Walk Talk Series
Day 34 – Healthy Cooking on the Grill and the abdominal Scoop
Don’t Demonize Dessert
If desserts are your downfall, don’t make them forbidden fruit. Many people have a sweet tooth. You simply have to make good choices about how often to satisfy it – and with how much. First, try to get as much nutrition into the dessert – fruit, nonfat milk products, fiber. Then watch the portions. Save up your fat exchanges for the day for a splurge on dessert.
Don’t Crunch – Scoop for Great Abs
Crunches shorten the rectus abdominis (top abdominal muscle), making it pouchy – just the opposite of what you want for all your hard work. Do the Pilates chest lift instead.
Pilates chest lift
Chest Lift is a basic ab exercise that focuses on the rectus abdominis, the long “6 pack abs” muscle that runs down the front of the abdomen.
Chest Lift may look like the familiar abdominal “crunch”, but there are some important differences between this ab exercise and the way most people do a crunch. See the “tips” below Chest Lift instructions for details on the differences. Once you understand Chest Lift you will have a good basis for working with many of the forward flexion Pilates exercises like the Single Leg Stretch and The Hundred.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your legs are parallel – lined up so that your hip, knee and ankle are in one line and the toes are pointing directly away from you. You are in neutral spine position with the natural curve of the lower spine creating a slight lift off the mat.
2. Keep your shoulders down as you bring your hands behind your head with the finger tips touching. Your hands will support the base of your skull. Your elbows will stay open throughout the exercise.
3. Exhale: Slowly pull your belly button down toward your spine and keep going, allowing your spine to lengthen out and the lower back to come down to the mat. Simultaneously, tilt you chin slightly down and from the top of the head, with a long neck, slowly lift the upper spine off the mat until the base of the scapula is just brushing the mat. There is a deepening feeling under the bottom ribs as you lift. Remember, the work is in your abs, which are in a deep concave position. Your neck and shoulders stay relaxed, and the movement does not create tension in the legs.
4. Pause at the top and inhale. Draw the abdominals in deeper.
5. Exhale: Keep the abdominals drawn in as you slowly lower back to the mat.
6. Inhale: Release the abdominals and return to neutral spine.
Repeat 6 – 8 times.
Tips: Chest lift creates a deep curve of the abdominals down toward the mat. The result is flat abs. In most crunches, there is a shortening of the rectus abdominis (the long superficial muscle that runs down the front of the abdomen) that often causes the abs to pop up on the contraction. This will not create the flat abs people are looking for. Chest Lift is done very slowly with the breath. There is no momentum being used. The tail bone and hips do not start to curl up off the floor as is often seen in crunches.
- 30-60 minute walk in the healthy heart zone 50-60% of your maximum heart rate
- Warm up with 5 minutes at a very easy pace
- Find a safe spot with a wall or pole to do a 5 minute easy stretching routine
- Now resume your walk at a comfortable pace.
- End with 5 minutes of gentle stretching.
Advanced walkers: Same
Exercise: Ab Exercises
Healthy Cooking on the Grill
Using an outdoor grill can be a great way to prepare healthy foods. Barbecuing meats on the grill not only adds a delicious smoky flavor, but foods are cooked without adding excessive amounts of unhealthy fats and oils.
- For a healthier version of French fries, I spray the inside of an old metal cake pan with a non-stick cooking spray, then scatter thinly cut strips of raw sweet potatoes in the pan and dust with my favorite seasonings. I place the pan on the grill over a low flame and turn the potatoes occasionally until they are tender.
- To cook delicate white fish place a fillet on a large sheet of aluminum foil with a few fresh herbs, a little garlic, some lemon slices and a splash of white wine. I carefully fold the aluminum foil into a packet and place it on the grill and cook until the fish is done.
- For firmer fish like salmon, halibut, or shark add a light marinade and place directly on clean grill or try using a cedar plank to really bring out the smoky flavors.
- Vegetables grilled have a wonderful flavor you can’t get from other cooking methods. Cut up in chunks and place in grill basket add a light coat of olive oil and add spices. Stir as it cooks tender.
- Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and a phytochemical called lycopene. Try grilling your tomatoes with a little olive oil for a heart-healthy and delicious side dish.
- Grill pineapple slices for dessert. Place the slices on the grill and cook them until they are heated through, just a couple of minutes. Serve the pineapple rings with a little bit of frozen yogurt and a sprinkling of nuts.