Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Dinner Damage Control

If you are dreading that big Christmas dinner and worrying that all your months/weeks of hard work are going to go down the drain...there is HOPE!!  Actually, like all things at this time of the year, a little planning goes a long way.

1.  On the morning of the feast, make sure you eat a high protein breakfast with some insoluable fibre. For example: scrambled eggs with some black beans on the side, Cottage Cheese with some beans, or if you really hate beans, use some ground flaxseeds.  (it doesn't have to be a big meal).  The protein will decrease your appetite and the fibre helps fill you up as well as aiding "passage" later on!

2.  Timothy Ferriss (author of the newly released "4-Hour Body") suggests a small grapefruit juice before a gorge meal (hey, anything is worth a try!) to assist with blood glucose levels.

3.  Drink lots of water!  Add lemon or lime juice to it...but drink LOTS!! 

4.  Move.  Instead of plopping on the couch like a bear preparing for hybernation, move around.  Do some bodyweight squats, push ups against the wall, knee lifts...go for a stroll (a good time to wander about the neighbourhood looking at the decorations!)  You don't have to do a lot (a minute or two) just enough to give your body the idea that the food needs to keep moving ( somewhere other than the fat cells...)

5.  NO guilt!  It's a special what you like.  Just try to confine it to the one day.  Don't let yourself fall into the "well, I blew it today...might as well continue until Jan 1, when I start my diet".  If you have a few events over the Christmas period, pick one day where you will eat whatever you like and throw caution to the wind.  The other days you will try to show some restraint.  Sound good?

I know Christmas only happens once a year (thank goodness!) but having a few tips to get you through it with little or no effect on your body will be worth it when the New Year rolls around and you find yourself not dreading standing on the scale!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gift Yourself - Aromatherapy for Your Feet

At this time of year, we seem to spend a lot of time on our feet.  Shopping, parties, get-togethers, cleaning up the house for company, cooking, your name it...

Don't neglect your feet. Many activities at this time of year require us to stand for long periods of time and this can lead to pain in the feet. Wear comfortable shoes, and try to maintain good posture: hold your shoulders back and your back straight. You'll be surprised at the relief your feet feel at the end of the day.
If you experience chronic foot pain, try making little circles with your feet during the day, as if you're making a circle in the sand. Sit when you're able to sit, and stretch your feet forward and backwards. Install footpads in your shoes which will mold to the natural contours of your feet. Footpads are insole cushions which massage the pressure points of the foot when walking.

Now let's talk about a little recipe for aromatherapy foot massage oil (This can all be done in the comfort of your own home - without those fancy spa prices!) -If your feet are particularly sore after a long day, you can make an herbal Epsom salt bath for relief. A terrific blend can be made by adding 4 drops of peppermint oil and 4 drops of eucalyptus oil to 1/2 cup of Epsom salts. Mix well and add to a foot tub of hot water. Don't forget to breathe in that aromatherapy massage oil as that's half the treatment!  (if your skin is sensitive to natural oils, decrease the blend to two drops each).

Foot blisters, corns, and ingrown toenails all cause significant pain and can really hurt during all the extra activities (as well as those high-heeled and pointy-toe shoes). Try to find shoes that are comforatble and pretty and nourish your feet when you get home if they're hurting.

Athlete’s foot is just another condition that can crop up from abused feet. Aromatherapy offers many benefits to sufferers of athlete’s foot. With a dab of Tea Tree oil, you can treat athlete’s foot by applying the oil directly to your foot with a cotton ball. Or you can make a soothing foot bath by adding 20 drops of Tea Tree oil or Geranium oil to a bowl of hot water. Soak your feet for at least 25 minutes and then massage this aromatherapy oil into your foot. 
"I ain't saying it's right. But you're saying a foot massage don't mean nothing, and I'm saying it does. Now look, I've given a million ladies a million foot massages, and they all meant something." - John Travolta, Pulp Fiction

Thursday, December 9, 2010

5 Great Gift Ideas for Healthy People

Whether that special someone on your Christmas list is a "health nut", or aspiring to become healthier, here are some gift ideas that won’t break the bank.

1. Heart Rate Monitor:  A great tool for anyone looking for information on their workout intensities. There are several types of monitors on the market from a simple heart rate only to ones that have GPS trackers, brew coffee and do your taxes. Basic models are still well under $100. 

2. Stability Ball:  Versatile and cheap – a staple for any home gym. Tip: Get a good durable, quality ball that will hold its air. You can also use it as an office chair - just don't be like “Dwight”.

3. Pedometer with PC Download:  One such model is the Oregon Scientific where users can program their target number of steps, distance or calories for training. PC download function allows for data transfer from pedometer to PC software.  Or, just a basic pedometer if your gift recipeint is a techno-phobe!  These are REALLY inexpensive!

4. A Heavy bag combo set:  Everlast's 40-Lb Martial Arts Fitness set features a heavy bag, hand wraps, bag gloves, and a jump rope. A 70 pound kit is also available (if you think you can handle it). Rocky Soundtrack sold separately.

5. Adjustable Dumbbells: Or not – you could also get sets of weights according to your needs and space constraints. The adjustable kinds where you don’t have to unscrew anything are easy to use and take up little space. They do push past the $100 mark once you get higher than 25lbs though. 

Other ideas are -  a healthy cook book, healthy cooking class, an exercise video, a 3 month gym pass, dance lessons (great for couples), boot camp workouts or a couple of sessions with a personal trainer (I happen to know one!) Also consider universally practical items such as; athletic wear, an iPod, exercise tubing or a mat.

*A word of caution* … be sure your significant other has expressed a desire for such items, lest they take your well-intentioned gesture the wrong way. Oh, and those scales with “motivational” sounds such as tug boats, elephants and the like… never a good idea!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tips to Stay Lean and Fit During the Holidays (part 3)

The final 3 tips in the quest for a happy and healthy holiday:

7. Exercise at home. You’ll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment if you don’t have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Plus, you won’t waste any time on driving, parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment. Working out at home requires very little equipment (it even can be
equipment-free) and is quite inexpensive (and who isn't trying to save time and money at this time of year!)

8. Avoid wasting calories on alcoholic beverages. The average alcoholic drink contains 150-200 calories per glass. Indulge in just 2-3 drinks and you’ve swallowed the equivalent calories of an entire meal! If you partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water or with a diet beverage. Or, drink low-calorie beer. This will help cut your calories in half. Drinking excessive alcohol will also stop your metabolism from burning FAT! Not too mention that feeling you get when you wake up the next day feeling tired and dehydratedTry drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume...your BODY and your BRAIN will thank you!

9. When running errands or shopping, be sure to pack some fat-burning snacks to have on-hand.
Some great examples are Protein Fudge Bars and Baked Granola Cookies from my e-book “4 Week Fat Incinerator Formula”. Or, purchase some good quality Protein Bars instead.  Then after you work-up a big appetite, you won’t be tempted to grab something at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home.

And lastly...tell yourself -
“ I will allow myself to indulge a little and also make healthier choices”.  The Power is the choosing…..when you allow yourself to have what you want you are less likely to overindulge. One of the most powerful things I teach in my "4 Week Fat Incinerator Formula”  is the mental aspect, particularly visualization. What you can do is to picture yourself making healthier choices and feeling great in your best holiday outfit!

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tips to Stay Lean and Fit During the Holidays (part 2)

3 more tips to help you survive the holiday parties unscathed:
4. Schedule your workouts.  Mark them on the calendar and set-aside time to complete them. Consider them as important as any other appointment or event you have marked on your calendar. One of my secret fat-loss tips to burn the most fat is doing a cardio session first thing in the morning. This will not only accelerate your fat-burning process but you will have more energy to shop longer! Don't forget to incorporate weight training in your program - having more lean muscle will speed up your metabolism and keep your body lean and toned. When you weight train your metabolism is elevated even more throughout the day then just doing cardio. In my 27 years of experience I have seen too many women stop with their exercise program during the holidays. Not only will this make you feel tired, but it does not allow your body to burn off those extra holiday calories, and it takes twice as long to get your body into shape when you start after the New Year.

5. When at a party, start by eating some of the healthy offerings. For example, vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit pieces, plain chicken pieces, etc. Then move on to some of the less healthy (but yummy) offerings. You will be less likely to overindulge on these foods if you have already filled-up on some of the healthier items. Yet, you will not feel deprived or unsatisfied.

6. Eat little bits of your favourites!  When presented with a large variety of food options, it’s tempting to want to eat everything. Rather than eating one large slice of chocolate cake or a huge plate of meatballs,
select a sampling of bite size pieces of several of the dessert or appetizer offerings. This way you get the enjoyment of trying many different foods without overeating.

Tomorrow...the final 3 tips for staying lean and fit over the holidays...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tips to Stay Lean and Fit During the Holidays (part 1)

Here are some tips to help you stay lean and fit and still be able to indulge during those hectic holiday weeks:

1. Create a plan ahead of time. Before the holidays sneak up on you, create a plan for incorporating fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday schedule and then determine how much time you will realistically have available to devote to working out and/or eating healthy meals.

2. Don’t put your fitness goals on hold until the New Year. If you can’t exercise as often during this time period as you normally do, adjust appropriately. Don’t use the excuse that since you don’t have time for your full workout you just won’t workout at all. Instead accept your limited availability and simply reduce the
frequency and/or duration of your exercise. It’s much better to cut your fitness time in half than to completely eliminate it.

3. On the day of a party, be sure to eat regularly all day long.  One of the secrets to avoid the holiday weight gain is to eat small meals throughout the day (consisting of some lean proteins like chicken or low fat dairy products) to keep your metabolism elevated. When you are at the party you are less likely to overindulge, not to mention if you starve yourself all day and save up your calories, your body can not process all those calories at once, and as a result you gain FAT!

Stay tuned for 3 more tips tomorrow....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How Women Can Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain

It's that time again....the silly season!

Did you know?  The average woman gains 7-12 lbs between US Thanksgiving and New Year’s!  Yikes!!!!

Since the holidays are traditionally a time for fun and indulgence, you probably prefer not to think about fitness between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Don’t worry! The festivities don’t have to be eliminated or avoided. You can have a fabulous time while also maintaining your weight and your fitness regimen.

Moderation is the secret to achieving a fun and also healthy holiday season.

There are two typical approaches to the seasonal festivities:

1) Throw all healthy habits out the window and indulge in every guilty pleasure

2) Starve and binge approach (for example, you eat nothing all day long to allow yourself to overindulge in party food). Of course, neither approach is successful at maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle throughout the holiday season.

However,  with a moderate approach both to what you eat (or don’t eat) and how much exercise you do (or don’t do), you can avoid packing on extra weight AND also partake in all the fun of the season. So this season, get a head start on the New Year instead of starting January with extra pounds to lose.

Tomorrow: Some tips to help you stay lean and fit and still partake of some of those holiday indulgences.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What To Do When Your Muscles Are Sore

Workouts can be literally be a pain in the butt....especially when you start a new program or get back into exercise after a lull. While some nutritional supplements might be helpful in some aspects of recovery, they don't reduce muscle soreness. Nor does stretching before and after the workout. But I know of three research-proven ways to do it.

For one thing, you can engage in some light activity in the days following the workout. You'll feel sore when you start, but moving around increases blood flow. The increased blood flow should help reduce the soreness and stiffness at an accelerated rate, even if you feel like a geriatric patient to begin with.

You could also soak the exercised muscles in cold water immediately after the workout. Researchers from New Zealand found that by doing this, muscle soreness is reduced the next day.  But, who relishes the thought of sitting in a tub of cold water, especially when it is -20C outside!

And that brings me to the easier and most convenient way to reduce soreness: prevention.

Excessive muscle soreness is the result of doing too much. But if you're sore today because you did too much yesterday, you can still exercise. Just be conservative and reduce both the volume and intensity of your workout. When you start up a new program in the future, cut back on the amount of exercise you intend to do by 50 percent. For example, if your workout calls for two sets of squats, just do one set. Then, in your next workout, you'll be ready for the full monty. 

Of course, not allowing yourself to get "out of shape" (I know, round is a shape! ) is the best prevention possible!

"My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is."  - Ellen DeGeneres

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Beginnings

Hello All!

It has been a long time since my last post.  I have been moving and changing things up a bit.  Be prepared for a "new look" website/blog/newsletter. 


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rate Your Rear View

Use this formula to to determine your derriere's overall appeal....

This formula was devised by David Holmes, a PhD in psychology from Manchester University in the UK.  His scientific but tongue-in-cheek formula was devised to define the "perfect ass".  So, dig out the calculator ladies and rate your behind!

Jeans-worthy butt?
REAR RATING = [(S + C) X (B + F) / T] - V

S:  OVERALL SHAPE - rate 1 to 5
      1 = Deflated Beach Ball    
      5 = Volleyball

C:  CHEEK CIRCULARITY - rate 1 to 4
      1 = Croissant                   
      4 = Grapefruit

B:  BOUNCINESS - rate 1 to 5
       1 = Jiggles like Jell-O
       2 = Rebounds like a rubber band

F:  FIRMNESS - rate 1 to 4
      1 = Marshmallow
      4 = Bounce a quarter off it

T:  TEXTURE - rate 4 to 1*
      4 = Crater Island
      1 = Bambino-smooth

V: VERTICAL RATIO - rate 4 to 1*
      4 = Upside-down heart
      1 = Right-side-up heart

* for T and V, 1 is best

If you scored 80, or close to it, your rear view is virtually perfect.  If you scored below 40, get your butt in gear! Restest yourself after a month of doing tomorrow's post!

"Behind every good man, there is a good woman. And behind every good woman, there's another man looking at her butt."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 Minute Cardio (Workout 3)

This is the last in this series of 10 min Cardio Workouts.  I hope you have found the time (just 10 minutes!) to try one...

Power Pyramid
Zap fat as you gradually increase, then decrease your pace while remaining on level ground.  This is a great workout to take outside, as it requires no hills.  As before, the workout can also be done on a cycle, elliptical, rowing machine, walking, running, etc  For effort level...10 is the fastest you could work it out from there.  You will find the more you do it, the faster you will get.

TIME                  EFFORT LEVEL
2 min                        5-6 out of 10
2 min                        7 out of 10
2 min                        8 out of 10
2 min                        7 out of 10
2 min                        5-6 out of 10

Of course, the best results are achieved when you do the workouts...give them a go!

Want some other 10 min cardio ideas? Try these previous blogs...

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Minute Cardio (Workout 2)

Here is the second workout in our 10 min cardio routines.

Cardio 2 - Lower Body Blaster
Build up your leg strength by varying your intensity at an increasingly difficult incline or greater resistance.  The following are suggested inclines, but you may find these are too much.  It needs to be tough, not impossible!

TIME                    INCLINE
3 min                          1
1 min                          5 - 6
1 min                          6 - 7
1 min                          7
1 min                          8
1 min                          8 - 9
1 min                          9
1 min                         10
Once again, reach back and pat that back...well done!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

10 Minute Cardio (Workout 1)

I am often asked "How can I do any cardio that will do any good in 10 minutes.  Today and the next 2 days I will give you 3 very effective Cardio workouts that can be done in 10 minutes!

Of course, if you find you have more time, then extend the time you do them, but each of the routines will burn approximately 120-130 calories. and do it! (No time like the present...)

Cardio 1 - Speed Play
Get a quick burn by varying your intensity at a slight, gradually increasing incline (or increasing resistance).  This workout can be done on a treadmill, walking/jogging up hills or changing the resistance on bikes or ellipticals...the idea is to progressively make the workout tougher...
TIME                 INCLINE
3 min                      1
1 min                      1, go a little bit faster*
1 min                      1, same speed as the initial 3 min
1 min                      2, go a little bit faster*
1 min                      2, same speed as the initial 3 min
1 min                      3, go a little bit faster than last time**
1 min                      3, same speed as the initial 3 min
1 min                      4, go a little bit faster again, if you can** to ***

That's it!  Pat yourself on the back with a job well done!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Back to School Fitness Action Plan

You've bought the school supplies, new shoes, back packs and are getting back into the swing of making lunches and shooing the little darlin's out the door...but what about YOU!!!

Did your summer consist of grabbing a bit of extra sleep in the mornings, eating on a different schedule, leaving the fitness and nutrition plan at the school door?  If so, then here are few steps to help you get your fitness and nutrition action plan under way...
  1. Schedule:  Just like everything else in your day, you need to schedule time for YOU!  If you have a spare hour, great...but if 10-15 min is all you can scratch out...well, it's better than nothing!  Make an appointment with yourself to look after you!
  2. Goals:  Review your old goals and remember why you started in the first place.  Maybe you need to change a few but most importantly, write them down!  Then you can go back and look at them to remind yourself why you started in the first place.
  3. Kitchen:  Take a look and see if some of your former "healthy" cupboard has been replaced by the sumer quickie foods and snacks that seem to appear when the kids are home.  Both you and they will benefit from a cupboard full of "fit" foods!
  4. Change Up:  Was part of the reason you ditched your fitness and/or nutrition routine because you were tired of what you were doing or seeing no results?  If so, it may be time to do something different.  Find something you like doing or find a friend to workout with you!
"If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers". ~Edgar W. Howe

Saturday, August 14, 2010

4 Steps to Prevent Pound Rebound

When it comes to the scale, what goes down usually comes up; 95% of dieters regain the weight they lost within 3 years.  Want a few tips to help prevent regaining weight and beat the statistics?

Nearly 55% of regainers said office culture (business lunches, happy hours, birthdays and other office functions) is a diet saboteur.  Outsmart any overdulging by snacking on a handful of nuts or a fibre-rich bar such as Fibre 1 (around 140 cals) or 1/2 a Clif Bar (or make your won!) before you meet with clients or coworkers. 

The still-svelte people are twice as likely to eat a total of five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily.  You can eat a pile of filling produce instead of a measly handful of chips for the same amount of calories or less.

When regainers start to put pounds back on, they are more likely to turn to diet books instead of the plan that helped them lose the weight in the first place.  Diet books can be a great refresher, but they can't replace healthy behaviours.  For a little "light" reading, try a low-cal cookbook.

Succesful losers continue to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day.  Don't drop your workout regimen once the pounds have melted off.  Exercise gives you an edge - burning even an extra 100 or 200 calories a day can help halt weight gain creeping back on.  Be sure to change your routine to help prevent boredom and your body adapting to doing the same thing all the time.

"The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends." - Anon

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Get Back on Track

Ah...vacation...holidays!!  As much as we love them...Does this sound like you???

Q.  I recently went away on vacation and spent the entire time drinking and eating fatty foods.  Now I'm sluggish and "out of whack!"  Are there any healthy ways to quickly get myself back on track?

A.  As with all overindulgences, it takes time to return to equilibrium.  Getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly, being well-hydrated and abstaining from alcohol for several days will usually do the trick. 

You may have missed out on some sleep and incurred a sleep debt.  If this is so, it's impossible to predict how much sleep you'll need to make up the deficit.  Say you've been awake for 24 hrs straight due to traveling - you'll probably need to "catch up" on at least the 8 hrs you missed.  I would suggest increasing your sleep for 1-3 subsequent nights to make up the deficit.  Pay close attention to your body; if you are still tired when you wake up, you'll need more sleep.  If not, you're more than likely already caught up!

In terms of detoxifying your body, fatty foods are not toxic.  Periodic excess of high-calorie comfort dishes is unlikely to cause long-term effects such as weight gain or elevated cholesterol.  Alcohol, however, is toxic.  Once consumed, it metabolizes into a toxic substance called acetaldehyde - which is more harmful to the body than the ingested alcohol itself.

I recommend spending the next week paying special attention to eating lots of fruit and veggies, in addition to drinking a minimum of 8-10 glasses of water daily.  Give your body a rest.  Get your mind and body back on track through some light cardio, light exercises and/or yoga.  If days go by without a sing of improvement, see your Doctor or nutritionist to review your diet.  Overindulgences have an effect on your homeostasis, but continued overindulgences can have more serious and long-term consequences!

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” - Robert Orben

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beauty Sleep

Sleeping too little or too much could pack on the pounds! 

Despite traditional thinking that sleeping too much might cause weight gain, research is showing that sleeping too little can also cause weight gain.  Several studies have been done in this area.  In one particular study, scientists tracked the sleeping habits of 276 adults for over 6 years. 

Compared to people who slept 7-8 hours per night, those who slept 9-10 hours a night gained an average of 3.5 pounds more and those who slept 5-6 hours a night gained more than 4 pounds more.

Undersleeping is probably worse than oversleeping when it comes to controlling body weight, say the researchers.  People getting less than average-length sleepers were at a 27% greater risk of obesity, while extra  long sleepers had a 21% higher risk of becoming obese.  Researchers believe that too little sleep may cause hormonal changes that stimulate appetite, among other factors.

I know when I am short on sleep, I certainly crave carbohydrates....especially those simple ones...breads, candy, crackers, cereal, etc

So...turn off the TV and get to bed!

"There is one thing people like that is good for them: a good night's sleep." - Ed Howe

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Decifering Food Labels (Part 2)

NATURAL - May not contain, or have ever contained an added vitamin, mineral nutrient, artificial flavouring agent or food additive.

ORGANIC - Now regulated across Canada, products marked organic or bearing the new Canada Organic label are certified to come from farm systems employing management practices that seek to nurture ecosystems and achieve sustainable productivity.  Animal products marked organic are grown without antibiotics or hormones.

REDUCED - Must contain at least 25% less of a nutrient or ingredient than the regular version of the same product.

REDUCED IN CALORIES - Must provide at least 25% less calories than the regular version of the same product.

SOURCE OF CALCIUM - Must contain at least 165mg of calcium per serving.

SOURCE OF FIBRE - Must provide at least 4g of fibre per serving.

WHOLE WHEAT - Usually refers to a refined grain that only contains the bran and the endosperm, but does not contain, or contains very little of the nutrient-dense grain.

WHOLE GRAIN -  Refers to the entire grain including its nutrient-dense germ.  Whole grain is always a healthier choice than whole wheat.

"American consumers have no problem with carcinogens, but they will not purchase any product, including floor wax, that has fat in it." - Dave Barry

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Decifering Food Labels (Part 1)

Food Stores are brimming with products that make all sorts of important sounding claims.  But how do you interpret what the claims stand for?  To help you navigate the aisles, I've compiled a list of the most common food labelling terms and defined what they really mean!

CHOLESTEROL-FREE - Product contains less than 2mg of cholesterol and is low in saturated fat.  However, the product may not necessarily be low in total fat.

FREE - The word "free" on the label means that the associated ingredient or nutrient is not present at all or is present in amounts considered nutritionally insignificant.

FREE RANGE - Hens are raised free from cages and are allowed some access to the outside.

FREE RUN - Hens are raised free from cages and are kept entirely indoors on a barn floor.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED - The product has been changed by way of intentional gene manipulation.

KOSHER - Describes food and practices that are specifically permitted by Jewish dietary law.

LIGHT - "Light" may refer to nutrition or to aesthetics.  When referring to nutrition, light is allowed for foods that are reduced in fat or reduced in calories.  With respect to colour, taste or texture, an explanation of what makes the food light is required on the label.

LOW FAT - Must contain less than 3g of fat per serving.

LOW IN SATURATED FAT - Each serving must contain less than 2g of saturated fat and trans fat combined.

"So my doctor told me to watch what I'm eating - to read food labels. I'm in the store reading the Fig Newtons label: I've always liked Fig Newtons. I'm reading the label to make sure everything's fine: fat content. I looked at the serving size; two cookies. Who eats two cookies? I eat Fig Newtons by the sleeve: two sleeves is a serving size. I open them both and eat them like a tree chipper; Fig Newton shavings coming off the side." - Comedian Brian Regan (click his name to watch this)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Exercise!!!

Today is the 4rth and final part of the "easy ways to boost your metabolism" posts...

Of course, the number one way to supercharge and bulletproof your metabolism is through exercise.  Not only do you burn 300-500 calories per hour during the most high-intensity workouts, but you also build calorie-burning muscle, create new mitochondria (energy-burning "power plants") in your muscle cells and increase cardiovascular health and efficiency, which leads to even easier bodyfat loss.  Consistently, daily exercise is a key variable in long-term metabolic management.

So, there you have it.  The foundation of metabolic health and consistency in your body will be laid solidly by your commitment to living out these four habits.  Get busy, lean and healthy - and more importantly, enjoy life!

If it weren't for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn't get any exercise at all.  - Joey Adams

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Eat 6 Meals a Day

It isn't a secret that eating smaller more frequent meals leads to a more efficient metabolism.  Digestion takes energy, as you use calories to digest, absorb and assimilate food.  So, the more often you eat, the more calories you burn through digestion.  That doesn't mean that you're allowed to eat more calories throughout the day - you should split your proper, planned food intake into smaller, more frequent meals.  Munching on snacks during the day (like baby carrots or protein bars) is a good way to avoid overeating at breakfast, lunch and dinner and incorporate more low-carb meals into your diet.

By the same token, the fastest way to slow down your metabolism is by following extreme diets.  Starvation diets (around 500 calories or less) can decrease your metabolism by up to 50%.  Even the most physiologically sound diet will gradually lead to a slow decline.  I encourage a moderate (as in weekly) splurge meal to prevetn this from happening. (YIPEE!!!!)

Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of those pieces. ~Judith Viorst

Monday, July 5, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Pump Up The Protein

Today we look at another way to reach your metabolic best....

Making sure you're getting enough protein is the next best way to raise your metabolism.  It takes more energy to digest protein because you burn more calories duirng its digestion than you do after eating other types of food.  It also stimulates the production of glucagon, a hormone that tells bodyfat cells to give up their stranglehold on fat.  This is a key reason why several studies have shown that higher protein intake leads to faster weight loss, even when calories are the same among study groups. 
Good protein options include eggs, fish and poultry, lean meats; along with vegetable sources such as beans, nuts and wholegrains.

"Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!" ~Tommy Smothers

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Supercharge Your Metabolism - Take Your Vitamins

Love it or hate it, we all have a base metabolism - the rate at which the body burns calories.  Although our genes place us on a metabolic continuum (ranging from that of a racing greyhound to that of a snail), we do have a certain amount of control over our metabolism.   In fact, how and what you eat, in addition ot your activity level, can either elevate you to the top of your genetic potential or make you plummet to the rocks of yo-yo dieting. 

Over the next few days I will outline some no-fuss ways to reach your metabolic best....

First, you need to make sure you're not deficient in micronutrients that support metabolism, such as the B vitamins.  Eating foods rich in these vitamins - like eggs, poultry, spinach and whole grains - aid in carbohydrate metabolism and energy production.  While vitamin B-1 plays a role in energy metabolism, B-2 helps metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
It is also important to take supplements to boost your immune system, so you can avoid illness and keep your training up to speed.  The immune system is constantly bombarded by free radicals - every cell in the body takes about 10,000 hits per day!  Antioxidants neutralize these assassins and even slow down the aging process, another enemy of metabolism. 
How can you ensure your body is fighting these free radicals?  Try taking a nutritional supplement that provides antioxidants, vitamins and minerals - often these can be purchased in daily serving paks, eliminating the need for several different bottles of supplements taking up room in your cupboard. 

"All those vitamins aren't to keep death at bay, they're to keep deterioration at bay."  - Jeanne Moreau

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Ready Abs

It's summer time in the northern hemisphere, which means, no matter what your age, you want to look good on the beach, poolside or lakeside.  Needless to say, a flat belly goes a long way towards making that look as impressive as possible.  Besides the obvious diet and cardio portion of the plan, here is a little routine, done at least 3 times a week, that will certainly aid in the quest for a flatter stomach.

Ab Circuit -Perform this circuit once and repeat. **** Remember to push the small of your back into the floor or ball at all encourages you to hold your abs tighter and protects your lower back! 

1. Ab Cycling              10-15 ea leg          

2.  Reverse Crunch  (pull knees towards your chest)   15 reps

3.  Swiss/Stability Ball Crunches        15 reps

4.  Side to Side Ball Crunches       8 ea way
 (alternate twisting from side to side as you come up) 

5.  Leg Raise and Lower              10-15 reps

6.  Ball Plank (can be done from knees)          30-60 sec

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dried Fruit for Snacks

Do you often wonder about whether eating dried fruit is a good or bad thing?  Here is a query I often get....
Q:  I have quite the sweet tooth!  Is eating dried fruit a good idea for a sweet snack or do you have other suggestions?
Although dried fruit is packed with nutrients and fibre, it is also packed with calories.  For example, just a 1/2 cup of raisins contains 250 calories, the same number of calories found in 3 apples or 8 cups of fresh grapes!

In addition to the high calorie content, dried fruits can also be difficult to chew, sticking to teeth and dental work.  If you can eat small amounts of dried fruits, then this is certainly better than eating candy.  Or, instead of basing your sweet snacks on dried fruit alone, try adding them to other snacks like nonfat yogurt, trainl mix or healthy cereal.  1 cup of Special K with 1/2 cup nonfat milk, topped with 50 raisins also has 250 calories and no fat, but offers you calcium and protein in addition to being an excellent snack or breakfast.

To save yourself even more calories, swap the dried fruit for fresh fruit, which is more filling, lower in calories and equally as sweet and nutritious.  Because of their high water content, you can eat a lot more fresh produce for the same amount of calories!  Yee ha!

Get Fit and Foxy: Dried Fruit for Snacks

Get Fit and Foxy: Dried Fruit for Snacks

Monday, June 14, 2010

To Eat or Not to Eat Pre-Cardio

Cardio on an Empty Stomach???
This is a question that is constantly put to me.  Have you been told you'll burn more fat if you do cardio first thing in the moring before breakfast, when your blood glucose is low? 

While research shows that exercising after an overnight fast does increase the amount of fat used during exercise - especially when the exercise is performed at very low intensity - it does not burn more calories, which is what's really important for fat loss. 

According to a number of health experts and other research data, fasting decreases our ability to sustain a given exercise intensity compared to eating breakfast first.  So what does this mean??? It means you'll burn fewer calories when eat some breakfast to burn more calories!!!

"I'm feeling so good. I feel like a million bucks. I'm focused, I'm alert, I'm zippy and top of my game.. I've never felt better! I'm sharp as a tack right now. And what's weird is that I didn't get a good nights sleep last night. And they say that's the most important thing..Or is it breakfast they said?..That's the most important meal of the day, breakfast...yes. And then it's 'i' before 'e' I know that..Um.. diamonds are a girl's best friend. Dog is a man's best friend.. What was I talking about?..Oh that's right, that I feel great and I'm at the top of my game. And it's odd because I didn't get hardly any sleep last night. And, they say that's the most important thing."  -Ellen DeGeneres

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Diet Dilemma #6

DILEMMA:  You love to nibble while you're watching television.
The Devil says:  "You've eaten so healthfully all day, you deserve a tasty reward.  Besides, those American Idol finalists sound so much sweeter with a big bowl of ice cream."
The Angel says: "Forget it.  Finish the day on a wholesome high note by snacking on 1/2 cup of grapes."
The Voice of Reason says:  "Compromise by having one scoop of low-fat ice cream mixed with a cup of sliced strawberries."
The Solution:  When you're watching TV, the part of your brain that keeps track of what you're eating tends to nod off.  You can snack worry-free by noshing on low-calorie bites like bell pepper strips or carrot sticks.  For higher calorie foods, compensate by portioning out what you plan to eat and don't go back for seconds.  Purchase individual-sized bags of chips and cookies (or make your own single-serving snack packs by spooning out a handful or two into small plastic bags).  If ice cream is your weakness, pump up the volume by adding fresh fruit, or buy a little dish that's no more than 4 ounces (or use a teacup).  Consider that your treat cup.  Eat whatever goody fits in that, and if you're still hungry afterward, go back for more fruit.  Then you can hit the sack feeling both satisfied and saintly.

Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your own living room by people you wouldn't have in your home.-- David Frost

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Diet Dilemma #5

DILEMMA:  You're meeting a bunch of friends for happy hour drinks.
The Devil says:  "You don't want to be the dork sipping a diet pop while everyone else is having fun, do you?  And go ahead, eat those nachos - they'll keep you from getting smashed and doing something foolish."
The Angel says:  "The safest way to keep your diet and your dignity intact is to stick with that virgin drink and skip the nachos, fried mozarella and other fatty snacks."
The Voice of Reason says:  "Sure, it would be nice to unwind with a glass of wine.  Grab a handful of peanuts to keep your stomach from growling until you can persuade everybody to hit the bistro next door for a real dinner."
The Solution:  Ordering a light beer or wine is a smarter choice than a fruity mixed drink, and not only because beer and wine are significantly lower in calories.  If you pick something sweet, you'll probably gulp it down right away and then order another.  Limiting your alcohol intake may also help you make better dietary choices:  Researchers have found that alcohol triggers an increase in galanin, a compound in the brain that makes you crave fatty food.  And though nuts are caloric, they're a healthy choice.  Peanuts contain good fats and protein, so they'll take the edge off your hunger.  Have a few and you won't be running on empty when fat bombs such as fries and other deep-fried nibbles arrive.  And if it looks as if dinner is still several hours away, scan the menu for substantial light bites such as baked potato skins topped with salsa.

"Only Irish coffee provides in a single cup all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat." -- Alex Levine

Friday, June 4, 2010

Diet Dilemma #4

DILEMMA:  Tonight's business dinner is at a hot, new restaurant.
The Devil says:  "The corporate credit card is out.  All bets are off!  Get the foie gras, a porterhouse steak and dessert, and don't leave any leftovers."
The Angel says:  "Hey, remember how hard you worked out this week?  Why ruin it all with one meal?  Order a salad and grilled fish and savour a scoop of sorbet for dessert."
The Voice of Reason says: "You hardly ever get to eat at a restaurant this amazing, so order whatever you want.  But stop eating before the discomfort of a bloated belly outweighs the pleasure of the fabulous tastes."
The solution: You can also save up the calories from your daily treats and use them all one meal.  The trick is to stop at the first sign of fullness.  Put down your fork now and then and rate your hunger on a scale of one to five, with five being the fullest.  If it's a three, eat a little more and reassess.  If it's four or five, you're done.  Ask the waiter to take your plate away so you don't pick at it while everyone finishes.

“In eating, a third of the stomach should be filled with food, a third with drink, and the rest left empty.”  - The Talmud

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Diet Dilemma #3

DILEMMA: An office birthday party/event
The Devil says: "Yay! Cake from your favourite bakery!"
The Angel says: "Yesterday was someone else's birthday, tomorrow's a baby shower and next week we will celebrate when the copy machine gets fixed.  There's always going to be a reason to chow down on cake.  Join the party, but stand by the veggie platter or chat with pals instead of gobbling the goodies.  Your pride in passing up temptation will more than make up for the momentary thrill of indulging."
The Voice of Reason says:  "This cake is your favourite and you don't eat it very often.  Why don't you just have a small piece and skip sweets for the rest of the day?"
The solution:  Deciding to spend your daily treat calories on something you love makes sense.  Before you splurge, have a quick dialogue with yourself, asking if it's worth giving up other indulgences for.  If the answer is a resounding yes, go ahead and enjoy without any guilt.

“Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake.” -Anon

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Diet Dilemma #2

DILEMMA:  Finding a healthy lunch at the cafe/restaurant or cafeteria.
The Devil says:  "Ah, the smell of the french fries, the lure of the melted's been a tough morning and dinner is a long way off, so you'd better fill up now."
The Angel says:  "I'm sure you'll make a healthy choice because you know that weight gain can increase your risk for a number of illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and maybe even cancer.  So march straight to the salad bar and load up on leafy greens with fat-free dressing."
The Voice of Reason says:  "The last time you had only a salad for lunch, you were looting the Snickers stash by 3pm." 
The Solution:  Order the salad, but add a few pieces of grilled chicken (or other lean sources of protein such as beans, salmon, eggs, tofu) and an olive oil dressing, which stays with you longer than the fat-free stuff.  Then grab an apple and a part-skim cheese stick or yogurt parfait to snack on later.  The all-or-nothing approach to eating can leave you either overstuffed or underfed; instead expanding your definition of lunch to include and afternoon nosh can keep you on a healthier track.

I haven't trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.  - Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Diet Dilemma #1

DILEMMA:  You need to grab a quick breakfast!
The Devil says:  "Look...there's Tim Hortons!  It's fast and it tastes great, and the sugar will give you an energy burst."
The Angel says:  "Keep driving, you can do it!  Swing by a store for fruit and low-fat yogurt.  The calcium and the vitamins will help start your day off right."
The Voice of Reason says: "A doughnut would taste delicious, but you will regret it an hour from now when your blood sugar takes a dive and you crash face-first into the keyboard."
The Solution:  Have the fruit and yogurt, but make it feel more indulgent by sprinkling on a few chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts.  Breakfast is supposed to jump-start your energy and keep it going for a few hours, and a load of fried, sugary dough isn't up to the job.  A bite that combines energizing carbs with satisfying protein, such as low-fat dairy with fruit, is an ideal choice.  Other filling options include 1 or 2 slices of whole-wheat toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or skim milk poured over a heaped cup of cereal (look for one with fewer than 150 calories per cup - or use low-fat granolas that have similar calories per 1/2 cup, less than 6 grams of sugar and at least 4 grams of fibre per serving).

“Rather go to bed supperless, than run in debt for a Breakfast.”

   -Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard's Almanac

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Right Bite or How to Make the Healthiest Choice

Freud almost got it right when he said a constant battle is being waged in our psyche between what our animal instincts would like to do and what are socialized selves know we should do - but the fight most of us face isn't about's about food!

For instance, think about all the negotiating you do with yourself: calculating the treadmill time required to work off a slice of pizza or weighing the evils of trans fats against your overwhelming desire to down a giant piece of cake.  The fact is, no matter how persuasive the diet angel on your shoulder is, too often the devil is busy whispering, "yummm, cookies!" in your other ear wins out.

And sometimes, that's OK.  Eating healthy is not about being perfect 100% of the time; it's about eating your best most of the day.  Little treats have been shown to help keep dieters more focused and less likely to pig out after feeling so deprived. 

Over the next few days, we will look at different "Diet Dilemmas" and give you ideas on how you can keep both the angel and the devil happy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Family Pains

Your diet is coming along fantastically - until a family get-together has you reaching for the cake in despair.  Here's how to deflect the dessert that's shoved under your nose....

Avoid the "D" word - If you don't want people to talk about your weight, you need to avoid the topic too.  When you tell people you're dieting, it's always a cue for them to shove hi-calorie food at you.  When visiting family, keep quiet about your weight-loss efforts and quietly suggest lower fat or calorie options or fill up on healthy snakcs beforehand.  Dessert?  Just say you are full and fill up on fruit. 

Avoid the comments - Got one of those in your family who always says, "You're looking a bit porky, aren't you?"  Instead of letting that comment depress you and send you to straight to the dessert...either try to avoid those people or change the subject and make like you never heard them.

Avoid the alcohol - Besides the fact that alcohol and insensitive family members is not a good isn't much good for the waistline!  Have a glass of wine with your meal but then stick to water or soda or other calorie-free beverages.  Your head will be clearer, your eyes sparkly and your temper intact!

Time out!  You're bored and the food tray looks inviting or your in-laws/sister, nosey great aunt, etc are driving you to distraction...go for a walk.  Offer to take the dog for a walk, play games with the kids...just get yoruself away from the food.  Your waistline and mind will both be happier!

“Some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eat to Improve Your Mood

Q: Is it true certain foods can actually improve my mood?

A: Happy news: Eating the right stuff at the right time can help you feel good.  To prevetn the dips and spikes in blood sugar levels that may leave you tired, irritable and headachy, try to....
  1. Eat every 4 to 5 hours.  Noshing throughout the day provides your body and brain with constant fuel.
  2. Limit refined carbs.  Your body quickly metabolizes the calories in soda, juice, bagels and crackers, causing blood sugar to rise sharply and eventually plummet.  
  3. Fill up on soluble fibre.  Oats, brown rice and vegetables (to name a few) slow down the body's absorption of sugar, so you feel steadily energized and upbeat for hours.
  4. Add protein to meals and snacks.   It keeps carbs from being digested too quickly.  (Put some cottage cheese on that wholewheat bagel or wholegrain cracker, for example)
  5. Go for foods high in Omega-3 fats and vitamin D. Research indicates they can relieve the blues.   For omega-3's, try ground flaxsees and oily fish like wild salmon; good sources of vitamin D include fortified skim milk and egg yolks.
 Not only will your mood be improved because of the good nutrition, but you will feel better for taking such good care of yourself!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mix Naughty and Nice

If only some nutritious foods weren't so bland (and junk food so delicious), you'd eat more of the good stuff and less of the not-so-good stuff, right???
You can get the best of both with this simple trick: Make a 50-50 blend of your favourite bite and its more virtuous counterpart!  You'll cut calories, fat and sugar without comprising the taste.  How good is that??

If you crave Salty, greasy chips
Mix up 1 oz Fritos (for example) with 1 oz air-popped popcorn
The Plus? You still get the crunch and save 50 calories and 9 grams of fat.  Popcorn is also a good source of fibre and B vitamins.

If you crave a Juicy Burger
Mix up 2 oz ground beef with 2 oz ground turkey
The Plus?  Using all-white turkey meat lets you sink your teeth into a succulent patty that sheds 14grams of  fat.

If you crave Pasta
Mix up 1 oz white pasta with 1 oz whole-wheat or other grain pasta
The Plus? Get nearly double the fibre per serving, filling you up so you'll be less likely to go back for seconds.  The healthier noodles also provide 3 x more folate.

If you crave Fruity Sangria
Mix up 3 oz Sangria with 3 oz flavoured carbonated water or sletzer
The Plus?  Quench your thirst with this fizzy sip and you'll sace about 140 calories and half the sugar.  You'll also stay hydrated while you drink - heading off a nasty hangover.

If you crave Chocolate
Mix up half a 1.7oz pack of M&M's with 23 almonds
The Plus? Slash sugar in half and saturated fat by a third.  Plus, the protein and good fat in the nuts will keep hunger at bay - ideal for satisfying afternoon munchies.  Sweet!

Use your imagination to Go half and half for better health!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

How often have you read fitness articles or are told in your fitness class to work at an RPE of 7, for example, or to work at a moderate pace and never really understood how hard that is meant to be?  Here is a practical measure of what those levels actually mean...

RPE 1-2: Very easy - you can converse with no effort.

RPE 3: Easy - you can converse with almost no effort.

RPE 4: Moderately Easy - you can converse comfortably with little effort.

RPE 5: Moderate - conversation requires some effort.

RPE 6: Moderately hard - conversation requires quite a bit of effort.

RPE 7:  Difficult - conversation requies a lot of effort.

RPE 8Very Difficult - conversation requires maximum effort.

RPE 9-10: Peak Effort - no talking zone!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Much Water Do You Need To Drink?

How can you make sure you’re getting enough water for optimal health? Should you rely on thirst alone, or is it best to abide by the eight-glasses-a-day rule?

The truth is, either approach will probably work just fine — for the most part. But your water and fluid needs can vary, depending on your activity level, the weather and environmental conditions, even the medications you may be taking.  The consumption of caffeine and alcohol can also increase your body's demand for water.

Getting to know which situations are likely to increase your need for fluids can help you stay sufficiently hydrated. But don’t go overboard. There’s no point in drinking more water than you need, just for the sake of it. At the very least, you’ll end up running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. At worst, you could put yourself at risk of a life-threatening condition called hyponatremia, or water intoxication.

Too Much of a Good Thing?  Under normal circumstances, a healthy body can process large amounts of water as long as it also has plenty of electrolytes, in particular, sodium. But the combination of too much water and not enough sodium can cause problems. Those at highest risk of developing hyponatremia are:

• Endurance athletes who lose large amounts of sodium through sweating and then flood their bodies with too much fluid as they try to rehydrate
• People with kidney problems

• People over 65 years old who take multiple medications or have health conditions that compromise the body’s ability to get rid of fluids or maintain adequate sodium levels

Although rare, hyponatremia can also occur as a result of unsafe crash dieting or binge beer-drinking.

I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man. ~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pair Slim Down!

You may not have set any exercises goals back in January, but chances are you will now, what with summer - and more revealing clothes - right around the corner. One strategy that can help you get in shape fast while upping the fun factor: Find a workout partner.

It makes you accountable to someone, so you're more apt to show up: it helps you pass the time on the treadmill or going for a run/walk; and it can prompt you to push yourself.  Try these "buddy up" tips below to maximize your workout relationships...
  1. Choose the right person.  Whether it is a friend, relative or member of your running group, look for womeone who is excited about working out and seems knowledgable about fitness.  Notice I didn't mention boyfriend or husband....statistics show that these don't always make the best workout relationships as it can cause more conflict that it's worth.  There are exceptions to every rule, of course, so if you and your signifcant other workout well together...then GO FOR IT!!!
  2. Use your partner for strength and flexibility moves.  Stretch together, throw the medicine ball to each other or use the opposite ends of tubing for great workouts.  Use your imagination!
  3. Challenge each other.  Use cardio machines side-by-side and see who finishes 500 m the fastest, or who finishes 20 push ups first.  This is an ideal opportunity to push your limits and have some friendly competition spur you on.
  4. Play follow the leader.  Take turns deciding on the workout.  One day you lead the workout, the next your partner does!
  5. Use each other for inspiration.  Talk about the changes you see ("Wow, your abs are looking great!")  to encourage the other person.  Or, use your partner's good results to fuel your motivation. 
  6. Let your buddy be strong when you're not.  If you go out for a post-workout dinner and are tempted by the Fettucine Alfredo, let your partner order something healthy for you!
 I get by with a little help from my friends.  - John Lennon

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Hiatus!

It fels like forever since I posted on the blog! 

I apologize to the loyal readers...I have had several computer issues (don't get me started!), among other things.

So, back to regular posting and providing you with lots of helpful and interesting information.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Women's Healthy Heart Numbers (Part 3)

BMI - Body Mass Index
The more overweight you are, the higher your risk of heart disease - even if you have no other risk factors.  Being overweight or obese also raises the chance of you developing diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  So, how do you know if you are overweight or obese?  One way, certainly not the only way, is to determine your BMI.  Use the chart below (you will need to ckick on it to enlarge it)

Once you have found your BMI, check it against the normal ranges -
Normal Weight:  BMI = 18.5 - 24.9
Overweight:  BMI = 25 - 29.9
Obese:  BMI = 30 or higher

How do you score???

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Women's Healthy Heart Numbers (Part 2)

The second number we are going to look at is Blood Cholesterol. The Doctor will usually test for 4 different measures: Total Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol (the “Bad” guys), HDL Cholesterol (the “Good” guys) and Triglycerides.

Total Cholesterol:
Desirable:   less than200 mg/dL
Borderline High:   200-239 mg/dL
High:  240+ mg/dL

LDL Cholesterol:
Optimal:  less than 100 mg/dL
Near Optimal:  100-129 mg/dL
Borderline:  130-159 mg/dL
High:  160-189 mg/dL
Very High:  190+ mg/dL

HDL Cholesterol:
High:  60+mg/dL (for HDL, high is good!)
Low:  40 mg/dL or less

Normal:  less than 150 mg/dL
Borderline High:  150-199 mg/dL
High:  200-499 mg/dL
Very High:  500+ mg/dL

Although having a low level of blood cholesterol doesn’t mean you won’t have a heart attack, a high level will increase your chances of having heart disease/high blood pressure by accumulating on artery walls…meaning, the arteries get narrower, making it more difficult for the blood to be pumped through…which makes your heart work harder…all the time!

Your body produces most of the cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream (we all need some cholesterol), but foods high in saturated fat, transfats and cholesterol, together with sedentary living, can raise the level even higher.

If your LDL cholesterol is borderline high, your Doctor should recommend lowering it by reducing the saturated and trans fats and cholesterol in your diet, losing weight (if you are overweight) and increasing your level of physical activity (which also helps to raise the good HDL Cholesterol). If these lifestyle measures do not work or your LDL Cholesterol is high or very high, or, if you have other risk factors for heart disease (i.e. a hereditary predisposition), your Doctor may recommend cholesterol-lowering medicines, such as statins, together with the lifestyle changes. The triglycerides (associated with LDL) are the fat that is deposited in the blood vessels, which causes athrosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The blood vessels need to be flexible to allow the blood to flow through…the more triglycerides, the narrower the tube and the less flexible it is…once again, making the job difficult for the old ticker!

To protect yourself, have your cholesterol checked at least every 2 to 3 years, more often if you have high cholesterol or other risk factors.

“"Exercise is king, nutrition is queen, put them together and you've got a kingdom. ...”  Jack Lalanne