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.