By Devin Almonte
Staying fit, the experts tell us, becomes harder and harder as we age. And while that is as true a part of aging as our gray hairs and laugh lines, it doesn’t have to limit our lives.
Just ask Susan Lucci, the beloved actress who has been wowing All My Children fans as Erica Kane since 1970. Lucci shows no signs of slowing down: she’s even introducing her own fitness apparel line to QVC, based on fan favorites from her QVC shows, and of course she looks fantastic both on and off the air.
We sat with Lucci and asked her to tell us more about her with passion about her go-to workout: Pilates. You may have already heard of Pilates, a specialized fitness training that focuses on helping you isolate and strengthen core muscles and deep muscle tissues. It’s usually touted as a high-end, high-priced way for movie stars and celebrities to keep looking toned and firm. But this exercise regime isn’t just about vanity: It’s also about how strengthening your core can help ease back pain, improve balance and posture, help men and women of any age enjoy an active, healthy life -- without the stresses and injuries associated with high impact sports.
Lucci was kind enough to take time out of her (very) busy schedule to talk to me about how pilates improves her life. And as an On-Air Health and Fitness Expert, I was thrilled to learn that Lucci, like me, is a huge fan of the Pilates PRO Chair, from the co-creator of Malibu Pilates. Our conversation was inspiring: In fact, I can still hear her voice echoing softly through the studio: “Zip up your abs, zip up your abs!”
Devin: How long have you been using the Pilates PRO Chair?
Susan: I’ve been using the Pilates PRO Chair for over 9 years, just before I was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. It helped me tremendously!
Devin: Why is the Pilates PRO Chair your go-to item for fitness?
Susan: It works! It’s a total body workout that gives you quick results. It’s the only one that really gives you that sculpting and toning that we all love so much; that lean muscle tone. Plus, you get a cardio workout at the same time. No need to take that additional walk or run; no need to find another way to get your cardio in for the day because you can do it all on the Pilates PRO chair.
Devin: Clients often worry that they need experience or specialized training in pilates before they can use the Pilates PRO chair. Do you think that’s true?
Susan: No. You can enjoy the Pilates PRO Chair whether you are completely new to pilates or a long time practitioner. What I love is that you are also getting 4 DVDs with your Pilates PRO Chair purchase through QVC because this will help you get started where you are and the appropriate level for you. So if you are a beginner, you can start with the Pilates Basics DVD, while if you are more advanced, you can use some of the more advanced DVDs.
Devin: What is your favorite exercise with the Pilates PRO Chair and why?
Susan: I have so many favorites, but I’d have to say that one of my favorite moves is the Pull-Up for Flat Abs. This is your modern version of the ab crunch. I love that you don’t have to get on the floor to do this. You simply lean forward with you hands on the seat of the chair in a C-curve shape. Jack-knife your way up, and then feel the assistance on the way up and the resistance on the way down. I love it because it flattens those abs! We all loathe that belly pooch in our lower abs. This is a great way to target that area and get rid of belly fat. I love that it flattens my abs, but even more, I love how it helps support my back so I can feel good on set, even if I 'm standing in heels all day. And it’s fun.
Devin: Is this for beginners and people who don’t exercise?
Susan: Oh, yes! If you are not used to exercise regularly or at all, this is a great place to start. It’s great if you are looking to lose a few pounds and are looking to gain more lean muscle tone. All ages, stages, and body types will love the Pilates PRO Chair. And like I mentioned before, you don’t have to be familiar with Pilates either. Of course, always consult your doctor before beginning any new type of exercise regimen.
As an On-Air Health and Fitness Expert for QVC, I highly encourage you to shop everything QVC! It's the place for great products, great deals, and great fun! Here’s what you get with your QVC Pilates PRO Chair Purchase:
So, now that you're considering the Pilates PRO chair, you can look the part too. Susan's brand new fitness apparel line is getting ready for its on-air launch at QVC on April 13, 2018 at 2:00pm ET. Transform your body in more ways than one! Be fit. Be fashionable. I think we'd all be smart to follow this leading lady's advice!
Disclosure: All comments written above are my own opinion and thoughts related to products and companies that I love and enjoy. I have not received payment for any type of product promotion, nor have I received commission from any of the above mentioned companies, products, or websites related to this article.
By Devin Almonte
Vitamin B12 deficiency remains a common problem in the United States. Dr. Edward, from the Global Healing Center, tells us that it’s estimated nearly 40% of the American population suffers from B-12 levels that are too low. With low B-12 levels, your brain doesn't work quite right and more often than not you’re suffering from chronic fatigue.
Vitamin B12 is crucial to the human body, which needs it to produce new DNA, red blood cells, proteins, hormones and fats. It's one of eight B vitamins hat help the body convert the food you eat into glucose, which gives you energy.
So what should you eat to ensure you are getting enough B12?
Always consult your physician before beginning any nutrition regimen. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate program for your needs.
All comments written above are my own opinion and thoughts as it relates to nutrition.
By Devin Almonte
If you’re trying to lose weight, a healthy, calorie controlled diet needs to be the foundation. However, many people don’t take this into account when attempting to drop the pounds and as a result, their fat loss efforts suffer. We think we can just exercise our way out of bad eating and that's just not the case. That’s why I’m going to be share with you five of the best weight loss diet tips.
While the quality of the calories you eat is very important when trying to lose weight, the amount of calories you consume will ultimately determine your fat loss success. Even if all your calories are coming from healthy and natural foods, if you eat too much, you’ll struggle to lose weight. Therefore, make sure you have a general awareness of the total number of calories you’re consuming and if you struggle to drop the pounds over an extended period of time, consider reducing your total caloric intake. Apps like MyFitnessPal are great ways to track your caloric intake.
I am so saddened by how unhealthily processed our food industry is today. Eating a regular diet of such processed foods it the quickest way to surrender good health. Note that I'm not talking about processed bagged spinach or even some processed yogurt. Almost any food we eat is altered in some fashion and therefore considered processed. I'm talking about processed food that has been processed with chemicals, contains ingredients that have been refined, or has artificial flavors, colors, or other synthetic components. Not only could it potentially lead to illness, it can be a sure way to weight gain.
Natural, unprocessed foods are REAL food and generally low in calories. In addition to this, they’re a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Not only do these nutrients help your body perform many essential functions but they also put it in an optimal fat burning state. Processed foods are generally high in calories and contain a fraction of the nutrients that can be found in natural, unprocessed foods. This means by choosing natural, unprocessed foods over processed foods, you consume less calories overall and burn more body fat as a result of the additional nutrients.
If you want to get the maximum flavor out of natural, unprocessed foods and truly enjoy your meals, then you need to learn to cook. Note that I didn't say you need to learn to be a chef. There's quite a difference! This may seem daunting at first if you’re used to living off processed foods that require minimal preparation. But if you are truly looking for change, then you need to focus on what you are putting in your body and that starts in the kitchen with a recipe.
Once you get started with some simple recipes, you’ll quickly pick it up and be enjoying a wide range of healthy, low calorie meals in no time at all. The more you enjoy these meals, the more likely you are to keep eating them which prevents you from falling back into bad habits and binging on unhealthy foods. If the idea of cooking really throws you off, then I strongly recommend signing up for a online delivery meal service. There are tons of healthy options to choose from.
Making the switch from processed foods to natural, unprocessed foods will give your weight loss efforts a huge boost. Reno, author of The Eat-Clean Recharged!, tells us that we can lose up to three pounds a week by dedicating ourselves to the clean eating lifestyle. However, if you want to take it a step further, adding multiple servings of vegetables to every meal is a great way burn even more body fat. Most vegetables contain less than 50 calories per serving and have a very high concentration of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. However, despite their low calorie content, vegetables are surprisingly filling and do a great job of satisfying your appetite. This makes them a great fat burning food and the more you eat them, the more weight you’ll lose.
Now, for those of you that are like me, mentally this can be a hard change. I have a few select veggies that are my go-to veggies and they greatly influenced by their overall taste and texture. And unfortunately, they don't give me the minimum daily dose of greens that my body needs. So if this describes you, there is an green alternative called 8Greens. I sell this superfood tablet on-air for QVC and I cannot give it enough gold stars. It's an effervescent supplement that gives you your daily does of REAL greens. It's the perfect way to fill in the gap when I am not meeting my nutritional needs and it takes good! I take this twice a day and it has made such a difference in how I feel and how I care for my body. The backstory on the founder of 8Greens is quite amazing as well and well worth a read.
Losing weight does require a certain level of discipline when it comes to your diet. However, being too strict with what you eat and making certain foods forbidden rarely works and often leads to strong cravings followed by large, unhealthy binges. Therefore, to avoid binge eating and make your weight loss diet is manageable in the long term, you should enjoy cheat meals in moderation.
I dislike the term cheat meal because it makes it seem like you are doing something you should not be doing. If it's something you shouldn't be doing, then you shouldn't be doing it!
I prefer the term relaxed meals instead of cheat meals because I think you should always strive to eat well and balanced, rather than giving into your whims with a cheat day or cheat meal. With that said, we are all human and we all fall short of perfection. And don't we all need a breather from time to time? Maybe it's cold outside and you want to curl up and warm up with a heavy and hearty meal. Maybe you want to enjoy an ice cream sundae with your kids. Do that! Just be conscious of your emotions around food and don't let the two get entangled with one another.
These cheat meals or relaxed treats can include any foods you like and the only rule is that you consume them 20% of the time and stick to healthy, natural, unprocessed foods the remaining 80% of the time. Doing this provides you with a buffer to eat any foods you desire but also ensures that most of the time, you’re eating foods that promote fat loss.
By making these simple but effective dietary changes, you’ll notice a huge difference and your excess body fat will start to melt away. So if you’ve been struggling with weight loss for a while, make sure you implement these tips and change how you look and how you feel!
Always consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate diet or exercise prescription.
By Devin Almonte
Souping is the new diet buzzword going through the talk shows and magazines these last few months, with souping diets popping up everywhere. People are saying that, for so many reasons, souping is about to overtake juicing in popularity.
Everybody has heard of the juicing craze, putting fresh fruit and vegetables through a juicing machine to get pure juice that is full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. But critics say that juicing is just drinking empty calories.
Now, in a world full of drive-thru burger joints and Super Big Gulps, how can it be bad to drink freshly squeezed juice? Some health care professionals say that drinking pure juice is just as bad as slugging down a glass full of sugar water.
Souping has emerged as the new popular way to get the same nutrients as juice, but without the sugar. People are now doing soup cleanses, sometimes eating nothing but soup for days. The logic makes sense if you are trying to diet - eat soup that will fill you up with very few calories and you will eventually lose weight.
Souping is simply just eating soup for a certain length of time. Diet books are now available that walk you through a system of eating soup to lose weight.
One important factor is that, when you are souping, the vegetables stay intact and they retain their fiber. With juicing, the fiber is taken out. The human body needs the fiber from produce to keep us regular. It also slows down the absorption of sugar into the blood. This is important, especially for people with diabetes, because it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Without the fiber, an apple can have nearly the same effect on your blood sugar as a can of soda. With soup you get the vitamins, minerals and the fiber that vegetables provide.
The souping trend is backed up by some serious scientific studies that have been going on for years. Researchers have been telling us that, when we eat more soup, we tend to eat less of other things. Having soup, you can have something low in calories and you’ll feel full.
JUICING IS NOT AS GREAT AS WE THOUGHT
Studies are coming out to tell us that juicing is not the holy grail of health the way we were led to believe. One reason is that the sugar content is hard on your teeth. Another complaint is that the lack of fiber causes you to not be able to absorb all the nutrients you are getting. Some researchers are saying that juicing will pack on the pounds and that all the sugar in juicing makes it just as bad as drinking a can of soda. Health experts are saying it’s much better to eat a piece of fruit than it is to juice or blend it. Juicing damages the produce and takes away so many of the elements that are good for us. Again, with the fiber, it keeps us regular, which protects us from colon cancer and helps to balance out our gut bacteria.
Sugar from the food you eat causes insulin spikes, which lock fat into your cells. The fiber in fruit and vegetables prevents insulin spikes and keeps blood sugar steady. Fiber slows carbohydrate digestion. Vegetables are better at preventing insulin spikes than fruit.
Larger pieces of vegetables are the best at blocking sugar. Ingredients in a soup, such as carrots, cruciferous vegetables and green beans are excellent for your blood sugar but should not be overcooked. And the less cooked a vegetable is, the more it will fill you up.
Fiber also aids our immune system and can help prevent Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Just drinking juice can lead, not just to constipation, but also cause serious blockages in our bowels.
Volumetrics is a diet created by Barbara Rolls, PhD. The concept is that you can eat a lot of low calorie foods that will make you full rather than eat high calorie foods that might leave you hungry. It’s an excellent idea and really pertains to souping as you can eat a lot and feel full on fewer calories.
For example, you could sit down to have a small cheese snack and consume 200 calories. Pretty soon you would feel hungry again. Now, if you have 200 calories of soup, it would be a much larger portion. The cheese snack would leave you feeling hungry because it won’t take up much room in your stomach and you will have to eat again sooner. The soup will fill up your stomach and you can go longer without eating again. With soup, you’ve got the “low energy density” factor. Soup provides you with the low energy density because the veggies are very low calorie and the liquid gives it more volume.
The beauty of Volumetrics, and how it pertains to souping, is that both concepts are very flexible with such a wide range of food selections. However, Volumetrics and souping are not a quick-fix, fad diet; they are a more sustainable lifestyle choice.
A study was done, between 2003 and 2006, on 4158 adults in the US. Their soup consumption was being monitored by questionnaire. Participants recorded what they were eating and researchers found that people who did not eat soup had a higher chance of being overweight or obese.
Normal weight people were eating more soup and had lower levels of HDL cholesterol. Waist circumference was lower in soup consumers, and there was a linear decrease in BMI and waist circumference as soup consumption increased.
Soup is a low energy density food and is very filling. Soup consumption is associated with less appetite and will result in eating less and a lower risk for obesity. The researchers came to the conclusion that the general public should eat more soup.
Not everyone wants soup as a meal. In many cultures soup is served before the meal. In scientific circles they call this pre-loading.
A study was published by the National Institutes of Health in 2008 that states that soup “pre-loading” reduces energy intake. The hypothesis was that, having a low-energy-dense soup before a meal would cut down on the amount of food eaten during the meal. The vegetables and broth fill you up, leaving less room for anything else.
The study consisted of 60 adults, 30 men and 30 women. There was also a control group, which ate no soup before their lunch.
Test subjects were given the soup first and then waited 15 minutes before being given the test meal, which was lunch. Test subjects had the exact same breakfast at the exact time for the duration of the study. Test subjects were told to eat as much or as little as they wanted.
The result was that test subjects ate a great deal less of the main meal after eating the soup, compared to a control group. Subjects, on average, ate 20% less of the test meal.
Participants rated their hunger before they ate the test meal. Those who had the soup rated their hunger a lot lower than participants who didn’t have soup.
After lunch participants were asked to rate their hunger. Both the soup eaters and those who didn’t get soup all generally reported being full, even though the soup pre-loaders had consumed less calories and a greater weight of food.
Another pre-loading study with 24 women, to find out how drinking water in a glass with a meal versus water in soup, would affect their satiety. One group was given a chicken and rice casserole with a glass or water. The other group was given the exact same ingredients and amount of water but as a soup. They ate breakfast, lunch and supper in a laboratory. Increasing the volume of the pre-load (soup) and lowering the energy density caused the women to feel more full and less hungry.
The women who had the soup ate much less at lunch and they did not end up eating more for supper to compensate for the low-energy-density lunch.
From these pre-loading studies it is easy to see that souping can be a part of a daily routine of eating nutritious, balanced meals. Souping can be a lifestyle choice that can be part of a weight-loss regimen or a technique for weight maintenance.
A book has recently come out that is very popular and the author, Rachael Beller, is doing the rounds of the talk shows. The book is called Power Souping. It starts with a 3-day detox, where you consume nothing but soup, even for breakfast, though the breakfast “soup” is really a smoothie. For the next three weeks you have one meal per day of only soup. The soups generally consist of a base of vegetables, then a protein and a topping. Beller points out that soups are better than green juices because, a soup made of vegetables is usually more palatable than a green juice.
28-Day Soup Cleanse to Lose Weight
The 28-Day Soup Cleanse to Lose Weight is a series of videos by vlogger Joanna Soh, Registered Dietician. All of her information, including recipes, are free on YouTube.
Soh says that people who consume a bowl of soup before a meal end up consuming 20% less during that meal and they also eat less for the rest of the day. Her diet consists of 2 homemade soups a day. Her plan gets you most of your recommended portions of fruit and vegetables, 5 a day. Her recipes are great for digestion and constipation and the ingredients are cheap, comforting, and especially easy on the stomach when ill.
There is a much wider variety of nutrients that can go into soups that just don’t lend themselves well to juicing. You can add healthy fats into soups and souping has a wider variety of ingredient possibilities such as herbs, spices and bone broth. Beans, nuts and seeds are extremely healthy in soup and not often found in juice. Soup can even pack in an entire food group missing from juicing - dairy.
A variety of whole grains also go very well in soup and you just can’t get that in juicing. Every food group can be added into a soup and it can be a balanced meal. Going on a juice cleanse and having nothing but juice can spike your blood sugars over and over during a day.
Proponents of juicing tout the fact that when you’re juicing you are getting produce fresh and raw, which means the nutrients haven’t been damaged or broken down. Some people believe that raw produce is healthier than cooked veg, but is it? Some vegetables are actually healthier cooked than raw. Your body is better able to absorb the nutrients of the vegetables after they have been cooked because the cell walls of the nutrients have been broken down. And some veggies are entirely better for you after being cooked, such as spinach, tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables.
Juicing takes up a lot of time. You have to shop for produce, prep it, juice it and then do the clean up. Juice does not store well, it typically separates into layers once it is left in a container. If you are solely juicing you will have to repeat this process many times in a day.
With soup you can make it once a day and it stays nice for the whole day. In fact, soup can be kept in the fridge for 5 days and in the freezer for 5 months. Do a big cooking session and you will have meals for months to com
Souping is excellent for weight loss, without argument. Imagine you have 1 cup of lean chicken and 3 cups of vegetables and 3 cups of water. If you have this as a meal with the water to drink, you will be hungry sooner than if you blend it all into a soup. Mixing water into food slows down how long the meal spends in your stomach, keeping you fuller for longer.
Juice is full of sugar and does not fill you up. It doesn’t stay in your stomach very long so you will experience swings in your blood sugar. Souping has less sugar because it does not typically contain fruit. The fiber from the vegetables stays in your stomach, which also keeps you satiated longer. Soup can make you feel full on very few calories. It also contributes to the amount of water you are supposed to drink in a day, which is good because very few people actually get the 8 glasses per day recommended.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SOUPING
Health & Wellness Expert - Health, Fitness, Wellness, Beauty