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February 2012

January 2012

Water: A glug story


Glass of water
That's a pretty glass of water ... now, drink 10 of them.

Water is not my favorite drink. If I had my druthers (mmmm, druthers...) I'd swig Coca-Cola all day -- full sugar, full caffeine. But I don't. That's just crazy.

Aside from my morning massive mug of coffee, I drink water, and I have to force myself to get it down because, you see, I am a camel. I'm never thirsty. But my scale that measures everything shows that I'm in serious need of water.

So how do I get my water in? I glug it. No dainty sipping, no "put it in a pretty glass with a lemon wedge" trick. Instead, I swig it like a frat boy at a kegger.


I need a big ol' water bottle with a proper "guzzling nozzle." My fave is a 32-ounce Rubbermaid bottle with a flip top. In fact, Rubbermaid refers to it as the Chug Bottle (at right). Nice thing about it is that it's readily available, BPA-free and cheap, so you can keep a few of them around and filled. You just flip the top and chug away. It also fits nicely in most car cup holders.

So you've got the bottle and the water. Now I'll tell you what I put in the water. If I'm working out, I can easily drink it plain. But if I'm at my desk or watching TV I need a little something. Right now I have a packet of Emergen-C and a heaping spoonful of pink lemonade Metamucil in my bottle.

Metamucil serves a few purposes:

  • Pysllium fiber is great for improving your cholesterol. The gelatinous fiber pulls the bad stuff out of your system.
  • It's also good for adding a boost of fiber, which can help make you feel fuller.
  • The slightly "gloopy" texture of the water makes it go down quicker, and isn't that what we're after? It literally gallops down your throat.

In the evening, my water of choice is another quart with a packet of Crystal Light Pure lemonade flavor (I'm all about the lemons). It provides just enough sweeteness to make the water interesting, and Crystal Light Pure is made with stevia and sugar so there aren't any artificial sweeteners or colors. Yeah, it has 30 calories per packet but it's totally worth it.

My goal is at least two of those Chug Bottles. If I get three, that's awesome (and 12 glasses, BTW). If that seems like a lot of water, you actually get used to it after awhile.

Do you have any tricks for cramming down the water?

While you're thinking, here's the latest HealthBuzz video:

Introducing ... Revolution Friday

Dr.Jennifer Ashton, Tim Gunn, Ty Pennington, Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry and Harley Pasternak. ABC photo

Anyone catch the new show The Revolution? I'm a big fan of working on the whole person inside and out to make lasting changes, and we've teamed up with the show to provide tips from its team of experts that we'll run on Fridays. We've chatted with Harley Pasternak before and love his advice and watched Tim Gunn transform Biggest Loser contestants on a few makeover episodes. But we've got the whole team chipping in with their ideas, and here's the first one:In 2012, kick start a revolution of your own with these five tips from the hosts of ABC’s new daily talk show The Revolution:

1. Bedroom Boost: If you are not sure how to start your transformation, here’s one place to begin: the room for romance, refuge and recharging your batteries – your bedroom. It’s the most personal room in your house and also the most important – it’s where you start and end your day; it’s where you get your rest and your romance. So, give some attention to your private space. For an easy, in-an-afternoon fix, try focusing on the ceiling. Paint it a romantic color that complements your decor, add a beautiful light like a chandelier or a softer light with a drum shade, and also install a dimmer. If the last thing you see before you go to sleep and the first thing you see when you wake up is beautiful then you will feel the difference in everything else you do, and maybe an added romance benefit too! - Ty Pennington, design expert

2. Accessorize Like a Pro: Accessories have the power to make or break an outfit. So here are some great tips for how to wear them right. Be mindful of your office’s fashion culture when choosing accessories to wear to work. Pendant necklaces, cuff bracelets, and simple earrings can usually work for everyone. As for those animal prints, don’t go overboard – one item or accessory is enough. Also, add instant shape to any outfit with a belt. When slipping on those ankle boots, try them with tights of the same color to make your legs look long and lean. - Tim Gunn, style guru

3. Eating on the Go: If you really want to avoid getting those munchies and being tempted to eat something unhealthy, pack a snack. Plan ahead, and try to bring something with you that doesn’t have to be refrigerated or prepared. Things like delicious low-sugar/high-protein snack bars, dried fruit, and turkey jerky make for great transportable snacks that will keep you feeling full and avoiding temptation. - Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer

4. Doctor’s Orders: Ask your doctor questions; an educated patient is the best patient. There are four important questions you should always ask your doctor anytime something is recommended to you: 1) what are the risks, 2) what are the benefits, 3) what are the options, and 4) what are the alternatives. Use these questions whether talking about medications, tests, procedures, surgeries, or treatment options. And, keep a medical scrapbook at home with all your records. - Dr. Jennifer Ashton, OB-GYN

5. You Matter: Most women are pulled in a million different directions. There is always someone or something vying for your time. But the reality is that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself; actually, it’s pretty darn healthy. Your family wants you to be strong, happy and energetic. The way to do that is to say no a little more often. And, put yourself on your to-do list to ensure you and your needs are priorities just like everything else on the list. And remember, saying no (for a change) might be the healthiest thing you do all day. - Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry, Therapist

The Revolution is ABC Daytime’s new daily talk show that aims to revolutionize the lives of viewers from the inside out. The show features a team of experts that will help complete transformations in all areas of life including body, health, style, mind and environment by providing tips and tools to motivate viewers and serve as a catalyst for change. Featuring design expert Ty Pennington; style guru Tim Gunn; celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak; OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Ashton; and therapist Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry. The Revolution airs weekdays at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter (@TheRevolution). For more information, visit (We were not compensated for these posts; we just like the show!)

Produce of the Month: Dinosaur kale

Dinosaur kale

After I watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix, I watched the companion video on the Engine 2 Diet, where author Rip Esselstyn visits a couple of families to show them how to green up their eating and make some "plant-strong" recipes. One of the recipes called for dinosaur kale, which had me intrigued so I bought some last week.

It's a darker green and larger than the garden-variety kale. Must have been what Fred Flintstone's pet ate in the back yard.

Whole Foods has an ANDI scale in its produce department, which rates foods on their nutrient density, or Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. The scale goes from zero to 1,000 and this baby scores 1,000.

Also known as Lacinato or Tuscan kale, it has deep green, dimply looking long leaves. I stir-fried some the other night with a little olive oil and caramelized onion, and dino kale has a slightly sweeter flavor than the curly variety, so if you've never had kale before or find regular kale too "kaley," give this one a try.

Friday finds: Chip maker, green hummus, twitterdiet partying, HealthBuzz

Consider this a big ol' salad bowl of Shrinking Sisters info today.



I was watching the Dr. Oz Show last week and saw a cool new product -- the Mastrad TopChips kit, which consists of a mandoline slicer and a silicone tray. You slice your fruits and veggies paper thin, then place them on the tray and microwave, making chips. I ordered one from Amazon and it just arrived this morning, so I grabbed an apple to try it out. They came out a little more like dried apple slices than crispy chips but they were still good and a fun way to stretch an apple. Carrot chips didn't work at all, but I have a high-powered microwave and may have to lower the temp a little to get the right drying effect. Sweet potato crisps will be my next experiment.


While at a Whole Foods Engine 2 Challenge Wednesday night, one of the employees mentioned green garbanzo hummus, as it doesn't have any added oil -- just tahini, garbanzos and spices -- so I gave it a try and was really impressed. More impressive -- it only has 39 calories per ounce, which is about half the calories as regular hummus. The brand I got was Nature's Healthy Gourmet, a Florida company that sells its product at Whole Foods.



Last night I had the pleasure of co-hosting a Twitter party. For the most part, I don't do Twitter parties because they're usually sponsored by a company and the conversation keeps getting steered toward how awesome that product is with hashtag spam. But Rebecca Regnier's #twitterdiet parties on Thursdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. are geared toward people talking about weight loss and how we can keep each other accountable. So next time you find your handles twitching for evening Doritos, fire up the laptop and join the party.


 And, finally, here's this week's HealthBuzz!

Twitter party like it's 1999!

Computer of the future
(Wait ... if we're Twitter partying like it's 1999 we'll be in a skeevy AOL chat room. Scratch that. Twitter party like it's 2012. [Thanks to Starling Fitness for the photo].)

Back around 6 years ago, when I still worked at a newspaper, I pitched an idea for a weight-loss blog. Everyone thought it was a great idea, but the buck stopped with a senior editor I'll call Cranky Pants. Cranky Pants thought the idea was fine but that my tone was all wrong because I used humor to write about weight loss.

"Obesity is a deadly serious subject," Cranky Pants bellowed.

So I toned it down a bit, went back and forth with Cranky Pants and finally launched The Skinny in September 2007, just in time for the season 4 premiere of The Biggest Loser.

Then we cranked up the humor and promptly won a state award. Take that, Cranky Pants.

People KNOW that obesity is a deadly serious subject, but that doesn't mean you need to scare people 24/7 with stats and provide lettuce recipes.

And I'm glad that Rebecca Regnier shares my view. She and Robin Gorrell have the blog Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat (one of the names I suggested during the birth of The Skinny!) Rebecca also has a TV show in Toledo called Rebecca Regnier's Full Plate, and just wrote the book Your Twitter Diet and hosts a #twitterdiet Twitter party every Thursday and Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET.

And tonight, I'll be co-hosting the #twitterdiet party with her. We'll be talking about the topic of "career dieting," as in I've been on some sort of diet since the age of 10 (probably not a good thing, eh?). So if you can relate, join us! All you need to do is follow Rebecca (@RebeccaRegnier), moi (@its_gail) and use the hashtag #twitterdiet.

Tunes for Tuesday: Stronger, by Kelly Clarkson

I love kick-ass, "you go, girl" anthems, especially when working out. Problem is, they often make me want to stop running and break out into a one-person dancing flash mob. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is one of my favorite sayings -- it's a reminder to stop being such a baby about trying stuff like running and working out with heavier weights. So glad I follow Kelly Clarkson's advice.