Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Too busy to eat? Try these idea's.

One of the keys to weight loss and over all fitness is to eat, eat, eat! Being hungry is bad, bad, bad! Now having said that, we must remember to do it right. That means we eat 5 - 6 times a day, small meals always including some protein and fat. (For more on why see http://fitmaniaboise.blogspot.com/2009/12/eat-and-lose-weight.html). The problem most people have is how to do that when we are busy, traveling or running kids around. My friend, Tom Hunt, has built a great metabolism and is a firm believer in eating often. He also travels a lot. With his help I offer the following idea's

Buying food on the go:

1. Boiled - in the shell - eggs. Excellent protein, will keep for 7 days without refrigeration. Grab a bit of hot sauce to flavor it and it makes a good lunch. Available at Maverik and Flying J.

2. String cheese - carried by most C stores.

3. Smoothies - carried by most C stores - look for Odwalla, Naked or Bolthouse. Check for the one with the lowest sugar, drink half and eat some nuts. Save the other half for later.

4. Nuts or peanuts also available at C stores, usually small packages are cheap. Good protein, good fats - they do have a lot of calories, but good ones. Raw are better but you will probably have to buy a larger container.

5. Trail mixes - look for those with just nuts, dates and raisins. Those with cranberries and tropical fruits will have added sugar. Avoid the ones with M&Ms and yogurt pieces.

6. Jerky - good protein, but the additives that are in most of the jerky is very questionable so I actually try to avoid them, unless they are prepared naturally.

7. Be adventuresome! Try canned seafood. Things like kippers, sardines, smoked oysters clams and tuna are excellent for Omega 3s and protein.

8. Dried fruits like raisins, apples or dates. If I have a road trip one of my first stops is just a grocery store and get some fresh fruit and a bag of carrots.

9. I am not typically a fan of meal replacement bars but as Tom says "There is a place for these bars for the person on the go-go-go - just read that label." They are always too sweet, too processed and hard to digest but here are two I found at Costco that had a pretty good protein to sugars ratio and natural ingredients: Kashi TLC and Mrs. May's Trio.

What about fast food? I am not a fan of fast food but fast food has at least three distinct advantages: Their ingredients are published, the food is the same everywhere and it is fast.

1. All of them have salads with good fresh ingredients. But if you are going to slather the salad with dressing - well you may as well have a burger and fries.

2. McDonald's is one of the few places that use fresh, in-the-shell eggs. Not on the menu, but you can order a side of eggs - ask for round, not scrambled. A side is two eggs off the grill. About $1. Minimal grease used to cook them on the grill. Decent for breakfast.

3. Wendy's has excellent chili - high protein, whole beans, good flavor, low calorie - combine with a plain potato - makes a good cheap meal.

4. Taco Bell or del Taco both have soft chicken tacos. They use real chicken, lettuce, tomato, tortilla - they are small (and should be) but you get good protein, less than 200 calories, and tasty when you add some jalapenos and hot sauce.

5. Really gotta have a burger - Burger King has their junior whopper for $1. Get two of them, no cheese, no mayo, no catsup - they come with lettuce, tomato and onion - get mustard and a side of jalapeno. Throw away one set of buns and put all the meat and veges under the other set of buns - got a big burger with veggies - think protein and some veggies for very little $$. Cut the carbs more and throw away both buns, cut everything up and eat it like a salad!!

6. Subway has 5 or 6 sandwiches that are low in fat - and you can easily figure the calorie count. Ask for extra vegetables

7. Quiznos torpedos are fairly low in carbs - their tuna is excellent with minimal mayo mixed into it.

Bottom line on fast food is to know what they sell, what is in what they sell, and the calorie, protein, fat counts. If you want to lose/gain weight, gain muscle you have to know your intake. For the fast food industry it is there in front of us for the taking.

Knowledge is power.

Thanks Tom!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Change and Flexibility

"They must change often, who would be constant in happiness." (Confucius)
I have recently become a den leader for Cub Scouts and a fitness merit badge counselor for Boy Scouts. When I mention that to anyone they smile (smirk?). It must be obvious that I am not a natural choice. The den leader thing might be a stretch but I was impressed with the Boy Scout information and requirements for the merit badge. It is current and consistent with latest in fitness information. Your 12 year scout knows or will learn the four components of fitness. Do you know them?

Here they are:
Cardiorespiratory (think heart, lungs, treadmill)
Strength (think weight training, bulging biceps)
Body mass (think body fat percentage, scales, diets)
Flexibility (think "I don't have time for that!")

Now guess which one is the most neglected. I know I tipped you off but it is flexibility. I am as guilty as anyone about stretching. Too often I workout for 60 minutes, and stretch for five, if at all. Even with my clients I am far too lax about the flexibility. When we do strength training correctly it can improve flexibility but that is not enough. Typical stretching routines are good but do you know what is really good? YOGA! Yoga has been perfected for 5,000 years. Look at these benefits of yoga:

Physiological Benefits of Yoga
■Stable autonomic nervous system equilibrium
■Pulse rate decreases
■Respiratory rate decreases
■Blood Pressure decreases (of special significance for hyporeactors)
■Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) increases
■EEG - alpha waves increase (theta, delta, and beta waves also increase during various stages of meditation)
■EMG activity decreases
■Cardiovascular efficiency increases
■Respiratory efficiency increases
■Gastrointestinal function normalizes
■Endocrine function normalizes
■Excretory functions improve
■Musculoskeletal flexibility and joint range of motion increase
■Breath-holding time increases
■Joint range of motion increase
■Grip strength increases
■Eye-hand coordination improves
■Dexterity skills improve
■Reaction time improves
■Posture improves
■Strength and resiliency increase
■Endurance increases
■Energy level increases
■Weight normalizes
■Sleep improves
■Immunity increases
■Pain decreases
■Steadiness improves
■Depth perception improves
■Balance improves
■Integrated functioning of body parts improves

Psychological Benefits of Yoga
■Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
■Mood improves and subjective well-being increases
■Self-acceptance and self-actualization increase
■Social adjustment increases
■Anxiety and Depression decrease
■Hostility decreases
■Concentration improves
■Memory improves
■Attention improves
■Learning efficiency improves
■Mood improves
■Self-actualization increase
■Social skills increases
■Well-being increases
■Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
■Self-acceptance increase
■Attention improves
■Concentration improves
■Memory improves
■Learning efficiency improves
■Symbol coding improves
■Depth perception improves
■Flicker fusion frequency improves (whatever that is)

Biochemical Benefits of Yoga
■Glucose decreases
■Sodium decreases
■Total cholesterol decreases
■Triglycerides decrease
■Cholinesterase increases
■Catecholamines decrease
■ATPase increases
■Hematocrit increases
■Hemoglobin increases
■Lymphocyte count increases
■Total white blood cell count decreases
■Thyroxin increases
■Vitamin C increases
■Total serum protein increases
(Contributed by: www.cyberastro.com and www.movingintostillness.com.)

It is yoga that has kept me mobile and agile. Whether standard stretching or yoga everyone can improve their flexibility. When we have good flexibility we move with more grace, look younger, and it's easier to put our socks on! Perhaps in some way it helps when we are asked to do something outside our comfort zone, like be a den leader for eight year olds.

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it. Begin it now. " (Goethe)

Note: (because I believe this is important I have added a yoga based stretching class Tuesdays @ 7pm. Cost is $5 a class. No need to sign up in advance just come. I will do this as long as their is interest.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Egkrateia and Sugar

Egkrateia is a Greek word and means "one who holds himself in" or "the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions". Like any other addiction or habit, if it owns us then we don't own ourselves. Sugar is both physically and emotionally addictive. Like alcohol some people can have a little here and there and are fine but for most of us it is a problem. Americans eat an average of 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day! To put that into perspective imagine yourself sitting down with a sugar bowl and a teaspoon and eating 22 teaspoons full. Sugar is a major culprit in causing or advancing:

-gum disease

Artificial sweeteners are not the answer either as these are typically as bad or worse for our health as sugar and perpetuate the craving for sweets. Try these things instead:

1. Eat frequently. Never go longer than 3 hours without eating. When we are hungry we crave the simple carbs like sugar and when we are hungry we have less power to resist.

2. Eat protein with each meal. It will keep you satisfied longer.

3. Drink a lot of water. The need for water can be easily confused with hunger or food cravings. Herbal teas can also be helpful. Try rooibos. It is a little sweet, good for re hydrating and a pretty red color.

4. Keep some frozen berries on hand and some vanilla yogurt (a lower sugar variety like Mountain High Lowfat Plain or Vanilla or Nancy's). When everyone else is having dessert thaw those berries and put some yogurt on them. It is way tastier than cake!

5. My personal favorite. Develop a taste for very dark, high quality chocolate. Make sure it is 70% cocoa or more. Try Green & Blacks or Theo's both available at Fred Meyers in the natural food section. A little piece of that with some raw nuts can satisfy for hours.

Keep at it and someday you will walk by the dessert table knowing that it has absolutely no power over you because you are "egkrateia".