Posts Tagged ‘FOOD

01
Jan
09

New Year. New You?

newyearpic

It’s the first day of 2009!  Happy New Year everybody 🙂

The festive season was lovely for me; I decided to give myself a real break.  I spent time with my family in Ireland, ate carbs and dark chocolate, drank a little red wine, didn’t workout nearly as hard or as often and slept long and late.  It has done me the world of good.  I was exhausted and needed the change of pace to recharge my batteries.  I woke up very early this am (jetlag!) after a late night of New Year celebration back in NYC with Lacey and tired as I am, I am also happy to be ready to get back into my routine.

One of the initial reasons Lacey and I decided to start Sweat City was in answer to the question we both (as a fitness professional and a model) get asked most frequently: “What is it that you do to look/feel/be the way that you are?”

Let me preface by saying that this is a personal routine that work for ME.  We all have different needs and desires and find different activities fun. 

The fact that it might not feel fun to start with is NOT an excuse however 🙂 !  Getting sweaty and out of breath might not feel fun to begin with, but I promise it CAN AND DOES become something that you get so much out of that you’re sad if you have to miss it.

So: What do I do?

I workout 5-6 days a week doing a combination of running or the elliptical machine for low impact, spin classes, and the BIG GAME (a full body cardio conditioning class courtesy of the lovely Ms Stone).  I use a weighted medicine ball. I do push-ups, and jump rope as fast as I can for 5-10 minutes or until I can’t breathe 🙂

For really fun, SUPER EFFECTIVE workouts check out https://sweatcity.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/seven-treadmill-workouts/

 https://sweatcity.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/laceys-interval-workout/

I eat (yes I really do I promise!), at least 3 times a day and often 4-5 times a day.  Check out ‘volumetrics’…

https://sweatcity.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/how-we-eat-volumetrics/

I don’t eat dessert or candy ever really, well, festive season aside 🙂 I also rarely drink alcohol, I quit smoking 5 years ago when I first decided I wanted my life back.

I go to bed early and I get up early because that is how I manage to workout so consistently; I just do it before life can get in the way and give me an excuse not to.

I actively try to ‘reframe’ events that I may not like, or that upset me during my day. For example if someone is horribly rude to me my emotional gut response is to think “It’s me, they don’t like me, there’s something wrong with me.”  This kind of thing used to be a trigger that would result in me stuffing food into my face like it was going out of fashion.  Now I reframe the event immediately in my brain. “They must be having a really hard day, I don’t think that it has anything to do with me really, it could have been anyone they were rude to. It’s because they are unhappy or frustrated in some way.”  That doesn’t make the behavior acceptable but it does mean I don’t start in on a negative downwards spiral for the rest of the day.  It used to be something I had to do consciously, but after a while it became second nature and it is one of the MOST HELPFUL life tools I have ever learnt!

I try the best I can everyday to be the best version of me that I can. When I screw up, and I definitely do, I try not to dwell on it, beat myself up and use it as an excuse to opt out of my life. I acknowledge it, if necessary I apologize (to myself or someone else) and then I try to move on. 

I try not to over eat, but I also try not to under eat, because my body is worthy of more respect than that.  I try every day to have respect for myself, my health, my emotions and for everyone out there who, whether they’re my favorite people or not, are just trying to do the best they know how in their lives too.   If they’re toxic, I don’t let them into my life anymore than is absolutely necessary.

And I’m lucky enough to have this forum, which helps me check in with myself through writing and interacting with you all.  Sweat City has proven itself to be such a rewarding experience for us both.  We want to thank you all for sharing this experience with us through 2008 and now as we begin a whole new chapter in 2009.  I hope that this New Year brings you health, happiness and prosperity 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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08
Oct
08

Reader’s Questions: Cellulite

Ok, here’s the science bit. 🙂

Cellulite is described as being visible deposits of fat that generally appear on our lower limbs, abdomen and our bottoms/butts.  The lumpy ‘orange peel’ effect that bothers us all so much is apparently caused by fat pushing its way out between the web of connective tissues in our skin. 

There are a few reasons why women get it so much more than men; the fibers/elastic collagen in men’s skin doesn’t stretch out as much so the fat doesn’t ‘pop out’ in the same way, and we women also by nature have many more fat cells on those areas of our bodies. Which FYI  are what give us out fabulous curves and the rather impressive capacity of having babies 🙂 There also seems to be a correlation between the female hormone estrogen and the appearance of cellulite, which is why stopping oral contraceptives may have proven effective for some women in reducing it’s appearance.

What can you to reduce cellulite?  The experts all make similar recommendations in terms of our diet and lifestyle.  They think that the fibers of our skin are continually cleansed by our body fluids so poor circulation and dehydration is only going to exacerbate the problem. In turn, both of these issues can be partially the result of the build up of certain toxins in our body and by a diet that doesn’t encourage regular elimination (yes…I’m delicately referring to going to the bathroom).

Therefore what is recommended is a diet that is very high in natural fiber (lots of vegetables and some fruit), and low in saturated fats and trans fats which are mainly found in animal products and in cheap, processed foods. It is also suggested that you focus on reducing the salt in your diet as that is known to cause water retention (I eliminate it completely if I have a bikini shoot coming up), and excessive water can swell the areas around those fat cells, making them look even more prominent.  Salt is a hidden ingredient in ready-made meals etc as it is an inexpensive way to add flavor for the food manufacturers.

The sluggish circulation is also thought to be a result of a build up of toxins in our body’s system which are thought to accumulate in our fat cells, making them harder and less flexible and therefore much more difficult to shift. So it is suggested that we cut out (or at the very least reduce!!!) artificial sweeteners like aspartame found in diet sodas everywhere, smoking (you knew that one already!) and all the preservatives and additives that we can not pronounce but that are found in all pre-packaged, processed foods.  In addition they suggest ‘body brushing’ which I can personally recommend as well.  I think it’s much more common in Europe (where I’m from) than in the US (where I now live and write).  It basically consists of using a large, fairly stiff bristled body brush (they can be found in health stores, in “The BodyShop” and online) and literally brushing the skin in long sweeping motions up towards your heart ie from your feet UP your legs. Brush your abdomen in circular motions.  It apparently stimulates blood and lymph flow/circulation, while also exfoliating the skin and encouraging new cell growth.  I’m not going to lie, it can feel a little peculiar and rough to begin with but I’m quite into the pleasant tingling sensation by now 🙂

Last, but certainly not least; exercise.  You can’t ‘spot reduce’ fat (that is eliminate fat from one specific area of the body), nor can you spot reduce cellulite through exercise. BUT exercising regularly does reduce our overall body fat, reducing cellulite by proxy, it does develop stronger leaner muscles that can support our skin’s tissues more effectively which reduces cellulite’s appearance under the skin and it definitely enlivens our circulatory system, encouraging blood flow and sweat to help healthfully and naturally eliminate those pesky toxins from our body and our fat cells.  It’s a must!

So do I have cellulite? Maybe 🙂

Listen; in all honesty it is incredibly rare to see a woman who has absolutely no cellulite on her body, I think I’ve counted maybe three in my life and one was Gisele Bundchen, and one was Naomi Campbell, and they both have other things about themselves that are not their favorite. I can’t promise you that it’ll disappear from your body completely ever.  I CAN say that I had more cellulite years ago when my diet consisted of diet coke, cigarettes and other toxic substances that I’ve now eliminated, than I have now, even though I was thinner and younger then.  I CAN say that empowering myself through choosing to cherish the body that I have through healthful food and exercise has made me view my body differently, to be proud of what it can do, of how hard it works and of the parts of my body that I DO like.

And I can say that as women I think we overestimate how much others notice our cellulite.  From what I see, hear and have experienced; if a man or woman gets to see us naked… well they’re usually pretty damn psyched that they get to see us naked! And woman to woman: well I think that most of us are usually more concerned as to whether someone is noticing our OWN perceived flaws than whether we can spot it on another individual.

Here at SweatCity! our entire philosophy is that we work hard to be the best versions of ourselves. Perfection doesn’t come into it; to pursue perfection is set ourselves up for a sense of failure that we don’t deserve and that doesn’t serve us.  A strong, healthy, happy body is beautiful by definition.  So strut those legs, and appreciate the curve of your stomach, maybe treat yourself to a massage (hey it’s good for lymphatic drainage :)), know that there’s nothing candlelight and a little fake tan can’t fix and enjoy your body. It works really hard for you every day.

 

 

 

17
Sep
08

Reader’s Questions; Protein Shakes?

If you read this blog regularly hopefully you’ve been able to see just how much we love readers participation through feedback and questions.  So here are my thoughts on one of the subjects that a few of you have asked about recently 🙂

How do we feel about the ‘necessity’ of a post-workout protein drink?

Do we drink protein drinks after a workout?  The short answer is no. Not before during or after in fact. I am of the firm belief that we should try to get as much of our nutrition from REAL FOOD as is possible.  That is food naturally present in nature.  Does it grow in the soil, hang from a tree, or swim in the sea? Then I’m all for eating it! Is it synthetic? Has it got ingredients that I can’t spell or pronounce?  Then I avoid it as much as possible.  Holistically all the evidence points to the body being able to best metabolize foods with all their complex components intact.  An isolated, synthetic protein powder does not fit that description. 

Efficient metabolism means less toxins accumulating in the body and the energy contained in food being used appropriately.  Which means less fat on my body. That’s what I’m talking about folks….I don’t know about you!  There is also so much more satisfaction gained from sitting and eating a real meal, your brain recognizes that it is happening and so you are much more likely to still feel satisfied and full an hour later. 

Speaking as someone who likes and needs to be slender I see protein drinks as unnecessary calories that just don’t give me enough bang for my buck.   They’re loaded with calories, nutritionally unbalanced (where are my greens, essential fats and fiber?) and quite simply don’t fill me up for very long.  This last factor is key because unless you’re specifically looking to GAIN weight these drinks should be seen as a meal REPLACEMENT not as a snack.  A snack should be 150-200 calories.  These things rarely come in under 500 and can go as high as 1000. Yep…. That’s in just one cup. No thank you. I don’t drink Frappacino’s in Starbucks ether, because honestly I don’t see the two products as that different!

I also hear protein drinks being touted as a post-workout ‘recovery’ tool.  Uuuumm, I hate to break it to you but unless you’re training for an Ultra-Marathon (and even then you’d need extra carbs NOT protein) your body doesn’t need any shakes to recover. Your body WANTS to move, it’s DESIGNED to move.  Working it out was probably the best thing you’ve done for it in a while. It doesn’t need a ‘food bandage’ to make its exercise boo-boo better! You’re tired? Good! You’ll sleep well tonight then 🙂

Lastly, the only real support of a post-workout protein shake is if you’re looking to gain muscle. BUT even then, I’m talking if you want to be the next Mr or Ms Universe.  And if that’s the case you’re definitely living on skinned chicken breast, protein shakes and egg whites, working out for 8 hours a day and probably reading a different kind of a blog :).  Lacey is pure lean, cut muscle and she gets all the protein she needs from REAL food.  Because if you want those beautiful muscles to show then they just CAN’T be buried under a layer of fat…. Which is what happens if you consume too many calories….. And if you suck down a shake straight after your workout and then head home to dinner you’re talking calorie overload.  It’s sad but true.

If you’re ravenous and need a SNACK post-workout then that’s definitely normal and can be appropriate.  What do I eat?  A small bag of RAW almonds, a couple of hard-boiled eggs, a soy yoghurt with an apple. You get the picture 🙂

I hope that answers the questions we’ve received concerning this.  Just so you know we’re thinking of creating a regular blog spot to a Reader’s Question segment. What do you think about that?  Is that something you think you’d like to see. We want to please all you wonderful people!! 🙂

Next one to be answered will be on whether ALCOHOL can have it’s place in a healthy and fit life?

 

  

17
Aug
08

How We Eat; VOLUMETRICS

If you’ve read some of my previous blogs you’ll know that I had a horrible relationship with food for a very long time.  I grew up in a family who are not particularly slim, with full plates at breakfast, lunch and dinner….and with that whole “clear your plate” mentality as well. So when I started to grow up, became a model and suddenly got very body conscious, my body and brain simply rebelled against the small piece of protein and tiny green salad that I saw the other models eating.  I couldn’t adjust.  It just wasn’t ENOUGH FOOD for me and eventually I would lose it and binge like crazy, setting up a horrible cycle of starvation, binge and purge. 

What helped me change?

For the last four years I have been eating in the style nicknamed VOLUMETRICS, and it has truly helped me change my understanding of eating.  I like to eat a lot of food, I don’t want to feel stuffed after a meal but I do need to feel satisfied and full.  What I do is to chose foods partly based on the VOLUME they have on the plate and therefore in my body.

For example….if I’m craving something sweet I now know that for the same amount of calories that are in your average candy bar (that is eaten and gone in a flash) I can eat a HUGE bowl of  berries, or diced up apples and pears with low fat yoghurt (dairy or soy).  The enjoyment lasts a lot longer, it takes up way more space in my stomach so I don’t crave more food immediately and there is protein in the yoghurt, which helps me to feel satiated. It is also HIGHLY nutritious.  There’s no energy crash, there’s not the yucky sense of guilt that I get if I eat candy and my sweet tooth is satisfied. 

Soup is a big part of my food life too.  Not really ever AS the meal but definitely as a side.  I don’t really go near the cream-laden ones but I love Miso soup, the Thai-style Tom Yum soup, or just a great tomato based Garden Vegetable.  They’re all delicious but more than that they give my body that warm and cozy feeling that I want when I’m tired and hungry.  It means that when I move on to the next part of my meal I’m a lot less likely to go crazy and overeat.  Sometimes I’m industrious and make my own, or get delivery. Tinned also works, especially if I’ve been traveling a lot and there’s nothing in the fridge, but I try and get the low-sodium kinds, (less salt = less bloating, and is more heart healthy in general).

I really try and incorporate as many veggies into each meal as possible.  They’re super HIGH in nutrients, super LOW in calories and have been shown to have just about every antioxidant, cancer fighting compound there is to have.  They’re also very high in fiber which most of us apparently don’t get nearly enough of.  Fiber fills us up, and also helps the body cleanse itself….meaning less bloating (which means I feel a whole lot better!). So if I’m making rice, I mix in chopped peppers, zucchini, carrots, squash, peas, onions, asparagus, broccoli….whatever I like!  The dish is colorful and has great crunchy textures, a double whammy of the good stuff and all the vegetables I mentioned are almost calorie free.  You don’t even notice that you’re eating less rice because you get full from all the extra volume the vegetables have added in there.  I use this trick with almost all my carbs, and even when I’m making omelets or a sauce for my protein. 

If we’re ordering take-out (hey….it’s NYC…take-out’s BIG! :))  then I get my entrée with either a large mixed salad or steamed vegetables and I take out half of the carbs from my entrée and literally mix in the veg.  If I’ve ordered a Thai stir-fry (kind of a popular, healthy option for me) and I have a job coming up…or a party or I want to feel good on the beach even…..then I’ll use the salad as a base for the stir-fry instead of rice.  Lacey does this too now and says she doesn’t even really realize the rice isn’t there anymore.  

I mix in chopped fruit and some raw almonds into my oatmeal in the am too…VOLUMETRICS has really changed my way of thinking about eating healthily from deprivation to a nutrient rich feast.  The beauty of it is that it doesn’t require much of a special diet-plan or food substitutes I’ve never heard of.  It really is just a few tricks that go such a long way, but it’s actually tricking my body into eating more of what it needs and less of the things I know I have a tendency to overeat on.  It’s helped me keep my body healthier and happier than ever before, with enough energy to workout, to work, study and generally live my life without obsessing about food every second.  And that has been a wonderful gift for me.

 

 

 

30
Jul
08

CARBS; How WE eat them.

Yes, we eat them.  Honestly anyone that works out really hard consistently (and we do!)  NEEDS to eat them, you’re not going to get the most efficient work out if your body is regularly carb depleted. 

What kind of carbs?  Whole-grains breads…  Not just ‘brown’ or ‘wheat’ because if you check out a lot of those labels very often, sadly, its cheap white bread with caramel food coloring in it.  No joke….  Its a quick and easy way for the food company to up the price of the product because it’s ‘healthy’.  With bread -The grainier the better.  We love the bread to be almost nutty in texture and flavor.  We eat it with olive oil, never butter, we limit it to a max of two slices and we only ever eat it in the early part of the day.  Yes, that means we NEVER get the breadbasket when we eat out for dinner.  WAAAAYY too easy to consume ALL your calories before your meal even arrives.  You’re tired, you’re cranky…  It’s going to happen!

Why do we only eat it early?  Well we tend to try and ‘front-load’ our carb intake each day, consuming most, if not all of it at breakfast or lunch, giving our bodies the maximum amount of time and opportunity to use it as the fuel for our activities as it’s designed for.  You burn it off during the day when you most NEED that energy and there’s no opportunity for it to be stored as fat on those “problem” areas that everyone on the planet has in some form or another.

For that reason we also love oatmeal around breakfast time….  We tend to eat it with soymilk (keep it organic and sugar free, but the vanilla flavor is yummy with this too) and a good size serving of berries.  It’s so goooooddd… It feels like a treat but you’ve got complex carbs, protein (in the soymilk), and some antioxidant butt kicking fruit that keeps you full of energy until late morning/lunch.  Granola can be good, just be aware that some are VERY sugar laden!! Occasionally we’ll buy the single serve packets of ‘Bear Naked’ and have it with greek yogurt and fruit.  SO delicious..  Which is why single serve ONLY, no temptation to revisit the large granola bag once (or twice or….!). 

We do eat rice on occassion, brown or wild wherever possible.  This is also a major PORTION CONTROL issue, which is where almost everyone falls into the carb trap.  It’s not that they’re bad…  We just eat too much of them.  So if we need a little at dinner Lacey and I will split a portion, or if we’re doing Japanese (so good to eat for the waistline) we’ll ask for the roll to be wrapped with brown rice.  But we’ll focus on the sashimi, order Naruto rolls (where they wrap it in cucumber not rice), lots of salads and veggies – GO the veggie route as much as possible in every meal.  It’s amazing how veggies can really be used as a base for your sauces and proteins as a pasta/rice substitute…  Or go half and half; mix half your normal portion of pasta up with some greens, thin sliced peppers and zucchini or squash.  Try it!

If you like to cook or have a great health/vegetarian restaurant near you try Quinoa instead of rice.  It’s an ancient grain that very few people have allergies/sensitivities to because its not overused in today’s diets. Its nutty and flavorful and extremely nutritious. It’s cooked similarly to rice and definitely worth a try!!     

That’s that.  Next nutritional post will be on VOLUMETRICS….the overall eating style that works best for us!

25
Jul
08

CARBS; the ones we DON’T eat!

So….do we eat them?  Well yes, sometimes and some types. BUT we avoid the refined, processed kinds of carbs……cookies and cakes and all the obvious no no’s; but also ANYTHING made with white flour.

Bagels are basically donuts minus the sugar glaze in terms of what they do to your waistline, they might be fat free but they’re 3X the size they were a generation ago and have an entire meals worth of calories before you’re even tempted by the cream cheese etc.  While we’re on breakfast carbs…muffins are cupcakes by a different name.  We don’t eat them.  Ever. Nope, not even the bran and raisin healthy looking types. Even they are full of calories in the form of sugar and refined sugar is not the friend of a healthy, lean, toned physique.

White flour is only one minute level above sugar…once you’ve eaten it the body can break it down almost immediately…you get an energy rush and then it’s gone, leaving you tired, cranky and HUNGRY all over again.  It sets up a cycle of craving and the more you eat the more you want, and the more calories you end up consuming overall.  So we just don’t go there.  It might hurt initially (in-fact it did…..for us both!!) but truthfully, the less you eat them and the more effort you make to find interesting alternatives the less you crave it.

We don’t eat pasta or noodles almost ever, yes you can eat the whole-wheat kinds, and they’re definitely the vastly preferable option, but portion control is a HUGE issue with this kind of food.  Just as a guideline; a restaurant serving of pasta is almost always at least DOUBLE the serving size quoted on the calorie listings on the back of a packet of dried pasta.  That’s before you factor in the sauce it’s covered in!  So if you have to have it, it helps to get real disciplined about splitting an order and eating it with a large mixed salad, or vegetables.  We don’t really do white potatoes ever…but sweet potatoes are full of valuable nutrients and we’ll sometimes have them baked or slices grilled with a little olive oil brushed on top as a treat.

We know that not everyone WANTS to eat this way, or isn’t interested in being quite so disciplined.  All we can honestly share is what we’ve learnt works for us and the bodies that we like to have, while being happy, healthy and full of energy each day!

 

Next time I’ll talk about the CARBS we DO eat!  They exist….I promise.

Also appearing soon…..FATS…they are NOT the enemy in our food plans at all but an important part of a healthy satisfying approach to food. 

And our overall approach to food and eating style…..VOLUMETRICS.! 




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