6 Steps to Bathing Suit Confidence

Summer is just around the corner and that means weekends will soon fill up with beach trips, pool days and afternoons in the sun. As a dietitian, I often get asked on what are some slimming secrets and increasing confidence tricks for being in a bathing suit all day. Consider some of these tips the next time you are packing up your sunblock and beach towels and heading outdoors!

Consider some of these slimming secrets for bathing suit confidence next time you are packing up your sunblock and beach towels for some fun in the sun!

1. Don’t Skip Breakfast/Meals.

Nothing good will come from this action so please do not consider it. Skipping meals or going long durations without eating signals your body to prepare for starvation and will slow down your metabolism. Just like your computer, your metabolism will go into “sleep mode” when not being stimulated for an extended period of time. This causes your body to aggressively store calories and will also offset your body’s hunger hormone levels. Basically, you will find yourself extra famished by the end of the day and will be more likely to overeat.

2. Avoid carbonated beverages and salty snacks.

Both carbonated beverages (even sugar-free ones) and salty snacks such as crackers, pretzels, Chex mix and the like can cause water retention and extra bloating. This is definitely not the recipe one wants for feeling svelte and confident all day in a swimsuit.

3. Do pack lean protein sources.

Foods that are high in protein will help you stay fuller longer. This will allow you to spend more time splashing and playing in the water and less time breaking to eat. Protein go-to’s can include eggs, lean meats, protein bars/shakes, low sugar Greek yogurts, unsalted nuts, white cheese varieties. Another perk to frequent protein intake is that it can also help ward off sugar cravings.

4. Focus on water for hydration.

Believe me, I know nothing sounds better than ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day but fueling your body with liquid sugar isn’t the best recipe for staying fit and trim. Confession: I’ll be the first to admit that plain water isn’t the most exciting thing in the world to drink. Take advantage of fresh produce this summer and create natural flavor enhancers by putting fresh cut fruit, herbs or vegetables in your water.

5. Fresh fruit and vegetables make great hydrating snacks.

Fresh produce is naturally high in water, fiber and antioxidants. Choosing fruit and vegetables as snacks help boost your nutrient intake. Natural foods do not have any added chemicals or junk in them, which can often be the culprit for bloated, upset stomachs.  Save yourself some time preparing fruits and vegetables and purchase pre-cut bags and containers from the grocery store to be beach-ready in a snap.

6. Above all- kick back and have fun.

Despite the season of being more active, I understand summer can amplify body image issues with wearing a swimsuit. With constant reminders of magazine covers touting to have the perfect bikini body, even the most confident of women can become over critical of themselves. Try not to let worrying thoughts about how you look overpower the fun you could be having with your friends, family and kids. Summer always comes and goes too fast anyways, so grab your shades, sunblock and let out a big “cowabunga”!

Figge’s Summer Trends: Workouts

With a new season comes new trends! The past two weeks I introduced you to some fun gadgets and ideas to get you and your family off the couch and into the yard for some outdoor fun, as well as the latest in tips to improve your diet. This week I’m going over some of the latest approaches to amp up your workout!

Figge's Summer Trends- Outdoor Fun

Express Workouts. Why work out for 60 minutes when you can possibly get better results with just 20 minutes or less? Workouts that are 30 minutes or shorter are all the rage and who wouldn’t want a quick workout and more time to spend outdoors this summer? These programs can include HIIT, Crossfit and cardio-strength that can be easily viewed through medians such as On Demand. In fact, P90X reformatted their workouts to be 30 minutes long versus their previous 60 minute workouts. The concern with chronic HIIT is that it can be quite taxing on your body. Generally, you shouldn’t perform these high intensity workouts more than 3x per week and you should be allowing your body proper rest between workouts. I highly recommend performing HIIT under supervision whether it is your Crossfit coach or an established program.

Back to the Basics. The ACSM predicted that body weight training would be the leading fitness trend of 2015. Body weight exercises can include movements like lunges, squats, planks, push-ups and burpees. These are some of my favorite exercises because not only do they target multiple muscle groups, you don’t need equipment to perform them. Not only do these exercises provide good strength-training, they can also be programmed as part of a cardio workout too! Don’t believe me? Try performing 20 walking lunges followed by 10 burpees. Repeat that 3x and see how high your heart rate is!

Figge’s Summer Trends: Dieting Tips

With a new season comes new trends! Last week I introduced you to some fun gadgets and ideas to get you and your family off the couch and in the yard for some outdoor fun! This week I’m going over the latest in tips to improve your diet.

Figge's Summer Trends- Diet Tips

Mindful Eating. We have been seeing a gradual decline in dieting this past year with a greater emphasis put on simply making better nutritional choices more consistently. The principle behind mindful eating is to emphasize whole, fresh foods and decrease consumption of processed foods, added sugars and restaurant-prepared menu items. Eating mindfully can help improve overall feelings of wellness as well as help with weight loss for many individuals.

Saturated Fat is Back Baby. Better late than never is my motto! Researchers have been speculating for quite some time now if fat, or specifically saturated fats, aren’t really that bad for us. Saturated fats can be found in foods such as eggs, cheese, red meat, butter, coconut, poultry skin, grain-based desserts, candy, chips and fried foods. Scientists are more conclusively concluding that saturated fat is not as big of a demon we once thought it to be. While I do personally enjoy eating saturated fats, I do encourage caution on processed foods with saturated fats (grain-based desserts, candy, chips and fried foods) as we are still unsure of those effects on the body. Keep in mind that these food sources are also not natural occurring saturated fats like eggs, butter and coconut are.

Anti-Sugar Movement. With the rise in popularity of fat, sugar is now being more closely scrutinized. This is all music to my ears, but I feel we have just seen the tip of the iceberg with this health movement. Sugars in the form of candy, sweets, juice and soda absolutely need to be minimally consumed; however we get excess sugar in our diet from grains, breads, cereals, potatoes, snack foods and sweetened dairy products to name a few. Excessive carbohydrate consumption has been linked to increased insulin levels, blood sugars and inflammation. Since it is hard to cut back on all of these items I do recommend cutting out three: fruited yogurt, juice and granola bars. Here is what you are actually eating:

  • Juice = soda with a squirt of Vitamin C
  • Fruited yogurt = adult pudding
  • Granola bars = glorified candy bars

Figge’s Summer Trends: Outdoor Fun

With a new season comes new trends! Here are some fun gadgets and ideas to get you and your family off the couch and in the yard for some outdoor fun!

With a new season comes new trends! Here are some fun gadgets and ideas to get you and your family off the couch and in the yard for some outdoor fun!

Self-Tying Water Balloons. Growing up, water balloons were the epitome of water-warfare fun summer. While I am slightly jealous that this device was not around when I was a kid, I am still just as excited to use it as an adult. The worst part about playing with water balloons is the 30 minutes it takes to fill up all of them. Devices like Balloon Bonanza and Bunch O Balloons can fill up to 100 balloons at one time and they are self-tying! These packs can be purchased both online or at your local Walmart and Target.


Glow in the Dark Bubbles. Again, where was this idea when I was a kid?! Kids tend to stay cooped up indoors too much during the summer. What better way to get them outside than with bubbles? This DIY project is simple and can involve the entire family. Be sure to check your glow in the dark paint for any harsh chemicals and any additional safety concerns. The recipe for the bubbles can be found here.

Fitness Gadgets. Items like FitBits, pedometers, the iWatch and Nike Fuelband have been all the rage this year. They can help track your movement, sleep patterns and calories. These tools can be quite beneficial since they theory is, “the more attention you pay to healthy behaviors, the more likely you are to improve on them.” They are great for people who benefit from constant accountability of healthy choices; however, they are not the sole reason for someone losing weight or moving more. That motivation still comes from within!

Check back next week to get the scoop on this summer’s healthy food and diet trends!

Figge’s Favorite Summer Activities

Amanda Figge photoI could go on and on about how much I love summer, but one of the biggest reasons is the opportunity to be active outside. Whether you’re enjoying the outdoors to burn calories or for the sheer fun of it, take advantage of this season’s warmer weather and longer daylight hours! Sitting all day is being considered just as big of a risk factor for heart disease as smoking is. Many of my suggested activities are great for cardiovascular health and even better … can be performed free of charge!

Walking. This is one of the easiest forms of exercise. You can find nice, smooth pavements to walk on by hitting up your local park or bike trail. Have you ever tried walking during sunrise? It’s quite peaceful and can help start your day off on a positive note. Don’t forget your beloved furry friends need their exercise too!

bike photoRiding bikes. This is another low-cost method for enjoying the outdoors while improving your fitness. My husband and I recently had the opportunity to ride through a beautiful botanical garden when traveling this summer. Riding a bike can be a great way to exercise for those that cannot take the impact on their knees from walking or jogging.

Water skiing. All forms of water sports are excellent for strengthening your back muscles. If you’re going to be out in the sun all day, remember to pack a hat, sunscreen and multiple water bottles.

Hiking. If you really need to escape from the stress of day-to-day life, then I highly recommend finding a local state park to go for a hike. Being closer to Mother Nature can have very calming and meditating effects. Skip the iPod and just enjoy the soothing sounds of nature.outdoor photo

Mowing the lawn. As strangely as it sounds, one of my favorite chores as a kid was mowing the lawn. Did you know that most people can burn at least 200 calories when using a push-mower to mow their lawn? (Assuming it takes you longer than 30 minutes to mow your lawn)

Paddle boarding. This is one of the newest “it” summer activities to do. Stand up paddle boarding aka SUP is an awesome workout for your arms and core. When we went paddle boarding in the ocean, we were able to see wild dolphins and manatees swimming right around us!

Kayaking. This is a great activity that people of all fitness levels can enjoy. Since you’re seated, it is much easier to stay balanced on the water. Many marinas and docks rent out kayaks. Can you think of a better way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning?

Running through a sprinkler. This one is just plain darn fun and you don’t need kids as an excuse to do it!

Working out in the park. You can go to the gym any time during the year, but you can only enjoy workouts in the park when the weather is nice. Use the monkey bars for pull-ups and a bench for dips, step-ups or box jumps. Add a few sprints, air squats and burpees and you’ll have a total body workout in no time!

Outdoor sports. Summer is great time to join a recreation league such as softball, sand volleyball or tennis. Being active + socializing is a great way to end a long stressful day on a positive note.


What Your Nails Say About You?

1150316_502933236459731_217287012_nOne thing that I love getting in the summertime is a pedicure. After all, we could all use a little pampering every now and then. Often, we think of our nails as blank canvases to paint an assortment of colors, designs and show off our personal style. Did you know that your nails can also be an indicator of your health and nutritional intake?

If you notice that your nails are thin with raised ridges and curve inward, then you may have an iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies I see in patients. Other more common symptoms of iron deficiency can include pale appearance, fatigue and weakness. In many cases, this deficiency is caused by a poor diet or a lack of iron intake; however, some people’s deficiencies are caused by intestinal malabsorption, excessive alcohol intake, dialysis or pregnancy.

Foods that are good sources of Iron:
• Oatmeal
• Spinach
• Beans
• Beef
• Nuts (especially almonds, cashews and pistachios)
• Dried fruit
• Eggs
• Fortified cereals/whole grains
• Pumpkin seeds

There are two types of iron in food— heme and non-heme. Most of the iron in meat is heme iron and this type is best absorbed in the body. Plants are also good sources of iron. but they contain non-heme iron which is not as absorbed as efficiently. Non-heme iron is often blocked by other products in the plants such as phytates which are found in whole grains and beans.

Items like coffee and tea contain tannins, which also can block absorption of iron. It’s always a good idea to limit coffee/tea consumption if one is iron deficient, or not consume them with a meal where a good iron source is available. Excessive consumption of fiber can also begin to block iron absorption as well as calcium supplements.
searchLuckily, consuming foods that are high in Vitamin C with sources of heme iron can help improve its absorption. Good sources of Vitamin C include bell peppers, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries.

The general recommendations for iron are:

• Women (ages 19-50): 18 mg per day
• Pregnant Women (ages 19-50): 27 mg per day
• Women (ages 51 and older): 8 mg per day
• Men (ages 19 and older): 9 mg per day