Healthy After The Holidays


I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas by spending time with family, friends and enjoying good food. Well, I must say I cooked a lot and ate a lot, more than I anticipated. I came to the conclusion that I only cook big like this once every couple of years so I may as well enjoy it. Then I told myself I can always get back on track; the food just didn’t leave my house fast enough. I rather cook and give it away then have the leftovers in my house. 😉

Anyway, what’s done is done. As you noticed, I didn’t blog last week. I figured people were going to eat during the holidays no matter what tips I shared; so I gave you all a break. :-).

Well, Thanksgiving and Christmas is gone. So what is your plan for getting or being healthy after the holidays? This is the time when most people make promises (or resolutions) to get in shape or drop a few pounds in the new year. There is no time like the present. You can start by making simple adjustments, once you conquer a few of them, start making additional adjustments. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to a healthier you.

Below are some steps you can begin taking to a be healthier.
1. No eating within 2 hours of your bed time.
2. Eat a nutritious breakfast daily (within one hour of waking up)
3. Replace one sugary beverage with cup water.
4. Cut back on sugar.
5. Cut back on salt.
6. Keep healthy snacks available when you are going to be away from home for a few
7. Eat mini meals every 2.5 hours. This keeps your metabolism reved up and minimizes
the hunger.
8. Stop eating at the first sign of fullness. You don’t have to clean your plate.
9. Eat fewer carbs after 5pm.
10. Don’t deprive yourself of those special treats every now and then.

Those are 10 helpful tips that can get you started in the right direction. You do not have to do them all at once, but I’m sure there are at least 2 or 3 that you can start incorporating today.

Remember, you only get one body, if YOU don’t take care if it, who will?



How to Time Your Meals for Optimal Weight Loss


So how do you maximize the timing of your meals to lose weight? Below are several tips to try.

1. ‘Have your dinner before 8:00 p.m.: Study results show that eating after 8:00 p.m. is associated with weight gain. If you need a late-night snack, try a small glass of milk or a cup of decaffeinated or herbal tea.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast: Though eating more calories at breakfast might encourage eating more calories throughout the day, avoiding breakfast completely also encourages weight gain.

3. Consider a larger lunch and smaller dinner: Depending on your daily schedule, you may want to consider eating more at lunch, and a little less at dinner. The body’s ability to digest meals is best at peak energy times, which occur around noon to 3:00 p.m. In fact, many people experience nighttime indigestion and heartburn because they eat their biggest meal around 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. Move your dinner time up an hour, cut down on nighttime calories, and if a big lunch leaves you sleepy for afternoon meetings, consider splitting your lunch into two servings–noon, and mid-afternoon.

4. Eat about 45 minutes after exercise: Eating before your workout may make you uncomfortable. Eating about 45 minutes afterwards, however, reduces the amount of energy that will be stored as fat, as the body uses the food to replenish low glycogen stores caused by exercising.

5. Avoid starchy carbs three hours before bedtime: Foods like breads, pastas, rice, potatoes, cakes and cookies will boost your insulin levels before bed, which can encourage weight gain. Instead, eat lean proteins, veggies and fruits at your last meal.





Remember your Mother saying that “breakfast was the most important meal of the day”? Well, she had a point.

Some people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but that’s not a good idea. It can backfire. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal, or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger.

Some studies suggest that people tend to add more body fat when they eat fewer, larger meals than when they eat the same number of calories in smaller, more frequent meals. Other studies show that weight management can be equally effective without breakfast .
What’s for breakfast – coffee? Most mornings, we barely glance at the kitchen. Fixing breakfast takes up precious time that’s in short supply. But there’s ample evidence that the simple act of eating breakfast — every day — is a big part of losing weight, lots of weight.

“People skip breakfast thinking they’re cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch, that person is starved,” says Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City. “Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, bingeing at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure.”

The Benefits of Breakfast

Eating breakfast is a daily habit for the “successful losers” who belong to The National Weight Control Registry. These people have maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year, and some as long as six year

Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast
Studies show making breakfast a daily habit can help you lose weight – and keep it off

The Benefits of Breakfast
It makes sense: Eating early in the day keeps us from “starvation eating” later on. But it also jump-starts your metabolism, says Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School. “When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight.”
Breakfast eaters are usually those who have lost a significant amount of weight. They also exercise. “They say that before having breakfast regularly, they would eat most of their calories after 5 p.m.,” Politi tells WebMD. “Now, they try to distribute calories throughout the day. It makes sense that the body wants to be fueled.”

The Smart Breakfast

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s best to make wise food choices. That’s where fruits, vegetables, and whole grains come into the picture. Because these are high-fiber foods, they fill you up – yet they bring less fat to the table. These high-fiber foods allow you to eat more food yet get fewer calories. It’s a concept called “energy density” (the number of calories in a specified amount of food)

“Some foods – especially fats – are very energy dense, which means they have a lot of calories packed into a small size,” Rolls tells WebMD. “However, foods that contain lots of water have very low energy density. Water itself has an energy density of zero. High-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains have low energy density.”
Translation: If you eat foods with high energy density, such as bagels, you rack up calories quickly. If you eat high-fiber, low-energy-density foods – such as oatmeal, strawberries, walnuts, and low-fat yogurt — you can eat more and get fewer calories.
A breakfast made up of 1 cup of oatmeal, 1/2lf cup of low-fat milk, 1 cup of sliced strawberries, and 1 tablespoon of walnuts has only 307 calories total. Two multi-grain waffles, with 1 cup of blueberries, 3 tablespoons of light syrup, and 1 cup of plain low-fat yogurt have about 450 calories total. That’s almost equal to the standard bagel-and-cream-cheese breakfast – yet it’s much more food, and much lower in fat

The web md articles have some good information. It has proven to work for me, so I make sure I eat breakfast within an hour of waking up, then I have my snack with 2.5 – 3 hours after breakfast. People tell me all of the time that they are not hungry that early in the morning or there is not enough time for breakfast. Breakfast should be consumed daily, rather you have the appetite for it or not. Something simple like eggs, whole wheat toast a piece of fruit will suffice or a bowl of oatmeal. So, if you are stuck in that rut and wonder why, are you starting your day by consuming a nutrious breakfast to get your body out of starvation mode?

We only have one body,so let’s take care of it.


Healthy Through the Holidays


Don’t let the holidays be an excuse for putting on excess weight.

I have heard several people tell me, “I am going to change my eating habits after the holidays.” My question is: why wait until next year? Why wait another day, another week or another month? Thanksgiving feasts and holiday parties: The last few months of the year can test even the most disciplined weight watcher. It is easy to get caught up in the holiday treats; I really had to catch myself a few times. If you do not nip it quickly, you will be out of control before you know it.

Managing the overabundance of food that comes with the holiday season?
First, try to remember that the holiday season is about more than just food. Next time you go to a holiday party, take time to admire the decorations. If there is entertainment, be sure to enjoy it. Focus on visiting with friends and family whom you haven’t seen in a long time. Be honest and acknowledge that it would be unrealistic not to indulge in some holiday treats. The key is to do it mindfully, and in moderation. One way to indulge “with purpose” is to make sure you don’t show up to a party starving. You know you’re not supposed to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. The same is true for parties. Many people make the mistake of “saving up their calories” for the party. But that plan backfires because when we’re ravenous; our self-control goes out the window and we consume way too many calories. Instead, consider eating a healthy snack before going to a party, such as yogurt mixed with high fiber cereal, fruit and nuts or some hummus with veggies.

Once you’re at the party, instead of going on “auto pilot” and digging into every dish, do a quick survey of the treats. Of the less healthy dishes, select two or three you really want to try For the rest of the meal, stick to healthier options, such as crudité, fresh fruit, salads, and lean meats. To help ensure that there is a healthier food option, volunteer to bring some food to a party. Fresh veggies with a low-fat dip, fresh fruit, low-fat cheese and multi-grain crackers, whole wheat pita and hummus, or chilled shrimp are all healthy, easy-to-prepare options.

Social graces around holiday eating
If you’re invited to a holiday meal at someone else’s house, you might want to practice saying “no” before you go. This can be hard for many of us, but remember: just because someone offers you food doesn’t mean you have to accept. You can politely decline saying, “Thanks, it was delicious, but I’m stuffed.” If you feel really guilty, ask the host if you could take home some leftovers to enjoy later.

I’ve let myself down in the past. Why should I believe that things could be different this year?
I think the most important thing is to have realistic expectations about what will happen this year. During the holiday season, it’s especially important to take into account a particularly hectic schedule and proximity to tempting foods. Acknowledge that you will likely need to modify your regular routine. Instead of throwing all healthy behaviors out the window from October to December and swearing to be “perfect” come January, take steps to engage in the healthiest behaviors that you can, given the constraints of the holiday season. If you do that, you should have no trouble surviving the holiday season, and you might even enjoy yourself and actually thrive.

Today is a new day, so start today.

Lavone Strong

Check out the next article ‘What Are We Consuming?’ on my blog
My blog:

What Are We Consuming- Read the Labels


What are we consuming?

On Steve Harvey’s Motivational Monday, the topic was healthy eating. He said some things that really stuck with me. Some of them I’ve heard before. One of the things he said was, “if we continue to eat whatever we want to eat, whenever we want it, we are going to die early.” Why is cancer on the increase? Why is obesity on the increase? Why is heart disease and diabetes on the increase? Could it be the foods we choose to eat? I do not think a pill is the fix to everything. Can we just simply make better food choices? It is time for us to take better care of ourselves.

Where did processed foods come from? What it processed sugar; natural sugar is not white. Flour is not white; if you go to a wheat field, you will not find white wheat.
What exactly are we putting in our mouths? Are we paying attention to what we are consuming? Read the labels. Food preservatives extend the shelf life of food in grocery stores but may have a detrimental effect on your health. Preservatives are a good thing for food manufacturers because products can be made, shipped and stored until purchase without going bad, meaning they don’t lose money from spoiled food. Once we eat food with preservatives in it and it goes inside our bodies, if we don’t do anything to remove the preservatives, what happens is the food stays there. How many preservatives are in the foods we are eating? Can we even pronounce some of the ingredients that are in the foods and beverages that we are consuming?

I read a good article about the effects of food preservatives on the human body. Check out the article:

It would difficulty to refrain from all foods with preservatives, but we can definitely minimize our consumption by making better choices. Normally, the foods in boxes, jars, cans and packages are loaded with preservatives and sodium. Fresh or frozen are the better options.

My rule of thumb: stick to the foods with few ingredients (5 ingredients or less). Examples:
1. An egg is an egg, with nothing added
2. A bag of natural peanuts or almonds should only have peanuts or almonds listed as ingredients.
3. Broccoli is broccoli
4. An apple is an apple
I think you get the picture.

Preservatives are used to make the foods last longer before consumption. If we eat foods with preservatives and do not do anything to remove those preservatives, how long is that food really remaining our bodies and what is it doing to our bodies? That is something to think about.