Have you ever felt lethargic for most of the day after a vigorous workout, asking yourself, “Why exactly is it that I workout?”  Over the years the most common question asked to me once someone has started to workout consistently with me is, "What should I eat after my workout?"  At about this time in their program, they have started to really add some muscle to their bodies and therefore are seeing the need now more than ever for proper nutrients to sustain this much needed growth. Rather your body is telling you that you are hungry and needing to eat for a better reason than boredom, or maybe after you workout the last thing you want to do is eat, it is extremely important to give your body the right nutrients, in the right amount, at the right time.
I have always recommended whole foods over supplements.  I have also always told my clients that they are to consume a small meal consisting of proteins, carbohydrates and fats within 30 minutes to an hour after their workout:  The carbohydrate intake will help to replenish the glucose burned out of your muscles during vigorous exercise.  By supplying your body with some protein after your workout, you are providing your muscles with amino acids that are necessary for assistance in muscle repair. In a end, the insulin from the carbohydrates helps to drive the protein to the muscles.  Where does fat fit into this?  It really does not, except that there should be a small amount of fat in each of the small meals you consume for overall satiety. Remember that I have already talked about how eating 5-6 small meals a day instead of 2-3 large meals is much easier on the metabolism if your goal is to lose weight.  That concept still applies here as you stock up your refrigerator and pantry with these handy After Your Workout Mini Meals…Not so hungry after your workout choose a smaller portion of the macro nutrients.  Starving after your workout, go for a bit (not a lot, but a bit) more.  Read the labels on these items and discover how much a portion size is.  Remember though, the key is to really listen to your body.  I believe in the long run, that is the overall success to not over eat.
  • Whole Wheat Thin Bread w/Turkey Sandwich
  • Low-Fat Greek Yogurt w/Grape Nuts
  • ¼ Cup of Connie’s Energy Mix and Low Calorie Gatorade 
  • Oatmeal with Peanut Butter and Blueberries
  • ½ Cantaloupe with Low Fat Cottage Cheese
  • Egg White Omelet w/Toast
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes w/Scrambled Egg Whites
  • Whole Wheat Rice Cake w/Peanut Butter
  • Hummus and Carrots
  • Celery Sticks w/Peanut Butter
  • Whole Wheat English Muffin w/Low-Fat Veggie Cream Cheese – Add a couple slices of Rotisserie Chicken for extra protein
  • Banana and Almonds
  • Cherries and Sugar Free Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Whole Wheat Crackers w/Cheese
  • Slice of Whole Wheat Bread with a Hard Boiled Egg – Add some I Can’t believe Its Not Butter spray for taste – w/Strawberries sprinkled with Cinnamon
  • Whole Wheat Tortilla Shell w/Tuna mixed with Fat-Free Mayonnaise and a touch of mustard w/Orange Slices sprinkled w/Cinnamon
  • Whole Wheat Rice Cake topped with hummus and cucumber slices
  • Minestrone Soup w/Orange Juice
  • No-Sugar Applesauce topped with Almond Slices
  • Apple w/Low-Fat String Cheese
  • Small Sweet Potato w/Almond Butter sprinkled w/Cinnamon
    ***Because Almonds contain a higher level of fat content does not make this protein additive “Bad for You.”  The fat in Almond Nut Butter is unsaturated, which is heart healthy***
  • Turkey Jerky w/Pear Slices
  • ½ Whole Wheat Bagel topped with marinara sauce, low-fat melted cheese, and sliced Turkey Pepperoni Slices
  • Tuna and Cottage Cheese w/Pretzels
  • Something Sweet - Low-Fat Graham Crackers w/Hazelnut Spread and sliced Bananas
  • Low-Fat Ham Slices wrapped around Low-Fat Cheese slices w/Pineapple Chunks
  • Kale Smoothie – In a blender, puree 1 medium banana, 1 cup chopped Kale, and I cup Sugar Free Almond Milk – Add a dash of cinnamon
  • Minty Pea With Pretzel Chips – Mash ½ cup frozen peas with 1 tablespoon fresh mint and 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice w/15 pretzel chips (Real Simple - Charlyne Mattox)
  • 2 Tomato Halves topped w/2 Tablespoons of Goat Cheese Spread, sprinkled w/Fresh Herbs
  • Baked Sweet Potato Fries with a Dip (Real Simple Charlayne Mattox) – Cook 14 frozen sweet potato fries: Mix together 2 tablespoons plain lo-fat Greek Yogurt w/1/2 teaspoon Chipotles in Adobo Sauce for dipping
  • Water – Water – Water – Water w/Every Meal or Snack

I almost forgot the most important part of your after workout recovery especially for my vigorous cardiovascular crazed clients (Love You Guys By The Way). Start with weighing yourself before your workout and again afterwards.  Drink 1 ounce of water for every 1 ounce of body weight lost during your workout.  One you are consistently drinking enough water before and during your workouts, knowing how much water is needed for adequate replacement should not be a problem, and you should not even have to worry about the tedious "Weighing In" part.

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!!!

You remember the Food Guide Pyramid that we were all taught in school by the end of 6th grade...The Food Guide Pyramid is an outline of what to eat each day based on the Dietary Guidelines...Use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly...2-3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese...3-5 servings of vegetables...2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts...2-4 servings of fruit...6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta...Although the actual serving sizes are not large amount, eating all of the appropriate foods every day can lead to an increase in calories that we are attempting to avoid in order to lose or maintain weight...Think of the Food Pyramid as a guide for eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need and at the same time the right amount of calories to maintain healthy weight...
Let’s take a moment to calculate the amount of calories our bodies need in order to lose extra body fat, or to just maintain our current weight…First, multiply your body weight in pounds by 4.35 then add that number to 655…Second, multiply your height in inches by 4.7 and add on that number…Third, multiply your age in years by 4.7 and then reduce that number from your total…Your overall calculations should look something like this…655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR…Remember that this number will increase or decrease depending on your activity level and body weight goals…It takes 3500 calories burned to lose 1 pound of pesky body fat…So, you would need to reduce your BMR by 500 calories a day to burn 1 pound of body fat a week…SAFELY…
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories you'd burn while just sitting on the couch eating Bon Bons. (Old joke. lolo) Your Basal Metabolic Rate decreases as you age as well as decreases every time you deprive yourself of food in hopes of losing weight. On a more positive scale (excuse the pun), a regular routine of cardiovascular exercise and weight training, can increase your BMR. The more muscle weight a person has, the more calories that person burns while at rest.  So remember, this equation will be very accurate in all but the very muscular and the very fat. Your Basal Metabolic Rate is a basic organ function, so is not something you can just increase. To increase you BMR you simply need to exercise more.
When I give each of my clients an eating plan that will help them achieve their own personal weight goals, I do attempt to get in all of the Food Guide Pyramids recommendations...But, sometimes it is not so easy when a client is at 1500 calories or less a day...Therefore, it is essential that you take a high quality multi-vitamin and any other nutrient based vitamins and minerals that a doctor or nutritionist may require...
Although the actual serving sizes are not large amount, eating all of the appropriate foods every day can lead to an increase in calories that we are attempting to avoid in order to lose or maintain weight...Think of the Food Pyramid The Pyramid calls for eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need and at the same time the right amount of calories to maintain healthy weight...If you are at a caloric deficit to reach your personal weight goals, you will also need to make the most out of every calorie you put in your body...Here are a few ideas that you can take with you when designing your own meals or when you are preparing one of the meals that I have recommended for you...
Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta
Include several servings of whole grain foods (breads, rice, cereals, etc...) daily for their good taste and their health benefits. If your calorie needs are low, have only 6 servings of a sensible size daily, such as,  whole wheat bread, whole grain ready-to-eat cereal, low-fat whole wheat crackers, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, whole barley in soup, and Tabouli salad...Be sure to prepare or choose grain products with little added saturated fat and a low amount of added sugars... Also, check the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts Label...
Milk, yogurt, and cheese
Dairy foods can be very high in fat, so reach for fat-free, low-fat, part-skim, or reduced-fat cheeses, ice cream, frozen yogurt, ice milk, and fluid milk products...Alternate soy based dairy products, such as soy milk, are a great option that provide additional protein for the body...Remember that skim milk provides just as much calcium as whole milk provides...It may take some time to adjust to the low-fat or fat-free version of dairy...Try to half and half your dairy (1/2 part whole milk, mixed with 1/2 part skim milk) to slowly adjust those stubborn taste buds...
Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts
3 ounces of chicken is considered a meat source serving..3 ounces is about the length and width of a deck of playing cards...2 1/2-ounce soy burger or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean meat...1/2 cup of cooked dry beans or 1/2 cup of tofu counts as 1 ounce of lean meat...2 tablespoons of a all-natural, low-fat peanut butter, or 1/3 cup of nuts counts as 1 lean meat serving...Opt for egg whites instead of using the entire egg...Meat is the main source of protein in most of our diets...The amount of protein needed will vary depending on how active you are; the more active you are, the more protein you need...
Vegetables and Fruits
Orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin...Dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, turnip greens...Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C along with citrus fruits and juices, kiwi fruit, strawberries, cantaloupe...Green Peas are a great source of potassium...Broccoli and green peppers are a great source of much needed iron...1 small apple is full of fiber...If you have to buy canned fruits or vegetables be sure that they are low in sodium, and that the fruit is not kept in a syrup but its natural juices and added water...
Fats, oils, and sweets
Olive oil is my choice of oil but used extremely sparingly...Do not deny your sweet tooth cravings all together...A miniature candy bar, when needed, will not hurt your diet...Now, if 1 leads to many others, then you will have to wait on even the smallest sweet snack until you have the ability to portion control...

If you can make it to one of my Indoor Cycling classes, you will most likely hear me say at least one time, “If you wait until you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.” This fact also stands true when it comes to eating.  If you let yourself get too hungry, your metabolism makes adjustments to fit your starvation, therefore slowing down.  When you allow yourself to eat right again, the metabolism cannot just immediately speed up to keep up with the change in your eating So, it is much harder to lose weight. One thing that has remained a constant in the “Food Facts” world has always been that breakfast is essential. Eating a meal of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats within an hour or so of rising can rev up your metabolism and give you fuel for an active day As soon as you notice your body's hunger signals, make sure you eat within an hour. Irregular eating patterns and skipped meals can confuse your body and mess up your metabolism. Plus, if you wait until you’re feeling ravenous, you may be more likely to overeat. ? But what about the meals after breakfast?
I believe that all the 5 to 6 “small” meals that you should be eating throughout your day are also essential.  Keeping the body fed with a combination of the 3 macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, Healthy Fat,) you can keep the metabolism going strong enough to promote weight loss, improve energy levels, help stabilize blood sugar, and preserve lean muscle mass.  Think of it as keeping the fire going throughout a cold winter’s day, by constantly adding wood to the fire. As long as you continue to add wood, the fire will continue to grow stronger.
If eating that often begins to cause you stress, remember to start out slow.  What is super important, especially when attempting to lose a significant amount of body fat, is that you decrease your portion sizes and therefore decrease your total caloric intake each 24 hour period. Watch the amount of food you are consuming during each of these “small” meals, just as close as you would have for 3 basic larger meals.  I like to think of 5 to 6 meals a day, as basically eating 5 to 6 healthy, well-balanced “snacks” a day.
 Many people who follow a reduced-calorie weight loss plan struggle with hunger. Eating more frequently throughout the day can help with feelings of fullness and satiety, so you're more likely to stick with your plan  Always remember when counting calories, that it is equally important to make sure your body receives all the nutrients it needs for proper maintenance. Since this is extremely hard when reducing calories for fat loss, you should be supplementing with a doctor recommended multi-vitamin. If you need 90 grams of protein every day, for example, you would need to make sure that at least  1 grams of protein per small meal.
This is what a *sample day of mini meals might look like, based on a 1,800-calorie diet.
7:30 am - 1/2 cup unsweetened juice; 1 slice whole wheat toast with 2 tsp. margarine and spreadable fruit; 1 hardboiled egg (Nutrition Total: 320 calories; 44g carbs; 10g protein; 12g fat)
10 am - 2 oz. of natural cheese thinly sliced on 4 saltine crackers; 1 piece of fresh fruit; water/tea (Nutrition Total: 325 calories; 59g carbs; 15g protein, 19g fat)
12:30 pm - 2 oz. of turkey breast on whole wheat bagel with lettuce leaf and 2 slices of fresh tomato with 1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard; 1 medium banana; 1/2 cup of 1% milk or soy milk (Nutrition Total: 405 calories; 76g carbs; 18g protein; 3g fat)
3 pm - 1/2 cup of sugar free pudding; 4 vanilla wafers; 1/2 cup of 1% milk or soy milk (Nutrition Total: 211 calories; 30g carbs; 7g protein; 7g fat)
6 pm - 2 oz. of falafel with whole wheat pita halves; 1/2 cup of broccoli; water/tea (Nutrition Total: 386 calories; 60g carbs; 16g protein; 12g fat)
8 pm - 1 oz. almonds; 1/2 cup of unsweetened juice (Nutrition Total: 222 calories; 20g carbs; 6g protein; 14g fat)
(Sample Meal by Tanya Jolliffe)