Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Athletes and Alcohol - A Bad Mix

Athletes train hard and compete in order to achieve their dreams. These dreams may be impossible to achieve if athletes choose to drink alcohol. Consuming alcoholic beverages, even days before or after an important practice or competition, can erase the beneficial effects of training and ruin their chances of achieving optimum performance.

Alcohol use is of particular concern with collegiate athletes. Shockingly, a national study of college student drinking found that student-athletes have significantly higher rates of heavy drinking than non-athletes.  "Heavy drinking" is defined as 5 or more drinks consecutively for men, 4 or more for women.

In addition to the health and safety concerns of excessive alcohol consumption,
here are the Top 10 reasons why athletes should avoid alcohol consumption:

  1. Drinking alcohol after a training session or practice can negate the benefits of your hard work, because it can decrease muscle protein synthesis, impairing muscle growth and canceling out the gains from your workout.
  2. Alcohol causes dehydration, many hours to days after its use. Dehydration leads to headaches, fatigue, impaired balance, and a host of other problems that significantly impair performance and recovery.
  3. Alcohol use can inhibit the secretion of Human Growth Hormone, a hormone naturally produced in our body which is important in muscle growth and recovery.
  4. Alcohol is a toxin, and it can disrupt normal cell function and impair the ability of muscles cells to produce ATP, the main energy molecule in our cells. This can deplete your energy significantly, resulting in loss of endurance.
  5. Alcohol is high in calories, low in nutrients, and the body treats it like fat. This can lead to unwanted weight gain in the form of fat storage, which can hamper athletic performance.
  6. Alcohol consumption may inhibit the absorption of some important vitamins and minerals like thiamin, zinc, folic acid, and Vitamin B12. These nutrients are extremely important for energy metabolism and new cell growth, such as muscle cells and red blood cells.  
  7. Alcohol use affects and disrupts your sleep-cycle, reducing your ability to learn and retain new information, such as learning new plays, studying films, and applying strategy during games. 
  8. Alcohol consumption provides only "empty calories" and may displace valuable nutrient-dense beverages important to athletes, such as milk or 100% fruit juices.
  9. Heavy drinking can negatively affect brain and body activities for up to 3 full days.
  10. Two consecutive nights of heavy drinking can negatively impact an athlete's body and brain for up to 5 days!!!
Is a night of drinking worth all of these negative effects on your sports performance?
For the serious athlete in training, with serious goals, a resounding "NO" should be the answer.  Enjoy the party and time with your friends, but volunteer to be the designated driver instead.  

Fuel wisely to reach your dreams. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Healthy Half-time Fuel for the Performance Athlete

Do you compete in a high-intensity, endurance sport with minimal breaks during games? 

Do you find yourself without any opportunities to hydrate or fuel during competition? 

Do you have a hard time eating a pregame meal because of a nervous stomach or "butterflies"? 

Competing at a high-intensity for long periods of time without a break can leave you dehydrated and fatigued from low energy, especially if you do not hydrate and fuel properly before competition.

Consider this:
Three main causes of exercise fatigue and impaired sports performance are:
  1. dehydration
  2. reduced energy stores in muscles ("glycogen")
  3. low blood sugar levels
For some sports (like soccer), the only opportunity for a break is half-time.

Rehydrating and refueling during competition (at half-time) can help keep sports performance at optimal levels and help get you through the second half of the game, especially those crucial final minutes when physical and mental fatigue can really take a toll. This is even more important if you consider those unexpected overtime periods that sometimes occur.

Halftime is a great opportunity to refuel and rehydrate. Fluids provide the much needed hydration for your body to cool itself and maintain its optimal temperature. Carbohydrate foods provide the much needed glucose (sugar) your brain and muscles use during competition.

Here are some half-time snack suggestions that provide your body with the much needed fluids and fuel (glucose) to stay strong, delay fatigue, and keep your performance high. These foods are high in water content, high in carbohydrates, and low in fat so they digest quickly.
  • Sports Drinks (Gatorade) or Water
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Cut-up melon
  • Sliced oranges
  • Apple wedges
Remember one of the most important rules of sports nutrition:
Never try anything new for the first time on GAME DAY!!!  
Try different carbohydrate foods during practice first to see if they settle well in your stomach.
Everyone is different. What works for a teammate, may not work for you.

Fuel Excellence!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Water Polo Nutrition

Water polo is one of the toughest sports. It requires many skills such as speed, endurance, strength, and power.  Proper nutrition is the key to achieving your optimum performance, both individually and as a team. Eating the right foods at the right times can:
  • Allow you to train longer & with more intensity 
  • Reduce fatigue 
  • Reduce risk of injury 
  • Help you recover more quickly from practices and games
  • Improve your overall performance

Fueling Water Polo

Carbohydrates (Carbs): whole grain breads, cereals, pastas, rice, fruits, veggies, crackers, low-fat milk & yogurt.
  • Carbs are the main fuel for sports, so most of your calories should come from carbs. 
  • Your muscles use carbs for energy during practice and games, and carbs are also the main fuel for your brain. 
  • Eating carbs before practice will help keep your energy high throughout practice and allow you to train harder. This will help improve your overall performance. 
  • Carbs also “refuel” your muscles after practice and games. Refueling as soon as possible after practice increases your muscles’ energy storage (glycogen) for your next practice. Overtime, this can help you recover more quickly and make practices seem easier, allowing you to train even harder. 
Protein: fish, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, eggs, beans, soy foods, milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • Protein is necessary for muscle recovery and repair after practices and games. 
  • Protein is also very important for growth and development during the teen years. 
  • Getting the right amounts of protein will help you stay healthy, increase muscle mass, and improve your game. 
Fluids → water, sports drinks (Gatorade), milk, 100% juice

  • Fluids are very important before, during, and after training and games. Yes, even though you are in the water, you can still become very dehydrated if you don't drink fluids. 
  • Dehydration can cause headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue. This can really hurt your performance. 
  • It is important to start drinking fluids at least 1 to 2 hours before practice, take quick fluid breaks every 20 minutes during practice, and continue drinking fluids after practice so you can “rehydrate” your body. 
  • Water is fine during games as they are less than one hour long. 
  • However, it is recommended to drink sports drinks with added carbs and electrolytes (like Gatorade) during practice, because practices are long and strenuous. This added fuel will give you energy during the last minutes of practice when your energy is running low. Water with fruit during practice can also work great, but liquid calories like Gatorade tend to digest more easily while swimming.
Tips for Fueling High School Water Polo Practice
on School Days.

ALWAYS EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST AND LUNCH!  How else will you survive the school day?  Student athletes who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom than those who skip breakfast.

Some healthy examples include (but not limited to):
  • breakfastcereal with fruit and milk; large fruit/yogurt smoothie; breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, and ham; pancakes or waffles with fruit and turkey sausage; large bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit and milk; large bagel topped with PB and glass of milk.
  • lunch: brown bag it! Make a healthy lunch at home and bring it to school- PB & jelly sandwiches, deli meat sandwiches, fruits, cheese and crackers, sports bars, water or GatoradeAvoid fatty, greasy fast foods and junk foods because they can cause stomach aches and make you feel tired and sleepy before afternoon practices.

HAVE A QUICK AFTER-SCHOOL SNACK.  It should be small, high-carb food and low in fat so it digests quickly enough before your practice.**
  • Pre-practice snack ideas (have both food & fluids) 
    • Foods: Fruit, granola bar, crackers, or pretzels. 
    • Fluids: Water, Gatorade, small low-fat, skim, or soy milk.
**You now have "Healthy Vending" machines at school, but bringing healthy fuel from home is much cheaper.   

EAT DURING STUDY HALL BEFORE THE LATER PRACTICE SESSIONS:  When study hall and later practice sessions begin, there will be a very long time between lunch and practice, so be sure to bring a "2nd lunch" to eat during study hall.                                                  

REFUEL AND REHYDRATE IMMEDIATELY AFTER PRACTICEEating a snack with carbs and protein as soon as possible after practice (within 30 minutes) helps your muscles recover more quickly. The snack should be readily available in your water polo bag or backpack so you can eat it as soon as possible. Chocolate milk, sports bars, and fruit are a great post-workout recovery snacks.

    EAT A HEALTHY, HEARTY DINNER WITHIN 2 HOURS AFTER PRACTICE; DON'T FORGET FLUIDS TOO!  Your dinner meal will help you refuel and recover for the next day's practice.

    Tips for Fueling on Tournament Days:
    The best food to eat between games will be high in carbs, include a good source of protein, and be low in fat.  And, of course, don't forget fluids! 
    Fatty, greasy foods should be avoided, because they take a long time to digest and may cause stomachaches and fatigue.
    (i.e. NO donuts, fatty pastries, greasy fast foods, etc). 

    Tournament day food ideas that parents can bring and athletes can eat between games:
    -chocolate milk (low fat or soy), fruit, yogurt cups, cheese sticks, bagels and cream cheese, PB&J sandwiches, deli sandwiches like turkey or ham, sports/granola bars, trail mix, pretzels, pita chips, beef jerky, and of course water and Gatorade.

    Remember, the best energy booster and muscle builder for athletes is 
    a healthy sports diet. 

    Go Warriors!

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Who, What, When, Where, and Why? A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip W

    Snacking is very important for supporting a healthy lifestyle. It can keep you energized at work, in class, and give you a good boost of energy before exercise.
    However, if snacking becomes out of control and unhealthy, it can do more harm than good. Excessive calorie intake from poor snack choices or snacking when not really hungry can put a huge dent in your weight loss plan.

    Check your snacking habits by asking yourself the five W’s below before reaching for that snack:

    Who is your snack buddy? Who is influencing your snack attacks?  Friends who want to procrastinate at work and grab a Frappucino? Are you listening to your own inner hunger cues?


    What types of snacks are you choosing? Vending machine? Convenience items? Processed items? Items loaded with sugar, salt and/or fat? Whole fruits and vegetables are super-energizing snacks and should be your "go to" choices. 

    When do you snack? When you are not very hungry but someone brings donuts to the break room at work? At night when you are bored and watching TV? When you walk in the door from a long day at work and raid the fridge because you are starving from trying to "fad diet" all day? Healthy afternoon snacks such as fruit and cheese, yogurt with nuts, or trail mix can keep you properly fueled for the rest of the work day, avoiding that "refrigeRAIDER" hunger before dinner. 
    Some places trigger unhealthy snack attacks. The break room at work? Studying or working at the local coffee shop that has display cases full of baked goods? Try avoiding your trigger places whenever possible to help you stay on track. 
    Stressed? Procrastinating? Distracted? Bored?  Are your kids grabbing a snack so you think you should have one too? Make sure you are actually hungry before you reach for that snack. Use The Hunger Scale to determine if you are hungry. 

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Volume - Eat More, Lose Weight! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip V

    The stomach containing different types and volumes of food
     with the same amount of calories
    Eat more VOLUME,
    not more CALORIES!

    As seen in the illustration, different volumes of food can provide the same number of calories. In this example, 400 calories of oil has a small volume and does not take up much space in the stomach; a similar idea is seen with the chicken. However, 400 calories of vegetables has a much larger volume, filling the stomach. When our stomach is full, a chemical signal is sent to our brain saying: "Hey, you are full and content now, stop eating!".
    Getting that signal with a belly full of low calorie, high volume foods will help you eat fewer calories and help you lose weight.

    3 Ways to Increase the Volume of Your Meals and Snacks:

    1. Add water- it takes up space with zero calories.
    2. Add fiber- it is non-digestible, slowing the digestion of other food, helping you feel fuller longer.
    3. Add fruits and vegetables - they both contain high amounts of water and fiber.
    Here are some examples you can try today: 
    • Choose whole fruits (fresh or frozen) instead of candy or junk food as a snack. 
    • Begin your meal with a fruit or vegetable salad as an appetizer
    • Add fruit to your favorite yogurt 
    • Keep frozen fruit in your freezer; blend with nonfat Greek yogurt for a great smoothie 
    • Add fruit to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal as a way to sweeten it 
    • Add fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables to casseroles or mixed meat dishes (add spinach, diced carrots, and extra onions to chili; add broccoli to baked ziti; add veggies to pasta sauce) 
    • Snack on raw veggies such as carrots, celery sticks, or broccoli crowns with low-fat or non-fat dip
    • Add whole, cooked veggies to grain-based meals like pasta, rice, couscous, etc 
    • Soup - research shows adding soup to a meal helps people eat fewer calories overall: 
      • Choose soups with low-fat broth or stock (instead of cream-based); 
      • Add lots of veggies
      • Add lean proteins such as beans, lentils, barley, or tofu
    • Use only whole grain products to increase fiber intake. Review my blog for more tips on fiber:  Fill up on Fiber!
    Stop starving yourself on fad diets.
    Eat and enjoy some real food, high in volume, low in calories!  

    Friday, February 7, 2014

    Buyer Beware! Weight-loss supplement companies ordered to refund millions of dollars due to their deceptive advertising!

    Like I have written, time and time again, weight-loss pills, powders, drinks, creams, etc.

    The only thing that results in weight-loss is eating fewer calories in combination with exercise to burn more calories. For sustained weight management for life, your lifestyle needs to change in order to maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan....FOREVER!

    The Federal Trade Commission has gone after only 4 weight-loss supplement companies (see news link below), but you can be sure there are more crackdowns to come. Many more of these products are also ineffective and make promises that are simply not true!

    Save your money and protect yourself from the potential unwanted side-effects of these supplements.  Get active by doing something you enjoy and make small, simple changes in your diet to control potions and choose healthier options.
    How can you get started? Read my other blogs!

    Check out the video below for the video news story:
    NBC news story - crackdown on deceptive ads for weight loss supplements

    Or written story here:
    Deceptive weight-loss ad news story

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    USE a Pedometer & UP Your Steps: A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip U

    Up your steps and lose weight!

    In our culture, we sit a lot: at our desk at work, in meetings, in school, in traffic, while watching our kids play sports, watching TV, surfing the web, reading books or magazines, and the list goes on and on.

    We are a very sedentary society.
    To lose weight, we need to MOVE MORE.

    According to a review of scientific literature published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
    "...the use of a pedometer is associated with significant increases in physical activity and significant decreases in BMI and blood pressure."

    Pedometers are one of the best fitness investments you can make. They are cheap ($10-20 for a decent one) and they are easy to use. Just place on your waistband near your hip and walk! In addition to number of steps, many also measure distance walked and calories burned. There are also pedometer apps for your smart phone that you can download.

    What's the Goal?
    10,000 steps per day is a great goal. More is better. Remember, in order to lose weight, not only do we need to eat fewer calories, but we also need to MOVE MORE!

    Here are some ways you can up your steps.

    1. Take an after-dinner walk.
    2. Walk during your breaks and at lunch.
    3. If possible, schedule a "walking" work meeting.
    4. Park in the farthest spot from the grocery store or mall (it is easier parking as well).
    5. Avoid valet parking (saves money too).
    6. Take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators.
    7. Walk while your kids practice or warm-up at their sporting events instead of sitting in your comfy chair (this one I know from experience).
    8. Walk to drop off/pickup kids from school.
    9. Take public transportation; walk around the terminal when waiting for the train/bus/light rail.
    10. Walk the dog. Have you heard our pets are getting fatter too? 
    11. Avoid the drive-thru.  If you must eat at a fast-food establishment, park at the farthest spot and walk in. And, of course, choose a healthier food option!
    12. Walk to visit friends or neighbors.
    13. Like to golf? Walk instead of renting the cart.
    14. Read/watch TV on a treadmill (or stationary bike).
    Any other ideas you can think of?

    Check out these YouTube videos, and then get up and walk to the store to buy your pedometer!
    Video link: Use a Pedometer

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Team Up: A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip T

    Sometimes it's easier to succeed "with a little help from our friends", as the Beatles wrote.

    Making positive changes in eating and exercise habits can be tough, so TEAM UP with family or friends!
    Finding people with a common goal can help you succeed.

    Here's how a TEAM can help:

    Teach- Team members can teach each other new things, such as how to cook healthy recipes, a new exercise routine, or tips on how they control temptations.
    Encourage- A team mate can really help encourage you on your nutrition plan or during your exercise routine. We all need encouragement when tackling something difficult. It helps us through the rough times so we can achieve our goals.
    Accountability- On those days when you just don't feel like exercising, your team mate is there to hold you accountable. For example, if you set a date and time to exercise, you feel more obligated to actually show up if someone is waiting for you.
    Motivation- Team mates can help motivate each other to follow their meal plan or complete their daily exercises.

    TEAM up to help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals! 

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

    SLOW down!!!: A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip S

    Weight-Loss Tip S: 
    Slow Down!

    (This tip is the one I really need to work on!)  

    Many research studies confirm that by eating slowly, you may consume fewer calories. Why? Well, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we are full. If we eat fast, we may continue eating past the point where we are full (See my blog on Tip H- Hunger Scale). If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we are full before we "clean our plate" or go back for "seconds". This can help reduce the number of Calories we eat at each meal. In addition, eating slowly is better for digestion (less indigestion and stomachaches) and allows us to really ENJOY our food. 

    Here are some quick and easy tips on 

    how to slow down when eating:

    • Chew each bite 15-20 times
    • Use your non-dominate hand to eat 
    • Use chopsticks
    • Put down your utensil and sip water between each bite
    • Turn off all distractions (TV, Computer, etc) and really pay attention to your food...and enjoy it! 
    • Enjoy some conversation with family or friends. (It's hard to eat fast when you are talking.)

    Try some of these ideas at your next meal. 
    They really do work!

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Remove Temptations: A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip R

    "Out of sight, out of mind?"  
    This saying doesn't always work, but with tempting foods, it sure couldn't hurt!

    Everyone's temptations are different. I can tell you, if there are cookies in my house, I will eat them; especially chocolate chip or Oreos. I know I have little self-control when they are in the house.  Ice cream doesn't really do it for me, so I can have ice cream in the house for the rest of the family and not think much about it. We are all different; most of us know what our food temptations are...the ones we can't say "NO" to. 

    Removing these temptations on a daily basis can really help you with your weight loss journey. Here are some tips to remove these little daily temptations and keep them out of sight so they don't sabotage your nutrition goals. 

    1. Do NOT keep tempting foods on the kitchen counter where they are easy to see, easy to walk by, and easy to grab and eat.  Hide them in the pantry up high where you may not be tempted every time you walk by. Think about the Halloween candy or Easter basket treats your kids may have brought home.  Keeping it on the kitchen counter for days is too tempting. 
    2. Remove candies and treats from your office desk and replace with dried fruits.
    3. Avoid the break room at work where donuts and pastries are usually found. Bring your own mid-morning snack to munch on. 
    4. Change your driving route and don't drive by the fast food restaurants or coffee houses that tempt you. 
    5. Leave your tempting foods at the grocery store. Will power is much easier if the tempting foods aren't even in the house.
    With that said, there are times you should enjoy your favorite treats! What's life without some enjoyment?  Just remember the tips I wrote  for "Tip P -Portion Control" when enjoying your tempting treats. Renee's Portion Control Tips

    And, in case you are wondering....Yes, I do have Oreos on occasion!

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    Quit the Quick-Fix Mentality (it doesn't work)- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip Q

    We live in an instant gratification society. When we want something, we want it now! And, of course, we want it to be easy and painless, as evidenced by all of the diet books with titles like:
    "Lose 20 pounds in 20 days"
    "Lose Weight While you Sleep"
    "Lose Big and Fast"
    "The Doctors's Quick Weight-loss Diet Cook Book."

    The reality is we don't gain pounds of weight overnight (or in 20 days).  Weight gain is a gradual process that results from poor dietary choices coupled with lack of exercise.  We don't gain the weight quickly, so we can't expect it to come off, and STAY OFF, quickly either. This is not realistic. 
    Weight loss is a gradual process...it takes time!

    Here is the real deal and why you should 
    Quit the Quick-Fixes:

    • Quick fixes are time and money-wasters. Think about it: drinking a funky-smelling, horrible tasting concoction or taking dangerous supplements cannot be done forever.  Even if some weight is lost initially, you will gain it all back because you cannot live on detox cleanses, funky juices, or crazy fad diets forever. 
    • Losing weight and getting fit is a gradual process that involves  changing your lifestyle with small steps over time. 
    • To adopt a newer, healthier lifestyle, you have to set realistic goals for yourself and be willing to make the essential changes to achieve those goals.  
    • You have to earn it through hard work and dedication that will continue for the rest of your life if you want the weight to stay off permanently. 

    So, Quit to Quick-Fixes. Read my other blog entries on weight-loss tips to help you get started with small, simple changes for gradual and permanent weight loss that will last a life time.  You got this!

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Portion Control- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip P

    Portion sizes are really out of hand these days. We love bargains and getting more for our money, but when it comes to food, we are getting more Calories than we need. This "portion distortion" occurs when we dine out and when eating at home.

    Portion Control is probably the biggest factor and ally in the battle of the bulge.  Of course, healthy food choices are important too, but if we consume the right-sized portions for our individual Calorie needs, then we can reduce the unwanted, extra Calories we consume daily.
    By making a few small changes in HOW we eat, we can really reduce HOW MUCH we eat.  Here is a list of tips and tricks that can really help you reduce the portion sizes of your meals and snacks, thereby reducing the number of Calories you eat every day!

    Portion Control Tips and Tricks:
    • Using smaller plates, bowls, glasses, and utensils can help you keep your portions under control.
    • Use your plate as a guide for a balanced meal. Use half of your plate for fruits/veggies, a quarter for grains (rice, pasta, bread, etc) and a quarter for lean meat or protein (poultry, fish, beans, etc). See the MyPlate illustration to the right. 
    • Don't eat snacks out of a bag or a box. You are more likely to eat the whole thing, regardless of how many servings the package actually contains. Pour one serving into a small bowl and enjoy.
    • Be a kid at heart. When dining out, order off the kids menu to reduce portion size. Sadly, many kids' menus provide too many Calories for young children, but they may be a more appropriate portion size for a weight-conscious adult. 
    • Mom always says it is nice to share, so when dining at a restaurant, share an entree with a friend. 
    • Doggy-bag it! At a restaurant, put half the meal in a doggy bag before you start eating. This will reduce portion size, and save money because you will have lunch or dinner leftovers for the next day ready to go!
    • Just say no to "bargain meals".  Do you really need the chips and drink with your sub sandwich for "only $1 more"? Do you really need to upgrade to a "foot-long sub" for only $5? Do you really need the Venti size Frappacino for only 55 cents more? You may be getting more food per dollar, but you are also buying and eating more Calories than you intended. Avoid the "point-of-purchase" bargain offers and just say no (thank you!).
    • When eating at home, serve the food onto each person's plate in the kitchen, instead of putting all the serving dishes on the dining table. Keeping the excess food out of reach may discourage "seconds" and overeating. 
    • Learn to "eyeball" proper portion sizes and stick to them!
      • 3 oz meat = deck of cards
      • 1 cup of cereal, rice, or pasta = a baseball
      • 2 Tbsp of salad dressing  = a shot glass
      • 1 oz of nuts = a cupped palm
      • 1 oz of cheese  = a ping-pong ball
      • 1 tsp. of peanut butter  = one die
      • 1 medium potato = a computer mouse
      • 1 cup of fruit or veggies = a tennis ball

    Click the link below and watch as portion control expert Dr. James Painter discusses portion control and shows a little experiment he did to illustrate his point.  Very interesting.
    Portion Control - CBS News Health Watch 

    Try some of the portion control tips this month and see if they help you manage your weight loss goals. Small, simple changes can make a world of difference.

    Golf and The Importance of Hydration! Posted On My RNS Sports Nutrition Blog

    Hydration and Golf Performance - a KEY element of your game

    You're coming up on the 15th hole. You are fatigued, hot, and you feel a headache coming on. You've been fighting the course for the past 4 holes, and it is winning. Your game was great on the front nine, but now it's crumbling. Why does this always seem to happen? There could be one, simple solution...Hydration

    Read more about the importance of hydration and your golf performance on my blog on my RNS Sports Nutrition blog 

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Top 10 Reasons Why Athletes Should Avoid Alcohol Posted On My RNS Sports Nutrition Blog

    Athletes train hard and compete in order to achieve their dreams. These dreams may be impossible to achieve if athletes choose to drink alcohol. Consuming alcoholic beverages, even days before or after an important practice or competition, can erase the beneficial effects of training and ruin their chances of achieving optimum performance.

    In addition to the health and safety concerns of excessive alcohol consumption, Read about the: 

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Happy 2013!! Start S.M.A.R.T., and avoid fad diets...PLEASE!!!

    Happy 2013! 
    It’s time for that annual event: coming up with your New Year’s resolutions.  Most people probably have one or two in mind. I’m guessing that most resolutions are related to DIET and EXERCISE, and experience leads me to believe that today (or perhaps Monday) will be a very crowded day at the local gym. If you check back a month later in February, the gyms will be back to their normal capacities. WHY? 
    New Year's resolutions are doomed to failure if you do not set SMART Goals. Making vague statements such as "I'm going to exercise more in 2013" or "I want to lose weight in 2013" is setting yourself up for failure, because these statements are missing key elements of the goal setting process.

    Here are the 5 SMART elements of goal setting. Try them out with your New Year's Resolutions.
    1. Specific:  Be specific by stating the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of the goal. Instead of making the vague statement "I will lose weight", add the specifics:    "I will lose 4 pounds each month, starting in January, by running 30 minutes, 4 times per week, so I can reach my goal weight and improve my blood pressure."
    2. Measurable: You need to have concrete criteria to measure your goals so you know if you are on track. This is the "how much""how far" or "how many" of your goal.  This part of the goal is easily logged in a calendar, day planner, or smart phone and can be tracked to determine your success. "I will do 100 sit-ups, 50 push-ups, and jump rope for 10 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings before work."
    3. Attainable: When you set goals that are important and reachable, you start to figure out ways to make them happen. You develop a positive attitude, learn skills, and plan the financial aspects related to the goals. Keep in mind that if you set goals that seem too far out of reach (i.e. "I want to lose 50 pounds") you probably won’t commit to doing them because they seem overwhelming. Setting a more attainable goal of 5 pounds per month is not so overwhelming.
    4. Realistic: Get Real! “I’m going to stop eating ice cream this year” is probably not realistic if it is one of your favorite treats. Instead, cut back a little bit if you eat it frequently. “I will have one ½ cup serving of ice cream only on Saturdays and Sundays instead of every night like I do now”.  
    5. Timely: Set a time frame for the goal: “by March 1st”, “for 3 weeks”, “in one month”, etc. Once you have included a time schedule with your goal, you have a time point to work towards, and you can reevaluate your goal once you get to that point. Keep the time frame realistic by setting the goal date closer rather than far away. Shorter, more frequent milestones will keep the goal fresh in your mind, and early successes will motivate you even more. 
    Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year!!!

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Nutrition tips for Thanksgiving....REALLY?

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Well, if you happen to Google "Nutrition Tips for Thanksgiving" you will get over 24 million results from nutrition experts (and many non-experts) telling you to "eat this, don't eat that", "avoid dessert, have fruit instead", and it goes on and on.

    What's the reality? Well, my reality is that this is one day of the entire year that I get to enjoy Nana's pumpkin pie, Auntie Becki's deviled eggs, Papa's mashed potatoes, and Mom's turkey stuffing. Am I going to avoid all of those things in order to stay on my nutritional plan? NO! So I'm certainly not going to advise anyone else to avoid their favorite Thanksgiving food that they get to enjoy once a year.

    What is the best nutrition advice for THANKSGIVING festivities?  PORTION CONTROL!
    Portion control is the key to all sound nutrition plans, and it also allows you to occasionally enjoy your favorite foods, including those Thanksgiving favorites that you look forward to once a year.

    Here are a few suggestions to help with Portion Control:
    1. Please eat breakfast (or something healthy) before the big dinner. Many people think that if they starve themselves the entire day until the big dinner that they may be controlling their calories. The exact opposite happens! When you avoid eating until the big dinner, your brain does not have the energy to think rationally. Plus, your morning "starvation" gives you a false sense of accomplishment and a license to overeat - as soon as you see food, you may immediately take larger portions, overeat everything, and feel completely and uncomfortably stuffed after the meal. This in fact results in higher calorie intake for the day.
    2. Avoid "over-snacking" on the chips, dips, and fatty snacks that may be out and about during the early festivities and football games. These extra calories will add up. If it is the Thanksgiving meal that you want to enjoy, then snack lightly. 
    3. Eat slowly and wait at least 20 minutes before you go back for "seconds".  It takes our brain at least 15-20 minutes to realize that our stomach is full, so if you eat slowly and wait that amount of time, you may realize that you are already full, avoid getting "seconds", avoid overeating, and avoid excess calories.
    4. Use your plate as a Potion Control tool. Enjoy a smaller portion of each of the Thanksgiving foods. If you can't fit it on your plate, then you probably should take smaller portions of your favorites. 
    I would like to wish everyone a safe, fun, and Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner. Take a nice after-dinner walk with the family or play some football to help burn some of those Thanksgiving calories. May we all be blessed with family, food, and health.

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    One Pound at a Time! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip O

    The Facts and Figures:
    • The average American adult gains 1-2 pounds per year. It is gradual, and seems to creep up on many adults. 
    • The average duration of a weight-loss diet is only 4 to 6 weeks, then people "fall of the wagon".
    • 80% of people attempting weight loss diets are unable to keep the weight off for more than a year.
    • Americans spend approximately $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products.
    • More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are OBESE. Not just overweight, but OBESE! Sadly, this number is climbing each year. Apparently, the fad diets and weight loss pills are not working. 

    The Bottom line:  

    Weight loss is gradual, just like weight gain. It takes time. We don't gain 20 pounds in 2 weeks, so when we decide it is time to lose the weight, we cannot expect it to be lost quickly. This is not realistic. Weight gain is gradual, and successful weight loss is too. The best way to achieve long-term weight loss success is through slow, gradual, and permanent alterations in your activity level and eating habits. 

                                                        Fat loss is the key:

    Proper weight loss is EXCESS FAT LOSS. It's not just the number on the scale changing. If you dehydrate yourself with crazy fad diets, juicing, or detox diets, then, yes, the number on the scale with go down, but it is just water weight being lost. It will return upon hydration when you eventually eat real food again. Also, please know that those so-called "quick fix" diets ("Lose 20 lbs. in 2 weeks") result in more lean muscle loss than fat loss, something we do not want. We want to KEEP LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE and LOSE FAT; that's what keeps our metabolism higher and keeps us healthy.

    The Realistic, Successful Approach: 
    The best, most realistic way to do this is by losing ONE POUND (of fat) A WEEK.  By losing weight gradually through small changes in your eating habits, exercise habits, and lifestyle, the weight loss will be gradual, but PERMANENT, because you are adopting new ways to live your life over time. These new, healthy changes may become healthy habits that last FOREVER. Therefore, your weight loss will be long-term and permanent, not short-lived like after those fad diets fail. Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes.

    How to lose ONE POUND of FAT per WEEK - Time for some math and creativity:
    • To lose one pound of fat, you need to create a 3,500 Calorie deficit for the week. This equals a 500-Calorie deficit EACH DAY. A Calorie deficit means you must eat fewer calories than you burn each day.
      • Step 2: Aim to eat 250 fewer calories than your calculated amount above. See below for some easy ways to cut daily Calories; these can become your new, healthy habits. 
      • Step 3:  Aim to burn 250 Calories through additional exercise/activity each day.  See below for some ways to burn additional Calories each day; these can also become new, healthy habits.

    Steps 2 & 3 can add up to give you the 500-Calorie deficit you need each day to lose ONE POUND of fat every week.

    If this doesn't sound like a lot, how does 7 pounds of fat loss before New Year's Eve sound
    How about 25 pounds of fat loss before summer swim suit season?
    If you get started now, you will be on your way to a healthier 2013. 

    Lifestyle changing tips to help you achieve your Calorie deficit:

    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics -Ways to Shave Calories 

    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - Cutting Calories while Dining Out

    CDC - Using Fruits and Vegetables for Weight Management 

    CDC- Adding Physical Activity to Your Life 

    USDA - Tips for Increasing Daily Physical Activity  

    American Diabetes Assoc - Tips for Exercise 

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Halloween Nutrition Tips- Simple "tricks" to avoid overeating the "treats"!

    This is a re-post of one of my very popular seasonal blogs.  
    Tis the season.....

    Halloween is the official beginning of the holiday season. For those who are watching their weight or trying to follow a diet plan, this can be a VERY difficult time of year.

    Here are a few tips or "tricks" to help you avoid overeating those Halloween "treats".
    1. Start at the store. Avoid buying the Halloween candy you love. For me, it is Kit Kat or Reese's PB cups, so I buy other types of candy to hand out at the door. After the big night is over, I won't have a bunch of leftover candy that I know I will eat.
    2. Out of sight, out of mind. Avoid setting the big bowl of Halloween loot on the kitchen counter where you can easily walk by and eat several pieces without even realizing it. Put the candy in the pantry or cupboard, and instead put sliced fruit or veggies on the counter.
    3. Help friends and coworkers too. Avoid bringing all your extra candy to your workplace. I am a big advocate of workplace wellness. They too are probably watching their weight or trying to be healthy, so no need to sabotage their efforts. If you really want to get rid of the candy, just throw it out. Yes, it may be wasteful, but it's better than you and your coworkers being "Waist-FULL". 
    4. Be real. Allow yourself some treats, but do so in moderation! Make a deal with yourself about how many treats you will allow yourself each day and account for those calories in your daily calorie plan or workout schedule. 
    5. If you do go overboard on Halloween treats, DO NOT beat yourself up about it! Avoid the negative thoughts about yourself. It doesn't mean that you are "weak" or "worthless".  Avoid the all-or-nothing talk, like "I should just start my diet over again after the New Year."  Try to stay on track. Just own it, move on, and stay focused one day at a time. The holidays can be a challenging 3-month period for weight loss, so weight maintenance may be a more realistic goal.
    6. Use physical activity to help you through the Halloween munchies. Below are samples of some common Halloween candies and their calorie contents. As a guideline:  To "burn off" an additional 200 calories of Halloween treats you need to: walk 40 minutes, run 20 minutes, bicycle 25 minutes, or swim 25 minutes (based on a 150 lb. person). Walking the kids around the neighborhood on Halloween night is a great start!
    Candy Corn, 20 pieces = 130 calories
    Little Fun Size Bars of Nestle’s Crunch, Snicker's, Milky Way, Kit Kat, Hershey's chocolate, Reese's PB Cup, Butterfinger, Twix, Almond Joy, or similar = 70-100 calories each
    Peanut M&M’s – 2 Fun Size Packs = 180 calories
    M&M’s – 2 Fun Size Packs = 140 calories
    York Peppermint Pattie – 1 pattie = 70 calories
    Milk Duds – 1 treat size box = 40 calories
    SweetTarts – 1 treat size pack = 50 calories
    1 Tootsie Pop – 1 pop = 60 calories
    1 Tootsie Roll – 1 small roll = 13 calories
    Twizzlers – 1 treat size pack= 45 calories

    Happy Holidays 
    and don't forget to "Fuel Excellence!"

    Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Nutrient Density - A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip N

    Consuming "nutrient dense" foods is critical to losing weight and keeping it off. 

    Many scientific journals have published the benefits of a nutrient-rich diet, such as maintaining wellness and promoting healthy weight loss.

    A study published in 2009 concluded that a high nutrient dense diet "may provide sustainable, significant, long-term weight loss and may provide substantial lowering of cardiac risk in patients" as well.

    Nutrient Density relates to the amount of nutrients per Calorie in a food item. A food item with High Nutrient Density has a high amount of essential nutrients per Calorie while a Low Nutrient Dense food has a lower amount of nutrients compared to its caloric content.

    The example above illustrates this point. The apple and the tortilla chips both represent 100 Calorie snacks. However, the apple is packed with essential nutrients we should get more of, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while the the chips are loaded with things we should limit in our diet (fat and sodium), and they have minimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Therefore, by choosing the nutrient dense apple instead of the chips, we ensure we get plenty of essential nutrients that keep us healthy and fill us up for the same amount of Calories as the chips which are not healthy, loaded with fat and sodium, and don't fill us up. The apple provides us "quality calories" while the chips result in "empty calories".

    Another example is soda vs. non-fat milk. Both contribute fluid to the diet. However, the glass of non-fat milk also provides high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and riboflavin while the can of soda only provides Calories in the form of added sugars.

    Here are some great online resources to help you
    get started on a Nutrient Dense diet.

    Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition
    Non-profit organization dedicated to helping educate people on how to get more nutrients in their diets.

    Nutrient Dense Recipes
    Recipes to increase the nutrient density of your home-cooked meals!

    Nutrient Density- Eat Out and On the Go 
    Get nutrient-dense foods while dining out and on the go!

    Grocery Shopping List for Nutrient Dense Foods
    Shop nutrient-dense! Print and take with you to the grocery store.

    Go Nutrient-Dense to help you reach your weight-loss goals!