Slimming Smorgasbord!

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Smorgasbord may not exactly be synonymous with weight-loss but when done right this style of meal can give you a delicious, macronutrient balanced meal without going crazy on calories!

The Swiss and Danish Smorgasbord typically includes various small to medium open-faced sandwiches topped with vegetable crudite, lean meats such as smoked fish, often a creamy fat source like cheese or yogurt, lightly placed atop a thin slice of whole rye bread.  This style works great for those of us who like to “try a bit of everything” but who are trying not to overeat.  Why does it work?  These smorgasbord sandwiches emphasize protein and vegetables over carbs, while providing a balanced, tasty meal.  You can use whatever you have on hand and change it up everyday so you do not get tired of eating the same things!

In my Slimming Smorgasbord meals I add extra fresh vegetables including greens for a side, use a wide array of protein sources, and often use crackers instead of bread.  Sometimes these meals resemble more of a deli salad platter than a sandwich, but both are great options.

The components of a slimming smorgasbord include any and all of the following ingredients:

1.  Raw veggies:  Greens such as arugula and spinach to fill up the plate, and your favorite raw veggies that go with your fillings; try cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, red cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, pico de gallo…

2.  Protein sources:  Chicken, fish, hummus, veggie-burger patty, deli-meat, protein salads: tuna, egg, bean-salad, buffalo chicken etc…

3.  Carbohydrate sources:  high-protein cracker, minimally-processed flat-breads or pitas

  • Good choices:  Mestemacher Rye Breads, Trader Joes Mediterranean Flat Bread, Naan Bread, New York FlatBread crackers, Pita Chips, Food Should Taste Good chips, Trader Joes Some Enchanted Cracker

4.  Fat source:  Avocado, flax or other seeds, cheese or yogurt to accompany or mix with the protein.  (Real mayonnaise is not so bad if used very moderately).

Remember the key to making a Smorgasbord “Slimming” is to limit overall portion (1-2 mini sandwiches or indicated serving-size of crackers) and to emphasize the veggies!

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Power Veggies: Veggie Power!

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They fill you up while bringing your weight down + they nourish your body.  Don’t stop till you get enough!

Consuming lots of vegetables and fruits is the key to healthy weight-loss and better overall health.  Among the benefits are better digestion, anti-oxidant properties to fight against aging, cancer, and other chronic disease, improved hair and skin from vitamin and mineral content, feeling lighter and more energetic.

In terms of weight-loss, vegetables provide nutrient-dense sustenance that can keep you from being hungry, but without adding bulk.   Vegetables and fruits should be added to or be the main staple at most meals and snacks.  Enjoy them fresh, from frozen, or lightly cooked.  Serve alone or with protein, good fats, and with healthful herbs and seasonings.  See my post on my favorite way to eat Veggies, the Slimming Smorgasbord!

My Favorite Power Veggies:

  • Kale & Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Red Cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

Pro Tip:  The best favor you can do for yourself to consume more vegetables is to take the time to slice and chop your fresh veggies for the next few days.  Peppers, carrots, onions, cucumbers etc. are much easier to throw on sandwiches, add to salads or to cook with when already prepped.  Take 15-20 minutes to slice/dice/julienne, whatever style you prefer, so that they are as easy to grab as chips…!  Or use my busy-girl secret:  Find a grocery store with a great salad bar and load up a container with the pre-chopped veggies; voila the prep is done!

Weight-Lifting, Cardio, Bootcamp, Oh My!!

With so many workouts and fitness classes to choose from, it can be hard to know which exercise methods will help you reach your goals.  While all exercise is good exercise, certain formats are better suited for your desired outcome.  Take a look at these exercise recommendations for different goals:

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Goal: Improved fitness, increased strength and power, challenging workout, toning

Rec: Crossfit, Intense Bootcamps & Circuits, Spin, Insanity

If you are advanced and/or already fit person with no major injuries looking to sculpt, tone and be physically challenged; go for more extreme fitness training classes and programs that include high-intensity intervals and circuits.

Goal: Moderate to Heavy Weight-Loss

Moderate to heavy weight-loss is best achieved with a mix of fitness modalities emphasizing different training methods at different stages of WL.

Initially, an overweight or obese individual will need to focus on cardiovascular exercise for calorie expenditure and building base muscle-mass for fat-loss.  The first few months of a Weight-Loss program are the most challenging, one will need to commit daily time and effort to get your exercise in. As you lose weight, build muscle and become more fit, workouts may become shorter (albeit more intense) and long-duration cardio may be de-emphasized.  A person looking to lose significant weight should focus as follows:

Month 1-2: Calorie expenditure, increase endurance, learn strength training form and technique.  *Diet of great importance.

Aim for 45-60 minutes of moderate-intense cardiovascular exercise 4-7 days/wk; learn about interval cardio. Take 1-3 “active” rest days as necessary where you perform low-intensity movement, for example brisk walking for 30 minutes/day. Begin core-strengthening moves, learn basic machine circuit at gym and/or major-muscle group exercises (bodyweight and weight-loaded) that you can do at home or gym.

Month 2-3:  Increase strength training, dynamic higher-intensity workouts incorporating strength and cardio.  *Diet to support active lifestyle and lean muscle mass.

Begin to incorporate more strength training into your exercise regimen. Once you have learned proper form for body-weight and weight-bearing exercise in month 1-2, kick up the intensity of your strength workouts by adding weight, trying more complex moves, and incorporating higher intensity circuit-training exercise.

Substitute 2 high-intensity cardio/strength workouts for 2 long cardio sessions. Higher-intensity circuit workouts tend to be shorter due to the more difficult workload and combination of strength and cardio in one.  One can also combine a short cardio HIIT (15-20 minutes) with 30-45 minutes of traditional strength training for specific muscle groups or total body.  With these methods, strength-training and muscle mass is increased and approximate calorie-expenditure from Cardio is maintained.

With Weight-Loss everyone is coming from a different place.  Fitness-level, injuries, health concerns, and time available for exercise should be assessed with your trainer and a personalized workout plan should be developed.

Goal: Improve cardiovascular and overall health, disease prevention, increased bone-density and muscle-loss prevention

Rec:  Light-Moderate cardiovascular and strength routines emphasizing exercise to improve activities of daily living.  See a trainer to develop an appropriate program.

Older adults looking to stay active, conditioned and increase longevity should engage in light cardiovascular activity every day, as well as a basic strength training program for muscles to increase bone density, maintain healthy weight, and curb age-related muscle-loss. Try daily brisk walking, biking or light jogging and/or using cardio machines at a gym. Use strength training circuit machines at a gym or meet with a personal trainer to develop a strength program using bands, body-weight and free-weights that will also work on your balance, core strength, joint mobility and stability. This method of strength training versus machine-based may be more functional to improve activities of daily living, helping you move with better balance and strength to prevent falls and other injuries.

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Good Morning! Wake-up Workouts

Start the day right, with Exercise…

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An energizing 15-25 minute light workout first thing in the morning gets the blood-flowing, loosens up your limbs, and kicks your metabolism into gear!  Try these mini-workouts to help you wake up, limber up, and tone up!

15 minutes light cardio:
  • Brisk half-mile walk or jog outside
  • In-home cardio equipment like Bike or Elliptical
  • Low impact body-weight cardio:  Arm swings, jog-in-place, jumping jacks, cross-body reaches, demi-squats & lunges, skater-leaps.

OR

15 rep Total-Body Tone Routine:

Complete 15 reps of each move with 1-3 seconds rest between moves.  Perform full repetitions and do not rush moves, aim to feel muscle group being worked.  Warm-up with 5 minutes body-weight cardio.

  • Starting on floor:

Glute/Hip:  (15) glute bridges & Lying hip-raises 15/leg (see below)

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Abdominal Crunches:

(1) Straight-leg sit ups with twist, (2) Knees-up crunches (3) Reverse crunches

  • Flip onto stomach: 5 second modified snake stretch, 5 second childs pose

Core Planks: 15 second walking plank (step feet out and in) & 15 second plank hold

Back/Chest:  

(1) Modified or regular push-ups, (2) Moving bird-dogs (see below)moving bird-dog

  • Come to standing, hold forward stretch

Thighs: 15 squats (sumo or regular), 15 forward or backward lunges/leg

OR

Morning Flow Yoga:

Move rhythmically from one move to the next until light fatigue.  Try 1-2 rounds of this yoga sequence: flowyog

Exercising While Injured

How to deal with strains and sprains and still lose weight!

exercise injury Sprains, strains, breaks, cramps… Whether an injury occurred from a fall, auto accident, sport competition, or your fitness routine itself, injuries can put a hold on your weight-loss and training endeavors. It is important to give your body the rest and healing it needs to ultimately resume your exercise regimen and prevent re-injury or worsening of an injury. If weight-loss is what you are working towards, your aim should be to continue to create a calorie-deficit from diet as your normal level of exercise may be inhibited. You will need to find alternate forms of exercise that allow you to still burn calories by working other parts of the body or without over-impacting the sensitive area. Depending on the nature and location of your injury, you will want to alter your routine.

Upper body injury/strain: Shoulder, neck, chest, upper-mid back/lats. Turn to machine-based cardio in which your upper-body and trunk are relatively stable and the legs are the primary mover.  Stationary Bike, Elliptical with non-moveable arms, stair-stepper. Work on lower body strength training and abdominals: The muscle groups of the lower body are large and working them out can build your overall muscle mass and burn calories so you do not have to lose ground with your body-composition while you have an upper-body injury.  Abdominals can be worked daily, particularly moves where the upper body is relatively stable such as in laying down or standing crunches.  Avoid full-extension planks or dynamic moves that place lots of weight on the upper limbs and muscle groups.

Lower-Body Injury/Strain: Depending on the type and extent of injury, some machine-based cardiovascular exercise may help the healing process. You will want to avoid high-impact cardiovascular exercise like running or difficult hiking

  • For flare-ups of sciatica, light elliptical and stationary bike work at a lower incline can help increase blood flow and loosen up the area.
  • Certain knee-injuries may tolerate and be improved by recumbent bike or light elliptical exercise at a low incline/resistance in the forward motion. Only begin these once the injury has rested and you are able to walk on it.
  • Ankle sprain/strain: Injuries of the ankle are challenging and you should avoid putting any pressure on the the area while it heals. During this time you may want to focus on upper body and abdominal strength training, try “Hand-Bikes” for cardiovascular exercise, and certain pilates-style exercises that do not hyperextend the ankle.

*If you are on crutches, these are a workout of their own! It may not be an ideal exercise situation but make the most of this total body core challenge.

Core/Back/Lower Back Injury: Muscles of the lower back, abdominals or hip-flexors/extensors are collectively called the Core. When you have an injury in this area you will need to limit your exercise range of motion and avoid high-impact dynamic workouts until a strain is stable.  You will want to avoid fast-paced high-impact moves with twisting motions such as mountain climbers and wood-choppers, and be slow and careful with exercises that hyperextend the spine and back such as deadlifts. Also, eliminate or modify complex core moves that place a lot of weight on one side at a time or require too much effort from the strained core muscles (full extension planks and side-planks).   recumbent bike guy You will want to shift your workout to exercise in which your spine is relatively stable including recumbent bike, strength training machine circuits, and abdominal crunches where back is pressed flat to the floor. The good news is you can still get a great workout this way. You will want to fight the urge to do your HIIT and multi-joint moves and instead return to basics, make extra time for exercise of this nature. HIIT gets more done in less time, so you will need to set aside 45-95 minutes of exercise/day to get your cardio and strength training to a similar level.

Hello World! Is this thing on?

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Hello!  My name is Caroline Fox, I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Health Coach, Nutritionist, Health and Fitness enthusiast and Weight-Loss success story.  My company, Foxy Fitness and Wellness LLC, provides in-home and outdoor personal and small group training, nutrition and diet counseling, and healthy lifestyle planning.  The path to becoming an independent fitness and wellness professional has come with many challenges, but I have found a career that fulfills me personally and professionally by helping others get on the track to Weight-Loss, better health and more happiness!  I have experienced the struggles and the pay-off’s of long-term weight-loss first-hand and have to work at it every day.  I am passionate about fitness and health and have learned alot from making over my own body and diet as well in my professional and academic pursuits in the field.

I love to relax and enjoy life, which for me includes good food and wine.  I have learned how to create a balance between the diet and exercise necessary for weight-loss maintenance and just living my life!  Being healthy and active, traveling, meeting new people, laughing, and working through tough times are all things I appreciate and love in life!

I incorporate self-help, philosophy, and mind-body relaxation exercises into my fitness and wellness training technique, aiming to be what I refer to as Philisophically FitPhilisophical Fitness is to connect and invigorate your mind and body through exercise, mindful healthy eating, and looking on the bright-side.  Yes, life can be tough, but investing in your health and well-being through fitness and a healthy diet makes it better…

“The reward of leading a healthy lifestyle is the ability to live life to the fullest!”

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Cheers,

Caroline Fox

Life after Weight-Loss: 3 Myths Debunked

Post Weight-Loss reality check and how to deal….

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You’ve won the first battle, you lost the weight, congratulations!  But now, you face the long-term challenge of keeping it off…  While so worth it, maintaining your weight-loss is a challenge in its own.  Without the proper knowledge and tools to lead a healthy lifestyle in the long-term, many people regain weight because they simply aren’t prepared. While the constant diligence of watching what you eat and frequent exercise may seem like a burden, these challenges actually set you up for long-term health and well-being.  Your weight-loss journey just may put you ahead of curve! 

To get you prepared for long-term WL maintenance, let’s debunk some Nutrition, Fitness, and Well-Being weight-loss myths which may lead people astray:

Now that I’ve lost weight:

1) I can stop dieting and eat like I did before:

Not a good idea!  Not only will you likely put the weight back on, you do not want to revert to prior unhealthy eating habits and must be aware of the following….

Portion size:  When you drop a significant number pounds, you have a new weight, size and body composition.  All these are factored into the approximate amount of calories one needs to consume to maintain their current weight, or caloric needs.   With a new smaller size and lesser weight, in turn you need less calories to sustain yourself and your weight, and ultimately to keep the weight off.  Perhaps the most common way people regain weight is to stop monitoring their portion sizes and amount consumed, overall they are being less mindful of their eating habits.  Mindless and empty calories can cause weight regain before you even realize you have been over-eating!  To stay on top of how many calories you consume and prevent weight regain, schedule week-long food-journaling (written or app-based) every 1-2 months.  To understand caloric needs for weight-loss or maintenance based on your weight and activity-level see BMR calculation below (Basal Metabolic Rate).

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Calorie Source:  The kinds of foods you ate when you were heavier contributed to your overweight and obesity.  Going back to consuming empty calories from excess sugars and carbs will lead you right back where you started, overweight.  Nutrient-poor snack foods like cookies and chips, sweetened beverages, and large portions of fatty, carb-heavy dishes like pastas and french fries will ensure the weight goes right back on.  It is important to learn good nutrition habits during your weight-loss, habits like starving yourself or eating small amounts of unhealthy food will ultimately lead to weight relapse and poor health.  Adopting a diet that aims at overall health, sustained energy, and muscle-tone is at the heart of successful WL maintenance.  A diet to support these goals is rich in essential nutrients, fiber, and protein including lots of vegetables, fresh fruits, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and heart-healthy fat sources.  Eat like this 80-90% of the time and you will be free 10-20% of the time to splurge without remorse!

2)  I do not have to exercise as much:

The American College of Sports Medicine reports that people maintaining weight-loss may need 60-90 minutes of exercise/day to maintain weight-loss.  Depending on how active you were prior to and during your weight-loss this may seem like alot.  To keep the weight off, you need to maintain your new Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and balance the calories you take in with calories you expend.  If you felt deprived of food during weight-loss and you would like to eat more during maintenance, you will have to kick up the duration and/or intensity of exercise.

An important factor in maintenance has to do with what type of exercise you perform.  We often default to cardiovascular exercise, thinking that
cardio v. strengththe longer duration and calories burned is the most important thing.  But countless studies are highlighting the importance of exercise intensity (think HIIT) vs. duration, and the importance of building lean-muscle mass vs. just burning calories. Namely, it has been found that strength training, vs. cardiovascular exercise plays a longer-term role in fat-loss and weight-loss maintenance. 

To make sense of it, understand that people with greater lean muscle mass have a higher resting metabolic rate, i.e. you burn more calories at rest.  By building more muscle, you can effectively speed up your metabolism, which may allow you to exercise less overall as well as help you burn calories more efficiently on a daily basis!

3)  When I lose weight my body will be perfect and I will be happy:

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