Let's start year 2013 off by really seeing the amount of food that is going into your body.  We have already covered the Food Pyramid, so we know what foods we need to be eating.  We have already covered our Basal Metabolic Rate, so we know how many calories we need to be consuming in order to reach or maintain our fitness goals.   I strongly believe that more knowledge equals more power.  The more knowledge you have about something, in this case, the portion sizes of the foods we eat, the more likely you are to at least attempt to make additional positive changes in your diet.  I am first going to ask you to go out and purchase a food scale.  It does not have to be expensive.  Something small is fine since we are going to be weighing small portions of food.  RIGHT???  Now, I know that you do not have the time or desire to weigh everything you eat this year.  Do not worry.  This list of "Picture Perfect" portion sizes will assist you in your quest for food knowledge.  Plus, after you weigh some of these foods a few times, you will start gaining a mental image (Picture) of the food you consume , and will slowly stop even having to utilize that scale until a new food crosses your path.  Have A Wonderful and Healthy New Year. 
  1. Pasta = 1/2 cup cooked – Picture the size of a Tennis Ball
  2. Oatmeal = 1/2 cup cooked
  3. Cooked Lean Hamburger = 2 ounces
  4. Popcorn = 3 cups popped
  5. 1 Whole Bagel = 2 grain servings
  6. Muffin = 2 ounces - The next time you go into Starbucks and get a coffee and muffin, ask exactly how many ounces that muffin is...Not 2 ounces I bet you.
  7. Whole Wheat Bread = 1 slice which equals the size of an index card - French Bread equals 2 ounces - Picture about the size of a bar of soap
  8. Ice Cream = 1/2 cup – Picture the size of a Tennis Ball
  9. Chicken - 3 ounces – Picture the size of a deck of Playing Cards
  10. Medium Baked Potato = Picture the size of your Computer Mouse
  11. Peanut Butter = 2 tablespoons – Picture the size of a Golf Ball
  12. Margarine - 1 teaspoon – Picture the size of the tip of your thumb
  13. 1 Pancake or Waffle = 4 ounces – Picture the size of a CD
  14. Yogurt = 8 ounces
  15. Beans = 1 cup cooked
  16. Dry Cereal = 1 cup
  17. Milk = 8 ounces - After age 5, you should be switching your milk preference from Whole Milk to Skim Milk...If too much at one time, try a Low-Fat Milk or mix 4 ounces of Whole Milk with 4 ounces of Skim Milk until your taste hopefully changes.
  18. A serving of fresh, canned, or frozen chopped fruit = 1/2 cup - The same as a billiard ball
  19. A serving of dried fruit like raisins, apricots or cranberries = 1/4 cup - The same as an egg
  20. One piece of whole fruit (Small Apple or Medium Orange), a side salad, or a serving of soup = 1 cup - The same as a woman’s fist
  21. A serving of raw vegetables for example leafy greens or raw carrots = 1 cup - The same as a woman’s fist – For two cups of spinach, picture 2 baseballs and only 25 calories.
  22. A serving of cooked vegetables = 1/2 cup - The same as a billiard ball
  23. A serving of fruit or vegetable juice = 150mls.
  24. Almonds = 1 ounce - 25 Almonds
  25. Cashews = 1 ounce - 13 Cashews
  26. Walnuts = 1 ounce - 9 Walnuts
  27. Shrimp = 3 ounces - 7 Medium Shrimp
  28. Deli Meat = 3 ounces - 3 Slices
  29. Eggs are naturally portion controlled =  A serving is 2 eggs
  30. A serving of cheese = 1 ounce – Picture the same as a pair of dice
  31. Cottage Cheese = 1/2 cup 
  32. A serving of butter, margarine, oil, full fat dressing, or thick cream = 1 teaspoon – Picture the size of 1 dice, not 2
  33. A serving of reduced fat salad dressing or sour cream = 2 teaspoons – So picture 2 dice – You will still want to dip your fork into your dressing with each bite of salad instead of pouring all the dressing onto the salad.
  34. 1 small potato = Picture the size of a baseball – What is the size of a restaurant’s baked potato??? Probably 3-4 baseballs – Load it with butter, sour cream, and cheese, that is where this energy producing food has gotten its bad name.  Dip each bite into some ketchup or even barbeque sauce for added flavor when you are out.
  35. Serving of grilled fish = 3 ounces – Picture again the size of a deck of playing cards.
This list gives portion information for your basic foods and food groups, but, at the end of the day, a  portion is actually the amount of food you choose to eat.  You can continue your portion control way of eating, through observing the nutrition label on each food item and attempting to limit yourself to only one serving of that food.  Studies have shown that we will eat more when using bigger serving dishes.  Use smaller, salad-size plates (and other smaller serving dishes) rather than large dinner plates.  You will likely eat less.  For example:  Pretzel, besides the salt content is a low-fat snack, but it is way too easy to consume large portion sizes of them.  Simply pour some pretzels into a small bowl and limit your eating to just that one bowl.  A little helpful hint would be to also purchase the large thin pretzels.  You are not able to get as many into that bowl, but again, the bowl is all you will need for that snack. 

Besides not eating directly from the package, you should also consume enough water throughout the day to continuously assist in feeling satisfied.  Especially first thing in the morning to rev up your metabolism, and right before each meal, drink at least an 8 ounce glass of cold water. 

As your mother always told you at dinner time, “Slow down and chew your food,” actually was something that we really should have listened too.  Do you realize that as we get older, we actually see the sense in what our parents told us?  It turns out that your mother was not just being a “NAG.”  Bad word, “NAG.”  Good thing my child does not feel that way (lolo).  Eating slowly and taking the time to enjoy your food, gives your brain a chance to receive the appropriate signals from your digestive system to signal satiety.

Along with a glass or two of water before each meal, also choose a side salad, with a low-fat dressing on the side, to eat before a meal.  Add as many fibrous food items such as mixed vegetables or beans with your meal as well.  Nutrient rich foods are full of fiber and can add to a feeling of satiety quickly into your meal.  Leftovers are always a bonus.  You will not have to pack your lunch the next day.

One last little bit of help to get your possible New Years Resolution on the right track.  Try not to eat while you are engulfing yourself in some kind of entertainment.  Have you ever noticed how much of that grossly fattening movie popcorn you can eat without even realizing it?  It is easy to even have eaten half the bowl before the movie even started, while just watching the before show movie previews.  If you have to eat during these times, portion out your snack before time.  Pop your own low-fat popcorn, portion your 3 cups into a plastic bag, grab an oversize purse and a bottle of water, and WALA, you are ready for the movie.  Was I supposed to say that?  

Happy New Year and a Happy New Healthier You!!!

The Resting Heart Rate is used as a measure of a person’s physical fitness level and often used with the Recovery Heart Rate to obtain a person’s physical fitness improvements.   An average Resting Heart Rate for women is between 70 - 80 beats per minute.  Being that I have maintained a high level of fitness throughout my life and am currently training for another marathon, my Resting Heart Rate averages about 45 - 50 beats per minute.  Generally, the fitter you are, the lower your Resting Heart Rate. This is due to your heart muscle basically becoming bigger and stronger therefore able to pump more blood with each beat. An appropriate amount of Aerobic exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy Resting Pulse Rate.   A higher resting pulse than usual can be a sign of not only the lack of physical fitness in your routine, but over-training as well.  

When you are recovering from a workout, your metabolism and heart are working harder to repair your body and get it back to a homeostasis. Therefore, if in the morning you have a higher resting heart rate than usual, your body could still be in a state of repair and you should adjust your workout regimen accordingly to prevent over-training or injury.  If your workouts are effective, your resting heart rate will slowly decrease, or at least remain constant. If your Resting Heart Rate is over 100 beats per minute, you should consult with your doctor.
First of all, I recommend that you take your Resting Heart Rate first thing in the morning.  This should be taken on a morning where you can wake up peacefully, on your own, without an alarm startling you awake.  I also recommend counting the heart beats per minute for 15 seconds and then multiplying that number by 4.  Now, take your Resting Heart Rate several separate times, then from that average you can begin to monitor your rate periodically for your own physical assessment. 

Recommendations for a Healthy Resting Heart Rate:

  1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day...
  2. Attempt to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night...
  3. Cardio Is The Key - Swimming, Running, Walking, Biking, Aerobic Classes.  Anything physically active that gets your blood pumping.  For a healthy Resting Heart Rate, you should be exercising within your Target Heart Rate one for at least 30 minutes, at least 3 days every week...
  4. Reduce your stress.  This is the easy one (lololo).  Take at least 10 minutes every day to focus on yourself.  Take some time for deep-breathing exercises.  Inhaling through the nose, allow the lungs to completely fill with air before exhaling slowly through the mouth.
  5. Sometimes caffeine as well as certain medications will affect your active and inactive heart rate.  If that is a concern, consult with your doctor as to how the medication you may be taking would affect your training and your Resting Heart Rate.
  6. As always, limit alcohol intake and avoid smoking...
  7. This last one goes along with all the rest.  Maintain a healthy weight by watching what you eat and staying physically active...