Healthy Alternative Please

A healthy weight and weight management plan comes with portion control and choosing your liquid calories wisely. A recent study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared beverage and food intake and weight changes in more than 800 men and women. The research found that when the men and women cut 100 calories from liquids, a half of pound was lost at 18 months, compared to 100 calories cut from food, only 0.1 pounds was lost at 18 months.

That said, know what you’re drinking and be cautious of “danger drinks.” Above all, food and drinks are one of the best pleasures in life and while you are watching what you consume, don’t forget to enjoy the choices you’re making.

#1 Soda. Whether the bubbly drink is diet or not, it can still be the culprit of what’s holding those unwanted pounds on your waistline. First, focusing on regular soda – the same study mentioned above found that when 12 ounces of a sugar-sweetened beverage was eliminated a day, participants lost 1 pound at 6 months and 1.5 pounds at 18 months. This is one small but significant change that you can implement in your everyday. If skipping out on soda altogether is too hard, try skipping it every other day. Secondly, even diet soda can do weight loss damage. The artificial sweetener can leave one still craving for more sweets.

To the rescue! To substitute the regular or diet soda, try something that still has the refreshing carbonation but no added sweeteners. Swap out soda for seltzer water and a fresh slice of lemon or lime. This drink will help rehydrate you and not leave your taste buds asking for more. Seltzer water pairs well with foods and can cool you off during the hot weather.

#2 Fancy coffees. Believe it or not, but your cup of Joe can offer health benefits. When coffee is consumed in moderation and not loaded with sugar and cream, the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and more can be reduced. On the flip side, when you coffee is actually a Carmel cappuccino, more than just a few calories sneak into your daily calorie allowance. What appears to be innocent – a medium, iced-vanilla coffee from McDonald’s, actually contains a mere 183 calories. This example is the least troublesome of the multiple fancy coffee drinks, but it’s a good illustration to see how liquid calories can stack up. For 183 calories you can have two pieces of fruit and feel fuller with the supplied fiber.

To the rescue! Coffee in portion (no more than one to two cups a day) can be part of a healthy diet. If you are like many Americans and start your day with this beverage, be wary about how you dress it up. The sugar and cream are not calorie free. Yet, to substitute fancy coffee drinks, iced and hot freshly-brewed teas are very suitable and offer many health benefits, if not more. If you are still craving for something smooth, try a low fat or fat free creamer. The adjustment may not happen over night but adjusting your taste buds to a new indulgence is very doable.

#3 Alcohol. Your social life shouldn’t run dry when you are “dieting.” Going out to happy hour and with friends can be weight-friendly and enjoyed with a plan. A few drinks to shy away from include the icy cold ones: Margaritas, daiquiris and Pina Coladas. These drinks have enough calories to count as a meal. An ungarnished, 10 ounce, Pina Colada (meaning no cherry juice, cherries, or pineapples) has close to 550 calories. And the worse part is that it’s hard to stop at just one! When drinking alcohol, it’s not just that extra calories you are taking in but after a few drinks your food choices can slip too. Next night out, have a plan and substitute with some of the ideas below.

To the rescue! Mocktails. When choosing what to drink while out, choose a light beer, dry wine or liquor mixed with soda water over sugar-loaded beverages. Above all, substituting a tall glass of water in between drinks is budget friendly for your wallet and waist. In the occasion of hosting a party or get together, be adventurous and mix a low calorie beverage for everyone to share.

#4 Milkshakes. The commercials promoting milkshakes and melting ice cream cones can be convincingly calling your name. Yet, those craving may halt once you learn what is all captured in these types of indulgences. Ingredients such as yogurt can easily be mistaken for healthy when guzzling down a milkshake. You’d be surprised that a strawberry, frozen yogurt, milkshake from Steak ‘n’ Shake’s has more than 500 calories.

To the rescue! Smoothies. Smoothies can be a safer weight management option in place of milkshakes. If you are blending a smoothie from home, mix together low-sugar and low-fat yogurt or ice-cream, load-up the ice, skim milk, and add in a fruit serving to your liking. If you are at an ice cream parlor or restaurant, don’t hesitate to ask what is added into the smoothie and modify as needed. Sometimes, places tend to add powders and unnecessary ingredients. A second option is to choose a fresh vegetable juice in place of the smoothie. A personal favorite is carrot juice!

Water. This is the drink of champions and a water bottle can be the perfect weight loss tool. Filling up with water before a meal may also help you lose weight. In a study published last year in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers found that people who drank water before meals ate an average of 75 fewer calories at that meal! Hunger can be mistaken for thirst and the best resolution is water.

Have a healthy and fit day!

Does the temperature of drinking water matter?

Q & A: Cool, Clear Water

Q. Does the temperature of drinking water matter? I have heard that lukewarm water is absorbed more quickly and that cold water helps burn calories. Is that true?

A. Volume appears to matter more than temperature. A review of hydration during exercise from the American College of Sports Medicine says that the rate at which fluid leaves the stomach to be absorbed from the intestine into the blood depends on a complex interaction of factors. The biggest factor is sufficient fluid volume in the stomach, the study says, and a big factor in ingesting enough fluid is palatability. Therefore, the study recommends that fluids “be cooler than ambient temperature” — 59 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit — “and flavored to enhance palatability and promote fluid replacement.”

A 2006 study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism casts doubt on the idea that cooler water helps burn calories. In the study, done in Switzerland, resting energy expenditure after drinking cooled, distilled water was measured in healthy young volunteers and compared with the results after drinking room-temperature liquids.

The study found a very small difference, “well below the theoretical energy cost of warming the water to body temperature,” and the results “cast doubt on water as a thermogenic agent for the management of obesity.”

Reference click here

Have a healthy and fit day!

Make the Most of Your Metabolism

The question is not how many calories you should have per day, it’s how should you eat your allocated calories throughout the day. Think of it like this: Say you get 2,000 calories for the day and you have to swim for for 10 hours straight besides eating times. This is very unrealistic but imagine if you ate 1,000 calories in your first sitting and then another 1,000 calories at the second. I bet you felt sick while swimming. Point being: You want to feed you metabolism evenly throughout the day and you should not wait hours after waking up for your first meal. So here are my 5 food tips on making the most of what you eat.

1. Start your day right with a balanced meal. Don’t cut the calories short at breakfast because you think it’s the easiest meal to do it at. Eat at least 2-3 food groups. For example, make a whole-grain English muffin with natural peanut butter and banana sliced on top. Finish the meal with a tall glass of water.

2. Eat a meal with the next meal or snack in mind. With this thinking, you should not gorge yourself with the present meal and should finish the last bite by being satisfied; not full. Plan what your next snack is (should be within 3 hours or so) and make it a food choice you’ll enjoy.

3. Use online tools or notebooks to track what you are eating. Better yet, text yourself what you eat at each meal and look at it the next time you go to eat. Take this practice a step further and analyze your food log at the end of the week. Look for holes where you did not eat for hours, look at the foods you consistently eat and look at where improvements can be made. For example, did you go 6 hours between meals? Can you fit in some lean protein and fruit between those times? Use tools such as to log what you eat.

4. Have planned indulgences. Yes, you read that correctly. You should have an indulgence every now and then. Yet, indulgences should be completely understood that they are not consumed daily and don’t cap at 500 plus calories. Food is a great pleasure and should be thoroughly enjoyed in moderation.

5. Chug-a-lug some water and have a good bottle to do so. I recently purchased a water bottle that has a straw in it and I quickly learned that I significantly guzzle down more water while sitting at my desk and at home with the convenience of a straw. Figure out what works best for you to drink plenty of water. Being fully hydrated is great for your body and can help prevent the mistake of hunger when you are really thirsty.
Have a healthy and fit day!

Wednesday’s Weigh-In

Now more than one month into my Biggest Losers Couples Challenge contest, I’ve budged my scale to read a lower number! I was so excited that I basically hopped right off the scale in case it was note a true weight. However, I did step back on to confirm.

I give all of the credit to my new weight loss weapon and focus in the last week. I’ve grown my liking to running again (I feel off that wagon after my last half marathon in April) and I purchased a water bottle with a straw. Yes, the straw is crucial to mention. I’ve been stating I need to drink more water since my New Year’s resolution and now with my new device, I guzzle more than ever before.

I’d love to hear and please tell — what is your secret to weight loss?

Have a healthy and fit day!