Thursday, August 7, 2008

Staying hydrated in the 21st century
(though I'm a bit behind the times...)

THE NEW SIPPY BOTTLE FOR ADULTS: Clearly I am not on top of everything right now. I saw the all-popular aluminum Sigg bottles recently and had to actually go and Google them. Well, they've been around for well over a year now, but I am writing about them here because there are so many advantages to using these totally fun bottles:

  • They are totally adorable and there is a design fit for everyone — even some crazy ones with sport figures as the lid...
  • They’re great for the environment — no more plastic bottles filling up landfills.
  • They’re amazingly lightweight — which is great if you tote around a water bottle in your purse like me.
  • They don’t alter the taste of the water — at all. I hate the taste of plasticy water you get after you're H2Os been in a plastic bottle too long. Since Sigg is made out of aluminum, you never have that problem.
  • There are a variety of lids to choose from (i.e. screw top or active).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pick the waist-trimming ice cream sandwich

Who says dieters have to give up chocolate cookies and ice cream — or even ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cookies? In these dog days of summer, you don't need to break you diet in order to have a refreshing dessert. Time for another showdown:


The Skinny Cow makes low-fat versions of your favorite ice cream treats, including several flavors of sandwiches. Soy Dream, which makes all sorts of frozen desserts, is dairy-free and contains the goodness of soy protein. But which of these frozen treats will satisfy your sweet tooth for fewer calories? WINNER: Soy Dream wins the calorie battle. Each sandwich contains a low 100 calories and only 4 grams of fat — and even an ice cream connoisseur probably couldn't tell the difference between this soy version and those made with milk. Skinny Cow's sandwich is only slightly higher in calories (140), but it also contains less fat (1.5 grams), and a surprising find: 3 grams of fiber. Whether you're watching your calories or want to consume less fat while boosting your fiber intake, the choice is yours. Both of these make healthy choices for different reasons.
Source: SparkPeople

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stopping noshing

I know all the examples I just gave you of simple switches are common knowledge and most of them are up to preference — some people just don't like ground turkey or they just want mayonnaise on their sandwiches from time to time. As sad as this is, the easiest switch for me, and one I think anyone can do: to start chewing sugarfree gum in the afternoons and evenings. Those are the times when I am either at my lull at work or bumming around the house, and I want something to nosh on. It's all those little snack, whether they're healthy or not, that keep adding up. I found that chewing gum and having water accessible keeps my mouth busy and my taste buds satisfied until the next mealtime rolls around. Be warned however, I read yesterday in The Examiner that new studies have found that excess sorbitol intake — aka the sugar in sugarfree — can lead to excess weight loss (in a bad way) and even diarrhea. Lovely.

Simple switches

There is something I learned over the years and I have always tried to incorporate into my life. It's that the simplest switches can make the world of difference. This thought came into my mind today after realizing that in order to loose weight, I am not only going to need to exercise more, but I need to also make some changes in my diet (for those of you who didn't know, I am also Look Girl in the Kitchen and I love to cook and eat!). One of the biggest challenges to eating healthier is finding substitutions for existing foods in your diet. Here are some tips to make the transition easier, and some that I am going to try to stick to:

  • Use mustard instead of mayo on your sandwiches. You’ll get lots of flavor with much fewer calories and fat. Try a dijon or deli style for even more punch.

  • Select whole wheat bread over white bread. But be sure to read the label to ensure you’re getting whole grains, not just colored white bread.

  • Eat the white meat of turkey or chicken, which is lower in fat than dark meat, red meat and pork. Animal fat is the number one dietary source of unhealthy saturated fat.

  • Start using lean ground beef or turkey breast, pork tenderloin or fish instead of high-fat cuts of meat.

  • Change your cooking methods. Bake, grill or broil your meals instead of frying. Use non-stick sprays—or better yet, non-stick pans—instead of oil.

  • Don't drink your calories. Eat a whole orange instead of drinking a glass of juice, for example. Real food is usually more filling and more nutritious than juices, fruit drinks, and other high-calorie beverages.

  • Serve sauces and dressings on the side. Dip your fork into the sauce, then dip your fork into the food. You’ll still have the flavor but with fewer calories.

  • Order vegetables on the side instead of fries. Flavor them with lemon juice or herbs instead of butter.

  • Snack on fruit and nuts instead of sugary treats. The fiber, protein and healthy fats in this combo will sustain you to your next meal and you won’t have the energy slump that comes after eating candy.

  • Reduce your portion size. Most people will eat whatever amount of food is in front of them, so start putting your meals on smaller plates. You will be just as satisfied because your mind "sees" that you’re eating a full plate of food.

Exercise of the week

Being the total couch potato I've been lately — and I doubt I'm the only one out there! — I thought it was a good idea to incorporate this into the exercise of the week. Stretching is just as important as exercise, especially as you get older. You see kids watching TV in this pose all the time, and while any kid is probably way more flexible than your average adult, this lower back stretch done on your couch can be a great way to relieve back tension with a bit of cushioning. Plus, there is no need to buy expensive equipment when your furniture is there for you.


» Starting Position: Sit on a couch or comfy chair backwards. Try to scoot your butt as close as you can to the back. You can bring your knees so they are cross-legged, or you can rest your knees on the back of the chair or couch.

» Action: Now place your back on the part you usually sit on and let your head hang down. If it feels comfortable, you can lift your arms overhead and place them on the ground to support more of your weight and give you a deeper stretch. You can also place your head flat on the ground, as shown in the picture.

» Special Instructions: Stay here for as long as you want — five breaths or five minutes — and then slowly lift your torso. Turn your body around so you're sitting normally, and fold your chest over your thighs to release your back and give the blood that collected in your head a chance to slowly return back to the rest of your body (if you stand up too soon, you'll get a major headache).

» Muscles Worked: Back

A new beginning, again

So, after being totally lazy the past couple months (you haven't seen me on here much, either), I stepped on the scale to see that my skimpy two workouts a week have yielded me an extra five pounds! So, I am going to heed my own advice, and start up again with SparkPeople. I started keeping track of my foods yesterday and walked the two miles to work this morning. Hopefully the spring weather will make all the difference, and this new burst will lead me to a lot more postings. See you back here soon, I promise!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Exercise of the week

Core; 2 sets of 20 on each side

» Starting Position: Stand with feet together, arms at sides, and gaze at a spot on the ground about 5 feet ahead for balance.

» Action: Lift left foot back, bending forward until left leg and chest are parallel to ground. Extend arms out as shown. Hold for 3 counts. Repeat for all repetitions and switch sides.

» Special Instructions: Be sure to keep a flat back (parallel to floor) and concentrate on keeping abs tight.

» Muscles Worked: Back, Glutes, Hamstrings

Sustainably stylish spring sale

SALE ALERT: Get 25 percent off of your entire purchase at my favorite activewear store, Lucy, with the code 0308style. The company is trying to promotes their new sustainably stylish collection, made of fabrics like soy and bamboo (so soft!), so why not take advantage and stock up on lightweight spring wares?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

CVS risk

Reading The Washington Post today, I learned that I am one of the many American's who don't properly care for my eyes at work, or at home, or at the gym, the cafe, the train, or, well, everywhere, now that I spend what seems like all of my time staring at screens:

If you're reading this message, you are one of the growing number of Americans who may be at risk for CVS. That's Computer Vision Syndrome and it's becoming more frequent, according to the American Optometric Association, which says that prolonged use of electronic devices such as computers and PDAs can leave users with problems like dry eye, eye strain, neck and/or backache, light sensitivity and fatigue.

According to the AOA, 78 percent of Americans do not have their monitors set below eye level, the correct height for computer usage; 73 percent of Americans do not take breaks as often as they should (at least every 20 minutes); and one out of 10 never take a break. Specially designed glasses exist to help reduce glare from screens, the AOA says, but only 11 percent of Americans use them.