Heat up to work out in cool temps

U. OREGON (US) — Heat acclimation may be the best thing to improve athletic performance, not only in warm environments, but in cool ones as well.

Heat acclimation exposure is beneficial to athletes in cool conditions as well as the expected performance benefits in a hot environment. Researchers believe the findings could also have implications for people with cardiac limitations. (Credit: iStockphoto)

via Futurity.org – Heat up to work out in cool temps.

Eat Your Age

What your age does to your need for calories and how you can help your body respond appropriately.

When you were a kid, you only ate when you were hungry. Everyone said you ate like a bird until you became a teenager. Then you couldn’t eat enough. By the time you hit your 30s you stopped listening to your stomach and started listening to your eyes. But you were working out enough to keep off unwanted pounds. But now you’re starting to see the effects of eating too many calories.

So how can you avoid age-related weight gain? By keeping these three age-appropriate tips in mind the next time you decide to grab your favorite fattening treat.

1. Age Changes Everything

You may feel like a teenager, but when you’re out of your teens and into your 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond, your body tells a different story. Whether you’ll admit it or not, you realize that you can’t move quite as quick in your 50s as you could in your 20s. Likewise, your body can’t burn through calories like it could a few years ago. With that in mind, the need to curb your calorie intake as you age makes sense. Because if your body can’t use all the calories you’re eating, consuming excessive calories only leads to excessive weight.

Live your life and forget your age. – Norman Vincent Peale

2. Activity Takes More Effort

When you were a kid, getting out and about for a two-hour game of neighborhood football was no problem. Ever since you started working at an office, stuck behind a large oak desk, getting physical activity has become more and more difficult. Thanks to this increased difficulty of getting a work out, your body’s metabolism has dropped dramatically since your skinny high school days. Ideally, you should get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise five days a week. Since this isn’t always possible, you’ll need to chop even more calories from your diet to make sure the calories you eat are being used rather than stored as fat.

3. You Have to Cut

Regardless of how much exercise you get, you’ll probably need to reduce the amount of calories you consume as you age. A good guide to help you understand your calorie need is to start with 1,800 calories for women age 31 to 50 and 2,200 for men of the same age. If you’re younger than 31, add another 200 calories. The over 50 crowd should subtract 200. With certain levels of activity, you can also add calories to your diet. However, since every person’s caloric needs are different at every stage in life, you should consult with your physician before making any minor or major changes in your diet. To get a more precise idea of how many calories you should eat each day, a number of calorie calculators are available on the Internet. Using your age, height, weight, gender, and level of activity, these calculators help you have an idea of how many calories it will take for you to maintain a healthy weight. If you find the amount of calories you’re eating isn’t helping you meet your weight goals, modify your diet as needed.

Junk It Up

Along with all those healthy calories that you chow down on each day, you may be wondering how many of the delectable and not-so-healthy calories you can eat on a daily basis.

An easy way to keep your bad calorie consumption in check is to have no more than one-eighth of your calories come from foods that offer no nutritional value. This includes cookies and cakes, potato chips and bonbons, and those sugar-filled drinks that you can’t live without in the morning and afternoon.

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What to Do With Shoulder Injuries

Know them, catch them, treat them.

Though you may ignore your shoulder on good days, that all changes if you suffer a shoulder injury. Pain from a shoulder injury can be so severe that you become unable to do tasks you take for granted, such as driving a car, waving to your neighbor, and even hugging your loved ones. So how can you make sure shoulder injuries don’t leave you down and out?

Know Them.

Very few shoulder injuries affect the bones. Most injure the ligaments, tendons, and muscles on and around the shoulders. While athletes are prone to experiencing shoulder injuries, people who perform repetitive motions that use the shoulder are at increased risk.

Though there are several different shoulder injuries that may affect you, they all fall into two categories: instability and impingement. An instability shoulder injury is the result of a shoulder joint being forced out of place or moving out of its natural position on its own. These injuries often cause dislocated shoulders and make it painful to even raise your arm. Impingement shoulder injuries, frequently brought on by repetitive reaching overhead, are caused by the shoulder muscles rubbing against the top of the shoulder blade.

Catch Them.

The secret to helping your shoulder overcome any injury is catching the problem fast. Otherwise, your problem will grow worse and more difficult to treat effectively. Three of the most common signs of a serious shoulder injury that requires medical evaluation are the following:

  • feeling that your shoulder could pop or slide out of your shoulder socket with ease
  • lack of strength to perform activities of daily living that require you to use your shoulder
  • shoulder stiffness that makes it difficult or even impossible to rotate your arm as you normally would

If you suffer any of these symptoms, don’t wait to find out if your shoulder will feel better in a few days. Rather, seek expert medical evaluation from your primary care physician or an orthopedic surgeon.

Treat Them.

When shoulder pain begins to affect you, your physician may recommend a series of exercises to strengthen your shoulder and prevent further injury. Common exercises include wall push-ups (stand in front of a wall with your hands on the wall and perform push-ups on the wall), tying elastic tubing to a doorknob and pulling on the tubing gently, and shoulder press-ups (sit upright in an armchair and push yourself off of the chair using your arms, keeping your feet on the ground).

In the event your pain doesn’t subside with exercise, anti-inflammatory medication is frequently prescribed to reduce swelling and help your shoulder recover from injury. If your injury is severe, you may require corrective surgery. Thanks to innovations in orthopedic surgery, many shoulder surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to undergo surgery and recover in the comfort of your own home.

Shocking News

When chronic shoulder pain sets in, physicians have a number of tools at their disposal. One of them is shockwave therapy, which sends low or medium energy waves to the injured tissue. However, a recent study shows that it may be time to hang up the shockers when it comes to shoulder therapy.

During the study, 104 18- to 70-year-old men and women were broken into two groups. One group was given shockwave treatment every week for four to six weeks, and the other undertook 45 minutes of supervised exercise twice a week for as many as 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, nearly two times as many people in the exercise group had reduced pain and disability, and more exercisers were given the okay for getting back to work. As if to add insult to treatment-prolonged injury, more individuals in the shockwave therapy group had to continue undergoing treatment after 12 weeks than those in the exercise group.

Moral of the story? If your physician recommends a shocking treatment for shoulder pain, exercise your right to say no!

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Banish Flabby Arms

Think it’s impossible to turn your saggy underarms into sleek, toned arms? Time to change your thinking and tone up your triceps!

Do you dread wearing sleeveless evening gowns? Wish your swimsuit covered your arms down to your elbow? Fear waving to family and friends when they’re leaving town? Then it’s time for you to get rid of those flabby underarms! To make it happen, you’ve got to do five things.

Number One: Know the Muscle

The muscles that are causing your underarm sag are your triceps. So while doing exercises that strengthen other parts of the arm are helpful for your overall health, they aren’t going to give your underarm the upper lift you seek. Rather, you’re going to have to go after the muscle that is causing the sag – your triceps. But before you do that, you’ve got to consider something else that is more basic than overcoming flabby arms.

Muscles come and go; flab lasts
Bill Vaughan

Number Two: Remember Your Body Is the Spot

When you have fat stored in your arms, you can’t simply make it disappear with a few magic exercises. You’re going to have to tone up the rest of your body as well. Along with triceps-specific exercises, get plenty of cardio in your routine. This will get you sweating and help you burn fat from your head to your toes.

Without this full-body burn, your spot-specific exercises will reap very little visible benefit for your triceps. So before you spend hours in the gym, working out your underarms, you should spend half an hour on the treadmill or the Stairmaster.

Number Three: Feel the Burn

If you stop working out when you start to sweat or begin to feel a little fatigued, you aren’t giving your triceps the full workout they need. In order to push your triceps to the position and shape you want, you’re going to have to work them harder than ever. That doesn’t mean you should work your body to exhaustion every day. Like every other body part, your triceps need some days off between being worked out.

Good exercises that are tailored specifically for your triceps include the following:

  • push-ups with your hands close together or touching
  • bench press with your hands close together
  • overhead cable extensions
  • weighted dips
  • dumbbell triceps presses

Number Four: Go under the Knife

For some people, reducing the sag under the arms isn’t as easy as hitting the gym. After losing lots of weight, some people are left with excess skin on various parts of their bodies – including the under arm. In the event you find yourself with skin hanging off your underarms that isn’t covering fat and won’t go away, you may need to have the extra skin surgically removed. This is a relatively fast and easy procedure that helps you show off the new body you worked so hard for through your weight loss efforts. But don’t use surgery as an easy way to trim your arms. Surgery should only be used when medically necessary and there is no other way to trim up your triceps. And once you undergo surgery, you have to be careful to avoid regaining the flabby arms you have removed.

Number Five: Never Give Up

It may take some time to cut away the flab under your arm, but if you keep yourself focused and really want sleek arms, it’s worth the effort. So know what you want, push yourself to reach it, and never give up. With perseverance and plenty of hard work, you’ll have the arms you’ve always wanted!

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Thin from 40 to 60

Beating the odds and maintaining a healthy figure throughout middle age.

Gaining weight during middle age is only natural, right? Wrong. If you dread the pounds of midlife, cheer up! With the right attitude and an appropriate diet and exercise regiment, you may be able to keep your youthful figure and good health for a healthy start to your silver and golden years.

Weighing Responsibility

Midlife weight gain is unfortunately very common.There are definite factors working against you as you age. Besides fluctuating hormone levels, your metabolism begins to slow down. This means it takes more work to burn the calories you consume. Another problem is that most adults lose between 30 and 50 percent a pounds of muscle each year. The smaller your muscles are, the fewer the calories you are able to burn. Weight gain during your midlife is also a danger to your health as it increases your risks for a range of serious medical conditions from diabetes to heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite these possible setbacks to maintaining a healthy weight as you age, it is very important to prevent those extra pounds. There are four main reasons why people gain weight during their 40s and 50s: hormones, overeating, lack of exercise, and stress. Though it would be easy to blame weight gain on changing hormones, research has shown that hormones are responsible for only two to five extra pounds. Poor lifestyle choices account for the rest.

Looking for an answer to combat your lack of good lifestyle decisions? It comes down to maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management. In other words, you’re going to have to start making good decisions soon.

Eat and Burn

The key to avoiding gradual weight gain is to burn as many calories as you consume. This will probably mean eating smaller portions at meals and including more physical activities in your daily routine. When you eat smaller portions, it is important to make sure you include a balanced diet of high protein foods such as meat, dairy, and eggs, and high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Not only will these healthy foods contribute to your weight control, they will also improve your mood and give you more energy throughout the day.

After watching your calorie intake, you must make sure you burn those calories and speed up your metabolism with aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a “minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days to improve health.” A good goal would be to burn 400 to 500 calories a day, and here’s the good news – it is never too late to begin exercising! Whether walking, swimming, biking, gardening, or weight lifting, find something you enjoy, and make it a part of your everyday routine. Not only will you burn those extra calories, you will feel better about yourself and have more energy to face your day.

Decompress the Stress

A third reason for why people in their middle ages gain weight easily is because of the high level of stress in their lives. When under stress, many people tend to overeat, not exercise enough, or attempt to ease stress through unhealthy behaviors such as drinking or smoking. To manage stress, you must first identify the causes. Then you must take charge of your thoughts, emotions, work schedule, family life, and environment. Aim for a balance of fun, work, and relaxation. For some extra help, find support from a friend, spouse, or therapist to reduce the stress in your life.

No matter how common midlife weight gain seems, it is not necessarily inevitable. You just have to take control. So eat a balanced diet, exercise for your physical and emotional well-being, and reduce the stressors in your life. Then kick back and relax, knowing you won’t be another victim of midlife weight gain.

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Going, Going, Grapefruit!

Gaining an appreciation for the wonderful, round grapefruit.

Even a sliver of grapefruit can make your eyes squint and your mouth pucker. But if you’re sidestepping grapefruit because of its tartness, you’re also sidestepping an array of health benefits.

Why should you start tossing a little grapefruit in your daily diet? It’s as easy as APC.

Antioxidants

In the health world, few words get as much applause and attention as “antioxidants.” And grapefruits are filled with the stuff. In addition to giving grapefruit its pretty pink and red color, the antioxidant lycopene is responsible for fighting runaway cells (free radicals) that have the potential to damage cells and cause cancer.

As grapefruit juice contains some of the highest levels of antioxidants (along with grape, apple, and cranberry juice), you can get your grapefruit-based antioxidants in liquid form. Regardless of whether you eat or sip on your antioxidants, getting plenty of grapefruit in your diet gives you an advantage over a number of cancers.

Having a hard time choking down that grapefruit? Drizzle a little honey on top. It’ll cut the tart and leave you with a great big pile of health-boosting perks.

Pectin

A type of fiber found in grapefruit, pectin’s main benefit isn’t keeping you regular. It’s keeping you out of the long reach of high cholesterol. A number of studies have found that the pectin found in any kind of grapefruit lowers bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein cholesterol). If you eat red grapefruit, you’ll also enjoy the benefit of reduced triglycerides – the chemical form fat takes on in foods and in your body.

Along with pectin’s magical ability to lower cholesterol levels, it also helps reduce cholesterol’s effects on the arteries. In other words, eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can help your arteries avoid the narrowing that occurs when excess cholesterol and fats build up inside the artery walls, a process that leads to heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America.

C

Everyone hails the high vitamin C content of oranges, but did you know that grapefruits also contain this essential vitamin? With enough vitamin C in your system, you can battle a number of conditions with confidence, from the common cold to cancer. Chowing down on a vitamin C-filled grapefruit can also reduce the severity of asthma, arthritis, and other diseases that are brought about by inflammation.

With so many wonderful reasons to grab a grapefruit, it only makes sense to add some pink and red to your diet.

Keep Away from Medicines

Though grapefruit juice has a number of health benefits, it isn’t for everyone. If you take medication on a regular basis, you may need to avoid grapefruit juice as it can modify how much medicine gets in your bloodstream.

Normally, enzymes lining the small intestines destroy a certain portion of the medication you take, causing only a limited amount from making its way to your blood stream. However, grapefruit juice wields the power to prevent your intestinal lining from working appropriately. When grapefruit juice keeps these enzymes from doing their jobs, you wind up with an extremely large amount of medicine in your body, which can be dangerous.

Certain medications that treat high cholesterol, seizures, depression, high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms are all likely candidates for this frightening effect. If you’re taking any of these medications, talk with your physician before drinking grapefruit juice with, before, or after taking your medication.

If you’re stuck on grapefruit juice, ask your physician if there is an alternative medication that can be taken safely with grapefruit juice.

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Five of the Fattiest Foods

You may love these foods, but they’re no good when it comes to your good looks and good health.

Need to hit the store or a restaurant to pick up something to eat? There are some things you’d be better off avoiding. What makes these foods even worse is that the fat found isn’t just your everyday, run-of-the-mill fat. Much of it is trans-fat. These do much more than add unwanted weight to your arms, legs, and middle. Trans-fats are a highly dangerous fat that turns into cholesterol once in your body. In other words, these fats increase your weight and instantly increase your likelihood for suffering heart disease and stroke.

Here is where to watch for fat in the course of your dietary day.

Breakfast

Overflowing with 659 calories and 45 grams of fat, the Bob Evans Country Biscuit Breakfast may be the worst way to start your day. While it may taste good going down, the long-term effects of eating such an unhealthy breakfast counteract any happiness the flavor may provide. And if you’re drinking soda with your breakfast, it’s time to stop. There is no nutritional benefit to drinking soda, and when matched with the Bob Evans Country Biscuit Breakfast, you’re setting your body up for a short and diseased existence.

Lunch

If you’re heading out for lunch, you may want to steer clear of the Wild Buffalo Chicken Strip Basket at Dairy Queen. While you may expect chicken to be relatively healthy, these fried up goodies pack an 870-calorie, 96-gram punch. In the event you choose to take a drive to pick up some fries from another establishment, stay away from Jack in the Box’s large order of Natural Cut Fries. Dipped in grease and fried to fattening perfection, they come with 300 calories and 33 grams of fat.

Snack

Between meals, you need something to keep your energy level on high. What you don’t need is excessive fat. So stay away from Nacho Cheese Doritos. If you think there is nothing dangerous about those little chips, you may be surprised to learn that a single ounce (approximately 11 chips) has 8 grams of fat. Since you probably never eat a mere 11 Nacho Cheese Doritos, you’re probably getting a lot more fat than you think. Oh yeah – there are also 140 calories in that tiny bag, another reason to steer clear of the chips.

Dinner

It may not be the fattiest dinner dish available, but the 12-inch Blimpie Veggie Supreme is listed here because of the cunning nature of the item. The Veggie Supreme sounds like a perfectly healthy option for you and your family. However, with 1,106 calories and 56 grams of fat, this sandwich is not nearly as healthy as its name implies. If you’re hungry for a hoagie loaded with all kinds of goodness, you can easily cut the fat grams in half or more by making it yourself at home.

Dessert

If there’s one food item to avoid purchasing, Baskin Robbins’ large chocolate Oreo shake is it. Containing an amazing 2,600 calories (yes – that’s more than you should eat in an entire day), 139 grams of fat, and 1,700 milligrams of sodium, this seemingly innocent after-dinner delight is one of the most dangerous additions to your diet. While it may look beautiful and taste fantastic, eating a large chocolate Oreo shake cannot be excused by anyone with a desire to live healthily

Swap It Up

Feeling down because some of your favorite foods are on the fatty list? Cheer up! With a few substitutions, you can easily make your favorite dish a little less fatty. Sometimes, all it takes is asking your server for a lighter option. At other times, you may need to request a food be cooked a different way (grilled instead of fried). In yet other circumstances, you may have to cook it yourself or change your order altogether.

Whatever it takes, remember – you’re doing it for the health and longevity of your body, so any sacrifice you have to make is well worth it.

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Totally Thin Thighs

A leggy tutorial on what it takes to get firm, shapely thighs.

Every celebrity has them, and you want it for yourself. Fortunately, shapely thighs are not a pipedream or reserved for those who can afford to have their pictures tossed in magazines and touched up beyond recognition. In fact, even little old you can get the sleek, sexy thighs your heart desires. But you can’t keep doing what you’re doing right now if you want to reach your goal. You’ve got to make some life changes, so get to work!

Don’t Eat Late

It may be a hard adjustment, but to keep your thighs thin and shapely, you’re going to need to cut back on late-night snacks. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating after 7 p.m. Otherwise, your body may fill up on calories right before bedtime, and if you’re not awake to work them off, those calories will go wherever they want. And yes, this includes going to your thighs. If you must eat something late, make it something light, such as a salad. Before giving in and eating something late in the night, grab your discipline and go to bed.

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them. – Joan Rivers

Go Cardio Crazy

Okay, so you don’t want to go completely psycho over your cardiovascular routine, but you’ll probably need to pump up the amount of cardio you subject yourself to on a regular basis. How much cardio should you be getting each day? Shoot for an hour, but get at least 30 minutes. While you may want to push yourself to your limit the entire time, doing this may add bulk to your legs. If you prefer thin, shapely legs, you’ll get the best shape if you stick with a low or moderate intensity for your routine.

Work Your Entire Thigh

Though your thighs are often thought of as a single muscle, they’re made up of a number of muscles: adductors (inner thighs), quadriceps and hip flexors (front of thighs), abductors (outer thighs), and hamstrings (back of thighs). If you don’t know whether you’re working the entire thigh, listen to your legs. If the pain is all concentrated on the front, back, or side of your thighs, then you need to get some new thigh-trimming exercises in your repertoire. If, on the other hand, your entire thigh is screaming in agony after a workout, you’re doing a good job.

Always Exercise

The great thing about your thighs is that they can be exercised with relative ease, whether or not you’re in the gym. A good exercise to begin thinning your thighs is wall sits. With your feet about a foot from the base of a wall, push your back against the wall and slide down the wall to a sitting position, stopping when your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold as long as possible. Another smart way to keep your thighs in shape is to skip the elevator and escalator and go for the stairs when shopping or making your way through an airport. A good third exercise is to begin sitting in a chair, only to stop in midair right before landing in the chair. Hold for as long as possible, plop down in the chair, and smile knowing your thighs are getting stronger and thinner as a result of a few small steps. For an added thigh-thinning boost, slowly raise yourself back to your standing position, or hold a couple notebooks full of paper for added pressure on your thighs.

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Incorporating Kids into Your Exercise Routine

…without going out of your mind.

If you’ve got young kids, you may find it challenging to set an exercise routine and stick to it. You can’t leave the house without them and if you don’t have a sitter to watch your kids or you try exercising at home, then they run underfoot, begging for your attention.

If this sounds like you, you need some ideas on how to incorporate your kids into your daily exercises – rain or shine. After all, what better way is there to spend time with your children than teaching them the importance of good health?

On the Outside

When the weather permits, there are great ways to exercise with your kids outdoors. The most convenient might be to take a walk or run outside. For parents with toddlers, grab the stroller and head around the block a few times. Some strollers are made for running and kids love to feel the breeze and see the scenery fly by. If you have an infant, they usually love to be outdoors snuggling close in a baby carrier, while you go walking or hiking on a nearby trail.

Another great outdoor activity to do together is bike riding. This is something you can do with young or old kids. With young children, a wonderful piece of equipment for any family is a bike trailer. You can ride your bike at any speed and your children sit in the trailer enjoying the breeze. If your kids are old enough, you can each ride your own bike, developing your child’s confidence and well-being at the same time.

Some of the best exercise is child’s play!

During the hot summer months, if you have access to a swimming pool, take advantage! Water gives you a great chance for exercise also. Swimming is one of the best exercises for all shapes and sizes. If you don’t like to swim around, just chasing your kids around the water or walking in shallow water are better than nothing.

If you have older kids, take a trip to the neighborhood park for a game of basketball or tennis. Or get a group of kids and parents together and play a round or two of soccer or football. Besides being great exercise opportunities for everyone, these create great memories and bonding experiences for everyone involved.

Keep It In

When the weather is cold or rainy, you shouldn’t count exercise out. Instead, either get to the gym for some complimentary babysitting while you get your own workout time or try the following at home:

  • Dancing. One thing both kids and parents enjoy together is dancing. Turn up your favorite dance tunes and get moving! Enjoy yourself and let loose, and don’t worry about looking silly, because no one is watching! If you can’t really dance, then just do some repetitive aerobic moves in sync to the music.
  • Lifting. If you have toddlers, a great strength-building exercise is lifting. Lift your child up in the air as many times as you can. They love it and your body says “Thank you” with each lift. Then get on your back on the floor and place your child on your legs and lift your legs as high as you can. Repeat these moves a few times and you’ll start to feel the burn.
  • Watching. These days you can buy workout videos for you and your kids to do together. What kid doesn’t like watching a movie? Now you can get them off the sofa and start moving to the workout together.
  • Playing. An entertaining new workout for all ages is using the wii video games to get moving. With the wii system, you can play all kinds of sports, from tennis to baseball to bowling, in the comfort of your living room.

With these indoor and outdoor exercise ideas, your kids are no longer a good excuse to not work out. Now that your excuses are gone, how will you get fit?

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Your Self-Guided Kitchen Raid

Our Pantry
Image by Incase. via Flickr
Your kitchen will make or break your weight loss results.

A kitchen stocked with the makings for healthy meals and snacks will keep you on track, even when late-night cravings strike. On the flip side, a kitchen filled with unhealthy munchies will derail your weight loss efforts every single time.

So what should your cupboards hold and what should be off limits? I’ve designed this self-guided kitchen raid to help you sort out the good from the bad.

Go ahead, grab a garbage bag, print out the list below, and then head to the kitchen.

The Refrigerator
Let’s start with the fridge, the heart of your kitchen. If you find something in your fridge that is on the “Dump this” list, then you know what you have to do. Get that garbage bag ready.

Dump this: Beverages with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Drinking calories is one of the quickest ways to gain weight, so quickly rid your fridge of any beverage that lists HFCS or sugar on the ingredient list.

  • Replace with: Water. It is a well known fact that most people are partially dehydrated, a condition that is harmful to your health and wreaks havoc on your weight loss efforts. Keep plenty of cold water on hand for proper hydration.

Dump this: Rich dairy products. I know that cream cheese tastes amazing, but fat-filled dairy products are extremely high in calories and should not reside in your fridge. Eliminate high-fat cheese, milk and yogurt from your kitchen.

  • Replace with: Fresh Vegetables. The produce drawer in your fridge should be overflowing with colorful nutrient-rich veggies. In fact, your fridge should hold more veggies than the drawer can hold. Veggies are filled with fiber, vitamins and nutrients and are a vital part of a healthy well-rounded diet.

Dump this: Fatty meats. It is important that you be selective about the meats that you eat. I may tell you that chicken is a great source of protein, but if you take that as a license to eat fried chicken everyday then the benefit of the protein will be lost in all the extra fat calories.

  • Replace with: Lean meats. Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, white fish – there are numerous choices when it comes to lean meats.

Dump this: Fruit-flavored yogurt. I hate to break this to you, but that cute individually packaged yogurt is going to do more harm to your waistline than you think. More than 50% of the calories in fruit-flavored yogurt come from sugar. Check out the ingredient list and you likely find both high fructose corn syrup AND sugar.

  • Replace with: Plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese. If you love yogurt, then get the low-fat plain version. You can even chop up some fresh fruit and stir it in. Another option is to have a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped fruit on top.

The Freezer
Next let’s take a look into your freezer. Anyone who has walked the freezer aisles at the store knows how plentiful frozen temptations are. How does your freezer measure up?

Dump this: Ice cream. We may as well get this one over with. Hiding a gallon or two (or even a pint) of your favorite ice cream “for a rainy day” is NOT a good idea. Save yourself from that temptation and don’t buy ice cream.

  • Replace with: Frozen fruit. When your sweet tooth starts acting up, throw an assortment of frozen fruit into the blender and whip up a healthy fiber-filled smoothie.

Dump this: Frozen Pizza. This is another one of those items that is just too tempting to keep around. Why would you bother to make a healthy dinner when a frozen pizza is calling your name? Ban frozen pizza from your home and watch as your waist starts to shrink.

  • Replace with: Turkey or Veggie Patties. For quick dinners keep your freezer filled with lean turkey patties and veggie patties. Serve on a bed of brown rice or on a whole grain bun.

Dump this: TV Dinners. I doubt that you need me to go into too much detail on this one. The next time that you are tempted to buy a pre-packaged frozen meal, please turn the package over and read the nutritional facts. You will be shocked by the staggering number of calories and less-than-healthy ingredients.

  • Replace with: Home-made Portioned Meals. Spend some time on the weekends to cook up healthy meals, and then freeze them in portioned containers. Then throughout the week you simply need to reheat and enjoy.

Dump this: Frozen Breakfast Food. French toast, waffles and pancakes are popular items in the freezer aisle. Don’t fall for the pretty photos and tasty-sounding names. These items are highly processed and contain loads of unnecessary sugar.

  • Replace with: Sprouted Whole Grain Bread and Muffins. It is just as easy to throw a slice of sprouted, whole grain bread into the toaster as it is a frozen waffle. Spread it with some natural peanut butter and pair it with a piece of fruit. Now that’s a much healthier breakfast.

The Pantry
Last, but not least, we come to your pantry. This may be the most painful part of your kitchen raid, since most junk food ends up here. So take a moment to give yourself a pep talk before grabbing that garbage bag and opening your pantry.

Dump this: Sugar-filled cereal. If sugar or high fructose corn syrup are listed as ingredients on your cereal box, it’s got to go. Sugar-filled cereal is basically another form of junk food, and will only add inches to your waist.

  • Replace with: Whole Grain Oatmeal. There is a huge difference between instant, sugar-filled oatmeal and whole grain oatmeal.

Dump this: Refined/White Bread/Rice/Pasta. These highly processed products promote weight gain and a plethora of other health problems. Do not buy “white” bread, rice or pasta – especially if you want to lose weight.

  • Replace with: Whole Grain Bread/Rice/Pasta. Whole grain is the best choice you can make. It is filled with healthy fiber, and is less likely to contain harmful, waist-expanding ingredients.

Dump this: Chips/Crackers. While refined chips and crackers are fun to munch on, the extra calories will quickly add up. Do yourself a favor by not allowing these into your pantry.

  • Replace with: Almonds. The key to making this snack a winner is to practice portion control. Place a handful of almonds into individual bags for pre-portioned snacks.

Dump this: Packaged Sweets. I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? Cookies and cakes and candies shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, so keep them out of your house. It’s one thing to enjoy a dessert once in a while, it is quite another to routinely eat processed sweets at home.

  • Replace with: Dried Fruit. When you want to munch on something sweet, turn to a bag of dried fruit. Make sure that you purchase dried fruit that does not contained added sugars.

That completes your self-guided kitchen raid. I encourage you to raid your kitchen every couple of months as a way of keeping yourself on track. Talk with your family members about the healthy changes that you’re making, and try to get everyone’s support.

You know that weight loss comes as a result of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts. Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will get you on the fast-track to your best body ever.