Archive Monthly Archives: October 2016

Gain Weight the Healthy Way


Healthy weight gain requires healthy foods.

Want to gain weight healthfully? It takes a combination of healthy, calorie-dense foods and resistance training to build lean body mass.

When it comes to your overall health, you often hear that you should work to “achieve and maintain a healthy body weight”. And when you hear that, it’s natural to think that it applies only to people who have extra weight to lose. But there are those who have the opposite weight problem—they struggle with trying to gain healthy body weight. And while plenty of overweight folks might be happy to trade places with those who struggle to gain, they should know that underweight people often find it just as hard to achieve their weight goals as those who are trying to lose. And, just as many overweight people do, those who feel skinny or scrawny may have issues with body image, or feel as if all they do is think about food.

Healthy Weight Gain Takes Time

Whenever weight change is the goal—whether it’s to lose or to gain—most people want quick results. But in either case, the process is usually fairly slow and gradual. In order for an underweight person to gain a pound in a week’s time, they need to eat an extra 500 calories above what they burn every single day—which is often easier said than done. And sometimes (in an attempt to speed the process along) people turn to unhealthy, high calorie foods—like donuts and French fries—that are loaded with fat and sugar. Aside from the fact that these foods don’t provide proper nutrition for an active body, they’re also not likely to lead to healthy weight gain.

Healthy Foods for Healthy Weight Gain

Gaining weight in a healthy way, then, requires more than simply eating more calories—you want to emphasize healthy foods that are also calorie-dense to ensure that you will ‘bulk up’ rather than simply ‘fatten up’. But, boosting calories alone—even from very healthy foods—could simply add more fat to your frame if you don’t couple it with resistance exercise. So gaining healthy lean body mass requires a one-two punch of healthy eating along with strength training.

It also helps to eat on a schedule—and to set aside some extra time to eat more often—in order to work in those extra calories. It does take some forward planning and a lot of patience, but with practice, you can achieve healthy weight gain. Here are some tips to help you.

How to Gain Weight in a Healthy Way
  • Drink extra calories from fruit juices, low-fat milk or soy milk. If fluids fill you up too much, have them in between meals, rather than with your food.
  • Gradually increase portions. Whenever you’re able to serve yourself, add an extra spoonful or two of food to your plate to gradually increase the amount you eat. Most people eat whatever they are served, and this often works better than trying to eat an entire second helping.
  • Add healthy fats to your vegetables. Use olive-oil vinaigrette on your salad, and add nuts, seeds, avocado or olives to salads and cooked vegetables.
  • Choose calorie-dense whole grains. Cereal topped with milk or soy milk makes a good snack that isn’t too filling. The highest calorie cereals are dense and heavy—the box of cereal should feel heavy for its size when you pick it up. Look for cereals that get their extra calories from nuts, seeds and dried fruits rather than extra fat or sugar. You can boost the calories in hot cereals by cooking them in milk or soy milk—then stir in nuts or nut butter, dried fruit, seeds or mashed banana. Look for heavy, dense whole grain breads—they tend to have more calories per slice than ‘regular’ bread – and load up on foods like whole grain pasta, brown rice and quinoa.
  • Adequate protein is important, but stick with lean proteins—fish and seafood, poultry, lean cuts of meat and vegetarian proteins such as beans and tofu—and increase calories by boosting your portion size, rather than relying on higher-calorie, fatty meats.
  • Dried fruits have more calories than fresh fruit on a per-serving basis, and are good added to cold or hot cereal, trail mix, salads and smoothies—or just by the handful as a snack.
  • Healthy snacking can help healthy weight gain. Trying to work in an extra 500 calories or more per day is easier if you include regular snacks. Aim for three meals and three snacks (mid-morning, mid-afternoon, after dinner) and try to space meals and snacks evenly. That way, there’s less of a risk that your snack will ruin your appetite for your next meal. A protein shake, a bowl of cereal with milk and fruit, a sandwich on whole grain bread, or a cup of bean soup are just some examples of healthy snack options.

Written by Susan Bowerman. Susan is Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a board-certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


Top tips to beat body acne

October 7, 2016


A clean back can help you have a clear back.

Blemishes and breakouts don’t necessarily just appear on your face. Acne can show up anywhere on your body. Here’s how you can beat it.

We all fret over a tiny blemish, especially when it shows up at the most inconvenient time. Men and women both suffer from breakouts, and I can assure you that nobody is thrilled when it happens. Much like facial breakouts, body breakouts can ruin your day, so what can you do about it? The importance of hygiene when it comes to the overall health and appearance of skin cannot be overstated. There are no worse culprits than dirt and bacteria when it comes to blemishes and breakouts, so here are some rules to follow.

Facial Acne

Everyone, men and women alike, must cleanse their face and their body every single day. Facial cleansing is a must and should be done in the morning and the evening before bedtime. Choose a cleanser that is most appropriate for your skin type. If you have frequent breakouts, your skin is probably on the oily side, so choose a gel-based cleanser that’ll help control and remove sebum from the skin.

Bonus Tip: If you have frequent breakouts on your cheeks, be sure you are cleaning your makeup brushes on a regular basis. And, make sure your telephones are cleaned regularly as well. The transfer of bacteria can only cause problems for your skin.

Neck Breakouts

As if facial breakouts weren’t bad enough, some of you deal with breakouts on your neck area, too. If your hair is long enough where it touches your neck and shoulders, then you must keep it clean. The constant contact between skin and hair can transfer oils, bacteria and hair products to your skin, causing irritation and breakouts. Keep it pulled away from your skin, especially while sleeping.

Bonus Tip:
Be wary of collars that are too tight. The tightness of fabrics can irritate your skin. If you wear a lot of necklaces and scarfs, keep the jewelry and the scarfs clean to limit transfer of bacteria to your neck area. Lastly, when it comes to cleansing, always treat your neck as an extension of your face and be sure to wash in the morning and night to remove any dirt.

Shoulder Irritation

Have you noticed blemishes and breakouts on your shoulder area? There are a couple of things to think about. Make sure your bra straps are resting comfortably on your shoulders and aren’t too tight. If you’re wearing tank tops, the same thing goes. For men and women who carry messenger bags, back packs or purses, keep them light. A bag that’s too heavy, coupled with friction, can lead to skin irritation and breakouts.

Leg Breakouts

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding breakouts on your legs and thighs. When it comes to the upper part of your legs, there can be several culprits that cause those unsightly pimples. In many cases, you may be having a reaction to body lotions, creams, shower gels, laundry detergents, bleach, dryer sheets, you name it. Pay attention if you notice your skin breaking out. For lower legs, you may notice irritation after shaving. Be sure to use a fresh, clean razor, warm water and be wary of leaving depilatory creams on for too long, or applying self tanner right after a fresh shave.

Bonus Tip: Just like the rest of your body, your legs don’t like to be wrapped too tight. Opt for looser fitting pants and remove any elastic fabrics as soon as possible after a long day.

Acne on Your Rear

I take it back; there is something worse than finding breakouts on your legs, like finding breakouts on your butt! Make sure to keep those undies clean, not too tight and find a material that’s breathable. Again, be conscientious of the laundry detergent you use, as some are filled with deodorizers and detergents that can be irritating to your skin. Make sure to keep your backside moisturized as well.

Back Acne (or Bacne)

Back acne or bacne is very common. There are so many contributors to back acne, including tight clothing, excessive sweating, not showering right after exercising and laying your back against dirty athletic equipment or even a yoga mat. The key here comes right back to cleansing your skin to keep it free from germs and bacteria.

More body acne tips:
  • Bathe, shower and embrace a daily facial skin care regimen.
  • Look for blemish fighting products in all forms, including facial care, spot treatments and even body washes and soaps.
  • Hand sanitizer, especially in a spray form, can be your best friend when it comes to avoiding dirt and germs that could be causing your breakouts.

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Worldwide Outer Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife.


Restaurant Quiz: Do You Know How to Avoid Empty Calories?


Do muffins make a good breakfast choice?

The choices you make when you eat away from home can have a huge impact on your waistline. Can you spot the best choices in restaurants? Take this quick restaurant food quiz and find out if you’re savvy when you dine out!

The typical American eats in a restaurant about four times a week. And, even if you’re not sitting down at a restaurant, there are plenty of other times when you may be picking up foods prepared away from home—your mid-morning coffee drink, your afternoon snack from the vending machine, or the prepared meal you pick up on the way home. When you add up all of the calories Americans eat in a day, nearly one-third of them come from foods prepared away from home. That’s why making careful, wise choices when you eat away from home is so important.

Think you know the best choices when you dine out? Take my restaurant quiz and see how savvy you are!
(Note: Portion sizes and calorie counts for foods vary from restaurant to restaurant. The suggested “best choices” in my restaurant quiz below will generally be the lowest calorie choice, as well as the choice that provides the best nutritional value. Examples are not meant to represent any particular dining establishment or restaurant chain, but are used to highlight typical choices you might face when dining out.)

Dining Out Quiz: What’s the Best Choice When You Eat Out?

You’re meeting a friend for coffee. You decide to skip breakfast at home and plan to eat at the coffeehouse. Which of the following would be the best choice?

a. a low-fat muffin and some nonfat hot cocoa
b. half a multigrain bagel with light cream cheese and a small nonfat latte
c. a slice of coffee cake and black coffee

Answer = b. Don’t be fooled by the low-fat labels on the muffin and the cocoa. Many low-fat baked goods often have nearly as many calories as traditional items—even though they have less fat, they often have a lot more sugar. Typical coffeehouse muffins—even low fat ones—can have nearly 500 calories because they’re enormous, and a medium-sized nonfat cocoa can have nearly 200 calories because of all the sugar. A slice of coffee cake and black coffee sounds light because it’s relatively small, but it could still run you at least 400 calories. The bagel and the nonfat latte would be the best choice of the three. Half a bagel with cream cheese has about 200 calories, and the nonfat latte would cost about 100 calories more. You’d also be getting some protein from the latte, too.

You’re running late to pick up a friend at the airport and you’re starving. The only place to stop is the drive-through window of a hamburger chain. Considering both calories and nutrition, which would be the best choice under the circumstances?

      a. a fish sandwich without mayonnaise and a diet soda
      b. a hamburger with mustard and ketchup only, and iced tea
    c. a green salad with two packets of Ranch dressing and water

Answer = b. In most fast food places, the fish on the fish sandwiches is fried, so the calories can climb as high as 400 per serving—without any mayonnaise or spread. Your best bet of the three selections above would be the hamburger, which would have about 300 calories. Why not the green salad? The salad alone has a low calorie count, but adding the two packets of dressing dumps about 350 calories of fat onto your greens. And, without any protein in your meal, you’ll be hungry again in no time.

After a busy day of shopping at the mall, the Chinese food at the food court smells good to you. Which of these items would be your best choice?

      a. Stir-fried vegetable chow mein
      b. Chicken and broccoli with half a bowl of steamed rice
    c. Two egg rolls and a bowl of wonton soup

Answer = b. Chicken and broccoli would be your best bet of the three. Stir-fried vegetable chow mein is typically very oily because the noodles soak up a lot of grease—this dish at one popular chain adds up to about 500 calories (and, there’s almost no protein to satisfy your hunger). Two egg rolls and a cup of wonton soup sounds like a light meal, but the two fried egg rolls add up to 400 calories and the soup adds another 300 or so. Chicken and broccoli with a small portion of steamed rice offers protein and vegetables and not nearly as much fat as the other two options—this meal adds up to about 450 calories.

The appetizer offerings at your favorite steakhouse all sound tempting, but you want to be sure you have calories left over to spend on your main course. Which of the following would be the best appetizer choice?

      a. Chicken wings with barbecue sauce
      b. Sliced tomatoes and mozzarella with basil
    c. Spinach dip with pita chips

Answer = b. The sliced tomatoes and mozzarella is probably your best bet of the three. Mozzarella is a low-fat cheese and does contribute some protein, and the tomatoes contribute a vegetable serving at a low calorie cost. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the dip is healthy because it contains spinach—typically, spinach dip is loaded with rich, creamy ingredients and is very high in calories (and, a single pita chip will cost you about 12 calories, so even a few handfuls can bust your calorie budget in no time). Chicken wings—while small—are usually fried and the portions are often generous. At one popular chain restaurant, an order of wings with barbecue sauce has about 500 calories.

After finishing up a restaurant meal with friends, you’d like some dessert but don’t want to go overboard. Which of these would have the fewest calories?

      a. a slice of strawberry cheesecake
      b. a scoop of ice cream with berries and a drizzle of chocolate syrup
    c. a slice of carrot cake

Answer = b. Of the three, the ice cream is probably your best choice. A single scoop of ice cream will have about 150 calories, the fruit doesn’t add much, and chocolate syrup has only about 50 calories per tablespoon—so you’re looking at around 250 calories total. Even a small slice of cheesecake can have close to 500 calories because it’s so rich. Carrot cake is loaded with oil and is typically frosted with sweetened cream cheese, so the calories are comparable to the cheesecake—sometimes even higher!

You’re on a vacation, and you head down to the breakfast buffet at the hotel. Which of the following would be the best choice?

      a. 3 large pancakes with no butter—just syrup—and a large glass of orange juice
      b. 2 scrambled eggs with diced ham and some fresh fruit
    c. a bowl of granola topped with raisins and low-fat milk and a glass of cranberry juice

Answer = b. Don’t be fooled by the healthy-sounding granola. Some granolas have as much 450 calories a cup, so unless you really control your portion, you could run up a hefty calorie bill by the time you add raisins (at 30 calories per tablespoon) low-fat milk (120 calories) and wash it down with a glass of cranberry juice (160 calories). The pancakes with syrup and orange juice could cost you nearly 600 calories, and with almost no protein in the meal, it won’t have much staying power. Ham is a relatively lean meat—so the calories aren’t nearly as high per serving as fatty bacon and sausage—and the fresh fruit adds fiber to help keep you full. This meal adds up to about 400 calories, making the egg breakfast the best choice of the three.

Written by Susan Bowerman, Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife.