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4 Reasons Why Your Smoothie Might Be Hindering Weight Loss

Homemade smoothies are much healthier than the pre-made ones you buy in the store. Most of them are loaded with sugar, going against the reasons why you added smoothies for weight-loss to your healthy eating plan in the first place. But even the smoothies you make at home can sabotage your weight loss efforts if you are not careful. Here are 4 reasons why your smoothies may not be carrying their weight in your weight-loss efforts.

 

Skimping on the fiber

 fiber

If you are not using enough fiber-rich ingredients in your smoothies, you run the risk of feeling hungry sooner than you would otherwise. Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer because it slows down digestion.

 

Not only does this prevent a blood-sugar spike (and the resulting crash which heads you straight for something to eat), but the fiber is indigestible meaning it doesn’t add calories to your diet.  By including nuts, berries, seeds , fruit and dark green vegetables in your smoothies, you can be sure you are getting enough fiber. Even the type of dark green veggies can make a difference. For example, kale has twice the fiber as spinach.

 

Not using enough protein

 orgain protien

Having enough protein in your smoothies works toward weight loss in a couple different ways. The hormone leptin in protein keeps you feeling fuller longer by blocking the hunger signal to the brain. At the end of the day, blocking the hunger signal reduces the number of calories you would normally eat.

 

Also, the amino acid leucine found in protein helps prevent muscle loss thus forcing your body to burn fat instead of muscle. An easy way to add protein to your smoothies is using protein powder. Use a plant-based milk or peanut butter to up the amount of protein in your smoothies. As far as yogurt, use the plain Greek type. Not only does it contain more protein, but is does not have the added sugar that many other types of yogurt have in them.

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Using too much fruit

fruit

Fruit makes a smoothie taste good, adds fiber and nutrition, but some fruit is loaded with sugar. And yes, the argument some use is that it is the natural sugar fructose and they are correct … but it is still sugar and still has 9 calories per gram.

 

Reduce the sugar content by replacing some of the fruit used in your smoothies with lower calorie vegetables, such as kale or spinach. Add in some nuts and seeds for some healthy fat without boosting the sugar content.

 

Adding a sweetener

 

If you are using fruit in your smoothies, don’t use an added sweetener. Even the natural ones like honey or maple syrup will add 60 calories per tablespoon – calories (and sweetener) that you don’t need.

 

Now that you know four of the reasons why your smoothies might be hindering your weight loss efforts, you can make your smoothies more weight-loss friendly and still enjoy the goodness of them.

 

 

9 Benefits of Working Out With A Jump Rope

JUMP ROPE

Working out at the gym is great for a lot of reasons. You have at your disposal all the exercise equipment you could ever desire, without having to purchase it yourself. You can access trained professionals that help your fitness efforts head in the right direction. You can also meet others like yourself, possibly making some new friends in the process.

 

But gyms can be crowded, and they aren’t always the healthiest place to work out. Monthly and yearly fees can get expensive. And of course, you have to travel to and from your gym or health club.

 

For all those reasons a simple jump rope provides a great exercise alternative. Check out the following 9 benefits of working out with a jump rope to understand just how effective this simple fitness tool is for getting you in shape.

 

  1. Jumping rope is a crazily effective fat burning exercise. You are strength training and enjoying cardiovascular stress at the same time. This recipe is great for crunching calories and feeding your fat burning furnace.

 

  1. Since jumping rope is a weight-bearing exercise, it improves bone density. This is important for men and women, but especially for women because they naturally run a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

 

  1. Jumping rope is a very time efficient way to exercise. Just 10 minutes of skipping rope equals a brisk 45 minute run. (British Rope Skipping Association)

 

  1. Skipping rope does not put as much pressure on your joints as running.

 

  1. You work out your entire body. Very few exercises deliver as much “whole body” benefits as simply skipping rope. Your abdominals and core are strengthened. You obviously use your calves and thighs for jumping. Your arms and shoulders are engaged, and your chest and back get a workout as well.

 

  1. Few exercise routines are as cost effective as skipping rope. Once you buy your rope, there is no more cost involved.

 

  1. Skipping rope improves your flexibility and balance. This means your coordination benefits also. When you are flexible and well-balanced, you minimize your chances of suffering an injury while you are working out and simply moving through your normal daily routine.

 

  1. One hour of jumping rope burns between 1,000 and 1,250 calories.

 

  1. If you jump rope regularly, you improve muscle tone and definition in your arms chest and legs.

 

jump_rope_1Are you wondering just how long your jump rope should be? With the ends in your hands, step on the middle of your rope with one foot. If the handles just barely reach your armpits, you have the perfect length.

 

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How to Minimize Soreness After Workouts!

sore

 

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another. Whether it was when we first started a new exercise program or started back up again after taking a break. What I’m talking about are sore muscles.

 

Before discussing how to minimize the soreness felt in muscles a day or two after starting or restarting an exercise program, or a significant change in intensity or duration to an existing program – called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS, let’s first talk about what causes it. When we exercise tiny tears in muscle fiber occur. As could be expected, the amount of tears is generally related to how hard or long the stress is on the muscle and to a great extent the kind of exercise performed. Although it is uncomfortable for a few days it is your bodies way of adapting to exercise. However, there are some things that you can do to minimize its effects:

 

Proper Nutrition

 

Muscles need protein to repair themselves. The best time to consume it is within an 1-2 hour window after exercising. Closer to the 1 hour mark is best! Post workout protein sources includes protein smoothie, protein bars, greek yogurt with fruit, unsalted nuts, apples or celery with peanut butter, etc.

protein

Adequate Hydration

 

Dehydration can inhibit cell recovery at the muscular level so be sure to drink enough water before, during and after working out. Aim for a gallon a day. You won’t need a sports drink in order to stay hydrated unless your workout is outside in hot, humid temperatures or your workout lasts longer than 1 hour. If you do choose an sports drink be sure to choose one that does NOT contain artificial sweeteners.

 

Compression

 

Doing a cool-down after exercising helps to reduce delayed soreness, but so does rubbing down the worked muscles. Get a massage or have your significant other work the excess fluid out of your muscles.

 

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Blood Flow

 

Just as cells need water to repair themselves, so do they need blood flow. Not only does fresh blood bring in much needed oxygen for cell repair, but it also takes out wastes created from exercising. An alternating cold/hot shower, ice bath or a swim are all good post-workout ways to keep the blood flowing.

 

Epsom Salt Baths

warn-bath-with-epsom-salt

Soaking in Epsom salt baths not only treats your sore muscles but it also can help prevent inflammation and irritation in your joints and muscles. This method is used regularly by athletes. Just add a few cups of epsom salt to warm water and soak until the water becomes cool. You can do this multiple times per week .

 

I personally alternate between hot/cold shower a few days per week and the epsom salt bath the other days.

 

Exercising doesn’t have to be painful. Use these five tips to make working out more enjoyable!

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10 Ways to Sneak in a Workout!

sneaking in exercise 2

Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. But if you’re like most women, you don’t always have a block of 30 to 60 minutes a day to devote exclusively to doing your workouts.

 

You can still exercise–you just need to sneak in the equivalent in resourceful ways. The idea is to keep moving! I remember when I was a kid my mom used to tell me to go sit down, she called me jittery because I was always standing instead of sitting, dancing while I cooked, walking around the house when I was on the phone and guess what? Now I’m 31 and I do the SAME things!

 

When I’m on the phone I’m not sitting behind a computer I’m walking all through the house burning calories. When I do my meal prep on Sunday mornings I have my music blasting, I’m chopping, singing, dancing and BURNING CALORIES!

 

When I get to the gym I don’t look for the closest parking spot. I park in the last lot and walk all the way to the gym just to burn extra calories!

 

So you get the idea. KEEP MOVING! Those little, itty-bitty things add up.

 

Every Stolen Moment Adds Up

 

In case you think that short bursts of activity have a negligible effect on your fitness program, think again. One study found that women who split their exercise into 10-minute increments were more likely to exercise consistently, and lost more weight after 5 months, than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.

 

In a landmark study conducted at the University of Virginia, exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, PhD, asked men and women to complete 15 10-minute exercise routines a week. After just 21 days, the volunteers’ aerobic fitness was equal to that of people 10 to 15 years younger. Their strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility were equal to those of people up to 20 years their junior.

 

In yet another study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore found that for improving health and fitness in inactive adults, many short bursts of activity are as effective as longer, structured workouts. “It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mind-set that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they’re wasting their time,” says Gaesser.

 

Breaking exercise into small chunks on your overscheduled days can also keep your confidence up, says Harold Taylor, time management expert and owner of Harold Taylor Time Consultants in Toronto, who has written extensively on the subject. “Skipping exercise altogether is ‘de-motivational’–you feel depressed and guilty,” Taylor says. “If you skip it, you tend to figure, ‘What’s the use? I can’t keep up with it anyway.’ Yet as long as you make some effort each day, that motivates you onward. Success breeds success.”

 

Here’s a roundup of practical ways to work exercise into your day even when you “don’t have time to exercise.” (You don’t have to do them all in 1 day; select what works for you.)

 sneaking in exercise

 

10 Min. Workouts

 

3 10 minute routines are perfect for busy days! This is also one of my most successful workout schedules for my busy moms programs. Its easy to stick to and very effective. Check it out here

 

  1. First thing in the morning on an empty stomach jump rope for 10 minutes. You will burn more fat since you haven’t eaten and don’t have any carbs to burn and you will feel motivated & energized for your day. AM workouts are the easiest to stick to!

 

  1. 10 minutes midday (it can be the kids naptime, lunchtime at work, while you wait for the kids at practice, after hubby gets home and its his turn lol whatever!)

 

This is where you’ll do a 10 minute strength routine. Pick 5 exercise

1 cardio- (jump jacks, knee ups, burpees), 1 upper body (push ups, dips, pull ups), 1 lower body (squats, lunges, deadlifts), Another Cardio to keep your heart rate up and end with 1 core (planks, bicycle crunches, romain chair). Repeat this 2x with little to no breaks.

 

You just did a full body workout in 10 minutes!

 

  1. Last but not least, end your day with a 10 minutes of deep relaxing stretches. Your body will thank you!

 

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Around the House

 

  1. When you go outside to walk the dog slowly but surely add 1-2 blocks, go a little further everyday.

 

  1. If you’re housebound caring for a sick child or grandchild, hop on an exercise bike or treadmill while your ailing loved one naps.

 

  1. Cooking dinner? Do standing push-ups while you wait for a pot to boil. Stand about an arm’s length from the kitchen counter, and push your arms against the counter. Push in and out to work your arms and shoulders, You can also perform dips on the chair when you put your food in to bake or squats between stirs.

 

  1. After dinner, go outside and play tag or shoot baskets with your kids and their friends. Even going for a walk will help burn the calories from the meal and it will improve your digestion.

 

While Waiting

 

  1. Walk around the block several times while you wait for your child to take a music lesson. As your fitness level improves, add 1-minute bursts of jogging to your walks.

 

  1. While your son or daughter plays a soccer game walk around the field or better yet hit the bleachers! You’ll tone your thighs, glutes, and get your heart rate up.

 

  1. Turn a trip to the playground with your child into a mini-workout for you. Throw a ball back and forth, squat when you roll the ball to them, you can do dips on the stairs, pull ups on the monkey bars, the possibilities are endless!

 

Finding 30-60 minute increments can be tough but as long as you do SOMETHING everyday you will see progress!

 

I specialize in creating workouts for busy moms so if you need help creating an EFFECTIVE short burst fitness program check out www.MILF-Fitness.net

Foodie Friday: Low Carb Holiday Recipes

The holiday season is upon us!!! 

 

If you’re like me and follow a low carb diet throughout the year, the holidays can really be rough! Between the cookies, pies, cakes and my favorite sides such as mashed potatoes, potato salad, pasta, stuffing, etc. it can be really hard not to indulge.

 

So over the years I’ve learned to “hack” my favorite recipes converting them from high carb to an equally delicious low carb holiday recipe. 

First up, is the …..

Mock Mashed Potatoes

mocked mash potatoes

 

Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, cored, and cut into florets (do not use frozen, as it will come out too watery)

1 tablespoon cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp low sodium vegetable stock powder

Dash salt

Generous dash ground black pepper

chives and butter or sour cream for garnish (optional)

 

Directions:

1-Fill a large saucepan or soup pot about 1/2 full of water.

 

2-Over a high flame, bring the water to a full rolling boil.

 

3-Add the cauliflower and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until very tender.

 

4-Drain well in a colander.

 

5-Place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to help remove excess moisture, or run through a salad spinner if you have one.  Do not burn yourself, but try not to let the cauliflower get too cold either.

 

6-Place the warm cauliflower in your blender or food processor.

 

7-Add all of the remaining ingredients except your garnish.

 

8-Put the cover on and pulse repeatedly until all the ingredients are blended well and have the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Don’t over blend; leave some lumps, or the “potatoes” will start to get too runny.

 

9-Scrape out into a serving bowl. Garnish with a sprinkle of chives and pats of butter or some sour cream on the side.

 

Serving Suggestion

If you want to make this at least 30 minutes ahead, grease a casserole dish, place the ‘mash’ into it, and place in a 325F oven to dry out the mock mashed potatoes a bit and make them crispy on top. Then serve hot with your choice of garnish as desired.

 

Make and Freeze

This recipe will freeze well. Use as part of your own homemade low carb TV dinners. Re-heat for 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave, let stand, stir and enjoy.

 

Net carbs for whole dish=21

 

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