Late night snacks that keep you slim!

Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t eat past a certain time of day or you will gain weight? Somewhere along the way we’ve been told that we shouldn’t eat after 7 p.m. or we will pack on the pounds. This is a common misconception. Our bodies need fuel constantly, not just when we are awake. When we’re sleeping, our bodies are burning calories to circulate blood, assist with lung functioning, and fuel our brains. 

Studies consistently show that nighttime eating does not actually cause weight gain if you stay within your body’s daily caloric needs. Where some people do get into trouble with eating late at night is if they binge and take in more calories than they need in a day. This often happens when people restrict their intake too much during the day. If you find that you’re ravenous at night, you probably aren’t getting enough calories throughout the day. This is why severely restrictive, extremely low-calorie diets backfire–they are too difficult to maintain long-term and ultimately are unhealthy because they bring your metabolism to a screeching halt. Your best bet is to eat portion-controlled meals consistently throughout the day, never going more than 3-4 hours without eating.

Here are a few healthy picks for when your internal clock makes you hungry for those sweet, starchy and salty foods:  

Baby carrots with Greek yogurt Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B 12.

Skinny Vanilla Milkshake: Add 1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder to 1 cup of skim milk and blend with ice! 

Pistachios: For 100 calories you can have about 30 nuts and they have less fat and salt than most processed snacks! 

Chocolate covered banana slices: Melt a square of dark chocolate in the microwave for about 20 seconds then dip in the banana slices.  It’s antioxidant rich and fiber-rich and a great way to feed that sweet tooth! 

Leash your fitness!

ImageHaving a workout buddy increases your likelihood of exercising,  so why not workout with your K9 buddy? Pet ownership is one health behavior that we’re getting right: 39 percent of American households include at least one dog, according to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey. But there’s probably more you can get out of your friendship with Fido. A dog needs exercise and so do you — why not do it together? Here are a few things to know to exercise with your dog:

Getting started:  Big or small, young or old, dogs just like humans need to exercise daily. While some breeds have special needs that have to be taken into account, and dogs do slow down as they age, they still need to take part in some form of daily physical activity. Without activity, just like us,  your dog will become bored, frustrated and unhealthy. Exercise tones the muscles, helps the body and metabolic system to function properly, and engages the mind. Anyone who has had a dog that suffers from lack of physical activity and mental stimulation will tell you that they will often turn to destructive behaviors — behaviors that magically disappear once the dog is getting out everyday. When making your dog your exercise buddy, step one is a trip to the vet. Your vet can evaluate your dog for any heart, lung, or other health problems.  It’s also important to check for signs of arthritis or musculoskeletal disease. A dog with inflamed joints or ligaments may require a low-impact exercise plan.Start slow and work into a routine. Just like a couch potato human, there are those of the K9 variety and being thrown into a vigorous exercise program right off the couch can cause injury to you as well as your pet. While there is no evidence to suggest your dog needs a warm up, it certainly can’t hurt you or your pet, and may help your dog set the pace” says John Crumley, DVM. Though exercise needs are based on a dog’s age, breed, size and overall health,  Dr. Crumley also recommends starting slow. He suggests 3-5 days a week, and if they are true couch potatoes starting with 1 or 2 miles, and doubling it each week until they get to 5 miles. This goal is not only great for your pet but for you as well!  “Once they are doing 5 miles, 5 days a week, they can do longer runs (20 miles and even up for some guys), Dr. Crumley states. He also warns to use common sense on those workouts. If your dog is sore the next day then you went to hard and you need to reduce the workout intensity (usually measured in distance, but not always).  When exercising with your dog, watch for signs that one of you may be overdoing it. You may be working too hard if you are too breathless to carry on a conversation. Your dog may be overworked if he shows reluctance to follow their owner on the run/activity. “I always say, ‘A dog will run himself to death to keep up with you”, says Dr. Crumley. So if he goes down and refuses to follow you, stop, get some food and water. Never force a dog to work. Other signs, lameness, slowing down, whining, attention seeking, and “shade seeking” (looking for a place to lie down in the shade).

 Cold weather: Dr. Crumley advises that there is no reason not to for most dogs to exercise down into the teens. Short haired dogs may need a waterproof jacket in the snow, but usually this is not needed. Long walks on rough surfaces can damage a dog’s paws. Start slowly. If you work your way up to longer walks, most dogs will develop thicker pads on their feet and not have problems. On hot days, avoid too much contact with asphalt or sand. On snowy days, check paws for ice build-up. And if you venture onto very rough surfaces, consider buying a set of dog booties.

Do you need to change your dogs diet for more exercise?:

Dr. Crumley recommends more calories, especially in the cold. Watch the weight so they don’t get fat.  “I’m a protein and fat guys for dogs in training, but in the acute caloric deficit, carbs are needed”. 

Can ANY dog go running?  “Hell yes”, Dr. Crumley says. I worry more about the owner than the dog. Some need to start slow, dogs just don’t pace well. We have to use our common sense to pace them.” 

Swimming with your dog: Swimming is an all-in-one workout that is especially beneficial for people or dogs with arthritis. Because it’s a low-impact sport, swimming is easy on the joints. But that doesn’t mean it’s a wimpy workout. Swimming works various muscle groups, improves endurance, and strengthens the heart and lungs. Not all dogs enjoy swimming, so start slowly. Use toys or treats for encouragement, and if your dog still resists, find another sport.

What are a few good tips to get that fat dog moving? Love, attention, time with their owner and the outside is usually all they need. 

A recent Michigan State University study found that people who owned and just walked their dogs were 34% more likely to get the amount of daily exercise they need. Similar studies and public health campaigns that promote pet ownership represent a logical opportunity to increase physical activity.  Research also suggests that people who exercise with their dogs are more likely to stick to their fitness program!

A workout with your beloved K9 best friend can do wonders for both you and your pets cardiovascular health and weight management, but it can be hard to find the motivation to get moving every day. Use your dogs tireless energy and need to be outdoors to get going!  Running with your dog can be a very rewarding experience and foster an even deeper bond between the both of you.  When done safely and effectively, it can also provide a necessary outlet of energy for your dog which can help maintain a healthy weight, promote a longer more active life, and in some cases, even help correct problem behaviors. So why not leash your fitness and add your buddy to those daily runs!

Dr. John Crumley is a UC Davis graduate, but hails from Texas. He has a special interest in internal medicine and cancer therapy. He is one of the partners at Baring Blvd Veterinary Hospital. In his spare time he is an avid tri-athlete and climber. My deepest thanks to him for his expertise, patience and love he gave my dog and for all the expert advice for this article. 

Resolute Resolutions

Chances are you have never accomplished your New Year’s resolutions. By June, 54% of people have abandoned theirs and by the end of year, just forget about it. So instead of lofty resolutions that require unrealistic leaps, focus on small lifestyle changes with achievable and permanent results.

Here are a few of the resolutions and how to help them stick:

The number one New Year’s resolution is losing weight yet 95% of dieters regain the weight they lost.  Why not make small lifestyle changes instead of dramatic deprivations? You will achieve greater success., The two most effective behavior changes are easy and free: weigh yourself daily (and write it down), and keep a food diary. It’s about making mindfulness part of your routine.  Both behaviors are proven to help people lose more weight than dieting. Set  S.M.A.R.T. goals. SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, TIMELY goals.  As much as we would love to start working out tomorrow (and five times a week!), it doesn’t usually happen that way.60% of gym memberships go unused despite the optimism resolution makers feel in January!

SMART Goals:

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

*Who:      Who is involved?

*What:     What do I want to accomplish?

*Where:    Identify a location.

*When:     Establish a time frame.

Which:    Identify requirements and constraints.

*Why:      Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE:  A general goal would be, “Get in shape and lose weight.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.” By being specific you actually set accountability and identifiable goals! 

Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.

When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……

How much? How many?

How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them!

Realistic- To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? There is no “someday” in any calendar.  But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

 Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Resolving to enjoy life to the fullest because it is January 1 is a little bit like waiting for a tragedy to appreciate your life. To not live a full life with what you already have is like buying a new car and only using 20% of its features. Incorporate your dreams into your daily life. Live HAPPY and HEALTHY! 

So scratch those resolutions and turn to these small lifestyle changes to get the great 2013 results you seek!

Training for YOU

Starting a new exercise program can be daunting. Whether you are just starting to work out or training for a specific event or goal, you want to get there the best way possible. This is where a personal trainer can be one of your best investments in your health. You should find a trainer that uses integrated training methods to help their clients reach their individual goals. Exercise should build joint stability, coordination, improve posture and enhance communication between all of the body’s systems. A good trainer can start building this base, especially for those who are overweight, whereas on their own, they are more likely to injure themselves and end up back on the couch. Most weight loss programs are designed across a broad audience. Followers of these programs, regardless of age, ability, or other variables, including diabetes, eat only certain foods and only exercise in a very specific way and while results can come quickly, they usually don’t last.  That’s because we have little in common with the celebrity or ex-athlete they use for those endorsements. AND as most overweight people are already aware, one size NEVER fits all. A good personal trainer will set you up for long term weight loss success. Most people have already tried some best seller diet and moved on and learned the lesson the hard way that a fad diet may get short term results, it is difficult, if not impossible to sustain over time. What is needed is a commitment to making healthier choices that work in real life settings.  Choosing a fitness program or a trainer should be done with YOUR individual goals in mind. Don’t be afraid to shop around! Developing a personal, yet professional relationship with your trainer is very important. Trust your instincts. Ask yourself if you think you could get along well with the trainer and whether you think the trainer is genuinely interested in helping you. The personal trainer you select should motivate you using positive, not negative, reinforcement. Importantly, that trainer should be someone you like. Also, a personal trainer should hold a current NCCA-accredited certification. This will give you the assurance that you are working with a professional who has the knowledge and skills to provide you with a safe and effective workout.

Give the gift of fitness!

Ok we all know fitness gifts can send the wrong message. I mean, who really wants to unwrap a scale? However, knowing your loved ones want to be health conscious, giving healthful gifts can be a breeze. Here are some ideas for those fitness crazed body conscious people on your list, or the ones who are looking to change their habits. Giving fitness clothes can be daunting, but there are so many new high tech fabrics in easy fitting, non-binding COLORFUL fabrics that will  make them  want to put them on and get moving!  New MP3 earbuds, or gift cards to iTunes to spice up the music motivation!  Gift certificates are always a win!. Try one for their favorite sporting goods store. Take the guess out of the sizing and no one will be hurt or offended. Wrap it up in a BPA free water bottle! For the health conscious eater who may not know how to kickstart that healthy eating habit, how about a basket full of natural foods like almond butter, salt free herbs and spices, teas, whole grains and a new cookbook? For those already into it, how about some accessories? Kettlebells, surength bands, yoga mats, towels, heart rate monitors and wrapped in a gym bag! The possibilities are endless!  And, if you have no idea how to get them started and thinking that anything above won’t do, how about a session with a personal trainer? A one on one session with a CPT (certified personal trainer) can keep them motivated and can be rewarding. A trainer can push them harder and motivate when they need it most. You will want to pick a trainer who has a lot of knowledge in the fitness industry and maybe even specializing in certain areas, and sports. The trainer you pick should be able to meet the goals of those receiving the gift and these too, can be tailored to them! Give the gift of you! The gift of your time as a workout partner is a year round gift! Partners often achieve successes not possible by going alone. Best of all, it’s FREE!


Give a Healthier Halloween

ImageWell, Halloween is here. Do you dread this day and fear it ruins all your hard work and side tracks your goals? Stay strong! Here are a few ideas to get you through the dreaded candy derail. Give away snack sizes of sunflower seeds, nuts, or dried fruit! The temptation for all that candy isn’t there and your choice is much healthier for you, and those trick or treaters!!  Or give out stickers, pencils, erasers or other small themed toys. These make great alternatives with no guilt! Now, for those with kids, what do you do when they come home with those bags of candy? Have them select their favorite candy and get rid of the rest!! Getting rid of that temptation ensures mindful eating!  By all means, enjoy the holiday! You can set a good example by not overindulging! Kids do what their parents do. Setting a good healthy example keeps you on track as well as your family! Smart choices make us healthy and strong. Make sure exercise is added into your day. Focus on the fun and know those few pieces of candy aren’t going to make or break you if you exercise regularly and eat healthy!

How to eat for the heat!!

Those dog days of summer.. They can wreak havoc on our bodies. Even the most healthy athlete can experience problems associated with the heat; lack of appetite, dehydration and vitamin loss. Here is just a quick answer to so many questions I’ve ben asked of what to eat during these hot days. High fiber fruit like , apples, oranges and bananas . Oranges provide a lot of hydration and bananas keep you cool also while drinking water eat salted peanuts to help retain the water inside. High fiber fruits and natural juice content to help maintain blood sugar levels, provide some nutrient-rich fluid and be a source of calories!  of small, protein-enriched foods.  Foods high in water content like cucumbers and watermelon are the ideal snack! Plus they are loaded with vitamins and minerals with extremely high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties! And, first AND lastly, WATER!  Hyrdation is the key to the heat!  The importance of water cannot be emphasized enough. It’s calorie free and its benefits out number any other foods! it maintains optimal body temperature, prevents constipation, carries nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells, lubricate joints, and helps to dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make the accessible to the body!  Summer is the best time for all those fruits! So load up and enjoy and beat the heat!

Fad or Flab?


The fad diet isthe weight loss program that  promise instant results.Fad dieting puts your heath at risk. The desire to become slim and look like a supermodel creates false realities in which most women can never obtain. There are hundreds of fad diets out there from the “all cabbage” and the “vinegar” diet to all liquid. Because we all want that “magic bullet” and quick fix the REAL reality is the best method is that old slow, boring yet SAFE way which is harder, but permanent and healthy. The fad diets are mostly fasting diet programs that alter the nutritional balance of your body, which can cause hypoglycemic coma, stroke, anorexia and heat attacks. Even the “good” fad methods have serious stress starvation on the body.  Even those liquids which claim to be “nutrient rich” cause a starvation effect which in turn causes a severe stress to your system. Unless your weight loss is steady and regular and balanced, various health effects will happen from starvation dieting. Diets low in carbs place may of the wrong kind of fats into the body, while vegetarian diets and low protein can cause muscle wasting.   There are also psychological effects as well.  The Journal of Neuroscience did a study and researchers found that diets that restricted calories and fat intake caused stress levels to become significantly elevated after 3 weeks. In addition, when subjects were exposed to stress, they engaged in binge eating behavior. These findings suggest that the stress caused by highly restrictive diets increases binge eating which is counterproductive to weight loss.

The sensational claims associated with fad diets may lead you to believe that weight loss is quick and easy. Such statements give a false sense of hope and may cause you to set unattainable goals. Therefore, it can be a psychological letdown if you fail to lose weight as quickly as you anticipated or if you are unable to shed the number of pounds you hoped to.

Psychologists have termed the phrase “learned helplessness” in 1967 to describe situations in which people feel helpless despite their ability to take control of it. If you try a few fad diets and they do not provide you with the results you anticipated, you may come to perceive your inability to lose weight as helplessness. In fact, researchers found that unsuccessful diets causes feelings of failure and helplessness which lower self-esteem. Although fad diets may let you down, there are many tried and true weight loss plans that have been in existence for years that might work for you, although just setting yourself up for success in planning a healthy diet with a few small manageable steps rather than one big drastic change can help. If you approach the change gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet and results sooner than you think.

  • Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.
  • Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking.  As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
  • Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts!

fat burning food!

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food that will help you lose weight is a diet consisting of nutrient-dense, natural foods and putting together your meals to maximize feeling satisfied and full, while also choosing some of the foods that have a lower caloric density and a higher thermic effect of digestion. Here’s how it works:

Dietary Thermogenesis and the Thermic Effect Of Food

In reality, ALL foods are “thermogenic” because the body must use energy to digest them. This is known as the “thermic effect of food”

(However, not all foods have the same thermic effect. Dietary fat has the lowest thermic effect. The most thermogenic food  is lean protein from solid foods, especially the following:

  • chicken breast
  • turkey breast
  • game meats (venison, elk, etc)
  • bison, buffalo
  • very lean red meat such as top round and lean sirloin (grass fed is especially nutritious)
  • almost all types of fish
  • shellfish and other seafood
  • egg whites (whole eggs in moderation)

Research has proven that the thermic effect of protein is the highest of all the macronutrients, requiring about 30% of the calories it contains, just for digestion and processing. An added bonus is that lean protein foods suppress your appetite!

This is one of the reasons that a fat loss diet calls for a lean protein food at every meal. It’s also no coincidence that bodybuilders are the leanest muscular athletes on earth. So, your diet should be based on fat burning and muscle friendly foods! When you combine thermogenic lean protein foods with the right amounts and types of essential fats, add in plenty of green vegetables and just the right amount of natural complex carbs, your body will literally turn into a turbo-charged fat burning machine – without drugs, supplements or weird diet gimmicks. A Simple 3-Step Formula To Put Together A Fat-Burning Meal:

STEP 1: Select a green vegetable or fibrous vegetable such as asparagus, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, salad vegetables, etc., and then

STEP 2: Combine that with one of the lean proteins (previously mentioned above).

STEP 3: The lean protein and fibrous carb forms the foundation of your fat burning meal. From there, add natural starchy carbs or grains such as brown rice, oats, or sweet potatoes.  Fruit is also great,  but focus even more on the green and fibrous vegetables!