About Me

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I'm a busy mom, working professional, and lover of all things fitness. I've lost 20 lbs in and kept it off for the past 2 years without stepping foot in a gym. I'm all about learning to be a better ME and paying it forward. Contact me at http://fb.me/tamaragomez18 or tamara.gomez18@gmail.com

Friday, October 29, 2010

9 Foods Not To Give Your Kids

Courtesy of Team Beachbody Newsletter, Issue: #181, July 29, 2010
By Joe Wilkes

If you've followed the news on childhood obesity lately, you know the state of affairs is pretty grim. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past two decades, and most signs point to the next generation being the first whose life expectancy will be shorter than their parents'. Much of the blame for this trend has deservedly been laid at the feet of the producers and marketers of unhealthy food aimed at our youngest consumers, whose parents face an uphill battle: trying to pit fresh, healthy foods devoid of mascots or sidekicks against superheroes and cartoon animals in a struggle to tempt their children's palates and stomachs.

Since most kids have hummingbird metabolisms that adults can only envy, it's often easy to give them a free pass and let them eat whatever they want. But eventually those metabolisms slow down and the pounds settle in. Also, as physical activity decreases and processed food intake increases annually, kids aren't burning calories the way their parents might have when they were their age. And even if the kids aren't getting fat, they are establishing eating habits they'll take into adulthood. As parents, you can help foster a love for healthy eating and exercise that will last your kids a lifetime—hopefully a long one!

Eating can so often be a classic power struggle where kids try to finally locate their mom and dad's last nerve. (I can remember family dinners with my brother and parents that could teach Hezbollah a thing or two about standoffs.) There are a number of strategies you can use to mitigate this type of deadlock. One is to let your kids help with the selection and preparation of the food. If they picked out the veggies at the farmers' market and helped cook them, they might be less inclined to feed them to the family pet. Another is to frame eating vegetables and healthy food as being its own reward. Otherwise, by offering dessert as a reward for finishing vegetables, you create a system where unhealthy food is a treat and healthy food sucks. With these thoughts in mind, let's take a look at some of the most unhealthy foods being marketed to your kids today, and some healthier alternatives you can offer to replace each of them.

Note: The following recommendations are for school-aged children. Infants and toddlers have different specific nutritional needs, not addressed in this article.

  1. Chicken nuggets/tenders. These popular kids' menu items are little nuggets of compressed fat, sodium, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and in some form chicken. Depending on the restaurant, chicken might not even be the first ingredient. Oftentimes, the nuggets or tenders are made of ground pieces of chicken meat and skin, pressed into a shape, Grilled Chicken and a Saladflavored with HFCS and salt, and batter-fried in hydrogenated oil (the bad, trans-fatty stuff). Then, as if that weren't unhealthy enough, you dunk it in a HFCS- or mayonnaise-based sauce. With all the fat, salt, and sugar, it's easy to understand why they're tasty, but the nutritive value weighed against the huge amount of calories and fat consumed is incredibly lacking. Even healthier-sounding menu items can be deceiving, like McDonald's® Premium Breast Strips (5 pieces), which pack 665 calories and 40 grams of fat—and that's before you factor in the dipping sauce. (By comparison, a Big Mac® with sauce has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat.)

    Instead: If you're cooking at home, grill a chicken breast and cut it into dipping-size pieces either with a knife or, for extra fun, cookie cutters. Make a healthy dipping sauce from HFCS-free ketchup, marinara sauce, mustard, or yogurt. Let your kids help make the shapes or mix up the sauce. Try and go without breading, but if you must, try dipping the chicken breast in a beaten egg, and then rolling it in cornflake crumbs before you bake it. It'll be crunchy and delicious, but not as fatty.

  2. Sugary cereal. I can remember as a child, after going to friends' houses for overnights and being treated to breakfast cereals with marshmallows that turned the milk fluorescent pink or blue, feeling horribly deprived when faced with the less colorful and sugary options served up in my home kitchen. But now I can appreciate my mom and her unpopular brans and granolas. True, they didn't have any cartoon characters on the box or any toy surprises, but they also didn't have the cups of sugar, grams of fat, and hundreds of empty calories that these Saturday-morning staples are loaded with.

    Instead: Read the labels and try to find cereal that's low in sugar and high in fiber and whole grains. Remember, "wheat" is not the same as "whole wheat." Also, avoid cereals (including some granolas) that have hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, or chemical preservatives. Add raisins, sliced bananas, berries, or other seasonal fruit to the cereal for extra flavor and nutrition. Again, letting your child help design a healthy bowl of cereal from choices you provide will get you a little more buy-in at the breakfast table.

  3. Lunch meat and hot dogs. Kids love hot dogs, bologna, and other processed meats, but these are all full of potentially carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites, sodium, saturated fat, and artificial colors and fillers. A study in Los Angeles found that kids who ate 12 hot dogs a month had nine times the risk of developing leukemia.1 And more health risks are being discovered all the time. Leaf through any research about Hot Dogskids' nutrition, and you're bound to read about the bane of the cafeteria—Oscar Mayer's Lunchables®. These and similar prepackaged lunches are loaded with processed meats and crackers made with hydrogenated oils. These innocent-looking meals can boast fat counts of up to 38 grams. That's as much fat as a Burger King® Whopper® and more than half the recommended daily allowance of fat for an adult.

    Instead: Get unprocessed meats, like lean turkey breast, chicken, tuna, or roast beef. Use whole wheat bread for sandwiches; or if your kid's dying for Lunchables, fill a small plastic container with whole-grain, low-fat crackers, lean, unprocessed meat, and low-fat cheese. This can be another great time to get out the cookie cutters to make healthy sandwiches more fun. For hot dogs, read labels carefully. Turkey dogs are usually a good bet, but some are pumped up with a fair amount of chemicals and extra fat to disguise their fowl origins. Look for low levels of fat, low sodium, and a list of ingredients you recognize. There are some tasty veggie dogs on the market, although a good deal of trial and error may be involved for the choosy child.

  4. Juice and juice-flavored drinks. Juice—what could be wrong with juice? While 100 percent juice is a good source of vitamin C, it doesn't have the fiber of whole fruit, and provides calories mostly from sugar and carbohydrates. Too much juice can lead to obesity and tooth decay, among other problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day for kids under six, and 8 to 12 ounces for older kids. Juice drinks that aren't 100 percent juice are usually laced with artificial colors and that old standby, high fructose corn syrup, and should be avoided. Your best bet is to make your own juice from fresh, seasonal fruit. You won't have to worry about all the additives, and it's another way you can involve your kids in the cooking process. Let them design their own juice "cocktail." (And if you were even considering soda, see "Top 10 Reasons to Give Up Soda" in the Related Articles section below.)

    Instead: Water is still the best thirst quencher. Explain the importance of good hydration to your kids, and try to set a good example yourself by carrying around a healthy reusable hard plastic or stainless steel water bottle. Get your kids used to carrying a small bottle of water in their backpack or attached to their bike. If they're very water averse, try water with a splash of fruit juice in it. But just a splash. The idea is to get your kids used to not having things be overly sweet, overly salty, or overly fatty. Another great beverage is milk. Growing kids need plenty of milk (or fortified nondairy milks, like soy or almond)—which is filled with nutrients, calcium, and (in the case of dairy and soy) protein—but they don't need too much fat, so choosing low-fat or nonfat options will help ensure that they get their milk without actually beginning to resemble a cow.

  5. VegetablesFrench fries. High in calories, high in fat, and high in sodium—and unsurprisingly the most popular "vegetable" among kids. Fries offer virtually none of the nutrients found in broccoli, carrots, spinach, or other veggies not cooked up in a deep fryer, and the fat they're fried in is often trans fat, the unhealthiest kind for the heart. To top it all off, studies are beginning to show cancer-causing properties from acrylamide, a toxic substance that is created when starchy foods like potatoes are heated to extreme temperatures. In some tests, the amount of acrylamide in French fries was 300 to 600 times higher than the amount the EPA allows in a glass of water.2

    Instead: Vegetables like baby carrots, celery sticks, and other crudités are great options, but if potatoes must be had, there are some options that don't involve melting a brick of fat. A scooped-out potato skin with low-fat chili and a little cheese can provide lots of fiber and vitamins, with even higher amounts if the chili has beans. You can also try making baked fries, using slices of potato with a light brushing of olive oil. Or the classic baked potato could be a hit, with plain yogurt or cottage cheese instead of sour cream and butter.

  6. Potato chips, Cheetos®, Doritos®, etc. These are full of fat, oftentimes saturated, and way more sodium than any child or adult should eat. Some chips also have the acrylamide problem discussed in #5, French fries, above. Also, watch out for innocent-seeming baked and low-fat chips that contain olestra or other fake fats and chemicals that could present health issues for kids.

    Instead: Kids gotta snack, and in fact, since their stomachs are smaller, they aren't usually able to go as long between meals as adults. Cut-up vegetables are the best thing if your kids want to get their crunch on, but air-popped popcorn and some baked chips are okay, too. You can control how much salt goes on the popcorn, or involve your child in experimenting with other toppings like red pepper, Parmesan cheese, or dried herbs. Try making your own trail mix with your kids. They might be more excited to eat their own personal blend, and that way you can avoid certain store-bought trail mixes, which sometimes contain ingredients like chocolate chips and marshmallows that aren't exactly on the healthy snack trail.

  7. Fruit leather. Many of these gelatinous snacks like roll-ups or fruit bites contain just a trace amount of fruit, but lots of sugar or HFCS and bright artificial colors. Don't be misled by all the products that include the word "fruit" on their box. Real fruit is in the produce section, not the candy aisle.

    Instead: If your child doesn't show interest in fruit in its natural state, there are some ways you can make it more interesting without losing its nutritional value. For a healthy frozen treat, try filling ice-cube or frozen-pop trays with fruit juice or freezing grapes. Or buy unflavored gelatin and mix it with fruit juice and/or pieces of fruit to make gelatin treats without the added sugar and color (let it solidify in big flat casserole dishes or roasting pans—another good time for the cookie cutters!) Try serving some raisins, dried apricots, apples, peaches, or other dried fruits that might give you that chewy, leathery texture without the sugar.

  8. Doughnuts. These little deep-fried gobs of joy are favorites for kids and adults alike, but they are full of fat and trans-fatty acids, and of course, sugar. Toaster pastries, muffins, and cinnamon buns aren't much better. The worst thing about doughnuts and these other pastries, aside from their nutritional content, is that they're often presented to children as acceptable breakfast choices. These delicious deadlies need to be categorized properly—as desserts, to be eaten very sparingly. And you can't have dessert for breakfast.

    Instead: Honestly, a slice of whole wheat toast spread with sugar-free fruit spread or peanut butter isn't going to get as many fans as a chocolate-filled Krispy Kreme® doughnut, but at some point, you have to stand firm. Be the cop who doesn't like doughnuts. Doughnuts—not for breakfast. Period.

  9. Pizza. In moderation, pizza can be a fairly decent choice. If you order the right toppings, you can get in most of your food groups. The problem comes with processed meats like pepperoni and sausage, which add fat and nitrates/nitrites (see #3, Lunch meat and hot dogs, above); and the overabundance of cheese, which will also provide more calories and fat than a child needs.

    Instead: Try making your own pizza with your kids. Use premade whole wheat crusts, or whole wheat tortillas, English muffins, or bread as a base. Then brush on HFCS-free sauce, and set up a workstation with healthy ingredients like diced chicken breast, sliced turkey dogs, and vegetables that each child can use to build his or her own pizza. Then sprinkle on a little cheese, bake, and serve. If your child gets used to eating pizza like this, delivery pizzas may seem unbearably greasy after awhile.

Someday your children will come to realize that caped men in tights and sponges who live under the sea might not have their best interests at heart when it comes to food. Until then, however, why not involve them in the process of selecting and preparing healthier alternatives? Some of these cleverly disguised wholesome foods might become their favorites. Who knows, they may even tempt some of the overgrown children among us!

  • 1Peters J, et al. "Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA)" Cancer Causes & Control 5: 195-202, 1994
  • 2Tareke E, Rydberg P, Karlsson P, et al. "Analysis of acrylamide, a carcinogen formed in heated foodstuffs" J. of Agri and Food Chem. 2002;50:4988-5006

You Are What Your Friends Eat: How Social Networks Affect Our Health

Courtesy of Team Beachbody Newsletters Issue: #193, October 28, 2010
By Stephanie S. Saunders

Everyone knows that you are what you eat. But what if you actually are what your friends eat? What if obesity was not hereditary, but contagious? Sure, it's easier to blame your parents for that sort of thing. After all, why wouldn't the size of your hips be the result of bad genes? But a few years ago, two scientists published an extensive study of 12,067 people in the New England Journal of Medicine that seems to prove that we are directly affected by the habits of others.

Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler theorized that weight gain in an individual is associated with weight gain in his or her siblings, spouse, and neighbors. The phenomenon is called a "contagion" and can be described as a kind of social virus that is transmitted by proximity. It seems a person is 57 percent more likely to become obese if they have a friend who becomes obese. If a sibling becomes obese, the other sibling has a 47 percent increased chance of having the same thing happen to them. And a person has a 37 percent chance of serious weight gain if their spouse starts tipping the scales. No one is exactly sure how it occurs, but our social environment seems to infect us, and we in turn, spread it.

Yes, you read it right. It seems weight gain and the flu have a lot in common, except Walgreens® isn't doling out shots to keep you thin. Many public health leaders, including the National Institute of Health, now believe that this growing science of social networks can be used to improve health on a huge scale. By either creating new social networks, like a dieting group, or by influencing the leaders of already-existing health-related groups such as the Team Beachbody® Message Boards, positive health messages will become contagious. But how can we affect those we care about, and not be affected by unhealthy behaviors?

"Be the change you want to see in the world." —Mahatma Gandhi

The first thing we can do is be an example. You're reading this newsletter, so you already have some interest in your health. It's more than likely you're also on a kick-butt exercise and nutrition program that's altering your appearance. You're already creating the change in yourself, and that will, in turn, have an effect on others. If you want to make a real difference, stay on the path. It is quite easy to reach our goals, only to let them slip away over an extended vacation, holiday season, or traumatic event like a breakup. What this says to an outsider is: "If Tom couldn't keep the weight off, how is there any hope for me? Why even bother?" If you want to inspire others, continue to be an inspiration.

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own." —Benjamin Disraeli

Who really has time to talk anymore? We have emails, IMs, and text messages that have pretty much replaced verbal communication. We're all running around trying to accomplish things, which will fall behind schedule if we meet someone for coffee. Yet, sometimes just talking to people about their health and encouraging them to change can be the difference between being healthy and having a lifelong struggle with obesity. You've gone from a size 8 to a size 4, or from a beer gut to a six-pack. People around you will most likely ask how the heck you did it. When they do, ask them to grab a nonfat latte and sit down, because you have something to share with them.

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." —Oprah Winfrey

Removing yourself from every situation that has unhealthy people in it is impossible and unnecessary. We're all tied into our friendships, jobs, and families by many threads, most of which we couldn't sever if we wanted to. You know your best friend from junior high would hunt you down if you moved to a small island off the coast of Madagascar. So instead of losing your relationships, make it a point to tip the scales and add a few more. Finding like-minded people—be it at a gym, a cooking class, a yoga studio, a fitness retreat, or a well-known local hiking spot—can open you up to new ideas and new positive influences. As your resolve becomes strengthened by your new friendships, you will be that much more able to assist your more established friendships.

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." —Buddha

If you truly want to create a change in the health of others, there are thousands of programs out there that need volunteers. From the national organizations designed to raise money for diseases, to the local car wash that supports the high school athletic program, there's always someone who could use your assistance. Or better yet, create your own network of people making a difference, in whatever way you feel driven. Organize that 10k to benefit the YMCA, petition your state school board to increase physical education and remove vending machines full of sugar from your schools, or create a foundation to bring food to famine-stricken parts of the world. Making a big difference in the health of others can begin with one person, and it could be you.


Why we are so susceptible to the influences of others remains a mystery. From the time we are babies, we learn to mimic gestures and language. As adults, we still mimic yawns, laughs, and often aggression, as the mob after a recent NBA playoffs game proved. And now it seems we can mimic weight gain or loss, along a host of other behaviors. Before getting swept up in the crowd, take a moment and decide what you want for your life. You can choose your own destiny, and maybe help shape the lives of others in the process.


  1. Christakis, N. A. and J. H. Fowler,. "The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years." New England Journal of Medicine 357 (July 26, 2007): 370-379.
  2. Eric Jaffe, "The 'contagion' of social networks," Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2010, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/13/health/la-he-social-networks-health-20100913
  3. Clive Thompson, "Are Your Friends Making You Fat?" New York Times, September 10, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/magazine/13contagion-t.html
  4. R. William Doherty, "Emotional Contagion and Social Judgment," Motivation and Emotion 22, No. 3 (1998), 1-2.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beachbody Coaching is a pyramid scheme...

I've heard this a few times from friends.  Not many, most people have been very open-minded since I became a Beachbody Coach 3 months ago.  Those that have made this statement are the ones that have made assumptions before listening to me explain what I do.  I even had one friend say "oh is it one of these? *making a pyramid sign with her hands*."   I admit I got defensive at that one, but now I think it's funny.  However, it DOES bother me, because I want the people in my life to know that I'm doing something positive!!! 

I'm here to clear up some misconceptions.   

First of all, as far as I know, pyramid schemes are illegal.  They are fraud.  Anyone that knows me knows that I would not involve myself in something illegal! 

Beachbody is person-to-person marketing.  When I go to a movie that I loved, the first thing I do is put it on Facebook: "Love this movie!  Go see it!"  Doesn't everyone do this?  That's person-to-person marketing.  I like (or dislike) something, and I tell others about it.  For the past year, fitness has been my passion.  Even before I learned about Beachbody Coaching, I was always talking about and posting about my workouts, which happened to be Beachbody products like ChaLEAN Extreme and Insanity.  I was motivating my friends and they were motivating me.  That's EXACTLY what a Coach does!  That's all!  We share our experiences with quality products and programs that work!  No gimmicks.  They don't work if the person doing them doesn't put in the effort! 

Ok, but here… with a pyramid scheme, the only way to make money is to recruit people to your network.   The ones who add the most people are the ones that earn the money.  Earnings are not based on real sales or commissions.

With Beachbody, I don't get a penny for adding others!  I'm not adding coaches to my network because I get compensated for it.  I'm adding them because they want to be a part of a fast-growing, recession proof business.  They have goals and dreams and this is a channel for them to achieve those. 

On top of that, coaches earn 25% commission AS SOON AS THEY SIGN UP.  You can sign up right now and make commission in 10 minutes.  That's it!  You don't have to add anyone to your team if you don't want to.  Everyone starts on the same level in this business.  A 1 month old coach can essentially earn as much or more as someone that's been doing it for 1 year.  Beachbody Coaches represent real, quality health products.  Not products or magic pills that promise to get you skinny without doing any real work.  Every single dollar that I earn is the result of someone making a decision to better their health and their life.

And for that I am PROUD of the work that I do J

Check out our newest video, Introducing Team Beachbody…


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Losing Water Weight

Could Those Extra Pounds Be Water Weight? Lose 'Em Fast!

By Debra Pivko

Ever wonder how you gained 5 pounds overnight—even when you're cutting calories? The usual culprit is water weight.

If your stomach feels bloated, your face looks puffy, or your hands and feet swell, it's likely that your body is retaining water. And this may show up on the scale as a few extra pounds. Not fun.

Here's why it happens. Your body is constantly trying to rid itself of the salt you consume. When it can't purge all the extra salt, your tissues react by holding on to water, so the ratio of salt to water is always at a safe level.

But if you want to determine your real weight, see how close you are to your fitness goals, and button up those old jeans with ease, follow these quick tips to lose the extra water weight—fast.

Drink more water.

It may seem counterintuitive, but not drinking enough water every day can actually make you retain more water! Dehydration causes your body to go into panic mode, and it'll hold on to water the next time you take a drink. Diuretics like alcohol, tea, and caffeinated soda can actually have a dehydrating effect on your body since they flush water out of your system.

What to do? Drink at least eight to ten glasses of water each day so your body will maintain its fluid balance, and you won't gain those extra pounds. Water is the best diuretic you can give your body and it's all natural, and usually free! If looking thinner and feeling less bloated isn't enough motivation, here's some more. Drinking water before each meal has been shown to help promote weight loss and even to help keep your skin healthy, which is particularly useful if you don't want your skin to sag once you lose weight.

So keep a water bottle at your desk, send yourself "drink water" reminders if you have to, track your water intake for motivation, or do whatever it takes to remember to drink enough water. The extra hydration will prevent those false pounds from showing up on the scale.

Sweat it out with exercise.

When you sit in one place for a long period of time, your circulation slows down and your body can begin to swell. Exercise promotes blood flow and circulation (not to mention sweating). So when you get in some serious cardio, you'll literally sweat out excess fluids and pounds. Make sure to get your daily exercise to help rid your body of water weight.

The exercise program that leaves my workout clothes most drenched in sweat would have to be Chalene Johnson's TurboFire®. When I eat too much salt or just too much food and feel extra bloated, Chalene's latest program is my savior that helps me get my stomach looking flat, fast. I just pop one of the high-intensity interval training or cardio kickboxing discs in the DVD player to work up a serious sweat and burn major calories. I think it's the awesome music remixes that keep me going through the intense cardio conditioning. After big holiday meals, like the annual Thanksgiving feast for example, I can expect to find my coworkers ready for some TurboFire to fire up our weight loss and sweat it all out.

Limit the sodium in your diet.

To give your body a break from retaining water and working hard to eliminate sodium in the first place, try to keep your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day and avoid adding salt to foods.

Watch out for sneaky salt in boxed or packaged foods by reading nutrition labels carefully. Some of the foods where sodium is often hidden are canned soups, fast foods, pickled foods, processed/deli meats, cheeses, frozen meals, and soy sauce. Make sure to look for labels that say "reduced sodium" or "sodium free." You may also want to choose fresh vegetables over canned. While canned veggies can be a handy substitute for fresh, they're typically laden with preservatives or sauces and seasonings that add extra sodium. A cup of canned cream-style corn, for example, contains 730 milligrams of sodium.

Also, food at restaurants and fast food establishments often contains high amounts of sodium. Eliminate all table salt and try using pepper or other spices on your food instead. Or, maybe try nothing and remind yourself what the food actually tastes like.

Another great way to keep track of your sodium intake is by getting your own customized nutrition plan with Team Beachbody's My Meal Planner. It's an awesome new benefit of the Team Beachbody® Club membership. You'll get a week's worth of recipes that include low-sodium options, or you can modify and make substitutions to the recipes for even lower sodium options. I use it to track my progress throughout the week so I know all my nutrition stats. You can even use the food analyzer to search any food and get the nutrition information for it. I'm obsessed.

Eat more protein.

Deficiencies in protein, along with vitamins B1, B5, and B6, can lead to water retention as these nutrients assist with fluid balance functioning. Some good sources of these nutrients include lean beef, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. You should try to eat two to three appropriate portions of lean protein per day.

Don't starve yourself.

Undereating can also cause you to gain water weight. Eating fewer than 1,200 calories a day may cause your body to retain water and, ironically enough, cause you to gain more weight.

Limit your sugar intake.

Having too much sugar in your body can cause your insulin levels to rise. High levels of insulin may make it harder for your body to get rid of sodium, which in turn causes water weight gain.

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fresh fruits and vegetables—especially those naturally rich in water, such as watermelon, onions, celery, and cucumbers—can make you urinate more frequently, reducing water retention. Fruits and vegetables also provide ample sources of potassium, which assists with fluid balance within body cells. I love going to the farmers' market on Sundays and picking up fresh fruits and veggies, but let's face it—making constant trips to buy fresh produce doesn't always fit into my lifestyle. Thank goodness for Shakeology®. It's an easy way to get my fruits and veggies without having to set up shop in the produce section of the market. And that way, my veggies come in the form of a delicious chocolate-flavored treat. I sometimes toss a mini banana into my shake for some extra potassium, which also helps discourage water retention and keeps my muscles from cramping up during workouts.

Courtesy of Team Beachbody

Each week the Team Beachbody® newsletter brings you the latest health and fitness news, updates on new projects and upcoming releases, and tips and advice for getting in the best shape of your life. Don't worry if you missed a newsletter—you can catch up on back issues here.

Issue: #192, October 21, 2010

How Do I Lose My Belly Fat?

Question: What can I do to lose weight in my stomach? I've been doing lots of crunches but they don't seem to help.

Expert Answer:
There is no way to target weight loss to a specific area of the body because your body decides where it wants to put on weight and where it wants to take it off. The midsection is a common "problem" area for many people.

The best way to lose fat is through cardiovascular exercise. It is important to do a variety of abdominal exercises (including crunches) to keep your core strong, but until that excess fat is gone, you will not see the muscle definition. So if you're not doing cardio, crunches are not going to help get the 6-pack you've been hoping for. Regular cardio exercise at a level that's challenging for you is your best bet.

Exercise Extra: "Apple" shapes (fat storage around the belly) have been shown to have a higher risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, whereas storing fat in your lower half, known as a "Pear" shape, is actually a healthier site for fat accumulation.

Courtesy of Spark People

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chili Peppered Steak

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes! I like it spicy :)

Serves: Prep: 11minCook: 14min Total: 25min


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup chopped broccoli
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 cayenne peppers, sliced
12 ounces lean sirloin steak, sliced thin
1/4 cup hunan stir-fry sauce
4 cups cooked brown rice

1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Toss in the carrots and broccoli, and cook until tender.
2. Add the peppers and beef, and continue cooking until meat is done.
3. Add sauce, and serve over rice

Nutritional Facts per serving:

FAT 10.7 G

Courtesy of Abs Diet For Women

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuna Salad Recipe

I made one of my favorite recipes today, it's so easy and so yummy!
  • 3 cans of tuna in water, drained
  • 2 tbsp of fat-free Hellmann's mayo
  • 1/4 cup cooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 med white onion, chopped
  • 3 jalapenos or serrano peppers, chopped
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • salt to taste
Mix it all together and serve on corn tostadas.  An alternative would be whole wheat pitas.  You can adjust the amount of vegetables to suite your own taste.  Put some green tomatillo salsa on top for an extra kick!


Random thoughts on life and fitness...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Target Heart Rate

What is your target heart rate? Your target heart rate is a percentage of your max heart rate, which is the highest number of times your heart can beat per minute.

Do you know how to calculate your target heart rate for when you are exercising?

It's a simple calculation: 220 - age. For example my target heart rate is 220-31=189. Yes I jut gave away my age. LOL.

These are the various heart zones:
Healthy 50-60% of your target heart rate.
Temperate 60-70%
Aerobic 70-80%
Threshold 80-90%
Redline 90-100%

For longer workouts, your goal should be to spend most of your time in a temperate to aerobic range. With more intense workouts, you may spend time in the higher ranges but know that this increases the risk of burnout or injury!

Last night I did Insanity Fast and Furious and my heart rate went up to 169 with an average time spent in an aerobic zone. So I know I'm right on target :)

*information courtesy of Team Beachbody

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All about cravings...

I wrote this as a reply to an email from a friend, and I thought it would make a great first post!!!  The questions were: 

How do I handle food remorse and cravings?
How much water is too much?
How do I stay motivated to work out?
Food and my diet are my biggest struggle.  I’ve never been one to crave sweets.  Instead I crave salty and crunchy foods.  Heavy comfort foods.  Especially when I am tired or overwhelmed, which is a lot of the time.  And I used to be totally addicted to Coca-Cola.  First of all I stopped buying it at home. I used to get it a lot when I ate fast food.  Now I’ve trained myself to get water, the occasional soda, but overall I have really stuck to not drinking it.  It was hard at first but little by little I just got used to it.  Now, often when I drink it, it tastes disgusting and I only end up having a few sips.   I have my days when I can be really good and I have days where I crave everything bad.  And I have issues with stopping when I am full.  Once I start, it’s a little more and a little more, and before I know it I’m stuffed and I feel nasty.  I also have major food remorse.  I use that remorse to remind myself that I don’t enjoy the feeling.
I sometimes literally argue with myself, esp. on my way home from work because that is my opportunity to stop and buy food.  It’s like the little angel and devil on my shoulders.  The little devil makes EVERY excuse in the book.  For me it’s really about constantly reminding myself of how far I’ve gotten.  And that often when I eat bad, I physically feel sick afterwards.  I don’t want to feel that way.  So I try to remember how bad I felt the last time I indulged.  It’s all about building a habit.  I am good more often than not, and when I’m on a roll it’s easier to stick to it.  When I let myself overindulge it snowballs.
And seriously, Shakeology is helping A LOT.  After I drink it, I feel satisfied and I don’t crave bad stuff.  It’s like once you do one good thing for yourself, you build momentum.  I also suffer from IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome and it’s helping me with that.  This past week I wasn’t consistent drinking it every day, and the past few days I’ve had the worst stomach aches and I’ve been sluggish.  When I was drinking it consistently for a few weeks, I felt so much more energized than usual and I wasn’t feeling as sick to my stomach.  I wasn’t even drinking coffee, which is HUGE for me.
So it is all about just building that momentum and being patient.  And not beating yourself up.  Your body really starts to reject junk food after a while and not even crave it anymore.  And have someone to help you stay on track.  When I’m tempted I text my bff and she yells at me LOL.
As for water, unless you are drinking gallons a day, there is really no such thing as too much.  Water is the best thing you can give yourself.  I forget to drink water sometimes during the day and then I wonder why I’m so tired and sluggish.  I always have a reusable bottle with me and I fill it constantly and sip all day.  You should be aiming for 8 – 8 oz cups a day, right before, during , and after your workouts.  I used to chug 2 tall glasses at least during Insanity!  And headaches are often caused by dehydration.  If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
As for motivation with my workouts, I have them scheduled into my calendar.  As soon as I get home, I get dressed into my workout clothes.  No matter how tired I am, I do not let myself sit.  If I do, forget it.  I just jump right in and once I start, I feel great.
Last but not least, surrounding myself with like-minded people is helping me.  The biggest challenge is holding YOURSELF accountable.  I don’t want to give advice to others if I’m not following my own advice.  So again, it’s like my conscience telling me to be good!  I have surrounded myself with so many motivated people, I’m constantly being reminded of my goals and learning new tips and tricks.  Most of us have the same struggles, so having the support of others is key.  Sharing my experiences is helping ME more than anything!!!