Keep hunger at bay: the 7 best foods to fill you up

29 May

Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND 5 Comment

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Keep hunger at bay. Fish is protein dense and can really help to keep you feeling full. from Herbalife


One of the most common complaints that I hear from my weight-loss clients is that they’re “hungry all the time.”  Often when I hear this, I first have to help them sort what it actually means to be hungry.  True hunger is usually felt first in the stomach – as blood sugar drops, the body releases hormones that stimulate the stomach to contract, and you get hunger pangs.  But some people confuse hunger with wanting to eat – which is actually appetite, not hunger.  To help them learn the difference, I ask them to let a moderate amount of hunger to set in – to really recognize the body’s signals that say “time to eat” – and to put the fork down when they feel comfortable – not stuffed.

It also helps to incorporate healthier, filling foods along the way.   Because in the end – no matter how you define it – if you feel hungry, it’s going to be a lot harder to stick with the program. So here’s my list of some of the most filling foods you can eat.

My top seven ‘say goodbye to hunger’ foods:


Fish is one of the most concentrated sources of protein around.  And that’s critical, because – compared with fat or carbohydrate – protein is the clear winner when it comes to satisfying hunger.  And, since most fish is much lower in fat compared with meat or poultry, you get more protein per bite. Fresh baked or broiled fish is great, but if you’re short on time, don’t overlook canned tuna and salmon, or frozen fish filets, shrimp and scallops.


High-fiber foods take time to digest, which gives them staying power.  And while all whole fruits provide some fiber, berries are some of the highest fiber fruits around.  One cup of raspberries has a whopping 8 grams of fiber – twice what you’d get in an apple – for only about 65 calories. Frozen berries are always available, and they’re convenient add-ins to protein shakes – you can also thaw them slightly and use to top yogurt or cottage cheese for a filling meal or snack.


Vegetables are high on my list of filling foods because they’re full of calorie-free fiber and water – so they fill you up, not out. Broccoli is one of the highest fiber veggies – one cup of chopped cooked broccoli has 6 grams of hunger-busting fiber.  And loading up your plate with cooked broccoli will only cost you about 50 calories per cup.

Black beans

Beans provide a one-two punch against hunger – they’re high in fiber and they also pack a fair amount of protein.  A half-cup of black beans will give you about 8 grams of protein along with 8 grams of fiber.  Navy, pinto and kidney beans all run a very close second.  Toss some beans into salads, soups or pasta to make them more filling and satisfying.


You can get a good amount of fiber from most whole grains – and they hold more water than ‘drier’ grain foods like crackers or pretzels, so they’re more filling.  Quinoa stands out because it also has more protein than most grains – about 8 grams per cup.  And, unlike barley and brown rice that require long cooking times, quinoa is ready in about 15 minutes.  Try it as a side dish, or as the base for a main-dish salad with chopped veggies and grilled chicken or fish.

Non-fat Greek style yogurt

Most non-fat dairy products are good sources of protein, but Greek-style yogurt is a standout.  Since it’s concentrated, a single-serve carton of nonfat Greek style yogurt can pack nearly twice as much protein as the regular style – as much as 15 grams. Try it for dessert – the protein will fill you up and help curb evening snacking.

Vegetable soup

Vegetable soup is low in calories, and since it contains so much water, it’s really filling.  Starting a meal with a portion of broth-based soup often means you’ll be satisfied with a smaller portion of your main meal.  Soup makes a great  afternoon snack, too.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

How to Lose Those Last Few Pounds

28 May
 Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND  4 Comments


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How to Lose Those Last Few Pounds | Herbalife Healthy Eating Advice

Are you always complaining that you can’t lose those last few pounds or kilos? I have seven tips that will help shift stubborn weight.

The last five or ten pounds can be the toughest to lose. How can you get the scale moving again? Losing the last few pounds is really the crowning achievement for most dieters.  Forget about the weeks and months of effort it took to lose the first chunk of weight – what really matters to them is losing those last five or ten pounds.  When you set a weight goal for yourself and you’ve only got five or ten pounds to go, it means you’re nearing the finish line – and there’s something about losing the last few pounds that says, “I did it!”  And, after weeks and months of effort, you’d think that you know exactly what you need to do to hit your target.   So why do those last few pounds insist on hanging around?

Why it’s So Hard to Lose those Last Few Pounds

When you first start on a diet, the weight sometimes seems to come off pretty quickly – but then the process gets slower… and slower… and slower.  One reason this happens is that when people first start out, they’re “all in” – they’re eating a lot less and exercising like crazy – and so, of course, the weight comes off pretty quickly.  But if the new regimen is just too strict, they’ll probably slack off a bit – and the pace of weight loss slows down.

The other reason it’s hard to lose those last few pounds is simply a matter of shrinking calorie needs –  it takes more calories to maintain a larger body than a smaller one.  As you drop weight, your daily calorie needs drop, too.  For every pound of weight you lose, your body burns about 12-15 fewer calories.  So, if the number of calories you’re eating at theend of your diet is the same as the number you ate when you started, it should make sense that your rate of weight loss is going to taper off.

Something else happens that makes it tough to lose those last few pounds – you’re dealing with a dip in your metabolic rate. It’s your body’s natural response to fewer calories coming in.  Your body ‘thinks’ there might be a food shortage, so it tries to conserve the calories stored in your fat cells – by slowing down the rate at which you  burn them.  The dip isn’t huge – your metabolic rate drops maybe 10% at most – but it does make it harder to lose those last five or ten pounds.

Do You Really Need To Lose those Last Few Pounds?

When you’ve got five or ten stubborn pounds that you just can’t lose, one thing to ask yourself is whether or not you really need to lose them.  First of all, how did you pick your weight goal in the first place?  And how do you know it’s the best weight for you? The fact that you want to drop the last few pounds is one thing, but it’s possible you’ve reached an appropriate weight.  If you can, get your body composition checked.  If your body fat is in a healthy range (14-19% for men, 20-25% for women) you might be at a good, natural weight. Here’s another thing to consider: the lowest weight you can achievemay not be the lowest weight you can comfortably maintain.  If you have to stick to a very strict eating and exercise regimen just to keep those last few pounds off, think about the trade-off.  You might decide that you’d rather carry a little extra weight if it means you don’t have to think about every single calorie you consume, or agonize over a missed workout.

Seven Tips to Help You Lose those Last Few Pounds

Acknowledge how far you’ve come.

Give yourself credit for all the positive steps you’ve taken so far.  The fact that you’re still trying to lose the last few pounds shows that you’re committed to taking good care of yourself.  Just know that it will happen more slowly.

Stay on track on the weekends.

Enjoy your weekends, but don’t use them as an excuse to eat more since you’ve “been careful all week.” A few meals out, a few more drinks… and before you know it, you caneasily undo that week of careful eating.

Eat more meals at home.

Even if you feel as if you’re making the right choices in restaurants, you have a lot more control when you eat at home.  When you make meals for yourself, you know exactly how they’re prepared, and you can control portions more easily, too.

Make lunch your main meal.

For most of us, dinner is the main meal – and typically larger and higher in calories than lunch. So, start thinking of your usual lunch as your main meal of the day and eat a smaller dinner.

Replace two meals a day with protein shakes.

One big advantage of protein shakes – aside from the fact that they’re filling and convenient – is that you know exactly how many calories you’re eating.  Try replacing two meals a day with protein shakes, and keep track of what you eat at your third meal and snacks to help you more easily control calories.

Get back to your food diary. 

When you’ve been on a diet for a while – and you’re eating pretty much the same thing day in and day out – you might figure there’s no point in keeping a food diary any more.  If you’ve stopped keeping track, you might want to pick up the habit again.  It’s possible that some old habits have crept back in – and the only way you’ll really know is if you write it all down.

Step up your exercise.

If you’ve never changed your exercise routine, you may not be burning as many calories as before.  For one thing, as you get more fit, the exercise becomes easier, so you don’t burn as many calories.  And, it takes more calories to move a larger body than a smaller one.  If you’re doing the same exercises that you’ve always done, you’re burning fewer calories during your workout than you did when you were heavier.

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

Healthy Heart, Healthy Skin

27 May
 Posted by Jacquie Carter  0 Comment


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Your heart health is a major contributor to the overall appearance of your skin. Let’s look at some ways to keep your heart healthy and our skin glowing.
Looking and feeling your absolute best is a common desire. If you are healthy on the inside, you can often tell just by looking in the mirror. Unfortunately the opposite is true as well. Your skin is a true reflection of what is going on inside of your body. And while you may be consumed with beauty products and the latest fashions to enhance your appearance, sometimes you cannot discount the importance of simply taking care of your body from the inside out. Your dietary choices, daily supplements, water intake and overall healthy, active lifestyle are all essential steps to healthy looking skin. Cleansing, toning, moisturizing and protecting your skin are also essential steps to take in pursuit of a more youthful looking appearance.

Related Article: Healthy Skin Care for Teens

When it comes to your skin, believe it or not, your heart is a major contributor to your overall appearance. There is a direct link between a healthy heart and healthy skin. Let’s take a look at just how important your heart is when it comes to achieving that healthy, youthful glow

When looking at the cardiovascular benefits brought on by your day-to-day activities or exercising regimen, you probably aren’t thinking about your skin. But, you should be. When your heart is really pumping, you can be sure that it is helping to deliver oxygenated blood and nutrients to the living layers of your skin. Your skin contains a very intricate system of blood vessels that help transport oxygen and nutrients to those cells that contribute to how your skin looks. When your blood flow is improved and that oxygen-rich blood is delivered to both your skin and muscles, you experience that awesome post-workout glow. It’s a bit of a flushed look that gives you rosy cheeks and a more youthful appearance. All thanks to your heart!

Your heart helps boost collagen as well. When it is working hard and improving circulation and blood flow, the added blood, oxygen and nutrient supply that is delivered directly to the skin also helps to improve your collagen production. And we all know how precious collagen is when it comes to skin. It helps to keep your skin plump and provides it with a smoother looking appearance. Collagen is key for a youthful appearance. It is a protein that is made up of amino acids and it makes up approximately 30% of the proteins found in your body. When it comes to your skin, collagen helps with the renewal of skin cells and is important for the skin’s elasticity; it’s ability to move without resistance. It’s also key for skin suppleness and firmness.

The heart is responsible for healthy circulation for the body as a whole. And it’s that circulation that keeps your skin looking more radiant. But, it’s not just about increasing your blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients. It’s also about carrying away waste products from your working cells. And those waste products can include free radicals. Free radicals are a cause of pre-mature aging, other disorders of the skin and the body as a whole. It’s all about helping your body to flush out the cellular debris from your system in the name of looking and feeling your best. Consider it a way to cleanse your skin from the inside out.

And as an added bonus and another reason to get your heart pumping, a healthy heart is great for your hair, too. That improved blood flow that does wonders for your skin can also be beneficial to your hair. It can help to keep your hair stronger and looking healthier. That same oxygenated blood and nutrients help to stimulate your hair follicles, too. When this happens it can help promote hair growth.

Remember, one of the most important things about exercising and getting your heart pumping is it helps to alleviate stress. Lower stress levels help you to relax, sleep better and keep your skin from taking on that brow furrowed, stressed-out appearance, which definitely can age you. And, less stress has been know to keep hair from becoming brittle and falling out.

So in the name of beauty, here’s to staying fit, exercising more to keep your heart as healthy as possible and reaping the wonderful rewards a healthy heart has to offer. Not only internally but externally as well. A healthy heart = healthy skin!

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Outer Nutrition at Herbalife.Discover the HerbalifeSKIN line here.

Guide to making a Herbalife Formula 1 shake | Herbalife Advice

24 May

Published on Jul 11, 2013

Let’s make an Herbalife Formula 1 shake. I’m Susan Bowerman, registered dietitian, and I’ve asked my friend Jan to join me today to make a shake. This video will teach Jan and viewers how to make an Herbalife Formula 1 shake in a few simple steps. First take the top off your blender. Then add 8 ounces of milk. I’m using low-fat milk, but you can use non-fat milk or soy milk if you want to. Usually we say don’t use rice milk or almond milk because they don’t have much protein.

Then you’re going to take your Formula 1 powder, and before you scoop it out, remember to shake the canister because the powder settles during transit. We want to make sure you get just the right amount of powder. After shaking the canister, open it, and put in two rounded scoops. There are multiple flavors ranging including vanilla and chocolate.

You could stop there, but I like to put ice in my shake. Ice gives it an extra smooth texture but, of course, it’s optional. Keep in mind, it’ll take a couple seconds longer to blend with ice.

Once you’ve combined your three ingredients; blend together, pour and drink. It’s really that easy!

For more nutrition advice from Herbalife, visit or take a look at my YouTube playlist:

Top 8 tips to hide fine lines

22 May
 Posted by Jacquie Carter  0 Comment


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Aging can take a toll on our skin and we must find ways to defend ourselves as best we can. Here are 8 easy ways to get skin looking great.

Fine lines and wrinkles. I have one thing to say about them, YUCK! OK, so it’s inevitable that as we begin to age our skin changes. Our collagen and elastin are compromised, our hormones get a bit wacky and don’t get me started on the effects of gravity. Unfortunately, aging can take a toll on our skin and we must find ways to defend ourselves as best we can. When it comes to wrinkles, we need to do everything we can to minimize their appearance. After all who doesn’t strive for a more youthful appearance?

Do you remember the very first time you noticed a tiny little crease in your skin? I sure do. The shock factor is right up there with the first time I noticed a grey hair. I think that when we are younger we believe that the signs of aging will “never happen to us”. But, they do and it’s o.k. Wrinkles can definitely zap our self-confidence if we let them. So let’s do something about them. First and foremost, think of them as smile lines or expression lines— that definitely helps take the edge off.

Let’s explore some top tips to help camouflage those wrinkles once and for all.

 1. Skin Care 1st – Camouflage 2nd

Prevention is key when it comes to our skin. But, for many of us that ship may have sailed. So it’s time to correct some of the signs of skin damage the best we can. And that starts with a good skin care regimen. It’s even more important than makeup when it comes to camouflaging our wrinkles and other imperfections. The truth is, if your skin is at its best, you will notice that you need less makeup. Cleansing, moisturizing, eye creams, wearing SPF are all steps we must take to ensure the best-looking skin. (And this is a short list.) In addition to the basics, we also need to exfoliate our skin to keep it looking smooth and polished. There’s nothing like some good old dead skin cell build up to make those wrinkles just jump off of your face. Look for antioxidant enriched skin care products that include Vitamins A and C to help get your skin in tip top shape.

 2. Hydrate that Skin

As we age our hormones can cause our skin to become a bit dryer. When our skin is dry, boy oh boy, do those little fine lines and wrinkles stand out! By keeping your skin moisturized, both day and night, you can really improve your skin’s appearance by giving it the hydration it needs. The added hydration helps to plump your skin. So, drink up to keep hydrated on the inside and keep your skin moisturized. And, don’t limit hydration to just the face. Remember, your hands and neck can be a dead giveaway to your “real” age.

3. Take it Easy with the Anti-Aging Products

The last thing you want to do for your skin is hop on every latest trend in the world of anti-aging skin care. Focus on a LINE of products or a specific regimen or program with consistent ingredients. You definitely want your skin care products to work with each other for the best results. If you are mixing and matching too many different products and ingredients, your skin may become irritated. And this irritation will only make your wrinkles more visible.

 4. Purchase a Primer

I’ll admit, I was late to the game when it came to using makeup primer. But, I can now say that they make a huge difference when used as a base before applying makeup. Follow your normal skin care regimen and then add a primer to your skin just after your moisturizer. Silicone based primers are good for helping to fill in the little skin imperfections such as fine lines and uneven texture. When it’s time to start applying your makeup you will notice that your foundation goes on much smoother and easier as a result. The simple cushion that primer creates in your fine lines and wrinkles can help prevent your makeup for settling into the lines and drawing more attention to them. It’s a must have.

5. Lighten up on the Foundation

We tend to think that we need to cover up our wrinkles to truly camouflage them. But, unfortunately this doesn’t work it actually makes them look even worse. Instead of using a heavy foundation on your skin look for products that are hydrating and sheer. I opt for a nice tinted moisturizer for my skin. They do provide lighter coverage but they won’t settle into your lines giving you that “cracked” appearance.

Take a good look at your skin. You will probably realize that you don’t need foundation or tinted moisturizer everywhere. So use these products sparingly and only apply to those areas of the face that really need a bit of covering up. If you think you need a bit more coverage just lightly pat on a bit of concealer to those dark or red spots. And remember; go a bit darker in your shade as lighter shades of foundation can highlight the wrinkles instead of camouflaging them.

6. Put away the Powder

It is true that a light dusting of loose powder can set your makeup fabulously. But, powder can act like a magnifying glass to your lines if you aren’t careful. I personally like powders that contain illuminating properties that will reflect the light to help diminish any skin imperfections. But, try to look for opportunities to trade out your powders for creams for a more natural look that will help to camouflage those wrinkles. Think creamy blush (yes, your cheeks can have lines and wrinkles too) and eye shadow in lieu of powder. And if using powder is a must for you then use it sparingly. Powder your nose and your chin and leave it at that.

7. Shift the focus

I’m a firm believer in using in a bit of “smoke and mirror” tactics when it comes to camouflaging my fine lines and wrinkles. It’s all about distracting the eye and shifting the focus onto something else besides the imperfections. One way to achieve this is to pay a bit more attention to the eyes. Choose a nice matte shadow that is on the neutral color side. Apply a lighter, neutral shade to your eye lids and look for those softer neutral shades for your crease to make your true eye color POP. Anything too shimmery can draw too much attention to fine lines. The truth is that any kind of heavy eye makeup can age you tremendously. Avoid applying heavy eyeliner to your upper lids by going a bit softer in shade and application. Do the same under your lower lids if you must use eyeliner there. Just keep it simple and let your eyes shine, not your crow’s feet.

8. Avoid the smudge

Does it seem like you are always trying to keep the color ON your lips and off of your skin? Bleeding lipstick is the worst attention grabber for fine lines around the mouth. Choose a good lip pencil to line your lips. Look for pencils that are creamy in texture and that have a color-stay or color-lasting quality. Make sure your liner matches yours lip color for the most natural and elegant look. Once you have lined your lips apply a bit of lip color. Use your finger so you can gently pat the color onto your lip and control the application. This should keep the color and the attention on your perfect pout and NOT on those pesky little lines.

I spend a lot of time looking for new ways to help camouflage my skin imperfections. If you have a special trick to share, I would love to hear about it in the comments section below. I do believe that little fine lines and wrinkles, aka expression lines, do give us character and lend to our beauty. BUT…a little goes a long way, and if we can take a few simple steps to help preserve our youthful appearance, then why not?

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Outer Nutrition at HerbalifeDiscover the HerbalifeSKIN line here.

Digestive system woes? 7 tips for healthy digestion

18 May
 Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND  5 Comments


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Digestive system woes? 7 tips for healthy digestion | Nutrition tips from Herbalife

A smooth running digestive system relies on the right foods at the right time.

Of all our bodily functions, we probably focus more on our digestive system than any other. I’m sure one reason for this is that we have plenty of opportunities to ‘touch base’ with our digestive tract and take a reading. After all, you get signals from your digestive system all day long – everything from “feed me!” to “could you loosen the belt a little?“ to “air comin’ your way!” Your digestive system has a way of speaking up – and has a lot to say about what you put in it… as well as how much and how often.

Many of us eat too much or eat too fast. We don’t eat enough fiber. We skip meals – and then subject our systems to a gigantic plate of food. Considering how much use and abuse our digestive systems have to withstand, it’s a wonder we don’t suffer more than we do. Gas, bloating, “having a hard time going” – not a day goes by that someone doesn’t complain to me about one of these common digestive problems. Let’s look at what you can do to ease any strain on your digestive system.

Common digestive system ‘disturbances’: gas, bloating and irregularity

Gas production is a normal part of the digestive process and, unless it’s excessive, usually indicates a healthy intake of fiber and a well-functioning digestive tract. Most foods that contain carbohydrate – anything from beans to bagels – are not completely broken down during digestion, so the resident bacteria in your intestines take over, producing gas as they complete the digestive process. The average person passes gas about 14 times a day, releasing about a half-liter of gas in the process.

Some people describe feeling bloated after eating – sort of a ‘puffed up’ sensation that comes on rather quickly, mostly in the upper abdomen. It is often the result of air that gets trapped in your digestive tract, which can come from a surprising number of sources. Often, it’s simply a matter of swallowing a lot of air while you eat – which often happens if you eat too fast or do a lot of talking while you’re chewing. Sometimes carbonated beverages can leave you feeling bloated since you’re taking in a lot of air along with your liquid. Some people get that bloated feeling when they eat a fatty meal – fat delays the time it takes for food to leave your stomach, so it can leave you feeling uncomfortable.

Irregularity is one of the most common digestive complaints – it’s also one of the most misunderstood. Many people think if they don’t visit the bathroom on a daily basis, they’ve got a problem. But if things are moving smoothly – whether it’s three times a day or three times a week – you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

My seven tips for healthy digestion

Get enough fiber

Fiber is the structural portion of a plant, so it’s found in good-for-you foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Adults should be eating in the neighborhood of 30 grams of fiber a day, but the average intake among adults in the US is only about a third of that. Our busy lifestyles contribute to the problem – when we’re eating on the go, we’re less likely to find the fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Aim to have a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack, toss some beans into a soup or salad, and choose whole grains over refined “white” breads, cereals, rice and pasta.

Get some “good” bacteria

Your digestive system is home to thousands of strains of beneficial bacteria that help to break down foods that are resistant to normal digestion – which allows you to obtain more nutrients from your foods. The bacteria in your system also help to keep the growth of other, potentially harmful, bacteria at bay – thus promoting healthy digestion.While the idea of consuming bacteria in the diet may not sound appealing, the probiotic bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods can promote digestive health. Aside from yogurt, you can pick up some of these “good” bacteria in other fermented soy products (miso, tempeh, kefir), as well as in pickled foods like cucumber pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi.

Meet your fluid needs

Fluid helps the fibers in foods to “swell” and helps to add more bulk to the material passing through the lower digestive tract, which keeps things running smoothly. Watery fruits and vegetables go a long way towards meeting fluid needs, but it’s still important to drink fluids throughout the day, too.

Get regular exercise

Exercise isn’t just for the muscles you can see, it’s good for the smooth muscles of your digestive tract, too. Exercise stimulates the muscles to contract, which keeps things “moving along”. Exercise is also a great stress-reducer – which makes it particularly good for those whose digestive systems act up when they get stressed out.

Don’t go too long without eating

When you go too long without eating, a couple of things are likely to happen – you’ll eat quickly because you’re so hungry, and you’ll eat too much because you’re starving. Either way, you could end up with a touch of indigestion. Your digestive system is likely to be a lot happier if you eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day.

Take your time… making dietary changes

Often when people are bothered by gas, they figure the best thing to do is to eliminate ‘gassy’ foods like beans or broccoli from the diet. But rather than eliminating these healthy foods, try eating just small amounts over several days to give your system time to adjust. Similarly, if you’re trying to add more fiber to your diet, work your way up to the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber gradually.

Take your time… eating and eliminating

When you eat too fast, not only does it lessen the enjoyment of your meal, but you’re more likely to swallow air which can lead to gas and bloating. And, when you eat too quickly, you’re more likely to overeat since it takes your stomach about 20 minutes to tell your brain that you’re full… and that can lead to further digestive discomfort. Lastly, when nature calls, be sure to listen. Too many people put off visits to the restroom if the urge to “go” strikes at an inconvenient time. Sure, the urge may pass – but if you put it off, you’re more likely to have trouble getting the job done.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Revealed: Why sleep is a secret weapon for improved fitness

17 May
 Posted by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA  4 Comments


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  Sleep - your secret weapon in pursuit of fitness! Herbalife fitness advice

Tired of not getting the best results from your nutrition and exercise plan? You might actually be tired.
My advice? Make time for quality rest. Go to sleep, wake up energized and get the best results from your fitness plan!

A good rest, in my opinion, can sometimes be as beneficial as a good workout. This is especially true if you have a busy, demanding schedule. Today, I want to share with you some of the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep and give you tips to help improve your sleep quality. Insufficient sleep can sabotage even the most disciplined health plan because tiredness  and everyday fatigue can often make you fall into what I call the  “no results sleepy body cycle.”

A little known secret weapon for fitness: Go to sleep

Improving your sleep quality and creating good sleep habits may help you to improve your body composition and your overall mood.  Next time you’re planning an early night but get sidetracked think about how easy it is to find yourself in a vicious circle that leaves you feeling more tired than ever!

  • Lack of sleep can create an energy slump that you feed with sugary snacks or caffeine.
  • Eating carbohydrates and caffeine late at night can disrupt your sleep or prevent you from falling asleep when bedtime comes around.
  • Unhealthy weight gain can make you feel stressed out; high levels of stress can negatively impact your body composition goals and body confidence.
  • …then the cycle repeats.

Sleep and lifestyle demands

Many parents set wonderful bedtime habits for their children. A bath, story time, a warm glass of milk… yet for themselves, they collapse on the couch and get very little good-quality sleep. I know this first-hand—as a mom, I’ve been very conscious about setting a good bedtime routine for my kids. However on some occasions, I fall very short of the 6-8 hours of quality sleep I need per night.

My body feels and looks tired when I’m not getting adequate rest. And that’s no good. I bet that you start to feel increasingly lethargic if you aren’t sleeping well too. And poor quality rest means it’s hard to find the energy for a good workout.

Sleep and Fitness

You may be reading this and thinking ‘how are improved sleep habits going to help boost my fitness level and improve my body composition results?’ Here’s a little bit of exercise science for you:

It’s not the actual workout in the gym alone that helps your body to positively evolve and adapt. Exercise actually places stress on your body, and it’s your body’s ability to respond to and rebuild from this stress that creates growth, results and body improvement. This is why nutrition and recovery are an essential part of any good exercise/athletic training routine.

4 good bedtime habits to go to sleep

Create a wind-down routine

A little known secret weapon for fitness: Go to sleep

I find that a face cleansing routine using warm water and my favorite products gets me into a bedtime frame of mind. I feel as though I’m removing all the dirt and stress from the day. It’s my internal cue to go to sleep after a long day.

Technology ban

Avoid using the computer and TV as part of your bedtime routine as much as possible. The screen on these devices just further stimulates your senses. Sometimes when you’re very tired, you’ll fall asleep with the TV on… and a few hours later, you’ll be disappointed when the noise from the TV wakes you up from a perfect slumber. Instead, calm your mind with reading a good book or listening to soothing music.

Avoid a late night sugar rush

Avoid sugary foods and alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol in particular can be responsible for disrupting the most important part of your sleep cycle and could wake you up in the middle of the night. A better solution would be to try calming your body with simple yoga stretchesor start to practice meditation.

Lights out

It’s important to sleep in a room that’s dark because lights can be stimulating. Exposure to light also affects your natural circadian rhythm. It feels natural to go to sleep when it’s dark and venture out for fresh air when it’s bright. Turn off all of the lights at bedtime. If your sleep environment is naturally lit, or if you’re a night-shift worker, consider installing light-blocking curtains. If you’re a frequent traveller like me, use a good eye mask on your travels. Excess light can disrupt sleep.


I hope my tips on good sleep habits work for you. The next time you need a good excuse to head to bed early, you can say, “I’m going to get a little extra sleep to help build my six-pack!”

If you have any good winding down habits that you think could help people go to sleep and improve their personal fitness level, please share them in the comments section.

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

Six Ways to Reduce the Appearance of Loose Skin

14 May
 Posted by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA  0 Comment


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The appearance of loose skin when you are on a weight-loss journey can be disheartening. Although exercise alone won’t return your skin back to its former shape, there are some things that you can do to improve the way it looks.

The skin is an amazing organ of the body. Its ability to stretch and shrink to accommodate our ever-changing physique is incredible. However, some people can get disheartened and become unmotivated when they find that their exercise routine seems to be making their body appear to be loose and saggy, instead of buff and toned. Unfortunately, sometimes, loose skin, especially after drastic weight loss, can’t be improved because it has been stretched out for such a long time. For many people, however, there are several ways they can improve this problem and boost their confidence in the process.

Related Article: Kick These Habits to Improve Your Skin

Here are some tips to help you start toning up:

  • Avoid drastic weight loss: When you lose weight incredibly fast, you do not give your skin a chance to adapt. The best approach with weight loss is to take it slowly to avoid instantly sagging skin. A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is a sustainable and safe amount.
  • Beef up your strength-training program: One of the best ways to improve the appearance of your skin is to build muscle. As you lose body fat, your skin can appear loose because there is less volume filling up the space beneath it. If you build muscle, your skin will appear to be much more toned.
  • Avoid grueling cardio training without proper nutrition: Overtraining with cardio can cause the loss of not only fat, but also muscle. Muscle loss, in combination with fat loss, can make the skin loose. If you are doing extensive cardio training, you must provide your body with proper nutrition. This will help your body recover and reduce the chance that you will be losing precious muscle mass.
  • Stay hydrated: Hydration is important for your skin. It is the first thing that suffers when you are not drinking enough fluid because the body draws fluid away from the surface of the skin and redirects it to more essential organs. Dehydration makes the skin appear more wrinkled and this can make loose skin look worse than it actually is. When you are well hydrated, the skin benefits greatly and the cells appear to be more plump. If you are exercising regularly, or living in a warm climate, taking extra care of your body’s hydration needs is essential.
  • Massage and moisturize your body often: Treating your skin to some good moisturizer and massaging your body each day when you get out of the shower encourages improved circulation. This can help your skin to look and feel great.
  • Do not get discouraged: Loose skin is a small price to pay for being healthy and in shape. When you give your body ample time to adapt and stay focused with living a healthy, active lifestyle, the problem of loose skin can seem less important over time. When you feel upset about your skin, try to focus on the positive ways in which living a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly is impacting your life.

I experienced drastic weight gain during pregnancy when I was pregnant with triplets. It took a long time for my skin to recover after pregnancy. It’s still not perfect, but my positive approach is to connect with women who have had a similar experience. I know you will understand when I say that finding ways to avoid bending when in a swimsuit, or sitting on a sun lounger in just the right position to avoid the wrinkles, takes practice. Feeling good and being healthy is what truly matters most. When you focus on the positives, the negatives seem less of a problem.

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