceral fat?

Some people have pear-shaped bodies. They tend to hold most of their weight in their hips and thighs. People with apple-shaped bodies hold most of their weight in their bellies. They often have excesses of what is known as visceral or intra-abdominal fat as well as excess subcutaneous fat. How much is too much? The standard (Harvard)  is if your waist measures more than 35" for a woman, and 40" for a man.

I happen to be one of the lucky "Apple" shaped people. So, if I gain weight, it heads straight for the belly. Thank you, MeeMaw. My sweet grandmother always said we were shaped like a frog, skinny arms and legs with a gut. Nice mental picture you have now :) I am constantly working (through clean eating and exercise) to make sure I don't give my body the option of carrying the dangerous visceral fat that will build in that area. So what is Visceral Fat and why should you be worried if your extra weight tends to build in that area?
Visceral fat is also referred to as organ fat or intra-abdominal fat and is located inside the abdominal cavity between the torso and internal organs.There is a strong correlation with abdominal fat and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and hypertension. It is the most dangerous place that a person can have fat because it suffocates the organs. The liver metabolizes fat and releases it into the bloodstream to form cholesterol. LDL (low density lipoprotein), labeled as the ‘bad fat’, builds up into plaque that then clogs the arteries.

Visceral fat has also been associated with insulin resistance. Abdominal fat is hormonally active and secretes a group of hormones called adipokines. These are cytokines (cell to cell signaling proteins) that may impair glucose intolerance. This predisposes the person for Diabetes Type 2 because increased obesity raises serum resistin levels which then in turn correlate to insulin resistance. It is abdominal fat that appears to be contributing to this increase in resistin levels. Serum levels have been shown to decline when visceral fat is reduced

The more visceral fat you carry around the higher your chances of developing insulin resistance (leading to type two diabetes), heart disease and other metabolic syndromes.
According to researchers from Duke University Medical Center, exercise can significantly reduce the amount of visceral fat you carry around. The more exercise you do, the more of this type of dangerous fat you will lose. Researchers in this study said that extra exercise can reverse the amount you have, while some moderate exercise can stop your visceral fat mounting up.

Eating a clean diet is absolutely IMPERATIVE to rid yourself of this belly fat. It's a common myth that you can "spot train" by doing crunches to get rid of the fat. It will only happen when you have adequate levels of cardio exercise, clean eating and strength training. Limiting alcohol, sugars and processed foods. Our trainers create fat blasting bootcamp workouts that will challenge you and our meal plan will take the guesswork out of what to eat! Contact us today, and get on your way to a healthy life with our women only bootcamps in Mckinney and Frisco Texas

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