Archive Monthly Archives: September 2016

Hunger Signals: Learn to Listen to Your Body


Keep track of your hunger patterns using a diary.

Our bodies send clear signals telling us when to eat and when to stop—but are we listening?

I was talking with a new client the other day and I asked her to describe her appetite. She thought for a minute and then told me, “I can’t really say that I ever get hungry.” She ate frequently throughout the day (maybe a little too frequently), and on a fairly set schedule. So she relied on the clock—not her hunger—to tell her when it was time to eat. And when I asked her how she knew when she’d had enough and that it was time to stop eating, she was completely stumped. “I don’t have a clue,” she said. “I’ve never really thought about it.”

When I ask questions like this, what I hope to hear someone say is that they eat when they feel hungry and stop eating when they feel satisfied—not stuffed—and their hunger is gone. But when clients tell me that they don’t get hungry—or that the signal to stop eating is that “there’s no food left” —it tells me that when their body is speaking to them, they’re just not listening.

Your body sends clear and unmistakable signals when it needs attention.

You know what it means when your mouth is dry, your eyelids are heavy or your bladder is full. And while you might be able to ignore those signals for a little while, sooner or later you’ll be driven to drink something, get some sleep, or make a trip to the restroom.

If you think of hunger and fullness the same way—as clear signals from your body that it’s time to eat or time to stop—it can really help to regulate how much food you eat. To be fair, not everyone feels hunger quite the same way—most feel a little rumble in the stomach, but some get a little lightheaded or their thinking gets fuzzy when their blood sugar dips between meals. But these are still very clear signals coming from within: your body is telling you that it’s getting low on fuel. And when your stomach begins to fill, nerve impulses are sent to the brain, telling you that you’re satisfied, at which point, it’s appropriate to stop.

When we’re thirsty, we generally will drink, not to excess, but until our bodies tell us that we’re not thirsty any more. But when you eat, do you stop eating when you’re not hungry anymore? Or do you stop because you’re stuffed? Or do you stop because your plate is empty, or because you’ve scraped the last helping out of the serving plate?

Learning to recognize your body’s natural signals of hunger and satisfaction—and responding appropriately—are skills worth practicing.

Try keeping a food diary for a couple of days. Each time you eat, rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 means you’re weak and starving, and 10 means you’re so stuffed you almost feel sick) both before you start eating and after you’ve finished. Ideally, you want to start eating when your hunger is at about a 3 or 4—your stomach is growling a little and you feel ready to eat—and you want to stop when you’re at about a 5 or 6, which means that you’re satisfied and pleasantly full.

It’s amazing how this little exercise can help to put you back in touch with your body. When your body starts to tell you it needs fuel, don’t ignore the signals. If your usual habit is to let yourself get too hungry (a 1 or 2 on your hunger scale), you’re likely to overeat (hitting a 9 or 10). Train yourself to eat just enough so that you’re comfortable, satisfied and no longer hungry—not until you’re stuffed.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


Kona, Here We Come


By Heather Jackson, Herbalife-sponsored triathlete September 28, 2016 All of the hard work, dedication to improvement, and sheer focus of 2016 has been building up to one day. On October 8, in Kona, Hawaii, I’ll be competing against the best…

Read more on Kona, Here We Come

Family Fitness: Reach Your Goals in Three Steps

You and your kids can get fit together.

If you set your children up for success when they’re young, it will help keep them on track when they’re adults. Here’s your action plan for reaching your family fitness goals. Added bonus: You’ll up your own fitness level too!

The old saying ‘monkey see, monkey do’ comes to mind when we’re talking about teaching children about physical fitness, especially when they’re in the early stages of development. When it comes to physical fitness, parents can positively encourage their children to be active by being active themselves. Children’s behaviors are essentially modeled from our own. I think the same applies when it comes to our body image too. Our kids don’t see us the way we see ourselves. They don’t notice the cellulite or lumps and bumps. Children see their parents as love and perfection personified. If you start making negative statements about your body, kids can start picking up on it and in turn, start feeling insecure about themselves.

RELATED ARTICLE: Kids & breakfast: real life advice

I appreciate that when we’re struggling with weight issues, it’s difficult to keep negative thoughts at bay. It can be quite distressing to a child if you think you’re unattractive, yet in their eyes, you’re perfect. At its core, family fitness is a balancing act. We don’t want to be accepting of unhealthy weight gain or sedentary habits, but we don’t want to be overly consumed with negative thoughts either. Every parent has to master the fine balance of being healthy and active in a positive way. It’s not an easy task, and there’s no one proven approach to raising a healthy, well-balanced family. There is a way that I do it, and these three simple steps make a lot of sense to me. I hope they work for you too.

Step 1: Positive Words

Our choice of words is so important in life. Whether it’s with friendships, relationships, business affairs or your body confidence, it’s essential to make an active choice to use positive language.
I’m convinced that we all have some sort of body issues. I’ve been guilty of upsetting my daughter unintentionally by referring to my tummy scars as ‘horrid.’ Her response was “I love your tummy because without it, we wouldn’t be here.” As you can imagine, I felt terrible when she said this. My negative thoughts (like many women’s) came right in the middle of summer swimsuit season a few years ago. I think I felt even worse because she has a small scar on her arm. It made me realize that I must always be positive with my words. I believe true beauty comes from within, even on a tough day. Always try to find a positive verbal approach to situations.

Step 2: Positive Thoughts

If you do have negative thoughts about your body, try to work on finding some positive body confidence statements. These statements come much more naturally when you make small physical changes in your routine to make yourself feel better.

For example, referring to a healthy diet as something to be dreaded because you feel deprived is a prime example of teaching kids that there’s some form of negative emotion attached to restricting the consumption of unhealthy calories. Like I said, the balancing act is not easy. A change in mindset about what you know is best for your overall health is the key.

Attempt to only share positive statements such as ‘I’m getting healthy’ or ‘I’m working on being an active parent.’ This is especially important when speaking in front of young children because they’re most influenced before teenage years. Remember that positive actions and words start with positive thoughts.

Step 3: Mindset to Action

Have you heard the saying “All talk and no action?” Well, it’s time for the action part of my post! It doesn’t have to be a chore to get the entire family moving. Once you get going with weekly activities, your entire family will start to look forward to family fitness time together.

This year I launched a program called ‘Fit from the Sidelines’ to encourage parents to maximize every second of their time when taking their kids to sports games. I’ve always felt that kids sports practices are an ideal opportunity for parents to squeeze in a workout. Kids are busy playing and it’s the perfect opportunity for a parent to work on getting fit during this time. What a great example a parent can be the moment their child starts to look for them and sees mom or dad doing exercises.

Start getting yourself active and feeling great, then slowly start introducing your family to your ideas. Here is a custom ‘Fit from the Sidelines’ workout to help get you started!

Workout of the Week
Ultimate Goal: Perform this routine 5 times through.
Every Second Counts Goal: Get through this once.
– (1) Walk (2) jog (3) run
– Choose two numbers based on your fitness level.
– Note: If you’re new to exercise, choose numbers 1 and 2. If you feel ready, choose 2-3.
– Perform 45 seconds of the low number followed by 30 seconds of your second number.
– Perform a few stretches while you catch your breath for 30 seconds.
– Repeat.

Not ready for jogging? Walk slowly as your 1 and then walk fast as your 2.

Stick to the time frame and sets, but adjust your running/jogging/walking as needed to fit your current fitness level.

The majority of your actions start with a thought so keep your thoughts positive, your words to match your thoughts and hopefully your body will follow. Share your top positive parenting tips with me and our readers in the comments section. It truly takes a village to raise a healthy active family.

Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife

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Sleep Tight: Get Better Rest with These Diet Tips

Foods that may help you sleep better

If a good night’s sleep doesn’t come easily to you, your diet might be partly to blame.

Few things feel as good as waking up rested and energized after a good night’s sleep. But for many people, a restful night’s sleep is hard to come by – and could be related to the food choices that are made during the day. That’s because bad eating habits – not just what you eat, but also when – can have a big impact on the quality and length of your sleep. And the problem can sometimes turn into a vicious cycle, too.

Related Article: Tips to Help You Get Your Beauty Sleep

When you don’t sleep well at night, the foods you turn to the next day in order to keep you going could be the exact same foods that are sabotaging your good night’s rest.

Here’s what tends to happen. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, it messes with your natural hunger hormones and you feel the urge to eat. People who don’t sleep well tend to snack more – and they often turn to sweets and caffeine to get them through the day. Problem is, caffeine can interfere with your ability to sleep at night, and although the sugary foods might boost your energy level for a little while, there’s a good chance your blood sugar will soon plummet, and you’ll just start the process all over again.

So, when it comes to a good night’s sleep, the best defense is a good nutritional offense. When you eat right during the day, there’s a good chance you’ll sleep tight at night.

How to Eat for a Good Night’s Sleep
  • Keep dinner portions moderate. Going to bed with a very full stomach can be uncomfortable and even lead to indigestion – a sleep buster, for sure. On the other hand, if your dinner meal is too skimpy, you might be wakened by hunger pangs.
  • Don’t overdo the fats and proteins at dinner. Fatty meals take a long time to digest, and protein foods stimulate the production of chemicals in your brain that help you feel more alert. Low fat meals are digested more quickly, and healthy carbohydrates help stimulate the production of different brain chemicals – the ones that help you relax and get to sleep. Rather than making protein the centerpiece of your evening meal, focus on healthy carbs – veggies, fruits, whole grains and beans – with a small serving of protein.
  • Watch your intake of caffeine and alcohol. If you’re a regular caffeine drinker, you may be able to fall asleep just fine – even if you have a cup of coffee after dinner. But caffeine – and alcohol, too – can disrupt normal sleep patterns. You may be able to fall asleep, but you don’t stay asleep. And that makes it harder to reach the deepest (and most restful) stage of sleep.
  • Don’t overdo the fluids in the evening. If a full bladder is what’s interfering with a good night’s sleep, try to curb your fluid intake after dinner. Aim to drink more of your liquids during the day, rather than trying to ‘catch up’ at night.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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Protein Shakes – A Beginner’s Guide

Add fruit to your protein shake for
flavor and nutrition.

Curious about protein shakes, but don’t know where to start? Here’s your go-to guide – how and why to use protein shakes, how to choose a protein shake mix, how to make a shake and how to personalize your protein shakes!

If protein shakes aren’t part of your regular diet, it may be because you think they’re only meant for heavy-duty athletes or serious bodybuilders. While it’s true that many athletes use shakes to refuel after exercise, there are plenty of reasons why “regular folks” might want to consider protein shakes, too. Plus, they’re quick, convenient, and fun to make!

Related Article: 7 Ways to Add Protein to Foods

What’s in a Protein Shake?

While there is no set definition as to what a protein shake actually includes, it’s basically a drink that provides protein – and oftentimes additional nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Some shakes are designed to simply supplement the diet with protein, while others are more nutritionally complete and can be used to replace a meal. Some protein shakes are sold in ready-to-drink form, but many people prefer to make their own protein shakes by combining – at the very least – a protein powder and a liquid. These are often customized by the addition of other ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables.

When and Why to Use a Protein Shake

As a quick, balanced meal
Protein shakes that are designed to replace a meal are great for people who are meal-skippers. They’re quick and convenient and can provide balanced nutrition when time for meal preparation is limited.

As a meal replacement to help you lose weight
For those who are trying to lose weight, a meal replacement shake can be used to replace one or two meals per day. Aside from being convenient, protein shakes have a defined calorie content and are portion controlled, which makes it easier to accurately count calories and control total intake for the day.

As a supplement to help you gain weight

For those who are trying to gain weight, protein shakes can be used to provide supplementary calories. Drinking a protein shake between meals or at bedtime can help to boost calorie intake.

To supplement your protein intake
Another reason to consider using a protein shake is to boost your overall daily protein intake, if it’s difficult for you to meet needs from your meals alone. When you make your own protein shakes, you can adjust the amount of protein in your shake according to your individual needs.

As fuel before and after exercise
Many people use protein shakes after a workout, but they’re also useful as pre-exercise meals, too. Those who work out in the morning often like to ‘top off the tank’ with a light meal, and protein shakes can fill the bill.

As a means to improve your dietary balance
A simple protein shake is like a blank canvas, you can add all sorts of things to your shake that can help you meet your daily nutrition goals. It’s easy to add a serving of fruit or vegetables, but you can also boost your fiber or your intake of healthy fats with the proper add-ins.

Choosing the Right Mix for Your Protein Shake

Some protein shake mixes are “complete” – they’re designed to be prepared simply by mixing them with water. But, more typically, protein shake mixes are designed to be mixed with milk – the combination of shake mix and milk provides the right nutritional balance in the finished shake.

Protein powders derived from animal sources include whey and casein (both come from milk), as well as egg white protein. For those who prefer to get their protein from plant sources, there are powders derived from sources such as soy, rice, pea, quinoa or hemp.

Some protein powders contain a blend of proteins. One reason for this is that different proteins are digested at different rates (whey protein is digested more quickly than casein, for example), so some people feel that blends are better at satisfying hunger.

With the exception of soy, another reason is that vegetarian proteins are not considered nutritionally complete. Many vegetarian protein powders contain a blend of several plant proteins – this way, the final product provides the full complement of essential amino acids and it’s, therefore, a complete protein.

Many protein powders are flavored, although you can find plain, unflavored powders, too. Most people find that the tastiest shakes start with a flavored protein powder, such as Herbalife® Formula 1. Then they’ll customize the amount of protein in the shake by adding extra unflavored protein powder, like Herbalife® Personalized Protein Powder if necessary for their needs.

Most protein shakes, when made according to the directions on the label, typically have about 15 to 20 grams of protein per serving. An Herbalife® Formula 1 shake mixed with 8 oz nonfat milk or soy milk supplies 18 grams of protein.

Choosing a Liquid to Make Your Protein Shake

In order to get the proper nutritional balance in your shake, it’s important to make your shake according to the label directions.

If your protein shake mix calls for milk:

  • Many protein shake mixes are designed to be mixed with milk, so that the finished product will have the nutritional balance that the manufacturer intended. For this reason, only cow’s milk or soy milk should be used in products that are designed to be mixed with milk.
  • Both cow’s milk and soy milk contribute additional protein to your shake – another 9 grams or so. These milks also provide additional vitamins and minerals that complement the nutrients in the shake mix, making the finished shake more nutritionally complete.

If your protein shake mix calls for water:

  • Water should be used only in those protein shake mixes that call for it. These products are nutritionally balanced on their own and do not rely on additional nutrients from the “mixer” liquid. In place of plain water, you can also use black coffee or brewed tea if you like.
  • Rice, almond, hemp or oat milks provide very little protein, so these liquids are typically used in those protein shake mixes that are designed to be mixed with water. These ‘milk alternatives’ will add a bit of flavor and a few extra calories to the shake, but with very little protein.
  • Fruit juice doesn’t contribute any protein to your shake, either – so, again, it should be used in products that are designed to be mixed with water. But fruit juices contain quite a few calories, so keep that in mind if you’re calorie-conscious. On the other hand, if you’re trying to boost your calorie intake, using fruit juice in your shake might work for you.
  • Of course, milk or soy milk can also be used with protein shake mixes that are designed to be mixed with water. The addition of milk or soy milk will just boost protein content (and calories).
Five Add-ons for Your Protein Shake

Extra Protein
Even though your protein shake already contains protein, you might want to include more if your protein needs are high. You can add plain protein powder, of course, but you can also add foods like low fat cottage cheese, yogurt, ricotta cheese or silken tofu to boost protein content.

Fruits and Vegetables
Adding fruits and vegetables to your protein shake is an easy way to get more servings of these healthy foods in your daily diet. Frozen fruits and vegetables are convenient, and they give your protein shake a thicker texture. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables such as sweet veggies like carrots or butternut squash, and try different combinations – like pineapple with carrot, or banana with butternut squash. When you’re feeling a little bold, try adding more unusual ingredients to your shake – like baby spinach leaves or beets.

Most protein shake mixes don’t contain a lot of fiber, and most people don’t eat as much fiber as they should, so try adding high fiber foods to your shakes. Obviously you can choose a dedicated fiber powder or go with fruits and vegetables, rolled oats, bran, or seeds such as sunflower, flax or chia seeds, which all contribute fiber.


If your calorie needs are high, you can add rolled oats, nuts, nut butter, avocado, or dried fruit to boost the calorie content of your shake.

Ice makes a nice addition to a shake because it thickens up the liquid. Ice also adds volume to your shake, so it increases the portion size without adding calories. A great trick for those who are watching their weight!

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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