Sunday, April 12, 2009

Target Heart Rate

To manually calculate your target heart rate zone, first determine your maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus your age. (This calculation represents a general guideline only.) For example, if you are 35, your maximum heart rate is 220 - 35 = 185. Next, calculate your target heart rate zone. This is generally 50% to 75% of the maximum heart rate for most people during the first six months of regular exercise. For example, 50%-75% of your maximum heart rate of 185 is (185 x 50) ÷ 100 = 93; (185 x 75) ÷ 100 = 139. So your target heart rate zone for exercise, in this example, would be 93-139 heartbeats per minute.

If you haven't been exercising, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that you then start at 50%, with the goal of gradually building up to 75% during this six-month period, but only after checking with your physician. People who have not been exercising or who intend to change their exercise program significantly need to get their physician's approval. After exercising regularly for six months, some people might be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85% of their maximum heart rate, according to the AHA. However, the AHA notes that you don't have to exercise that hard (at 85%) to stay in condition.

Because I am 29 - my maximum heart rate is 191 beats per minute...

Low Intensity:
Based on your age, you will work at 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate when your heart rate is 96 to 143 beats per minute. Working within this range is an excellent goal for most healthy people. Doing so will improve general health and cardiovascular fitness and also help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. However, always check with your physician before choosing a target heart rate zone.

High Intensity:
Based on your age, you will work at 75% to 85% of your maximum heart rate when your heart rate is 143 to 162 beats per minute. Working within this range is not necessary, according to the American Heart Association, to maintain cardiovascular fitness. This level of workout is only recommended for the very fit, and only with a physician's approval. Please note that a few high blood pressure medications lower the maximum heart rate and thus the target zone rate. If you're taking high blood pressure medicine, call your physician to find out if you need to adjust your program.

Article on Nutrition, Calories & Macronutrients

Achieving the best weight for your body is an accounting issue: You have to balance the number of calories in with the number out. When you're trying to lose weight, this means spending more in daily activities and exercise than you take in through food.

Calories come from three main types of macronutrients, or calorie-supplying nutrients: carbohydrate, protein and fat. Your body needs some of each. Unfortunately, fad diets fuel confusion about just how much of each type of calorie your body needs. We believe the best way to divide your daily calories for weight loss is the same manner in which health and nutrition experts recommend dividing them for good health: 50 to 60 percent carbohydrates, 20 to 30 percent fat, and 15 to 25 percent protein.

Begin to think of calories as what they do for your body, rather than the enemy. The calories we'd like you to eat are more than just calories: They are rich in nutrients and other health-enhancing substances that take you one step closer to great health. (That's why it doesn't work to substitute candy calories for fruit or vegetable calories. We'd rather have you plan in a few calories for sweets or other treats, and still indulge your body in the health-enhancing calories it needs.)

How many grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat you will get each day when you follow our meal plans depends on how many calories you've chosen to eat. Here's how they shake down:

1700 calories:
  • 50-60% carbohydrate: 213-255 grams carb (850-1020 calories)
  • 15-25% protein: 64-106 grams protein (255-425 calories)
  • 20-30% fat: 38-57 grams fat (340-510 calories)
1900 calories:
  • 50-60% carbohydrate: 238-285 grams carb (950-1140 calories)
  • 15-25% protein: 71-119 grams protein (285-475 calories)
  • 20-30% fat: 42-63 grams fat (380-570 calories)


Carbohydrates have gotten a lot of bad press lately, but they are the highest quality fuel for people of all ages. The type of carbohydrates recommended for good health are those made by nature and found in:

  • Whole grains (whole wheat, barley, corn, quinoa, oats, etc.)
  • Legumes (black beans, lentils, split peas, etc.)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, peas, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Fruits (apples, oranges, berries, etc.)

The less these foods are refined, the better they are for several reasons: Unrefined foods have more nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals. When it comes to weight loss, unrefined foods are more filling, which means fewer calories make you feel full. For example, an apple is more filling (and more nutritious) than apple juice. Unrefined carbohydrates are called complex carbohydrates.

QUICK FACT: A gram of carbohydrate (about 1/28th of an ounce) has four calories. An average sized banana, for example, has about 28 grams of carbohydrates (the rest of the weight comes from the peel, fiber, a little protein, a little fat, and the water), which account for about 112 calories (good for you calories!).


Proteins build new tissues, help children grow, build hormones and body chemicals and have an essential role in countless other body functions. Protein calories are rarely found alone. Vegetable proteins, such as those found in black beans and other legumes and whole grains such as barley and quinoa, are found with complex carbohydrate calories. Fat calories tag along with meat, poultry, and fish proteins (fish has the least number of fat calories, ounce for ounce, and a better type of fat, too).

QUICK FACT: One gram of protein also has four calories. One slice of individually wrapped cheese contains about 28 grams of protein, or about 112 calories.


Some fat is essential for good health, although generally far less than most people eat. Fat is necessary to form hormones, absorb nutrients, and has several other functions. Fats are found in dairy foods (except fat-free versions), meat, poultry, fish, and most convenience and packaged foods. Nuts and seeds are very high in fat, and some foods are pure fat, such as oils, butter and margarine. All these fat-containing foods can be included in a healthy diet, just in appropriate portions. Adults need about 15 to 20 grams daily, but Americans eat upwards of 70 to 80 grams each day. One of the reasons fats catch up with us so quickly (to add pounds) is that they are very calorically dense.

QUICK FACT: One gram of fat has nine calories. One teaspoon of butter or margarine has about 5 grams of fat, or about 45 calories.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back on Track

It's been a few weeks since my last post - which is crazy because the time has absolutely flown by. It has been an up and down battle the past few weeks - mostly due to midterms and an increased workload, which have both calmed down a bit as of today. So, I am up for air, and ready to re-engage my commitment to this project!

I have been tracking (almost) every day on the Daily Plate, and will now email Heather so she can look it over and see where I can improve and tweak a few things. My overall observation since starting to track is that I don'g have a horrible problem - but I definitely "cheat" a little too much - particularly on the weekends and with alcohol. My worse times are when I am really stressed (duh!) because I feel like I have no time to do anything, so preparing my food and exercise can easily fall off the radar. I've been craving CARBS and sweets lately - particularly starchy sweets like cookies...not sure if it's a time of the month or just a general stress thing - but need to nip it in the bud.

I am quite proud of the fact that I have been doing exercise almost every day - have been walking an hour plus in the hills of Hillsborough with Margaret 4-5 x a week. This past week the yoga and spin were not possible due to my schedule, but tomorrow I'm back on with Spin and plan to take a couple of yoga classes this weekend.

SO - overall, proud of my progress and for sticking with it and for re-committing. Had a great conversation with Margaret today about being easier on myself, so that is something I will work on...Oh! and on a random note - I absolutely love Bethenny Frankel from the Real Housewives of NYC - and I found her website today that has tons of delicious, healthy recipes: - I will add this as a link on the right...