Archive for Weight loss tips

Q&A: Swimsuit Belly Busters & More

Q: How do I lose the muffin top belly fat before swimsuit season?

A: This is a question that many of us are wondering as the swimsuit season has come upon us. Here are some tips and tricks to help you lose that belly bulge that has packed on since last season.

1.) Exercise in the morning BEFORE Breakfast

Early morning exercise not only helps you beat the summer heat, it has also shown to be more effective than eating before you train.  According to The Journal of Physiology, exercising in a fasted state before breakfast entices the body to burn a larger percent of fat for fuel, rather than relying mostly on carbohydrates.

SWH Tip:  The next time your alarm goes off, instead of hitting the snooze button, get up and get moving!  Run, bicycle, walk or swim – enjoy the outdoors and your body for even a few minutes before sitting down to breakfast.  And during the day you always have the opportunity to burn those calories!  How?  Walk Like Your Late For a Meeting!

2.) Eat More Citrus Fruit

According to a study done at the University of Western Ontario, naringenin, a flavanoid found in the fruit helps the liver to burn fat rather than storing it.  The liver is our biggest fat burning organ.

SWH Tip: Drink lemon water first thing in the morning and in between meals.  Making one of your daily servings of fruits an orange or grapefruit will help manage your belly bulge.

3.) CLA 3

CLA is known for its effectiveness as a  “fat fighter”, as well as a powerful anti-cancer compound.  The International Journal of Obesity conducted a study on adult males and found that taking CLA supplementation for a period of four weeks decreased abdominal fat significantly more than a placebo.

SWH Tip: Supplement your nutrition with Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) to reduce body fat and increase lean body mass.

4.) Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the latest ingredients found to be effective in the battle of the bulge.  A Japanese study led by Tomoo Kondo consisted of lab mice being fed a high-fat diet.  Mice that were  given acetic acid (the main ingredient in vinegar) developed up to 10 percent less body fat than the other mice.  It’s believed that acetic acid helps protein producing genes that help the body break down fats. Due to vinegars high concentration of actetic acid, it can help  you fight fat as well as increase your body’s absorption of minerals.

SWH Tip:  Eat LIGHT summer salads!  Try apple cider vinegar and lemon with a ‘drizzle’ of olive oil.

5) Make it YOUR priority to Eat, Drink & Breathe CLEAN and OFTEN!

Stress is one of the leading contributors to aging, weight gain and illness.  It is easy to get caught up in what you are doing and forget to feed your body what it needs to be at its very best!

SWH Tip: Stop, take a moment, make the small effort to feed your body well.  Take that sip of water and breathe in the oxygen we need to make all of those chemical reactions work that drive our metabolism.

Check out our BLOG for ways to make these things part of your day EASY!


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Lookin’ Lean and Feelin’ Clean

Our inaugural 10 Day Spring Detox was a hit!  Congratulations to those who survived – we hope you enjoyed doing it as much as we enjoyed planning it.

Read what our Detoxers had to say about their experiences.

Marc M. – profession, age

Results: Lost 7.8lbs in 7 days

In his words: “The first 3 days were the most difficult.  I was hungry, I did not feel good about myself, I imagined this is what it felt like to be in rehab for an addiction.  I felt depressed and just did not feel very good about myself.  I was in a bad mood and could not shake it.  Almost like a light switch all of the feelings left me on day four.  The “skimpy” portion size of meals no longer seemed skimpy and I felt full and somewhat satisfied after eating.  My energy level increased significantly and simply felt GREAT.  I still wished I could eat something as simple as a sandwich or a slice of pizza, but know what I am doing is better.”

Cindy M. –

Results: Lost 4lbs in 7 days

In her words:

1.) How did you feel the first few days on the detox?

Actually, I felt pretty good.  I ate enough so hunger wasn’t a problem and I feared that the most.

2.) What symptoms were you experiencing?  Did you have headaches?  Were you fatigued?  Irritable? 

More than anything it was the cravings for the things I couldn’t have.  Cutting out my bread and pasta killed me!  No headaches.   No fatigue, I actually had a gradual increase in energy over the 10 days.  I have to say I was a little irritable due to the fact that I was cutting out the things I liked the most, i.e. candy, ice cream, and chocolate.

3.) What was the most difficult part of the detox?

Fitting the eating schedule to my lifestyle.  Eating every 3 hours while being on-the-go was difficult, but manageable with Stephanie’s help.

4.) Was it difficult learning to eat differently?

No, the sample menus and shopping list really helped. There is so much food to pick from that once I got in the “groove”, it was easy.

5.) When did you begin to notice your symptoms going down?

Looking back, it was a slow and gradual decrease over the 10 days.

6.) How did you feel by the end of the detox?  What positive differences did you see?

Lighter, leaner, more energetic.  Feeling better physically improved me mentally, which lifted me spiritually.

7.) How did we support you through this process?

Knowing that Stephanie was an e-mail or phone call away was obviously helpful, but also the positive reenforcement of the staff.

Wish you had done it??  You’re in luck because you still can!  We will be hosting 10 Day detoxes seasonally.  Our next detox dates are:

July 10-23
Oct. 16-29
Jan. 1-14, 15-28

Sign up by calling the office at (732) 667-3209 or e-mailing us at!

Not sure if a detox is right for you?  Learn more about our program by clicking here and selecting “Seasonal Detox Programs”.

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Q&A w/Stephanie Solaris: Benefits of Detoxing

Q: What is a detox and what are the benefits?

A: In a detox, you are actually feeding your body more!  More nutrients, minerals, and nutrient-dense foods.  This is necessary for your body to heal and rid itself of toxins.  In most detoxes, water, fresh fruit, and vegetable juice make up the bulk of the your diet.

It is important to note what a detox is not: fasting.  Fasting is essentially depriving your body of nutrients.  It forces toxins out, which is harder on the body.

Detoxing has many healthy benefits.  In simple terms, a detox is like a “tune up” for the body.  Caffeine, alcohol, not enough water, and processed foods, put stress on the body and keep it from performing at its best.  By removing these unwanted toxins, the body is able to run more efficiently.  The results are improved energy and immunity.  Additional, reported benefits include weight loss, reduced stress, better sleep, reduced joint pain, clearer sinuses, improved digestion, and an overall improvement in level of happiness.  All good reasons to try a detox, I’d say!

However, it is also important to note that results will vary and that detoxes are not suitable for everyone.  People with diabetes, low blood sugar, heart conditions, taking medications, or with any chronic medical conditions should consult with their physician before starting a detox.  You should not start a detox if you are sick or have a stressful/hectic lifestyle.

April 10th is the kickoff date of our nation-wide 2011 Spring Detox (click here for specific details).  For those interested in participating in our virtual detox program, extensive pre-qualification is necessary so sign-up early!  For current clients, we can adjust the detox to your specific needs on a one-on-one basis.  Call the office at (732) 667-3209 for more information.

We’re excited to share this experience with all of you, so sign-up today – the more the merrier!

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Q&A w/Stephanie Solaris: How Lifestyle Affects Weight Loss & Health

Q: Does my lifestyle affect weight loss and my health?

A: YES! How you spend your day, what you do, think, ingest and surround yourself with has the ability to alter and impact your health and change the expression of your DNA.

We may be born genetically pre-disposed to certain things like cholesterol, diabetes and so on, however, the way we choose to live each day either increases the expression of our genes OR decreases the expression of our genes.  This has been the topic of many articles in the last few years and was THE topic of discussion at Dr. Jeffrey Bland’s seminar (the ‘father’ of functional medicine) this past weekend.


Dr. Bland illustrated that “genes are plastic in the way they are expressed.  They can be changed. We don’t have the ability to dial in new genes, but what we have the power to do is dial in a new environment”. A great example of how a city’s change in environment can alter the expression of a generation of peoples genes and alter their health is in Hong Kong.  Dr. Bland explained that the Type II diabetes seminar he did there in 1980 was not effective because they didn’t even know what it was!  20 years later they invited him back to speak, citing that Type II diabetes was now a leading health issue for Hong Kong.  With the advent of fast food in Hong Kong, the genes of the city didn’t change; it was the environment that changed which then altered the expression of those genes.

Likewise, identical twins exposed to the same stressful situation may perceive the outcome in two completely different ways.   Person-1 may perceive the outcome as positive while Person-2 may perceive the experience as negative and relive that negative experience daily.  The stress that Person-2 undergoes daily will certainly alter their stress level, their metabolism and the way they internally process new information and foods.

Another more obvious environmental factor affecting our genetic code is the endocrine disruptors found in things like plastic bottles and pesticides used in the food we eat.   According to New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, scientists found that some of the adverse health defects that result from exposure to these chemicals include ‘genital abnormalities in boys, misshaped sexual organs and cancer in girls.’  The scary part is that these newborns seem fine at birth.   In addition to the defects, scientists believe that endocrine disruptors also play a role in obesity, affecting thyroid and metabolism.  Kristof goes on to say ‘everyone is exposed’ however there are ways around it.

1. Eat healthy and eat organic.

If our bodies don’t recognize the chemicals we are consuming in many of the fast foods and prepared foods that are available to us today, our bodies and genes will adapt in a negative way and will not thrive, resulting in disease.  In addition, a great deal of these chemicals are used in agricultural pesticides, so eat organic when at all possible. Eat a healthy, balanced nutrition plan that is right for you.  If you have not been successful at this, seek out a health care provider that will support your overall health journey.

2. Drink filtered water and drink out of metals bottles rather than plastic bottles.

3. Breathe, take some time for yourself and laugh!

Studies have shown that taking 10 minutes a day in silence will increase your happiness.  It’s also been long known that meditation and or ‘breath work’ can effectively decrease stress and improve your health.  In one study published in the July/August 2003 edition of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers found that people who did eight weeks of meditation training produced more antibodies than a flu vaccine.  Participants in this study who meditated also showed more signs of increased activity in brain areas related to positive emotion than people who didn’t meditate.

Dr. Mercola sites other research which has shown that meditation can be useful for a variety of ailments including:

  • Stress, tension, anxiety and panic
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Fatigue
  • Skin disorders
  • Mild depression
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Look at life and situations with a perspective that provides you with love and relief.  If you can’t find that perspective, have a friend or professional help you.

How you age and the quality of your health is in your hands!  It’s all about the choices you make each moment of each day.  Practice. Practice. Practice.



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Q&A w/Stephanie Solaris: Celebrating the Holidays

Q: How can I approach the holiday season nutritiously?

As the snowflakes start to ‘blow in’ this winter season it’s common for the focus on your health and waist line to ‘blow out’!   The distractions are endless…holiday parties, bake sales, shopping, decorating, family gatherings and there is always the ‘plate of sweets’ that lands at your home or office.   It even happens here at Solaris!

The festivities and warmth of celebrating can be nourishing and exhausting at the same time. Here are 3 keys to making great choices so you will enjoy your holiday festivities and not  ‘blame’ the holidays come January.

1- Choose Happiness:  Be as picky with your food as you are with your holiday commitments. You may think that choosing to EAT everything and DO everything will make you happier.  It will surely make you be bigger AND tired!  Who wants that?

This season be picky with what you do, with whom, and when, while keeping the love of yourself in mind first.   Take a cue from mother nature. The winter solstice is upon us.  It marks a time when there is more darkness than light in the day.  This is nature’s way of signaling us to slow down; naturally giving us time to take stock in who we are, what we really want, what we’ve done and who we want to become.   Saying, “I’ll pass on this appetizer or on this event ” or “I’d love to do xyz” takes courage. You’ll find you’ll be more than satisfied and fulfilled when you choose the ‘crème de la crème’ this holiday season.

2- Choose Wisely: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. It’s easy to look at the big picture and say “I’ll be good” this holiday but that doesn’t come in handy when you’re faced with a fresh plate of brownies next to the coffee machine at 3pm.  Food is not a moral issue-it’s energy to feed your body.

Many of you have worked hard all year on your health, waistline and wellbeing.  Take this time to rejoice. Connect with those you love instead of connecting impulsively with food . When faced with the brownie plate, ask yourself if this is an ’impulse purchase’ or a wise decision.   Remember how you want to feel at the next get together and promise yourself ‘true planned indulgence’ at the next party or the next dinner out on the town.  You’ll find that when you choose to commit to good things for yourself, the reward you’ll get will be worth more than the temporary satisfaction you’ll receive from a sugary treat.

3- Choose Warmth:  Creating your own comfort fends off loneliness. The holiday season can be emotional-remembering loved ones, near, far or departed.  A new study showed that keeping warm fends off loneliness!  So keep warm naturally by raising your heart rate this holiday and moving! The heat your own body generates will not only keep you warm for hours, but burn off that holiday dinner from the night before.

Instead of letting the ‘outside’ wind blow you every which way this season, listen to mother nature.  Slow down, make a conscious decision to connect with your food and those around you. You’ll create a holiday to remember in more ways than one.

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Q&A w/Stephanie Solaris: How to Fend Off the Thanksgiving Bulge

Q: How do I make sure I don’t over eat during the holidays?
A: Great question.  On average, Americans gain 5-7 pounds during the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and that’s not even taking Halloween into consideration!  I tell my clients a realistic goal is to ‘not gain any weight’ over the holidays.  If you can maintain, you’ll already be ahead of the game for January!  The following are 5 Simple Steps to fending off the Holiday Bulge while enjoying yourself at the same time!
1. First things first – get the junk food  out of your house, car and office.
As Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything but temptation”!   So why torture
yourself.  If it’s not part of your regular nutrition plan OR it’s something you know you will not be able to ‘resist’, give it away or get rid of it.  The momentary high will not satisfy your long term happiness and goals.
2. Remember the holi-“day” is only ONE DAY.
So the key is to stick to your nutrition plan for most of the holiday season (5.8 weeks) and let yourself go on that DAY only.  That’s right – go to town
on the holi-DAY and then get right back into your healthy nutrition plan the next day!
3. If you have a party to attend, offer to bring a dish that you know is good for you and that you know you will enjoy!
Others will thank you!!  And don’t bring home any leftovers that may tempt you.
4. If you’re going out to dinner, use the “BADDD Rule”
There are typically 5 courses to a meal; Bread, Appetizer, Dinner, Drink, Dessert.  Pick 3 out of the 5 courses and stick to those as your meal.
5. If you have a favorite old family dish, create a healthy
version of it!
Use a natural sweetener like coconut sugar instead of sugar, oats instead of flour, applesauce OR yogurt instead of too much butter.  You may even find a NEW family favorite for the holi-DAY that will broaden your family’s horizons, not their waist lines.   All you have to find is one new dish and you’ll be a hit at all the parties.
If you don’t currently have a healthy nutrition plan and want to get one that is right for you OR would like recipe ideas, connect with us at!  Listen to the Optimum Health through Nutrition Podcast  Episode #93 on iTunes.
Stephanie Solaris CHC, is the founder and director of Solaris Whole Health LLC, featured speaker and nutrition coach who has helped hundreds achieve optimum health.

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Q&A with Stephanie Solaris: Healthy Halloween

Q: Can Halloween be healthy?
A: Yes! You’d think this would be impossible considering how store entrances are lined with bags, even boxes of candy 6 weeks before Halloween.  I guess you can never stock up on sugar too early!

The antiquated ritual of ‘treating’ the demon with sweets as a ‘sacrifice’ to ward off harmful consequences from evil spirits is long gone.   However the tradition of Halloween has lived on and now takes the shape of an 8 week sugar frenzy to kick off the holiday season! There ARE ways to make this ‘fall event’ memorable for all ages without the bouts of mood swings and weight gain the sugar frenzy brings!

Home parties can be a welcome relief over walking from house to house in cold, rainy weather.  I was lucky.  From an early age, my mother would plan and host Halloween parties at our home.  We would dress up in costumes, wear blindfolds and be led from room to room to play different games.  In one room, we would bob for apples, in another we would dig through a bowl of ‘eyeballs’ (grapes with Jello) in search of a prize all while drinking blood (Shirley temples!) and listening to scary music.

Here are some websites with fun games to try and a listing of events to check out – all great alternatives to the traditional door-to-door sugarfest of Halloweens past.  (How does pumpkin bowling sound?!)

What I know for sure is that I don’t remember what candy I got or ate each year, but I do remember the games and parties I had.  Those are memories that will last a lifetime.

Click here for last year’s article on Halloween candy alternatives.

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