Fitness professionals are just as critical about their physique as anyone. No one feels great about their body all the time, and I’m certainly no exception. For example, the body-conscious gremlin in my head did NOT want me taking a recent photoshoot with bare midriff… I experienced the same insecurities many of you do every day, but I flicked him aside and went on with it. It felt good! I’m not perfect; you’re not perfect- so what?! How about in 2011, we try harder to embrace our imperfections, and stand confidently in the skin we’re in? If you need to lose weight, lose weight; If you need to tone up, tone up; but don’t deride your body in the meanwhile- it’s a strong, able body! It won’t be easy and it won’t be without pitfalls, but lets just try harder to love our bodies inside and out in 2011 and the years to come.
Archive for December, 2010
I don’t know about you, but to me, this last week of the year is always a week of reflection. Another year has come and gone, and that is a monumental thing. For me, 2010 had about 5-years of work of life changes in a single year. For starters, it got me back in to personal training- something I had put aside for years while I was focused on fitness management and other things. That was such a rewarding return! I love that my helping hand enabled people to lose weight, embrace fitness, and feel better about themselves. I recorded several DVDs this year, only one of which actually released in 2010, but the impact the rest of them will make is something that will make for interesting reflection at this time next year. My husband, Daniel, and I moved from Dallas to Austin. It was a huge move, and, at the time, we weren’t sure that it wouldn’t be a colossal mistake… but it was a choice that we had given lots of prayer to. We felt called to move, so we took the leap of faith. In August, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. What a blessing that we had decided to make the move closer to Mom and Dad a few months before (they live in the Austin suburbs)! When Mom fought that fight, I was 20-miles up the road from her and able to meet her at the hospital, bring her flowers, and just drop in and see her at home on a whim. (She is now finished with radiation and healthy as an ox). I have been blessed in so many ways by the move to Austin, but nothing more than being here for that. Those of you who have seen “BB’s Back Burner” are familiar with a new family member that joined my household in 2010: Kokomo! On Dec. 19, 2010, we celebrated Kokomo’s 1-year-birthday. We got her on February 19, 2010, my husband’s birthday. (Truth be told, Kokomo was a gift I bought for myself on Daniel’s birthday, but shhhh! Don’t tell him!) In less than a year’s time, Kokomo has eaten my coffee table edges, couch cushions, sofa bed, door knobs, and several pairs of shoes; she has slobbered over my meals, drank my bath water, dug holes in my backyard, scared the bejesus out of the neighborhood kids, and left dog hair everywhere, but she has brightened my day every single day! We have made some wonderful friendships in Austin- especially Lauren, Rick, Nicole, Marvin, Cyndi, Kris, Rachel, Tommy, Christina, Mitch, Kassie, James, Gia, Kevin, Emma, Ricky, Kristopher, Tatum, and Hank (& Kokomo’s insisting that I add Yzerman, Wilhelmina, and Cade).
Thanks to all of you who have supported my work through: purchasing DVDs and working out with me at home, downloading free virtual workouts, taking my classes, training with me, and cooking recipes that I featured on BB’s Back Burner. Sharing my passion for fitness with you guys and hearing about how your lives have become enriched because of commitment to exercise truly fills my heart with joy. I cherish the positive comments and success stories that many of you have shared with me in 2010.
Cheers to all that was 2010 and all that is to come in 2011!!
Stress can contribute to weight gain. #61 on our “101 Legit Ways to Lose Weight” countdown is to teach you why, how, and what to do about it.
Cortisol is a stress hormone, created in the adrenal gland. We all produce some amounts of cortisol, but when imposed with high stress, the adrenal gland churns out cortisol faster than Taylor Swift churns out boyfriend-bashing songs.
Stress hormones are sometimes referred to as “fight or flight” hormones. Your system goes into survival mode, and it does what it needs to do in order to get you our of harms way: your energy spikes, metabolism shifts, blood pressure rises, and many other changes occur. Your body can adjust to this then bounce back to normal if the threat is short-lived. The problem comes when you live in a constant state of stress, forcing your system to remain in “fight or flight” mode.
Here are some physiological changes that can occur from living your life in a prolonged state of stress, also known as “chronic stress:”
METABOLISM: Excessive amounts of cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing you to gain weight even if you eat and exercise the same as you were before you were in the stressful situation.
CRAVINGS: When under stress, you typically crave foods high in salt, sugar, and fat. These types of foods may be appealing to you even when you’re not stressed, but when under stress, you are less likely to resist the craving. It’s not “all in your head.” Stress-induced cravings are physiological, not psychological.
FAT STORAGE: Excessive amounts of cortisol are linked to greater amounts of abdominal fat. That’s right: sustained high levels of cortisol is one cause of belly fat, and stress causes continual high levels of cortisol! Excessive abdominal fat leads to a long list of health risks, and these risks are not associated with fat storage in any other area of the body.
BLOOD PRESSURE: There is no conclusive evidence that proves that stress, by itself, causes long-term high blood pressure. It may be the other behaviors linked to stress- such as overeating, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and poor sleeping habits- cause high blood pressure. However, adding up short-term stress-related spikes in your blood pressure may, indeed, put you at risk for developing long-term high blood pressure.
There are still other ways that stress is linked to weight gain. When we feel burdened by high levels of stress, we often make decisions that may contribute to packing on pounds. A few of these are:
EMOTIONAL EATING/DRINKING: using excessive amounts of food or alcohol as an escape or refuge.
FAST FOOD*: saving time by whipping through the drive through to just fill the hungry stomach with something- anything- quickly! Experts believe that one of the big reasons why we are seeing more obesity in our society these days is that people are too stressed or busy to make healthy home-cooked dinners.
FORFEITING EXERCISE*: spending longer hours, storming away on the computer at work or whatever the stressor may be, and allowing the commitment to working on the task at hand trump your commitment to working on you! Before you know it, you’ll find that a day, week, month, year passed and you were too busy and/or stressed to exercise at all. Your body NEEDS to move- not just for vanity reasons, but for emotional reasons, too. Maybe one way to let go of some of your stress is to find time to give back to yourself and treat your body to a workout.
*Points marked with an asterisk may affect those who are stressed or those who are busy. The two are not mutually exclusive. Not everyone who is busy is stressed, and not everyone who is stressed is busy.
Helpguide.org is a fantastic resource for anyone who is coping with high amounts of stress, before letting acute stress become chronic, commit to making some changes! It’s not just about avoiding weight gain associated with stress; it’s about turning your ship around and living a happier life!
The weather outside is frightful, but tortilla soup is so delightful!
I put my own twist on Emeril Lagasse’s tortilla soup recipe and came up with this. Hope you enjoy!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I like Iliada brand)
1 small white onion, chopped
½ of a medium jalapeno, chopped and seeded (keep some seeds for more spice, if you’d like)
1 large poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 t. coriander
1 T. cumin
finely ground fresh sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste (if sea salt and/or peppercorns aren’t available, basic table salt and pepper will work)
28-oz can of Hutz tomatoes with basil, garlic, & oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 cups of chicken broth
14-oz can of corn
2 large limes
2 large handfuls of fresh cilantro
In a microwave safe bowl, place raw chicken breasts. Cover the chicken with water and sprinkle Adobo seasoning generously. Microwave for 8-minutes on one side, flip, then 8-minutes on the other side. (Depending on your microwave, it may take a little longer. If chicken is not fully cooked, microwave for a little longer). Drain water out and set the bowl aside for the chicken to cool.
In large pot, set the burner to MED/HIGH and pour the olive oil. Let olive oil warm for about 1-minute, then add the chopped onion, jalapeno, poblano pepper, coriander, cumin, and salt & pepper. Turn the burner down to MED, and stir for 5-minutes.
After 5-minutes, add the chicken broth.
Drain the canned tomatoes and corn, then pour tomatoes and corn into the pot.
Cut up the cooled chicken into small pieces, then toss into the pot.
Turn the burner down to LOW.
10-minutes later, squeeze in the juice of two limes and chopped fresh cilantro.
ENJOY! If desired, garnish with sour cream, mozzarella cheese, and/or sliced avocado.
The most common excuse for inactivity is the lack of time. We’re busy people, so finding a chunk of time to set aside to exercise is a difficult thing to do. Cardio exercise is a metabolism revver upper. If two quick 5-minute/day workouts can boost your body’s fat burning efficiency, don’t you think you can find a way to wedge that tiny amount of time out of your schedule? They really can do that! But here’s the catch: if you’re only going for 5-minutes, you are going to have to give it 100% from start to finish. That means no slow and steady; it’s fast and furious! If you are running as fast as you can for 5-minutes straight, when the clock strikes 5-minutes, you should be breathless and exhausted.
You’ll find that, with time, it will take a more rapid running pace to get you to that high level of exertion. That is one of the adaptations to aerobic exercise. So, if you’re new to exercise, running a 9-minute/mile pace for 5-minutes may wipe you out, but if you take on the 5-minute 2x/day challenge for 5-7 days every week, you may find that 3-weeks later, your pace has increased to a 8-minute mile, then 6-months later, maybe a sub-7-minute mile!
I recommend that you take on the 5-minute 2/day challenge on a treadmill, because your pace is steady and measurable there. If you don’t have access to a treadmill, take the 5-minute challenge right in your neighborhood. Since time is of the essence, just pick the location most convenient for you, and if that happens to be on the pavement, just challenge yourself to continually increase the distance you cover in your 5-minute runs.
It’s best to spread your two 5-minute max runs out between morning and evening, doing one in the morning and one in the evening. However, whenever you can squeeze them in is great!
Is it going to be hard? YES! Are you going to want to quit or slow down before you reach 5-minutes? ABSOLUTELY! But will this 5-minute, twice a day hard run change your body? MOST DEFINITELY! Take the challenge (run as hard as you can for 5-minute durations, twice a day, 5-7 days per week for 3-weeks) and see for yourself.
A recent study found that people who ate half a red grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds over a 12-week period. For most people, ruby red grapefruit is a great addition to your meals!
Great information on the history and nutritional benefits of red grapefruit can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit.
Caution should be given to post-menapausal women, especially those taking hormone replacement, before reaching for that grapefruit. This is a direct quote from the website listed above:
“Since grapefruit juice is known to inhibit enzymes necessary for the clearance of some drugs and hormones, some have hypothesized that grapefruit juice may play an indirect role in the development of hormone-dependent cancers. A 2007 study found a correlation between eating a quarter of grapefruit daily and a 30% increase in risk for breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The study points to the inhibition of CYP3A4 enzyme by grapefruit, which metabolizes estrogen.” A 2008 study seems to reveal that this risk is not prevalent for those who have never taken hormone replacement.
#64 on our “101 Legit Ways to Lose Weight” countdown may surprise you. “Eat for taste” seems to be a diet faux pas. Actually, it is one of the best pieces of advice you’ll ever get. Have you ever noticed that when something doesn’t taste good, you have a tendency to keep eating more and more of it because, after all, it’s nasty so surely the calories don’t count. I do that when I experiment with bizarre recipes. I’ll whip up some concoction that even the dog won’t touch, then eat spoonful by spoonful, in my head negating the calories because they don’t count unless they’re delicious. You’re laughing, because you do it, too!
The best thing you can do for your waistline is learn to cook healthy recipes that just so happen to be tasty. SAVOR every bite, then put your fork down, satisfied and finished. In the case that you’re at the table, and the meal in front of you is less than healthy- or not healthy at all (picture fried food, creamy gravy/sauces, and/or white bread drenched in butter), reduce your serving size from what you would eat if the meal was less caloric, but once again, eat every bite like you are the Queen of Sheeba. Enjoy your food! Just eat sloooooowly and watch your serving size so that you don’t get stabbed with a heaping helping of guilt for dessert!
Here’s a healthy meal I made last night for dinner. Hope you find it as Mmmm Mmmm Good as I did!
CILANTRO & LIME SHRIMP TACOS
2 Corn Tortillas
1 wedge Laughing Cow Lite Cheese
1/2 pound cooked, peeled, devined shrimp
1 can black beans
1 large handful cilantro
Juice from 2 limes
1/4 c. finely chopped white onion
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
Mix beans, cilantro, lime juice, shrimp, salt and pepper together into a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 3-hours.
Microwave corn tortillas with sliced Laughing Cow Lite cheese divided between them. Microwave about 20-seconds, or until cheese melts.
Place shrimp mixture on top of each tortilla. Top with avocado and red bell pepper.
Since the shrimp are already cooked when purchased from the store, and the marinade cooks them further, I choose not to cook them stovetop. If the slimy texture bothers you, just cook the shrimp (tail-off) in a skillet with a little little extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper until you have gotten them to desired crispness prior to mixing them with the marinade.