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Fitness Friday: Early lunches, warm soup and pilates

By Rachel Swick Mavity | Feb 15, 2013
Source: Gina's Warm up your winter weekend with Roasted Red Pepper Soup.

Happy Friday!

Did you know people who eat lunch earlier in the day ten to lose more weight than those who eat a later lunch?

Crazy! A new study done by the University of Murcia in Spain in collaboration with Tufts University in Boston looked at 420 overweight people during a 20-week weight-loss program in Spain.

First of all, if I were on a weight-loss program in Spain I would probably lose weight too hustling around to see as much as I could! Of course, with all the delicious food, the walking might end up being null.

Moving on. The study showed that having a large mid-day meal, like most Mediterranean cultures do, still allowed participants to lose weight when on a 1,400 calorie diet.

It found that even though early eaters and late eaters consumed about the same amount of calories, the early eaters lost an average of 22 pounds in 20 weeks. The later eaters – classified as those eating lunch after 3 p.m. – lost about 17 pounds.

Both results sound pretty good to me, and I find it interesting that while these two groups followed similar plans, just the time of the meal made a difference.

I find myself skipping lunch all together some days, either because I forget or don't want to stop to eat. The fact that I just said that makes me feel crazy. French and Mediterraneans consumer their largest meal for lunch, and I am just completely forgetting it.

Promise to self – I will do better to enjoy a hearty lunch. I am betting it will help improve my attitude during late afternoons at work.

 

Legs in the air

I have been doing a weekly Abs Pilates video at home, and it is excruciating. But, I am noticing improvement. The ladies in the video keep their abs engaged and their legs in the air for most of the workout – I still cannot do that, but I am starting to see improvements. When I first started I could not complete the workout – instead stopping and doing crunches or hip raises while the strong instructors finished with what seemed like an impossible move to me.

I still have trouble with the end sequence, but am so proud that I too can now keep my legs in the air for most of the workout.

Have you noticed improvements in your workouts?

Here's my new favorite abs pilates move:

The Pilates Roll Up

Lie on the floor on your back with your legs straight and arms at your side. Slowly raise your arms straight up and extend them at an angle above your head next to your ears.

Bring arms forward, tilt chin down, and slowly curl upper body up, reaching hands to your toes. Really stretch and reach for those toes. Hold for a beat then slowly lie back down, placing each vertebrae on the mat individually.

Repeat 8 to 10 times three times a week. Make sure to really feel your ab muscles working as you do each repetition.

 

Warming up the winter

I don't know about you, but the winter months are hard for me. Not only is my skin dry and tight, but I get sinus congestions, coughs and the general winter blues.

It can be hard to find inspiration to cook new things with so many turnips lying around, but I plan to try this warming soup over the weekend.

Besides being warm and delicious, it goes great with a spring mix salad and a piece of crusty bread, and red peppers help boost immunity and add much-needed nutrients to our bland winter diets.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 4 pts

Calories: 138 • Fat: 3 g • Protein: 3 g • Carb: 21 g • Fiber: 3 g

Ingredients:

4 large red bell peppers, roasted seeds removed

1 tsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp herbs de provence

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 cups fat free chicken broth (or vegetable stock)

1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp fat free sour cream

1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

 

Directions:

To roast red peppers on the grill, place clean fresh red peppers directly on the grill top. You can also put them directly over the flame on your stove. Turn your peppers frequently, as needed until the skin has turned completely black and starts to blister. When the entire pepper skin has turned black, remove the peppers from the grill and place them into a bowl.

Cover the bowl with a lid or a dish to make it airtight to build up steam. Let the peppers rest in the bowl for 10 minutes. Uncover, remove from the bowl and the skin will slide off easily. Cut the pepper in half to core and remove seeds.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and herbs and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, roasted bell peppers, potato and wine. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cover, simmer until the potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

With an immersion hand blender, puree the soup in the pot with the sour cream until it is smooth (or spoon portions into a blender and blend). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the grated parmesan and ladle into bowls.

 

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

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