Last Minute Rules for the Holidays!!

Here are some rules to keep in mind this holiday season!!

1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has NO calories.

2. If you drink a diet pop with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are canceled out by the diet pop.

3. When you eat with someone else, calories don’t count if you do not eat more than they do.

4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.

5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.

6. Cookie pieces contain no calories (Breaking causes calorie leakage.)

7. Things licked off of knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something.

8. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and mash potatoes.

9. Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.

10. Anything consumed from someone else’s plate has no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate!

Have a Happy Holiday!!

 

Give the Gift of Fitness!

If you are looking for some last minute gifts for someone who loves fitness and exercising here are some great options that would work!

The Best Gift of Fitness for the Whole Family: Nintendo Wii.

While Microsoft and Sony have come out with movement-based videogame interfaces for their gaming systems, the original is still the best in regards to sheer volume of games available. Games for the Wii can range from family-fun, to kids fitness, to seriously hard-core workouts and fitness tracking. This is a great gift for the family, and really is a gift that will keep on giving as you spend time together challenging each other throughout the year. (About $199.)

Another Great Idea for the Family: Xbox Kinect

This is a relatively new gaming system addition that allows you to move your body in the games without any remotes. Play fitness games that include yoga, boxing, zumba and full workouts like The Biggest Loser game!

The Best Full-Body Workout for the Small Space Dweller: TRX Suspension Trainer.

This thing is genius! Invented by a Navy Seal and made of high-quality, military-grade materials (beware imitations), you can use this deceptively-simple strap to get a full-body, functional workout. The best part of a “functional fitness” workout is that you load through more than one muscle at a time, working more of your body and building important aspects like core strength and balance. Whether you are buying a gift for a serious athlete (Drew Brees uses TRX) or someone who just wants to look like one, TRX is the way to go. Bonus, the TRX folks are always coming out with new workouts and challenges, so this is a gift that won’t get stale. (Packages start at about $180.) TRX is also a lot of fun and you will definitely feel the workout when you are finished!

The Best Fitness Gift for the Gym-o-phobe: P90x or TurboFire.

These fully-loaded packages include nutrition plans, workout guides, and more than 10 different workouts in each program. It’s like having a line-up of gym-quality classes and a nutrition consultant at your fingertips without having to face the crowds at the gym. P90X is great for the weightroom junkie, and TurboFire is great for the cardio-and-lift-class queen. These might look spendy at $110ish for the program, but for the number of workouts you get (plus the eating programs, etc.) I guarantee the recipient of this gift will get a year’s worth of fitness vs a $20 video that only provides one workout. These are intense fitness programs and not the best for beginners or someone who has not worked out in awhile.

The Best Fitness Gift for a Busy Mom: Time!

That’s right, folks, if you are looking for the perfect gift for a busy mom, the best one is often free. Whether it’s agreeing to take over dinner duties so mom can fit in a run, or setting up a kid-share with your best pal so that you can both get your workouts in, get creative with your computer and printer and make a busy mom’s holiday with a package of gift certificates that give her some time for herself.

The Best Gift for a Multi-Sport Outdoor Enthusiast: Garmin Forerunner


With models starting at $130, the Garmin Forerunner line is the best “wrist-top” computer for monitoring outdoor activities like hiking, running and biking (they even make one that can go with you on a swim, as well.)  It’ll track and record your heartrate, distance, pace, time—it will even save nifty satellite maps of all the places you’ve gone on your fitness adventures. It will be better than driving around trying to figure out how many miles your route is (I’ve done that, doesn’t work that well!)

Personal Training Sessions:

Keep in mind that not everyone would be thrilled to get personal training sessions. So you shouldn’t get someone sessions just because you want them to exercise or be healthy. However, this can be a great gift if your loved one has expressed interest in training but is reluctant to spend the money or intimidated to try it. Here at WAC if you buy a 12-pack (pack of 12 one hour sessions with a trainer) you will get two free comp sessions included!

Gym Membership

Like other fitness gifts, a gym membership isn’t for everyone.  Giving someone a gym membership because youwant them to workout may cause instant relationship problems (perhaps, even violence).  However, if they’ve been talking about joining a gym, you’re in the clear.  Before you commit to anything, find out exactly what they’re looking for – Location, amenities, classes, etc. You can also purchase a gift certificate for a athletic club for 3 months so they are able to try it out! (hint hint!)

The Best Gift for a Yoga Enthusiast: Everything Fits Gym Bag

This gym bag can fit everything someone would need for a yoga class. An amazing catch-all made from recycled materials. Its roomy interior features a zippered pocket, an elastic pocket and a key tether. A vented outside compartment can hold shoes, wet clothes or towel. Includes an easy-reach outside pocket for water bottle, inside and outside holsters for cell phone and MP3 player, and bottom adjustable straps for your yoga mat. It’s also really cute so I’m sure anyone would love it!

All of these gifts would be great for any fitness guru. I also know that if you order most of these on Amazon in the next day then they will be here in time for Christmas!!

Don’t Hate Me for This Side Dish!!

This.

Yes that would be a brussels sprout.

I know many of you probably hate these little vegetables and to tell the truth I have never had one.

My mom never made them when I was younger, still doesn’t, and I never even heard of them until a few years ago.

So why do you ask am I giving you a recipe with brussels sprouts? Am I crazy? Yes, but I won’t get into that.

The reason why is because ever since I saw this recipe I have been thinking about them. Wanting to make them. And wanting to like them!  I figured it would also be a great side dish to make for the holiday season!!

I know that most people do not like brussels sprouts because they can be mushy when cooked and when they are large, old, or overcooked, they tend to have an obnoxious, barnyardy flavor that some people are sensitive to whereas others are not. You can minimize this by choosing smaller, fresh-looking sprouts and cooking them just until they are crunchy-tender and bright colored. (Do not use frozen sprouts.)

I found this recipe on How Sweet It Is Blog, which is one of my favorite sites to visit daily and I now want to try these!

Potatoes, Bacon and Brussel Sprouts

From How Sweet It Is Website

serves 2

  • 2 potatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 slice bacon (or 2ish..)
  • 8-10 brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Chop bacon and add to skillet, frying until brown. Remove bacon bits and let drain on paper towel. Add the onion to the bacon drippings and sprinkle with salt. Caramelize for 2-3 minutes, then add chopped potatoes. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop brussels sprouts in half and add to the pan, flat side down. Let cook for 5 minutes. Flip brussels sprouts and cook for 5 more minutes.

Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from pan and sprinkle with bacon. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Doesn’t this dish look good? Seriously.

I’m not a huge vegetable fan, I’m really trying to be I promise. But these to me look so good! I’m going to try and make this dish asap.  Also it has potatoes and bacon, both of which I am a fan of.

So I hope some of you try this, even if you hate brussels sprouts!

Also this is what brussels sprouts look like when they are growing.. weird right?

 

How Much do You Have to Workout to Burn Off Those Holiday Foods?

’Tis the season to be jolly—and pack on pounds indulging in rich, fattening fare. Here are 12 holiday diet hazards you and your family should avoid!

If you simply can’t resist a calorie-laden holiday favorite, here’s how much exercise–running, jump-roping, skiing, etc.–it’ll cost you.

Fruitcake

What it’ll cost you: Though this sweet treat contains fruit, it can also have plenty of butter, sugar, and corn syrup. One slice we tried clocks in at 410 calories and 13 grams of fat.
How to burn it off: Do 30 minutes of vigorous spinning.
A better choice: Bake a lighter Banana Blueberry Bread loaf with grits, bananas, and blueberries; it has only 145 calories per slice.

Pecan pie

What it’ll cost you: On their own, pecans are high in calories, but combine them with sugar, butter, and corn syrup, and you’ve got a potentially deadly dessert. A single slice will cost you more than 500 calories, 37 grams of fat, and 26 grams of sugar.
How to burn it off: Run for 40 minutes.
A better choice: Classic Apple Pie has less than a quarter of the fat per slice. And you’re getting additional fiber from the apples as a bonus.

Prime rib

What it’ll cost you: One piece of prime rib can house up to 750 calories and 45 grams of fat, without the added sauce or seasoning!
How to burn it off: Play tennis for about an hour and a half.
A better choice: If you’re a steak lover, there are other cuts to choose from that are just as appetizing if cooked properly. Beef tenderloin has one-fourth the calories.

Sugar cookies

What it’ll cost you: This classic cookie is pretty delicious, but the amount of all-purpose flour, butter, and eggs most recipes call for is unnecessary. An average cookie can contain over 200 calories and 14 grams of sugar.
How to burn it off: Do about 30 minutes of Pilates.
A better choice: A recipe for Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies uses egg whites and less butter to keep saturated fat and cholesterol low. A touch of whole-wheat flour adds filling fiber.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

What it’ll cost you: Spinach and artichokes alone are nutritious. However, generous amounts of mayonnaise, sour cream, and cream cheese overpower the vitamin-packed veggies. One popular restaurant’s spinach and artichoke dip with tostada chips has 905 calories and 3,100 milligrams of sodium, over 1,000 more milligrams than the USDA recommends!
How to burn it off: Inline skate for 60 minutes.
A better choice: Try a healthier Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip and watch your portion size. One serving has just 59 calories and 183 milligrams of sodium.

Yule Log

What it’ll cost you: One serving of Betty Crocker’s Bûche de Noël boasts 420 calories and 47 grams of sugar—almost double the amount the American Heart Association recommends eating per day.
How to burn it off: Do power yoga for an hour.
A better choice: Looking for a lighter selection? Save over 100 calories by picking up a piece of Cranberry Upside-Down Cake With Cognac Cream instead.

Candied Yams

What it’ll cost you: Though sweet potatoes are a superfood, common recipes tell you to add up to six cups of sugar before you start baking this side dish, racking up a total of 38 grams per serving. The American Heart Association suggests that added sugar intake be limited to 25 grams per day for women and 37 grams per day for men. The side also tacks on over 400 calories to your plate.
How to burn it off: Dance for 55 minutes.
A better choice: A lighter Sweet Potato Casserole has 7 less grams of sugar per serving, and butter is replaced with half-and-half, lowering the fat content.

Mashed Potatoes

What it’ll cost you: Whole milk, butter, and salt can cram in the calories, cholesterol, and fat. One serving clocks in at 237 calories with 9 grams of fat and 666 milligrams of sodium.
How to burn it off: Lift weights for an hour.
A better choice: Bake something new, like a side dish of Rosemary-Roasted New Potatoes . It has about half the calories and a third of the fat.

Swedish Meatballs

What it’ll cost you: Lurking within each tempting ball can be at least 400 calories of white bread, butter, heavy cream, and sodium-laden beef broth.
How to burn it off: Twirl a Hula-Hoop for 40 minutes.
A better choice: If you can’t resist this diet hazard, a recipe for lighter Swedish Meatballs has almost a fourth of the fat and 50% of the calories and sodium.

Gingerbread Cake

What it’ll cost you: With large quantities of buttermilk, flour, and sugar, gingerbread cake is even worse than gingerbread houses or people. One small piece of cake has 260 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, and 12 grams of fat.
How to burn it off: Walk vigorously for 45 minutes.
A better choice: Stick with small Gingerbread Cookies —you can still shape them into people! Use light icing to decorate.

Cheesecake

What it’ll cost you: One slice of Cheesecake Factory’s original cheesecake has 707 calories and 29 grams of fat. That’s about half of the 65 grams the USDA recommends for the average woman eating 2,000 calories a day. And we haven’t even mentioned assorted flavors and toppings!
How to burn it off: Jump rope for an hour.
A better choice: If cheesecake is one of your choice indulgences, select a light version that is garnished with fruit.

Glazed Ham

What it’ll cost you: A 6-ounce slice contains 1,760 milligrams of sodium, 6 grams of sugar, and 300 calories. This might not seem outrageous, but think about how many slices of ham you fork onto your plate. The numbers add up!
How to burn it off: Ski for 45 minutes.
A better choice: If you love to bake ham for your big holiday dinners, lighten up the recipe by making a Glazed Ham With Blackberry Sauce . The glaze is made mostly from mustard and jam, with only one tablespoon of added brown sugar.

 

9 Reasons Why Your Body Thinks It’s Hungry

I found this article on Yahoo! and thought it was a great topic to show because of the holiday season! We all eat a lot during this season because of all the great foods! Well here are some other reasons why!

A staggering 63 percent of Americans are overweight. The most common cause? We eat more food than we need—and we’re all guilty of doing it: mindlessly munching on a bag of pretzels during a reality TV marathon or treating ourselves to a second helping when the first was plenty. But boredom and indulgence aside, why else are we reaching for a snack when we should feel full? Some of it can be blamed on habit, while other triggers have more to do with our body’s hunger signals. Check out the list below to find out the most common overeating pitfalls and simple solutions for avoiding these traps.

1. You didn’t get enough sleep last night.
Lack of rest stimulates two faux hunger triggers: energy deficiency, to which our natural reaction is to nourish our bodies, and appetite hormone confusion. “When our bodies are drained, levels of leptin—a hormone produced by our fat cells that controls our appetite—decrease, while levels of gherlin—a hormone produced by our stomach that stimulates our appetite—increase,” explainsAmerican Dietetic Association spokeswoman Karen Ansel, RD. That’s two hormones working against you. “Getting eight hours of sleep a night is the easiest thing you can do to prevent overeating.” If you do fall short on zzz’s, be sure to load up on nourishing, naturally energizing foods—such as fresh fruit, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins—throughout the day to help your body feel satisfied.

2. You’re taking medication that causes hunger as a side effect.
If you felt ravenous the last time you were taking an antibiotic to tame anallergic reaction, joint inflammation, acne or a bad cold, the medicine may be to blame. “Medication that contains mild steroids, like prednisone, a corticosteroid, ramp up hunger big time,” says Milton Stokes, RD, owner of One SourceNutrition, LLC. “If you’ve already eaten a normal-size meal, ignore the drug-inflated hunger,” says Stokes. Instead, try an oral fix like chewing gum, sipping warm coffee or brushing your teeth, he suggests. If you’re on long-term steroid therapy, consult a dietitian to devise an eating plan that will help you feel more satisfied throughout the treatment.

3. You’re thirsty or dehydrated.
The symptoms of dehydration (sleepiness, low energy) closely mimic those of being overly hungry, which may lead you to think you need food to increase your energy level, explains Sandon. When you’re thirsty, your mouth becomes dry, a symptom that eating will temporarily relieve, notes Sandon. She suggests drinking a tall glass of water or cup of herbal tea before eating and waiting for your body’s hunger signals to adjust (about 10 minutes). “Doing so could save hundreds of calories.”

4. It’s “mealtime.”
As creatures of habit, we tend to eat on autopilot. While some regularity is encouraged so that you don’t become overly hungry, which could lead to bingeing, it’s also important to listen to hunger signals, says Ansel. “Next time you sit down to eat, ask yourself: ‘Am I really hungry?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ either eat a smaller portion or put off the meal for an hour—though no longer than that,” suggests Ansel. This also applies to situations you associate with eating, like flying. “We’ve been conditioned to associate an airplane ride with eating,” Ansel says. The solution: “Pay attention to timing,” recommends Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, assistant professor of nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern. “Know how long the flight is and plan satisfying meals around it.” Also, take advantage of the free (hydrating) beverages, she adds, as the enclosed space leads to hunger-causing dehydration.

5. You just worked out.
We are conditioned to feed ourselves after exercising. And, after a particularly strenuous exercise session like a spinning class or interval-training workout, we tend to feel ravenous. But that doesn’t mean your body needs extra calories. “It means your body needs a specific kind of nourishment,” says Marissa Lippert, RD, a nutrition consultant and dietitian in New York City. Opt for roasted chicken or other lean meats (protein will replenish your muscles) and brown rice or other whole grains (complex carbohydrates take a while to break down) to help your body recover faster and fend off hunger longer.

6. Not enough time has passed since you finished your meal.
You’ve just eaten lunch only to wonder: “Why am I still hungry?” Before you assume you didn’t eat enough, consider that maybe you ate too quickly. “Appetite hormones need time to tell your brain you’re full,” explains Sandon. To prevent post-meal hunger pangs, keep these pointers in mind: Eat slowly, putting down your fork between bites; choose flavorful and satisfying foods; and include a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates in every meal. If you’re still hungry, try sucking on a mint to ward off your cravings.

7. The women around you are eating.
A joint study out of Duke University and Arizona State University found that women tend to mirror other women’s eating habits. “When one overdoes it, the rest often follow along,” Ansel confirms. To avoid this copycat effect, Lippert suggests taking a quick minute to reassess your own eating habits—or, if all else fails, grabbing a pal and evacuating the scene of the food. A more permanent fix? Be the one who sets a healthy example for your girlfriends to follow. Their waistlines will thank you! “Just asobesity is contagious, so are healthy habits,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet.

8. You smell or see food.
“We tend to eat with our senses more than our stomachs,” says Ansel. When we smell or see food—even if it’s in a photo, advertisement or TV show—our mouths water, which stimulates our appetite. Onset factors can include smelling a batch of cupcakes baking, seeing snack food laid out on the counter or watching acooking show. The clear-cut solution: “Out of sight, out of mind.” Leave the room, hide the candy jar, turn off the TV—and the craving to eat will likely subside, says Ansel.

9. You’re stressed out.
“Studies show that when people recognize they’re stressed, they are more likely to turn to high-fat, salty or sugary foods,” says Sandon. “These foods both are comforting and feel good in the mouth,” she adds. But it’s not all about emotional eating. Sandon notes that your body’s chemical reaction to stress could also cause hunger pangs. “Increased levels of the stress hormones cortisol and insulin may be associated with triggering appetite.” Either way, appetite control boils down to decision-making. Before reaching for the ice cream tub, try quickly clearing your mind.

 

Don’t Believe These Workout Myths

Holiday season is upon us and I’m here to give you some myths to help you through and keep you on track with your workout schedules!! There are a lot of ideas that people believe when they are working out and I am going to share them with you and tell you if they are true or not!

MYTH: ‘No pain, no gain’
A workout does not have to feel bad to do good. In fact, when you feel any pain during a workout — not fatigue, but pain — it’s best to stop immediately. Pain signals that something is wrong, and ignoring the signal can result in injury. Soreness can be expected 24 to 36 hours after a tough workout but is not necessarily an indicator of progress.

MYTH: ‘Abdominal workouts burn the gut away’
Crunches and other “belly blasting” exercises will indeed build and strengthen abdominal muscles, but you’ll never see the results if there’s a lot of fat around your midsection. To have well-defined abs, you’ll need to get rid of the fat covering the muscles. It’s very difficult to target specific areas for fat-burning. Instead, launch an exercise regimen that reduces overall body fat, best achieved with a mix of aerobic exercise and a diet rich in fiber and lean protein. Once the fat burns away, you can admire the washboard ab muscles beneath.

MYTH: ‘Stick to your regimen’
We all tend to favor the exercises that come most easily, and as a result may make a habit of repeating particular routines. But as muscles accustom themselves to specific actions, they become more efficient at the exercise. A consequence of efficiency is energy conservation — which means your body will burn fewer calories. The essence of cross-training, by contrast, is to work different sets of muscles, overcome weaknesses, and reduce the physical strains caused by repetition. To build more muscle and burn more fat, consider small but challenging modifications to your fitness routines.

MYTH: ‘A productive workout lasts about one hour’
It’s a physician’s job to help you set guidelines for the duration, frequency and intensity of your workouts, so don’t hesitate to get your doctor’s opinion before establishing a regimen. Health authorities, including the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association, suggest an exercise plan along these lines: If you’re under 65 and in good health, try to engage in 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity — walking, swimming, riding a bike — five days every week. Those capable of more rigorous conditioning should strive for at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running or stair-climbing, three days per week, plus two days of strength training.

MYTH: ‘To burn more fat, work out on an empty stomach’
With all of the low-carb diets popular today, it’s easy to forget that carbohydrates provide the body with fuel. The amount of carbs present in your system should be commensurate with the amount of energy you will expend in the short term. So, while a bowl of pasta before bedtime will leave you with an unhealthy surplus of calories, the same meal before exercising provides the energy needed to burn fat.The size and ideal timing of a pre-workout meal will vary from one person to the next. Start with small portions of carbs or carbs and protein about half an hour before exercise, then modify incrementally as needed. Smart choices include whole grains, fresh fruit, trail mixes of nuts and dried fruit, nutrition bars with about 5 grams of protein, and cereals with fiber.

MYTH: Swimming provides all the exercise a body needs
Few fitness experts would argue against swimming. Our natural buoyancy permits low-impact movement, minimizing the stress and pounding associated with most other physical activity, and a good swim stroke employs all of the major muscle groups. A few laps in the pool make demands of the respiratory system that are terrific for increasing lung capacity, too. However, swimming is not especially effective in burning fat. Because a swimmer’s body is supported by water, it doesn’t have to work so hard against gravity as in land-based exercises such as running or lifting weights, and therefore fewer calories are burned. Swimming nonetheless remains an unparalleled aerobic exercise and helps prime the body for metabolizing fat effectively.

MYTH: Treadmills are the equivalent of running outdoors
Convenience and personal preference are the factors that govern most runners’ decision when choosing between a treadmill and an outdoor workout. Given a predominantly flat outside course, the exertion and weight-loss benefits are comparable; a treadmill set to a 1 percent incline makes up the modest difference. But several other factors come into play. When joint pain or injuries are of concern, the cushioned tread on a machine provides less impact than pavement or packed dirt, and the rotating tread further assists by sweeping your feet behind you. If you enjoy creature comforts while exercising — temperature control, a television for entertainment — a treadmill is a good choice. Still, the human body is optimized for being self-propelled through space, and anyone who enjoys a head-clearing run in fresh air finds it tough to beat. An outdoor run is generally better suited to natural movement, and terrain challenges, including downhill stretches (impossible to replicate on a treadmill), provide opportunities to burn extra calories.

Sorry there haven’t been a lot of posts lately!  There will be more soon I promise!!