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The Right Way to Read a Food Label: Don’t Overlook the Fine Print

Clients love to tell me about the new snack bar or cereal they found at the grocery store. They tell me how it’s all natural or full of whole grains. I hate bursting their bubble when I ask how much sugar it has.

label

In your quest to be a healthy and fit you need to be a vigilant food detective.   You can’t trust the health claims on the front of the box. You have to read the back of the box, the ingredient list in particular, to really understand what is (or isn’t) in the oatmeal or protein bar you’re about to buy. Unfortunately, it’s not easy deciphering food labels. Without sounding too much like a conspiracy theorist, I think they do it on purpose.

The marketing team believes if they highlight the words “natural”, “light”, or “reduced” on the label we, the consumer, won’t look any further than that. We will simply trust that the product is good for us, load up our carts and go on our merry way.

The problem is a lot of people do just that. This is where they often get into trouble. You have to read the label to get the real story of what’s going on. Even on products you buy regularly you need to check in every so often to make sure they haven’t changed anything without telling you. Do a quick scan of the products going in your cart and look for these 5 things:

  1. Serving Size
    Don’t be so sure that a bottle of juice or a small bag of granola is just one serving. More often than not what appears to be a single serving package of chips or beverage has at least two servings. You could take in double or triple the calories without really even noticing.
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The 5 Best Jillian Michaels Workout DVDs of All Time

I don’t think there is a middle ground when it comes to Jillian Michaels. Either you love her or you hate her.

Jillian Michaels

Perhaps “hate” is too strong of a word. Strongly dislike, maybe? I admit I used to be in the dislike camp. My only exposure to her was the character that The Biggest Loser had made her out to be. Then I tried her exercise videos and listened to her podcast. In her own element I found a different side of her. I came to enjoy her uncomplicated workouts and identified with her personal story and fitness philosophy.

Her workouts have become my go-to DVDs when I’d rather work out at home than in the gym. Her catalog is huge and, perhaps, a bit overwhelming. If you would like to work out with television’s toughest trainer, but aren’t sure where to start, here are my five favorite Jillian Michaels workouts:

 


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5 Teas for Good Health

Of my recent travels, London stands out as one of my favorites. After all, what’s not to love about a place that makes an event out of tea in the afternoon? Tea is a passion of mine, one that fits very well into my fitness journey. My tea love affair started many years ago when I used a cup in the morning to help me break my diet Coke habit. As I explored different varieties of tea I came to appreciate its taste and the other benefits to my overall well being. If your only experience with tea is of the sweet variety or a bag of Lipton let me give you some tips on how to add tea for wellness to your fitness journey.

tea

There are basically two types of tea: those derived from the Camellia sinensis plant (black, green, white, oolong or pu-erh) and herbal teas (herbal infusions). Unless otherwise indicated, all of the Camellia sinesis plant derived teas have caffeine. Herbal teas generally do not (yerba mate is an exception to this rule). Whole leaf teas are better quality than cut leaf. You’ll find cut leaf in most tea bags so I recommend purchasing a tea strainer and go with whole leaf where possible.


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Fit in 5: Best Exercises for a Lower Body Injury

By Pamela Hernandez

Whether it comes from a workout or simply stepping off the curb the wrong way, a lower body injury is bound to occur at some point or another in our athletic lives. Injury, of any kind, can be extremely frustrating. Some injuries can be mild, like an ankle sprain, and simply require a few days of rest. Others, like a broken foot, can mean weeks off your feet.

Our bodies feel the effects of not working out very quickly. While your body does need extra nutrients to heal, it’s often not as many as you burn with your workout. Energy goes down and we can feel more “jiggly” and less strong. When we’re sidelined we can also feel the effects mentally, not only losing the post workout endorphin rush but also a part of our routine and identity.

The good news is, unless specifically forbidden by your doctor, there are exercises and activities you can do to keep working without aggravating conditions such as plantar fasciitis or a sprained ankle. The following exercises are my top picks for those fighting a lower body injury. Just remember, when healing especially, rest is important, too. Take your intensity and frequency down a bit until your body is ready to take on more.
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Fit in 5: Five Ways To Measure Fat Loss Without the Scale

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

I am currently one of the sponsors of a local weight loss contest. The second round of weigh ins occurred in March and, as they started to roll in, I noticed a distinct change in the tone from that of the prior weigh in.

Instead of jubilance over pounds lost, there was a lot of distress and worry about the number on the scale. Some were feeling that they had gone off track. Others bemoaned the number on the scale because it hadn’t budged or they had dropped “just” a pound or two.

My response? The scale doesn’t define you or your success on a fitness journey.

That seems to be the hardest thing for people (especially women) to learn when starting to get healthy and fit. It doesn’t seem to matter how good you may feel, how many push ups you can do or how far you can run; if the scale doesn’t move, or if it doesn’t move enough, then it doesn’t mean anything.

I secretly hate the scale. I use it with my own clients because it’s a quick and easy measurement. But it’s not the only measurement we take and we don’t take it often. There are other (dare I say better?) measures of success when it comes to fitness and fat loss.


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