Archive for the ‘diets’ Category

Yet Another Reason to Reduce Sugar

July 16, 2007

I think that sugar, in it’s many forms, is one of the biggest causes of weight gain and obesity. It’s in nearly every bit of processed food you put in your mouth. Heck, take a look at the sugar content in the SALADS at fast food places; you’ll be shocked.

And now, there’s another reason why you should be cutting your intake: too much sugar may contribute to vision loss!

In a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  it was noted that a diet high in refined sugar has been linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  This condition is known to affect the retina and affect your vision.  The study found that the higher in refined sugar your diet is, the greater the chance that you could suffer from AMD.  Conversely, the study also showed that those who ate a lot of fruits, veggies and other low-glycemic foods were found to have lower risk for AMD.

Hmmm…interesting.  Eat a lot of sugar and possibly hurt your vision, or eat healthier, protect your eyes AND lose weight.  What choice are you going to make?


Quick & Easy Steak Salad Recipe — Perfect for Sweltering Summer Days

July 15, 2007

Oh man, fire up the grill and get ready for your taste buds to start singing.  🙂

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty recipe to feed yourself and your family on these summer days when it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen, here’s one you’re going to want to try.  Not only is this dish tasty, it’s perfect for your weight loss goals; a portion of it is less than 300 calories!

Steak Salad with Tomatoes, Peppers, Sweet Onions and Balsamic Vinaigrette

This recipe serves: 4

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes

For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

For the grilled steak:
2 top sirloin steaks, about 8 ounces each

For the green salad:
8 cups romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed
1 green bell pepper stemmed, seeded and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
4 small crusty rolls

Cooking Instructions
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1. Place the shallots and vinegar in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Continue whisking and slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
(This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

For the grilled steak:
1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

2. Season the steaks with salt and pepper.

3. Grill the steaks on both sides until it is cooked through, about 6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest.
(The steak can be grilled in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

For the green salad:
1. Slice the steaks into strips and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and onion slices and half of the balsamic vinaigrette.

2. Place the romaine lettuce in a separate salad bowl and toss it with the remaining vinaigrette. Arrange the steak, tomato, bell pepper and onion mixture on top. Serve with a roll.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size about 3 ounces of cooked steak with 2 cups of salad

Amount Per Serving

Calories 283

Protein 29 g

Total Carbohydrate 19 g

Dietary Fiber 3 g

Soluble Fiber 1 g

Insoluble Fiber 2 g

Sugar 4 g

Total Fat 11 g

Saturated Fat 3 g

Recipe courtesy of the American Council on Exercise.

10 Day Countdown to Fitness: Day 2

July 3, 2007

Welcome to Day 2 of our 10 Day Countdown to Fitness!

I’m assuming that you took the assignment from Day 1 seriously and actually did it. If not, PLEASE go back and do it. It’s an essential part of this whole process. If you are serious about using the 10 days to jump start exercising for weight loss, you will not get the long term results you want and deserve without doing the assignment for Day 1. If you skipped over it and need to go back and do it, or if this is the first post you’re reading in this 10 day series, you can find Day 1 here.

Now let’s get started on Day 2.

Grab the pen and paper you used yesterday. We’re going to make another list (can you tell that I live by lists?). I want you to write down all the fitness activities that you think you would enjoy and would like to try. Please note, I’m not asking you list the physical activities that you think you are capable of right now! I want you to write down all the things that maybe you secretly dream of trying, or that you enjoyed when you were fitter than you are now. For example, when I made my list, I wrote down things like cross country skiing, kick boxing and running a 5K race. There was NO WAY I could do that stuff when I wrote it down, but they were things that I had always wanted to do.

So don’t limit yourself; write down everything that you’d like to do. The key is to write down things that will get you excited!

Once you’re done with this, start another list. This time, I want you to write down the physical activities that you are capable of doing right now. There is no shame here! If all you can do is walk a little bit, that’s OK. Write it down. Can you do maybe a couple of push ups and a couple of squats? Fantastic! Write it down.

Now once you have both lists, I want you combine them into a new master list by starting with the activities you can do now at the top of your list and working down to the hardest exercise on your list. Your list should start with the easiest activities and progressively work in to the harder stuff.

Once you’ve done this, take a look at what you have just created. You’ve got a plan! You now have a road map to get you started exercising and leading you to the exciting activities you’ve always dreamed of doing. Pretty cool, isn’t it? Start at the top of your list, and as your fitness level improves (and it will improve fast if you’re consistent) start tackling the more intense activities.

Believe me, this works! When I started exercising, all I could do was walk to the end of the block and back. That’s how overweight and out of shape I was. By the time I hit the 6 month mark, I was learning Muay Thai kick boxing at one of the premiere mixed martial art gyms in the world. Not too bad for a guy who smoked 3 packs of cigs a day and weighed nearly 300 pounds 6 months before!

Now, I don’t say this to brag, but only to show you that this system works, regardless of how out of shape and overweight you may be right now. I promise you, if you take these simple steps your life will change.

So, grab the paper, pen and get started now. And be sure to come back tomorrow for the next step in the Countdown.

10 Day Countdown to Fitness: Day 1

July 2, 2007

OK…it’s time for everyone to get off of the couch and get moving.

I have gotten at least a half dozen emails in the last week with a common theme: people that know they need to exercise to lose weight but aren’t sure where to start or are having trouble getting started. Have no shame if this describes you! Lots of people don’t know where to start, and even more people have trouble taking the first steps.

If this describes you, you’re going to want to check us out for the next 10 days.

Every day for the next week and a half, I’m going to post a simple step you can take to get yourself up, moving, and started down the road to fit and thin. None of these steps will be hard or intense. If they were too hard or too intense, we would be defeating our whole purpose.

Even though they won’t be intense, you should still get clearance from a medical professional to begin exercising. This is especially true if you are older, considerably overweight, or haven’t exercised in a long time. With that in mind, let’s get started:

DAY 1 — Grab a piece of paper, a 3 x 5 card and a pen, and put on your thinking cap. Your first assignment has a couple of steps; first, write down all the reasons why you’d like to start exercising. Once you’ve got your list, write a sentence for each reason you’ve listed that states a positive affirmation for it. For example, let’s say that one of the reasons you want to start exercising is to have more energy. You could write a sentence like: “I enjoy exercising because it gives me more energy!”. The key is to turn the reason for exercising in to a real-life benefit for actually doing it, and by writing the benefit statement AS IF you are already doing it. Once you’ve done this with your entire list, grab a 3 x 5 card and write each sentence on the card.

Now take that card, and for the next 30 days, do not let it leave your possession. Grab it as soon as you wake up every morning and read it out loud. Read it right before you go to sleep. Read it out loud AT LEAST 3 times every day, and read it quietly to your self at least 3 times each day.

The more you do this, the quicker it begins to work!

And don’t be fooled, this simple method will completely change your attitude towards exercising if you just do it. HINT: this will work for any habit you wish to introduce into your life, not just exercising.

OK, go start making your list right now; don’t put it off until later. And keep the paper and pen handy, because you’re going to need them again tomorrow.

6 Best Summer Time Weight Loss Foods

July 1, 2007

I don’t know about any of you, but I find it easier to eat healthy in the summer.  The vegetables are so fresh that they just seem to burst with flavor.  Fruit tastes fantastic, and there’s even a larger variety available than other times of year.  And the grill…I hope you are putting your grill to use right now for meats and veggies!

Apparently, WebMD agree.  Here’s their list of 6 Summer Time Weight Loss Foods:

  1. Chilled Soups
  2. Watermelon
  3. Grilled Veggies
  4. Salads
  5. Low and No Calorie Beverages
  6. Fruit based Desserts

Be sure to check out the article for suggestions on low cal beverages and fruit based desserts…yummy!

One of the things I like about this list is that so many of these foods you can eat to your hearts content and not have to worry about calories.  Watermelon, for instance, has around 200 calories…in a pound of it!  WOO HOO!

Take this list has start thinking of the many recipes you can try that will taste great, not cost very much, and most importantly, will support your weight loss efforts.

The Salad Secret to Fresh Greens

June 29, 2007

I think everyone is aware that increasing the amount of fresh veggies you eat will help your weight loss efforts.  It’s a great way to be able to fill up on a food that tastes good but isn’t full of calories.  Plus, vegetables give our bodies many nutrients that our bodies need and that are missing from the processed crap that most of us eat.

When I first started my weight loss efforts, I added vegetables by eating a big-a$$ salad every day for lunch.  It’s a habit that has served me well, and one that I continue still.  I’ve gone from eating no veggies at all to having a diet that consists of AT LEAST 2/3 of each meal being vegetables.

And now, thanks to FitSugar,  I will be able to enjoy fresh salad green ever more.  I have discovered the secret to keeping lettuce and other salad greens fresh for longer periods of time!

This is so cool; I never dream it would be this easy.  Here’s the secret:

“Place the greens in a plastic bag, close the top of the bag lightly with your fist, and blow into the bag and fill it with air (carbon dioxide). Then seal the bag by twisting the top a few times before closing it firmly with a twisty-tie.  Place it in the fridge and your greens are good to go.”

 Isn’t that something?  No more eating greens that are wilted and getting a little funky.  Better yet, no more throwing out a ton of lettuce that went bad before you can eat it!

I know you can buy pre-bagged salad greens.  I have bought and used these bags, and have recommended them to others.  But by using this method, you should be able to save a little dough, and have no worries about how your greens have been packages.

How Do You Measure Up?

June 27, 2007

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I tell people not to put too much emphasis on using the scale as a way of tracking your progress.  The scale is a notorious liar; it can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle, it doesn’t take into account if you’re retaining fluid, and it fluctuates like crazy.  In fact, your scale weight will fluctuate as much as 5 pounds over the course of a single day!

A much better way of tracking the results of your diet and exercise efforts is by taking your measurements.   The thing is, though, that if you’re inconsistent in how you take them, you’ll get fluctuation with them as well.  Here are some tips to help you make sure you are consistent every time:

  • Relax — don’t flex or tense up for your measurements
  • The tape should be snug, but NOT too tight.  It should not be squeezing your body.
  • Don’t suck in your tummy for the waist measurement.  That will give you a false read.
  • When measuring any body part from the waist on down, be sure to stand with your feet together.
  •  Important — take your waist measurement at the smallest point around
  • Also important — when measuring your butt, calves, thighs and  biceps, be sure to measure at the biggest point around.

The last two points are the keys to being consistent whenever you take your measurements.Start today, and take your measurements once a week.  It really is the best way to gauge results, and best of all — it won’t lie to you!

And Now, for the Flip Side

June 26, 2007

On Sunday, I posted a little rant about the unfair standard of “you must be thin to be beautiful” that our society applies to women. Based on the comments and emails I received, this was an emotional subject for many of us, and one that hits close to home.

Today, I wanted to touch on the other side of the equation; the fact that there many out there who DO feel that beauty has nothing to do with size.

Check out this video that Pasta Queen has on her blog today. It’s the video for a song called, “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” by a British recording artist named Mika. The song is awesome, but more importantly it celebrates girls “with curves in all the right place”. 🙂

It’s a lively, fun song and dance, and best of all, it’s not mocking or mean spirited; it appears to be a sincere tribute to plus sized women.

So, here’s your chance to fight back against the awful double standard towards women that we’ve been discussing. Just get yourself to the Butterfly Lounge.

Straight From the Mouth of Some Big Losers

June 25, 2007

Let me say this right up front: I am a not a fan of “The Biggest Loser” television series.

Why? Because I think it sets unrealistic expectations as far as weight loss goes. First of all, it’s WAY too scale-oriented. It’s nothing for the participants to have a 7, 8, even a 10 pound weight loss in a week. And we watch them get upset if they only lose 3 pounds or so. Most of us would kill for a 3 pound weight loss every week. I’ve also read (and don’t know if it’s true) that the participants work out 4 hours a day, every day they’re in the house.

This is just not the real world of weight loss. And I’m always afraid that there’s people watching it and finally getting motivated to get started eating right and exercising. And then I’m afraid that they’ll be crushed the first time they “only” lose 2 or 3 pounds.

I do have to admit, though, that I get very excited about the success the contestants experience and the fact that these folks are learning, many of them for the first time, how to eat right and exercise. And I get thrilled along side them as the see the benefits of getting fit and thin.

I read an article today with weight loss advice from some of the Biggest Loser contestants, and I have to recommend it to you. You can find it here. The advice in it is AWESOME; it’s very apparent that they have truly been taught how to lose weight. Here’s 10 tips from the article:

10 More Tips From The Biggest Loser

To help keep you moving toward your weight loss goals, Lyons, Alexander and several of the “Biggest Losers” offer these additional tips and tricks:

  1. “Eat often — snack often,” says Alexander. While this may seem contrary to traditional dieting advice, the chef says that as long as you keep an eye on calories and portions, eating often will stave off hunger attacks that ultimately sabotage your diet. “When you’re starving, you grab whatever is available — and that’s the quickest way to get off your eating plan,” says Alexander.

2. “Eat your carbs in the morning,” says Biggest Loser contestant Brian Starkey. “It gets your day off to an energetic start.” Lyons adds that carbs are quickly burned with activity, so eating them may help motivate you for that morning walk or bike ride.

3. “Post a picture of yourself on the refrigerator — at your worst,” says Biggest Loser contestant Dana Desilvio. “The next time you’re thinking of grabbing something you shouldn’t from the fridge, you’ll be reminded of what you don’t want to look like!”

4. “Instead of watching the clock during workouts, listen to music,” to make the time go faster,says Erik Chopin, TheBiggest Loser‘s season-three winner. Lyons reminds us that everyday activities, like bike riding, tossing a Frisbee, or walking your dog, count as physical activity, too.

5. “When eating out, always ask for a ‘to-go’ box — at the start of your meal,” says Biggest Loser contestant Bobby Moore. Then, when your food arrives, immediately put half of it in the box, he suggests. This way, you’ll not only get used to eating smaller portions, but you’ll have a snack for later.

6. Learn to cook healthfully. “Cooking healthy doesn’t have to be hard — or take more time,” says Alexander. While many “Biggest Loser” contestants said they thought cooking healthy would be complicated or time-consuming, Alexander says, most found that cooking healthy is actually easier, less expensive, and faster.

7. “Never overlook the power of seasoning,” says Alexander. One way she made even the blandest diet foods grab the contestants’ attention was by using low-sodium seasonings.

“People never realize what a major difference spices can make on even simple dishes like grilled chicken or salmon,” she says.

8. “When it comes to cooking in flavor, it’s never about the oil,” says Alexander. Many dieters believe that unless food is fried in oil, you don’t get much flavor. But, she says, the real secret is pan-browning, which can happen without oil. The trick to getting restaurant-quality taste, she says, is to never overload your pan with food. “If you put too much in the pan, the moisture content causes the foods to steam and not pan-fry,” she says. “By reducing the amount of food in the pan you get that tasty pan-seared browning, without the use of any oils.”

9. Don’t try to do too much exercise, too soon. You not only run the risk of injury, but you’ll also get quickly discouraged. “Don’t try to stare down 45 minutes of exercise,” says Lyons. “Tell yourself it will be OK to quit after 10 minutes, because most of the time once you get going, you’ll keep going.”

10. Remember: Self-esteem feeds on self-esteem. Accomplishing a little something toward your weight loss goal every day will not only get you on the road to success, but help keep you there. “You are not just losing weight, you are changing your life and your lifestyle,” says Alexander. “If you keep that in mind, you come to see that every change, no matter how small, comes together to make a huge difference in not only your weight, but your life,” says Alexander.

See what I mean?

There is some profound wisdom in this article. There’s even a couple of recipes from the Biggest Loser Cookbook that I’m going to try. So do go spend a little time with this article.

You may not lose 10 pounds in a week, but if you take this advice to heart, you can lose weight EVERY week and keep it off. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

They Go Way Over the Line

June 24, 2007

I may not be the brightest or most observant man on the planet, but I do know that when it comes to weight loss, men seem to have it better than women.

Now, I’m not referring to the fact that it seems like men are able to drop more weight with less effort than women. What I’m referring to here is the pressure that society puts on women to be thin.

I don’t know where or when it first happened, but somewhere along the line, “You must be thin to be beautiful” became an accepted way of thinking. But only for women, as far as I can tell. Men do NOT have this kind of pressure on them. Good lord, you only have to go to a public beach or swimming pool to see evidence of that. In fact, the recent spate of ads on TV promoting an expensive diet plan starring a famous retired football star is the first diet-marketing campaign aimed specifically at men that I can recall.

As unfair as this way of thinking is to women, unfortunately it does exist. But I saw something today that takes this way of thinking to a new, all time low.


A Brazilian yogurt company thats’ pushing its “Fit Light Yogurt” has produced a new series of commerials that are running on the tube in Brazil. These commercials parodize scenes from American Beauty, Seven Year Itch and Basic Instinct. But what these jackass marketers do is replace Mena Suvari, Marilyn Monroe and Sharon Stone with plus sized models, and add a tagline that reads:

“Forget about it. Men’s preferences will never change. Fit Light Yogurt”

Frankly, I was appalled. I hope you are, too.

I realize that I don’t need to say it, but I’m going to anyway: beauty is NOT determined by weight. And I hope that none of you reading this, women or men, buy into this hurtful way of thinking.

And Fit Light Yogurt…screw you.