Monthly Archives: April 2010

There is a chronic obesity weight loss cycle in America right now and there are some very complicated reasons this problem continues to exist.  However, let’s talk about three of the simple reasons and what you can do about them.

1.  Problem: Poor Food Choices

One of the primary reasons for obesity and poor health in the country is directly related to our consumption of unhealthy food.  It is not a secret that we eat a ton of processed foods and many of them lack any real nutritional value.

Next, and very high on the list, is our love for greasy, unhealthy, fast foods.  Some would argue that the explosive proliferation of fast food chains is one of the key factors for so many people being obese today.  For most of these quick eat companies, it is all about making money and they could care less if you die of heart disease or if your kid is 300 pounds in the 5th grade.

Solution:  Eat More Natural Foods and Cook More Often

Most of the older adults in the United States remember being told in school about eating your fruits and vegetables on a daily basis and drinking 8 glasses of water.  It doesn’t mean we all did it but it seems to have been taught a little more aggressively.  In today’s America, we have children that literally don’t know what a tomato is and that lack of knowledge is part of the problem.  We are so used to feeding our kids fast food every day that they have no idea what they really should be eating, and when you try to introduce it to them they don’t want it.

It’s going to take some work but it can be done.  This drive to eat better applies to adults just as much as kids.  One way to start is to skip the drive-thru and cook at home a little more often.  Yes, it takes additional effort but it’s not that hard to come up with an extra 30 minutes to provide healthier food, and improve the health of your family.

2.  Problem: Lack of Exercise

You really don’t have to be an expert in food or fitness to know that a lack of exercise is another major problem that contributes to obesity, weight loss issues, and overall unhealthy citizens.

A few decades ago, kids did not spend as much time sitting in the house and neither did adults.  The growth of cable television and video games are just two of the reasons this has happened.  There are undoubtedly many others but the main issue is we just don’t move enough.

The body is a very sophisticated machine and two of the things it needs to function effectively is the proper fuel and exercise.  If you fail to give it those things, it will not work right for long.  That may be an oversimplification but it is something we all should consider.

Solution:  Increase Activity

One of the problems with exercise is that it sounds, feels, and looks like…exercise.  Many of us just don’t want to work out and busy lives make it even harder to do.  The secret is to find something that doesn’t feel like exercise.  It can be something fun, or maybe even some kind of work that you enjoy doing.  Either way, you need to pinpoint an activity that you don’t mind doing and one that does not give you the dreaded “I have to exercise” mentality.

Some good options for increased physical activity are:

  • Cycling
  • Basketball
  • Walking Your Dog
  • Working Around Your Home
  • Gardening
  • Shopping
  • Dance Classes

3. Problem:  Lack of Government Oversight

There are many people out there that will say that the government should not be involved in issues of what we eat, how we exercise, etc. and you might have good arguments on both sides.  However, only the government can help control companies that infuse our food and drink with ingredients that not only contribute to obesity but are blatantly unhealthy.

It is not uncommon for us as consumers to find out years or decades later that certain companies knew the dangers of their products but continued to push them to us simply to increase profits.  That should not be a surprise in a world where billion dollar corporations fail because they are being greedy and not caring about anything outside of more profits.

A great example of this is the use of high fructose corn syrup which is found in thousands of different products. This is an ingredient that is part of a multi-billion dollar industry and its manufacturers care about making more money not whether or not you get fat.  Their job is to add it to more and more products even in cases where there are far better options.  In the end, your good health is seldom their primary concern.

Solution:  Education and Action

The only way to get around these problems is for watch dog groups and the government to make sure that these companies are doing the right thing.  Secondly, we need to become better educated on what we eat and what we should not eat.  How many of us really take the time to read product labels, and do you have any idea what you are putting into your body on a regular basis?

Finally, we need to speak out and demand better treatment.  There have been many instances where Americans rose up to protest certain actions of companies and there is no better reason than your good health.  We need to rise up and stop accepting the low standard products that are fed to us.

Did you know that some farmers said that they grow a separate patch of potatoes to be used by their families because the ones they grow for commercial purposes are loaded with pesticides and other unsafe chemicals? If farmers don’t want them, why should you want them?

As mentioned in the beginning, these are some simple explanations but the overall problem is far more complex.  Ultimately, we need to be more responsible for our long term health and take the steps needed to make sure that happens.

What is your opinion on obesity and weight loss?  Please leave your comments and suggestions.

Now available from is the new FREE eBook which includes diet shopping lists, measurement tracking and weight loss planning that you can use with any plan. The new eBook is called “7 Tools to Help You Burn Maximum Fat” which you can download to the right—>

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  • Diet shopping lists to keep you focused at the grocery store
  • Measurement tracking for seeing progress in more ways than just the scale
  • Great for helping with teen diet planning, they can be involved in planning for their own success
  • Motivational tools to keep you going
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So you are ready to get the home gym set up and you want to know the best exercise equipment for home fitness? Rainy days, crowded gyms, save on gas…whatever your reasons…we do better with our fitness when we have more options that make exercising easier to do. So here it is from, the Seven Best List that will get you the results you are looking for when you want to workout at home.

7) Anti-Burst Exercise Ball There are so many different exercises you can do with a simple exercise ball, from elevated planks, to crunches and even to boxing (have partner hold ball and wail away at it). For the money, it’s pretty versatile and a must have for every home gym. The link features some that offer FREE FedEx shipping and a low price.

6) Resistance Bands Resistance bands put the power of gym weight machines into stretchy rubber bands. Replicate bicep curls, leg lifts, thigh work and chest presses. While not perfect, they pack a decent resistance workout into a small amount of money.

5) Adjustable Dumbbell Set For when resistance bands don’t quite cut it, the dumbbell set is there as your back up. You can add them to cardio work for extra weight. And truly, nothing beats a standard bench press (or ottoman press or exercise ball press) than good, old fashioned dumbbells.

4) Kettlebells These Russian kettlebells are an old piece of equipment that have been gaining in popularity recently. The great thing about kettlebells is to lift them requires the use of your whole body. So different from dumbbells, you have to use your arms, legs and core to lift it resulting in a better overall body workout. The link again features some that offer free shipping, important when you are ordering something so heavy!

3) Bosu. This is a newer piece of equipment as well and has been made popular by shows like “The Biggest Loser”. It’s basically half of an exercise ball with a flat plastic piece on one side. The Bosu is wonderful for balance work. You can place the rounded side down on the ground and then stand on the flat part. Grab your dumbbells and start doing some curls. You will have to use your core for balance so it adds something to standard exercises you are already doing. One thing I have seen them do on Biggest Loser (which I haven’t tried yet) is to place the Bosu on a small step up stool (plyo box) with the flat side down. Then they jump up with both feet onto the rounded ball side, all while engaging their full body to propel them up and core muscles for balance. Fantastic. I have seen these at Target for about $119.

2) Everlast Heavy Bag The heavy bag can be used for so much more than just hitting (which is great in itself). Grab a partner and do overhead lifts, lie on your back with your legs over it for crunches, tie a rope to it and pull it for resistance work. There are many options for a heavy bag which makes it optimal for a home gym.

1) Jump Rope. Not a flimsy one like you had in middle school, but a real, professional jump rope. I prefer the plastic types because they are better for speed work, but there are weighted and leather ropes as well. You just can’t get a better cardio workout for under $10. You will improve your conditioning, speed, and agility all with a rope skipping routine you do on a regular basis.

Now that you know the best exercise equipment for home fitness, you can go out and get your home gym ready for some major workouts.

When the body has been overwhelmed with unhealthy foods like fast foods, sodas and cookies, then Yes, you should do a water diet detox before you start your diet plan. At one point in my life, my brain was feeling overwhelmed with all of the information it was getting each day. Advertisements, Internet, television news, school…it was too much. I went on a TV detox for 30 days to just clear things out a bit. The same idea rings true for your body. You should try some type of water detox or cleansing program to get your body back to a clean slate.

Do Cleansing and Detox work?

Cleanses and detoxing works because they can help to take away your severe cravings before you start your new healthy eating plan. It is not always easy, but the cravings do subside after a few days when you aren’t giving your body so many choices. Some people consider cleansing or doing a detox as a good way to “jump start” the new eating and exercise plan. However, you do not want to go overboard. Cleanses should not be done for more than a few days. While some might do for religious or other reasons, for the average person, just a day or two of cleaning out will suffice. Keeping it short also helps you remember it is “doable”. Anyone can do anything for a day or two.

Whether you choose a water diet detox, or the lemon pepper Master Cleanse, an at home cleanse or even Jillian Michael’s New Cleanse, it’s a great idea to help you start your diet on the right foot.

We are loving this cheap, mini elliptical trainer for exercise at the office or while watching TV. Great on the joints so it’s a good piece of equipment to start out with until you can move up to treadmills or stair steppers. At under $150 (Use coupon Code BIG3 at checkout for 3% off!), it’s affordable and you can use it every day. Now there really is no excuse for not moving while talking on the phone at work.

Mini Elliptical Trainer for Exercise at the Office

Stamina InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer Stamina InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer

The Stamina InMotion E1000 Elliptical trainer is an affordable way to work out at home on one of the most popular machines in the gym. It is compact and lightweight enough to use at home or at the office, and stores easily under a desk or in a closet. Elliptical trainer workouts burn a similar number of calories as jogging but without the risk of injury to the back, knees, hips, or ankles. Since your feet never leave the pedals the Stamina InMotion E1000 Elliptical gives a low-impact workout that is easy on your joints. Features: Adjustable tension to control workout intensity level The foot pedals can be worked in a forward or reverse direction to target your lower body in different ways Electronic fitness monitor displays number of strides per minute, total number of strides, exercise time, and calories burned or scan all stats Sturdy steel construction, non-slip pedals Download User Manual (PDF) Footprint: 20″ x 12″ Weight: 24 lbs. Warranty: 1 year frame/90 days parts

Once you find out from the fat body calculator or BMI calculator that you have a few pounds to lose, be sure to come back to and download the FREE eBook, “7 Tools to Help You Burn Maximum Fat” so you can start planning for your diet success. Here are the Top Five body fat calculators we could find online.

5. Halls.MD
3. Mayo Clinic
2. National Institutes of Health

Remember that in addition to fat body calculator results or BMI calculator results, you can also check your fat on certain body fat scales. Try one of my favorites from, the My Weigh Phoenix Talking Body Fat Scale, 1-Unit below.

My Weigh Phoenix Talking Body Fat Scale, 1-Unit My Weigh Phoenix Talking Body Fat Scale, 1-Unit

Able To Store Personal Data For Up To 10 People!

According to Google keyword tool, approximately 590 people per month search for “buy tapeworm diet“. What!? This fact makes me feel very sad for people considering this. I took Parasitology as a graduate student in college and parasites are not something you want to mess with. The argument for people who are trying to sell these worms for all sorts of ailments and weight loss is that we used to have worms inside us, so what’s the big deal? We also used to not wash our hands so should we stop that too?

When I hear someone say “Fat people don’t want to lose weight, otherwise they would just do it,” they need to be shown this information. For someone to even consider purposely ingesting or getting a tapeworm, they must have sadly lost complete hope in everything else. I know that feeling. However, there is hope in sensible nutrition, exercise and understanding the mind-stomach connection. Sometimes I hear “But I already tried dieting, it didn’t work.” It still can, it will. The hope of that is far better than what is described on the CDC website:

“Hookworms have a complex life cycle that begins and ends in the small intestine. Adult female worms produce thousands of eggs, which are excreted in stool. Hookworm eggs are not themselves infective. However, if they reach soil (for example, when infected persons defecate on the ground or when “night soil” is used to fertilize crops) and if the soil conditions are favorable (warm, moist, and shaded), the eggs hatch into larvae. The barely visible larvae penetrate the skin (often through bare feet), are carried to the lungs, go through the respiratory tract to the mouth, are swallowed, and eventually reach the small intestine. This journey takes about a week. In the small intestine, the larvae develop into half-inch-long worms, attach themselves to the intestinal wall, and suck blood.”

On the website of a clinic in Mexico that is selling worm larvae, it says that even people who respond to the worms favorably, don’t lose much weight and that the worms won’t help if you don’t exercise and change your eating habits. So if you are eating fast food, drowning vegetables and salads in saturated fat like butter and dressings, drinking sugar-laden sodas every day to wash down your potato chips and candy bars…the worms aren’t going to work either. Please go to Google images and search “human hookworm” before you think of spending your hard-earned money to put yourself in even more danger. At some point, you know you have to try to do it again, to be healthy and get it right…one more time. Plan for your success (check back soon at for a free ebook to help!) and you will do it.

Hopefully fewer people will be looking up “buy tapeworm diet” as they start to believe again that they can lose weight with common sense.

If you have been getting tired or bored at the gym, you may be thinking to yourself “Why Work Out? Can’t I just eat great, walk around the block and call it a day?” Well, you could, but you would not be on your way to GREAT health and fat burning. Several studies have been released recently that are touting fitness and adding more demands to our time spent exercising. But how and why should we fit in an hour or more each day of exercise?

  • Find ways to include exercise in your daily routine. Think about it. We used to all be farming in the fields all day or doing some kind of heavy labor like washing clothes without a washing machine. Now we sit in chairs at desks. All day. Then we come home and sit on couches. The human body is designed to do work. When you are still, think of ways not to be. Can you do leg raises in your chair, lift some dumbbells while on speakerphone or do crunches on a fitness ball? When all else fails, dance in your cubicle. Then take the stairs, park far away at the grocery store, push that cart through the grocery store with purpose. Move fast, move faster.
  • The calories you need to consume to not gain weight if you are not exercising are not enough to sustain the body, even if you aren’t moving. Our organs and systems need nutrients to keep them functioning and healthy. Don’t be afraid to give them calories in the form of nutritionally dense foods. Then we need to burn energy so the body is working. If you have a car that you don’t drive for several weeks, it wont start. The body responds the same way.
  • Why work out when I already look good anyway? Being “skinny” does not mean you are healthy. Even people who look very lean can be harboring dangerous visceral body fat that surrounds their organs in their stomachs. If you look great but huff and puff climbing a few flights of stairs, you need to be working out more. There is a girl in this situation at my gym. She looks great, but her stamina on machines is very poor. Women much larger than her can outlast her on any elliptical or treadmill. I credit her for coming to the gym, though I think her agenda is not about being healthy, yet.
  • Yes, there are foods that can help you to burn fat. Whole grains, peppers, oats, lean meats and green tea are a few. But they can’t replace time on a treadmill, biking, running or an elliptical machine, and you need weight and strength training to make protein work for you and build strong muscles.
  • Do what you did when you were little. As a kid, when I was done with school, we played. For at least 2 hours outside, we ran, we rode bikes, we played games, jumped, skipped, rolled, and screamed our heads off.  Watch your kids or your nieces and nephews…see what they do…follow them.

Exercise is necessary, but more important, it’s doable and can be fun. Hopefully this article answered your “Why Work Out” question so you can get started burning fat, building lean muscle and being on your way to better health.

“Should You Eat 6 Meals A Day to Lose Weight?”

According to a University of Ottawa study, the answer to the question “Should You Eat 6 Meals A Day to Lose Weight?”  is No. It has been debated that eating 6 small meals each day vs. 3 normal meals each day does everything from “make your stomach work harder” to “increasing metabolism throughout the day.”

This study compared the weight loss between two different groups. For 8 weeks, one group ate a low calorie diet and had meals three times a day and the other group ate six meals a day, but the same number of calories were consumed in both groups. The two groups each lost approximately 5% of weight but there was no significant different in weight loss between the two groups.

So, it appears, at least from the results of this study, that you don’t need to eat the 6 meals a day diet to lose weight. However, if that is easier for you, there doesn’t appear to be any harm in it either.

Getting ready to walk 5K or walk 10K can seem daunting for beginners. Maybe you even want to try to run a 5k? If you have never participated in a race before, here are some frequently asked questions and info for Beginner 5K training to prepare you for race day and so no one will know you are the “newbie”.

How long is a 5K?

A 5K is 3.1 miles

How long is a 10K?

A 10K is 6.2 miles

The race website/brochure says 5K run. Can I walk instead?

Usually races are open to walkers, but if it doesn’t state it specifically, contact the event organizers just be sure.

Where does the race number go?

You will normally receive a race number and some safety pins. A normal newbie mistake is putting this number on your back. It goes on the front over your tummy.

Where and how do I line up or start my 5K or 10K?

Walkers will usually start behind the runners, so don’t get up to the start line when the gun is about to go off. Hang back and let the runners and elite athletes go first or else you will feel like you are literally getting run over in the first 5 minutes of the race. Don’t worry about your time being affected. Most races use chips you wear on your shoe (they give these to you the morning of the race) and your time wont start until you cross the start line even if it’s a few minutes after the start gun has already gone off. Sometimes the runners are trying to qualify their race so they can go on to other races, so they are taking it pretty seriously. And first place usually comes with a nice prize, like $500. The back of the group has all the fun folks! Some groups refer to themselves as “penguins” because they just waddle along at their own pace.

What should I eat or drink before my 5K or 10K?

For 24 hours before your race, don’t eat any unusual foods that your body is not used to. A lot of people like to eat pasta the night before a race, but don’t go crazy, you don’t want to be sick in the morning. For breakfast on race day, opt for a bagel or a banana and water. Some races offer foods at the start and finish. I have seen yogurt, bananas, sausage biscuits, and orange juice. Drink plenty of fluids in the 24 hours before your race, but remember you will be walking for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours so visit the loo before race start. (Usually in the form of a port a potty unfortunately so bring your antibacterial lotion!)

Can I wear my iPod or mp3 player during my 5K or 10K?

Usually not and mostly it’s a safety issue. However, most of the event organizers wont tell you to remove them, they just recommend you not wear them. My rule is it depends on the venue. If it’s a non-hectic area I will wear them. Otherwise, I keep my ears open. Sometimes runners behind you (who might be lapping you) will tell you they are coming up on the left so you can be aware of not stepping into their path. If you do listen to music, keep the volume low so you can still hear what is going on around you. Especially people cheering for you and rooting you on!

How do I know if I am ready to walk a 5K or 10K?

For a 5K, most anyone in average health can walk this. It might take a bit longer, but you can do it. A long time to walk a 5K might be an hour and 10 minutes. Can you walk that long? A 10K is more challenging so you will want to build up your stamina before attempting this distance. Find a good walking and fitness program and train for several weeks first.

I am afraid I will be last. What should I do?

First of all, those who are in last place are those who are home in bed. YOU got up and walked 3.1 or 6.2 miles! Take pride in any position you place. Everyone there will be supportive of you whether you are first or last and remember, the only person you are really racing against is yourself. One note on being toward the back of the group though, you might not get your chip time right away but no worries. Most races will post their results online within a day or so.

Where can I get a beginner 5K training guide? I want to Run a 5K.

Here is a decent one from Self Magazine you can download. Here is the Jillian Michaels from Sedentary to 5K plan. We have a 5K challenge with prizes going on through September 1, 2010.

Feel free to contact us at if you think of any other questions that should be added to this FAQ to walk 5K or 10K. Good luck!