Dietary Supplement: a product taken orally that contains on or more ingredients (as vitamins or amino acids) that are intended to supplement one’s diet and are not considered food.

 

Here’s how you know a good doctor: A good doctor is one who asks a lot of questions and then listens to the answers the patient provides. A good doctor doesn’t make a recommendation or prescription before knowing the patient inside and out. A good doctor doesn’t have a one-size-fits -all solution for what ails the patient. The same logic holds true with those of us who are in fitness and wellness. We should be seeking to understand what our clients need, not sell them something we want them to have.

 

multi-level marketing, supplements, cults, fitness business, fitness industryDoctors take a Hippocratic oath when they become physicians. They swear to practice medical honesty. They swear to keep their patients from “harm and injustice.” The same should hold true in the world of fitness and wellness. Like doctors, those of us in health and wellness should adhere to our own Hippocratic oath of sorts. That is, we should aim to practice honesty no matter how it affects the success of our livelihoods or otherwise. There is only one reason to be in health, wellness, medicine, or fitness – to help people. If your primary goal and focus in fitness and wellness is to make money, shame on you. Go be a stockbroker.

 

I’ve been in fitness for a long time now and have seen many trends come and go but none as prevalent as that of the current multi-level marketing product craze.It seems that every gym and every Jack and Jill on Facebook are hocking something that claims to add beauty, fitness benefits, weight loss, and a cure for obesity. Sounds eerily like the snake oil salesmen days to me – the answer in a bottle. We all know deep down these claims are false, irresponsible, and self-serving. We want to believe though, both those who sell and those who buy. We want to believe because we will do almost anything to avoid being uncomfortable and face hard truths.

 

That is why people who sell multi-level marketing products talk a lot more than those who are their customers. If they talk and dance fast enough perhaps they can convince you otherwise of what you already know deep down is a lie – that you can have your cake (or diet cheese puffs) and eat it too, or that you can enjoy that brownie-flavored energy bar and it will help you get and stay thin. You want so desperately to have the body you’ve always wanted and to find something that tastes as good as the food you’re addicted to.

 

Lucky for you, there are plenty of people who are happy to sell you that bill of goods and with good reason – there’s plenty of money in it for them. It’s profitable to give customers what they want and tell them things they like to hear. Unfortunately, in fields like medicine, fitness, and wellness, doing so is also often an injustice. We all know the truth about diets of all kinds. They only work in the short term. Period.

 

multi-level marketing, supplements, cults, fitness business, fitness industryIn selling his multi-level marketing diet product, my former co-worker used to tell me that he was helping to “solve the obesity epidemic.” To which I simply smiled and listened as politely as possible. You know what solves the obesity epidemic? Telling people the truth. Telling people they need to face why they are addicted to processed and toxic food or asking them to face why it is they don’t want to get uncomfortable with rigorous daily exercise. I had the same awkward smile-and-nod conversation recently with a multi-level marketing rep who went on an on about the benefits of her magic veggie and fruit pills. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why not simply tell people to eat more real fruits and vegetables, but of course we all know there’s no money in telling people that.

 

Again, telling people this truth is often not profitable. It is much more profitable to tell people what they want to hear, which is that there is a fun and easy way to do exercise, and that there is a version of packaged food that is good for you. To which I say bullshit.

 

If we look at the definition of dietary supplement we notice that these supplements are “not considered food. That also goes for the diet products our country consumes en masse. The fact is we are addicted to toxic and processed food, much of which isn’t even food in the first place. Many of the foods we eat are derivatives of food mixed with chemicals we cannot pronounce, and they come to us in boxes that have shelf lives of months. Solving the obesity epidemic with ‘healthy’ processed food and ‘healthy’ chemicals (that make it taste good) seems downright laughable to me.

 

The reality is food doesn’t have a shelf life. As Michael Pollan says in his book Food Rules, don’t buy anything that is sold at a gas station. Yet another hard truth is that when you switch to eating real food it probably won’t taste as good to you either, at least initially. The veggie and fruit pill lady is right; we do need to eat more apples and broccoli, just not the kinds that come bottled up in her easy-to-swallow pill form. We need less stuff from a box or a pill – a lot less. That is the truth we need to be spreading. It’s not a voice we hear often, save from food pioneers like Michael Pollan and occasional television celebrities like Jamie Oliver. These individuals are the exceptions, and their voices are often drowned out by the much more popular diet du jour, whatever that happens to be.

 

Here’s the telltale sign of someone trying to sell you supplements or someone who is a multi-level marketing professional – they talk at you and ask you nebulous open-ended questions, like “Would you like to be more healthy?” or “Would you like to make more money?” I had a couple come up to me at the gym the other day asking my opinion on supplements and which ones I take and recommend. I started in on the potential benefits of a multivitamin and protein supplementation and then this couple launched into their pitch of a product they rep. I thought they were asking a genuine question, but it really was just a set up for them to go right into their pitch. They weren’t interested in what I had to say. They were waiting for the opportunity to give their elevator pitch. Put succinctly – regardless of ones profession, if someone talks a lot more than they listen, odds are they are thinking about their needs and not yours.

 

Like the turn of the century snake oil salesmen, multi-level marketing professionals hide behind the curtain of saving lives and healing people. The reality is many in the fitness industry are preying on the weak people – the obese, those in poor health, and those lacking self worth after putting on a few pounds. At least the sharks on Wall Street don’t hide the fact they’re in it for the money. Whereas those who sell diet dreams to the overweight and dissatisfied do so under the guise of providing a cure. And it doesn’t stop with the disadvantaged. Supposedly, these diets and supplements can help anyone. “Want to lose a few pounds, get ripped? Here’s how.”

 

Remember when your dad used to say, “If it sounds too good to be true…” Yes, it’s kinda like that. That’s how you really know they are full of it – they’ll sell their product to anyone.

 

It’s about the Benjamins.

 

You would hope that a person enters medicine for the right reasons, as lives are literally at stake. Unfortunately with the allure of big money and the ego involved with becoming a doctor or medical practitioner, some can be drawn into the medical field for the wrong reasons. The same thing happens in fitness. Many are drawn in because they think being a trainer, coach, or proprietor might be fun or cool.

 

Even if we’re in it for altruistic reasons, many in fitness quickly discover that it isn’t an easy field in which to make a decent living. This is the cause of the multi-level marketing craze in our industry – greed, and specifically greed in response to coming from a position of lack or want. The challenge is that many in fitness barely make a living wage. The majority in health and wellness live paycheck to paycheck and lots of us have white-collar pedigrees but make blue-collar (or below) wages. The desire to make extra money and work less can be very appealing and tempting. Not only that, you have a built-in support network of fellow marketers. Well, I suppose one could call this support, but then again it matters where you sit in the proverbial pyramid. I’m guessing it pays to be at the top, complete with sunny resort getaways and fancy seminars in swanky hotels.

 

multi-level marketing, supplements, cults, fitness business, fitness industryWell, I have some choice words for those of you who signed up for a career in health and wellness.Tough. No one promised us that we would get to make lots of money in fitness. Like I said, you want to make money, go be a stockbroker. We show up to the gym, the studio, and the dojo to help people and make people healthier. The money may or may not follow. You’ve got to know that going in. It’s like being an artist – you do it for the love of the art.

 

We in the health and fitness business are on the front lines of a pandemic in health and wellness. Obesity and the correlated health issues such as diabetes are continuing to skyrocket out of control. Clearly the rapid and robust growth of the supplement industry and multi-level marketing have solved nothing except make those who sell these goods richer. It’s up to each and every one of us in our industry to act accordingly and responsibly.

Change Your Thoughts to Win the Weight-Loss Game

If permanent weight loss were as simple as eating less and moving more, you wouldn’t be reading this article—you’d be off somewhere enjoying your fit, trim self without a thought in your head about the difficulties of weight loss.

But here we are—because things just aren’t that simple. Despite all our scientific knowledge about how people gain and lose weight, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees your success if you just follow the rules. The fact is that no one else is exactly like you, biologically or psychologically, and there is no pre-existing map for your individual weight-loss journey. You are an “experiment of one” when it comes to figuring out what will work for you, and you’re the one running the experiment.

A big part of this experiment involves learning more about what makes you tick. For most people, just figuring out how much we need to eat and exercise to lose weight doesn’t necessarily make it easy for us to do it. Chances are, you’re going to have to work pretty hard at changing some long-standing habits, assumptions, feelings, and attitudes that influence your relationship with food and shape your lifestyle. So, where do you start? How do you figure out what will work for you? How do you know what’s standing in your way and which habits you need to work on changing? One good way to find out is to look at the characteristics shared by people who succeed at long-term weight loss.

You probably already know about many of the characteristics that long-term, successful “losers” have in common. They are:

  • Optimistic enough to put in an honest effort and see what happens. They don’t fill their heads with self-defeating thoughts and negative prophecies that keep them from doing their best.
  • Stay focused on what they can do instead of fretting about what they can’t do.
  • Patient enough to take things one decision (and one day) at a time, instead of expecting instant results and losing motivation when those results don’t come.
  • See mistakes and problems as learning opportunities instead of being demoralized by them.

For some people, these basic characteristics seem to come naturally. They go into every challenge with the idea that they can succeed if they try hard enough—and they often turn out to be right. Not because they’re smarter, stronger, or better than anyone else is, but exactly because they actually do try hard enough. That winning attitude allows them to get through the particular problems and obstacles they face without being defeated by them.

Many of us, however, have to really work at getting and keeping ourselves in that positive, forward-moving frame of mind. In fact, transforming our “fatitudes” into winning attitudes may be the single most important thing we need to do to successfully lose weight and keep it off.

How do you know if you have a fatitude problem? Here are three very common patterns that may indicate you have a fatitude problem that needs help stat!

Symptom #1 of a Fatitude Problem: The Drama Queen/King Syndrome
Do you tend to panic every time you have a “bad eating” day? Does going over your calorie goal or missing an exercise session make you feel guilty, as if you’ve done something morally wrong? Does eating something on your forbidden list trigger that negative voice in your head that says you’re too stupid, weak, or messed up to resist a temptation? When you see a number you don’t like on your scale, do you feel like nothing you do is ever going to make a difference, so you might as well give up now and start stuffing yourself with your favorite comfort food? This, my friend, is all Fatitude!

You don’t have to get upset about every little thing that goes wrong. There will always be problems to contend with, but you can choose how you react to them. When you start feeling upset, ask yourself what good it’s going to do to get upset about this particular problem. When you realize that all that drama saps your motivation and prevents you from using your mistakes as learning experiences and opportunities to make constructive changes, you can choose to stop the drama and adopt a more productive attitude.

The Winning Attitude: If you never have problems, you’ll never have any successes. You’re in the business of changing your lifestyle, and finding solutions that work for you will take a lot of trial and error. Your problem areas and setbacks can become valuable opportunities—if you let them. So ditch the drama and the negative self-talk, and replace it with a little open-minded curiosity. What was going on when this problem happened (in your environment and in your mind)? How is that different from what goes on when you don’t have the problem? What about your environment (or your thinking) can you change to make it easier to avoid this problem next time?

Symptom #2 of a Fatitude Problem: The All-or-Nothing Game
Do you frequently find yourself thinking that, since you’ve already “blown your diet” for today, you might as well keep on eating and start over tomorrow (or next week or next month)? Is it hard to get yourself to exercise because it takes so much time and effort to burn such a relatively few calories? Do you find yourself going overboard with severe calorie reductions and excessive exercise just to speed things up? Do you feel unmotivated when you think about how far you have to go to get to your goal weight and how long it’s going to take you? Sounds like a Fatitude problem to me!

There are many ways that all-or-nothing thinking can sabotage your chances for weight-loss success. But the fact is that perfectionism and the desire for instant gratification are very likely two of the problems that helped you become overweight in the first place, and they definitely aren’t going to help you change your lifestyle now. No one gets it right all the time; you’re not going to achieve success without paying your dues. Expecting things to be different for you is a one-way ticket to frustration, loss of motivation, and failure.

The Winning Attitude: You create success by doing the best you can with the individual decision or task that’s right in front of you at this moment. Nothing else really matters. All you can ever do is the best you can with what’s in front of you right now—everything else is history or fantasy. You’ll get where you want to go as long as you take more steps in the right direction than the wrong one.
Helpful Tool: Learn to master the mysteries of your motivation.

Symptom #3 of a Fatitude Problem: The Helpless Victim Story
Do you often feel like something beyond your control dictates your eating and exercise choices? Do you think that you’re unable to resist certain foods or that other people are sabotaging your efforts by constantly putting temptations in your path? Do you find it hard to find time for healthy cooking and exercise because of all the demands on your time and energy from work, family responsibilities, and other priorities? Fatitude, again!

There’s no doubt that eating well and exercising regularly takes time and effort. But there’s also no doubt that everyone gets the same 24 hours in the day, and that everyone has many other responsibilities to contend with, too. Many of these same people manage to be successful at weight loss and healthy living anyway. The difference between success and failure is often in your expectations and the language you use to think and talk about the practical problems you face. The more you view your own behavior or decisions as being dictated by other people or circumstances, the more you give up the power to make your own decisions. The longer you wait for other people to change their ways to make things easier for you, the longer it will take you to reach your goals.

The Winning Attitude: You always have a choice. No food has the power to make you eat it, and no one else determines your values or priorities. Sure, the situation may be difficult; sometimes you may have to choose between less than ideal options, or even pick the lesser of two evils. But the choice is always yours, and the only way to fail in the long run is to fail to choose. So, ditch all those stories you tell yourself about why you have to do this or that! Make the best decision you can at the time, then move on to the next one.
Helpful Tool: Put “I” Into Your Vocabulary.

While these three signs of a fatitude problem are the most common, they aren’t the only ones out there. There are also many other ways that your attitude, expectations, and thinking can help or hinder your success. The foundation of your success will be your belief that you can do what is necessary to reach your goals. Armed with this basic belief, there isn’t any problem you won’t be able to find a way around!

Common Myths about Happiness

Posted: July 29, 2014 in The Mind

Finish this sentence: “I could be happy if…”

Did you answer something like, “If I lost 15 pounds,” “if I got that promotion,” or “if I had more money”? If so, you’re not alone.

For many people, happiness is some elusive thing that’s always out of reach. You’re never happy right here and now—your happiness depends on something that’s got to happen in the future, something outside of yourself. You can’t be happy with the way things are because your life isn’t perfect. And if you’re happy with your current life, then you’re “settling” for the life you have.

One of the main tenets of Buddhism states that simply wanting people, things or situations creates unhappiness. For example, if you didn’t want that new car then you’d be happy with the one you already own. It’s not your old car that is causing your unhappiness, but the desire for the car that you don’t have.

Too often we put our lives on hold. Instead of appreciating the way things are right now, we believe that we’ll only be happy if external conditions were met. Instead of relying on these outside factors, you must learn to turn inward and realize that your happiness depends on only one thing—your very own thinking.

The way you think about a situation frames your entire perception. For example, you may need to lose some weight. Instead of moaning as you get on the scale to see that you only lost one pound this week, think about all the positive things you did for your body, from walking every day to eating more vegetables. Even a small weight loss improves your cardiovascular health, so appreciate how far you’ve progressed and recommit your efforts to keep doing what’s best for your long-term goals.

The same thing goes with work. Instead of fixating on everything that you don’t like about your job, change the way you think about it. If you have a hard time dealing with a difficult co-worker, reframe your thinking and realize that you are learning valuable coping skills every time you have to interact with that person. This doesn’t mean that you have to go through life putting up with less than ideal situations, however. By all means keep looking for something better—just don’t put your life and happiness on hold until you change jobs.

Instead of concentrating on your flaws or the things you lack, focus on your strengths and blessings. You may be overweight, but you’re driven to improve your body. You may be single, but you have countless opportunities to meet the right person. You may have money problems, but you are creative and can think of multiple ways to bring in new income or cut down on debt.

Having a sense of gratitude about the people and things in your life is another way of feeling happy with what you have. Take a few minutes before bed to list the good things that happened today, from enjoying your favorite cup of coffee to meeting a great new friend. It’s not the big events in life that make us happy but the small, almost unnoticed, things that add up to a satisfying life.

The only constant you will have in your life is your relationship with yourself. People will come and go, material possessions can be taken away or lost, but you will always remain. And how you feel about yourself will make a big difference in how you interpret your life.

Remember—you can’t change your weight, finances, or job in a day, but you can always change your thinking. While thinner thighs or a fatter bank account would be nice, true happiness can only be found by viewing your life—and yourself—in a positive light. You are more than your body, your house and car. By appreciating your blessings, and focusing on the positive—you can be happy right now, at this moment—so stop waiting for future happiness when it can be yours today!

There are many foods in today’s supermarkets that aren’t as good for you as you might think. Before you bite, get the facts on some of these masters of disguise, but remember: All sorts of foods and drinks can fit into a healthy diet when you enjoy them responsibly and within moderation. Just make sure you’re reading labels and not being tricked into thinking the foods you’re eating are better for you than they really are.

Vitamin-Enriched Water

Vitamin-enriched waters put two good things together to make healthiest drink ever, right? Sounds good in theory, but vitamin waters contain far more than their name implies. Yes, they can give you your daily dose of nutrients, just like a multivitamin, but it comes with a side of sugar and calories you may not have known you ordered. A single bottle of vitamin-enriched water usually contains 2.5 servings or more when you read the nutrition label. That means you’re consuming more than twice the calories and sugar listed on the label when you drink the whole thing. Water it down: Water should be your drink of choice. If you don’t like the flavor of plain water, spruce it up without calories by adding lime, lemon or orange wedges to your glass. Save the vitamin and electrolyte-enhanced waters for long, intense workouts that last 90 minutes or more.

Granola

Granola can be deceiving. It appears to be filled with the whole-grain goodness of oats. What’s so bad about that? It’s what you don’t see: all the added fat and sugar that turned those healthful oats into granola. This applies to granola bars, too. They may have a reputation as the optimal snack for healthy eaters, but many are made with added chocolate, sugars, and “chicory root extract,” which is mostly inulin, a sugar made from plants that is also a source of soluable fiber. Inulin, which is largely undigestible, adds both sugar and supplemental fiber to make granola look healthier than it is. Get a grip on granola: Not all granolas deserve a bad rap. Read those labels (sugars should not be in the first two ingredients) or make your own so you know what you’re eating.

Spinach Wraps & Pasta

Spinach wraps and pastas definitely add a decorative flair to your meal, but that’s about it. The actual amount of spinach in these green tortillas and noodles is trivial compared with what you would get if you added your own spinach leaves to your wrap or pasta dish. This super green is added more for color than for nutrition, and most often, the flour used to make the pasta or wrap isn’t whole grain, either. Spruce up your spinach: Add fresh spinach leaves to your pasta dish or wrap if you want to benefit from the B vitamins, fiber, iron and calcium found in spinach. Choose whole-grain (not spinach) pastas and wraps for your meals instead.

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

It may boast the super food “broccoli” in its name, but this creamy concoction is usually less than soup-er for you. Besides a load of full-fat cheddar cheese, what you won’t see is all the melted butter and cream this soup contains. All three of these ingredients are high in unhealthy saturated fats. And just because broccoli is in the name doesn’t mean you’re getting a serving of vegetables when you slurp down this soup. Slim down your soup: Order a cup instead of a bowl, or make it at home using healthier substitutions like evaporated skim milk and less cheese. Don’t forget to add a real serving or two of vegetables to your meal; this soup alone won’t help you meet your daily quota.

Veggie Chips

Veggie chips seem like they would be a much smarter choice than regular potato chips, but it turns out most brands are about equal in calories, fat and nutrients to regular old chips. Consumer Reports states that the main ingredient for almost all veggie chips are potatoes, merely supplemented with vegetable powder or puree. Veggie chips only contain about 10 fewer calories per serving than your average potato chips. Chuck the chips: Snack on fresh, crunchy veggies for fewer calories and more nutrients than veggie chips.

Muffins

Muffins may look like the perfect breakfast or snack, but in most cases, they’re little more than a small cake (i.e. dessert). Not only do they resemble small planets in size, but they are also loaded with calories, unhealthy fats, refined flour and added sugars. Bran muffins can trick you into thinking they are healthful because the word “bran” is in the name, but these monsters can contain 500 calories or more and very little else in the way of nutrition! Blueberry muffins (or other fruity varieties) contain a fraction of a serving of real fruit. Muzzle the muffin top: Share these goodies with a friend and watch your portion sizes. If fruit is what you want, avoid it when it comes in muffin form. You can also make muffins at home and use healthier ingredients to make them more nutritious.

Pretzels

Pretzels, although a better choice than greasy potato chips, provide little more than calories. Yes, you can buy them fat free, but they’re also free of any significant amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber or protein. Even pretzels labeled “honey wheat” struggle to pack 1 gram of fiber into 8 twists. If you’re crunching on salted pretzels, you could be adding an extra 815 mg of sodium to your diet with each serving. Power up your pretzels: Choose whole-wheat pretzels for more fiber and filling power or pair your twists with some healthy protein (like cheese or peanut butter) to avoid spikes in blood sugar that could leave you feeling hungry and lethargic.

Yogurt-Covered Raisins

Wholesome yogurt + fruity raisins = yogurt-covered raisins. These must be healthy, right? Wrong. While both raisins and yogurt are nutritious foods, this packaged snack is anything but. The “yogurt” on the outside is far from the yogurt you know from the dairy aisle. Mostly sugar, oil and some dry milk and yogurt powder, that “yogurt” coating is often a source of hydrogenated oil (trans fats), which you’d never find in real yogurt. A single serving (1/4 cup) also contains about 130 calories. Skirt this yogurt: Get more nutrition for your calories by choosing real yogurt, with or without added fruit. You’ll save fat and calories and avoid the sugar rush of this snack.

Diet Soda

Calorie-free isn’t synonymous with healthy. When you'[re downing more than the recommended max of 16 oz of pop per day, you may be doing harm to your body and hurting your healthy lifestyle goals. The carbonated beverage could be displacing much-needed water, which is necessary for hydration, and calcium-rich milk, which provides essential vitamins and minerals. Some sodas could even put you at risk for bone loss. Some research shows that phosphoric acid, found in dark colas, may leach calcium from your bones, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. Ditch the diet: Choose more water, tea and reduced-fat milk, aiming for 64 oz of fluid per day.

 

When’s the best time of day to exercise? First thing in the morning of course! Morning exercisers tend to stick with their workouts because nothing else (besides sleep) has a chance to get in the way. So I designed this progressive four-week walking program specifically for morning walkers who might meet up with friends to keep their workouts social and motivating.

You can, of course, do these workouts solo, on a treadmill or outdoors, or any time of day. Each one burns about 300 calories. Coupled with a reduced-calorie diet, this plan can help jump-start your weight loss in just one month!

WEEK 1

Day Workout Intensity Total Minutes
Sunday Practice maintaining a consistent pace. RPE: 5 30
Monday Walk briskly for 5 min; go hard for 1 min. Repeat 5 times. RPE: 5-7 30
Tuesday Ready to work? Increase your pace or incline at least 4 times along the way. RPE: 5-7 30
Wednesday Hum a song that you and your friends know and stay on pace with it. RPE: 5 30
Thursday Increase your pace or incline at least 4 times. RPE: 5-7 30
Friday Walk briskly 5 min; go all-out for 1 min. Repeat 5 times. RPE: 5-7 30
Saturday Rest today.    

WEEK 2

Day Workout Intensity Total Minutes
Sunday Walk up and down hills as many times as possible. RPE: 6-8 35
Monday Walk as fast as you can. RPE: 8 35
Tuesday Step briskly for 6 min, then super fast for 2. Repeat 5 times. RPE: 6-8 40
Wednesday Strut at a steady, moderate pace. RPE: 5 40
Thursday Have a friendly race uphill. RPE: 6 30
Friday Step briskly for 6 min, then super fast for 2. Repeat 5 times. RPE: 6-8 40
Saturday Rest today.    

WEEK 3

Day Workout Intensity Total Minutes
Sunday Maintain your pace and intensity. RPE: 6 40
Monday Walk as fast as you can for 5 min; recover. Repeat. RPE: 6-8 40
Tuesday Work your glutes: Climb a slight hill or incline most of the workout. RPE: 7 40
Wednesday Walk quickly for 6 min; walk your fastest for 3 min. Repeat 5 times. RPE: 6-8 45
Thursday Trek up and down a tough hill nonstop. RPE: 6-8 45
Friday Find a slight hill to climb steady and strong most of the workout. RPE: 7 45
Saturday Rest today.    

WEEK 4

Day Workout Intensity Total Minutes
Sunday Walk 6 min; up the pace OR incline for 3 min. Repeat. RPE: 6-8 45
Monday Maintain a fast and furious speed. RPE: 7 45
Tuesday Walk up and down a hill as many times as possible. RPE: 6-8 45
Wednesday Walk briskly for 6 min; boost speed or incline for 3 min. Repeat. RPE: 6-8 45
Thursday Work your butt off today. Talking should be difficult. RPE: 7-8 45
Friday Grand finale! Go all-out. Change incline and speed at will. RPE: 8 45
Saturday Rest today. You’ve earned it!    

Going fast enough? Count your strides for one minute. Your goal is at least 55 strides per minute. For a guide to workout intensity and RPE (your rate of perceived exertion)

 

Are Your Weight-Loss Efforts Being Derailed by Years of Baggage?

Eat less, move more is the advice touted to the overweight ad nauseam, as if it were really that simple. I have been in the business of helping individuals take off unwanted pounds for more than 10 years. Although success usually does include cutting back on unnecessary calories and moving more, there are a myriad of other factors that are part of the equation. Sleep, stress, metabolic factors, genetics and body type can all affect how quickly or easily you lose weight. And, without a doubt, emotional factors have a huge impact as well. I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and I would never attempt to analyze or prescribe solutions to a person who might have an emotional roadblock interfering with his or her weight loss goals. However, I can share with you some of the patterns and hindrances I’ve come across over many years of training and coaching my overweight clients. Perhaps a glimpse into these themes will help open your eyes to some hidden obstacles that have been holding you back.

Case #1: Whom would I be if I weren’t the fat, funny one? As long as John could remember, he was overweight. However, it never stood in the way of him having loads of friends and being happy. He could remember his elementary school teachers telling his parents how enjoyable it was to have him in the classroom; he knew how to be funny without being disruptive. His parents would beam with pride as they shared the feedback with friends and family. In high school and college, he had loads of friends. The girls adored him and thought of him as their trusted buddy and confidant. When broken-hearted by some other boy, they relied on John to cheer them up using his sense of humor. Now, happily married with two kids, he loves overhearing their friends say, “Your dad is so funny!” When John’s doctor told him he needed to lose weight to control his rising blood pressure and elevated glucose levels, he hired me to help him. Having made several failed weight-loss attempts in the past, he seriously doubted his ability to succeed. Each week he would set goals around sensible eating and making time for evening walks after dinner. The week would start off great, but by Wednesday, he was slipping back into old unhealthy eating habits and making excuses not to take his walks. Frustrated, he couldn’t seem to understand why he struggled to stick to his goals for more than a few days at a time even though he wanted to lose the weight so badly. One day I asked John, “If you were able to stick to your plan throughout the week, and you began to experience weight loss, what would that look like and feel like to you? “I don’t know who was more shocked by his response, John or me, when he stated, “If I was to actually stick to my plan, I know I would lose the excess weight. I wouldn’t be fat anymore. That idea feels so strange. Whom would I be if I weren’t the fat, funny one?

Case #2: Who am I to be perfect? Margaret had the kind of life that others envy. She was a brilliant economist, had a devoted and loving husband, two great kids who were excelling at school—even her dog was well-behaved and a joyful companion. Margaret and her husband traveled to exotic locations when on vacation and entertained friends often in their beautiful home. Being a compassionate, smart and insightful individual, family and friends came to her for advice all the time.The only area of Margaret’s life that she did not seem to have under control was her weight. She carried 30 extra pounds on her body that she had been trying to shed for many years. When we worked together, she tearfully said, “I’ve got everything I could possibly want, except a body I am comfortable in. I know what I need to do, and often do exactly that. But after a while, I fall off track and begin to self-sabotage. I find myself eating junk when no one is watching, and telling myself I just don’t care. But I do care! This extra weight is making me miserable!” I asked Margaret to spend some time visualizing herself as successful, to close her eyes and imagine a future where the self-sabotaging behavior was no longer a problem, and she was living her life in the body she desired. I told her to think about and even journal about the thoughts and feelings that come up when doing her visualizations. A few weeks later Margaret reported, “At first it felt fabulous. I imagined being in form-fitting clothing that was beautiful, looking in the mirror and feeling proud, being lighter and more energetic. But when I imagined my friends seeing me, I began to think they would be put off by the ‘new’ me or feel intimidated. After all, who am I to be  perfect?

Case #3: What if I find out I’m just not that interesting? Bob was in his mid 40s when we began working together. He had an excellent job and was highly successful and respected, yet he still felt like a failure. Bob was unmarried and experiencing many moments of loneliness. He had always been overweight and extremely shy. Wanting desperately to find a woman with whom he could have a relationship, he attempted some online dating sites. Bob went on several first dates, but they never seemed to go any further than that. He was convinced women were turned off by his size. Bob thought that if he could lose the excess weight, it would increase his possibilities of women going out with him more than once, thus getting to know him better. Despite being a highly motivated and creative goal-setter, he continued to fill lonely evenings with fattening junk foods. The pounds weren’t budging. When we explored the pros and cons of losing weight versus keeping things as is, Bob stated that “the advantage to not losing the weight is I can continue to use it as an excuse for striking out with women. If I were thin, and they still rejected me, I would find out that I’m really just not that interesting. That would feel much worse than them not liking me because I am fat!”

Case #4: I’m keeping my family safe. When Sue came to me for weight-loss coaching, she was concerned that she and her husband had steadily been gaining weight during their 15-year marriage. Particularly alarming was seeing two of her four children also show signs of rapid weight gain. Her own doctor and their pediatrician expressed concerns. She bought the groceries and cooked the meals, so Sue recognized the need to change her habits at home. We worked together on planning healthier meals and snacks for her family. Although she made a few minor changes, there seemed to be a celebratory meal, holiday or guests visiting every week. At those times, Sue couldn’t get herself to cut back on the lavish meals and treats her family was accustomed to. Although losing weight felt like an important goal, she couldn’t stand the thought of her family or guests feeling deprived. I asked Sue to chat with me about the role food played in her family when she was growing up. Sue was the only daughter of two parents who grew up during the great depression. As a child, she was told stories about the years her parents had little to eat, and how her grandparents used food stamps and rations to put meals on the table. Far surpassing their parents’ lifestyle, her dad was a highly successful businessman and her mom a stay-at-home wife. Food and money were never issues. Holidays in her home were a gathering of grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins with tons of delicious food and treats, a tradition that Sue continued in her own home. Sue could remember her grandparents saying how lucky she was to live during a time when she could feel safe and secure that there would always be enough to eat. “Wow,” she exclaimed, “I guess I am just trying to keep my family safe with food!”

Case #5: Food is love. Lois was a chubby kid and grew to be an overweight adult. A bright, fun loving young woman with a promising career, she was concerned that her weight might stand in the way of advancement. She knew that to continue climbing the ladder, it would be necessary to get in front of management and customers more often. Feeling self-conscious because of her size, she noticed that she would stay quiet during meetings rather than speak up and share her great ideas. She decided that losing weight would increase her confidence and therefore advance her career. When I asked her what she believed was her greatest obstacle to losing weight, Lois stated, “I feel happy when I indulge and miserable when I try to restrict myself. But of course, I feel more miserable after the fact. I tell myself I will abstain from the treats, but put them in front of me and I can’t resist them. I have no willpower!” When I asked her what she thought about when she was indulging, she realized most of the time she was reminiscing about her childhood. Lois’s dad left when she was only eight, so her Mom raised her alone. She remembered feeling sad and abandoned by her dad, and would cry often. Trying to cheer her up, her mom often took Lois out for ice cream or to the local candy store or bakery for treats. Those were her favorite times. Her mom unburdened by work or housekeeping, gave Lois her undivided attention, and was relaxed and fun to be with. Even if her Dad wasn’t around, Mom took care of her and she was loved through food!

Case #6: You can’t control me. Terry could not remember a time since college when she was not trying to lose weight. She had tried every diet imaginable. Despite having some success, she would always put back whatever pounds she had lost and then some. When we started working together, she said this would be her last attempt. If she was not successful this time, she swore to give up trying. We began with small lifestyle changes, building upon one another. It was slow and, at times, frustrating for Terry, but she began to consistently lose about half to one pound a week. Terry incorporated walking into her daily routine, learned to recognize when she was no longer hungry and stop eating, and modified her favorite recipes to healthier versions. When we celebrated a year of working together and a 48-pound weight loss, I asked Terry why she thought this time she had succeeded. “You never told me what I could or couldn’t eat. You helped me create a food plan that was flexible, and I could make decisions based on how I felt and what I thought I would enjoy,” she said. Terry began telling me about her parents, a topic we had never talked about before. They were well-meaning and quite loving but incredibly controlling. She grew up with strict curfews, rules around how much TV she was allowed to watch, how many hours a day she had to study, and when she was allowed to visit or talk on the phone with friends.

Being “health nuts,” her parents also had rigid restrictions regarding food. There was absolutely no junk food in the house, groceries were purchased at the health food store only and fried food and sugar were thought of as “poison.” When Terry went to friends’ homes, she would raid their fridges and pantries, indulging in all of the treats that were forbidden in her home. When she went off to the local community college (she was not allowed to go away for school), Terry purchased greasy foods in the cafeteria and always had dessert. At those times, always feeling that she was sneaking from her parents, she would think, “you can’t control me!”

From these stories, I hope you are able to see how often we have the best of intentions, yet struggle to reach our goals. Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, introduce the theory of conflicting commitments in their wonderful book,Immunity to Change. Without an understanding of the reasons why we hold on to the very behaviors that keep us from getting where we so desperately want to go, sustained change will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Awareness is the first step toward breaking down the barriers. Once we are aware of why or what we are doing, and how it is in a sense protecting us and keeping us safe, we can begin taking small steps, or doing experiments to see what happens. For many, this is the road to success.

However, others will still struggle, and could benefit enormously from working with a mental health care professional. As a coach, I recognize a few signs that will tell me my client needs some additional assistance in order to move forward. When clients come to their sessions week after week having made goals but not following through, feel as if their sabotaging behaviors are uncontrollable, or are constantly blaming their situation on the past, others or circumstances, it’s time to suggest working with a therapist. So if your weight-loss journey seems more like an uphill battle that will never end, despite being highly motivated, do some thinking around what competing commitments you might be holding on to. A good coach or therapist, or even talking with a trusted friend, can help you shed some light on your situation. In the meantime, call upon your own self-compassion and recognize that you are doing the best you can, and weight loss is indeed way more complicated than just eating less and moving more.

Get Over the Excuses to Get Stronger

Remember when you were a kid and claimed that your dog ate your homework, when really you just didn’t get around to writing your book report? Of course, your teacher knew you were fibbing. While most of us are past blaming the dog instead of taking responsibility for our actions, this doesn’t mean that we’re beyond using excuses—whether we realize it or not. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I’ve heard almost every reason under the sun for why people “can’t” be active, let alone do something specific like lifting weights for the recommended 20 to 30 minutes twice a week. However, outside of an actual health condition and a doctor’s note saying that strength training isn’t recommended, lifting weights is so beneficial to the majority of people that all excuses are busted pretty quickly. The benefits of weight training are numerous, including increased muscle strength, balance, bone density, lean muscle mass, insulin sensitivity and cardio endurance—not to mention that strong, lean muscles simply look better! So if you’ve been making excuses and opting out of weight training, read on to get the (nice) kick in the workout pants that you need to start benefiting from regular strength training.Busting 7 Common Strength Training Excuses

Excuse #1: Strength training is boring. If you get bored easily or like activities that are a little more fast-paced and engaging, then strength training really is for you—the sky is the limit! From group classes that pair lifting weights to fun music, to suspension training with the TRX, workout DVDs, free weights,  kettlebells, circuit training (more on that below) and even using your own body weight at home while watching TV, the options are endless—and certainly not boring.

Excuse #2: I don’t have time for strength and cardio. The best thing about strength training is that it can double as cardio if you do it the right way! There are three basic ways to do this. First, you can add some cardio moves, such as mountain climbers or jumping jacks or marching in place, between different strength exercises to get your heart rate up and keep it elevated through your entire workout. Second, you can do a circuit-training type format where you have no rest between exercises and perform moves that work major muscle groups (such as lunges, squats and push-ups which target multiple muscles). This also keeps your heart rate elevated, giving you a high calorie burn and working your cardiovascular system. Third, you can do strength moves that work the lower body with the upper body (for example a lunge with a bicep curl), to really get your heart pumping.

 Excuse #3: I don’t know what to do. You didn’t think you’d get away with that excuse did you? I am all about teaching you what you need to know! Brush up your knowledge on the principles of strength training, then read this primer on what exercises you should include. Knowledge is power!

Excuse #4: I’m intimidated by the gym. The gym can be intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Any health club staff or personal trainer should be more than happy to show you around the gym, teaching you how the different strength equipment works. And even if that sounds pretty scary, you can always get your strength training on at home! In fact, you don’t need any gear to get in a good strength workout at home.

Excuse #5: I’m afraid of bulking up. Man or woman, lifting weights for 30 minutes a few times a week will not bulk you up. In order to get “beefy,” men have to lift very heavy weights for multiple times a week (the big body builders spend hours a day in the gym). Women do not even have enough testosterone to build huge muscles unless they very carefully control their diet and spend hours and hours in the gym (and possibly take unhealthy supplements and illegal drugs, as well). For the everyday person, lifting weights a few times a week will definitely not bulk you up, so don’t let that stop you from reaping all of the benefits of lifting weights!

Excuse #6: I don’t want to get hurt. Moving your body in new ways and lifting weights can certainly make you more susceptible to injury. But, if you warm up properly, lift weights using proper form, understand the difference between soreness and pain and really listen to your body (not pushing it too hard, especially in the beginning), the benefits of strength training far outweigh the risks.

7. I’m trying to lose weight, so cardio is more important. When it comes to weight loss, a calorie burned is a calorie burned, no matter how you go about it. And the whole idea behind losing weight is cutting calories through both diet and exercise—not just cardio exercise either. In fact, many strength workouts like bootcamps, kettlebell training and circuit training can count as cardio and help you burn more calories than easy- to moderate-intensity cardio does. In addition, strength training adds muscle to your body, which boosts your metabolism, as muscle burns more calories per ounce than fat. It can also help to reshape and tighten your body. Bottom line: If you’re using excuses to keep you from lifting weights, it’s time to drop the nay-saying and just try it. Strength training is an essential activity for overall health that will help your body composition, thereby making weight-loss easier. So don’t delay; try strength training today!

 

PearsonJ

Are you tired of eating plain, boring chicken breast every night for dinner, or are you having a hard time eating enough protein to meet you daily needs? Studies suggest that eating protein helps you feel fuller for longer and keeps your body’s systems function properly. At the same time, many high protein recipes are also loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol that work against your efforts to stay healthy. A health and balanced diet requires 10-35% protein. That’s an average of 50-175 grams daily. To find the right balance of protein and fat follow these suggestions:

  • Grill, bake, poach or broil your food to limit fat.
  • Select nonfat or low fat dairy options.
  • Use egg whites in place of the whole egg.
  • Select lean meats and trim the fat and skin before cooking.

Prepare these high protein, low fat recipes to help you stay on track and satisfied.



Healthy Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Try this inexpensive and fresh version of a chicken casserole–no need for processed soups or sauces!

CALORIES: 320.6  |  FAT: 8.9g  |  PROTEIN: 27.9g  |  CARBS: 36.1g  |  FIBER: 8.8g

Grilled BBQ Chicken Flatbreads

This recipe was created for kids, but adults will crave a slice, too. I like to add hot pepper rings for the grown-ups!

CALORIES: 223.9  |  FAT: 3.9g  |  PROTEIN: 26.2g  |  CARBS: 21.4g  |  FIBER: 2.9g

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

This is a family favorite!

CALORIES: 268.9  |  FAT: 4.9g  |  PROTEIN: 34.6g  |  CARBS: 19.3g  |  FIBER: 3.8g

Vegan Chili

An easy meat and dairy free meal.

CALORIES: 348.2  | FAT: 3 g |  PROTEIN: 56.9 g |  CARBS: 44.7 g | FIBER: 18.6 g

Cottage Cheese, Spinach, and Tomato Omelet

Great option to prepare ahead and enjoy for dinner or breakfast.

CALORIES: 345.6 | FAT: 2.2 g  | PROTEIN: 59.2 g |  CARBS: 13.9 g  | FIBER: 2.5 g

Chicken & Rice with White Beans Soup

This soup is packed with nutrition and is simple to prepare.

CALORIES: 105.1 |  FAT: 0.7 g |  PROTEIN: 80.2 g |  CARBS: 31.7 g |  FIBER: 3.2 g

Authentic Fresh Mexican Tuna Salad

This is essentially pico de gallo mixed with tuna.

CALORIES: 308.8 |  FAT: 2.5 g |  PROTEIN: 53.7 g |  CARBS: 18.5 g |  FIBER: 4.3 g

Mediterranean Baked Fish

This dish is baked and flavored with a Mediterranean-style tomato, onion, and garlic sauce to make it lower in fat and salt.

CALORIES: 225.5  |  FAT: 4.4g  |  PROTEIN: 29.4g  |  CARBS: 17.3g  |  FIBER: 2.5g


Moroccan Chicken & Lentils

Quick, tasty crock pot recipe ready for something with the seasoning to match a take-out craving, but with none of the effort or fat!

CALORIES: 355  |  FAT: 2.6g  |  PROTEIN: 49.4g  |  CARBS: 32.9g  |  FIBER: 16.1g

Buttermilk Marinated Chicken Breasts 

CALORIES: 282.8 | FAT: 3.2 g | PROTEIN: 55.6 g  | CARBS: 3.9 g | FIBER: 0.1 g

Tuna and White Bean Salad

A refreshing alternative to tuna salad. Pair with tomatoes and cucumber for a light lunch.

CALORIES: 219.1 |  FAT: 4.1 g | PROTEIN: 27.6 g | CARBS: 20.4 g  | FIBER: 6.1 g

Turkey Meatloaf

This is a fast, easy, and flavorful rendition of a favored food – meat loaf. Serve with a side of steamed broccoli, green beans or mixed veggies.

CALORIES: 220.6  | FAT: 2.7 g | PROTEIN: 28.5 g  | CARBS: 13.3 g  | FIBER: 0.4 g

20 Minute Chicken Creole

This quick Southern dish contains no added fat and very little added salt in its spicy tomato sauce.

CALORIES: 255.4 |  FAT: 4.5 g |  PROTEIN: 33.3 g |  CARBS: 20.7 g | FIBER: 4.3 g

The Worst Summer Calorie Traps

Posted: July 2, 2014 in Nutrition

Treats to Think Twice about This Summer

Summer is the season for back-yard barbecues, family get-together  and lots of cool treats on hot days. But if you’re not careful, a few sneaky snacks (or drinks) can derail a week’s worth of healthy eating and fitness. Be on the watch for these surprisingly high-calorie tastes of summer.

Fresh Fruit Treats
Fruit is a sweet treat you can enjoy every day as part of a healthy eating plan. But don’t let fruit-based seasonal dishes fool you into thinking that they’re healthy or low calorie. There are tons of ways to turn fresh summer fruit into delicious desserts at home, but the fruit-topped treats you’re likely to find when eating out probably aren’t what you really had in mind for a healthy meal or snack.

Food Item Calories Fat
T.G.I. Friday’s  Strawberry Fields Salad with Chicken and Balsamic Vinaigrette 800 54 grams
IHOP Berry-Berry Brioche French Toast 770 29 grams
Bob Evan’s Strawberry, Banana and Yogurt Crepe 750 14 grams
Applebee’s Seasonal Berry and Spinach Salad with Chicken and Strawberry Vinaigrette 620 31 grams
Au Bon Pain Strawberry Salad with Chicken and Balsamic Vinaigrette 440 27 grams
Au Bon Pain Blueberry Yogurt & Wild Blueberry Parfait 410 8 grams
Carnival Foods

You’re well aware that most of the food options you’ll find at summer fairs and theme parks aren’t going to do you any favors. You’ll probably be able to find a few choices that will fit into your daily calorie goals like giant dill pickles, chicken and steak kabobs or even cotton candy. But there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a once-a-year treat that you really enjoy. Just know what you’re getting into and eat a healthy meal before you go so you can limit yourself to one treat (or bites of several shared treats). Here’s how much these popular fair foods will set you back, so you can plan accordingly for your indulgence.

Food Item Calories Fat
Giant Turkey Leg 1,136 54 grams
Funnel Cake 760 44 grams
Snow Cone 550 0 grams
Walking Taco 450-900 30-60 grams
Elephant Ears 300-500 15-20 grams
Fried Snickers 450 30 grams

Entrée Salads
There’s nothing better than a cool salad for dinner on a hot evening. Just toss some leftover grilled chicken on top for a little protein and brighten it up with cherry tomatoes and carrot slices. A simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard or a yogurt-based ranch will add tons of flavor for a small number of calories. It makes sense to choose a salad when dining out, right? Not so fast. Many restaurant salads seem healthy but tend to skimp on the healthy, low-cal veggies and fruit and add way too much of the high-calorie salad toppings like nuts, dressing, and cheese. Sometimes a salad is the perfect choice, especially at fast-food places, but at fast-casual restaurants, salads can be hidden calorie mines.

Food Item Calories Fat
Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad with Oriental Vinaigrette 1,390 98 grams
Ruby Tuesday Carolina Chicken Salad with no dressing 1,181 52 grams
T.G.I. Friday’s Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette 1,080 71 grams
Panera Chopped Chicken Cobb with Herb Vinaigrette 810 66 grams
Au Bon Pain Chicken Cobb with Light Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette 490 30 grams
Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad with Fat Free Raspberry Vinaigrette 460 16 grams
McDonald’s Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken with Low Fat Balsamic 320 11 grams

Iced Tea
Iced tea can be a refreshing no-calorie beverage or secret sugar trap depending on how it’s prepared. Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush, with different varieties depending on growing region and processing. All types of black, green and white tea provide antioxidants that are good for your heart and may be able to lower your risk for certain types of cancer. (Herbal teas, made from dried herbs and fruits, aren’t true teas, but have beneficial properties of their own, are naturally caffeine free and make delicious no-calorie drinks.) If you brew your own tea and sweeten it yourself (even with a small amount of real sugar), you can enjoy it every day without worrying about derailing your healthy eating plan. But grabbing a bottle or cup of tea on the go is a tricky proposition. What often sounds like a “natural” or healthy iced tea can be loaded with sugar and other ingredients that add calories.

Drink Item Calories Sugar
Arizona Rx Energy Herbal Tea (16 oz) 240 58 grams
Arizona Raspberry Black Tea (16 oz) 180 44 grams
Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Latte (16 oz) 240 42 grams
Dunkin’ Donuts Sweet Tea (16 oz) 160 39 grams
McDonald’s Sweet Tea (16 oz) 150 36 grams
Lipton 100% Natural Green Tea with Citrus (16 oz) 140 36 grams
Starbucks  Shaken Iced Peach Green Tea (16 oz) 80 20 grams
Wendy’s Strawberry Tea (Medium) 70 16 grams
Lemonade

This summertime favorite is incredibly refreshing on a warm day, but this sweet treat should be enjoyed occasionally, rather than every day. And lemons are good for you, right? They are, and you can certainly squeeze all the lemon you want into water for a splash of flavor and vitamin C (and virtually zero calories), but unless you use an artificial sweetener, the calories will creep up quickly in the sweetened varieties.

Drink Item Calories Sugar
Dairy Queen Lemonade Chiller (Medium) 390 99 grams
Wendy’s All-Natural Lemonade (Medium) 290 72 grams
McDonald’s McCafe Frozen Strawberry Lemonade (16 oz) 250 65 grams
Dunkin’ Donuts Strawberry Lemonade Coolatta (16 oz) 240 60 grams
Country Time Bottled Lemonade (20 oz) 230 58 grams
Arizona Lemonade (16 oz) 220 52 grams
Panera Lemonade (21 oz) 160 41 grams
Starbucks Shaken Iced Green Tea Lemonade (16 oz) 130 33 grams
Smoothies

Fruit smoothies make an excellent breakfast or afternoon snack. When you make them yourself, you can control exactly how sweet they are and how much fruit (or veggies) they really contain. When you grab one on the go, however, you need to do a little research in advance to know exactly what you’re getting. Something that sounds safe like “strawberry banana” could be a reasonable choice or it could be hiding a heap of sugar—or very little fruit at all.

Drink Item Calories Sugar
Smoothie King The Hulk Strawberry (20 oz) 964 125 grams
Dairy Queen Strawberry Banana Smoothie (Medium) 810 148 grams
Smoothie King Light & Fluffy (20 oz) 395 89 grams
Au Bon Pain Peach Smoothie (16 oz) 310 41 grams
Starbucks Strawberry Smoothie (16 oz) 300 41 grams
Panera Low-Fat Strawberry Smoothie with Ginseng (16 oz) 260 53 grams
McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie (16 oz) 250 54 grams

Iced and Frozen Coffee
Everyone knows by now that iced and frozen coffee drinks can be delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day. But they’re often calorie bombs just waiting to blow up your healthy eating plan. It’s tough to tell at a glance which ones are just fine as an occasional treat and which ones you might want to skip in favor of something that will actually fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth. In general, any coffee drink that’s blended or contains large amounts of syrup, chocolate flavoring, cream or whole milk are the ones to watch out for. If you’re not sure what’s in your favorite iced coffee, ask! You can always make substitutions to cut down on fat and calories.

Drink Item Calories Sugar
Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Coffee Coolatta (Medium) 660 69 grams
Dairy Queen Cappuccino MooLatte (Medium) 570 79 grams
Panera Frozen Mocha (16 oz) 570 77 grams
McDonald’s McCafe Frappe Mocha
(16 oz)
550 71 grams
Starbucks Bottled Dark Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino (13.7 oz) 280 48 grams
McDonald’s Premium Roast Iced Coffee (16 oz) 140 22 grams
Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Light (16 oz) 130 26 grams
Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Latte (Medium) 120 15 grams
Starbucks Orange Spiced Iced Coffee (16 oz) 90 21 grams
Starbucks Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte
(16 oz)
80 10 grams
There’s no reason not to enjoy all the tastes of summer from refreshing iced tea to a cool, filling salad. Just be aware of what you’re eating and drinking so you can make delicious and healthy choices all summer long.

Nutrition information comes from individual restaurant/brand websites on July 11, 2013. Restaurants may change their ingredients, portion sizes and nutrition information at any time. Carnival food nutrition information is estimated based on averages since sizes and recipes vary.

Turn Up the Heat for a Nutritious, Balanced Meal

An outdoor grill lets you cook up a tasty, healthful meal while creating a great atmosphere for chatting with friends and family on a warm summer evening. But after months of grilling out, you may grow tired of the same old chicken breasts and turkey burgers.

Lucky for you, grilling isn’t just for burgers, steaks and chicken! You can use this fantastic backyard appliance to cook up many other foods that you may not have considered grilling!

With so many exciting grilling options, your microwave and oven are going to gather dust during the warmer months. Below are some favorites sure to please a crowd! Get ready to fire up your propane-fueled friend to put a new spin on some of your favorite foods.

Pizza doesn’t have to be baked in an oven. Grilling your next homemade pizza will get you out of the hot kitchen. And when you choose the right toppings, your homemade pie will be both healthful and delicious! Grab a premade whole-wheat crust from your local grocer and start piling away! Use your choice of sauce, such as tomato, pesto, barbeque, or plain olive oil, and top with copious amounts of sliced veggies. To keep fat and calories in check, use a small amount of lean meat (or no meat) and watch your cheese portions. Part-skim mozzarella is an excellent choice. Here are some crowd-tested favorites:

  • Olive oil, minced garlic, diced chicken, fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes
  • Barbecue sauce, canned chunk chicken, sliced onions and diced pineapple
  • Pesto sauce, canned artichokes, mushrooms and low-fat feta cheese
  • Tomato sauce, chopped broccoli, sliced zucchini, banana peppers and sliced tomatoes

Once you’ve chosen your toppings, place the pizza directly onto the grill, close the lid and cover until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove using a large spatula and an oven mitt. Slice and enjoy!

Quesadillas can be cooked on the grill, too. Like pizza, the sky’s the limit when selecting quesadilla ingredients. Choose cheese, veggies, beans, onions, corn and more. Place one whole-wheat tortilla on the grill, sprinkle with a bit of cheese, add other toppings, then sprinkle with a bit more cheese and top it off with a second tortilla. Grilled both sides, using a spatula to flip the ‘dilla and press down slightly as the cheese melts. Remove from the grill once it’s browned and melty, cut into wedges and enjoy with salsa!

Fresh fruit from the grill is a great summertime treat! The heat of the grill caramelizes the natural sugars found in fruit, leaving you with an amazing dessertlike dish that is full of fiber and vitamins but not calories! Try placingwhole bananas (peeled), or sliced peaches directly on the grill. Skewer whole strawberries. Add your favorite fruits to a meat (or tofu) and veggie kabob for additional color and flavor. Apple, pineapple and pear slices are also great on the grill. (Remember that larger is better to prevent burning.) Pair the grilled fruits with your salad, eat them as-is for a sweet side dish, use them to top your protein source, or indulge in an after-dinner treat of frozen yogurt with grilled fruit. Some great combos are grilled apple slices over pork tenderloin cuts, grilled pears with low-fat feta cheese over a bed of salad greens, and grilled pineapple with brown rice, mushroom and grilled chicken breast. The possibilities are endless!

Corn on the cob is generally boiled in water on the stovetop, but it is delicious when prepared on the grill. The trick? Soak the corn in cold water for 10-15 minutes, then transfer them (husks intact) to the hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes on one side, then rotate 180 degrees for 3 more minutes. Then, carefully remove the ears and shuck the corn, removing husks and silk. Place the husked corn on the grill for about 5 minutes, rotating frequently. Your guests will be impressed with the fancy look of the grill marks on the corn, which will have a slightly smoky taste. The corn will be so sweet and moist, you won’t need butter or salt!

Zucchini and summer squash are delicious, vitamin-packed additions to any summer meal. Both are easy to grill. Cut them on the diagonal to create strips that won’t fall through the grates of the grill. You can also cut the veggies lengthwise into quarters (to resemble pickle spears) to ease the grilling process. Brush the sides of each strip with olive or canola oil and grill to desired tenderness. For extra flavor, you can sprinkle the veggies with your favorite dried herbs. Or try crushed red pepper for a spicy kick!

Asparagus hot off the grill is especially good. Lightly coat the washed, trimmed spears with olive or canola oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper (optional). You can lay the spears directly on the grill (crosswise) for about 5 minutes or until they reach your preferred tenderness. If you’re nervous about the spears falling into the flames below, you can make foil pockets for your asparagus (see below) or buy an asparagus basket.

Tomatoes and peppers take on a great smoky flavor when grilled. Leave them whole and place them over the hottest part of the grill. When the skin is black and blistered, the vegetables are ready. Allow them to cool, then remove the charred skin and the stem and seeds (only for peppers). Do not rinse the vegetables after grilling or you will lose flavor. Chop them and combine with other vegetables for a salsa with a smoky kick, throw them on salads or place slices of roasted peppers on sandwiches. Roasted tomatoes are especially tasty when smashed on a good piece of bread. Any sweet or hot pepper can be roasted, and Roma or plum tomatoes are sturdy enough to endure grilling.

Foil pockets are a great way to grill a variety of veggies that might be too small to place directly on the grill surface. Veggies that work well in a pocket include white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onion slices, zucchini, squash, green beans, asparagus, artichokes, garlic cloves, mushrooms, and all types of peppers—sweet or hot. When preparing your veggies for grilling, cut or slice into pieces of uniform size and thickness so they cook evenly. Root veggies (like potatoes and carrots) may need a splash of water in the pocket to help create some steam.

To make a foil pocket, use heavy-duty aluminum foil. Lay out a large single sheet, spray one side with cooking spray, and fold foil in half. Crimp or fold over two of the open sides, leaving one side open to insert your vegetables. Once you tuck the veggies inside, add seasonings, then crimp the opening so the pocket is completely closed. (Be sure to fold this side loosely to make checking in on your masterpiece a cinch.) Now you’re now ready to hit the grill! Grill the pocket on the top rack of your grill where temperatures are a bit lower. Flip the pocket once halfway through cooking using oven mitts—not tongs or a fork, which might pierce the pocket. Cooking time will vary depending on size, type and amount of veggies you grill, but most veggies will cook in a foil pocket within 25-30 minutes.

With so many dishes to choose, you’ll be itching to fire up your grill nightly to show off your new found grill skills to your family, friends and neighbors. Don’t worry—we won’t tell them it’s good for them if you don’t!