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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hit the Weights

When I was a freshman in college, low fat diets and Jazzercise were all the rage.  Obviously it didn't work out as planned because obesity rates have continued to increase.  Since that time we have learned that strength training is where it's at for weight loss and weight maintenance.  But still there are women with the mindset that they must avoid gaining "bulky muscles."  So they avoid the weight equipment in favor of the stair stepper and elliptical machines.  If you are one of these women you are missing out!

Don't get me wrong, cardio is great.  There is no substitute for heart healthy benefits of cardiovascular strength. But the fat burning benefits stop when you climb off the machine.  For weight loss, strength training is the ticket.  Building, or even just maintaining, lean muscle tissue keeps your metabolism nice and  high so you can EAT MORE.  I'm all for eating more...of the good stuff, that is.  Increased muscle mass keeps your fat burning furnace on all day.  Even when you're in front of the TV.  I'm in!
 5 Benefits of Strength Training

1) Increased Metabolic Rate- adding muscle increases our metabolism.
2) Increasing and Restoring Bone Density- prevent and fight osteoporosis by building strong bones.
3) Increased Lean Muscle Mass- each pound of lean muscle mass burns 35-50 calories per day.
4) Injury Prevention- a solid foundation strengthens our bones, ligaments, and tendons.
5) Improved Balance- strong leg and core muscles help stabilize us.

The best exercise recipe would be a combo of cardio and strength training.  Half and half.  But in a pinch I would choose the weight training.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why GI?

The glycemic index ranks foods on how they affect our blood sugar levels.  This index measures how much your blood sugar increases in the 2 or 3 hours after eating.  The ratings are from 1 to 100.  Foods like proteins (meat, eggs, and cheese) cause minimal increases in blood sugar.  Most vegetables cause minimal increases in blood sugar.  These foods are low on the glycemic index (under 55 is considered low GI). Whole fruits, legumes (beans), and nuts are in the middle of the glycemic index (56 – 69 is middle GI).  Foods high on the glycemic index (over 70) would be cookies, cakes, candy, soda, juices, junk food and grain products…grain products being bread, pasta, rice and cereal… INCLUDING whole wheat products.
Why do we care about the glycemic index of the food we eat?  Why do we care about blood sugar increases?  The higher our blood sugar, the more insulin our body produces.  Insulin is the fat storage hormone.  Insulin creates cravings.  Insulin keeps our body from metabolizing stored body fat.  We don’t want extra insulin in our system.  We do not want to store body fat.  We do not want to increase cravings.  We do not want to keep our bodies from using our fat stores.  Insulin is not our friend.  How can we control it?  By eating foods low on the glycemic index and avoiding foods high on the glycemic index.
Many of us are fooled by so called “healthy” foods that are actually high GI foods.  Brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, and whole grain cereals are good examples.  One serving of brown rice has the same GI as a chocolate Pop tart.  Sure, the brown rice offers some nutritional value but it is just not worth the insulin response.  We can get the fiber and nutrients from veggies instead but without the blood sugar increase!   
At Total Family Healthcare and Wellness, our nutritional plan consists of low glycemic index foods that will keep your blood sugar levels low and steady.  Low, steady blood sugar means less insulin.  Less insulin means more fat loss and few cravings.  Win, win! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Get Candy

Halloween is here...get candy.  You get to carve a pumpkin...get candy.  Everyone wears a costume...get candy.  Go to a haunted house...get candy. Great, a holiday that revolves around one thing...get candy.  Oh no.  Candy is a problem.

1.  It has no nutritive value.
2.  It is high in calories.
3.  It spike your insulin levels, making your body STORE BODY FAT!
4.  It causes tooth decay.
5.  It causes your stomach to empty prematurely...leaving more room for more candy!

How can you get through it?  It's hard.  I used to empty my kids Halloween pumpkins of chocolate and eat it myself!  Not anymore.  Number one, I buy my give-away candy at the last minute.  This is not easy for me since I like to be prepared.  But I can't have candy around the house a week or two ahead of time because I'LL EAT IT!  Secondly, I bribe my kids to "sell" their Halloween candy for other goodies...like electronics.  It works like a charm.  My kids would much rather have a new game or gadget that a bowl full of Smarties. 

On November 1st, the candy is in the trash.  For me, throwing wrapped candy away is like putting dollar bills in the trash.  It's painful.  I hate to waste.  It just kills me.  But having that bowl, or two or three, of candy isn't good.  And not just for me.  It's not good for my kids.  They get to eat plenty of candy on Halloween and the days leading up to it.  Throwing away some Laffy Taffy is not really depriving my kids.  I'm sure they won't even look up from their IPhone's to even notice!

Friday, October 14, 2011


I am a fickle exerciser.  Is exerciser even a word?  lol.  Well, you know what I mean.  I am fickle because sometimes I exercise and sometimes I don't.  I am fickle because every time I get on an exercise kick it is always something different.  I wish I were one of those die-hard fitness types that make exercise a priority every day.  But I'm not.  I've come to terms with that.  I am the type that takes exercise where I can get it...and when I can get it, for that matter.

My newest thing is hiking.  Which is crazy because I am NOT outdoorsy.  I am a proud girlie girl.  I'm not crazy about dirt...or bugs...or sweat.  I'm crazy about high heels and lip gloss.  But somehow, I have been hiking with my daughters every day ( OK, every other day.)  It has been great.  There is a mountain bike trail close to our house that is a few miles long.  It is wooded and hilly and spectacular now that the leaves are changing.  It has actually made exercise fun...and pretty.  I'll take it!

I know what will happen in 3 or 4 weeks, though.  The weather will turn, and my pretty nature walks will end.  Then I'll have to find something new.  Herein lies the problem.  How long will it take me to find my new exercise thing?  I'll be honest, sometimes it takes weeks ( months?)  to get on a new kick.  In the mean time I'll take my exercise where I can get.  I'll call it "Rhonda Fitness."

"Rhonda Fitness" is all about life.  I live my life and throw some exercise in where I can.  I park farther away at the grocery store.  I stand up when I'm talking on the phone.  I actually walk up the stairs to talk to my kids instead of yelling at them to come down.  I know, that's a hard one!!  I don't go to a special place ( IE gym) and I don't need special shoes ( IE cross trainers ) I just move more in my day to day.

I think we have to get it out of our heads that exercise has to be done on a machine at the gym.  I'll leave that to the die-hards.  Exercise can be vacuuming.  You know it needs to be done!  Trimming the bushes is exercise.  Walking the dog is exercise.  Dancing while you cook dinner is exercise.  We just need to move more.  Sit less.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Be Prepared and Be Early

Always be prepared.  Isn't that the Boy Scout motto?  Most of the time I am...prepared.  I'm a planner by nature.  I like to make lists and check things off.  I like to know what is going to happen and how.  Yes, I know.  I'm a bit of a control freak, but it helps me stay on task and get things done ( 5 kids and a dog keep my life BUSY. )  My preparedness doesn't always translate to food though.  Which is a problem because if I don't know what my next meal is I am likely to eat a frozen waffle with butter and syrup.  A carb and sugar nightmare.

A good nutritional program takes some organization.  It takes some planning.  You have to go to the grocery store.  You have to spend some time in the kitchen.  You have to know what's coming.  At Total Family Healthcare and Wellness, our nutritional program revolves around eating lean protein, vegetables, and fruit...which is saddly in short supply at the 7-11!  So I have to hit the produce department and the meat counter at the grocery store if I want to succeed.  And I want to succeed...and keep succeeding, at eating right.  Having a good supply of the right foods in my kitchen is imperative!

Having the good stuff ready is half of my battle.  The second half is to eat it!  I've heard people say "Only eat when you are hungry."  This is their weight loss advise.  "They," being those naturally thin people we love to hate.  If I waited until I was hungry to eat, I would succumb to my hot dog and onion ring addiction regularly.  And I would still weigh 200 pounds!  My trick is to eat BEFORE I get hungry.  If my hunger passes my stomach and makes it to my head, then I'm in trouble.  I start thinking about what sounds good...pizza, cheeseburgers, ONION RINGS!  But if I eat 10 minutes before I get hungry...the grilled chicken breast and broccoli I planned on sounds just fine!  I refuel and I'm ready to go.

Now that I've been doing this for years, it has gotten easier.  I have a fridge and pantry stocked with good food.  And by good food I don't mean frozen White Castle Burgers.  I mean eggs, chicken breasts, raw almonds, blueberries, and my favorite...frozen steam in the bag veggies!!!  lol.  I really do love steam in the bag veggies.  So easy.  And always in the freezer.  How can you beat that?  Plus, it keeps my refridgerator crisper drawer (which I call the rotter) free of slimey old vegetables.  It's a win win :)
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