Saturday, March 27, 2010

Water or Sports Drink?

Is anyone else feeling a bit overwhelmed with the variety of drinks being offered? How about those sizes? There was a time when a small was actually only eight ounces, now you’re lucky if you can get away with a liter. One good example is at the theater. Their small is 16 oz, while the large, well they should just pour that baby into a bucket and wheel it to your seat. While they’re at it, they should also provide you with a port-a-potty so that you don’t have to miss any part of the movie.

But closer to home I am talking about the different types of water available at the market, each offering something “good” such as vitamins and antioxidants, others are invigorating, energizing, relaxing or calming, etc. etc. The list of goodness goes on for miles. I guess these are the things that the market thinks we want and NEED. A simple quick-fix to all our problems bottled up for us to enjoy at home or on the go.

What they don’t tell you is that they are also filled with sugar, calories, and sodium. If you open a bottle you are most likely to drink the whole thing even though each bottle holds two servings, sometimes, two and one half servings. This is where reading the nutrition labels carefully comes in handy. Not everyone truly understands nor reads these valuable labels. Some people know how to read them and understand them but sometimes choose to be in denial and believe in maintaining ignorance. This is especially true when they really enjoy each bite of sinfully delicious…whatever they’re about to eat. Believe me, I know!

I don’t see anything wrong with changing up your water and trying something with flavor or fizz, just for fun. As a fitness professional I recommend water 90% of the time, the other 10%, sports drinks, which is reserved for those who engage in vigorous exercise lasting more than 60 minutes. Sweating causes the loss of water and salt which can lead to dehydration. Sports drinks contain electrolytes that help you recover faster than water.

For the average person who engages in moderate exercise (60 minutes or less), your best option is definitely water. No additives, no sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, artificial anything, added vitamins, calories, etc. If you provide your body with healthy nutrients throughout the day, you will have armed yourself with all that you need to make it through a hard workout. But if you decide to take in something other than water, read your food labels and then measure the calories burnt against the calories you are about to drink—then ask yourself, is it worth it?

Stay Well!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quick fix diets DO NOT work


As I stood in line at the grocery store, I found myself perusing through dozens of magazines, each with a headliner aimed at people looking for the ultimate weightloss plan. One craze that has been thrown in our face is Alli, the FDA approved wonder pill. One of my favorite lines on their website is"What makes alli different? FDA approval and a sensible approach that focuses on your long-term success." Really, FDA approval makes it different? How about safe, lets shoot for safety. Does FDA approval make it SAFE!

In doing my research about this and other diet pills I found this very interesting post on blogher.com. Read it here.

Before you pick up a bottle of whatever diet pill is on the market, turn that bottle around and read the label. Look for key words such as "must follow a sensible diet and regular exercise plan." Alli, for example, clearly states that you must "Commit to a plan" and cut fat out of your diet--ok maybe not completely, but drastically. Then the pill forces most of what little fat you eat out of your body in a not-so-pretty way. Others clearly state that they cause dizziness, headaches, and dry mouth to name a few. They also suggest you avoid caffeine or you will be bouncing off the walls. Furthermore, most diet pills suggest that you follow a low calorie and/or low fat diet and exercise program.

Ok so let me sum this up:

1. When taking diet pills you must consume 8-10 glasses of water each day
2. You have to cut fat and calories; you have to include nutritious foods in your diet
3. You have to exercise on a regular basis

My suggestions--- go ahead, do what they tell you to do, but don't take the pill and see what happens. The first thing you'll notice is that you wont have to worry about what you just put into your body, or what might be coming out.

A little known fact about fats from WebMd: "We actually need fats -- can't live without them, in fact. Fats are an important part of a healthy diet: They provide essential fatty acids, keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel." For more on the types of fats to avoid Read the entire article here...

I have to go back to saying that changing the way we fit food into our lives and fitting in physical activity is more likely to provide results long-term, without the nasty side effects. You have to drink water to stay hydrated, you have to control your portions and eat more raw foods which will help cut back on added fats and empty calories, but you also have to consume fats and calories--it's fuel and nutrition. You also have to be physically active and you have to be realistic. Challenge yourself to live a healthier lifestyle without the aid of fad diet. Do your research and let me know your thoughts on the "Quick-fix" diets you've encountered.

Stay well!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Go out and play - it's fun!


Often, many of my friends say that I have enough energy to power the base and "where do you get all that energy from?" they ask. Well, believe it or not, more often then not, I would like to just sit on a back porch swing (that I don't have) and just chill. I visualize myself watching a really good movie or TV show without interruptions. I even see myself taking mid-afternoon naps (HA!). But that doesn't happen, ever! I do get a little frustrated sometimes when I really want a break and I can't seem to get it until 10 pm when everyone is already in bed and I should be as well. But such is the life of a busy mommy of four.

In my mind I already know that inactivity is not an option I should consider. So I to stay busy and active. The minute I sit to enjoy TV or to read I start to fall asleep and that's just aggravating. Since the move and because of the move to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba I gained a few pounds, loss some muscle mass, and my cardiovascular endurance was way off the charts-- ok not that bad but it wasn't where I left it back in December, just before the move.

Since I arrived on island I've been introduced to walking JPJ as in John Paul Jones road; basically a very steep road up to the windmills -- it is treacherous but such a great workout. I walk a lot because everything is close by and I have a dog who needs/loves walking/pulling my arm out of my socket, and biking. I started teaching a Boot Camp class 2 days a week and spinning 3 days a week - so I think I have all my bases covered when it comes to exercise.

Recently I was approached by Marcella who invited me to join the soccer team. I was immediately intimidated. I'm not a runner, that's been established and I've never played, not even for fun. She said in her Dominica accent, "it's OK we have lots of new people, it's just for fun but we do compete against other teams on base." I didn't know we had enough people on base to have teams. Well, OK then, I'll do anything if fun is a part if it. Not only will I be playing and having a great time but I will continue to be a great role mode for my kids AND they said my oldest daughter can join the team as well. Icing on the cake!!

When I go out and play like a kid and they get a kick out of it even if they wont admit it right now (I'm sure I embarrass my teen which is OK, she just doesn't realize we're so much alike hee-hee!). Someday they'll be the ones bragging "... when my mom was playing soccer..." I am so not ready but I went to practice last night and found that we have a great, fun, energetic team of women who really play to win but have fun at the same time. I can't wait to play my first game on Friday.

As a result of my playing, my younger daughter wants to play as well, however we don't have a team so I think I'll be starting something for the kids who want to play "for fun" and practice real soon. This really should be a year-round sport where we spend the off-season time just playing to have a great time and to keep kids active and out of the house. We don't need a season for that right?

So go out there and play. Find yourself an adult sport to join. You'd be surprised at what you can do and your kids just might want to be as active as you. If you can't find a team, league, group-- make your own. Invite your friends to play whatever --volleyball, soccer, baseball, football (that's not just for guys), basketball, tennis. Look at the winter sports and water sports too. So much can be done to make staying physically active and fit enjoyable.

I would like to know, what physical activities do you do that are outside of the norm? Right now for me is Soccer.