Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews

Posts in the healthy aging category

Do I have to Stop Drinking Alcohol to Lose Weight?

by Suzanne Andrews

5 Things You Must Know About Alcohol for Weight Loss.
Would you like to permanently say goodbye to your over-sized clothes? We've all heard the cautionary tales about alcohol, weight loss, and how the two don't mix.
There are some very sound reasons to avoid alcohol when you're trying to lose weight. There are also plenty of healthier options for dieters who like a little drink now and then.
Here is a list of the reasons why alcohol can slow your weight loss and affect your weight.
  1. Alcohol is High in Nutrient Empty Calories.
       Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram.  Protein and carbohydrates contain only 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram.
       The difference is that proteins, carbohydrates, and fats pack nutrition into their calories. Calories from alcohol do not provide nutrition, and will not satisfy your hunger. This makes it easy to keep drinking – and racking up a high calorie count.
    1. Alcohol Delays the Fat-Burning Process.
       According to Dr. Robert Atkins, the human body burns alcohol before any other fuel source. That means your body will burn off all the alcohol you've consumed before turning to its store of carbohydrates and fat. This can delay your weight-loss efforts, especially if you drink frequently.
       If you can't bring yourself to abstain from alcohol, try sipping wine instead of beer or cocktails. Dr. Atkins considered the most diet-friendly drinks to be wine, hard liquor, or either of the above mixed with seltzer, tonic water, or diet soda. While losing 60 lbs I opted for a white wine spritzer once a week.  The trick is to drink it very slowly and not on an empty stomach.  Have a salad with water first and drink sips of water in between your drink. 
    1. Excessive Alcohol Consumption is Linked to Higher BMIs.
       There is a direct correlation between the amount of alcoholic drinks a person consumes during a day, and that person's Body Mass Index (BMI).    According to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), study participants with the lowest BMIs drank three to seven times a week, but had only one drink during those days.
       Participants with the highest BMIs drank alcohol less frequently, but consumed several drinks at a time.    As with any food, alcohol isn't disastrous in small quantities. The real danger lies in overindulgence.
    1. Alcohol Ads Are Misleading.
       The latest alcohol marketing campaigns refer to certain alcoholic beverages as "low-carb" or "zero-carb". These campaigns are obviously targeting dieters, who have long avoided alcohol in their desire to lose weight. 
       While it is technically true that straight liquors are distilled and therefore contain no carbs, they still contain plenty of calories and no nutritional value.     Beer and wine do contain carbohydrates, which can lead to cravings and bloating. Mixed drinks are the worst of the lot, as they contain all sorts of added sugar and calories. 
    1. Alcohol Lowers Inhibitions.

        When we drink alcohol, our inhibitions go down. This can cause us to make decisions we would never consider while sober. When a dieter's inhibitions are lowered, they may find it difficult to say no to overeating or eating rich foods that are high in calories. 
       Intoxicated dieters might be susceptible to friends' urges to try "just one bite", or their insistence that "just one time won't hurt". Mindless snacking is also common while drunk.
       While the occasional planned splurge can actually help you stay on track to lose weight, alcohol can lead to an unplanned splurge followed by guilt and discouragement.
       It's up to you. The bottom line is that any diet boils down to how many calories you consume versus how many you burn.
       In small quantities, alcohol can be an occasional part of your weight loss plan. Just tread carefully, save the harder drinks for special occasions, and factor the extra calories into your daily total.
    Do you have weight loss questions?  Contact me at

    Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

    Six Best Steps to Cleanse and Detox Your Body

    by Suzanne Andrews

    It seems like you can't turn around these days without hearing about a new colon cleanser or detox diet.
    These products and systems claim to remove built-up toxins from the body, promoting better overall health. Some involve fasting, while others involve strict liquid diets.
    After numerous studies, there is still no scientific evidence that such approaches are beneficial. According to Dr. Michael Picco, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, detox diets and cleansers can actually have harmful side effects.
    Despite the claims of companies who sell such products, the human body is actually very efficient at filtering toxins. You have a liver and it works very well.

    However, there are several simple, natural steps you can take to ease your body's burden. Here are some proven ways to rejuvenate your body inside and out. 

    Exfoliate to Renew Your Skin
    You may not know this, but I'm also a licensed esthetician, and that's why I know that exfoliation is a quick and easy way to remove dead skin, improve circulation, promote the growth of new skin cells, and give your complexion a natural glow.
    It can be done with an exfoliating skin cleanser, a natural skin scrub made from brown sugar and olive oil, or even a gentle soap and a damp washrag every other day.
    Give yourself an overall glow by exfoliating your whole body. Purchase (or make) an exfoliating body wash, or purchase a long-handled body brush and scrub it over your body in circular motions before you bathe.
    Both techniques will help clear your pores and get rid of dead skin cells.

    Learn to Breathe
    Do you ever catch yourself holding your breath? Do you tend to breathe in short, shallow bursts? If so, you can decrease your body's stress level by practicing slow, rhythmic breathing.
    This technique, called 'conscious breathing', helps you provide more oxygen to your body. This, in turn, helps your body carry out its tasks more efficiently.
    Pick a quiet time, such as before you rise from bed in the morning. Take a slow, deep breath inhaling through your nose. You should see your stomach rise first, followed by your chest as you breathe in, then slowly exhale.
    Repeat this for up to 10 times depending on your tolerance level. Over time, you will learn to breathe more correctly throughout the day.

    Practice Daily Stretching
    Stretching and yoga are beneficial to the mind and body. Not only do they relieve stress and keep the muscles limber, they promote blood flow and circulation.
    The experts at WebMD recommend stretching all major muscle groups at least 2-3 times weekly. Stretch until you feel a gentle tug, never to the point of pain.
    You can go online to find a good stretching routine or, if you have health concerns, ask your doctor to recommend one that's right for you.

    Sweat Every Day
    Much as we try to avoid it, sweating is actually great for your body. The best way to work up a cleansing sweat is through aerobic exercise.
    As you sweat, your body releases stored fluid. Replace this fluid by drinking plenty of water.
    After a week or so of daily sweating and hydration, you will begin to notice improvement in your skin tone, stress level, and sleep quality.

    Reduce Consumption of Pain Medication
    Our livers were designed to filter toxins from our blood, but there's no need to make them work overtime. Be kind to your body by reducing the amount of over-the-counter painkillers you consume.
    Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver damage even when used as directed.
    The liver function of the test subjects was three times higher than normal after just four days of routine acetaminophen use.

    Use Fiber and Water to Promote Digestive Health
    Fiber and water are the healthiest colon cleansers available. They are also some of the most effective. Fiber is a difficult substance to break down. It makes your digestive system work hard, keeping it in good shape.
    Water is essential for our bodily functions. Good hydration means better skin, better joints, and better filtration of toxins.
    For optimal results, try to consume at least 30 grams of fiber daily, and at least six to eight glasses of water. When it comes to cleansing and detoxing your body, there's really nothing better than water. You'll know you're on the right track when the urine becomes nearly clear.

     Questions or comments? Visit me at: Healthwise

    Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.




    Weekend Weight Gain

    by Suzanne Andrews

    Are You Gaining Weight on Weight on Weekends? Here Are 6 Tips to Stay on Your Weight Loss Track!

    After a hard week at work, it's only natural to look forward to a relaxing weekend. But weekends contain some of the most difficult diet hurdles, from dining out on Friday night to having a hearty home-cooked Sunday dinner with family - and everything in between.

    We're also more likely to eat junk food on the weekends than during the week. In fact, many dieters look forward to an opportunity to splurge a little after their work-week is done.

    It's no wonder research has shown that most people between the ages of 19 and 50 consume more calories on weekend days than on regular weekdays. All of these extra calories can add up to an annual weight gain of 5 pounds or more.

    To avoid nasty shocks during your Monday morning weigh-in, follow these helpful tips for minimizing weekend weight gain. 

    1.  Stock up on healthy options.

    If you come home to an empty cupboard on Friday evening, you'll be more tempted than ever to order pizza or get fast food.  To avoid such temptation, plan ahead and pick up some healthy snacks and quick meals. Try new foods you've been curious about, or new flavors of your old favorites. Be sure to get plenty of diet-friendly drinks as well. 

    1. Don't skip meals.

    If you know you've got a big dinner coming up, you might be tempted to "save up" calories by skipping meals earlier in the day. This tactic is doomed to fail because you will ultimately end up very hungry and surrounded by tempting food. A much better strategy is to eat small, light meals throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables, salads and broth-based soups are good choices. These will help keep your calories in check, but won't leave you starving before your big meal. 

    1. Have fun while you move.

    You might not want to hit the gym on the weekends, but staying active is important. The International Journal of Obesity reported that dieters who consistently stick to their plan are more likely to be successful.    Luckily, there are plenty of fun ways to stay active on the weekend. Sign up for a yoga class, take a walk through a scenic neighborhood, or go window-shopping at the mall to pick out clothing you'll buy when you reach your next weight loss goal. If you have children or pets, play with them in the back yard or take a trip to the park. You'll have fun and burn calories. 

    1. Limit alcohol consumption.

    You don't want to sabotage your healthy food and exercise choices by drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol is high in empty calories and can leave you hungry and dehydrated. It can also lower your inhibitions, paving the way to a binge.  If you must drink alcohol, limit yourself to one or two low-calorie options, such as a White Wine Spritzer or a Rum and Diet Coke. 

    1. Remember your goals.

    It's easy to lose some of your intensity when you're relaxing with friends, especially if you're the only one on a diet. Some of your friends might even tempt you to overeat. While they're probably not doing it maliciously, that extra temptation can lead to a diet disaster.    Speak with your friends about the level of commitment you have to health, and spend more time around those who support your efforts. Good friends will take your goals into consideration. 

    1. Don't be discouraged.

    After a long weekend of celebrating, you might find yourself several pounds heavier when you weigh in on Monday. Unless you ate a truly massive amount of food over the weekend, most of the weight gain is probably due to bloating. Simply tell yourself that today is a fresh start, and get back on track.

    Need help staying on track?  Try my motivational Functional Fitness workouts and I'll help you every step of the way!

    Healthiest Blessings,

    Suzanne Andrews, Occupational Therapy Practitioner/L

    Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

    How to End Emotional Eating and Lose Weight

    by Suzanne Andrews

       Did you know visualization is a powerful tool for achieving what you want in life? Get the weight loss
    results you want by creating your own mind movie.

       Food is fuel for the human body, and we eat it to get ourselves through the day. We also gather around the dinner table to celebrate special events and spend time with our loved ones. In times of grief, it's common to offer food to the bereaved. Is it any wonder that food and emotions are so connected?

       Unfortunately, some people feel compelled to eat far past the point of satiety. This is done in an attempt to calm volatile emotions or to fill an emotional void.

       The National Institute of Health estimates that 3% of Americans (over 9 million people) suffer from compulsive overeating, also known as Binge Eating Disorder. This disease can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and feelings of intense guilt and shame.

       Emotional eaters tend to be guided by their emotions rather than their hunger. Some eat when they are sad, lonely, or bored. Others eat when they are stressed out.

       Most are simply carrying on behaviors learned in childhood, when food was associated with comfort and reward. Emotional eating has little to do with actual hunger, and everything to do with unfulfilled needs.

       If you think you or someone you love might be struggling with compulsive emotional eating, follow these steps to start the recovery process.

       Recognize the Signs of Emotional Eating.

       Emotional eaters tend to eat until they are uncomfortably full, and they usually eat alone because

    they are self-conscious about the amount of food they are consuming. After an emotional eating binge, they might feel disgusted, guilty, or depressed about their lack of self-control.

       Learn to Identify Your Triggers.

       Every emotional eating episode has a trigger. Think back to a time when you engaged in compulsive eating. Was it a reaction to a particularly stressful day? Were you consoling yourself with food to overcome loneliness or boredom? Were you relieved that a stressful period in your life had finally come to an end? All of these situations can lead to an emotional eating binge.

     Discover Your True Needs.   

       It's not always an easy process, but if you want to overcome emotional eating, you must learn to recognize and ask for what you truly need. Do you need food, or do you need affection? Do you need food, or do you need to feel appreciated? When your true needs are fulfilled, the compulsion to eat will go away.

       Keep a Food Journal.

       A food journal is an excellent way to keep track of your food intake. You can also use it to track your feelings and emotional eating triggers. This will help you identify the thought processes leading up to a binge. Once you can identify these thoughts, you can take steps to change them and head off the next binge before it occurs.

       Replace Food with Other Rewards.

       Learn to reward yourself with treats other than food. If you need to feel pampered after meeting a stressful deadline, celebrate with a massage or a luxurious bubble bath. If you want to celebrate after losing ten pounds, buy yourself a new outfit or something related to a favorite hobby.

       Too many of us turn automatically to food as a reward, forgetting that there are many healthier ways to splurge!

       Talk to Someone Who Understands.

       Millions of people struggle with emotional eating, and you do not need to go through recovery alone. Sometimes it helps to hear from others who have beaten the disorder, and others who face the same challenges as you.

       Groups like Overeaters Anonymous ( offer support for compulsive eating.

    Healthiest blessings,

    Suzanne Andrews

    Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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