You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2009.

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The easiest way to eat less every day is to cut the amount of sugar you chew and drink. What is easier and faster for reducing your daily caloric intake: taking fewer bites of chocolate and passing on that bran muffin in the morning, or running a 5-miler? Both will help you lose weight. Both are great steps toward a leaner you. But reducing the amount of calories you take in, especially from pure sugar, is much easier to manage than intense cardio sessions every day—if your goal is to shift the calories in, calories out.

Too much energy

We are genetically conditioned to love sugar. Take a look at your taste buds. The main one, up front, on the tip of the tongue, is the taste for sweets. We seek glucose; we need it, and love it—because of a simple biological reason. It is fuel for our brain. We can’t survive without it. Carbohydrates provide this fuel in various forms—from quickie chocolate munchies to sweet fruit to more slowly digested, fiber-rich lentil soups. But we love it too much. Many more products than we care to count either have sugar or high fructose corn syrup added to them. We may take in teaspoons upon teaspoons of sugar without realizing when enough is enough. We even get addicted to it when we need a quick energy fix, craving soda and chocolate for our mid-afternoon snacks instead of fiber and fruit. If you want to know how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming, by the way, divide what the nutritional labels says in grams by four. Not a pretty discovery for most of us.

Unfortunately, for the same simple biological reason, our bodies process sugar like evolution intended, not like our culture wants us to consume—storing excess as fat when our energy needs are met—to be used in times of scarcity. The problem is that we rarely reach that scarcity, and carry the excess on our bodies to show it.

Confusing hunger signals

Besides the obvious implications on our waistline, the irregular outbursts of insulin our body produces to deal with all the extra sugar wreaks havoc on our body’s hunger signals. When your blood sugar levels fall suddenly, you are going to be willing to devour anything in your way, especially sweet, to get your level of satiety (and blood sugar back up to normal. It tends to result in overeating and poor food choices. I’d grab a Twix over an orange if readily available any second, even while knowing, like most of us, that the better choice is that bright fruit staring at us waiting to be peeled. But it’s so much easier to unwrap a Twix.

Out of sight, out of mind

Don’t keep sweets around, and you’ll be less likely to indulge. We are not as strong as our temptations. Moving temptations out of our sight, physically, helps tremendously to get them out of sight mentally. So walk that jelly bean bowl away from your desk and your immediate area. Buy extra dark chocolate instead of milk—you won’t overeat it. Seriously. Would you walk to the supermarket just to get a chocolate bar? Would you be tempted to grab a couple of Hershey’s Kisses if they are not freely available next to your desk, but in another office five floors down? Not likely. So forget about willpower and make sure simple sugar is hard to find. It works.

Substitutes

Fruit

Nature packs a plethora of sugar-rich and satisfying foods for you to enjoy. They are wrapped in protective coating and portion-sized. They are called fruit. Bananas, oranges, grapes, apples—you name it, nature has it designed. The natural sugar you get from eating fruit will be absorbed by your system like nature intended—in little spikes of energy to be digested with the accompanying fiber.

Honey

Even though honey is one of the most calorically dense foods on the planet—about 100 calories per teaspoon, honey has a multitude of healthy qualities your body would only welcome. Plus, you wouldn’t eat honey by teaspoons, would you?

Now how about that orange? And pass on the cookie, unless you plan to sweat it off in a hard workout requiring all that energy.

Julia Timakhovich

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Healthworks is excited to announce the introduction of Les Mills’ popular BODYPUMP fitness classes. Body Pump, one of the most recognized group fitness formats in the world, is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. The non-impact, high-intensity workout targets all major muscle groups including the legs, chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and abdominals. During a typical 60-minute class, you will use a step platform, a bar, and a selection of weights. All Les Mills programs are set to great, upbeat music, and motivating instructors will guide you through the resistance training.

The benefits of taking Body Pump extend beyond an ordinary workout. Burn up to 600 calories per class while toning your muscles. Participating in resistance bearing exercise like Body Pump improves your strength and your bone density to prevent osteoporosis. The workout not only gives you visible results in a few weeks, but also the satisfaction of achievement.

Over 5 million people take Les Mills classes around the world. We are one of the only clubs in the area to feature Les Mills’ Body Pump classes.We are launching the Body Pump format to our Brookline, Chestnut Hill, and Salem clubs starting this Saturday, March 28. Both members and non-members are welcome. Be sure to bring comfortable workout clothes, gym shoes, water, towel, and a positive attitude!

Launch Parties for Body Pump are being held on the following dates:

  • Brookline: Saturday, March 28th 8am and 10am
  • Chestnut Hill: Tuesday, March 31st 10:30am and 5:30pm
  • Salem: Saturday, April 4th at 9am and Monday, April 6th at 10am

Click here for more information about Body Pump at Healthworks:

http://www.healthworksfitness.com/special/bodypumplaunch.php

Click here for more information about Les Mills Body Pump:

http://www.lesmills/bodypump

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Aromatherapy is a very popular method of alternative therapy.  It is the use of volatile plant oils (essential oils) for psychological and physical wellbeing.  Essential oils are liquids that are distilled from the stem, leaf, root, flower or other parts of a plant that offer therapeutic benefits whether inhaled or applied to the skin.  They are highly concentrated, so a little will go a long way. Essential oils should never be used directly on the skin without being diluted with carrier oil, as they will travel directly to the blood stream. Essential oils are not the same as perfumes or fragrant oils, they are from a plant, where as perfume is artificially created fragrances that offer no therapeutic benefits.  Aromatherapy is not a cure for ailments but it will help with symptoms- such as relieving one of nausea, relieving stress, enhancing moods, or calming fears.  Aromatherapy should not be expected to replace modern medicine but rather to compliment it.  

 

Aromatherapy is an ancient healing practice.  The earliest recorded history begins with the ancient Chinese and Egyptian.  The Chinese primarily used aromatic plants for well being by burning incense to create harmony and balance.   While the Egyptians really used aromatherapy and essential oils in their daily life for spiritual, medicinal, fragrant and cosmetic uses. It is believed the Egyptians were the first to use the term perfume.

Over the centuries the methods of essential extraction as well as the study of aromatherapy has evolved. 

 

Aromatherapy is often used in the spa to deepen relaxation or to increase the overall benefits of the treatment.  Spa therapists may use oils to create a soothing, peaceful environment that will physically relax and calm you. But they may also use oil that will aid in the treatment of a physical condition.  Many skin care products contain essential oils because several oils aid in cellular turnover, are antiseptic, or antibacterial, or may calm and sooth the skin. Thus certain oils help treat certain skin conditions.

 

Some examples  of essential oil uses are:

 

Geranium oil: aids cellular renewal so it is often used in something for a mature skin

 

Lemon oil:  antiseptic and antibacterial thus it is wonderful in treating acne, also stimulating to the mind when inhaled.

 

Chamomile and lavender oil: are soothing and healing, thus great for a sensitive skin, but also ease tension and relieve stress when inhaled.

 

Rosemary oil: Stimulates cellular renewal, soothes aching muscles, relieves stress, fatigue, mild depression, and increases alertness.   

 

Aromatherapy is very interesting and exciting.  There are oils that stimulate, relax, calm, soothe or heal.  The study of aromatherapy is so much more than pretty smelling plants.  It is a healing adventure for the mind, body and soul. 

 

 

Stephanie Keenan

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Spring is right around the corner and we’re all anxious to be outside after spending so much time indoors. Warmer weather often inspires friends to hit the outdoor bar scene for a happy hour drink (or two). But while you’re sipping away, remember bathing suit season is around the corner!

So, how do you enjoy yourself and socialize without gaining weight? Here are a few suggestions: Just say no to high-calorie fruit drinks. Most fruity drinks are loaded with calories and sugar– some have as many as 300 calories per drink! If you have 2-3 drinks over the course of the evening, that’s close to 900 calories! (Yikes!) Better options are flavored vodka with soda water or regular vodka with soda water and a splash of fruit juice (approximately 80-100 calories per drink).

In the mood for beer, go light. Most light beers come in around 100-120 calories per bottle, but still have quite a lot of flavor and taste delicious. I’ve drank so much light beer over the years, I usually prefer it to the “heavy” option. Also, if you order a bottle of beer instead of a draft, you automatically have portion control (just 12 oz).

Steer clear of frozen beverages. Similarly to fruity drinks, frozen drink mixes are packed with calories and sugar. If you really want a margarita or pina colada, ask the bartender to make you the “real deal” or ask for the drink to be served “on the rocks.” You’ll save quite a few calories, and the original cocktail, in my opinion, tastes a lot better! Alternate water with also hydrates you, making the following morning much more enjoyable. Bonus: If you alternate booze with soda and lime (aka a “mocktail”), it almost feels like you are enjoying a cocktail (for zero calories).

You can’t go wrong with white wine. My “go to” drink is always white wine. It’s delicious, flavorful, and relatively low in calories (about 120 calories per 5 oz glass). I always feel much more sophisticated when I am holding a wine glass, and tend to savor each sip instead of chugging it down like I might with a beer or cocktail. You can also “lighten-up” white wine with soda water (aka wine spritzer), which cuts calories and/or makes your glass of wine last longer.

Beware of free bar snacks. There is a bar in our hometown that serves free popcorn (you know, the super buttery kind). I’m not much of a popcorn fan, but after a few cocktails, my new favorite food becomes popcorn. My best advice for situations like this is just don’t start! Once I have a taste of popcorn, I just can’t stop myself, and end up snacking the entire night. Another tip: Remember where people’s hands have been. If I am thinking about digging into a bowl of popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, etc., I think: unwashed hands from the bathroom. Ewwwww! That thought alone stops my desire to snack!

Tina Haupert

http://carrotsncake.com

 

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There have been only a handful of days so far in 2009 that have seen the thermometer creep above 45 degrees.  On each one of those days I have felt a beckoning to go outside and walk.  There was one strange day when, in sunglasses and short sleeves, I ventured out for an hour-long walk, crunching last week’s snow beneath my tennis shoes the whole way.  Mark Twain once said that “One of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it.”  I can definitely say that the tauntingly beautiful weather we glimpse, only to be plunged back into the darkest winter, is driving me crazy.

I began exercising seriously last May when the weather was too beautiful to resist.  Although we had bought a treadmill two years before with the intention of taking up regular exercise, nothing had stuck.  My usual routine is to come home from work and sit in front of the computer for a few hours to catch up on news and such until it’s time to make dinner.  Then I sit in front of the TV until bed.  But something about this glorious spring after such a long and snowy winter caused me to dig out my sneakers and sweatpants and venture outside.  I have the advantage of living near a bike path, and so I was able that week to go out every day after work and walk, as slowly and awkwardly as I liked, unmolested by traffic or stoplights, or commuters gawking from their cars.  In less than a year I built myself up from 30 minutes of walking to 60 minutes of power walking/jogging.

It was not natural then for me to be outside, let alone to be exercising, but it was more enjoyable than any exercise I had attempted before.  Now on those days when the sun peeks out from the grey clouds and the piles of crusty snow melt into the gutters, it feels unnatural to be inside.  Even in the cold of winter, I would feel guilty when I skipped a trip to the gym or a walk on my treadmill.  Even on the longest and busiest days, I would feel refreshed and energized by going to my results training sessions.  I think this is one of the biggest things for me and my weight loss.  Eating is almost a passive thing; you can make choices to swap out good for bad, and if you’ve eaten too much you can always stop.  But adding something into your routine can be difficult.  Now that I’ve made regular exercise part of my life, I realize how miserable I am when I try to go without it.

 

Amber Kendall

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Healthworks is excited to announce the introduction of Les Mills’ popular BODYPUMP fitness classes. Body Pump, one of the most recognized group fitness formats in the world, is the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. The non-impact, high-intensity workout targets all major muscle groups including the legs, chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and abdominals. During a typical 60-minute class, you will use a step platform, a bar, and a selection of weights. All Les Mills programs are set to great, upbeat music, and motivating instructors will guide you through the resistance training.

The benefits of taking Body Pump extend beyond an ordinary workout. Burn up to 600 calories per class while toning your muscles. Participating in resistance bearing exercise like Body Pump improves your strength and your bone density to prevent osteoporosis. The workout not only gives you visible results in a few weeks, but also the satisfaction of achievement.

Over 5 million people take Les Mills classes around the world. We are one of the only clubs in the area to feature Les Mills’ Body Pump classes.We are launching the Body Pump format to our Brookline, Chestnut Hill, and Salem clubs starting this Saturday, March 28. Both members and non-members are welcome. Be sure to bring comfortable workout clothes, gym shoes, water, towel, and a positive attitude!

Launch Parties for Body Pump are being held on the following dates:

  • Brookline: Saturday, March 28th 8am and 10am
  • Chestnut Hill: Tuesday, March 31st 10:30am and 5:30pm
  • Salem: Saturday, April 4th at 9am and Monday, April 6th at 10am

Click here for more information about Body Pump at Healthworks:

http://www.healthworksfitness.com/special/bodypumplaunch.php

Click here for more information about Les Mills Body Pump:

http://www.lesmills/bodypump

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Take a moment to think about something that’s been hanging out on your to-do list for a long, long time.  It doesn’t take much time to come up with it, does it?  What might that thing be?  Cleaning out the front closet, dealing with finances, returning an unpleasant phone call?

In the split second that you think of that task, the thought probably feels something like a weight – a weight that pulls you down.  You may have a physical reaction to it: your shoulders might slump, your body might feel tired, your chin my drop with a heavy head.  And the bigger the task and the more it’s been put off, the heavier the feeling.  I know, it’s unpleasant.  It happens to me, too.

I have a solution for you – and you might not like it.  Do the task.  Sorry, but that’s what has to happen.

But here’s the good part: Once you’ve done the task, you will experience a tremendous (yes, really) infusion of positive energy.  I bet you’ve experienced this, too.  You make the unpleasant phone call, it takes all of three minutes, you get off the phone and say, “phew, wow, I wish I had done that a month ago.” And you walk away a little lighter in your being.

Some people are really good procrastinators.  I say this with a twinge of awe, similar to the awe I feel for people who wear black leather and are good at being bad. Good procrastinators have a high tolerance for those heavy feelings. When they put off something, they block it out of their minds almost completely, so that it doesn’t impinge on their procrastination technique of the moment.

But it’s the word almost that is key here. Even if we are good at procrastinating, good at putting it out of our minds, it’s not really gone, or not too far anyway.  All it takes is a simple reminder and those heavy feelings come up from just under the surface in an instant.  In other words, the not doing of something is zapping our energy.  It’s taking the wind out of our turbines and the sun out of our personal solar panels.

You may notice this especially with to-dos that you can see.  For example, the pile of papers you need to go through or the shelf in the hallway that’s gotten out of hand.  The visual reminder is ever present and when you walk by it, it zaps you.

But what that also means is when you do get to organizing that physical space, in your home or office, you will feel the extra bonus every time you are near it. You will rejoice in the clean space.  You will feast your eyes on the uncluttered counter top, the cleared off stairway, and the desk that is swept clean.

Now that you know the reward, it may be easier to motivate yourself to do whatever has been draining your energy.  I recommend starting with small realistic goals.  Here are some tips for keeping things simple and sustainable:

Choose one thing: If you challenge yourself to do one small thing each day, you’ll get enough of a boost in positive energy to power a small engine.

Set a timer for 15 minutes: You can do anything for 15 minutes.  Try it.  Go as fast as you can.

Break big things into small tasks: Need to clean the basement?  How about just trying one small section to start?  Choose a corner.  Or choose a category (bikes or books or old paint cans) and then choose another category the next time.

Homework

Here’s a list of areas that may feel like they need attention.  Choose one today and another one tomorrow.  Give yourself an assignment and a due date.

  • Phone calls/thank you or sympathy notes
  • Email inbox
  • Home repairs/organization
  • Doctor/dentist appointment
  • Exercise
  • Job search
  • Bills/taxes/paperwork

Remember, choose one task at a time, make it small, and enjoy the burst of happiness you get from tackling it! At the end of the day, reward yourself by looking back on your accomplishment and bask in the glow of good energy.

Kristin Thalheimer

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March brought on some new challenges for me!  I while back I had entered a St. Patrick’s Day 5K road race:  Ras na hEireann U.S.A.  I figured that it would give me a short-term goal and really get me into gear.  I was only running indoors on the treadmill in hill mode as opposed to outside in the freezing (I hate the cold) outdoors and I felt like it would be enough.  Then I got derailed by the flu!  I was completely out of commission for close to 2 weeks and my first run after being sick was only a few days before the race, but I thought: hey I can still do it!  On the day of the race I walked on over to the starting line and got ready to go.  I felt really good for the first mile, and maybe took it out too fast in the beginning so after that I just got slower and slower till the end where my entire body felt like jello.  There were people pushing strollers faster than I was running and there were people in Speedos and floppy hats running faster too, if you can even imagine it.  I always said 5K never killed anyone, but it was pretty close to killing me!  I finished in a decent 29:28, I hope to better that next year or in the next 5K that I enter.  I did learn one valueable lesson with this race: running on a treadmill does not compare to running outdoors for me.  Running outdoors really pushes me a lot harder and I get a much better workout.  I tend to do “easy runs” on the treadmill and think it’s enough, but for me it’s not enough to get me to the next level.  Once the weather hits 50 on a daily basis, I’ll be doing a lot of my cardio outdoors in the fresh air.

Laura Miscowski

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Healthworks has secured two race entries for the 113th annual Boston Marathon, and we are looking for participants! The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon, and will take place on Monday, April 20, 2009.

We are looking for runners to participate as part of the Healthworks team, and to raise our goal of $10,000 ($5,000 per runner). All money raised will fund the Healthworks Foundation, with non-profit centers in Codman Square and St. Mary’s in Dorchester, Massachusetts. If you already have a number for the Marathon, join the Healthworks Foundation Team and help give women and children an opportunity to get healthier!

Healthworks at Codman Square holds countless after school programs for children, and since the opening of the center in October 2008, over 650 women have joined! With club usage growing so quickly, we need your help to raise money and give every woman the chance to be healthy, happy, and the best version of herself!

Click here to fill out your application:

http://www.healthworksfoundation.org/marathonapp.htm

 

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Ask a runner what the most difficult thing for them to do is and all will reply “not run.” For a runner, being unable to run is like swimming without a pool….inconceivable.  Yet, what happens when we cannot run? Should we attempt to run knowing that it probably isn’t in our best interest?  When is it not ok to run? I am a runner, and this weekend I am not running, all-the-while trying to get healthy and stay sane at the same time.

For the past 3-months I have been training for a ½ marathon that was supposed to take place this weekend with was being the operative word.  I had established a strategy, a time goal and a reach goal. Not only was I ready to run, I was ready to race. Unfortunately, I am not able to run this race because I have been bit by the cold/flu bug. The timing could not have been worse, yet I must tell myself that “it always could be worse.”

It has been 4 days since my last run and today I just stepped outside for the first time in 2 days.  Four days ago I performed what was supposed to be an easy run but my body felt otherwise.  I knew something was not right. At what point did I decide not to run? I decided a day off was necessary when I did not want to get out of bed. That single day of rest turned into 4 as a result of chest congestion, a sore throat, persistent cough and fever. A good rule of thumb to follow to determine whether or not to exercise is the “neck-up” rule. Generally, if symptoms are from the neck-up (e.g. stuffy nose, cough) you are OK to exercise. Symptoms from the neck down (e.g. chest congestion, body aches, fever) are contraindications to exercise. 

Although choosing not to exercise can be a pain in the neck, a pain in the neck can be a signal for you to slow down and take it easy.  Listen to your body.

“If you feel like eating, eat. Let your body tell you what it wants.”
– Joan Benoit Samuelson

 

Run on,

Sarah Anderson