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I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself

—  Beyoncé
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a calorie shortcut, exercise to defeat anxiety, and a few questions about “juice cleanses”. Read on...

The traditional method to lose weight is to count calories, but our estimates tend to be, well, way off! An easy wellness hack? Focus on calorie density instead of calorie count. 

Processed products and fast food have more calories per gram. Think of what 500 calories of broccoli looks like, versus 500 calories of pizza. For calorie-dense fattening foods, the “suggested serving” on the side of the box may be nowhere near what fills us up. 

Amanda Rocchio on Instagam)

The American Institute for Cancer Research promotes the calorie-density approach, and recommends filling one-third to two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains like quinoa.
Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower are super-low in calorie density, with a mere 25 calories per cup of raw, or half cup of cooked.

Another major key: home cooking. Homemade meals are typically less calorie dense than restaurant food, which gloms on extra butter and oils. These make dishes tasty, but mega-caloric. When you cook for yourself, you can calibrate how much butter or olive oil gets added to your dish, and not overdo it.

Wishing you a satisfying week, Katherine & Linda
Lottie Murphy
Lottie Murphy took her first Pilates class at age 16 while studying at ballet school. and was instantly hooked. She started a daily Pilates practice. To Murphy, “every morning on the mat feels like coming home.”

Murphy shares her perspective on this graceful form of exercise on her website: “As your Pilates teacher I’m not asking for perfection but for commitment, for presence and for awareness. If we can roll out our mat each day, move, and breathe and find connection then that’s enough.” 

Not the typical fitness influencer trying to promote a fake image of perfection, Murphy creates connection with her fans by disclosing her struggles. In her online journal, she’s shared how she copes with “suffocating” anxiety and OCD, which fitness helps her soothe.

Try this: Pilates uses bodyweight movements and repetitive muscle contractions to give you a workout that keeps your core engaged. Murphy’s 30-minute Sunrise Pilates Workout is designed to be done in the morning before you get your day started. For an express workout, this 18-minute Total Body Pilates Flow is designed to make you “feel stretched and lengthened throughout”.
Getting off the “detox” roller coaster
Juice cleanses are popular but if you’ve ever tried one, you may have found yourself chowing down on bread like a zombie by the end of day two. Why?

The problem isn’t willpower. It’s that a juice fast gives your blood sugar a roller coaster ride. Fruit has no fiber but contains sugar in the form of fructose, so if you attempt to live on juice, your blood sugar will spike and plummet erratically.

Many people who try juice cleanses suffer from headaches, irritability, and fainting. While proponents claim the headache is a “sign of detoxing”, it’s actually just an effect of hunger. And assertions that the juice cleanse give your digestive system a “rest” leave doctors scratching their heads too.

Juice cleanses are low in calories, but a few days of ultra-low intake isn’t typically enough to lose any fat—any weight loss shown by the scale is mostly water.

Studies have found that while “detoxes” and “cleanses” can cause initial weight loss because of low intake of calories, the weight returns when a normal diet resumes. A “cleanse” of “toxins” via an elimination diet isn’t necessary, because your kidneys and liver remove toxins from your system regularly anyway. 

Sharon Horesh Bergquist, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Emory School of Medicine, explained in an interview with “The reality is that your body is a detoxification machine, fully built with its own elaborate way of ridding toxins and unwanted chemicals.”

If you want to clean up your diet to promote health, eliminating sugar and processed food for a few days is much better than trying to live on juice.
 Working out in humidity can be more exhausting—and more dangerous. Tips to stay safe (Self)

 These vegan black bean burgers are filling and super-simple to make—why not serve them in a wrap, dice them into a salad, or crumble them into nachos (MindBodyGreen)

 Love Starbucks, but not drinking the caloric equivalent of a milkshake? Here’s a list of 15 Starbucks drinks that are 100% sugar-free (Greatist) 

 Prepping home-cooked meals is a health hack — some tips on how to make time for it in your schedule (PopSugar)

 Functional fitness: learn the seven key movements for healthy aging and lifelong fitness (Well+Good)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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