Comments Off on Halloween Candy vs. Burpees

Halloween Candy vs. Burpees

Category : Healthy Eating

It’s the second week of October,

stores are well-stocked with trick-or-treat candy,

but does that mean you need to stock your pantry?!

Be realistic, if you buy Halloween candy now will it actually be around on October 31st when the kids come knocking?

Leave the candy in the store until just a few days before Halloween….

otherwise, stepping on the scale might get a little scary!


Burpee Calculator source:

This might help put things in perspective…you love burpees, right?

Comments Off on How Skinny is your Kitchen?

How Skinny is your Kitchen?

Category : Healthy Eating

Is your kitchen helping or hurting your weight-loss efforts?

Did you know that the average woman who keeps a box of breakfast cereal visible anywhere in her kitchen weighs about 21 pounds more than her neighbor who doesn’t? How about that having potato chips or crackers  in plain sight causes you to weigh 8 pounds more than your neighbor who puts them out of sight (or better yet don’t keep them in the house!)

Recently I read an article by Brian Wansink, PhD author of “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life”. In his book he provides a 100-point checklist to evaluate your kitchen. However in the spirit of “taking baby-steps” and not trying to change everything at once I wanted to start by sharing the 10-point checklist he offers in his article “Food-Related Behavior Change Made Easy”.

How many of the following are true in your home?

  • Salad and vegetables are served first before the entrée and starches are brought to the table.
  • The main dish is pre-plated and served from the stove or counter (not family style).
  • Your dinner plates are 9-10 inches in diameter.
  • You eat sitting at a table with the TV turned off.
  • There are two or fewer cans of soft drinks in your refrigerator at any one time. (Doesn’t matter if it’s diet or regular soda).
  • Your kitchen counters are organized (not messy).
  • Precut fruits and vegetables are now on your middle refrigerator shelf.
  • At least 6 single servings of protein are in your fridge: Hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, string cheese, tofu, etc.
  • Your snacks are kept in one inconveniently located cupboard.
  • The only food on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl.

How many did you check? If you checked seven or more, congratulations, you’re doing great. If you scored less than seven which ones can you change in the next week?

You eat what you see first, so the ONLY food that should be on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl!

You eat what you see first, so the ONLY food that should be on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl!

P.S. Learn more about Dr Wansink’s book “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life” at

Comments Off on Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

Category : Healthy Eating

Who knew mashing avocado on toast was trendy? Certainly not me…I’ve been making avocado toast for years because it’s quick, easy, delicious and nutritious.

I was very surprised to learn from a client (who travels a whole lot more than I do) that avocado toast is “a thing” on both coasts and here in the mid-west we’re missing out!!  I accidentally invented avocado toast (for myself) years ago because it’s a great substitute for some less desirable condiments such as mayo or butter.

Please, don’t worry about how many calories are in an avocado. The health benefits of the avocado far outweigh any concern you may have about the fat content… it’s monounsaturated fat which is “heart healthy” plus a little fat goes a long way toward helping you feel full longer so you will actually consume less calories throughout the day.

What’s so great about avocado?

  • They have more potassium than bananas
  • They are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a “heart healthy” fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.
  • A 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving of avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, which is 27% of the recommended daily amount.
  • Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.
  • Avocados are high in antioxidants, including Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • They are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.
  • One of my favorite breakfasts...avocado and egg sandwich

    One of my favorite breakfasts…avocado and egg sandwich

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Beat the Heat

Category : Active Living, Healthy Eating

Is summer vacation and hot weather challenging your weight loss efforts?

Too Hot to Cook
  • It’s tempting to eat out when it’s too hot to cook If you do eat out, remember to eat reasonable portions and eat all your vegetables. Try to avoid fast food all together.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables This is the BEST season for fresh produce…plus you don’t have cook it. Whether you visit a farmer’s market or stop by the salad bar enjoy delicious fruits and raw vegetables EVERY day. Remember, the USDA recommends 3 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables daily.
  • Grill healthy foods Grilling out will keep your kitchen cool. Prepare veggies (zucchini, colorful peppers, onions, and mushrooms tossed in olive oil) in a grill basket. As for meat, stay away from the brats and burgers and opt for lean cuts of meat or fish.
  • Avoid traditional picnic food Chips, mayo-based “salads” (such as potato salad and coleslaw) and meat on a bun are not good choices. If you are invited to a “cookout” offer to bring a salad or fresh fruit.
Too Hot to Exercise
  • Drink Water Always a good idea…zero calories. Avoid drinking calories from soda, ice coffees, and sports drinks except as a special treat.
  • Workout indoors The great outdoors is usually a great option here in Wisconsin, however, if we’re experiencing a heat wave exercise indoors.
  • Stay cool in the pool Swim, chase your kids, walk in chest-high water or try deep water running for awesome low impact exercise.
  • Exercise early The sun is up early in the summer, but the couple of hours after sunrise are cool and quiet. A perfect way to beat the heat!
  • Get Acclimated If you know you will be participating in an event that will require you to exert yourself when it is hot outdoors it is best to exercise in the heat for short periods so that your body can adjust to it. For more information:
Heat Emergencies (from the American Red Cross) Generally, illnesses caused by overexposure to extreme temperatures are preventable. The easiest way to prevent illness caused by temperature extremes is to avoid being outside during the part of the day when temperatures are most extreme. The signals of heatstroke include:
  • Hot, red skin which can be dry, or moist from exercise
  • Changes in consciousness
  • Pulse is rapid,/weak
  • Breathing is rapid,/shallow
  • Vomiting
  • Body temperature is very high—sometimes as high as 106°F
What to do for heat stroke: Heatstroke is a life-threatening situation. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately:
  • Move the person to a cool place
  • Loosen tight clothing
  • Remove perspiration-soaked clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to the skin
  • Fan the person
  • If conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink*
  • Place the person on his or her side
  • Continue to cool the person by using ice or cold packs on the wrists, ankles, groin, neck and in the armpits
  • Continue to check breathing and circulation
 The signals of heat exhaustion include:
  • Cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Body temperature normal or below normal
What to do for heat exhaustion
  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets soaked in water
  • If the person is conscious, give him or her cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes*
  • Let the person rest in a comfortable position
  • Watch carefully for changes in his or her condition
 *Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine because they can cause further dehydration, making conditions worse. Ensure 9-1-1 or the local emergency number is called if the person refuses water, vomits or starts to lose consciousness.

Stay cool, stay fit and have great summer!

Yours in health & fitness,


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Protein Quality and Quantity

Category : Healthy Eating

I’ve been a big advocate of protein over the years and have written plenty of articles about the benefits of protein and how to get more protein into your diet. There’s always more to learn though, so I wanted to share what I recently read in this month’s IDEA Fitness Journal called “Tapping the Power of Protein” by Christopher R. Mohr, PhD, RD. This article emphasizes eating high quality protein at least three times per day.

Here’s what I learned:

Be sure to eat protein throughout the day, but particularly at breakfast.

Americans tend to eat most of their protein later in the day, however we should really be eating in for breakfast. According to Stewart Phillips, PhD and professor at McMaster University, “It’s a good idea to aim for around 20 g of protein if you’re younger or 30-40 g if you’re older.” Also, in a 12-week study conducted by Heather Leidy, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri it was discovered that a high protein breakfast (35 g of protein) reduced daily hunger and  led to voluntary reductions of about 400 calories in daily food intake.

Also, not all protein is created equal…

I learned about an amino acid called leucine. When this amino acid is present muscle protein synthesis will occur. So which foods that are high in leucine? IDEA fitness journal’s article mentions the following: cottage cheese, chicken breast, ground beef, wild salmon, whole egg. I searched online for more options because I felt that list was very limited for vegetarians. Here are some good choices: soybeans, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and white beans. The goal is to eat 2.2-3 g of protein with each meal.

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When to buy Organic

Category : Healthy Eating

This is great time of year to buy fresh produce…But the burning question is: When to buy organic?

A nonprofit organization call the Environmental Working Group looked at 51,000 pesticide tests for 53 popular fruits and vegetables and then ranked them based on how much and how many different pesticides were found. The Dirty Dozen is their list of the 12 foods shown to have the highest levels. Whenever possible, buy the organic versions of these 12 fruits and vegetables.

Dirty Dozen







Sweet Bell Pepper

Imported Nectarines


Cherry Tomatoes

Imported Snap Peas


Giving credit where credit is due: This information adapted from an article by Dr. Mark Roussell PhD

Comments Off on Avoid Weekend Weight Gain

Avoid Weekend Weight Gain

Category : Healthy Eating

Are you “good” all week, but sabotage your weight-loss efforts on the weekend? Avoid weekend weight gain with the tips below! Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied how weekend behaviors affect weight loss. The study involved 48 healthy adults aged 50 to 60 years. Prior to starting these programs all participants were found to consistently gain weight on weekends, but not weekdays! In fact, the average weekend weight gain would have led to an extra nine pounds over the course of one year. The researchers divided the participants into 3 groups:
  • Group 1 (diet group) took in 20% fewer calories each day but didn’t change their activity level.
  • Group 2 (exercise group) increased their daily exercise regimen but didn’t change their diet, to have a comparable energy deficit as Group 1.
  • Group 3 (control group) did not change their diet or activity level.
What happened? During the year-long program both Group 1 and Group 2 did well during the week, however on weekends the diet group stopped losing weight and the exercise group gained weight due to higher calorie intake. According to Susan B. Racette, PhD, assistant professor of physical therapy and medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis,  “We thought weekends would present a problem for some people attempting to lose weight, but the consistency of our finding before and during the interventions was surprising. Subjects in the diet group lost weight during the week, but over the weekend, they stopped losing weight because they were eating more. Ideas for minimizing weekend weight gain We all tend to worry about the holiday weight gain, however it certainly seems we need to be wary of weekends. Especially since there are 52 weekends each year! Maintaining a consistent effort throughout the weekend is extremely important to successful weight-loss. Here are some ways you can minimize the impact of the weekend:
  • Eat before you go grocery shopping Many people do their week’s grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday, do not go to the store hungry or you will most certainly put things in your cart on impulse.
  • Keep healthy snacks on handy in the car Whether you are traveling or running errands, carrying a healthy snack will keep you out of the drive-thru lane.
  • Keep a food journal A journal will make you more mindful of what you are putting into your mouth. A recent study found that food journaling actually doubled weight-loss efforts!
  • Limit eating out Try to avoid fast food all together. If you do eat out remember to eat reasonable portions and eat all your vegetables.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption There are a lot of empty calories in alcohol. It also reduces your inhibitions to eat junk food AND makes you feel hungrier.
  • Plan to get some exercise Schedule in exercise either one or both days. If you are away from home and no equipment is available simply put on your walking shoes and get moving!
After the weekend, reflect back…
  • Which tactics above did you try? Did they work?
  • What did you do well?
  • Ask yourself: What can you do better next weekend?
Have a fit & healthy weekend! Karin

Comments Off on Healthy Eating: Good for YOU & the Earth

Healthy Eating: Good for YOU & the Earth

Category : Healthy Eating

Did you know healthy eating is good for you and the Earth? Here are some tips to make you and the planet healthier!


Eat less meat.

Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their goal is to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet. Visit for more information. According to their website: Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Be a locavore. 

Locavores are people who pay attention to where their food comes from and commit to eating local food as much as possible. It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate. Shopping at the farmers market, maintaining a home garden, or participating in a Community Shared Agriculture (commonly referred to as a CSA) are wonderful ways to support a local food system. Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Living in Wisconsin makes this difficult during the winter months, however, it is always important to be aware. For instance, we used to purchase particular brand of bottled water which was shipped from Tennessee, that is until we realized where it was travelling from. It certainly does not make sense to buy water from Tennessee when we live in Wisconsin, a virtual oasis of ground water. Locally bottled water just makes more sense!

Eat organic foods.

Foods grown without the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, factory farming, hormone use, and antibiotics on are not polluting the earth or your body. It’s hard to eat 100% organic…either what you want is not available or it’s too expensive. Don’t try to be perfect…instead, follow the 80-20 rule meaning eat organic about 80% of the time. You will feel good about your choices without driving yourself crazy.

Reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.

1. Eat whole foods. They are better for you than foods which have loads of chemicals and filler plus they tend to require less packaging which means less garbage heading for the landfill. 2. Compost. Not sure how? Visit According to their website, studies have shown that home composting can divert an average of 700 lbs. of material per household per year from the waste stream. If your flower beds are clay like mine they could use some compost: When mixed with compost, clay soils are lightened, and sandy soils retain water better. Mixing compost with soil also contributes to erosion control, soil fertility, proper pH balance, and healthy root development in plants.

I hope that in recognition of Earth Day you will consider adopting some of these healthy eating tips for a healthier planet and healthier body.


Comments Off on Freezer Meal Workshop

Freezer Meal Workshop

Category : Healthy Eating

XO Fitness is hosting a Freezer Meal Workshop on Saturday, January 31st!

For those that have not been to a freezer meal workshop, you do not want to miss this event.  What is better than getting together with friends & prepping 10 freezer meals (meals serve 4-6 people). These meals are healthy, protein based with low carbs!

Here is how it works:   

  • Let me know you want in!
  • Pre pay for bundle of Wildtree products
  • Receive a grocery list (you can shop before the workshop or after)
  • Prep your bags (before or after the workshop)
  • Come to XO Fitness on the 31st & we’ll add the ingredients to our bags
  • Go home & freeze your meals
  • THAW, COOK, EAT!!!!!
Wildtree is an all natural, organic food line that specializes in quick, easy, healthy meals. These meals are great for busy families and especially those that want healthy meals for your family.  Let’s bring dinner back to the table! Here is the menu:    
  • Adobo Beef Tips
  • Mediterranean Roasted Veggies & Chicken
  • Opa! Sausage & Peppers
  • Savory Grilled Tilapia
  • Sautéed Shrimp with Spinach Salad
  • Hickory Chicken Adobo
  • Mediterranean Country Style Ribs
  • Greek Flank Steak
  • Latin Lettuce Wraps
  • Salisbury Steak with Gravy
Cost is $67 ($79 minus 15%) for 10 meals & you will take your left over Wildtree products home with you to make more meals & side dishes. Contact Karin ASAP to register.
Freezer Meal Workshop at XO

Freezer Meal Workshop

Comments Off on St. Brendan’s Irish Root Soup -Low Fat version

St. Brendan’s Irish Root Soup -Low Fat version

Category : Healthy Eating


St. Brendan’s Irish Root Soup

We really enjoyed St. Brendan’s Irish Root Soup and they shared their recipe with us!  This is truly one of those comfort foods that cold fall weather seems to trigger, and boy, was it ever good when we made it this week!  We’ve been tweaking it ever since we got it because the original recipe calls for 2 cups of heavy cream.  While that’s OK for the occasional celebration meal, we felt we should try to create a low fat version that we could enjoy guilt-free a couple times a month. We succeeded!
Awhile back, one of our clients (Thanks RuthAnn!) shared with us the mind-blowing book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”.  In it, the author Michael Moss show us that there is an ideal amount of sugar (called the bliss point) that can be added to food; too little is no good and too much is a waste.  The same is true for salt, finding as we come accustomed to salt the more we prefer but that too little salt can take a once savory food to being nearly inedible.  The clincher is when it comes to fat.  For fat, there is no optimal level at which too much fat is less desirable.  More is always better and researchers determined that if there is a bliss point for fat it is somewhere beyond heavy whipping cream!  They also found that people could not discern the amount of fat in a food, often wildly underestimating how much fat was in it.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Back to St. Brendan’s magnificent soup.  Was this a case of unnecessary extravagance?  You be the judge!  Here is the XO’d version of St. Brendan’s Irish Root Soup.
2T Olive Oil
1T Butter
2 lb Carrots peeled and diced
2 whole Leeks diced, then washed well (originally Whites only diced)
6 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
Sauteed Leeks
Sauteed Leeks
2 lbs Sweet Potatoes, halved and roasted (see note)
4 cups Vegetable Stock (originally Chicken stock)
1 can evaporated milk (24g fat) or 2 Cups fat free half & half (zero g fat) (originally 2 cups Heavy  whipping cream, 176 grams fat!)
2 T sugar (We omitted this altogether as unnecessary with the carrots and sweet potatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Per the original recipe: Parboil sweet potatoes and then oven roast at 350 on a cookie sheet using parchment paper until brown.  (I have skipped this step altogether and boiled everything until soft, but I have to admit the BEST version was when Karin followed these directions to the letter AND we use the evaporated milk…  Will have to try again skipping this step and using evaporated milk to see if this step is worth the extra effort.)
Heat oil and butter in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, leeks, garlic and sweet potatoes. Saute until the leeks are translucent, about eight minutes, Add stock and evaporated milk or half & half.  Cover and simmer about thirty minutes. Stir occasionally. 
Either puree the soup in batches in a blender or simply carefully use an immersion blender (best tool ever) to puree soup.  Enjoy!
Made with Fat Free half and half, this recipe is about 122 calories per cup.  Made with evaporated milk 135 calories.  Made with heavy cream, 211 calories per cup.  You decide which is richer, I can’t tell a difference!