- 7 Substitutes for Picnic Diet Killers
- GO EXTREME!
- 10 Tips to Not Gain Weight While Dating
- Don't Lose Sleep Over Under-Eye Circles
- Test Your Getting-Back-in-Shape IQ!
Being in therapy is great. I spend an hour just talking about myself. It's kinda like being the guy on a date.
7 Substitutes for Picnic Diet KillersBy Joe Wilkes
It's almost summertime, which brings the incongruous collision of picnic season and swimsuit season. The weather's perfect for hiking, camping, barbecuing, and days at the beach—lots of opportunities for outdoor exercise, but just as many opportunities to pig out at pool parties, luaus, outdoor festivals, and county fairs. Here are some foods to try avoiding during the dog days of summer and some ideas for substitutions for picnic favorites.
- Fried chicken. It's not the K or the C in KFC® that's the problem. It's the F for fried. And if you have any hope of staying slim this summer, it's time to tell the Colonel you're kicking the bucket. One extra-crispy breast will run you 460 calories and 28 grams of fat, 8 of them saturated. That's almost three times the calories of a grilled, skinless breast and almost ten times as much fat. So clearly, you're better off cooking the chicken yourself. But if you're grabbing something on the run, you might want to visit the rotisserie case at your local supermarket. Try picking a chicken that's not slathered in sugary barbecue sauce. And if you throw away the skin, you'll save yourself from eating most of the fat and calories.
- Sandwiches. A picnic without sandwiches is like a picnic without ants. It just wouldn't be the same. But of course, the sandwich is only as good as the sum of its ingredients. If you're using white bread, you're just eating empty carbohydrates. Make sure you buy whole-grain bread, and that it has the word "whole" in the ingredient list. Wheat bread is essentially the same as white bread, only with a little molasses added for brown coloring. It's nutritionally the same, if not worse. Whole wheat bread, on the other hand, contains the fiber and the vitamins you're looking for. For lunch meat, try avoiding processed meats like bologna and salami. They're packed with extra fat and sodium. And when buying unprocessed meats like turkey or roast beef, make sure they really are unprocessed. The makers of some brands of turkey grind up the skin and dark meat and then press it into lunch meat form, so you're really getting as much fat and sodium as you'd get from bologna. Watch out for flavored turkey as well. Most of the time the secret ingredient is salt. If you want to be really healthy, buy a whole turkey breast from your poultry section and roast it yourself, so you can control how much salt is added.
- Brats and burgers. It's always great to fire up the grill and start cooking up a mess of meat. And the good news is that grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook food. It adds tons of flavor and doesn't add fat. Of course, the best thing to grill would be skinless chicken, fish, or vegetables. But if you're craving a juicy burger or brat and a portobello burger just won't do, there are still some decisions you can make to keep it on the lean side. For burgers, consider a leaner option than beef, such as ground turkey or buffalo. But as always, check the label. Some grinds of turkey have as much fat as a fatty grind of beef. Ground turkey breast is usually much leaner than ground turkey. If you're going to make beef burgers, try to find a grind that is under 5 percent fat. Ground sirloin is usually pretty close. If you can't find a grind that's low enough in fat, ask your butcher to grind a lean piece of chuck roast or top sirloin for you. In addition to being leaner, this will also reduce your chances of picking up foodborne illnesses like E. coli, since only one cow is involved in producing a steak, as opposed to potentially hundreds in ground beef. In fact, if you're someone who likes to eat your burger rare, having the butcher grind a piece of meat for you is a must do. Bratwurst is another delicious summer fave, but watch the fat and sodium content in those as well. The chicken, turkey, and even veggie versions of sausage sound like they'd be lighter, but they're often just as fatty as the pork versions.
- Potato or macaroni salad. Mayonnaise is the culprit in these dishes. At 50 calories a tablespoon with 5 grams of fat, these side dishes can turn deadly for your diet in a hurry. But you can mitigate the damage somewhat. Instead of mayonnaise, consider using nonfat yogurt, food-processed nonfat cottage cheese, or nonfat ricotta cheese instead. You'll get fewer calories, less fat, and lessen the risk of salmonella poisoning by going eggless. One way to make potato salad healthier is to leave the skins on the potatoes, as they have the fiber and most of the vitamins in the spud. For macaroni salad, use a whole-grain pasta to get extra fiber. Better yet, make a pasta salad with heart-healthy olive oil, vinegar, and lots of veggies.
- Baked beans. Beans, beans, the musical fruit . . . well, you know the rest. Full of fiber and low in fat, beans are a great side dish that will keep you full. What you want to watch out for is the sugar that is added to most baked beans—sometimes as much as 3 teaspoons in a cup. Try plain pinto beans, or my favorite, beans canned with jalapeños. Replace high-calorie sweet with low-calorie fire, and you won't even miss the sugar. Three-bean salad is another flavorful way to consume your legumes without a lot of added fat or sugar.
- Trail mix. Summer's a great time for checking out nature, and it's always great to bring along a healthy snack. But check the trail mix ingredients. Some, especially those containing granola, can be loaded with super-unhealthy hydrogenated oils and fat. There are trail mixes on the market that have more fat than a large order of fries, so it's definitely a buyer-beware situation. Also check out how much sugar is in the trail mix or granola bars you're taking backpacking. Some bars aren't much healthier than a Snickers®. If ingredients in your trail mix include chocolate chips and marshmallows, you may not have made the healthiest choice. Try making your own trail mix with healthy unsweetened oats, nuts, and dried fruit. Or take along a couple of P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bars.
- Ice cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. And we'll really be screaming when we try to stuff ourselves into our swimsuits after eating everyone's favorite fatty, frosty indulgence. It's hard to resist a cool ice cream cone on a hot summer day, and the tinkling of the ice cream truck bell can still send me bolting into the street. But that scoop of vanilla can have up to 400 calories and 25 grams of fat, 15 of them saturated. If you're culinarily gifted, you might consider making your own sorbet. If not, check out some of the ones available on the market. Sorbets are usually low fat or nonfat, although they can still have tons of sugar. Try to find some that are mostly fruit. Speaking of fruit, for a healthy frozen treat, how about sticking some fruit in the freezer? Most fruits, especially berries, grapes, and bananas, freeze quite well. They'll last longer and popping a few frozen grapes in your mouth can cool you off on a hot day; and you'll still get all the vitamins, fiber, and health benefits that a Creamsicle™ just can't provide.
Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Tuesday, June 1st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.
10 Tips to Not Gain Weight While DatingBy Stephanie S. Saunders
Falling in love. Perhaps the most extraordinary feeling a person can experience without psychotropic drugs. It's an all-consuming state of being that takes us to our highest highs and lowest lows. But in the whirlwind of meeting the person of your dreams, sometimes you focus on your heart and lose sight of your waistline. Yes, the dreaded dating dozen is the sister of the freshman fifteen, but hopefully with higher-quality food involved. Are you someone who tends to put on a few as soon as you start seeing someone new? Why does this happen, and how can we avoid it? What about those of us who save the weight gain for the demise of the relationship, also known as Ben and Jerry Therapy? Let's take a look at dating on a diet.
It is fairly traditional to go out to dinner and a movie when you first start spending time with someone. You don't want to look like the "weirdo who only eats salad" so you let loose a little bit. Perhaps you have a drink or five to continue on the loosening process. If this was for only one night, besides the imminent hangover, it'd be just fine. But when you really like someone, and you're happy, you might shed your eating inhibitions for quite some time. He or she might like you for who you are, and not care about a few extra pounds, which is not really a bad thing. But as we all know, if the cycle continues, you can lose sight of your fitness goals and end up feeling like you just finished your first year in college, only this time with a few added wrinkles.
Let's look at some ways to keep the love alive, without damage to your thighs.
- Talk about it. Communication is one of the pillars of any great relationship. This doesn't mean you need to go into a diatribe about your bad habits with food on the very first date. Again, being the crazy person who spends 20 minutes discussing carbohydrate vs. fat grams upon first meeting might leave your future phone calls unanswered. But if this is Mr. or Ms. Right, talk to them about your diet and fitness goals. Explain why you are working out like crazy and that the trip through the Jack in the Box® drive-through might not be your best date option. If they can't be supportive of your healthy choices, this is probably not who you want to spend forever with.
- Plan activity dates. Why does a date have to be dinner and drinks? The answer is, it doesn't. With a bit of creativity, you can take the focus off food, and do something that might help the two of you get to know each other while you're not inebriated. Plan dates that have activities as the focus, and simply eat before you leave the house. Try hiking, bowling, mini-golf, dog walking, visiting museums, playing a board game, getting a massage, playing on a playground, making pottery, throwing a Frisbee®, or sitting together and thinking of more fun, creative ideas. You will learn a lot about the person you are with, like if they get really upset when you cream them at mini-golf. And, more importantly, you will stick to your eating plan.
- Cook meals at home. Again, this is not a suggestion for a first date, because having someone in your home that you do not know is never wise. But if you begin to spend a lot of time together, cooking together can be a fun, sexy activity that can save you a lot of money and calories. Grilling up some chicken or fish and steaming some veggies and brown rice is incredibly simple, and it tastes fantastic. Throw in some candlelight and soft music, and it's as if you were in a 5-star restaurant, only you don't need to be concerned about public displays of affection. And if you can talk your significant other into doing the dishes, it is a perfect date.
- Picnics. For those of us who prefer getting out of the house, a picnic is always a fun alternative, unless you live in Alaska and it's January. In that case, we suggest you enjoy the picnic on the rug, inside a building. With a picnic, you have control over what goes into the basket, and into your mouth. Pack a bunch of different cut-up fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheese, and whole wheat crackers. Bring either low-fat dressing or hummus to dip the veggies in. A lovely tablecloth, some music—you have a date to remember.
- Choose wisely. So your date has been dying to try the latest hot spot for dinner. Don't rain on the parade, but be very smart when attending. Remember that steamed, broiled, or grilled items are usually healthier than fried, sautéed, or baked-in-cheese-sauce ones. Look for lean cuts of meat, dressings on the side, and avoid the bread basket. If you want to be very prepared, see if the restaurant has a Web site, which will usually have a menu, and decide what will be healthiest in advance. There are a ton of Web sites with calorie counters that can help you make your choices. If the restaurant doesn't have a Web site, call and ask them to fax a copy of the menu. Sometimes preparedness is the best defense.
- Avoid the snack bar. Movie theaters, sporting events, and concerts all have one horrible thing in common. No, it's not bad parking. It's concession stands. Whoever originally chose the menu for snack bars must be eight years old, as elsewhere, most adults hardly ever eat nachos, hot dogs, fat-infused popcorn, greasy little pizzas, and pretzels larger than their heads. The best possible choice in situations where you will be faced with a concession stand is to eat first. There's usually nothing of great nutritional value at these places, and even a seemingly innocent small popcorn with butter can pack 630 calories and 50 grams of fat! Grab a cup of water and run for your seat!
- Buy date clothes. We all want to look attractive for our special someone. Oftentimes, a new, flattering, and slightly sexy outfit can transform you into an irresistible creature that makes your date desire you all the more. I'm not suggesting you wear a Speedo® with a sports coat, but more formfitting clothing has the ability to keep you aware of your waistline. I was once told that if I wanted to eat ice cream, I should do it while wearing a bikini. I stopped after three bites.
- Work out first/on the date. It has been repeatedly proven that we tend to eat less and store less fat when we have a rigorous workout before a meal. Before a date, exercise can give us the added endorphins to feel fantastic and make us look our very best in the moment. Also, consider exercising with your new partner. Watching them try to conquer an INSANITY® plyometrics workout will give you a good gauge of their persistence and a good indication of what they look like with no makeup and messed-up hair.
- Make alcohol less of a focus. Limiting the amount of alcohol we consume on a date can be challenging. Having cocktails is fun, and it lowers our inhibitions, so getting to know someone becomes much easier. On the other side of the coin, alcohol packs on a lot of excess calories, and might make us get to know someone too quickly. One margarita or cosmopolitan can add 400 calories to an evening. Try to plan dates that are not "bar focused" (see #2), but if you end up somewhere celebrating, lean toward wine, light beer, champagne, and anything not mixed with a ton of sugar.
- If he/she is all wrong. Relationships can be incredibly complicated, and sometimes they just fall apart. If this unfortunate experience occurs for you, try not to let your sorrows drown in a vat of ice cream. Comfort food can be, well, comforting, but can also do residual damage that will make you feel even worse in the long run. It is pretty awful to work your tail off for months to reach a certain level of fitness, and have it all slip away because some jerk could not see what an incredible catch you are. Take all of that excess frustration and go on a run or a hike, lift weights, or do a P90X® workout.
Emotional eating is usually considered a negative reaction to a stressful or sad experience, which dating can sometimes be. But often, we eat in celebration of life, and the amazing person we have finally met. In all of the new emotions we encounter, in both the beginning and sometimes ending of a relationship, make sure you never lose sight of yourself—you, who has worked your tail off to get where you are. Keep up all of the good work, and remember that finding and keeping that perfect person is so much easier to do when you feel good about yourself.
Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Tuesday, June 1st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at email@example.com.
Don't Lose Sleep Over Under-Eye Circles
Whether it's waking up early to exercise or getting to bed late because there's just not enough time in the day, we all have our reasons for being tired. But who says we have to look tired? Here's a trick for appearing vibrant and rested in minutes.
Test Your Getting-Back-in-Shape IQ!By Valerie Watson
For somebody who works at a company that focuses on fitness, I am alarmingly unfit. So I know how tough it can be when you're feeling like an out-of-shape pink monkey stuck in the middle of a . . . flock? Herd? Pack? What's a bunch of brown monkeys called, anyway? No matter; I work in an office where everybody else uses their lunch hour to Bring It!® by doing a P90X® workout while I surf the Web or work on writing the next great American screenplay—both noble pursuits, but they're not making my tummy any flatter.
So I decided to look into which Beachbody® workout program would be best for someone who's just dipping her toe back into the pool of fitness after an exteeeeeeeended dry spell. And how do y'all get to participate? Why, by deciding which of the following statements are true and which are false.
True or False?
- True AND False: Slim in 6® is a super-easy way to get started. Slim in 6 is an excellent way to reimmerse yourself in regular physical exercise after you've been away from it for a while, but the compound adjective "super-easy" should be sending up some red flags for the thinking person. Make no mistake: even though Slim in 6 is listed in the Getting Started section of Beachbody.com, YOU ARE GOING TO FEEL IT. Always remember that returning to physical activity after a long layoff is going to require some work, and it's best to consult with your doctor to make sure you're up to the rigors of what's going to be asked of you. Then once you get the all-clear, go ahead and take the plunge—you'll be glad you did!
- True: P90X should be reserved for those who've already built up some strength and stamina. While some daring souls have plunged straight into P90X—and had some amazing results doing it—folks who've been sedentary for a considerable amount of time (like yours truly) might want to start a little lower on the Beachbody workout food chain. Tony's Power 90® is a good way to prepare for P90X. So are Slim in 6, Turbo Jam®, and Shaun T's Rockin' Body®.
- False: Yoga Booty Ballet® Pure & Simple Yoga is so easy, it feels almost like cheating. Don't let the soothing music or yoga's reputation as the prime road to relaxation fool you—yoga works all your major muscle groups and helps strengthen your core. So while it's a great way to get started, stretching your muscles and increasing your lung capacity, remember that it has three different levels of difficulty so you can keep challenging yourself as you learn and grow stronger.
- False: Beachbody programs created by women, like Debbie Siebers and Chalene Johnson, are much easier than ones created by men, like Tony Horton and Shaun T. While most people rightfully think of programs like Tony's P90X Plus and Shaun T's INSANITY® as being among the toughest we offer, you'd be foolish to sell the female contingent short. Chalene's Turbo Jam® Fat Burning Elite and Debbie's Slim Series® Express will both kick your butt six ways from Sunday.
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