I was compensated for my participation in Coca-Cola’s Balanced Living Workshop, but my thoughts and views are my own.
Wake-up call. That’s how I would sum up my two-day Coca-Cola Balanced Living Workshop in Chicago last week. I can’t say enough about the top-notch staff – registered dietitians and fitness trainers — as well as the 23 other Chicago-area mommy bloggers in attendance. While there were many memorable moments, I’ll spare you the details and give you the highlights.
My personal favorite was working out with Harley Pasternak, the celebrity diet and fitness coach (he trains Jessica Simpson, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Megan Fox). I got up front and center so we could sweat side by side. This man, who flew in and out of Los Angeles the same day so he could be there, was amazing.
He really seems to get the female body psyche. He described the average “fit” person: seated at a computer all day, drive to the gym, workout for 45 minutes, grab a low-fat muffin and freshly squeezed juice on the way out, and go home to dinner. Splurge on dessert because you just worked out. Burn off 400 calories and consume 750. Shame on us. We’ve got it all wrong.
Harley offered these tips:
Stay active throughout the day, not just during your workout. I tried to tell Los Angeles-based Harley that it’s difficult to move much on the coldest days in Chicago, but he didn’t buy it. We can still take a walk outside after dinner or, on those especially heinously cold days, go walk at the mall. Harley answers voice mails during his walks.
Stand up when you can. If you’re really computer-bound, think about investing in a stand-up workstation. They’re becoming more popular and affordable. Never sit at your computer/desk for longer than an hour without getting up and walking around. And NOT to the kitchen to get a snack.
Do resistance training. Apparently all that cardio I do isn’t enough to stave off mid-life weight gain. I need to burn calories all day long, and that takes resistance training. Resistance builds muscle which burns calories throughout the day; not just during a workout. You don’t have to go to the gym. Harley demonstrated some simple exercises anyone can do at home. And, you don’t need expensive gym shoes. You need the right shoes for the exercise, but spending a lot isn’t necessary. I tried Harley’s Hollywood Workout and loved how it tracked the calories I burned and how well I performed each exercise.
Also, I can stop doing those damn abdominal crunches. All they do is strain my neck and create a round-shouldered appearance. Harley says to do a reverse fly to strengthen and tone the muscles in the upper back between the shoulder blades. It makes our posture better and draws in the abs. Stand with feet a foot apart, bend forward at a 90 degree angle with knees slightly bent, back arched, arms straight and outstretched to the sides while squeezing your shoulder blades together. He had us do 30 reps and I could definitely feel it the next day.
I also met with a registered dietitian. Thank you, Christine Palumbo, RD. I’ve already started making changes.
Have the right snacks on hand. That witching hour when I do all my dietary damage is 3-5pm. There’s such a big gap between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner. I didn’t know that our serotonin drops around 3 p.m. each day. We need a snack high in protein.
* A handful of almonds or walnuts. I just bought the 100-calorie packs of Emerald Natural Walnuts and Almonds.
* Peanut butter on Triscuit or Ry Krisp crackers.
* Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.
* Carrots with hummus.
* It’s about total diet, not just about any one food.
* Fill your plate with one half vegetables/fruits.
* Bake with unsweetened applesauce rather than oil.
* Choose breakfast cereal with at least 3g fiber and low in sodium.
* Choose loin or round cuts of meat.
* When looking at food labels, try to aim for 5% or less (percent daily value) in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Aim for 20% or higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
I was surprised to learn just how committed Coca-Cola is to community health. They’ve changed the products made available in schools. It’s now easier to find calorie information on their products. And they have so many more choices, like their 90-calorie mini cans. They’re also partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics (they are a sponsor of healthychildren.org), the American Academy of Family Physicians (sponsor FamilyDoctor.org), and the American College of Sports Medicine.
Some novel ideas:
* Use cookie cutters to cut out cute holiday shapes in a tortilla and bake at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.
* Use salsa as a salad dressing.
* Bake a potato and serve with low-fat melted cheese and black beans.
Enough talk. It’s time for my workout. Let’s keep each other posted on our progress. If you try any of these fitness or diet ideas, let me know how they work for you!