“Dr. Tucker’s Healthy Meal Plan for a Optimal Weight and Lifestyle” continued from Newsletter . . . .
I usually start my deconditioned clients out with a walking program five days a week, building up to 30 minutes per session. Once they start a walking program and are consistent for three weeks, clients are ready to start to learn how to lift free-weights or kettlebells. I enjoy teaching this one-on-one training in the office. We schedule half hour sessions together and I slowly progress clients to learning a complete whole body exercise program builds cardio, tones, strengthens, and creates flexibility.
In your quest to lose those extra pounds and achieve good health, proper nutrition and exercise is simply part of the process. What you eat and when you eat it can make all the difference. I have designed a healthy meal plan to make things easy.
The following is a typical daily meal plan I recommend. I especially like this plan because it helps control hunger, which is one of the most difficult issues facing people who are trying to lose weight.
Six Meals is Successful
This is what has worked! An ideal healthy meal plan involves eating six meals a day so you’re never hungry. These six meals should be broken down into two whole-food “regular” meals, two whole-food snacks and two high-energy, nutrient-dense, low-calorie meal replacement shakes. Daily scheduling of these meals could be as follows:
- Breakfast: meal replacement shake
- Mid-morning snack: whole-food healthy snack
- Lunch: whole-food regular meal
- Afternoon snack: meal replacement shake
- Dinner: whole-food regular meal
- Evening snack: whole-food healthy snack
Your Regular Meals
Your whole-food regular meals should consist of lean protein (meat or vegetarian) plus salad and/or vegetables. You can enjoy whole-food regular meals any time during the day; however, most people find it best to eat them for lunch and dinner. You can prepare them yourself, grab them on the go, or enjoy them in a restaurant, as long as you follow the following general guidelines in terms of content:
Protein: Choose any of the following and prepare it grilled, baked, or poached (not fried):
- 7-9 ounces of cooked, lean meat, such as chicken, turkey, fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout), beef, pork, lamb or shellfish.
- Meatless options include eggs and garden burgers. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy meatless meals.
Complex Carbohydrates: Select any three servings from the vegetable list below:
- Celery (1/2 cup)
- Cucumber (1/2 cup)
- Lettuce, butter (1 cup)
- Lettuce, iceberg (1 cup)
- Mushroom, white (1/2 cup)
- Mushroom, portabello (1/2 cup)
- Radishes (1/2 cup)
- Romaine lettuce (1 cup)
- Spinach, fresh/raw (1 cup)
- Spring mix (1 cup)
- Alfalfa sprouts (1/2 cup)
- Asparagus (1/2 cup)
- Cabbage (1/2 cup)
- Cauliflower (1/2 cup)
- Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup)
- Broccoli (1/2 cup)
- Cabbage, red (1/2 cup)
- Green or wax beans (1/2 cup)
- Peppers: green, red, yellow (1/2 cup)
- Tomato, red ripe (1/2 cup)
Your healthy snacks could consist of a small portion of lean protein (1-2 ounces) or a small portion of vegetables, such as celery, cucumber, radishes or peppers (green, red, yellow, etc.). You can also choose one serving of lentils, legumes, sweet potato, almonds, cashews, flax seed, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or nut butters made from the above ingredients.
Remember, fruits have more sugar content than vegetables, which may increase your hunger. Always choose whole fruits; avoid sugar-sweetened fruit cups, juices, etc., and do not substitute fruit juice, which doesn’t have the fiber and complete nutrient content of a whole fruit. Enjoy your healthy snack at a mid-morning break or in the evening. Limit yourself to two fruits per day.
This healthy meal planner doesn’t rely on whole grains or similar carbohydrates. Allowed grains are arrowroot, tapioca, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and teff. I am still surprised at how many people have not tried these delicious foods yet. I ask my clients to avoid bread, period! Eating too much grain cereal can slow down or prevent weight loss. Stick to eating a majority of lean protein and vegetable-based carbohydrates. Avoid refined grains and sugar.
Convert Fat to Muscle with Nutrient-Rich Shakes
I recommend the UltraMeal high-energy, low-carb meal replacement shakes any time during the day or whenever you get hungry. Most people use them at breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or in the evening. This is a meal replacement shake that contains a quality vegetarian protein source, a vegetarian form of essential fatty acids for healthy oils, and does not contain sugar or synthetic sweetener. UltraMeal tastes delicious when mixed in just cold water, but it can be mixed with unsweetened fruit juice, rice milk, almond milk, or hemp milk.
Tips for Success
- Don’t skip meals: Make sure you eat all six meals each day to keep you body well-nourished and your metabolic rate high.
- Eat every two to three hours: Eating on a regular basis will keep you feeling full and help you lose weight/maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat slowly: Spend at least 15 minutes eating each whole-food meal; eat snacks and drink your meal replacement shake as slowly as possible.
- Drink lots of water: Drink at least eight cups (64 ounces) of water each day.
When you incorporate a healthy meal plan with a daily exercise routine, you’re taking an important step toward long-term health and wellness. Good luck!
“Winning Without Weights” continued from Newsletter . . . .
Getting fit and training without going to the gym is possible when you follow a proper progression and give yourself a variety of exercises. You can benefit your core strength by becoming your own personal trainer and identifying and fixing muscle weaknesses. The core is the area around your trunk and pelvis where your center of gravity is located. A strong core gives you better posture; more muscle control; better ability to perform the activities necessary to daily living; helps you prevent injuries; and improves sport movements. Foam rolls, your own body weight, stability balls, bands, tubing, and medicine balls are tools that you can use at home, on your own, to create a solid foundation for developing dynamic strength in your torso, shoulders, arms and legs.
It is not always necessary to use free weights or weight machines to increase your core strength. The foam roll can relieve tension in tight, overactive muscles. Body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups, and pull ups can target the small and large muscles that influence the spine. Working out with balls and bands can provide you with toned muscles, a lean torso and abdominals, develop muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, abdomen, and arms, and create flexibility.
It doesn’t require much equipment to start your home training program! I have worked out at home on a daily basis for the past 15 years or more and have found that a disk used to move furniture becomes the perfect tool to perform sliding lunges. A chin-up bar replaces lats machines that can cost as much as $2,000. A chair or a bench becomes a platform to perform step-ups. An 8-pound medicine ball can be thrown against an outside wall while performing a chest press. A padded surface or a rocker board/balance board can be used to perform single leg stance movements and helps improve joint stability. A stability ball can be used instead of a flat bench and this will providenew stimulus to muscles and variety of movement. A band with handles can be used instead of barbells or dumbbells. Band training also provides an alternative to exercises often performed on machines, like pressing, rowing, and squatting. Maneuvers like the ‘plank’ exercise, are great for the abdominals.
If you work out with another person, you can practice speed and agility drills. Speed is the rate at which an exercise is performed or a movement occurs. Agility is the ability to move your body quickly in many directions and speeds with great control. All forms of tag and chase games improve reaction time.
Whenever you work out, check yourself for muscle weakness and imbalances from the right side to the left side. Asymmetries cause problems. Exercises that balance your muscles help you avoid injuries, especially those involving the back, groin, hamstrings and knees. A combination workout consisting of foam rolling, band and tubing exercises, medicine ball training, and stability ball exercises can improve your spine’s strength and help increase power and performance.
Most people are familiar with Pilates and yoga. These are systems that provide stretching, strength training (especially for the core muscles), balance training, and endurance. Home exercise programs should include these elements as well as cardiovascular training (walking, bike, elliptical), reactive training, and speed/agility training.
It’s important to change your workout program every eight to ten weeks. One of the biggest mistakes I see my patients make is repeat the same workout over and over again. Variety is vital! Often, clients’ workouts are still the same workouts they were doing several elections ago.
What are some good exercises for beginners? The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends starting a workout using the foam roll for what is known as “self myofascial release.” When using the foam roll, hold pressure on tender points within the muscle for 30 seconds. This allows for optimal muscle lengthening and acts as part of the warm up phase. Next, perform lengthening or stretching exercises. After stretching tight, overactive muscles, perform basic exercises and then progress to advanced strength movements. Pick exercises that target the front, rear and side muscles of the trunk. Here are three bodyweight exercises to get you started:
1) Plank: Start to get in a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Pull your abdominals in; imagine you’re trying to move your belly button back to your spine. Hold for 20 seconds, breathing steadily. As you build endurance, you can do one 60-second set. One or two repetitions is one set.
2) Side Bridge: Lie on your side with your forearm on the floor and your elbow under your shoulder. Beginners can start with their knees bent at 90 degrees. For an advanced pose, keep you knees straight so that your body forms a straight line from head to ankles. Pull in your abdominals as far as you can, and hold them stiff throughout the pose; raise your hips off the floor. Hold this position for 10 to 60 seconds, breathing steadily. Relax and lower yourself slowly. If you can do 60 seconds, do one repetition. If not, try for any combination of repetitions that gets you up to 60 seconds. Repeat on your other side. Repeat one to two times on each side.
3) Traditional Abdominal Crunch: Lay on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your ears. Slowly crunch up, bringing your shoulder blades off the ground. Perform one to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each.
The exercises above are safe and effective exercises to get the obliques and quadratus lumborum (a key lumbar stabilizing muscle) working.
Everyone always wants to learn more “butt” or gluteal exercises. The Gluteus maximus and gluteus medius are important muscles of the body and often need extra work. The following are good exercises to target the gluteals:
Gluteal Bridge on the Ball: Lay on the ball with your head and upper back resting on the ball. Place your feet on the floor with your knees bent. Squeeze your gluteals and then push your hips up until there is a straight line through knee and hip to upper body. Shoulders remain on the ball. Beware of rising too high or of flaring your ribs, which pushes the back into hyperextension. Hold the up position for two breaths. Let your butt come down and repeat. Perform two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Supine Ball Bridge: Lay on your back with your heels on the top of the stability ball, hip-width apart to aid stability. Suck in the abdominals and squeeze up from your gluteals, lifting your hips until there is a straight line from heels to upper back. Your shoulders and head stay firmly on the floor. Take care not to lift your hips too high or flare your ribs so that your back hyperextends. Hold for 30 seconds and lower. Perform two to three sets.
Lateral Thera-Band Walking: With elastic tubing around both ankles, stand with your toes straight ahead, knees over feet and hands on hips. Draw in your abdomen and step to the right while maintaining an upright posture. Don’t rock your upper body when stepping. Step again with the right foot, bringing your feet back to shoulder-width distance. Repeat for six steps to the right and then six steps to the left. Perform sets of six steps to each side until you feel a slight burn in the gluteal muscle. This exercise strengthens glutes, core, abductors and adductors.
Training the important posture muscles of the thoracic (upper) and lumbar (lower) portions of the spine can be done on the ball:
Back Extension on the Ball: Position yourself with your chest against the ball and hook your feet under a leg anchor or put them up against the bottom of a wall. Hold your arms straight out in front of you. Your body should form a straight line from your hands to your hips. Raise your upper body until it’s slightly more than parallel to the floor. At this point, you should have a slight arch in your back, and your shoulder blades should be pulled together. Pause for a second, then repeat. Perform one set of 12 of 15 repetitions. You can perform this exercise with your arms in a 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position, and 3 o’clock and 9’clock pose.
If you want to build big arms, especially the triceps, stability ball push-ups will take you to the next level. Do a push up with your feet on a stability ball. Keep your body straight; don’t let your hips sag or stick your butt up in the air. Do as many push ups as you can with strict form. You can challenge your core by switching positions so that your feet are on the floor and your hands are on the ball. The instability of the ball increases the levels of trunk muscle activation.
If you want more intensity, performing pull moves and push moves with the bands is ideal. The band lunge-press improves strength, endurance, balance, coordination. There’s not much this exercise doesn’t hit. With a band securely in place behind you, grip the handles and hold them at shoulder level, palms facing each other, and elbows bent. Feet should be shoulder-width apart. As you step forward into lunge position, press the handles forward, and finish the press with outstretched arms. Return to the starting position. Form is key: make sure your front knee is aligned over the heel in the lunge position and concentrate on keeping your upper body erect, chin up, eyes staring forward throughout, as if you were trying to balance a book on your head. Do 10-15 lunges with each leg.
Swimmer’s Lat Pull is a back exercise that you’ll feel throughout your entire body. Use an anchored resistance band station. With feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, lean over at the hip – don’t roll your back – until your upper body is almost parallel with the floor. Extend your arms in front of you and grab the band handles. Dynamically draw your arms down and extend them in back of you, until they’re at hip level. Think of the motion of a swimmer doing a butterfly stroke – the arm breaking the surface of the water and then continuing down and back. Slowly reverse the motion.
Up-chop Kneel develops excellent core stability and trunk rotation strength. Kneel with a band or tubing handle attached to an anchor below hip height. Grasp the handle in both hands to the side of the hip nearest the band. Lift your arms up and at the same time rotate the shoulders away from the anchor, keeping your hips facing forward and arms straight. Complete two to three sets of eight to ten repetitions on both sides. Aim to increase the resistance for eight repetitions.
Down-chop Kneel is the opposite of the up-chop. Begin with the handle attached to an anchor above head height, grasping the handle in both hands above your head to the side of the band. Keeping your hips facing front and your arms straight, pull the hands down and turn your shoulders away from the band. Complete two to three sets of eight to ten repetitions on both sides. Aim to increase the resistance for eight repetitions.
Medicine Ball Slams are a great abdominal exercise. This exercise involves integration of your whole body. It will also teach you power development from the ground up and get your heart racing. Take a medicine ball and get in your athletic ready position. Bring the ball overhead really fast and slam it down as hard as you can. Make sure you do a few slow first to get a feel for the bounce of the ball since you have to catch it.
|Foam Roll||30 seconds||none|
|Plank||1 or 2||none|
|Side Bridge||1 for 60 seconds||none|
|Traditional Ab Crunch||12 to 15||none|
|Glute Bridge on Ball||10 to 12||none|
|Supine Ball Bridge||10 to 12||none|
|Lateral Band Walk||6 per side||none|
|Back Extensions on Ball||12 to 15||none|
|Stability Ball Push Up||10 to 15||none|
|Band Lunge Press||10 to 15 per leg||none|
|Swimmer Lat Pull||10 to 15||30 seconds|
|Up Chop Kneel||10||30 seconds|
|Down Chop Kneel||10||30 seconds|
|Medicine Ball Press||10 to 12||30 seconds|
|Medicine Slams||10 to 12||30 seconds|