Don’t sabotage your success

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People make fun of New Year’s resolutions, especially those about getting into shape, and not without reason. It is well-known that crowds thin out at most gyms by the end of January.  Many experts even discourage making resolutions. I don’t, but I will warn you about sabotaging your success. 

If you want to stick to working out or maybe even lose a few pounds, don’t sabotage yourself before you even start by choosing a workout, diet, or gym that you don’t really love. And I said love not our like. Getting into shape takes commitment.  Ideally you need to work out at least three times a week to see results – and four times is even better. If you are older and work in an office you need at least an hour of vigorous exercise a day to keep weight gain at bay.  

I work out at club in nice hotel that offers intensive barre classes and yoga. It has a lovely staff, a stocked locker room, and exceptional teachers. It attracts a fit, upbeat, friendly, eclectic crowd.  I usually manage to get there five days a week. 

I hate “gyms.” I have a phobia about them. I never even took a gym class after grade seven, but I have dropped in and out of yoga and Pilates since I was 14.  It may sound crazy but yoga is my sport.  My husband shares my “gym allergy,” but he will golf in a light snow flurry and can walk miles at a fast clip.  Neither of us needs to be dragged to a workout because we love what we choose to do. 2champ

Finding the right place and people are as important as the activity when it comes to making fitness part of your life. A close friend is having a hard time getting to a workout because she agreed to move far from her fitness club and her workout “tribe” with her boyfriend. With her heavy work load the 45 minute trek there and back makes her old five-day a week workouts a no-go.


Don’t sabotage yourself with scheduling or working out at a bad time for your body. Getting fit can be challenging, so make it easy to get there and fun to be there. If you don’t like the crowd or culture at a gym or yoga studio, you will find reasons not to go. Take time to try a few different clubs and teachers to get a good fit. Even when you are a beginner, working out should make you feel good not discouraged or judged.  

Working out with a friend can be fun and help keep you motivated but focus on a good a teacher or trainer for real results. Fitness needs expertise and commitment. Friends walking together or doing a DVD can slow down or chat instead of working up sweat. Also really good teachers change routines often to challenge your muscles. They also have a sixth sense about when you need to push harder and when you should back off a little. 

If you want to lose weight you need to adjust your diet. Exercise alone won’t help you drop weight, but it can help you tone up. I will repeat that: if you need to lose more than two or three pounds you need to eat less and probably better. But refrain from crazy fasts that will screw with your metabolism and temper. The best diet plan will include real food that you enjoy. Spend your time with other health-orien2MPted people who support your goals and lifestyle. I don’t mean that you need to find friends who are all on diets or card-carrying members of Weight Watchers, but binge drinking and eating will sabotage your waist and will.  

Two smart books to check out for good tips on healthful eating: 

The Marshall Plan: Being Good to Be Bad: It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle by Cindi Marshall Oakey.  Cindi is a friend. I met her working out. She looks amazing and her book tells you exactly how she manages to stay fit and fabulous after 50. It is full of smart strategies for women who want to live it up and live healthy – and all hopefully in their skinny jeans. The Champagne Diet: Eat, Drink, and Celebrate Your Way to a Healthy Mind and Body! by Cara Alwill brings glam and sparkle to often dull, depressing subject of weight loss.  

Darlings, embrace your new goals and habits. Find the environment, plan, and experts who make fitness and healthful eating feel attractive, delicious, and desirable not deprivation. When something feels good you want more of it and you can finally put an end to sabotaging your success.



Big fat lies

Heidi Klum ( Creative Commons Image)Hot celebrity moms put a lot of pressure these days on new mothers by raising an unrealistic expectation to lose baby weight and to spring back into shape after giving birth.
Many people blame Heidi Klum, in particular. She strutted down a Victoria’s Secret runway only five weeks after giving birth to her fifth child. Adriana Lima was also singled out after her Victoria’s Secret appearance just two months after giving birth.
Most ordinary women are intimidated by such feats of fitness. Heidi Klum admitted that to return to the runway so quickly she underwent a grueling régime. Her trainer David Kirsch put her through strenuous workouts twice a day. This is hardly a schedule most new mothers can afford, never mind the cost of flying in a live-in celebrity trainer.
Unlike some stars, Heidi Klum admitted her stunning transformation took a lot of effort. She even complained about working out and dieting. She didn’t tell “big fat lies” about getting skinny.
Adriana Lima detailed the effort it took to get back onto the runway in posts she put on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps she was hoping to head-off the recent scorn directed at the new super-svelte celebrity moms.
Now that relative “peace” has been made between working moms and stay-at-home moms, a new battle may be looming between super-fit “yummy mummies” and moms who choose not to, or unable to, spring back into runway shape after childbirth.
Even non-mothers who are trying to shape up can get fed up with stars who claim that staying slim is a “piece of cake.”
I’m not sure the “supermodel standards” are the problem. Rather, the big fat lies some stars tell about how effortless it is sets women up for unrealistic expectations and disappointment.
And it is not just stars that are the problem. Many non-famous women like to perpetuate the myth of being “effortlessly” fit and slim. It’s a weird and annoying type of superiority.
Fitness and losing weight is a hard slog. It can be fun and rewarding, once you get into it, but it can be tough for most women. Getting into shape is easier with good teachers or a workout buddy. Young mothers may not have child care, so will they need to find places that offer it. When and if they go back to work, they may need to hustle out for classes or long walks at lunch because they have will have to rush home to the baby after work. It can be done. I have seen motivated young mothers work out and then pump breast milk and scoot back to work at my own club.
What women need know is that getting into shape takes time, guts, and grit. It can be fun and will make you look and Adrina Lima, Image by David Shankbornfeel better. The endorphins from vigorous, regular workouts can help chase away mild a case of baby blues or PMS. For more serious depression, call your doctor. It’s more fun and easier with friends and in a supportive atmosphere.
So don’t be discouraged by these big fat lies:
I have a fast metabolism; I can eat whatever I want
Some people are blessed with a fast metabolism, but watch them, darlings. They are usually always on the move. Even if they don’t work out, they fidget and twitch off calories. Good for them. Also observe their eating habits. They may not think about what they eat, but often they don't eat much. They pick and nibble. It’s a good trick to emulate. Read Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl books to find out how this is done.
I never diet
Bethenny Frankel explained to me how tasting as opposed to eating keeps her Some women have learned to eat “clean” or “lean” the hard way. To stay lean they cut out extra calories and junk food. It is second nature. But who are they kidding? That is “watching what they eat. Few adult women don’t have to cut back on calories or work out extra hard to make up for a calorie splurge. The others are telling “big fat lies.”
On the other hand, learning to view your own mini-portions as a lifestyle instead of depravation or dieting will keep you skinny.
Mini-portions are how many women who struggle with weight finally learned to stay slim. Dolly Parton and movie icon Rita Hayworth are two of the most famous mini-portion eaters. Rita Hayworth reportedly sent back any plate that had more than quarter portions on it.
I never exercise
This is a tricky lie. Exercise alone won’t make you skinny, but it will make you look better and help you burn calories. A daily workout burns calories and improves your mood, but weight loss is at least 80 percent diet. If you want to look sexy, vivacious, and youthful you need a healthy diet and daily vigorous exercise. Experts say that you continue to burn calories for up to 14 hours after a vigorous workout. So when you exercise really go for the burn – the calorie burn.
Lying about the effort it takes to look fabulous is not new. It’s not all bad either. There is such a thing as too much information. Darlings, no one wants to be out to dinner with “health-nut” who lectures everyone about the dangers of their delicious dessert. And there is nothing less sexy than a woman who moans about her hips during dinner. A certain amount of discretion about one’s personal dietary habits, personal insecurity, and fitness goals is good sense and good manners.
But pretending that having a knockout body after 25 and children is a “piece of cake” is just a “big fat lie.”
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Shape up for the holidays

We love Coach Nicole’s newest fitness mantra “chisel muscle and sizzle fat." That says it all! Total Body Sculpting with Coach Nicole, from the popular online SparkPeople team, comes with a free online weight-loss plan to go with the three fat-burning workouts.
In this DVD you get three different workouts to mix and match: a popular figure shaping barre workout (use a chair), a no-equipment, fat-burning cardio workout, and a fat-burning, heart-pumping free weight workout.
SparkPeople DVDs are more than just another workout DVD; they are complete coaching plans for weight loss and fitness. The DVD includes an interactive plan, calendar, coaching tips, as well as a weight loss plan to help you meet your goals.
This DVD is a great option for anyone who needs a coach and plan at home.
Coach Nicole points out that you can adjust the workouts to own fitness level. “Even within each workout, you get three different levels of intensity that you can mix and match, so you are challenging your body differently all the time.” She goes on to explain, “Every workout features dynamic, full-body movements that burn more calories in less time while incorporating both strength training, cardio and core work. That’s why it’s so effective!”


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Sometimes you feel like a nut

Just an handful makes a healthful and tasty snack!If you shy away from almonds because you think they are fattening, think again. Almonds are healthful snack, if eaten in moderation. Here are three good reasons, courtesy of the Almond Board, to reach for handful of tasty nuts next time you need a snack.
Nut lovers have lower blood pressure and cholesterol
Research recently published in the Journal Nutrition Research shows that adults who eat plain unroasted and unsalted nuts — including almonds — as a snack (as opposed to as part of product such as a candy bar) have lower blood pressure, increased levels of HDL "good" cholesterol, decreased levels of insulin, and improved nutrient intake and diet quality.
One handful, which is one ounce or 23 almonds, is the perfect daily portion of almonds. It provides 13 grams of good unsaturated fats, just one gram of saturated fat, and is naturally salt-free and cholesterol-free. Almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, Vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin.
Almonds can help lower blood sugar levels
Low glycemic index foods, such as almonds, help to regulate blood sugar levels, which help to avoid spikes and dips throughout the day. Including sliced almonds in oatmeal, using almond flour in pancakes, or blending almond butter in your morning smoothie are all easy ways to make sure you start your day on the right foot. In a hurry? Try apple slices spread with almond butter.
Almonds are a heart-healthy snack
Almonds are good part of a "heart smart diet" to help lower cholesterol naturally and help avoid the need for drugs such as statins.
There you have it darlings: almonds taste great, and help lower cholesterol and blood sugar, too. Some studies even they can help you control your weight. So munch in moderation!

Stick to your diet

Dr.  Brian AlmanMany of us have tried to lose weight. For some it is that stubborn 10 pounds that keeps coming back, or just won’t budge. Others need to lose 50 pounds or more. The process can be daunting and discouraging. There are many good diets, but they won’t help if you can’t stick to them. Psychologist Brian Alman has helped thousands of people lose weight by showing them how to stay motivated. Let him help you too.

Five secrets for sticking to your diet, by Dr. Brian Alman:
When trying to stick to your diet, willpower doesn’t work; you know that already. Why? Because willpower is all in your head, and the root causes of overeating are emotional and personal, all about stress and family relationships. Whether you’re trying to lose that last 10 pounds, those stubborn 30 pounds, or more, one thing is clear: Unless you do something to lighten the emotional weight you’re carrying inside — unless you begin to become aware of your feelings, to accept them, and to express them — you’ll continue to struggle with your diet. You might lose some weight, but soon you’ll give in and gain it all back … and usually more.
Here are my five favorite quick-tips for breaking this “yo-yo” cycle. They will help you get in touch with your feelings and begin to accept yourself just as you are. This is the secret to staying with your diet: Once you start to be friendlier, caring, and compassionate with yourself, you’ll begin to lose weight effortlessly. And more importantly, you’ll keep it off for good.
Tip 1: Breathe through your cravings
Whenever you feel the urge to eat, don’t try to stop the craving — that will only make it stronger. Instead, take a few deep, satisfying breaths. Watch the rise and fall of your breathing. Accept your breathing as it is; there’s nothing to do right, there’s nothing you can do wrong. Now focus on the cycle — inhale and exhale — and pause for a moment at the turning points, at the top and bottom of each breath. Inhale deeply, pause, exhale deeply, and pause. Inhale deeply, pause, then push the exhale, throw out all the air. Let go … let go … let go…. Drink a refreshing glass of water and feel more alive.
Tip 2: Three times is the charm
When any weight-loss challenge comes up for you — an urge, a craving, anger, guilt, anything that stresses you — just be aware of it, just notice that it’s there inside of you, and name it slowly three times. For example, if it’s a craving, just notice it and say to yourself, “craving … craving … craving.” Or go ahead and say what it is you’re craving: “chocolate … chocolate … chocolate.” Or let’s say you’re angry at something or somebody, maybe at yourself for being fat, or at others for being thin — just recognize what you’re feeling and say, “anger … anger … anger.” Say it out loud softly, or say it to yourself. But say it slowly three times. Don’t miss a single opportunity. Whenever you feel weighed down by any thought or feeling, say it slowly three times, and watch what happens.
Tip 3: “Watch” what you eat
The next time you sit down to a meal imagine a camera just to your side filming you as you eat. Watch yourself through the eye of that camera. Notice your mood, your attitude, how tense or relaxed you are. Observe your breathing, shallow or deep, nose or chest. Watch how you hold your knife and fork. Zoom in and look at the food closely. What shape is it? How many shades of color does it have? Watch the food as it goes into your mouth. How do you chew? Turn up the sound: what can you hear? Crackling, swishing, crunching? Do you notice the flavors? The smells? What texture does the food have? Grainy, spongy, crisp? How hot or cold is it? What aftertaste does it leave? Watch the food as it goes into your stomach. Is your stomach happy to receive it? When you eat this way, with total presence and awareness, your overeating will change by itself.
Tip 4: Go with the Flow
Ocean lifeguards teach swimmers that, when they realize they’re caught in a strong rip current, they should not fight to get out of it. It never works and only exhausts them and makes things worse. Instead, they should let themselves go with the current, ride with it — even swim along with it. Soon they will come out of it without any trouble. The same goes for any challenges you may have staying on your diet. Instead of fighting your inner emotional current and drowning in your feelings, you can choose to “go with the flow.” If you feel hungry, or angry, or weak, or like bingeing, don’t try to fight your feeling and make it go away. Simply go with your feeling, let yourself feel it fully and wholeheartedly, even exaggerate it. You’ll find that you quickly come out of it. In a few minutes, your feeling will simply be gone. You’re soon going on about your day wondering what all the fuss was about.
Tip 5: Say Your Name
When you’re feeling caught up in your struggles with food and dieting, when you feel “beside” yourself with a craving, or self-hatred, or guilt, sadness, anger — whatever it is — just pause for a moment and focus on your breathing. Even if your breathing is tight, shallow, and stressful, just observe your inhale and exhale … inhale … and then exhale. Then, after a few breaths, on an exhale, say your name to yourself, but not out loud, just say your own name. First name, last name, full name or a favorite name you use when you talk to yourself. Just inhale, pause, and on the exhale say your name to yourself, and continue doing this for 10 to 15 breaths). Make it a kind of silent mantra of unconditional acceptance of your self and your weight-loss challenge. Give this technique some time and energy, and you’ll be amazed to find yourself feeling more relaxed and accepting of yourself, and of what you’re going through with your diet.
These five techniques are only a small part of my Lose Weight and Keep It Off program, which has helped thousands of people at Kaiser Permanente meet their weight-loss goals, and which has been recommended as “very effective” by Deepak Chopra. Longer versions of these tips, along with many more of my weight-loss techniques, are ready to be accessed at the iPhone app store. In addition, my new book, The Voice: Overcome Negative Self-Talk and Discover Your Inner Wisdom, includes these tips as part of a larger personal growth program for anyone dealing with an emotional challenge.
More from Dr. Brian Alman

Thick or thin

Gracey hitchcockDarlings, it really doesn’t matter what shape you’re in – thick or thin, life is never about being a size. But you need to feel healthy and vibrant. Knowledge is power; learn all you can about eating and living well. Life is too short not to be sweet.

Until next week, please sign-up if you haven’t already – DolceDolceis free. And please forward us to all your friends. Or just email me at and I will do it for you. And please email your comments to the same address. We want to know what you think. Let’s start the conversation.
Gracey Hitchcock 
Gracey Hitchcock
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Life is not a size

Even French women come in all sizes and shapes -c'est vrai!Darlings, lose weight or don’t, but be bien dans sa peau. As the French say, feel good in your skin. Always remember that life is not size, and to live and love yourself today. We have fabulous clothing at all sizes today and women of all shapes, sizes, and colours are gorgeous. It is your health, glow, and joie de vivre that make you a goddess. Never ignore your health or put your life on hold. Make every day a sweet day.

Until next week, please sign-up if you haven’t already – DolceDolceis free. And please forward us to all your friends. And please give us your comments by clicking the “comment” link at the end of each item. We want to know what you think. Let’s start the conversation!
Gracey Hitchcock
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© DolceDolce® 2010
All DolceDolce content is copyright

Score big losing weight!

Keri Glassman MS, RD, CND

"Antioxidant" has become a trendy buzz word, but do you really know what it means? You should, because according to experts eating enough of them can help you lose weight, live longer, think better, and look younger. It’s true. Read our interview with Keri Glassman, the author of The O2 Diet, and find out the latest about the cutting-edge diet that will make you healthy, thin, and beautiful. 

DD: Can you explain what antioxidants are and how they work in our body. Why are they so are important?
KG: In simple terms, antioxidants protect us from damage by free radicals — the "bad guys" in our body that come from UV exposure, environmental pollution, stress, some foods, and simply the process of aging! Free radicals disrupt normal cell functions and have been linked to many health problems, including premature aging (aka wrinkles), heart disease, cancer, poor immune function, and Alzheimer’s.
Antioxidants work in our body in many different ways. They can:  “Quench” the single oxygen molecules by destroying them; Help the homeless oxygen molecules bind with other molecules in a less disruptive manner;Prevent the breakdown of the molecule in the first place, so that the free radical is never created; and encourage the body to crank out more of its own arsenal of antioxidants, such as lipoic acid.
Antioxidants are important! They help your body by: Preventing neuronal degeneration; Protecting you from developing cancer; Helping to prevent heart disease; Slowing the aging process (to make you more beautiful); Improving your overall health: May even increase your life span!
DD:  What is the ORAC scale?
KG: ORAC is a method of measuring a food’s potential to control those "bad guys" – the free radicals! The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity scale offers a fairly precise measure of the ability to either destroy or neutralize the disease-causing free radicals. The test, which can be done on foods, tissue, or living plasma, takes two measurements into account: one of hydrophilic antioxidants which just means chemicals that bond with water); and one of lipophilic antioxidants, those that bond best with fats) – to come up with a single score. The ORAC scale was developed as a way to determine which foods were richest in antioxidants. Researchers suggest eating at least 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC “points” per day. In essence, ORAC measures a food’s antioxidant power.
DD: Do different antioxidants have different benefits? Can you give us some examples? 
KG: Each antioxidant-rich food provides its own benefits, so don’t just stick to one. In my new book, The 02 Diet, The Cutting-Edge Antioxidant-Based Program that Will Make You Healthy, Thin, and Beautiful, I suggest a variety of high antioxidant foods that are easy additions to your diet.  All antioxidant foods have more than just one benefit, but some specifically help everything from making your body slimmer, making your skin glow, sustaining an overall healthy body, allowing for a healthier heart, stimulating a focused mind, or a combination of all of these benefits!
Red grapefruit: This is more than a breakfast food – it’s a weight-loss jump-start! Packed with Vitamin C and fiber, this citrus fruit speeds weight loss. One study found that people who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. (Many people in the study lost more than 10 pounds without making any other dietary changes.) While all grapefruit is great, the pink and red varieties contain lycopene and are extra good for your heart. Half a grapefruit has 1,900 ORAC points.
Prunes. Okay, so they’re not pretty. But these wrinkly little fruits are rich in Vitamin K and a top source of the mineral boron. We need both for strong bones. Researchers have found that prunes provide protection against postmenopausal bone loss. One three-prune serving gives you 1,900 ORAC points.
Cherries: University of Michigan researchers have found that anthocyanins in dark cherries, especially the tarter varieties, reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They pack 3,500 ORAC points per serving. Just don’t swallow the pits!
Cinnamon: There’s a reason most of us drool when we walk by a bakery, and cinnamon is a big part of it. Just the smell of this heavenly spice is enough to curb fatigue, ease frustration, and increase alertness. Researchers tested it on stressed-out commuters as they drove! I cook with cinnamon as often as I can. Sometimes, on days when both my kids are screaming, I boil a cinnamon stick in the hopes that those wonderful stress-busting aromas will keep me out of trouble! Besides managing stress, researchers believe cinnamon may inhibit certain types of Alzheimer’s cells. When eaten, one teaspoon adds 7,000 ORAC points to a recipe.
Artichokes: What’s more fun to eat than steamed artichokes? I love them because they’re one of the best calorie bargains going, at 60 calories each. Eat an artichoke as an appetizer and you may end up consuming fewer calories overall at the meal. Artichokes are also super high on the ORAC scale — 7,900 ORAC points — and they contain phytochemicals that may lower cholesterol levels and act as an anti-inflammatory in the skin, making them a beauty food as well.
Pistachios: I have memories of my dad eating the red dyed ones while watching football. For many people, they’re a great dietary tool, since the time it takes to pop the little green guys out of their shells makes you eat them more slowly. In many ways, they are nutritionally like other nuts, especially almonds. But pistachios are also packed with plant sterols, which researchers think lower the risk of heart disease. Eighteen pistachios have 1,000 ORAC points.
DD: What is a high ORAC diet, and what is so good for us?
KG: Researchers have just begun to scratch the surface of antioxidant research. There are now literally hundreds of studies linking antioxidant-rich foods to better health, including everything from reduced heart disease to a decreased likelihood of cancer. And while taking too many antioxidant supplements in pill form may be harmful, there’s absolutely no downside to consuming more nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, as long as you control calories of course! Although the current recommendations are that we eat between 3,000 and 5,000 ORAC points a day for optimum health, why not get as many points as you want — from food! The O2 Diet is built around consuming 30,000 ORAC points a day.
Think that number sounds crazy? It’s not unrealistic at all. If you eat the high-ORAC fruits, vegetables, and other foods I recommend — all within a range of calories that will allow you to achieve your healthiest weight — it’s not tough to achieve the number.
Don’t forget you still need to eat a balanced diet. Sure, you could get to 30,000 easily on nothing but artichokes, blueberries, and hot cocoa, but that’s not a balanced diet. You’d be cheating yourself out of the wide variety of nutrients out there.
DD: What is your opinion of those juice drinks that claim to equal several servings of fruit and vegetables? Is freshness important if you are concerned with antioxidants?  
KG: Major brands have started to recognize the importance of high antioxidant foods, which is why we’ve been seeing a growing trend in marketing food and cosmetic products as ones that are good sources of antioxidants. Many of these juices are actually great sources of antioxidants. You just need to be careful not to over-consume calories and beverages that have added sugar. Stick to 100 percent juice and use portion control! 
DD:  What is the advantage of The O2 Diet for those who want to lose weight?           
KG: The O2 Diet is all about empowering yourself to put the best foods in your body. When you understand the science behind these powerful foods, you want to put these foods in your body, and you feel empowered doing so! When you eat these nutrient-dense foods you feel better, you look better, you sleep better, you have better energy, and better skin — and a byproduct of all of that is weight loss!  You don’t feel like you are on a diet; you want to continue. Also, the foods in The O2 Diet are satisfying, making it easy to stick to the plan. This diet does much more than provide the basic calories you need to make it until bedtime. It offers more genuine nutrition than you probably have eaten in your entire life. Consuming the O2 Diet’s 30,000 ORAC points each day will help you reach your target weight. But this diet also steers you toward the best foods for addressing your other health concerns. Some foods have been shown to be beneficial in easing the outward signs of aging, for example, while others are proven boosters for the immune system.