Wishing everyone a wonderful, happy and healthy Thanksgiving. While we should be thankful and grateful every day, I really love taking time one day out of the year to spend time with family and friends, and sharing with them why we are grateful to have them in our lives. So on this day, take time to tell your loved ones at least one thing, one reason why you are thankful for them, Trust me, this will make their day and make them smile.
To help you get through this year’s Thanksgiving, enjoy the 2010 Dos and Don’ts for Thanksgiving.
Live Life, Live Healthy!
The holiday season is upon us and soon we will be surrounded by all sorts of sweets, fatty foods and high caloric drinks. All which has us running like crazy to the gym on January 2 of each year. We make promises to ourselves that this WILL be the year we lose those 2o pounds and keep it off. Instead of waiting until the new year, why not get a head start and begin now? One of the best ways to get us over that hump, is to get a personal trainer. Not sure how to pick one? My friend Jay, a personal trainer for the last 20 years, has some great tips and recommendations on helping you pick someone who will work for you and your needs.
Determine your fitness goals. Be realistic and ensure goals are reasonably obtainable. Weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is a good rule of thumb. You should also know how often you can honestly get to the gym per week and how much time you have when you are there. Having a clear picture in mind before you talk to the trainer allows you to pay close attention to what the trainer says and helps you choose the correct trainer for you.
Find a trainer that is certified. If you are currently a member of a gym that offers personal training, more than likely their trainers are certified. If you go to a free-lance trainer make sure you know where they were certified. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American Council of Exercise (ACE), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) are all credible organizations. If your trainer isn’t certified by one of these, you can always look up the certification online. Make sure their certification required prior education in a fitness related industry or a certification that offers a written and practical examination.
Find out about the trainer’s experience & expertise. You want to make sure the trainer fits with your personality and can adjust workouts to meet your fitness goals. You also want to make sure they can do more than just one type of training. While it is very important for everyone to do strength training, everyone should not train like a body builder. Ask the trainer what type of clients they have worked with and for how long. Often trainers have certain areas of expertise, if you are recovering from an injury, recently had a child or have some alignment issues you might look for a trainer who specializes in those areas. Try to find someone who is willing to teach you how to exercise effectively, not just count reps and move the weights.
Understand the costs and liability of trainers. Typically 1 on 1 training goes for anywhere from $60 on the low-end to over $100 on the high-end for hourly sessions. 30-minute sessions are usually a little more than half of the normal hour rate. If you have a friend who can work out with you, you both can often save as much as 40% per session. Some gyms offer training packages that offer discounts when you purchase multiple sessions. You may be required to sign a contract. Any contract you sign should state the number of sessions you will receive, the length of each session, any cancellation requirements and the refund policy. Make sure you are clear on everything before you sign. It is also important to know if the trainer is covered by liability insurance. Many organizations offer insurance for trainers and it can be a further indication of their expertise and professionalism. Typically they will be insured for at least a million dollars.
Hiring a Personal Trainer can be a great investment that will pay off over a lifetime. If you follow these basic guidelines and learn as you go it can be a great way to achieve fitness success.
Well it’s that time of year again – time for my annual Turkey Day tips! It was two years ago this week when I launched the blog and my first post was about how you can eat healthy and stay active during the Thanksgiving holiday. So why break a tradition? I hope you enjoy this year’s tips and can apply them somehow over the next week. Like I always say, enjoy the yummy food but in moderation.
Well, this year I am going old school, I am actually road-tripping to Memphis, TN for the holiday and for a girlfriend’s wedding over the weekend. It’s a 13-hour car ride from DC to Memphis. I am trying not to think about that considering I start squirming after 3 hours on a 5-hour flight to LA. But when you wait too late to book your flight, this is what happens. So off we go! In honor of my road trip this year, here are tips for all of the car travelers.
Pack your own healthy snacks. While it is tempting to stop for food off of the highway, you have to remember you will rarely run into healthy options. You are going to primarily run into a Burger King, Arby’s, McDonald’s, or Cinnabon. So do your body and your wallet a favor and bring your own snacks/meals. Stop at your local grocery store and pick up apples, granola mix, cheese, ready-made meals from the deli (not the frozen section) or whatever you like. And sure we all want some hot food on a chilly, Fall day, especially in a car. Pack up some chili or stew and store it in a thermal container.
Choose healthier options from fast food stops. If you must eat off of the side of the road, then try to resist the Super Size, double cheeseburger, fries and Chocolate Frosty. Grab a salad or the broiled options opposed to the fried options. If you have time to stop and sit down to eat, there is always an IHOP or full service restaurant along the way. They tend to have more options that are healthy than fast food places.
Stick to regular eating habits and times. I don’t know about you but when I am in a car for a long period of time, I tend to eat more than usual. A snack here, a meal there, another snack here. Before you know it all of the cookies are gone and the chips are next. Resist overeating. If you are bored, get a book you have been wanting to read or do a puzzle. Often when we don’t have anything to do, our impulse is to stuff our mouths.
Take stretch breaks. All of that sitting and eating can’t be good, especially if you are going the fast food route. Make a point to stop and get those limbs moving. Do some stretches, park the car and walk around the gas station lot or do a quick race with the kids. Quick sprints tend to burn calories faster anyway. On your mark, get ready, get set, GO!!!
To those of you traveling by plane or train, you can definitely apply many of these tips. Airports don’t have the healthiest options of food either, especially in the smaller airports. Regardless of how you are traveling this year, remember to keep it healthy. Eat in moderation and don’t remain too sedentary over the next four days. Enjoy this time with your family and friends and cherish every moment!
Yes ladies (and the few gentlemen who check out this blog), it’s that time of year again — the holidays! I know we dread them and love them all at the same time. Why must we torture ourselves every year? We know we always go back for seconds for macaroni and cheese, and oh it’s so hard to pass up the sweet potato souffle. Wait, were those homemade rolls behind the cranberry sauce? Are these pants elastic? The torture of eating healthy over the holidays is a neverending saga. Why? Because the day after Thanksgiving we vow we won’t do this again for Christmas, etc. But we do! Then comes the New Year and our first resolution is ” I will eat healthier” and the second is “I will work out more.”
Come on ladies, this year we are really going to commit to not being as stuffed as the turkey. We must be strong and not allow ourselves to eat so much that not only have we unbottuned the jeans or pants, but we pulled out the shirt and have begun doing breathing exercises to help us get up from the table. Oh no, not this year! This year will be different, we will wear big sweaters and “Not your Daugther’s Jeans” so we have MORE room for the food. Just kidding!!! Although the jeans are pretty cute, we must take control and make just a few changes. Here are a few of my suggestions for surviving TG this year:
Eat breakfast- Always on my list for the holidays, because I believe if you don’t starve yourself for TG dinner, then you won’t try to eat everything that you see. By eating something during the day will prevent you from eating so much at dinner. It’s also a great time to bond with those family members who have come in town before the day is hectic and filled with tons of kids, aunts, uncles and family friends. Also, you still like each other at this point. No one has argued yet over that “thing” that happened 5 years ago. It’s a happy time!
Everything in moderation – Have the food you want, you only get it once or twice or year. But eat in smaller portions. Don’t pile your plate up. We tend to get so excited when we see all of the delicious food in front of our eyes, that we fill up our plates. Ever heard the saying “Your eyes were bigger than your stomach?” We never eat all of that food anyway and it gets wasted. Try using a smaller plate or getting just a little bit of those things you love most. It is okay to return for seconds, but try adding more veggies or grains on that second trip. This way you can save room for dessert and not feel too guilty.
Put down the bread – Well maybe one roll, okay two! Watch your intake of the heavy starches like bread, mashed potatoes (white potatoes), and macaroni and cheese (which I LOVE). Balance these options with more vegetables. I love, love, love macaroni and cheese, but I know if I eat too much, I feel bloated and just sluggish. So I started eating a little bit during TG dinner, then will take some home so I can enjoy it later. I am still eating what I love, just in moderation. Plus, if you like leftovers like me, they taste better the second day anyway.
Whatever you decide to do this year to survive overeating, just remember you have to be able to get up from table. Keep that in mind as you make your second plate. There is nothing more unattractive than having to be rolled out of a chair because you ate too much and now you can’t move. Not to mention that now your muffin top you have been saying you are getting rid of since last TG, has a twin. Just some images to keep you in line.
Have a wonderful holiday, enjoy this time with family and everything in moderation!
Alright, there are only 4 days until New Year’s Eve (if you include NYE) and believe it or not you still have time to get into that little black dress. When you are wearing a little black dress you want to accentuate those features that are going to be most noticeable in the dress — shoulders, arms, butt, and calves. These also tend to be a woman’s best features, after her personality of course. A friend of mine who is a personal trainer told me that the most amazing feature on a woman is her shoulders and women should tone them more. Naturally, I took his advice and began focusing on my shoulders when doing my strength training. He was right, of course. Nicely toned shoulders can really make you look sleek and fit.
There are many things you can do to ensure that you feel good when you put on that L.B.D.
Eat less calories, high-fat and high sugar foods. No more leftover pound cake from Christmas and eggnog. Drink nothing but water and eat lots of veggies and fish for the next few days. This light “detox” will probably do you some good from all the high caloric and sugary foods you have eaten this holiday season. Stay away from foods that will make you bloated like broccoli. This will help your tummy look less full.
A little exercise should be involved. While you may not see the results in 4 days that you would see in 4 months, exercise will at the very least give you some extra energy. Plus, your upper body can tone up fast and working out can put you in a good mood. Here are my favorite exercises for those features most noticeable in a L.B.D.
Shoulder Press – Hold your dumbbells at shoulder height with palms facing forward. Slowly push them straight up until arms are almost fully extended, pause, and return to start. Do three sets of 20.
Lunges – This is great for thighs and butt. Put your hands on hips, take a big step, bending the forward knee. Then take another step. Make sure that your upper body is straight and not leaning forward because this can hurt your back. Go for 20 yards and do 2 sets of 10 on each leg.
Squats – This exercise will tone the heck out of your butt!! The movement is like sitting in a chair with feet shoulder distance apart; make sure to keep your knees behind your toes. Do three sets of 20.
Calve Raises – Basically stand on your tippy-toes and pause at the top for one second. Do three sets of 20. There is nothing like some great calves in 3” strappy heels.
Triceps kickbacks (my ultimate favorite) – Lean forward, back straight. With elbows bent and tight to the body, hold dumbbells facing inward. Without moving the upper arm, extend the arm fully, pause and return to start. Do three sets of 20. Tip: Do this exercise in front of a mirror to ensure your back is kept straight. You do not want to strain your back.
Bicep curls – Put your arms at your sides, hold dumbbells facing frontward. Raise them to shoulder height. Pause and return to start. Do three sets of 20.
Practice your posture. As someone who stands 5’11” I have to be very conscious that I do not slouch. Make a conscious effort to stand and walk straight/upright. Also, when you do this it exudes confidence and self-assurance. Remember, you are in your L.B.D and confidence is your middle name!
If you are feeling self-conscious about your pouch or muffin top, go for the body slimmer/shaper . Love, love, love these wonderful little assets to our wardrobe underneath. Any body slimmer/shaper will do, but I prefer the all in one with the boy shorts (Spanx has a good one). Some have removable straps if you are going strapless. Slip it on and presto — instant flat stomach and less love handles!
Sparkle a little! Add a little glow to your skin and those noticeable body parts. There are a lot of body lotions that have the shimmer or gold flakes in them that can give your body that extra little touch. I love these because it really does give you a subtle shimmer. Everyone will be telling you all night what an amazing glow you have.
Last but not least, go in knowing you are going to have a great time and that you look good! Nothing trumps a positive attitude. If you do all of these things or even a few, I guarantee you will look and feel good in your L.B.D. or whatever you choose to wear on New Year’s Eve.
What a wondeful day to be with family, friends and other loved ones. I hope that you take the time to enjoy all of the people in your life, as we end another year and move into the next. The only tip I have for you today that is sure to be good for your health, is to love others, love yourself and allow yourself to be loved! Well, you may be saying “that’s easy.” But, for many people it’s easier said than done and it’s not always that easy. It is especially difficult to show love to those you may not be so happy with right now. But that’s why the holidays are so wonderful, it’s a time for renewal and blessings. Forgive that person, tell them you love them and begin planning all of the great things you will do together in the New Year. You never know, you may be that person for someone else who may be trying to forgive you. So keep that in my mind if you are feeling a little stubborn about forgivness. Because really in the grand scheme of things, life is too short and tomorrow is never promised.
Merry, merry Christmas from SavvyHealthGirl!! May you continue to have a healthy and wonderful day filled with love, laughter and smiles.
NOTE: Remember, eat and drink in moderation! =)
“We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”
The Christmas/Holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year! I have so many fond memories of this holiday. But what I enjoy most about this time of year is the holiday spirit felt by so many of us, who are eager to give to others in need. Sure, giving back is done throughout the year, but there is just something about the holidays that stirs even the most unlikeliest person to donate to a toy dirve. Growing up, my parents instilled the value of giving back. Whether it was as a candy striper in a hospital, serving food at soup kitchens or donating to clothing drives, I was expected to give back in some way. It soon became second nature and very enjoyable.
While I have sponsored many children at Christmas over the years, I truly prefer giving my actual time. This really warms my heart and soul. So needless to say, I was so excited to find out that as part of our holiday celebration, my co-workers and I would be donating four hours of our time. We spent this time at Food and Friends in Washington, DC, a non-profit that began in 1988 by serving meals to individuals who were living with AIDS. Now the organization serves these individuals, as well as those living with cancer and other chronic diseases. It is something I haven’t done in a very long time and forgot how good it felt. But it also puts life into perspective when you are standing in a hair net and packing meals for people who aren’t able to leave their house because of an illness. Who have special meals prepared ranging from pureed (which probably means they have a feeding tube) to diabetic and whose health depends on these meals. Knowing that what you have done will have such an impact on the lives of others is an amazing feeling.
I don’t need to point to a study to tell you that doing a selfless act, like volunteering your time is good for your health, heart and soul. Doing something for others just makes you feel good and personally I think this can also add years to your life. Look how long Mother Theresa lived. I encourage you and your family to take some time this holiday season to volunteer. It is definitely a health benefit for the entire family by being in an environment where there is an opportunity to bond, share and promote family values. Plus, putting a smile on someone’s face and hearing their heart-felt “thank yous” is priceless.
We often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, that we sometimes forget about this aspect of the holday. Take a moment to think of how you can improve your own health by doing something to improve the health and wellness of others. It doesn’t take much to do this, except a little bit of your time and a phone call or email to your place of choice. If you are not sure where to start, begin by calling your place of worship and inquiring about what volunteer efforts are available (This is where I got my start). Do a search for homeless shelters, non-profit organizations, hospitals, women’s shelters or assisted living homes for seniors. A great place to get information is at Volunteer Match. They have everything you need to know about volunteering. If you feel compelled to share how you and your family volunteer during the holidays, I would love to hear about it.
I cannot even begin to describe how tired I am! Why is it that right before the holidays or before you go on vacation, everything seems to hit the fan? At work, everything is urgent and must be done now. Deadlines take on a new meaning and Murphy’s Law seems to occur more than it should. To top it off, your holiday shopping has been put on the back burner and now you must wrestle with the other crazy people in stores and malls…5 days before Christmas. I really should have done all of my shopping online weeks ago, but naturally that would have been too much like right and not very exciting. Losing my mind and stressing out is so much more fun!
If you are going to risk your sanity (like I did) and step into the last-minute, holiday shopping madeness over the next few days, I have a few survival tips for you:
Wear light layers of clothing. There is nothing worse than having on the big puffy coat, a pashmina, a cashmere sweater, tights and wool pants while hitting 5 stores to find just the right color of red in a sweater for your mother. You will overheat, you will sweat, and you will begin to feel faint. Trust me I know. This will cause strangers to stare as you crazily rip off your clothes in the middle of the mall. Don’t worry mall security won’t bother you, they have fights to break up over who saw the last Nintendo Wii on the shelf first.
Eat something, preferably something healthy, before you begin shopping. I made the mistake tonight and didn’t eat until afterwards. Cranky and indecisiveness reached an entirely new level. I must have stayed in the Gap for an hour trying to decide between a t-shirt or sweater for my nephew. You just can’t think straight when you haven’t eaten! Especially after you burned everything off from a long day at work. There’s generally not much fuel left for shopping. This also prevents you from stalking the Mrs. Field’s cookie kiosk and eating empty calories.
Wear comfortable shoes. Again, I made the mistake of wearing cute boots which I had been in for 12 hours by the time shopping began. When I reached one of my girlfriends for dinner, she asked what I wanted to order and I said “New feet please!” I swear pedicurists and podiatrists must make a killing this time of the year because they know none of us are wearing good shoes while shopping. Comfy shoes can help eliminate foot cramps, bunions, corns and stress in your feet.
Go around 2 p.m. on a week day. I prefer to do my holiday shopping at this time because I know the lunch crowd is gone and I can move a bit easier through the stores. Plus, the stores have begun restocking and straigtening items as a result of the lunch rush. This way things look a little less picked over or like the bottom of the barrel. I can also take my time and relax without worrying that someone is going to grab something from right under me.
Go online first. Since you are going last minute, you may want to have an idea of what you are looking for so you aren’t shopping all day. If you know the particular store you want to go to, take a visit to the website and see what they have on sale, in colors and types. Know that some stores may carry items on their website that they may no longer have in the store or vice versa. So please don’t argue with the sales associate (who already has blood shot eyes and it’s only noon) about false advertisement because you can’t find the light green, INC sweater that was on the website. Just think, at the very least you save on time in the event they do or don’t have what you want. This will also reduce your stress level as you attempt to get these last minute items. (Check out yesterday’s post on Stress and Meditation).
Here is a treat from my friend and my first guest blogger Pastry Girl. I am sure you will enjoy this recipe.
Season’s eating from Pastry Girl of Pastry Girl Confections!
When you think of the holidays what comes to mind? The snow? Time with family and friends? The gifts? The food? For me it has always been the food. I remember being a little girl and waking up very early on Christmas day, running down the stairs and seeing what Santa left me. I did not look at the stockings full of treats, the presents under the tree or the tons of unwrapped presents on the couch (Santa always left unwrapped presents-usually the big items, i.e the bike, the kitchen set and the Barbie dream house and travel van). But what I loved most were all of the sweets on the table, which always had a beautiful, holiday tablecloth (not sure where Santa got that this). There was more fruit than a fruit market — apples, oranges, grapes, tangerines, bananas and clementine’s. Next to the fruit were nuts, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, and some type of nut that I still don’t know the name. But the best goodies on the table were the chocolates, there were M&M’s, holiday wrapped KISSES, Snickers, Hershey Bars and some type of cookie and/or brownie.
Every holiday should hold a special memory and some good food. Here is a ”HEALTHY” Brownie recipe that everyone, even those family members and friends who are diabetic, can eat.
These rich chocolate brownies are one of my very favorites. Serve with raspberries of strawberries for a true delight.
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso coffee
1/3 C cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine, sugar, egg, egg white and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine flour, cocoa, espresso powder and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
103 Cal; 5 g Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 14 g Carb; 9 mg Cholesterol; 64 mg Sodium; 1 g Fiber
1 Other Carb; 1 Fat
Keep a look out for yummier but a little more fattening recipes from Pastry Girl of Pastry Girl Confections. Happy Holidays – Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa!
If you had more than your share of cocktails last night, recovery is always challenging. This is especially true when you are in your 30s and 40s. Recovery takes so much longer than when you were in your 20s. I would like to share a few things that I do to recover the next day:
Drink nothing but water all day. If I feel I over did it on the sugary cocktails, I try to hydrate myself and eliminate as much sugar as I can the next day. No sodas, no juice, no alcohol, no sweets – JUST WATER! (Tip: Drinking lots of water in between cocktails helps too).
Get a workout in. It really does help me feel better to sweat out some of those toxins I put in my body the night before. Plus I just feel less guilty by trying to work off some of the calories I consumed. Top off your workout with a high protein meal to help your body recover from the workout.
Eat lots of good stuff – veggies, protein, and lean meats. This of course is my choice of food and doesn’t have to be yours. Okay, I may sneak in some french fries along with the salad. Some may turn to greasy foods to recover from a night of too much alcohol. There is some scientific evidence that supports this is actually good for you since high fatty foods slow down the absorption of alcohol. So eating the greasy food before you drink may prove to be better than afterwards.
Sleep! I really try to get my full 7-8 hours of sleep if I can, but often alcohol can cause for a restless night. So if are able to, take a quick nap the next day to recharge. This of course only works if you don’t have to work the next day (although I am known to take a quick snooze at my desk) or have children to take care of. As one of my girlfriends says, “There is no such thing as sleeping late after a night with the girls, when you have a 3 – and 7-year old who want breakfast at 6 a.m…on a Saturday!” So mommies, I say try to play the quiet game with your little ones for about 20 minutes and see if you can sneak in an afternoon nap! Popping in the Shrek 3 DVD will probably work too.