Follow our Booozey tweets!! @STYLEBOOZE

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Elie Saab, Drapemaster

If you've ever seen a dress in the Elie Saab collection, you've seen perfection. Aside from the fact that the Man pays exquisite attention to detail down to the last pearl, sequin, and flower...the drape and fit of each dress is nothing short of flawless. As most of you know, male designers do not always design for the true shape of a woman. Instead, they create collections that draw inspiration from idealism and fantasy figures, rather than real life silhouettes. Elie Saab is an entirely different kind of man. He understands the curves of the waist, the swing of the hips, and knows exactly how to feature them. I have looked at every one of his collections repeatedly, both RTW and Couture, and am always hard pressed to find even one that isn't incredibly stunning. They are truly all breathtaking works of art.

Below are just a few of my favorites from his Spring 12 RTW collection...try and not drool, I dare you.


Friday, February 10, 2012

REAL Food Facts with Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN

Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN, middlebergnutrition.com

For those of you who read GOOD VIBRATIONS,  you are aware of my successful, albeit challenging, journey to a thirty pound weight loss. I mentioned that in order to achieve my goals, I worked closely with a  nutritionist who helped guide me the whole way. Stephanie Middleberg of Middleberg Nutrition met with me for the first time back in May of 2011 and changed my entire perspective on healthy eating.

I am a confessed carb and sweets lover who over the years has dabbled in pretty much every fad diet there is; South Beach, Blood Type, Atkins...you name it I've done it. I also did the whole "don't eat after 8pm" diet, which clearly can only last so long when you love dining out as much as I do. I wanted help to create a slow and steady plan that I could really stick to, without feeling deprived. Short term fixes weren't cutting it any longer.

As soon as I enlisted Stephanie's help- I started to feel completely different within the first week. I had much more energy and I felt less bloated and sluggish. The best part was that I didn't feel like I was "dieting." Stephanie never wanted me to give up carbs or bread or sweets. In fact one of the first things she asked me was "What can't you live without?" I told her I must have Hershey Kisses every night. I'm a chocoholic.  Her response? "Ok, eat 2 to 3 hershey kisses every night." Chocolate on a weight loss plan? Yes please! I was still able to have the sweets in moderation, and because I was allowed to eat them, I didn't feel the need to binge on them.

So many people have asked me for tips and pointers on how to lose weight now that I have been so successful. However, I thought it would be best to give you guys the facts straight from the source! I sat down with Stephanie and asked her some tough questions that so many people want real answers to. Here's the truth guys!

Why did you decide to get into the field of Nutrition?
Nutrition is actually a second career for me. I first started out in Healthcare Public Relations.  At that time I realized I wasn’t passionate about PR (ok, I really started to dislike it) and also developed stomach problems (also related to not liking my job) and had to change the way I ate for the first time. I experienced that the way I ate immediately changed the way I felt. I was fascinated and wanted to learn more. So years later here I am!

Why do the majority of your clients come to you? To eat better overall? To lose weight?
I would say 85% come to me to lose weight with at least one other goal (i.e. increased energy, decreased acid reflux, lower blood pressure, training for a sports event, etc.). The consistent theme is that my clients want to feel better and they want to do it through food and exercise.

What do you find is the most common challenge among people who want to lose weight? Information overload. Seriously, clients come in knowing so much information and are almost paralyzed by it.  Should I cut carbs, fat, is dairy the devil? Should I give up meat and gluten? The questions clients ask are focused on what to subtract which leaves them feeling guilty and defeated every time they have a piece of cheese. What’s motivating about that?

I know from working with you personally that you have a fantastic ability to work with people’s likes and dislikes when it comes to nutrition plan (I know I’m a very picky eater!) What would you say is the most important thing to think about when going about “dieting” or eating healthier?
The process intimidates many people and I don’t blame them. I was pretty skeptical myself. Years ago, I went to an allergist who told me I needed to cut out all eggs, wheat and dairy and I walked away literally saying “that’s not going to happen.” It was too soon and too much all together.   I needed to learn alternatives and be guided through the process.  I have a broad sense of the word “healthy” in my life and as a result in my approach with clients. No one likes to feel like they fail and I try set my clients up to succeed in a realistic way.  Clients are most successful when they are honest with me. I need to know what they truly like; that they hate to cook; need wine after a long day; hate Brussels sprouts, etc. That is all OK and will help me develop a plan that is more tailored to clients taste and lifestyle. That’s my job. I try to take away the “dieting” clutter.

So many fad diets say to cut out certain foods all together to lose weight…but clearly that can’t work long-term right?
Exactly, the thing all fad diets have in common is that they restrict calories. What comes with that is water loss and muscle loss (which then slows metabolism).  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Since having begun work with you back in May, I’ve become a bit of a fitness junkie. The key for me was finding classes and workout DVD’s that I truly enjoyed (to accompany our eating plan.) What do you typically tell clients (if anything) about exercise? And how important is it to a weight loss plan?
Yes, and I am so proud of you for it! Not only to commit to working out, but you also work to switch it up. The body responds to change. For woman, 70% of weight loss does come down to diet.  Exercise is extremely important for our sanity, health, and it really does work to transform your body and to maintain your weight. As you progress in your weight loss experience, ultimately, losing inches and body fat becomes more important than the number on the scale. It is important to realize that as you strengthen, woman can gain 3-5 pounds of muscle. Take that into account when you feel frustrated with the scale but feel GREAT in your new jeans. Changing and intensifying your workouts also becomes extremely important when hit a plateau

One of my biggest problems (as you very well know by now) is my lovvvve of carbs. I know this is a very common issue for people. You never asked me to cut them out completely (which I greatly appreciated,) and I still saw amazing results. Could you please explain carbs to everyone? They get such a bad rep and they are in fact important to a diet!
I am not a fan of no-carb diet and do support a modified carb intake. If you cut out carbohydrates completely not only does it make you feel depleted and cranky but it also sets you up for a binge episode. Not all carbohydrates are bad for us. The complex forms like beans, squash, potatoes (yes potatoes), grains and fruit are important to eat.  Healthy carbs give us energy, which is especially important when you’re working out. Carbs generally are client’s nemesis as you suggested. It is the first thing we reach for when tired, stressed and simply on the go. We crave what we eat. So by changing our habits, we can change our cravings. And yes, this does happen. I encourage clients to be smart about their food choices. If they want the bowl of pasta, then forgo the breadbasket and dessert. The next day, have the dessert but pair it with fish and vegetables. The balance is important. I also encourage clients to have a "splurge" meal at least once a week. Its important to have it in public (and not shoveling it in alone on your coach) and to make it a meal, not a day. Men can recover from a day quickly but for woman, an entire day can take at least 3 days to recover from.

There are so many articles out in magazines today stating that certain foods eliminate belly fat, and other foods help make skin glow, etc. Where are these studies coming from and how well are they really tested? Is it a bunch of ------?
From my background in PR, I learned that anyone could make claims about anything. I frankly ignore most of the studies out there. How can you possibly determine that eating a single food or nutrient can impact your appearance in such a grand way? There are way too many factors going on in our day to day lives.  I had a client once come to me because she had put on weight. After chatting, she told me that she started drinking wine and eating chocolate every day because she saw a study saying that red wine and dark chocolate reduce the risk for heart disease.  I asked her if she enjoys it and she said no. She cut it out and lost weight. Eating should be more about common sense. Meaning eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and less junk.  Americans are the most concerned with health and statistics yet we are so unhealthy.

The whole time we were working together I was extremely nervous that I would have weeks where my weight loss would completely stall out. (Luckily it didn’t!) But what do you say to people when they are working so hard and the results aren’t reflecting that?
I first have to remind clients that often the scale isn’t the perfect measurement. It is affected by travel; humidity, hormones, the weather outside, etc. so try to focus on how your clothes fit. Having said that, a) you must change something up. Try having a few vegetarian meals; try leaving 1/4 of your plate over at your next meal; try limiting dairy for a few days; up your cardio by 10 more minutes, etc.   I encourage clients to STICK with it because if you do, the scale will drop!

What are some foods that people should always keep in their fridge?  Eggs, cut up veggies, yogurt, milk (or milk alternative), fruit

In their freezer? Frozen fruit, vegetables, veggie burgers, ground meat, grains, soups, etc. Keeping the freezer stalked is very important.

What are some great foods to snack on during the day (4 o’clock stomach rumbles anyone?) that won’t throw a diet or nutrition plan off track? Below is a list of my favorites. There are some options for the salt and sweet lovers out there.

*Popcorn: 100-calorie mini pop bags or 3 cups Half Naked Popcorn (any flavor), 3 cups make your own popped popcorn 
*Justin’s Nut Butter Squeeze packs: Simply eat on own or spread with fruit, in celery on a cracker: http://justinsnutbutter.elsstore.com/view/category/6021--5-oz-packs
*Kale Chips: make your own (add 1 tsp olive oil and pinch of kosher salt, optional 2 tbsp Parmesan to a bunch of kale) or we can go with a brand: roughly 60-80 calories per serving
*Bars:  Lara Bar, Kind Bar, Raw Crunch Bar, Rise Bar, Pure Organic Bar, Nature Valley (I like them crumbled into a yogurt), Cliff Crunch or cliff Kids Z bar (for something sweet)
*2 wasa light rye crackers plus ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)+ drizzle of honey
*¼ cup pumpkin seeds + 4 dried apricots
*Skim Latte + fruit
*1 packet instant plain oatmeal + 1 tsp honey, cinnamon + fruit
*Sheffa Zesty snack mix .6oz packs:   http://sheffafoods.com/products/zesty-snack-mix/
*Apple sandwich (sliced, cored apple + 1 tbsp nut butter + 2 tbsp raisins or 2 tbsp high fiber cereal): cut apple into medium slices, spread nut butter on one slice and sprinkle with cereal or raisins, place other apple slice on top, making a sandwich
*1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt + fruit of choice (can add Cinnamon, vanilla extract, etc.)

If you had to give one piece of advice to people out there trying to get on track, what would it be?
Start by reducing volume. That is one thing you can control immediately. At every meal leave over 1/4 of your plate. Oh and cut out the bread- basket. It is not necessary. We can the most weight at the first 10 and last 10 minutes of our meals.  Remember, you crave what you eat so anything is possible!

A native New Yorker, Stephanie Middleberg takes a pragmatic approach to eating healthy in a busy world. Her nutrition counseling business, founded in early 2010, has quickly propelled her to a spot as one of the city’s most sought experts, and she consults with private clients, businesses and the media. Stephanie has provided expert health and nutrition advice for Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Women's Day, MSNBC.com, FitnessMagazine.com, MSN, Crain's New York Business,Business Week, AOL Health, the New York Daily News,Life & Style and The Big New York Sandwich Book, to name a few. She's a member of Cosmopolitan's Health Advisory Board, as well as serving as the magazine's nutritional expert, and is a frequent contributor to Svelte Gourmand, a health and dining blog.


Here's to a Healthy New Year!