Gift Alert! If someone on your list is interested in fitness, trying to lose weight, or trying to eat a healthier diet, I have the perfect gift idea. I recently read Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and I would recommend it to (almost) all of my readers - with a caveat.
Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle is a good book for serious dieters and people who are ready to invest some time and effort into losing weight and getting in shape. Of course, that should be everyone who wants to lose weight. But some dieters are more interested in short-term goals or quick weight loss programs. This is not a good book for them.
When author and fat loss expert Tom Venuto explains his program, he says the plan is simple, but it is not easy. He's absolutely right. But I would add that his plan is also well designed, smart and backed by solid research. Is it worth to invest some time into reading the book and putting the plan into motion? It is.
It's the holidays and many people are trying to lose weight fast. Some are trying to diet themselves into a dress that they haven't worn in years, some are trying to slim down for a reunion with family or friends and some are just trying to undo the damage from Thanksgiving dinner. But does quick weight loss really work?
Quick Weight Loss Diets
Some diets actively promote the fact that they are designed only for quick weight loss. The 3-day Military Diet is one of them. This strange eating program promises to help you lose "up to" 10 pounds per week or 30 pounds in a month. Sounds attractive, huh?
Well, before you stock up on hot dogs and ice cream (yes, these are on the diet) be forewarned. There are some serious loopholes in the diet's logic. You might lose a few pounds to start, but chances are good that the weight will come back. This is often the case with many popular diets that promise extreme weight loss.
Quick Weight Loss Pitfalls
Weight regain is a common side effect of quick weight loss programs. Eating programs that are extremely restrictive are usually not eating plans that you can stick to. So you might fit into your special dress for your big event, but then spend the next few months doing damage control when the weight comes back.
So is quick weight loss worth the trouble? You decide. Tell me if you would lose weight fast for a special event if you knew that the weight would eventually come back - along with a few extra pounds. Post your opinion on Facebook or in a comment below.
(photo source: Tara Moore/Getty Images)
Got family members in town this weekend? Skip the mall and do a family workout to burn off those pesky Thanksgiving calories. You'll feel better about your body and it's much cheaper than a shopping excursion.
Fun Family Workouts to Burn Calories
- Tabata Workout. If you have school age children in the house, give them a calculator and a stopwatch and let them guide you through a Tabata style workout. This fast, efficient workout only takes twenty minutes and it helps you burn more fat with EPOC.
- Playground Workout. Younger kids will have fun at the local park. If you live in a warmer climate, grab your family members and head to the playground to do a full body workout on the monkey bars, swings and other equipment.
- Dance and Groove. Do know how many calories you can burn by dancing in your living room? If you workout long enough you can twerk away your turkey calories.
Getting the kids involved in your healthy workout program will make your workout more fun and sets a great example for them. In fact, pediatrician Dr. Abigail Allen, says it's one of the best way to help an overweight child lose weight.
(photo source: Uwe Krejci/Getty Images)
Have you hit the gym for the traditional pre-Thanksgiving workout frenzy? Smart dieters know that if they want to avoid holiday weight gain, they need to do a few extra workouts this week to compensate for the calories consumed during a Thanksgiving meal. You can expect your exercise classes to be packed and the weight room to be a little bit more crowded than usual.
How Can I Burn More Calories?
If you want to give your body a fat-burning boost before the big meal, the best thing you can do is to adjust your workout routine this week. Don't change it entirely, because you won't burn as many calories when you a learning a new sport or a new type of activity. But you can burn more calories if you add a challenge to an exercise that you already do.
For example, if you usually walk on the treadmill for 40 minutes at a moderate pace, add both speed and incline to make the workout harder. Monitor your heart rate to measure the difficulty level. You might only stay on the treadmill for 25 or thirty minutes, but the added intensity will help you benefit from EPOC, which helps you burn more fat all day. Other intensity boosters include stair climbing (real stairs, not the machine at the gym), sprints on a running track, or hiking up hills.
How to Make Your Workouts Successful
So how do you make sure that your extra effort at the gym pays off? What happens after you leave the gym will be the a key determining factor. One of the most common mistakes that exercisers make is overeating. It's easy to think that you can eat whatever you want just because you worked out. But that is often why exercisers gain weight even though they exercise long enough and hard enough. Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, but track the calories in your meal so you don't have to spend the next month trying to exercise it off.
(photo source: Stockbyte/Getty Images)
Don't believe any of the nonsense you read about holiday weight gain. I've seen some experts claim that we gain five or even ten pounds during the holiday months. Do you know how much food you'd have to eat to gain ten pounds in a few weeks? Research into holiday weight has shown that the typical holiday weight gain is much less. The problem, however, is that the weight usually doesn't come off. And that makes even a small weight gain problematic.
How to Maintain Your Weight During the Holidays
My favorite tip for avoiding holiday weight gain is to set daily and weekly goals. Dump your regular workout schedule because it's not likely that you'll be able to stick to it anyway. Make a new plan and schedule exercise sessions around your social commitments. Then pick one event each week where you'll allow yourself to indulge in a few holiday treats. This will help you to eat healthy and exercise restraint at the other parties and dinners. Post your schedule in a place where it will serve as a reminder of your commitment.
Want a few more ideas to stay fit and trim during the holidays? I recently spoke to blogger Nicole Antionette and gave her a few more tips for her Healthy Holiday Survival Guide, or check out my 7 Tips to Stay Skinny During the Holidays.
How to Lose Weight During the Holidays
If your goal goes beyond weight maintenance and you actually want to lose weight during the holidays, you can expect a few challenges. But sticking to your diet at parties and social events is possible! Personal trainer and blogger Tony Schober recently assembled 26 experts - including me - to give their three best tips for losing weight. Check out the entire list and use it to stick to your plan and reach your goal.
(photo source: stockbyte/getty images)
If you've already decided to overindulge on Thanksgiving, then you can stop reading this blog. But before you do, consider this: the average person gains about a pound during the holiday season. It's less than you thought, right? But research studies have also shown that we generally maintain that extra weight after the holidays are over. That's a problem. Do you want to be ten pounds heavier in a decade? If not, then keep reading.
Cooking Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving
The best way to avoid holiday weight gain is to make small changes to your meal. It's probably not realistic to assume that you're going to stick to a strict diet during one the most indulgent meals of the year, so small changes are more likely to work.
For example, why not swap out that high calorie green bean casserole for a lower calorie version? Or make a a healthier bowl of mashed potatoes? If you fill the table with delicious low calorie vegetable dishes you'll keep your calorie count lower and still be able to enjoy a few of your favorite traditional foods.
Need a few more cooking tips? Check out these tips for cooking lower calorie dishes for a healthier Thanksgiving and for lower calorie meals throughout the year.
(photo source: EdselL/Flicker)
We all have great intentions when it comes to holiday meals. Most of us plan to eat reasonable portions and get a healthy dose of exercise to balance out the indulgent meal. But then the day comes, we get drawn into the excitement of the event and we often overeat. If you want this holiday to be a little bit healthier, plan ahead and prepare lower calories dishes.
Calorie Counts for Thanksgiving
Check the list below for the foods that you like to eat. Each article includes calorie counts for different variations of the dish along with recipes for lower calorie alternatives. If you swap out just a few of the high calorie dishes for some low calorie replacements, you could save yourself hundreds of calories.
- How Many Calories in Turkey?
- How Many Calories in Stuffing?
- How Many Calories in Mashed Potatoes
- How Many Calories in Gravy?
- How Many Calories in Green Bean Casserole
- How Many Calories in Pumpkin Pie
- How Many Calories in Apple Pie?
- How Many Calories in Wine (Red or White)?
Want to hazard a guess at the total number of calories in your Thanksgiving meal? You might be surprised when you see the answer.
The Food and Drug Administration's recent statement about trans fat has raised awareness of this unhealthy ingredient. Last week, the FDA made a preliminary statement that trans fat would not receive the "generally recognized as safe" label. The ruling is based on years of scientific evidence supporting the relationship between trans fat consumption and heart disease. If the ruling is finalized, manufacturers will have to reformulate foods that contain artificial trans fat.
What are Trans Fats?
Artificial trans fats are created when manufacturers add hydrogen to liquid oils to make them solid. In some cases, food producers do this to make their products last longer, but it can also improve the taste and texture of certain foods. Natural trans fats can be found in some meat and dairy products such as beef, lamb and butterfat. According to the American Heart Association, it is unclear whether natural trans fats cause the same harm as artificial trans fat.
How Do I Find Trans Fat?
A smart shopper can find hidden fat in their foods. The best way to do it is to examine the labels. But make sure you look at the right label. Ignore any advertisement on the front of the package as these are often misleading. Look at the ingredients list on the back and look for the words "partially hydrogenated oil." You'll often find trans fat in commercially processed cookies, crackers, margarines and other products.
If you're trying to lose weight to improve your health, finding and eliminating trans fat from your diet should be a top priority. While all fats contain 9 calories per gram, some fats have health benefits. Trans fats provide no benefits and as the FDA statement suggests, may be harmful to your health.
Need a fun workout idea? Looking for a creative way to motivate your kids to exercise? Check out Just Dance 2014. The best-selling game is available for Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3. You can use the game to dance in your living room, burn calories, compete with friends, and inspire your teens to get moving.
Celebs Workout with Just Dance 2014
I'm usually not a huge fan of video games. My regular readers know that I like to get outside to run or bike to burn calories. But earlier this year I had a chance to chat with tennis phenom Sloane Stephens about her workout routine. She told me that on days when she is not training on the courts she burns extra calories by playing Just Dance 2014 with friends. We played together, and I have to admit, I was hooked. Later that night I watched actress Brittany Snow and teen pop star Austin Mahone play the game, as well.
The current version of the game has a playlist that includes Katy Perry's "Roar", Lady Gaga's "Applause" and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us." You can also buy additional songs or request songs on the game's website. If you have younger kids in the house, Just Dance for Kids includes kid- friendly songs and dances made with kids in mind.
How Many Calories Do I Burn Dancing?
Of course, you don't need a video game to burn calories while you dance. In fact, dancing in your living room (or any room!) can be a great way to burn fat, and shape your waist, hips and thighs. Remember the twerking phenomenon? You can twerk to lose weight and burn nearly 200 calories if you keep moving for 40 minutes.
So if the weather outside is too cold or damp for an outside workout, grab your kids, put on some music and dance in your living room. Got another creative way to burn calories and have fun? Post it on my Facebook page or tweet it to me @MaliaFrey.
Guys, have you seen Chris Hemsworth's new movie? If not, you might be the only one. Disney's Thor: The Dark World is setting records, according to box office reports. The movie is also inspiring a few guys to hit the gym and clean out their junk food stash. Chris Hemsworth's body is quite impressive in the film.
How to Get a Thor-like Body
Just a few weeks ago, I spoke to Bobby Holland Hanton. His name might not be familiar, but if you saw the movie, his body is. Bobby was the stunt double for Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World. He makes a career out of shaping his body to look exactly like the lead actor in his films. Sometimes, he has to get a leaner physique (like when he doubled for Daniel Craig in Skyfall) and sometimes he needs to lower his body fat and bulk up like Thor. Bobby gave me his tips for getting lean and getting muscular.
While you might expect his workout and diet tips to be fairly typical, his advice surprised me. Bobby doesn't spend a lot of time lifting weights. He also is not a fan of supplements, powders and pills. And when he needs to lose weight for a role, his diet strategy is one that would be manageable for most men. Read the full article to get all of his tips and build your own Thor-like body.
(Photo credit: Bobby Holland Hanton as Thor)