Caloric Cocktails and Naughty Noshes

In honor of summer, and the many garden parties, social events, happy hours, vacations, and other celebratory events on your calendar, I have decided to write a blog in honor of the lovely cocktails and noshes that we will all be consuming.

Many people sabotage their diet plans and weight-loss goals without knowing they are doing it. Social gatherings alway involve food and drink, and can cause a person to feel in a bit of a trap: how to partake in social events without completely sabotaging a weight-loss goal?!?

Fear not, I have a few tips to help.

Avoid fried foods. Yes, they are delicious, and very popular at social events. They also pack an extremely high caloric-punch. Stick to non-fried alternatives and you can eat more while consuming fewer calories.

Beware of cheese. This one makes me want to cry, since cheese is one of my top five foods. If you aren’t looking to lose weight, I say go ahead and have your cheese. If you are looking to drop some weight, avoid cheese. You don’t know how much cheese went into that yummy, melted dish, and knowledge is power. If there are cheese slices out, you can eyeball what an ounce is, and indulge a *little.*

Avoid “salads.” chicken salad. Potato salad. Lobster salad, yada, yada, yada. Why? These summer staples are often loaded with mayonaise and/or sour cream, which are extremely high in calories and fat. If you choose to have some salads, be honest with how much you are eating. One cup of chicken salad can easily pack 400-500 calories. One cup. Yeah.

Avoid sugary cocktails. I love a good pina colada as much as the next gal. Margaritas are delicious. Mojitos? Divine. If you are watching your figure, don’t have any of them. One margarita can pack 400-600 calories. One cocktail. Do you know how many vodka cranberries or glasses of wine you could consume for those same calories? Try 2-3. look, if you want to have one sugary cocktail it won’t completely ruin your diet goals, but combine that margarita with fried mozzarella sticks and a cup or two of chicken or potato salad, and you start to see the whole picture.

What should you indulge in while at your dozens of summer social events? My advice: for beverages, stick to wine, beer (careful, a 6 pack of beer is over 1000 calories!!!!), martinis, rum and diet coke, vodka cranberries – cocktails that contain 150-250 calories per drink. That way, you can still partake in the party, but at a fraction of the calories you’d consume if you have the same amount of margaritas.

For food, stick to what’s raw. Veggies and hummus. Fruit salads. Cheese slices (remember, you can keep an honest eye as to how much cheese you are nibbling), tossed salads, grilled chicken.

251443_660133989274_8009646_nI know it’s hard to “behave” while most friends will be loading up their plates without a care in the world, but remember the big picture. You have some sort of fitness goal, which is way more important than that damn tray of mozzarella sticks, right? Think of that number on the scale, that target dress size, that string bikini, that goal race – whatever your goal may be.

I’ll raise a martini glass to you, being fit and fabulous!

Veggie and Fruit Monster

img_6337-editMost people are unsuccessful at weight-loss for different reasons, though a common trend is diet. Often people think they must starve themselves or give up everything yummy, and end up bingeing after a given time of sacrifice.

Tired of that cycle? I don’t blame you, it’s a bad cycle and one I fought for a long time. What worked for me, and what I recommend to those looking to lose a few pounds is not focus on what you “can’t” have, but to instead focus on what you should be eating. Nobody likes to be told what they cannot do, and the same is true when it comes to our food choices. Therefore, if you focus on what you should be adding to your diet, you aren’t actually depriving yourself of anything.

I am a firm believer in the consumption of fruits and veggies. In fact, personally, I try to eat at least ten servings per day. If you focus on getting those nutrient-packed fruits and veggies into your meals everyday, you’ll be surprised how little you will be craving all of the other stuff and how full you will feel. Combine all of those yummy fruits and veggies with the amount of protein and complex carbs you’ll need for fueling and refueling for your workouts, and you won’t have room for much else.

Find fruits and veggies you like. Pack fresh veggies in a bag to take to work as a healthy snack at your desk, or pack a couple pieces of fruit. Saute veggies if you want a hot meal, and mix it up. Eating salads everyday can get boring, and all of the added “goodies” on a salad can add a lot of fat and calories without realizing it. Salads don’t always equal “healthy.” Sweet potatoes are an awesome complex carb, full of all kinds of nutrients.

Adding fruits and veggies to your diet, regardless of goals, will make you feel better and energized. Whether you are completely happy with your physique and athletic performance, or looking to improve, fruits and veggies can be your secret weapon. Bonus: they will also keep your immune system strong.

Burned Vs. Consumed

_MG_9291_finalIn our own delusional world, we’ll say an hour at the gym equals the ability to eat whatever we want for the rest of the day and we’ll end up calorically at zero. Ah, our foolish delusions. If you are still clinging onto those delusions, your coach is going to give you a reality check.

Folks, as I have mentioned before, gym equipment lie about your calories burned. Ignore that lovely, delusional number and know your own stats and calories burned. Refueling (also a previous blog topic) is important, but refuel with a purpose: to replenish and aid those muscles.

Personally, when I trained for my first marathon, I gained weight. Why? Well, part of it was a delusional mentality. I wanted to be fueled for my next workout, and had no concept of what was necessary instead of excess. Another reason I gained weight was that my appetite seemed out of control, and I kept feeding the beast. The last reason was my work environment. At the time I was working on the set of “Blue Bloods” full time, and the dreaded Craft Services was a constant temptation for my out-of-control appetite. The long hours, and unpredictable running schedule left me shoveling trail mix, pasta, and bagels into my mouth.

Yes, while training for a marathon you will need to eat more than before you started training. (HOORAY!!!!) However, if you use that as an excuse to eat everything, you will be in the same boat as the gym rat who decides an hour on the elliptical equals indulging on 2000 calories out at the local pub. Folks, it’s a matter of calories consumed versus calories burned.

Here’s a secret: If you love to workout and/or run, and you love food, you get the best of both worlds. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love a juicy cheeseburger with fries and a few pints, or a large piece of cake as much as the next person. I LOVE FOOD. I love to cook. I love to bake. I love to eat. HOWEVER, I have learned since that first marathon season how to fuel, refuel and train without gaining any weight while savoring those indulgences too.

Do you need help balancing your food versus exercise? I’m pretty sure you know a coach who can help.

Weight Loss Rut

Liz Corkum 516We’ve all been there. You’ve gained 10 lbs., or 40 lbs, or whatever – and you freak out and look for the “easy” way to shed those extra pounds. You look into quick solutions, which include diet pills, cleanses, delivery food plans, fad diets, etc. You are miserable on said “easy” diet plan, and within a few weeks gain any weight you lost on your “quick fix” back, and are exactly where you started – only even more frustrated.

Let’s stop that cycle, for once and for all. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, there is no quick fix, and fad diets should be avoided at all cost. Personally, I probably tried a dozen of them (maybe 2 dozen!), and I know first-hand how that cycle can continue.

if you take anything away from this blog, consider this: You need to be honest with yourself about how many calories you need to consume in a day to maintain your current weight, and what would be a healthy amount to consume for weight loss. Most people I know are SHOCKED when they find out how many calories they consume in a day, or what a serving size actually looks like.

For example, as a 5’7″, 20-something athlete, calculating my body fat, BMI, etc – on days I am stationary (not training), I only need 1500-1800 calories per day. PER DAY. Most people eat 1500-1800 calories in ONE MEAL. This is why Americans are so obese.

The good news: the more you exercise, the higher that number of necessary calories.

Know your body, your lifestyle, your needs – and you will begin to have the tools to take control of the scale, your abilities and your body fat.

Fad Diets

img_6239-editLadies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls – I am going to tell you the truth, which you probably already know but are still hoping isn’t true – Fad Diets do not work and should be avoided at all cost.

Magic pills, fasting, cleansing, juicing, Atkins, Paleo, the Acai Berry Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, Medifast, hCG, The Tapeworm Diet (yes folks, that’s a real thing!) – DO NOT DO IT!!!! There is NO factual evidence that any extreme diet or lifestyle has any benefit at all. On the flip side, they could all be extremely dangerous.

Yes, you will probably lose weight from one of the above diets, but it will be water weight, or worse yet – muscle weight. If you are training, you need water weight (dehydration is very dangerous), and you should be aiming to gain muscle, not lose it.

At the end of the day, a balanced diet is all you need. What does that mean? Well, you’d have to go into that with your coach in greater detail.

The point is, unless you KNOW that a diet is healthy, it’s probably too good to be true. By all means, add juicing to your already-balanced diet, or incorporate some aspects of the Paleo diet – but jumping on the bandwagon is bad. And stupid.

Commercial, magazines, ads in magazines – they are all out to make money, not to help you lead a healthy life style. Got it? Good.

Post-Run Refueling

DSC_0112It has become common knowledge in the fitness world that refueling properly after a workout is very important. Getting nutrients in the body quickly post-workout helps the muscles recover fast, which means you will heal and be ready for your next workout!

While I often take a protein shake after a hard run (a track workout or a long run), on other days I prefer either a glass of chocolate milk or a serving of Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt packs an impressive amount of protein in few calories. Most range from 12-16 grams of protein for 120-160 calories! Also, yogurt is great for your stomach, and most Greek yogurt is low in sugar. NOTE: “regular” yogurt is NOT the same thing. The protein is way less, the sugar way more.

Chocolate milk is the perfect combination of protein, carbs, sugar, vitamin D and calcium for replenishing. Mix it yourself, and you’ll save money. A serving of 16 oz. 1% milk and a serving of chocolate syrup run you about 265 calories. Winter tip: heat it over the stove at a low temperature and it will taste like hot chocolate!