Blog Archives

Hippity Hop To It…

I guess you can blame this late Motivation Monday post on the Easter bunny. More specifically, I blame it on recovering from a sugar hangover after going a little overboard on the Easter treats.

Whatever holiday you and your family have celebrated during the past week, I hope it’s been filled with family, friends, laughter and of course, good eats! Speaking of food, in case you need a shot of inspiration to get moving today, here’s a recap of how some of the popular holiday favorites register on the calorie scale:

Peeps: 4 Marshmallow Bunnies = 130 cals, 0 g fat, 29 g sugar

Cadbury Creme Eggs (my favorite!): 1 = 150 cals, 6 g fat, 97 g sugar

Cadbury Chocolate Eggs: 12 = 190 cals, 8 g fat, 27 g sugar

Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny: 1 – 890 cals, 48.6 g fat, 20 g sugar

Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg (my second favorite!): 1 = 180 cals, 10 g fat, 16 g sugar

Reese’s Reester Bunny: 1 = 760 cals, 40 g fat, 72 g sugar

Brach’s Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Egg: 1 = 43 cals, 1.3 g fat, 6 g sugar

Jelly Belly Assorted Jellybeans: 35 = 140 cals, 0 g fat, 32 g sugar

Of course, for many of us (including yours truly), these treats come after a carb-loaded meal filled with traditional favorites ranging from pasta dishes to honey baked ham and potatoes. There may also be some wine or other libations involved.

Anyone who’s been following this blog for awhile will tell you the last thing I want you to feel reading this day-after-Easter post is guilty. The fact is holidays almost always include more food and drink than usual. Don’t sweat it. Instead, make some smart choices today and remember, celebrating special occasions with friends and family will always be one of the most joyous ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Advertisements

Thanks for the Motivation, Easter Bunny!

Here’s hoping this Easter Monday post finds everyone happy and healthy after a great weekend!

If you’re looking for some motivation to get moving today, perhaps all you need to do is look at the empty Easter basket on your kitchen counter. Here’s a tally of the damage from some of the holiday favorites:

Peeps: 4 Marshmallow Bunnies = 130 cals, 0 g fat, 29 g sugar

Cadbury Creme Eggs (my favorite!): 1 = 150 cals, 6 g fat, 97 g sugar

Cadbury Chocolate Eggs: 12 = 190 cals, 8 g fat, 27 g sugar

Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny: 1 – 890 cals, 48.6 g fat, 20 g sugar

Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg (my second favorite!): 1 = 180 cals, 10 g fat, 16 g sugar

Reese’s Reester Bunny: 1 = 760 cals, 40 g fat, 72 g sugar

Brach’s Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Egg: 1 = 43 cals, 1.3 g fat, 6 g sugar

Jelly Belly Assorted Jellybeans: 35 = 140 cals, 0 g fat, 32 g sugar

Of course, for many of us (including yours truly), these treats come after a heavy meal filled with traditional favorites ranging from pasta dishes to honey baked ham and potatoes. There may also be some wine or other libations involved.

Anyone who’s been following this blog for awhile will tell you the last thing I want you to feel reading this day-after-Easter post is guilty. The fact is holidays almost always include more food and drink than usual. Don’t sweat it. Instead, make some smart choices today and remember, celebrating special occasions with friends and family will always be one of the most joyous ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Birthday Reflections

Not a Bad Place to Wrap Up 41...

Escape to Curacao: My Favorite Memory From the End of My 41st Year.

Wow. Time really does fly. I’m not sure where the past year went, but this Motivation Monday marks the last day of my 41st year on the planet.

As I sit here and reflect on life, as I think many of us do when another birthday rolls around, I’m overwhelmed by a sense of honesty. Honesty about how getting older is both good and bad for so many reasons.

While experience has probably made me a bit wiser than I was on this date in 2015, knowledge does come with a cost. Over the years, I’ve gained more confidence to be myself and follow my heart in challenging situations. That courage of conviction, however, is the result of seeing more and more evidence of how short our time is here on this Earth.

My parents and other loved ones are getting older. Some of my friends have already lost one or both parents. Some friends – older and younger than me – are in a fight for their own lives. Jobs are lost, marriages fall apart and sometimes people you never thought you’d be without move far away in the hopes of working toward a better future. I know these events are simply part of this windy road we call life, but it seems they’ve arrived in a flurry since I started my 40s.

Please don’t think this is a sad reflection on turning a year older. It’s simply a realization that despite the challenges that have snuck up on me through the decades, I’m both lucky and blessed to have my family and an amazing support network of friends to keep me grounded. The two other stabilizing factors in my life have been my faith and my love for exercise. Since turning 40, I’ve made bigger strides to eat healthier than I ever have before. The result of this combination is not only being in the best physical shape of my life, but my mental health is in a good place, too. Sometimes all I need is an hour to work up a good sweat so I can face whatever the day throws at me – a demanding client; a phone call with a friend going through a rough time or news about someone I love receiving a terrible diagnosis – with more courage than I thought I had in me.

I’m definitely looking forward to what’s next. What will happen in my ever-changing career? What special occasions will I get to share with friends and family? For starters, I plan to kick off my 42nd year with a good Physique57 workout, a little mani-pedi pampering and a perhaps a minor overdose of chocolate and prosecco with a heaping side portion of laughter with friends. Let me take this moment to thank my family, friends and all my readers for helping me face my birthday with a smile. Here’s to a new year ahead filled with endless chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Countdown to Candy…

iStock_000018036374XSmallThis Motivation Monday brings us four days closer to that fun, candy-filled celebration known as Halloween. If you’re still trying to figure out how to score that sold-out Frozen costume for your kid or what you’re going to wear to that grown-up holiday party, I figured I’d throw in a few reminders about how to manage the tricks and treats without slipping into a candy coma.

It’s important to remember you’re getting this advice from a real candy girl. As you repeat readers know, I love my chocolate. Throw some peanut butter or crispy wafers under the milk-chocolate madness, and now I’m faced with my kryptonite. So, here are a few ways I get through the holiday with as little guilt as possible:

Going to extremes: Buy candy you DON’T like. Since I’m a chocolate nut, buying fruity candies like Skittles or Starbursts is an easy way for me to avoid  finding too many wrappers in my trash on November 1st. You can also hand out sugar-free gum. At about five calories per stick, if you chew on a few of those during the holiday, it’s obviously not going to blow your healthy eating habits to smithereens.

Middle-of-the-road options: Here are a few treats that will help keep the calorie overload to reasonable levels:

  • York Peppermint Patties: who says you can’t enjoy a full-size candy bar without a side order of guilt? This cool treat drenched in dark chocolate is 140 calories with 2.5 grams of fat. (Compare that to a full-size Snickers bar that has 280 calories and 14 grams of fat, and you’ve got a good reason to be satisfied by all that minty goodness!)
  • Mini Three Musketeer Bars: Three minis register at 24 calories each and less than one gram of fat.
  • Hershey Kisses: Three chocolate smooches register at 67 calories and 4 grams of fat.
  • Tootsie Roll: One piece has 26 calories and five grams of fat.
  • Candy Corn: You can enjoy a handful of 10 pieces for only 64 calories and 0 grams of fat.
  • 100 Calorie Packs: A good alternative to candy bars, these individual packs can satisfy your sweet tooth and take the guess-work out of portion control.
I wrap up by wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween! Remember, even this sweet holiday doesn’t have to put the brakes on your never-ending quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Friday’s Food for Thought: Back-to-School Edition

We all survived the post-Labor Day back-to-school, back-to-the-grind work week!

I wrap up this fitting-fitness-into-your-fall-schedule-themed week with some simple reminders about how to get your healthy eating habits back on track. Remember, diet and exercise go hand in hand. If you want your body to perform at its best, you need to give it the right fuel.

As a happy follower of the everything-in-moderation lifestyle, none of my “diet tricks” involve extremes:

  1. A Little Prep Goes A Long Way: Every weekend, I stock up on easy-to-chop or no-chop-needed produce like baby carrots, celery, peppers and cherry tomatoes. At some point on Sunday, I pack up five ready-to-grab containers and so I have no excuse for not having veggies with my lunch every day at work. Same goes for fruits. I chop strawberries and bring a large container to work on Monday and divvy out portions each morning with non-fat plain Greek yogurt and high fiber cereal. Add a pre-workout banana, and this all adds up to a no-brainer approach to getting multiple servings of fruits and veggies during the day!
  2. Take the guesswork out of staying hydrated: Save your dollars and the planet by stocking up on a few reusable water bottles. Keep one in your backpack, briefcase, purse, gym bag and/or at the office. Reports differ on how much water each individual needs, but the general rule is eight, eight-ounce  glasses each day. I keep a 16-ounce water bottle in my office and I fill it at least three times while I’m at work. So, between my post-work workout and at least one glass of water with dinner, I hit my daily intake without even thinking about it.
  3. Don’t wait until you’re famished to eat: I have to eat every 3-4 hours or I get sluggish. I also make sure to eat a snack about an hour before my workout so you don’t burn out too quickly. My new favorite pre-workout snack is a chopped medley of one banana and three or four pineapple strips. I enjoy the mix with a side of string cheese and big glass of water.
  4. Keep healthy snacks handy: There are few places I’ll go without a Fiber One bar or some raw almonds. If you find yourself sans snack, chew on a piece of gum or have a glass of water to take the edge off before scarfing down something less healthy.
  5. Be realistic: When a craving gnaws at you, it’s not always a bad thing to give into it. Ignoring a guilty pleasure for too long can end up being worse. It’s amazing how the desire for one cupcake on Monday can turn into inhaling a colossal sized one meant for four people to share by Friday.

I leave you with this final thought: there will be “off” days. Even as a lifelong fitness enthusiast, there are times I simply don’t want to workout and all I want to do is drink red wine and eat chocolate. It happens. Don’t let one bad day throw you off course. Just wipe off the crumbs, prep your gym bag and remember tomorrow is your next chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Happy Easter Monday!

Whatever holiday you celebrated over the weekend, I hope it was happy!

I was all set to write about my first mammogram for today’s post. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling snafu by the imaging center, my Saturday appointment was postponed for a couple of weeks. Stay tuned. So, I decided to improvise with a short and sweet ode to chocolate.

The beginning of chocolate overload

I’ve been giving up sweets for Lent for as long as I can remember. While there’s obviously much more significance to Easter  Sunday than breaking my fast, I won’t deny that one of the things I look forward to on this holiday is overloading on the treats I’ve missed for a little more than 40 days. It starts with Cocoa Puffs for breakfast (good to know there’s whole grains in that cereal now!) and continues with Italian cheesecake, rainbow cookies and at least one Creme Egg for dessert following a big, pasta and other carb-filled lunch with my family.

So, along with the moderation-is-key “rule,” another part of my lifestyle mantra is this: Sometimes you’ve got to be a little bad to get back to the good. That means today I’ll push my body extra hard at small group training  (I’ll even welcome burpees if our instructor Roberto includes them in workout) and eat my normal healthy fruits and veggies and drink lots of water to get my body back on track. I can’t promise I won’t sneak in a leftover piece of milk chocolate or a peanut butter filled chocolate egg…but again, it’s all about finding a balance that works for you.

I’ll wrap up sharing a recent story on Foxnews.com that made me feel a little better about my guilty pleasure. Click here to learn about a study about chocolate and body fat.

Sometimes giving in to temptation (at least when chocolate is involved) is what you need to do so you can get it out of your system, and re-focus on the course to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Your Workout Wednesday Following Fat Tuesday

No doubt I’ll be starting this Ash Wednesday in a bit of a post-chocolate haze.

Ever since my days at Northwestern,I’ve celebrated many a Fat Tuesday with millions of other people around the world in a bit of decadent indulgence.

Need to Un-Do Some Decadence?

Since I give up desserts and sweets for Lent, I tend to “stock up” on Fat Tuesday. In my 20s, that often meant enjoying a dinner of chocolate chip pancakes with extra butter and chocolate sauce and a thick chocolate shake to wash it all down. A decade later, while I don’t ingest all that richness at one sitting, I do enjoy a few sugary treats throughout the day and some kind of chocolate ice cream concoction as the grand finale.

However, there are three reasons I refuse to be consumed by guilt over this day of decadence:

  1. It’s a one-time event in a 365-day period.
  2. For the past seven years, Fat Tuesday has fallen on the same day of the week as my favorite group exercise class. I’m just sure to kick things up an extra notch at NYSC’s Club Strength on this specific Tuesday where I tend to throw moderation out the window.
  3. Workout Wednesday immediately follows Fat Tuesday.

So, if you went a little overboard yesterday, consider it some extra motivation to make today’s workout count! Not sure you need to be motivated? Consider this: pancakes rank at the top of the Fat Tuesday favorite-food list almost every year. If you enjoyed this crowd pleaser at a restaurant like IHOP last night, remember each pancake weighs in at approximately 180 calories and six grams of fat. According to CalorieKing, burning off the calories in just one fluffy combination of sugar, flour and eggs would require 50 minutes of walking, 21 minutes of jogging, 15 minutes of swimming or 27 minutes of cycling. If you enjoyed a stack of four or five…well, you can do the math.

All that being said, there’s another tradition I follow pretty religiously every year on this specific Workout Wednesday. It’s the perfect day for intense cardio training. I’m talking about taking things a step beyond a “typical” 30-minute jaunt on the elliptical. Click here for a refresher on how to take things to the next level with interval training. If you haven’t tried interval training before – it’s a good day to start!

I’ll end with a common LauraLovesFitness theme: life is simply too short to deny yourself the things you really enjoy. For me, that includes chocolate, cupcakes, ice cream and red wine. On the rare occasions I do splurge and enjoy one or more of those decadent items on the same day, I simply make it a point to get back on track with my healthy food choices the next day and add some extra time to my workout. Finding a balance for all the things that bring you happiness is a challenging but critical part of our journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

%d bloggers like this: