We don't always make good food choices when we drink alcohol. You probably already knew that, but now there is a study that confirms the finding. The IDEA Fitness Journal recently highlighted a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The research revealed that as our alcohol intake increases, our diet quality decreases. Specifically, we eat less fruit and eat more foods high in fat and sugar.
Tips to Eat Better When You Drink
If you are trying to lose weight, drinking alcoholic beverages probably isn't the best idea. Calories in beer, wine and mixed drinks can really add up. For example, do you know the answers to these questions?
- How Many Calories in Wine (Red or White)?
- How Many Calories in Beer?
- How Many Calories in Vodka?
- How Many Calories in a Margarita?
Before you drink, you should know how many calories are in any beverage so that you can include it in your daily calorie count. Then, if you choose to enjoy a drink, move the food away. My own personal plan for managing food and alcohol is to separate the two entirely.
For example, if I go to a summer barbecue, I'll bring a carafe of herb flavored water. It's a beautiful gift and the savory drink goes well with grilled food. When I eat, I pair my food with water, only. Once I'm done eating, I move away from the food (put down the fork!) and enjoy a glass of wine or beer. Then, I'm not tempted to overeat.
Got a tip for managing alcohol on a diet? First, answer my poll, then chime in below or with a Facebook comment.
This is my favorite workout. It's simple, it's quick, it's intense, and before you realize how hard it is, it's over. The effective session blends high intensity exercise to help you burn mega calories, with strengthening exercises that tighten your core and your upper body. The best part about it? It only lasts 20 minutes.
You need to do two things before you start this workout. First, be sure that you are healthy enough for vigorous activity. Talk to your health care provider if necessary. Next, find a flight of stairs. It's best if they are outside, but you can do the workout inside if necessary. I'll be heading to the Bethesda Terrace stairs to complete the workout. If you can find a higher flight of stairs that's even better. Then follow these steps:
- Warm up by walking briskly or jogging in the area for 3-5 minutes.
- Sprint the stairs for 3 minutes, taking one step at a time.
- Do push-ups for one minute. Modify your push-up if necessary, just be sure that you keep moving and the pace stays brisk.
- Jog at a moderate pace for one minute.
Repeat the five-minute sequence two more times. On the second round, sprint the stairs two steps at a time. On your third round, see if you can sprint three at a time. Keep the pace very brisk, except on the jog when you should allow your heart rate to recover briefly.
If you are an exerciser who usually does moderate intensity exercise, this workout will present both a a mental and physical challenge. But I can promise that the time will fly by quickly and you'll be proud of yourself when you're done.
Enjoy and have a great weekend!
(photo credit: Friedman Photography/flickr)
June is a busy month if you have a dad or grad in your house. Use these gift ideas to get your Father's day and graduation shopping done.
Healthy Father's Day Gift Ideas
In his video Top Tips for Losing Weight for Men Dr. Allen Peters provide guidance for men about foods to eat and foods to avoid. Why not sign dad up for a cooking or grilling class so that he can learn how to prepare healthy food that he likes? Even if the man in your life isn't trying to slim down, you can still use these resources to buy a gift that will keep him healthy.
Healthy Graduation Gift Ideas
If your grad is going off to college soon, why not get them a gift certificate to a healthy restaurant in their new neighborhood? Chances are good that they'll get sick of dorm food sooner or later. Use online resources (like the "search nearby" function of Google maps) to find a location that has healthy salads, sandwiches, or meals made with fresh fruits and veggies.
You can also encourage them to exercise with new workout duds or outdoor games. Most colleges have community fitness centers so a gym membership might go unused. If your budget is tight, get them an iTunes gift card so they can download healthy apps like the Nike Training app. They can use it to follow guided workouts either at the fitness center or outdoors.
(photo source: Morguefile)
What will your kids be doing all summer? If your kids are typical, they'll spend quite a bit of time in front of the computer. Of course, you'd rather have them outside running around and getting some exercise, but getting them to do that can be an uphill battle. So why not give them a few healthy websites to visit?
Encourage Healthy Eating and Healthy Activity Online
A few new websites will help nudge your children into a more active and healthy lifestyle. MyPlate Kids'Place is the new site launched by the USDA (the same people who developed the ChooseMyPlate.gov program). Their new web pages include games, videos, activity sheets, and healthy recipes. There is even a spot for parents and educators to gather resources to guide kids to make healthier choices.
Another healthy website for kids is ChopChopmag.org, a non-profit magazine and site that helps to promote healthy cooking for kids. The site offers recipes designed specifically for children like the Rainbow Sandwich and Pumpkin Smoothie. Through the site, kids learn more about the benefits of eating real food rather than the processed products that bombard them on television.
Help Your Child Lose Weight
The websites above will offer reminders to your kids about the importance of healthy food and physical activity, but if your child needs to lose weight, you'll need more help. Some studies have found that kids can get support from social media sites, but exercise and diet are most often recommended. Visit Family Fitness on About.com to get ideas for healthy ways to spend family time. Then, talk to your child's pediatrician and even to the child's teacher or physical education coach to find resources in your area.
(Photo source: Multi-bits/Getty Images)
Do you know how your weight affects your relationships? If you are having relationship problems with your spouse, with your friends, with your parents or other family members you may want to consider how your weight plays a role. In some cases, your size or your eating habits can be the subject of difficult behavior or harsh conversations. In many situations, the problems are solvable and facing them head on can help you get better support whether weight loss is your goal or not.
Is This My Relationship Problem?
Even if your weight becomes a topic of discussion in your relationship, that doesn't necessarily mean that the problem is you. The problem can involve issues much deeper than your weight and may not be about you at all. But chances are good that you'll need to be the one to start a conversation if you want to solve the problem.
How to Solve the Problem
If your partner or friend makes comments about your weight, don't be afraid to address it head on. Use the guides below to start the conversation. Each article contains specific wording that you can use to confront damaging attitudes or comments.
- Fat: The Other F Word
- Should I Lose Weight to Save My Marriage?
- Get Diet Support from Family and Friends
(photo source: Morguefile)
Do you know why you can't lose weight? If you knew the answer to that question, you'd probably be thinner, right? Most people who can't lose weight, spend most of their time trying new diets, starting new exercise programs and focusing on what they can do in the future. But the key to successful weight loss for people who have tried and failed to lose weight, might be found in your past.
Identify Your Weight Loss Barriers
If you've tried unsuccessfully to lose weight, instead of jumping on the newest, latest diet craze, take some time to evaluate your old diet plan to figure out what went wrong. This might sound like an easy task, but it's not. It requires a certain level of uncomfortable honesty. For example, you may have thought that you ate reasonable portions of food. But did you measure them each and every time you ate? You may have thought that you were exercising hard enough. But did you use a heart rate monitor to measure your exercise intensity? You may have thought that you measured your caloric intake, but did you record every single nibble and snack?
It might sound like an evaluation is an attempt to lay blame. But it's really not. It is simply an exercise to figure out your roadblocks. In a recent article for the American Council on Exercise about sure-fire weight loss tips, identifying barriers was listed as the top tip for finding weight loss success. An evaluation of your former diet is simply a way to identify the things that hold you back. Once you know what they are, they become easier to remove.
Move Beyond Diet Roadblocks
Everyone has different barriers that stand in the way of weight loss success. Yours will probably fall into one of three categories.
- Environmental barriers are those that involve your surroundings. Perhaps you work in a restaurant where you are surrounded by food all day. Maybe you are a single mother whose work and home duties don't allow for time to exercise and eat well.
- Physical barriers are those that relate to your medical heath. These barriers may be more complex and involve medications that you take or it may be something more manageable such as stress and lack of sleep. Your doctor may be able to help you identify and overcome medical barriers.
- Emotional barriers are extremely common. People who are held back by emotional barriers are usually people who eat food to find comfort. You may be able to overcome these barriers with help from a supportive therapist, a diet support group or help from your friends and family.
Once you've figured out what you need to change from your past, it becomes easier to move forward successfully into your future. Then, and only then, should you choose the best diet plan for you.
One of the great things about summer is that many of our indoor fitness activities head outdoors. Exercising in the fresh air provides unique benefits including decreased stress and improved relaxation. Of course, walking, running and biking are popular outdoor activities, but have you ever considered an outdoor yoga class?
Benefits of Outdoor Yoga
As a general rule, yoga isn't the best weight loss workout. But a regular yoga practice provides unique benefits that can help you reach your weight loss goals. Those benefits are enhanced when you take your class outside. For example, it is easier to focus on mindful breathing and moving at your own pace without the distraction of a crowded, cramped space. An outdoor environment may also help to improve your mood and outlook on life - a psychological effect that has been documented in yoga classes.
How to Take Your Yoga Practice Outside
If you're in the New York City area, head over to Pier 63, Hudson River Park this Sunday, June 9, for the Wanderlust Yoga in the City outdoor event. Wanderlust brings yoga festivals to locations around the country as either one-day events or longer four-day experiences. If you're not in the New York area, check out their website to find one close to you.
But if you are not interested in taking part in a large event, take your yoga mat outside to a quiet park, a private beach or even to your own backyard. Start your practice with quiet meditation, then move through your favorite postures or use one of the popular yoga apps or online sources to follow a class. This can also be a great opportunity to include your friends and family members in a healthy activity. Finish class with a relaxing savasana and a healthy picnic.
(photo source: Tyler Stableford/Getty Images)
There are many reasons that you might consider gastric bypass. The procedure, called Roux-en-Y in medical settings, can be used to treat obesity in patients who have a BMI over 35 or for people with a BMI over 30 who also have a related medical condition. Increasingly, people are considering this weight loss surgery for the treatment of diabetes. But is it the best option?
Study Evaluates Gastric Bypass for Diabetes
A new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluates the use of Roux-en-Y surgery for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Researchers compared patients who underwent surgery plus lifestyle modifications for weight loss against patients who made lifestyle changes only. They found that patients who underwent surgery were more successful at lowering blood sugar levels and making improvements to other health factors like cholesterol level and blood pressure.
Is Surgery the Best Treatment for Diabetes?
While the study results indicate higher success levels for the patients who underwent surgery, it's important to note that success rates overall weren't very high. Only 19% of the patients in the lifestyle modification group and only 49% of the surgery plus lifestyle group were able to meet the glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure standards established by the American Diabetes Association . For that reason, the study authors caution against making sweeping judgements about surgery. Instead they ask patients to be cautious when making a choice and consider the significant risks involved in undergoing surgery.
"Bariatric surgery can result in dramatic improvements in weight loss and diabetes control in moderately obese patients with type 2 diabetes who are not successful with lifestyle changes or medical management. The benefits of applying bariatric surgery must be weighed against the risk of serious adverse events."
Gastric Bypass - Right for You?
If you are significantly overweight and you've tried to lose weight with diet and exercise, weight loss surgery might be a good option for you. But it is a serious decision and you should gather as much information as possible from a wide range of sources. Use these articles as a starting point, then talk to your health care provider and to other bariatric surgery patients to get further information.
- Weight Loss Surgery: Your Complete Guide
- Bariatric Surgery for People with Type 2 Diabetes
- Is It Time to Choose the Weight Loss Surgery Option?
- Life After Weight Loss Surgery: Does It Really Get Better?
(photo source: A.D.A.M.)
Have you ever played the game "Would you rather..?" If you haven't, that's a good thing. It usually gets you into trouble of some sort. But recently, 1500 women played the game online and took part in entire survey of "would you rather" questions that pitted healthy eating against other desirable pursuits. The results were surprising.
Would You Rather...?
The survey was conducted via Google by online retailer AbesMarket.com. The vendor sells healthy living products and provides recipes and other tips. Women answered five questions that revealed the following results:
- 61% of women said "they would rather have a healthy body than a healthy relationship"
- 70% of women said "they would rather their kids eat healthy than get good grades"
- 60% of women said "they would rather eat healthy than have a healthy financial savings"
- 83% of women said "they would rather have a healthy body than have a great wardrobe"
- 54% said they "would rather eat healthy than have prayer in their lives"
The Cost of Getting What You Want
The most surprising thing about the survey is that none of the survey scenarios should be an 'either or' predicament. With a little bit of planning, healthy eating is available to everyone and it shouldn't break the bank. It will, however, take a little bit of time. When you first begin to change your eating habits and change your body, a time investment is required. But like any good investment, it pays off in the end.
Short on time? These are some simple things to do that will get you started on the path to healthier eating:
- Set Up Healthy Eating Habits to Lose Weight
- How to Make a Healthy Breakfast to Lose Weight
- Create Healthy Habits to Lose Weight
If you are ready to invest more time, take the 6 Weeks to a Better Body e-course. It's free and it guides you through weekly steps to change the way your body looks and feels.
(Photo source: Tara Moore/Getty Images)
There is no single workout that necessarily works better for weight loss. High intensity interval training is very effective, but it must be combined with other workouts in order to be effective for weight loss and improved health. But there is a type of training that has gained more attention from weight loss researchers in recent years: strength training.
Build Strength and Enjoy a Healthy Metabolism
There was a time when lifting weights was reserved for sweaty guys who hung out at the gym. If a woman lifted weights, they were often cute little pink one-pounders. She grabbed the three pounders if she was really fit. But those days are gone.
As researchers try to understand weight loss, they've found that people who build and maintain muscle are better at maintaining a healthy metabolism because muscle is an effective calorie-burner. But the benefits don't end there. A strong body is also more capable of performing more strenuous workouts (and burn more calories during those workouts) and a strong body is better able to function more comfortably and more actively throughout the day (which will burn more calories from NEAT).
How to Start Lifting Weights
If the thought of hanging out with the sweaty guys at the local weight room doesn't sound appealing, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to build muscle and gain strength without ever going to the gym. I put together 3 simple strength workouts that can be completed at home and require little or no equipment. Start today by doing Workout #1 .