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About the Author

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Deena Russo

Deena Russo is a certified personal trainer and body-sculpting specialist in Los Angeles. Her clientele are men and women of all ages from high school students to senior citizens.  She has experience with prenatal and postnatal exercise techniques and encourages women to stay fit during and after pregnancy. She has been involved in the fitness industry in New York and Los Angeles for the past 14 years.

Her New York experience as an aerobics instructor and private trainer includes training groups at Nassau College on Long Island as well as many fitness establishments in the tri-state area.  Deena has trained with fitness experts in many fields of fitness including core training, flexibility and balance, bodybuilding, and yoga.

She currently resides in West Los Angeles, CA   and is training at a variety of locations including private homes and gyms. She enjoys occasionally taking clients on an outdoor excursion where aerobic activity is mixed with resistance training for body sculpting.

Deena works together with chiropractors and holistic doctors for clients that have special rehabilitation needs and limitations. She has recently trained clients for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in San Diego.

Her career in fitness began as a talk show host for a New York based television health show entitled “Creative Wellness. The show covered such topics as exercise, nutrition, self-empowerment and holistic healing. She has worked as a self-esteem coach and has led guided meditation and goal setting groups.

If it’s a trainer who genuinely cares about people and motivates her clients to push past their comfort zones and become leaner, stronger, healthier and more self confident, it’s Deena you want. Strongbodyforlife.com or 310-948-2364 Santa Monica

The Author's web site

Best Boomer Towns Columns

Curbing Those Late Night Cravings

Many of my clients ask me how to stop their late night binging?  Well there are a number of things to do to change this habit, which is detrimental to maintaining your weight and makes it harder to lose those extra pounds if that is your goal.

It is better for you to eat small meals every 3 hours opposed to 3 big meals during the day. This will make your metabolism increase and burn more fat. Also, eating small meals more often will keep you from having your blood sugar levels drop. When this happens you will feel low energy, and crave comfort foods that are loaded with ingredients containing sugar and carbohydrates, which turn to sugar and store in your body as fat. What you need to realize is that waiting too long between meals makes your blood sugar levels drop and makes you feel so hungry that youíll overeat.

Another thing to remember is to have meals that contain protein such as hard-boiled or scrambled egg whites; tofu, legumes, nuts and if youíre not a vegetarian include low sodium, lean beef, chicken, turkey or fish.  This will keep you feeling satisfied by keeping the hormone Ghrelin under control.  Ghrelin is the hormone that fuels hunger and when levels are high you can say hello to munchies.  Protein rich foods keep it under control.

Healthy fats in the diet should be included for a number of reasons. They make up part of all body cells, help us maintain body temperature, and even delay hunger pangs. Fats in the form of monounsaturated fat help raise levels of protective HDL cholesterol. Some of the foods that are a good source for monounsaturated fat are the almond and the avocado. Eat them in small portions. . A good example would be a 1/4 of a medium size avocado or 5 almonds. Carbohydrates are best in the earlier part of the day and necessary for energy.  Good choices are slow cooked oatmeal and yams.

So with that said, what can be done if at night we are hungry and need something to satisfy our needs?  One thing to do is to immediately drink a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea.  Then have something available for crunching that is low fat and still satisfying.  One thing that seems to work is raw vegetables and fat free ranch dressing. Add a hardboiled egg white for protein.  The key is to fill up a bit on the water or herbal tea and then eat a healthy choice such as this in moderation.  Another choice would be a small fat free yogurt with a tablespoon of slivered almonds, a tablespoon of protein powder and a handful of fresh berries.  When choosing fruits and vegetables, remember that they can add up in calories too.  This is why portion control is the key factor in managing your weight.  Another alternative can be 2 rice cakes (about 35 calories each) and a dab of peanut butter and jam on each one.  This will satisfy both the crunchy and the sweet cravings.

Alcohol and caffeine can make you crave sugar and carbohydrates when their effects wear off.  Avoid them as much as possible.  Limit yourself to one cup of coffee a day and consuming it earlier in the day is a better choice.  You can always opt for decaffeinated coffee or tea or herbal tea. Iíve seen the frustration that some of my clients go through when they are eating their small meals every 3 hours, working out at least 3 times a week and canít give up their cocktails.  So all the hard work theyíre doing is sabotaged by the calories consumed by the wine and liquor.  Iím not saying donít have anything, just be aware of moderation.  One or two drinks a week is fine as long as you donít have a problem with alcohol. A good choice can be a white wine spritzer which is club soda mixed with the wine.  If you do 50% wine and 50% club soda, you can have 2 of these and it equals one glass of wine in calories and alcohol consumption.

So be smart and have healthy snacks available when your cravings hit.  Drink water before having the snack and brush your teeth afterwards to clean your palate.

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