Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Being Fit: A Few Wise Words on Diet and Exercise and Southern Girl Favorites

A Few Wise Words
(From my personal trainer Christie)

Sugars are the REAL devil of any diet.... start by cutting back on sodas, fruit juices, candy, etc... one thing I always to do my fruit juice is looking for NO SUGAR ADDED on the labels first, then comparing sugar content of the different brands, and then I dilute it when I do drink it.  Take 6 to 8 oz of your favorite juice and add about 2-4 oz of cold water and mix, you probably won't really notice and after awhile, a full glass of pure juice will begin to taste too sweet. 
Full flavor Gatorades and such are ok in MODERATION... I don't recommend them at all though, they're mostly sugar and sodium and the chances are you won't be training for a dicathalon, so you really don't need them to begin with. 
If you are craving something sweet or you do want to have juices/anything sugary, try to have them as early in the day as possible in order to burn them off.  Simple concept: if you want something sugary, look for sugar content on the label.  Try to stick to 10-15 g of sugar per snack.  As you probably know, your blood sugar level fluctuates throughout the day... the more you keep it in balance, the less you will weigh. 
If you are a big soda fan, Cherry Coke Zero is delicious... it does have fake sugar in it, but trust me, this is better than the sugars and calories in regular Coke.  Crystal Light is a staple in my diet, I looove it... there are some good ones out there, trust me.  Stevia (the natural sugar that comes from a leaf) is actually a really great substitute for tea, coffee, anything you want to sweeten.
Water... drink it.  Sounds silly, but the more you drink, the more full you will feel.  If I'm about to sit down and eat even the slightest amount of junk food, I'll have a glass of cold water beforehand.  You'll eat less, but still get your craving taken care of.  There is no defeating a craving when it strikes, even the healthiest individuals can't live off of fish and salad every day.  The trick here is to eat it slowly, it takes the stomach 15 minutes to signal the brain that it is full once you've begun eating.
Anything that's high in fiber is GOOD.  Fiber One bars, oatmeal, Kashi cereal, etc.  Same concept as water, it keeps you feeling full and less likely to give into cravings.  Just remember... 35 g or so per day is your goal.  You also get fiber from green leafy veggies, broccoli, etc.
Protein is a MUST.  Same concept as water and fiber, SATIETY... you feel fuller longer and are less likely to eat junk.  Aim for your body weight in protein daily.  This sounds like a lot, but since protein is less calorie dense than fat, you can eat more of it.  I eat a lot of boiled eggs, tuna, turkey, chicken, and even some red meat every once in awhile.  You will want to consider a light protein shake after your workouts to help you with soreness/recovery.  Let me know if you decide to grab some, I have a few favorites.
Last but not least, carbs... these are NOT your enemy, if you choose the right ones.  Your body NEEDS carbohydrates to function; however, most people do not realize that there are carbohydrates in fruits and veggies, and they forget to take these into account when they are looking over their diet.  Whole wheat, whole grain, and oats... are pretty much the only carbs you want to eat... however, I still eat my white pastas occasionally, again, in moderation.  They affect your blood sugar level differently, meaning they break down more quickly and are more rapidly converted to sugar, leading to blood sugar spikes.
Cardio - 2 or 3 days per week... aim for 30 to 45 minutes of moderate/high intensity every time.  The treadmill, jogging/walking, swimming, stationary bike, and group exercise classes are the best options, the elliptical is ok but because your range of motion is very limited, you have to do a lot more work (time wise) to burn the same amt of calories on a treadmill, etc.  What I like to do is get on the treadmill, start at about 3.0 speed and 0 incline, walk for about 5 minutes to warm up... then every 3 minutes or so, increase the incline 3 intervals, bump the speed up to 3.3 and keep on going this way until you're at 15.0 (the highest a treadmill goes)... then start going back down.  You can do something similar with running.  This is a MUCH better option than trying to run at a slow speed constantly for 30 min.  If you have to sprint/run for a minute or two and then walk, then repeat, you're much better off.  The reason being is that this will keep your intensity higher than trying to simply walk or jog slowly.  Higher intensity = greater calorie burn.
Weight training - about 3 days/week.  I like to break mine into upper body, lower body, and a total body circuit day.  YOU WILL LOSE MORE WEIGHT DOING WEIGHT TRAINING THAN DOING CARDIO.  It is proven.  Your muscles burn calories both DURING the workout, and for up to 12 to 24 hours AFTER the workout (weight training creates microtears in the muscle tissue that causes them to repair themselves, hence the prolonged calorie burn).  You will NOT get bulky... I promise.  Don't be concerned about this, you'd have to eat CRAZY amounts of protein, lift CRAZY heavy weights, etc etc in order for this to happen.  Men have a LOT more testosterone than women, this is what causes muscle mass... so don't sweat it.
I know this is a lot of information, but take things slowly, ask lots of questions, and remember to have fun.  Instead of doing regular cardio on a treadmill, try a spin class... group exercise is ALWAYS motivating and fun.  Remember, little changes... park further away at the grocery store, grab a yogurt instead of M&Ms, and focus on the progress you're making rather than the weight on the scale... you will lose inches much more quickly than pounds... and who doesn't want to lose dress sizes?  :-)

Southern Girl Favorites

Southern Marsh Polo Dress is so cute and super comfy! I am hoping to add the Navy with Pink Duck to my collection! You can't buy a dress and not have a few other things to go with it...
This Grandma's spoon ring is not only classic but looks so pretty on! I saw the Dixie Patches Spoon Ring today at the Gym and I was hooked!

I love me some Sperry's! Already have the spot for a few new pairs picked out in my closet! I really love the Women's Bluefish 2-Eye Boat Shoe in Linen Oat...

And the Angelfish Slip on Boat Shoe in Tan/Camel Plaid (above) or Linen Oat (below)

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