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Posted by on in Nutrition


Are you a snacker?  If so, join the club.  Today, almost everybody snacks. Is that good or bad? 

More people are snacking more often than a few years ago.

Women average 400 calories a day in snacks, men average 600.

People are skipping meals and not planning, so snacks become an easy substitute.


Recent studies show that the most common snacking times include:

      After work, before dinner

      As a replacement for lunch

      While cooking

      After dinner, before bed

      Watching TV

      As a reward for finishing a challenging task, or after a hard day

      In social settings

The studies also zeroed in on common snacks - mornings include yogurt, baked goods and snack bars; afternoon choice was usually chips and/or fruit; evenings, indulgence in ice cream and candy.

Any of this sound familiar?  Most of us are there with you!! 

The problem with snacks is that most people don’t include them in their daily calories - they’re eating good meals, but ignoring the 400-600 extra calories in their snacks.  No wonder our weight doesn’t drop!

Here are some suggestions to snack intentionally:

 *Count your snack choices as servings of food - especially when meals are  unpredictable.  Be intentional about your snacks and watch portion   sizes for calorie control.  For example, when nuts are mentioned, that means 5-7, not handfuls!

 *Think of snacks as “mini-meals”.  Make choices that you’d include if you were sitting   down to a meal. 

 *Water, protein and fiber make the most satisfying snack.  Fruits and veggies provide natural sweetness and fiber plus potassium, yogurt (unsweetened) counts for protein, and we get protein, good fats and fiber from nuts, seeds, and whole grains.  Drink lots of water throughout the day.  Sometimes thirst imitates hunger.


Staying healthy and weight conscious doesn’t mean eliminating snacks.  They are actually a good way to keep your blood sugar levels even throughout the day and your hunger at bay.  Just plan your choices!





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Posted by on in Nutrition

Grilling meat does produce a couple of chemicals that may increase risk of cancer.  

Both chemicals (HCA and PAH for those of you science-types that want to look them up) are influenced by 7 factors:  type of food, how it’s cooked, temperature, how long it’s cooked, type of fuel used, fat content of the food, and the distance from the heat.  

The good news is that it is easy to lower the HCA and PAH contents of the foods we grill!  

Use herbs - Rosemary, basil, thyme, sage and oregano (all in the mint family)

                    Turmeric, onion powder and fresh garlic used in marinades

Use acid-based marinades - vinegar, lemon or line juice, wine, yogurt.  Or - a dark beer marinade

Don’t overcook

Use high-quality whole, non-processed cuts of meat such as steaks, chicken, ribs, and fresh seafood.

Include lots of fruits and veggies - when paired with grilled meats, they help fight potential carcinogens by adding antioxidants.  

Strategize while cooking - cut meat into smaller pieces to shorten cooking time.

                                      - cook meat on medium to medium-high heat                               

                                      - flip meat frequently to reduce charring

Tagged in: food nutrition
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Posted by on in Nutrition

5 Hidden Red-Flag Ingredients!!

We all try to eat healthier, but sometimes we can be sidelined by the following ingredients that are common to packaged foods.  Be aware of what you are putting into your body and what the consequences may be . . .

Carrageenan - a seaweed-based sugar molecule found particularly in dairy products,  dairy alternatives (soy and almond milk), frozen meals, desserts and nutritional drink supplements.  Carrageenan can trigger an immune system response similar to food poisioning - leading to inflammation in the digestive system.

Maltodextrin - artificial sweeteners derived from cornstarch and enzymes.  It is used as a sugar substitute in snacks, cereals, and many frozen and canned food items.  Such symptoms of consuming Maltodextrin can include gastrointestinal distress, unexplained weight gain, and allergic reactions (rashes and breathing difficulties)

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) - the flavor enhancer commonly used in Chinese food, canned foods, and in fast food restaurants.  Most of us have heard of this one and have heard of it causing headaches, nausea and heart palpitations.  More recently, researchers have begun to link it with neurological and endocrine disorders.  Glutamate may appear on labels as yeast extract, calcium casseinate, or beef flavoring.

Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP) - a soybean-based meat alternative that is used as a source of protein in processed foods.  It is usually highly processed and chemically altered relying on artificial colors, thickening agents such as nitrosamine (carcinogenic substance), and flavor enhancers like MSG.  

Whey Protein Isolate or Soy Protein Isolate - a supplement made from protein stripped from whey (watery part of milk) or soybean.  This protein is very common in protein bars and powdered drinks as well as processed foods.  It can contain trace amounts of heavy metals.  The soy protein is usually made from genetically modified soybeans with a herbicide residue.  

Granted - we are probably not going to experience nausea, diarrhea, weight gain, headaches, cancer, or be poisoned by metals if we happen to consume any of these ingredients in moderation!!!  However, I am finding them in more products as I am aware and reading labels carefully.  Just BE AWARE of what goes into your body.  


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Posted by on in Nutrition

Why the Hype???  What’s up with Antioxidants?  What is a Free Radical?

 Antioxidants (Good guys) are chemicals that break down or neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. 

Free radicals (Bad guys) are chemicals produced as a byproduct of normal cellular metabolism.  They are destructive and cause oxidative damage to tissues  as rust damages pieces of iron left outside in weather.  They damage proteins, fats, and even our DNA.

“Normally”, there is a balance between the rate at which free radicals (bad guys) are produced and the rate at which they are eliminated by the action of antioxidants (good guys).  

So - what’s the problem?  

Keep reading!

“Normally”  would be the way our bodies functioned way back before any of us were even considered.  Fresh produce, fresh meat, fresh fish, fresh poultry, no fast-food, clean air, few cars producing exhaust, lots of wide open spaces and tons of movement in our day gave our bodies most of what we needed to function optimally.  We don’t live in these “normal circumstances” any longer.  We live in big cities, and most of our food isn’t what it once was. 

Free radicals (Bad guys) are not only produced by what we eat, but by the air we breathe, and stressors in our lives . . . wait . . . none of us have any stress, do we?

Thus the need for more antioxidants (Good guys).  

The good news is that there is supplementation available to us and we can choose to eat better and exercise to provide our bodies with more good guys.  Better news is that there are foods that will signal our DNA to turn on the production of protective antioxidants, and these will be far more powerful than any supplement.  

These foods are broccoli and other cruciferous veges (cauliflower, brussels sprout, cabbage), green tea, coffee, turmeric‎, and resveratrol‎.

Let's eat up and help our bodies do what they were designed to do - have good guys fight off the bad guys : )) 

Tagged in: food nutrition
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Posted by on in Nutrition

It's Summertime!!!  Drink Up!!  Water, that is.  Good hydration helps prevent constipation, exercise-related asthma, high blood glucose, and protects against heart damage. It fills us up and helps keep our metabolism revved up.  It's just plain good for us.  

About 20% of the water you consume comes from food.  The rest (aim for 50-60 oz daily) should come from liquids we drink.  Just remember that liquids with caffeine are dehydrating, so additional water is needed to replace what is lost.  

Unless you are exercising intensely for 90+ minutes on a given day, avoid sports drinks as they add sugar and or corn syrup - we surely don't need extra calories!!

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Posted by on in Nutrition


As the weather heats up, so may your summer activities.  It's easy to "grab and go" when it comes to food.

Pause, breathe, and ask yourself these questions before running out the door - - - you'll be on your way to better enjoy those summer activities as you fuel your body properly!

1.  Is it healthy?

2.  Am I in a state of physical hunger?

3.  How much is prudent for me to eat or drink at this time?

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Posted by on in Nutrition

ARE YOU RETAINING WATER???  Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein are our main sources of energy.  We need all three of these in our daily food intake.

I just read in one of my journals (I keep learning with you!):  As carbohydrate is stored in the form of glycogen, it binds to water in the liver and muscle.  Changes in carbohydrate storage often result in meaningful shifts in fluid storage. That, my friends, results in water retention and weight gain.

Feeling bloated or just kinda heavy?  Cut back on your intake of fruits, grains, potatoes, cereals, and sugars.  Add extra protein to satisfy your hunger, and let the water flush out. 

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Posted by on in Nutrition

Ever wonder about "serving sizes"?  It's difficult to keep track of exactly how to measure, especially when you are out at a restaurant.  Many restaurant's "serving sizes" are twice what we should be eating for one meal!

Your hand is your best friend here - it goes where you go whether it's to a party, dinner out with friends, or just you at a fast food restaurant (please tell me this is not your place of choice!!).  The following link has by far the easiest way that I have seen to keep your food portions in check:

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