Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Carb Cycling 101

Carb cycling. Hmmm. I'm intrigued. You? Most of you reading this have been brainwashed to think carbs are the devil. Not so. If you know anything about anything you know that there are good carbs and bad carbs. And the right balance of carbs, protein and fat is imperative for your overall health. Chris Powell, trainer from ABC's "Extreme Weight Loss" swears by carb cycling to lose and maintain your optimal weight loss results. Powell explains that high carb days rev up your metabolism and low carb days maximize weight loss. The theory is that when your body keeps alternating between modes, you create the perfect balance to weight loss. So what is carb cycling? In the following paragraphs, you'll learn the basics of carb cycling, four different carb cycling plans - Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit - as well as the basics of how to execute this on a weekly basis.

What is Carb Cycling?

Carb cycling is an eating plan with alternating high-carb and low-carb days. It’s that simple. It also has built-in reward days or reward meals (depending on the plan you’re following), so you can still eat your favorite foods on a regular basis. Sounds pretty much perfect, right?

While each plan has a different mix of high-carb and low-carb days, each day works basically the same:
  • Eat five meals—no more, no less.
  • Eat a high-carb breakfast that includes both protein and carbs within 30 minutes of waking.
  • Eat your remaining 4 meals - either high-carb or low-carb, depending on the plan you’re following - every 3 hours.
  • Choose approved foods (Click HERE for the printable food guide)
  • Drink a gallon of water.
How does it work?

In order to lose weight, our bodies need the right combination of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Here’s why:
  • Protein builds and maintains muscles and these muscles burn calories like an inferno. Protein also breaks down more slowly than carbs and fat, which burns even more calories and helps you feel fuller longer.
  • Carbs are the preferred fuel source for your muscles and organs, and they come in healthy versions (vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes), and not-so-healthy versions (cakes, cookies, soda, doughnuts, candy, and many processed foods).  Healthy carbs are also crucial for burning calories, and since they break down more slowly than those not-so-healthy carbs, they keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady, and they also keep your calorie-burning furnace hot so it burns more calories!
  • Healthy fats (unsaturated fats) eaten in moderation help the development and function of your eyes and brain and help prevent heart disease, stroke, depression, and arthritis. Healthy fats also help keep your energy levels steady and keep you from feeling hungry.
So why do we alternate high-carb and low-carb days in carb cycling? On high-carb days you’re stocking your calorie-burning furnace so that on low-carb days your furnace burns fat, and lots of it! This pattern tricks your metabolism into burning a lot of calories, even on those low-carb days. It’s an amazing and well-proven process.

For this plan, carbs are considered fruits, starches (such as bread and rice) and starchy vegetables (like peas and potatoes). Reach for non-starchy veggies (like broccoli, asparagus and spinach) all you want - they don't count toward the day's calories.

What are the benefits?

Carb cycling has many benefits:
  • It fits any lifestyle.
  • You’ll learn how to shed weight and body fat, and how to make smart lifestyle choices for the rest of your life. This puts YOU in control.
  • You’ll feel better and have more energy.
  • You’ll eat the foods you love.
  • You’ll build lean, strong muscles.
  • You’ll be empowered physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Your CARB CYCLING weekly plan:

In order to find your ideal Carb Cycling plan, click on the links below to learn more about Powell's four different Carb Cycling plans -

Easy Carb Cycle
Classic Carb Cycle
Turbo Carb Cycle
Fit Carb Cycle

Remember you'll eat five times each day from the approved food list above at three hour intervals. Each meal should be around 250 calories, not including non-starchy veggies for a total of about 1,250 calories daily. Have your first meal within 30 minutes of waking and drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water daily to fire up your metabolic engine. And if you want to see results and don't have any excuse to deviate from the plan, prep meals on Sunday for the week ahead. Pre-cook your proteins, chop veggies and store everything in the refrigerator.

Get even more details on carb cycling in Powell's books Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution, and Choose More, Lose More for Life

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fashion Forward: Summers Do's & Don'ts

As we eagerly anticipate the season of fun and frivolity, it's time to prep our closets with some of summer's biggest fashion trends. Thanks to Glamour's online fashion section (author- Avery Matera), here are 11 summer fashion Do's and Don'ts:

DO go girly with a white lace top
You can dress up a white lace top with a skirt and heels or dress it down with denim shorts and sandals. Even try pairing it with moto boots and a leather jacket to turn the feminine piece into something more edgy.

DON'T underestimate the power of a T-shirt dress
The throw-on-and-go T-shirt dress is perfect for summer. Wear yours from day to night by transitioning into slightly fancier footwear and some fun accessories. Bonus: T-shirt dresses are easy to travel with - they rarely wrinkle and don't have to be dry-cleaned!


DO try a new sunglass silhouette
Whether it's round, cat-eye, oversize, or aviator, try a sunglass shape you've never tried before.

DON'T be afraid to show a little skin
Though it's more of a weekend look than one for work, the crop-top trend is wonderful for summer. Pair a loose version of the trend with a high-waisted bottom to avoid showing a little too much tummy.

DO add a pop of color
Find a brightly colored bag or shoes to pair with your wardrobe basics - it'll infuse a little summer into an otherwise neutral outfit.

DO try overalls
Overalls are no longer just for kids - they're a great way to update your shorts collection. Style them with anything from a button-down to a tank top. Most important, find a fit and length that flatters you.

DON'T wait until Memorial Day to wear white
And don't stop wearing white on Labor Day either. White is the ultimate summer neutral and feels so light and airy that you should try styling it head-to-toe once in a while.

DO invest in a dressier pair of shorts
They don't have to break the bank, but have a pair of shorts in a more tailored silhouette or non-denim fabric on hand. In the right cut and fabric, they can work for a casual office look or a dressy night out - just leave your denim cutoffs at home.

DON'T put your boots away
Just because it's summer doesn't mean that you can't wear boots anymore. Sure, they're heavier than a summer sandal, but they add a little edge to sweet summer shorts or a sundress.

DO make sure you have a classic white shirt
Summer is no exception for the classis button down. Basically, every outfit looks polished when you start with a crisp white shirt - you can even throw it over a bathing suit at the beach.

DO continue to layer
Layering isn't just for winter months and heavy clothing. Simply adding a T-shirt under a sundress or a button-down over a bustier is ideal for summer. Try this styling trick when you're totally bored with your favorite summer outfits.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How Bad Is It... leave a charger plugged in when you aren't using it?

I am notorious for doing this. Along with the majority of you I'm sure. But I learned in HGTV magazine, that while it's not a fire or safety hazard to leave your cell phone, laptop or camera charger plugged in, it is a pretty big no no.

So what's the big deal? Count the number of chargers you have in your home. We have an iPad charger, a iPhone charger, and the Bose speaker charger all in the kitchen, We have a laptop charger on the desk and another in my husband's office. We have two iPhone chargers in our bedroom. That's seven chargers in a house with NO kids that have their own devices. Having just those devices plugged in 24/7 adds an extra $25 to my annual electric bill. Not a bank breaker but every dollar should count if you're being smart with your money.

Now consider that there are 130 million homes in the US. According to Paul Scheckel, author of The Homeowner's Energy Handbook, if each one of those houses has 10 chargers, we're collectively wasting billions of watts each year. It takes dozens of power plants spewing out smoke and emitting potentially harmful waste to produce that kind of energy.

Moral of the story: Although it may be a slight inconvenience, unplug your cord every time you are done powering up your device. If that's just too much of a hassle, invest in a power strip that you can quickly switch off whenever you don't need your charger.