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Spring 2014 Newsletter

  
  
  
  
  
  

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                                                                                               SPRING 2014 NEWSLETTER

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STEP AHEAD BULLETIN
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Spring Fit & Fuel Event
Wednesday, April 23rd 5:30-6:30 pm presented by certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi and Nutritionist Sari Greaves. 30-minute exercise class followed by 30-minute cooking demonstration. Event is free, RSVP by April 18th todrneiman@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
 
 
Optifast Support Group
Meet, greet, and connect with others following the Optifast Weight Loss plan. Support group meets every Friday from 11:30-12:00pm and every other Wednesday from 5:00-5:30pm starting May 2nd. Register by emailing sari@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
 
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DIET & NUTRITION
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Recipe E-newsletter with Personalized Recipes
Take the hassle out of calorie counting and cooking by signing up for Step Ahead’s weekly recipe, emailed directly to you. Learn how to prepare tasty and nutritious meals from start to finish under 30 minutes. Request a personalized recipe from Step Ahead’s Nutritionist, Sari Greaves.  Register by emailing sari@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com
 
Friday Morning Coffee Chat with Step Ahead’s Nutritionist
Join Step Ahead’s Nutritionist & contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Sari Greaves at Starbucks coffee shop in Bedminster, NJ  Friday mornings from 10-10:30 am starting May 2nd. Enjoy a free skinny coffee and discuss your diet with Sari. Sari will also discuss seasonal nutrition topics and latest diet trends. Register by emailing sari@stepeaheadwellneccenter.com
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FITNESS
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SPRING TRAINING SPECIAL
We are offering a "2 FOR 1" spring training special.  Buy any one of our personal training packages and bring a friend or family member in to train with you for FREE!!  This is a limited time offer so act now to take advantage of it. EmailNoelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com if you have any questions or to schedule appointments.  Offer is good until June 1!
 
FREE TRX TRAINING SESSION 
Interested in taking your fitness routine to the next level??  Call today to schedule your FREE 30-minute TRX training session, 908-470-2235.  What is TRX?  The TRX Suspension Trainer is a workout system that leverages gravity and your bodyweight to perform hundreds of exercises. You're in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise - because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. TRX delivers a fast, effective total-body workout, helps build a rock-solid core, increases muscular endurance, and benefits people of all fitness levels (pro athletes to seniors).
 
WALKING/YOGA SUMMER PROGRAM! 
We are taking you outside this summer!  From June 1 thru Labor Day weekend, our wonderful certified Yoga instructor, Alyssia,  will be offering a weekly 30-minute power walk followed by a 30-minute Yoga Stretch class in the park across the street from our office.  More detailed info on this exciting new summer program will be out soon!  In the meantime, email Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com if you have questions or want to reserve your spot!
 
GROUP EXERCISE CLASSES
Our group exercise classes are still in full swing on Monday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday mornings.  Email Noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com to sign up or for more info!
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CONNECT WITH US!
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Have a success story to share?
Want to join a support group?
@stepaheadnj



Gluten Free: Can it Help Weight Loss?

  
  
  
  
  
  

Gluten free diets have traditionally been recommended for those individuals suffering from Celiac Disease.  Celiac is an auto- immune disease in which the body forms inflammation against the lining of the small intestine and it is prevented from absorbing gluten containing foods properly.  Gluten, which is a protein, is found primarily in foods that come from grains.  Therefore, people who are eating foods with grains do not absorb the nutrients from these foods and are often diagnosed with severe deficiencies in iron, fat stores and proteins. 

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Recently, studies have been done to show that people who struggle with excess weight may also have excess inflammation in their GI tracts.  Although they may not officially have Celiac disease, their bowels may react similarly when eating foods rich in gluten.  They may still absorb the nutrients but the exposure to the gluten causes excess inflammation and can lead to symptoms of bloating, a lack of fullness after eating and an increase in cravings.  Decreasing gluten intake can lower the inflammation in the bowel and can help with weight loss.  A recent study showed that individuals that avoided gluten containing foods – those made from grains(breads, pasta, many cookies, etc), can improve their weight loss goals significantly(greater 10%).  Also, limiting gluten can improve their sense of well-being by decreasing the inflammation and can make their weight loss process easier to stick with over time. 

Even though gluten-free diets seem to be the “craze” of late, some of these recent studies may shed light on the advantage for some people, with or without Celiac disease, to avoid these high gluten foods.  

If you think you may be sensitive to foods rich in gluten, then it may be worthwhile to work with a dietician or your physician to come up with a gluten free meal plan that may fit your needs.  At the very least, it will not hurt you, and it may end up helping with your weight loss and improving your sense of well -being.  The new studies suggest, it can’t hurt to try!

Quick Weight Loss Tip: 100-Calorie Oatmeal Topper

  
  
  
  
  
  

Get Bold at Breakfast With These Super Stir-Ins.

Stay warm and healthy this winter!


Sincerely,

The Step Ahead Team


100-calorie Oatmeal Toppers!

Sari's Delicious Demo of The Week!

  
  
  
  
  
  
Sari's Delicious Demo of The Week!

8 Holiday Treats Under 80 Calories

  
  
  
  
  
  

We have been loving Health.com this holiday season with great tips on staying healthy. Check out this article for delicious holiday treats under 80 calories!

With the holidays just around the corner, breaking a diet could happen easily. Stay on track with these festive treats that are shockingly light.

Mulled wine

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From Health magazine

79 Calories

3 ounces red wine simmered with 3 cloves and 1 thin orange slice

Rosy red bites

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44 Calories

Red velvet mini cupcake with cream cheese frosting and cherry (bakedbymelissa.com)

Grizzly treat

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58 Calories

Lindt Milk Chocolate Bear

Minty musts

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68 Calories

Peppermint malted milk balls(nutsonline.com)

Gingerbread cookie

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57 Calories

3- by 2-inch cookie, 1 teaspoonvanilla icing, and 3 Wilton Cinnamon Drops

One for the crunch

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73 Calories

3 Pieces peanut brittle (1/2 ounce)

Truly truffle

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63 Calories

Fig Truffle (bissingers.com)

Breath-freshening sweets

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70 Calories

Peppermint Puffs(hammondscandies.com)

 

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20543961_last,00.html

15 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

  
  
  
  
  
  

Is it possible to celebrate the season without packing on pounds? You bet! We found 10 simple strategies for preventing holiday weight gain (plus a painless way to actually knock off weight).

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Beware the festive 15!

Even if you have superhuman willpower, the holiday season is challenging for everyone. Staying on track can seem so daunting, you feel like swan-diving into the eggnog and sending your sensible routine into hibernation until the New Year. But, as we all know, excess pounds don't disappear along with the decorations. And nobody wants to start the new year in the hole, body-wise. 

Turns out, there's no need to. "You can have fun without throwing away your healthy habits," says Elisa Zied, RD, author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips. Check out our 15 rules for a no-gain season. You can indulge and still wake up the same size (or less!) come New Year's Day.

Weigh yourself twice a week

That's often enough to make sure you stay on track, but not so often that you take all the fun out of holiday noshing, says Michael Dansinger, MD, an assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. Step on the scale first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty.

Start your day with a bang

Exercising in the morning can help ensure better behavior all day long, according to a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 

Using brain scans, researchers found that when women worked out in the a.m., they not only moved more the rest of the day, but they also responded less to pictures of tempting food compared with the days they didn't do a morning workout. The upshot: fewer cravings for high-fat fare.

Be picky, picky, picky

Peruse the buffet before you load your plate to avoid foods you don'treally want, suggests obesity expert Tim Church, MD, a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. If, for instance, you could take or leave sushi but adore sliders, don't start with the tuna rolls hoping to be able to resist the two-bite burger. 

"If you pick the stuff you really want and have it in moderation," Dr. Church notes, "you'll stave off those cravings that can get you in trouble later on."

Just say no—everywhere

Willpower is like a muscle: Work it and you get stronger. What's key is to practice keeping yourself in check in non-food situations, too. "Whether you're driving in rush hour traffic or dealing with a temperamental kid, there are challenges that require self-control," Dr. Dansinger says. 

Succeed in not honking at that rude driver, he explains, and you'll be better able to resist dessert at the party.

Avoid banking calories

Cutting back all day so you can indulge at an event that night only sets you up for a pig-out. 

Why? You're freaking starving! "It's easy to get out of control when you're faced with high-calorie choices," says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of The Miracle Carb Diet. 

Be sure to eat your three squares and a couple of snacks. Aim for lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.

Concentrate your workouts

So what if you can't get to your favorite yoga class or find time for the treadmill? "Even just 15 minutes can help you maintain your fitness level," Dr. Church says. For example, jumping rope for 15 minutes torches about 190 calories; a quick yoga sequence at home can help you stay flexible.

Don't swear off desserts

But practice the three-bite rule to keep your sweet tooth in check. "You'll get that amazing first taste, a satisfying middle one, and then a lingering third bite," Zuckerbrot says.

Avoid morning-after food

Have the night of your life, then send guests home with food-filled Tupperware. "It's the leftovers that do you in," says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers in New York City.

Drum up some willpower

Under the spell of that peppermint bark you co-worker brought to the office? Before you succumb, try this simple trick: Place the thumb and fingers of one hand on your forehand, a half inch apart. 

Tap each finger one at a time, once per second, telling yourself, "Hold on." Wait 15-20 minutes (return phone calls, check email), and the craving will disappear, according to Tufts University Research. Sounds crazy, but it works.

 

Repeat after us: Out of sight, out of mind...

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Cut back on diet soda

In fact, any bubbly beverage can lead to belly bloat, explains Zuckerbrot. "The carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles of fizzy drinks causes a buildup of air, which can lead to gas.

Eat your H20

Instead of trying to down eight glasses of water (near impossible when you're busy), have a green salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and a few slices of avocado. "These water-rich foods help keep you hydrated, so that everything moves through your system faster," Zied says.

Brew up a pot of peppermint tea

Research shows peppermint can help calm stomach muscles and reduce gas. Not a fan? Try chamomile, suggests Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It.

Chew slowly

We know: When your to-do list is never-ending, it's hard to make yourself downshift, even at mealtime. But eating fast is a quick recipe for an expanded waistline. 

Here's why: "The more air you swallow, the more bloated you'll get," Taub-Dix notes.

Get plenty of potassium

The nutrient counterbalances sodium, so you retain less water, Zuckerbrot explains. Our favorite potassium possibilities: bananas, papayas, kiwis, strawberries, and cantaloupe. 

Or serve up some asparagus or dandelion greens to get the bonus of a natural diuretic.

Keep calm and kick cravings

Stressed by the sight of that holiday spread? Take deep breaths before you grab a plate. Research suggests that women who practice stress reduction techniques are able to prevent weight gain. 

Close your eyes and focus on your reaching for 30 seconds. Then reevaluate whether you really want to fill your plate; chances are you don't.

by Alyssa Shaffer
From Health magazine

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20646043_last,00.html


Sari's Skinny Eggplant Parm Recipe

  
  
  
  
  
  

Skinny Eggplant Parmigiana Sandwiches

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Makes 4 sandwiches.  The skinny per sandwich: 302 calories

You can use leftover baked eggplant from this recipe as a side dish (97 calories for 2 slices). Simply double the ingrdients for the “Baked Eggplant” recipe below, if using the whole eggplant.

Part I: Baked Eggplant

1 eggplant, sliced into 16 rounds—You only need 8 slices for this recipe (1/2 of a 1 lb eggplant)
¼ cup egg beaters
2 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
Nonfat cooking spray
Part II: The Sandwich
4 multigrain Arnold sandwich thins (or “120 calories” of whole grain bread)
4 teaspoons grated parmesan
1 cup pre-washed baby spinach
2 Tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pasta sauce
1. Rinse & slice eggplant. Place eggplant slices in colander; sprinkle with salt. Place colander over large bowl; let stand at least 30 minutes to draw out the water. Rinse & dry eggplant slices to remove excess salt.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
3. Beat egg beaters in bowl. Arrange bread crumbs on shallow plate. Dip each eggplant round into egg and then coat with bread crumbs. Arrange breaded eggplant slices on foil sheet.
4. Drizzle oil over eggplant and bake for 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
5. Combine spinach and ricotta cheese. Heat for 1-2 minutes on nonstick skillet, until spinach wilts. Set aside.
6. Arrange 2 slices of baked eggplant on each sandwich thin. Top each sandwich with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon parmesan, ¼ of the ricotta-spinach mixture and ¼ cup sauce. Bake sandwiches in oven until cheese melts, about 3 minutes.

 

Holiday Food? I'm the Boss

  
  
  
  
  
  

Check out this great article from Diabetes Forecast magazine-

This time of year, the festive foods can be a challenge for those of us with diabetes. When faced with holiday indulgences, I try to keep these questions in mind:

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  1. Is it truly delicious?

    I'd rather spend my calories and carb grams on something that is wonderful. Because I have to take insulin before I eat, there's a pause-and-reflect that helps me decide whether the bite is bolus-worthy. A bolus is a dose of fast-acting insulin I deliver with my insulin pump by typing in the number of carb grams I estimate I'll swallow. But too many extra boluses means I'm probably overeating—something I need to watch along with my blood sugars. For people not using insulin, the pause-and reflect tends to require a decision about what to swap for the treat—passing on the dinner roll and mashed potatoes and instead choosing a slice of pie, for example.
  2. Can I chew it?

    To each her own, but I prefer to chew my calories rather than spend them on drinks.
  3. Am I hungry or just bored?

    It's easy to focus on food, yet there are so many non-caloric joys to be found this season. Entertaining my cats, a board game with my son, a quick walk outside—they're all calorie-free!
  4. Did I exercise today?

    Getting at least 30 minutes of movement can help balance out a few extra munches.
  5. Are vegetables involved?

    Reminding myself to work nonstarchy veggies into my holiday eating helps me to manage calories and carbs and feel good about the fiber, vitamins, and minerals I'm feeding myself. Dips taste just as good on crunchy carrot or celery sticks as they do on chips, for example. Sometimes, of course, the chat about food choices moves out of my head and into the area of conversation with family and friends. Preparing for the inevitable "Can you eat that?" comments comes in handy.

 

By Kelly Rawlings, Editorial Director
http://www.diabetesforecast.org/logbooks/Healthy-Holiday-Guide.html

8 Steps to Surviving Holiday Weight Gain

  
  
  
  
  
  

Check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic on how to avoid holiday weight gain.

Get a head start this year and schedule a consultation with Dr. Neiman TODAY! (908) 470-2235.

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How to avoid holiday weight gain

It seems to happen every holiday season.

You attend parties and office gatherings to share a few festive moments with family, friends, colleagues and lots and lots of food. But when the holiday season is finally over, the bathroom scale reveals that you’ve gained some weight again, much to your chagrin.

Research studies show most adults gain some weight over the holidays. But don’t despair because this year can be different.

“I recommend to my patients that they just try to keep their current weight, as opposed to focusing on losing weight,” says Julia Renee Zumpano, RD, LD, registered dietitian, Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation. “Even though it’s hard to resist temptations all around you, there are simple steps you can take that can keep the extra holiday pounds off.”

How can you try to maintain your weight and heart-health during such a tempting time? We’ve conjured up these tips to surviving the holiday hoop-la that is sure-fire success – this season and in the future ones to come.

1. Get moving

One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic activity (*).To burn off those extra calories, kick up your exercise. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, move it up to five times a week.

Exercise is a great way to burn those extra calories you may be taking in this time of year (remember those iced reindeer cookies you had with lunch?). Here are some ideas to get you moving:

  • If you have a stationery bicycle or treadmill at home, dust it off and put it in front of the television or radio for some background entertainment while you’re exercising. Why not watch your favorite television show and exercise at the same time?
  • Go to the library and get a book on tape or CD, listen to it and read (so-to-speak) as you exercise.
  • Haven’t used your gym-pass in awhile? Hire a personal trainer to teach you effective calorie-burning techniques, or join that kick boxing class you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Go for a morning or evening walk alone or with a friend.
  • Put a little kick in your cleaning technique. Fire up some music and dance while you clean. Who ever knew cleaning could be so fun?
  • Have bad knees or other joints? Don’t worry – water aerobics or swimming is your answer! The water prevents your weight bearing down on the joints and is an effective way to burn calories.

(*) If you haven’t exercised in at least 6-months, check with your doctor first before starting.

2. Aim for seven-a-day

Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level. When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients. What’s more – the fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods. Pack your refrigerator with bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruits. Grab a bag while on the go or at work. Make a pact with yourself that you’ll eat your five-a-day before you snack on any cookies or other holiday treats. You’re sure to take in fewer calories overall.

3. Control the risk for temptation

Controlling even the slightest chance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your intake. While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can. For example, do you keep candy or cookies at your desk or workspace? Do you frequent the dining room table or pantry where you store all your holiday goodies? Make a mental note of tempting places and try to control them. For example, make a pact with co-workers that goodies will be kept solely in the break room, not at the front desk or in various offices. Mentally plan out how you will avoid tempting situations. If you can’t avoid them entirely, see number 4.

4. Limit to one-a-day

While you can’t control every situation, you can control how much food goes into your mouth. If you are constantly bombarded with holiday parties and displays of desserts or candies you can still effectively help prevent overeating and weight gain. One way is the one-a-day method. Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season. Remember that you may have to compensate for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising. If you aren’t confronted with holiday foods that day, just skip your one-a-day – but don’t compensate and double-up on your serving the next day.

5. Always plan ahead – Never go to a party hungry

Before you go to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of your favorite fruit, fat-free yogurt or a low-fat, whole grain granola bar. When you arrive at the party, you won’t be craving hors d’oeuvres.

“If you’re going to a potluck dinner, bring a healthy dish to share such as a salad, veggie or fruit tray, or a low-fat pudding, Jell-O or fruit dessert,” says Zumpano. “That way, you’ll know you have at least one healthy item on the table spread.”

6. Be in charge of your party choices:
  • Small plate, please
    Be wise when choosing appetizers – a small portion of some appetizers may help you from overeating at dinner.
    “Pick up a small plate, and stick with vegetables, but limit or avoid the creamy dips,” advises Zumpano. "Restrict your intake of butter crackers, chips, cheese and meats. If you must have a deep-fried appetizer, eat only one small serving. Never go back for seconds. For dinner, fill half of your plate with salad and vegetables, one quarter with meat, and the final quarter with starch,” Zumpano says.
  • Avoid the sauce
    Avoid sauces made from cream, half-and-half or meat drippings. For salads, use oil and vinegar, vinaigrette or low-fat dressings. Broth -based or vegetable sauces are fine.
  • What about desserts?
    The best low-calorie choices are fruit, Jell-O, pudding, an unfrosted mini muffin, shortbread cookies, ginger snaps or angel food cake. If you must have a dessert with frosting, butter cream, cream cheese, or chocolate chips, limit yourself to one small cookie or one thin slice of cake.
  • Watch the drinks
    “Besides restricting your alcohol to one or two servings, you also need to restrict the type of alcohol,” says Zumpano. “For example, instead of high-fat eggnog, have a light beer or wine. After that, stick with calorie-free drinks such as water, unsweetened ice tea, hot tea or coffee.”
7. Say No Politely

Many times you feel forced to eat foods because people keep putting it in front of you. Learn to say no politely, such as "No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious", or "I couldn’t eat another bite. Everything tasted wonderful". You’ll find saying no isn’t so hard to do after all.

8. Focus on socializing

Don’t stand around the food table when you are at a party – focus your energies on making conversation with others instead of focusing on foods. Conversation is calorie-free.

Remember, the holidays are meant to celebrate good times with family and friends. Enjoy the holidays and plan effective strategies to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Achieving what you sought out for will give you one more good reason for holiday cheer! Happy Holidays!

 

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/holidayeating12_01.aspx

Thanksgiving is Tomorrow!

  
  
  
  
  
  

Thanksgiving Fitness Tips – Out of Your Routine Tips to Keep Fit

Thanksgiving is a time to visit with family and friends and many times, you are away from the gym, classes or time at home available to get your “regular” fitness routine in for the day.  However, there are many things you can do to keep your body feeling and looking fit and make your holiday more enjoyable. 

 

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Ok, first and foremost, you have to MOTIVATE yourself a bit to INNOVATE with some creative ideas to get the calories burned.  Keep this in mind- tell yourself you want to EARN the calories you are going to enjoy later in the day.  Here are some useful and easy tips:

 

  1. WALK – sounds easy but not that appealing if you are staying in the Northeast with bad weather – however – remember – a QUICK walk in bad weather is better then no walk at home.  Bundle up, wear good shoes, take an umbrella if necessary, and walk fast and hard for 10-15 minutes outside.  It will wake you up, refresh you and get your day off to the right start.
  2. Before getting dressed and showered for the day – try some easy in the room exercises to tighten up some of those muscles:
    1. do leg lifts on the floor, one leg at a time if necessary, and do in sets of ten.  Start with 1 set and if you still have energy left, keep going.
    2. If you have any bands at home, do some arm stretches sitting in a chair – again start with sets of 10 and then go a little further if you have extra energy
    3. Squats – in your room, hold onto your bed or chair, and do some squats to get your thighs and back in shape- start with sets of 5
    4. Help with all the set up preparations – get the table ready, get the house and foods set up – just keep yourself busy.
    5. If you are having young children over for the day – DO YOU REMEMBER THE GAME SIMON SAYS – it keeps you active, it is easy – and they will have great fun!!!! (so much better then video games or card games)
    6. Get up from the table where the food is – every 15 to 20 minutes and take the LONG way to the food, walk around the rooms, around tables, take as many steps as possible to get to your destination.
    7. At the end of the evening, if you feel a bit over-indulged and full – don’t do anything strenuous, but maybe take some walks around your table and your rooms, just get some extra steps, nice and slow in before you lie down for the night.

 

REMEMBER – Thanksgiving is about friends, family and being thankful for those you love.  Make the day more enjoyable by making yourself feel as good about yourself as possible – so just push yourself to do a little bit extra, either before or after, the day is done. 

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND ENJOY THE HOLIDAY

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