Word of the Day: Calories

M&M’s: Mindless Munching

Mars and Murries, the inventors of one of the most popular candies on earth, M&M’s, originally named their product after themselves, but I’m convinced these two candy gods labeled the chocolate with an evil subliminal message: Mindless Munching.

Along with nuts, M&M’s are a great social treat that are commonly served in large bowls at a bar or at a friend’s BBQ. They’re perfect because they’re small enough to quickly chow down so you can continue socializing with others. But just like that, you’ve become a mindless munching machine, oblivious to the amount of candy you’re actually consuming. Subconsciously, you keep eating, and it’s okay because just one little piece can’t do any harm- it’s so tiny, therefore, it contains only zero calories.

NEWS FLASH: If you do the math, one single ityy-bitty M&M is about 3.5 calories and one bag has around 70-80 pieces (around 260 calories), and Fitness Magazine reports that on average, people consume 59 extra M&M’s when eating from a party bowl, and that’s almost 200 extra secret calories you had no idea you were even ingesting.

“We tend to overeat which can lead to gaining weight without even knowing it,” says Susan Albers who has been a clinical psychologist for 10 years now and is the author of the 2009 book, Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful: How to End Your Struggle with Mindless Eating and Start Savoring Food with Intention and Joy. “Eating is one of those things we don’t have to work hard to do, so we can do it automatically. You don’t really have to think about it and you can eat an entire plate of food.”

So you see what I mean? M&M’s are evil.

But no fear, here are some tips to prevent your mindless munching:

1. Try using the other hand. Think about it, when you reach over across the table to grab a handful of M&M’s, what hand do you use? The hand that you use to write with.  So one technique that can help reduce your munching is to eat with your non-dominant  hand. “It disrupts that flow of mindless eating, and that can reduce your eating by 30 percent,” says Albers. “Same thing if you’re using utensils. It’s almost like if you’re trying to write with the other hand, it’s a little more challenging.”

2. Make sure you always take a mindful bite. Whether you’re talking with a friend or watching TV, it’s easy to put your attention on something else other than the food that’s right in front of your face, often making you eat too fast and too much. So sit down and acknowledge each and every single one of your bites. “[Make] sure you eat slowly and pay attention to how the food tastes and how it smells,” says Albers. “Each bite really matters.”

3. Don’t do what your friends do. Numerous studies have proven that a friend’s eating habit can heavily influence your own, whether they eat healthy or not, and this is because we tend to “mirror” what other people do subconsciously.  So make sure you’re not playing ‘follow the leader’ next time you’re at lunch catching up with your high school pals. “You have to be very mindful of who you’re eating with and how fast they’re eating,” says Albers.

So there ya go! Now let’s make M&Ms stand for Mindful Munching.

“When you’re mindful, you’re more in charge and in control of what you’re eating,” says Albers.

Make a Playlist, Be a Diva

FACT: A workout without a pump-up playlist is like a club without a DJ spinning… boring and awkward. When it comes to working out, music is the biggest motivator because it’s sure to get the feet moving and the mind dreaming, and the best way to rock your workout is by rocking to a beat. Whether I’m walking, jogging or lying on a yoga mat working on my abs, the moment my girl Beyoncé belts out a tune, I swear my running shoes are heels and the gym is my stage.  So make a playlist, and be a diva… because divas always look good.

Need some songs to get you goin’? Here’s my favorite Pump-Up Playlist for some music ideas:

Get on the Knuckle Sandwich Diet

From pre-packaged diets to Jenny Craig, it seems that almost everyone is on some sort of diet these days, but do they really work?

According to statistics, approximately 50 million Americans put themselves on a diet every year, but only 5 percent of these dieters successfully keep off the weight, and experts say it’s because restricting certain foods while dieting can cause people to crave them even more, which often leads to “destructive behaviors,” such as overeating.

“Often times, most diets are pretty restrictive of certain food areas and our body will crave whatever it is we’re restricting,” says Melissa Wright, a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders and has been practicing at Sure Haven Addiction Treatment Center in Costa Mesa, Calif. for four years now. “People go too far with diets and won’t eat certain food groups. Then they’ll give in and then go too far.”

It’s kind of like when someone tells you not to look inside of that box. It’s funny how you didn’t even realize that the box was there in the first place, but now you’re dying to see what could possibly be inside… just because someone told you not to look. This restriction leads to temptation, and dieting can have the same don’t-look-in-the-box effect, says Wright, which ultimately detours people from their meal-plan.

So are we doomed if we can’t diet? Nope.

The solution: Go on the Knuckle Sandwich Diet

“Don’t have anything bigger than your fist,” says Mark Desh who has been a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness in Los Angeles for 3 years. “All your portions should be that size,” as he holds his fist out in the air.

The trick is to eat less but more, says Desh. In other words, cut your portion sizes in half and have about five-to-six “small meals” a day.

“Your body cannot break down more than 500 calories at one time for at least three hours,” he says. “When you have small portions, the body gets a chance to break down [the food] easily and not store it as fat.”

Chris Capparelli, 55, a mother in Villa Park, Calif., lists off a few of the countless diets she has tried in the past, including the Lindora Scarsdale Diet and Nutrisystem, but three months ago she decided to ditch all the weight-loss programs and start focusing on the size of her meals.

“It took me 8 weeks to lose 10 pounds…. but it hasn’t come back,” say Capparelli who adds that she’s lost a total of 16 pounds since cutting her portion sizes. “It’s better because it’s real life, not fake [weight-loss] shots. It’s more of a life change,” and that helps keep the weight off.

So don’t deprive your body if you’re trying to lose weight because chances are, you’ll just be another statistic. Whether it’s the size of the chicken breast or how much rice you put on your plate, as long as you’re having Knuckle-sized portions, you can eat whatever you want six times a day! Nice.

“I still eat ice cream,” says Capparelli. “Whatever I want… just a smaller portion.”

Happy Monday…

Q&A: How these two celebrities stay in shape

BREAKING NEWS! This just in, Johansson is in fact human, according to this tabloid!

I have no shame to admit that celebrity gossip is my guilty pleasure, but sometimes, flipping through the magazines can be a little bit of an emotional roller coaster. First I catch myself envious, muttering under my breath, “Damn you Cameron Diaz, it’s impossible to look like that when your 40!” Then I think, “Aw… I’m fat,” after that awkward moment when Scarlet Johansson’s bum on the Worst Celebrity Beach Bodies page looks better than mine in a bikini.

I don’t know about you guys, but I just don’t consider celebrities as real human beings. How are they so perfect? They have the best bodies, best hair, best clothes, best everything, and I want to be them. And then that’s when I experience another total emotional volta and think, “Hey, celebrities are just like us, but they’re just a little bit cooler. I could maybe look like them one day too.” Suddenly, I feel  inspired to get in shape and look the best I possibly can be.

So on behalf of all of us who wish they could look like a celebrity,  I sat down with two stars and got the skinny on their perfect-body secrets.

A Q&A with an American Idol Singer and a How I Met Your Mother Star.

Pia Toscano

You’ve seen her sing in front of  Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler on the American Idol stage, and you’ve heard her on the radio with her single “This Time.” Pia Toscano, 23, tells me what it’s like to always be under the lime light and how she stays fit for it. 

Q: After being on season 10 of American Idol, what was it like to go from a regular girl from New York to being a LA star getting her photo taken all the time? Is there a lot of pressure to stay thin?

A: I try not to let the pressure of this business get to me. I feel like if you are confident in yourself that shows a lot, but you know… when you’re in this business, you always want to feel and look your best, so I just take care of myself, that’s all.

I snapped this photo, thank you very much

Q: How do you stay in shape for photo shoots or special events?

I’ve been really busy lately, but I always try to get some cardio in, whether it’s just walking with my girlfriend or something. I do Barry’s Bootcamp and I just try to keep myself active because I feel like when I feel better about myself, my whole mind frame is different, my whole lifestyle is different. But I’m very conscious of my diet.

Q: What does your diet look like?

A: I basically eat really clean, I eat gluten-free. I’m a pescaterian, so I eat fish, but I don’t eat meat. I try to limit my carbs, and you know, I’m very health conscious because I’m a very curvy girl.

Q: One last question, what’s your favorite vegetable?

A: I love broccolini and I love asparagus. [They’re] my favorite.


Charlene Amoia


Most commonly known for her role as Wendy on ‘How I met Your Mother’, actress Charlene Amoia, who has also been on shows such as Glee, Castle and Days of Our Lives, let’s us in on how she stays fit under the public eye.

Q: How I Met Your Mother is a really popular show and it has a lot of viewers. Do you feel pressure to stay in shape with so many eyes on you?

A:  I don’t feel any pressure- I haven’t had any kind of attention in that direction, I know other women have. I stay in shape just because I feel better, like mentally and altogether if I’m working out a lot. I just feel better if I’m doing it.

Q: What kind of workouts do you like to do to stay fit?

A: I [alternate] between boxing and yoga and just running. Actually, my girlfriend and I are just about to start that stripping class.

Q: Stripping class? What made you get into that?

We were looking for all the promotions and deals that all these studios offer, like they offer a free week or a free month, and we found this one that’s pole dancing, so we’re going for a week at the S Factor on Wilshire. I heard it’s a really good workout.

Q: What’s a good getting-in-shape tip for people who want to look like a celebrity?

A: For me, I just have to keep switching it so I don’t get bored because if I do one thing long enough, I quit because I’m bored of it. And that’s part of the inspiration for us going around to all the free weeks of classes- to try and see what we like. I do some boxing to get the energy out and some yoga for relaxation, but I kinda just see what mood I’m in that day.

… Couples Therapy: Tips to switch up your cardio routine

…The Break Up Continued

Therapist: So what’s going on between the two of you?

Me: Well, Treadmill and I used to have a healthy relationship and we were really happy. He used to make me completely out of breath, drench me in sweat and made me burn a lot of calories. But now after being with him for so long, I just don’t feel like he’s doing much for me anymore and I’m not getting a good workout.

Therapist: Well, it looks like you just need to switch up your workout routine. It’s not that you’re over Treadmill, you’re over running. So my advice for you is to take it slow and start walking.

Me: Ha! That’s funny. I’m not going to waste my time walking. I don’t sweat when I walk, therefore, I’m not getting a good workout.

Therapist: Well, Gi, that’s where you have it all wrong… When it comes to burning fat, cardio is important because it increases your heart rate. It’s not how much you’re sweating or even how winded you are after you workout, it’s having an increased heart rate that you should be worrying about.

An increase in heart rate means that your heart is demanding more oxygen so it can pump blood to the rest of the body efficiently, and yes, running will do this for you because you are pushing the body really hard and the body needs more oxygen to keep up. But walking can do the same thing too.

When you’re running on Treadmill, you’re heart rate increases to between 150-180 (which is, by the way, the number you need in order to slim down), and walking, although you are not pushing yourself as hard, can still make you maintain this heart rate. All you need to do is play with the inclination levels. This way, you’re not just walking because your body is requiring more oxygen to push yourself uphill, which raises the heart rate, resulting in burning unwanted fat.

So don’t worry about the amount of sweat you’re wiping off your forehead, focus on your heart and what it needs.

Here’s what you guys should do to get your healthy relationship back:

  1. Set the treadmill between 3.5-3.8 speed.
  2. Start off with zero percent incline and start walking.
  3. For each minute that passes, increase the inclination by one percent. So at five minutes, you should have 5 percent incline, and by 10 minutes, you should have 10 percent incline.
  4. Keep adding inclination to your steady speed until you are at 15 percent incline after 15 minutes of walking.
  5. Now, for every minute past 15, decrease the inclination one percent. So at 16 minutes you should be at 14 percent incline, and at 25 minutes you’re at 5 percent incline.
  6. Do this until you’ve reached 30 minutes and you’re inclination level is back at zero.
  7. Make sure you are NOT holding on to the treadmill! That defeats the purpose of making your body work hard to push yourself uphill.

Now get back to me in a few weeks and tell me if you guys are still together 😉 Who knows? Maybe you’ll sweat just as much as the first time you guys met.


The Breakup…

Hey Treadmill, can we talk?


So this is really hard for me to tell you, but I have to get it off my chest.

First, I really want you to know how thankful I am to of had you all these years. You’ve always been there for me when I needed you the most, like that one Thanksgiving when I gained a few pounds.

But, I’ve been thinking about it… I think it’s time we go our separate ways. I just don’t feel the same about you anymore.

Before, you used to take my breath away, but now I don’t even feel the passion. I mean, my shoes aren’t even squeaking when I run.

And I think we lost the spark between us because my heart isn’t beating as fast for you.

I’m sorry Treadmill. I swear it’s not you, it’s me. I just need to sweat more.

So I’m breaking up with you.

Oh, and I think I should let you know now… I’m kinda already seeing other machines…

To be continued…

Tips For A Healthier Bagel

You’ve heard it a million times – breakfast is the most import meal of the day. But is it just me, or does it seem like almost every breakfast option we have out there isn’t so healthy for you? We have pancakes, waffles and muffins (which are basically morning birthday cakes), sausage and bacon (grease central) and cereals (and those tend have too much sugar in them).

What’s up with that?

And for me, sleeping in ’til the last possible minute and spending extra time on my hair are the most important parts of my morning, so I don’t have time for breakfast. I’m usually stuffing my face while rushing out the door with some sort of on-the-go meal, like my favorite: the bagel with cream cheese.

But even those are realllly fattening, and they usually contain around 200 calories. But wait, there’s more! Then you spread the cream cheese on top of that, and the calories are doubled! Annoying.

Cream cheese nutrition facts

Well, I don’t got the time to make myself some eggs, so sorry, I’m eatin’ the bagel with cream cheese… with no regrets.

My tip for when you chose to eat a bagel for breakfast: Make it a doughless one!

Bagels have lots of carbs… SO take some of them out

All you have to do is dig out the dough…

… and Viola! There goes half the carbs!

So if you gotta eat it, eat it… just make it slightly healthier.

And if you’re at a breakfast joint, don’t worry, just ask them to make it doughless. Lots of restaurants will do it for you.


Oh and remember, whole grain bagels are better than white, and low or non-fat cream cheese is alway the best choice. But if you want to make it even more healthier, replace the cream cheese with peanut butter… it tastes good and at least it contains healthy fats and lots of protein. That’ll for sure give you enough energy to start off your morning 🙂

Posture Part 2-C: Change the work station

C) Change the work station 

In today’s world, we are demanded to sit, I mean, it’s even hard to find a job that doesn’t require you to be seated. And even if you’re not at work, to be entertained also means sitting down some more.

“After we sit for long hours [at work], that turns out to be exhausting, partly because you’re not getting good oxygenation and you’re not digesting your food well because you’re not up right,” says Bond. “Then you come home from a day like that and your exhausted and most people are not motivated to go to the gym… to counter balance the effects of this, so they sit down some more and watch television.”

We do it all the time- sitting. So whether it’s your job or just for pleasure, if you’re working on a lap top or computer, change up your work station so you don’t slouch over.

Here’s how:

1) Adjust your keyboard level

  • “The perfect keyboard level for any given person is- if you let your arms hang by your side, your forearm is at a 90 degree angle with your upper arm,” says Novak. “Where your finger tips fall is exactly where your keyboard should be. For most people their keyboard is too high or too far away.”

2) Adjust your monitor

  • “You want your eyes to be level with the mid or upper part of your screen,” says Novak. “Most people have their monitor level way too low on their desks, so when they sit there, the neck has to crane forward.”
  • If you’re using a lap top, she suggests to place a pillow or shoe box underneath it so the monitor is raised up. She also says to buy a wireless keyboard for your lap top so your keyboard level well be at the proper level as well.
  • “Laptops are the worst for this,” she says. “You look down and your head cranes forward and your concentrating on what you’re doing.”

3) Adjust your seat

  • “The chair seat should be at a height so that the hip-joint is slightly higher than the knee when the feet are on the ground. That’s the best chair height.” says Bond. “What that does is that it encourages the pelvis to sit in a slightly forward tilt and that supports the normal curve of the spine. But what people tend to do is roll back so they’re sitting on their tail bone- that’s rolling the pelvis back.”

4) Be conscious of your surroundings

  • “When you’re on the computer, you’re not aware of what’s around you, and a lot of times you shut down on purpose- there might be noisy people around you- but when you shut them all out, your body becomes more compressed,” says Bond. “The body curls up in order to be by itself.”

So there you go! A couple of simple tips for improving your posture. You should try them out. After all, “all these little changes add up,” says Novak.

For more posture tips, continue scrolling or click on the following: