Expert Healthy Living Tips for Summer
Monday, June 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM | Amanda Mactas
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Meet Lauren Schmitt, is a nutritionist and certified personal trainer, who owns her own company, Healthy Eating & Living, Inc. She has worked with individuals to achieve a healthier lifestyle and has also created numerous corporate wellness programs. In her business, she coaches people to lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle through eating right and exercising. She is currently the on-site nutritionist at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Dreamworks Animation. She has ongoing projects with the WB and is a part of many disordered outpatient teams in Los Angeles. Joonbug had the chance to chat with this health guru and got some helpful tips and advice to looking your best during this sweltering summer.

With summer upon us and everybody trying to get bikini body ready, what are some healthy and nutritious foods or diets that can help us shed pounds fast?

What I normally recommend is that women eat food that is nutrient-rich, for instance, there's been research that shows if you increase your fruit and vegetable intake then there is a direct correlation with weight loss because the calories would come down overall if your fruit and veggie intake is higher. So I tell people to try and make half of their diet produce, there's lots of fiber and vitamins and minerals and it will help keep them full, and then a quarter of their diet would be protein and the other quarter would be grains.

For those strapped for time, what do you recommend with regards to a workout plan?

If somebody is at a healthy weight, no matter what, I recommend two and a half hours of exercise a week as the absolute lowest. Whereas if someone was trying to lose weight, I would want it to be more like five hours a week. If someone if strapped for time I will map out a route for them and say, you need to walk this path before you go into work. And then do it one time at lunch, and one time after work. So that way, if they do their 30 minutes, even though it was broken up, it was still 30 minutes walking they weren't normally doing. And over the course of a year, that's hundreds of hours on their feet. Or they can always do stretches or sit-ups and push-ups in front of the TV. People shouldn't feel like they have to get it all in in one chunk of time.

What can women do to reduce that pesky cellulite?

Yea, that's a tough one. The thing about cellulite is it can be genetic, so someone no matter how small or how large they are, they are just going to have it. Weight loss does help to a certain extent, but there's no power food that's going to do it. And creams don't really work. If the person was overweight, I'd say to work on losing some of that weight. If they were not overweight, it would be more toning up, so getting those exercises in that build muscle.

Do you have any tricks for those who have a habit of mindless eating while they are bored?

One of the simplest things to do is, let's say somebody was mindless eating nuts or chips, I'd recommend that they look at the label, take one serving, and put it on a plate or a napkin and walk away. If it's just mindless and not hunger, then they just can't allow themselves to go back and get more. Portioning things out is really important. Another thing I tell people to do, if it's not hunger, then do something to occupies not only your mind, but your hands. For instance, if you are just watching TV it's easy to get bored and let your mind wander and think about food. But if you do something like Sudoku or a Crossword Puzzle, you are using your mind and your hands, and it's really hard to then go do something else.

What is the toughest part of your job?

Good question. I love my job. The toughest part is getting people to change their habits that they've had for a long time. Sometimes it's hard for people to make that change - once they do it, they realize it's for the better, but it can take a long to get somebody to change something that they've done for a long time. And I guess the other thing is, just because people are coming to me for help, it doesn't mean they are necessarily ready, so they struggle.

What's the most detrimental food that people eat and don't realize it's bad for them?

I think food-wise it would be snack type foods. Those aren't going to do a lot and people will be hungry an hour later. People don't tend to feed themselves well enough between their meals, which if they did, would also help them out when it comes to mealtime. People also tend to look for those low-calorie labels on snacks, and I don't encourage that because it's usually empty calories. I actually encourage people to look for natural fats (not animal fats), like avocado, which would be more filling.

Do you work with any clients who come from other countries and what are the differences in their diets?

I definitely have seen some clients from other countries and I think the first thing they comment on is our portion sizes. It's not across the board, but I think that every international client that I see is healthier. They are more likely to take a fruit as a snack than a pack of chips. I think we as a society eat too many processed foods and our portion sizes are too big.

Any other advice you want to give to our readers?

Just do it. Just don't procrastinate. Try on a daily basis to be your best.

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