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Guest post: Calories are not created equal

Here's a great article from Life Fitness, which makes my fave exercise machines at the gym. (The back extension is my current fave -- my lower back has never felt so strong since I've been using it three times a week.)

This post is not sponsored in any way. I just totally agree with this, and since I've been "upgrading" my calories, weight loss has been somewhat easier. As I said some years back, when referring to another weight-loss program, "30 points of nacho cheese rice cakes is not the same as 30 points of healthy, filling, nutritious foods."

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Do you meticulously count calories to stay fit? We hate to break it to you, but a 150-calorie brownie is not the same as 150 calories worth of broccoli. But what about that age-old weight loss saying, “Calories in vs. calories out?” Well, it’s true that a calorie is a calorie regardless of its source, but not all calories have the same effect on your body, and that’s the real key! Here’s what you should be eating to get the most bang for your calorie’s buck:

Make Friends With Fiber. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are fiber-rich foods you want in your grocery cart. Fiber requires more chewing, which means your brain has more time to get the “full” signal and prevent you from overeating. And since fiber takes longer to digest, the calories in whole-grain toast go farther than the calories in a candy bar. The end result? You feel satisfied longer.

Choose Healthy Fats. Healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds are by no means considered low-calorie, but when eaten in moderation, they make you feel fuller longer and stop overeating. And while saturated fats and trans fats raise cholesterol, unsaturated fats actually aid in muscle recovery, improve hair and skin quality, and are important for a healthy heart. Can a 100-calorie snack pack do all that like half an avocado? Nope.

Polish Off Protein. Protein is one of your body’s biggest allies. Not only do you burn more calories digesting and metabolizing protein than any other nutrient, but protein leaves you feeling fuller longer than eating an equally calorie-dense carbohydrate. Are you starting to see a theme? Plus, protein helps feed muscles, and the more muscle mass you have, the better your metabolism burns calories. You can get high-quality protein from plant-based sources such as whole-grains, nuts, vegetables and legumes, and also animal-based sources like low-fat dairy, white meat poultry, lean beef and eggs.

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit  

A dose of super-tough love from Steve Siebold

Die tootsie pops
In Steve Siebold's world, there are no Halloween leftovers.

I love getting press releases from Steve Siebold's publicist. If you're not familar with Siebold, he wrote a book a few years ago called Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People.


There's no other way to say it: He's a weight-loss hard ass.

In his world, there is no slippage, corner cutting, no "just this once." And that's hard and it sucks.

That's why I love the press releases. They're like a bucket of cold water, a smack upside the head.

Today, I'm offering his tips for avoiding holiday weight gain. You may not agree with his all-or-nothing methodology, but he offers a no-nonsense approach to just getting it done.

This is from Steve:

  • 99% compliance on a diet is failure, even at the holidays! Sounds harsh, but if you’re going to get fit, it’s all or nothing. If you are in a committed relationship you wouldn’t cheat on your significant other just one time, so why would you cheat on something as important as your diet?
  • Before you put anything in your mouth, always ask yourself, “How is this food going to impact my health?”
  • If you’re on a diet during the holidays, don’t look at dieting as drudgery, but see it as a strategy for a lifetime to keep you healthy, looking good and feeling great.
  • Expect challenges such as cravings, and when this happens, have a plan in place to push forward and stay compliant.
  • Find happiness in the holidays not from food, but in time spent with friends and family creating a lifetime of memories and new traditions.
  • Realize that ultimately being fit and healthy is completely your responsibility, and blaming the holidays for your weight gain is just as bad as blaming other outside factors the rest of the year such as restaurants, the food manufacturers and portion sizes.

A pal hits the Beach to lose a few

Here's a guest post from my friend Cathy Liden Traugot, wife and mom of two.

Thinkstock Single Image Set
I used to be one of those girls who could eat Ben and Jerry’s for breakfast and not gain a pound. Age caught up. Officially north of 25 on the BMI index, unable to fit into any shorts this spring and nursing an injury that kept me from the gym, I needed to go on a diet.

I nixed food journaling --too much effort. I won’t be weighed in public. Then a friend mentioned her two weeks on that diet named after a famous beach.

Two Eggs in Carton
Since there is a dollop of science behind low-carb diets, I ate a Last Supper at an Italian restaurant and then devoted myself to chicken Caesar salads (minus the croutons), low-fat string cheese and lots of eggs and turkey bacon. Two weeks later I’ve lost 6.5 pounds and learned to love green vegetables again. My carb cravings calmed down by Day 7.

But there were aspects of the diet that made me appreciate why nothing really substitutes for eating healthy, non-processed foods. Without bread and crackers in my diet, the salt in turkey bacon and lean turkey cold cuts assaulted my tongue. But as I needed these “convenience” foods to get through the diet, I ate them and tried not to think about those studies linking processed meats to cancer.

Demand Outstrips Supply For Sugar Substitute Splenda
Pre-diet I was already a Splendaholic – but mostly to sweeten coffee. Now Splenda was in my coffee, my caffeine-free diet soda, my fake sugar fudgsicles, and faux tiramisu.

Have I really solved any diet problems? Or am I introducing other ones? Guess I’ll find out.