We’ve all heard it, “The only way I lose weight is when I run.” Although it’s true that running is a very effective way to lose weight, there are some golden rules to follow for those using running as a weight loss tool. While these rules are directed primarily to first time runners or those returning to run after a year or longer hiatus from it, several of them still apply to all runners looking to shed a few by pounding the pavement.
1) Define your running goal, not just your weight loss goal. What this means is be more specific than saying you want to start running in order to lose ten pounds. Instead, clearly state how much running you want to be able to do (how many times a week, for how long, the type of workouts) and how long you expect it to take to get there. For example, “I am running 4 times a week for at least 3 miles each run by July 1, 2014.” Next, define how you will get there, such as “I build up my runs each week with a run/walk program.”
There are a number of reason’s that Yoplait Light Key Lime Pie flavored yogurt might not be considered healthy. There’s the strange light green coloring (pretty sure it’s not natural) and the 10 grams of sugar. But, it’s clearly a healthier choice than some other snacks I’ve been known to indulge in, like donuts!
This past week while at the grocery store I saw there was a special on these yogurts. Ten for $5 or something like that—a deal that’s hard to pass up. Add in the fact that things were downright warm in Portland and this seemed like a fitting treat. So I grabbed a few and went on my way. I’ve been enjoying the yogurts all week and, aside from the fact that they’re not exactly natural, they’re a fairly healthy treat: No corn syrup, 20% of the daily recommended value of calcium, and just 90 calories.
You know how sometimes you just want a donut? This is a feeling I actually have a lot–basically every time I walk past the bakery section of the grocery store. I usually don’t give in, but sometimes I do because, you know, everything in moderation—even donuts.
On a recent trip to the grocery store I gave in. And it was totally worth it. I picked a cake donut that had chocolate frosting and sprinkles because if you’re going to go, go big. I savored the treat, making sure I wasn’t distracted while eating. I really wanted to enjoy every bite. And I did. Indulging at the start of my shopping trip probably helped me keep from filling my cart with unnecessary items. I purchased a bunch of produce and some kitchen staple but nothing baked or packaged. (more…)
There are certain weeks when my “TGIF” attitude carries over to what I eat. This past Friday was a good example of this. I’d worked hard for the past 5 days and when Friday rolled around I was ready to unwind. I met up with some friends and ordered one of my favorite comfort foods—nachos.
To me, few things feel as good—or bad—as a heaping plate of nachos. You’ve got the crunchy pile of corn chips. The warm black beans and melted cheese. The salsa and, if you’re really lucky, guacamole. On last night’s order there was even a healthy helping of pulled pork. Delish!
Luckily I shared the snack—which actually served as dinner—but the calorie count of this one was a real doozy: Somewhere around 1,200 calories for the gooey plate. That means I ate around 600 calories worth of nachos in one sitting. Ouch!
For me, bad weather in Portland generally spells the start of bowling season. I play in a weekly winter league with 5 of my friends. Our team name is “The Thunderballs”, and what we lack in skill we more than make up for with laughs and good conversation. This past week I was running late and didn’t have time to eat dinner before arriving at the alley. I scanned the menu for something healthy and, finding nothing, ordered chicken tenders with a side of tater tots. My teammates arrived, and one by one, more orders of tots appeared on the table. Without meaning to, our team of 6 wound up with at least 4 big plates of the deep fried potato poppers.
It turns out greasy hands—and slippery bowling balls—is just one hazard of this type of meal: Tater tots have 160 calories per 9-piece order, and each plate came with 50 or so tots. I would gauge my consumption at around 30 tots, or 533 calories. And that’s not including the dipping sauces, which included ketchup and ranch dressing that evening.
When I have visitors to my (new) hometown of Portland, Oregon, they all want to go on the same sort of sightseeing tour—one that focuses on all of the delicious food available. So when my friend Beth arrived last week from Colorado I had all of my hot spots queued up: Pok Pok for its Asian Wings, Salt and Straw for its Salted Caramel Ice Cream, and Olympic Provisions for its killer brunch. But of all of the indulgences we shared, the one I was most worried about burning off was a large plate of biscuits and gravy from Portland’s J&M Cafe.
I did some searching online and found a big range for the calorie count in a serving of biscuits and gravy—estimates were anywhere between 200 and 530 calories. Judging from the flakiness of the biscuits, the size of the serving, and the sausage that was blended into the thick gravy, I’m going to guess the plate I ate was packed with about 450 calories. Eek!
Just how does one burn off a meal of that size? I grabbed a calculator—and the American College of Sports Medicine’s Compendium of Physical Activities—to find out. Here are three ways I could have burned off a 450 calorie breakfast of biscuits and gravy:
There’s very little health news that surprises me these days. Typically, the breaking headlines all funnel back to the basics: We need to eat right and get exercise in order to be healthy. The latest study I just read actually surprised me, and it may do the same for you.
A recent article from TIME writer Laura Blue reported on new research concerning the energy expenditure of westerners vs. hunter-gatherer societies. The study was just published in the PLoS One Journal. It seemed fair to assume we westerners are fat because we eat too much and then sit all day in our cars, at our desks, and on our couches. Meanwhile, those in hunter-gatherer societies walk everywhere, hunt for food, dig in their gardens, and use primitive tools to do a day’s work. The research showed that actually, both societies have an equal energy output, if you can believe it.
Like I said, very little surprises me in health news, but this one was a total surprise. I see the typical American every day. We walk mere feet to our cars, drive to our location with hopes of getting the closest parking spot, walk mere feet to our desks, and not move again until we drive to lunch, which many times is a drive-thru pick-up. There is very little exercise in the typical daily routine. (more…)