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Posted on Wednesday, 21 December 2011, 2:05 PM

posted by Mark McGill, RD

Looking for a last-minute gift idea?  Why not give the gift of meal planning and organization?  One of the reasons people eat out is convenience i.e. they have nothing on hand or prepared to eat. 

The Solution?

Create your very own, home-cooked frozen entree with a vacuum sealer.  How?  When you cook, cook extra servings.  Instead of 1 or 2 chicken breasts, make 4.  Instead of ½ cup rice make 1 ½ cups.  Then put portions aside for later.  I suggest freezing your entire meal on a single plate.  Record the date and amounts and you’re all set for when you find yourself wondering what to eat.

Foods can last for years using this system and store compactly in your freezer.  You’ll save time, money and eat healthier (think of the sodium in take out foods and store-bought frozen meals).

I have a FoodSaver® vacuum sealer  (pictured above) that does the job nicely.  It sells for around $200.00 with extra bags costing ~$40.00 for a 6-roll pack.  There is a manual product available at Home Hardware but I’m not familiar as to how it compares.

Stay tuned…in January I’ll show you in pictures how I create a home-made frozen meal.

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!


Posted on Thursday, 15 December 2011, 2:00 PM

Courtesy your friendly neighbourhood BMI trainers!

Just because it's the Holidays doesn't mean you should take a break from your fitness! 

Try the following to stay active this season.


Ask for an early Christmas gift. Workout wear and dumbbells, dvds and use them!

Set an alarm to remind yourself to move. If you cannot get in a complete hour, break it up into 15 or 30 min increments. It all adds up.

The library loans DVDs, borrow some and use them.

If you live in an apartment building or can access one, use the stairwells as your personal gym. Up and down, up and take the elevator down if your unable to get down. There are stairs on either side Sprint/walk the length of the hallway, climb the stairs and repeat, until your at the top. Be creative.

Join the mall walkers. Most malls have seniors walking before shoppers start their day. If they don't create your own group, ask a friend to help you stay committed to your fitness lifestyle. Stay focus on your task of walking.

Pick 1 or 2 strength exercises to do each and every morning.

Use your Kitchen Table Chair as the chair u watch TV in. You will keep a tall posture meaning you will burn more.

If watching TV every commercial stand up go to the wall and either do a wall sit or wall push ups.

Go walk the Parliament Hill Christmas evening lights at dark.

Spend the day at a museum, you will walk the whole day you’re there.

Cut the elevator out of your shopping at malls, take the stairs.

Park your car at the other end of the parking lot to walk a bit.

Go swimming at your local pool during open swim (and enjoy the hot tub after).


Posted on Tuesday, 6 December 2011, 11:15 PM

posted by BMI's Registered Dietitians

The holidays are a time for fun with family and friends and indulging in great holiday meals.

Focusing on healthy eating doesn’t mean holidays need to be eliminated or avoided.  It means focusing on indulgences AND healthy eating AND physical activity, all in moderation.

Make your healthy eating goals realistic—think about maintaining your weight this holiday season.  This allows you room for enjoying festive flavours without feeling deprived.  Depriving yourself of certain foods can set you up for over eating.

Treat each meal as a separate event.  If you have a less than ideal dinner, don’t fret – simply try to do better at the next meal.

Pay attention to how quickly you eat—pace, don’t race.  Holidays happen once a year—take time to enjoy the flavours.

Alcohol is packed with calories.  Bring along diet pop to “cut” your drinks.  Try a light beer or wine instead of the mixed drinks.  A 1 cup serving of alcoholic eggnog can add about 400 calories.

Bring a low-calorie dish with you.  At least you’ll know there is one “safe” item.

Do not ‘save’ your calories for dinner by eating less during the day.  This will result in over eating.

Eat food because you want it, not simply because it’s there and you’re hungry.

Spoil your appetite before going to an event.  Going on an empty stomach means you’ll be hungry, which will lead to over eating.

Look at all the food being offered before you choose.  Pick dishes that you will really enjoy as opposed to trying everything that is offered.  If you do try a variety of dishes, keep an eye on portion sizes.

Use smaller plates.  People will eat 20-30% less if they have smaller plates and are served from smaller dishes.

If you are holding a holiday party, add lots of vegetable dishes.  Try the recipe finder on for reduced-calorie favourites.

Make a plan of what you are going to eat ahead of time.  Do your homework – ask the host(s) what they are planning to serve.

Posted on Friday, 2 December 2011, 11:00 PM

One of the easiest ways to improve your health and fitness is to walk.  That was the inspiration behind BMI’s Inaugural 10,000 Step Challenge which took place on Wednesday November 16th.  BMI clients, their families and staff took part – 27 participants in all aged 2 to 73 in a 10,000 step or 8 km journey which covered open fields to tree-lined wooded paths.  And while the purpose of the challenge was to see how far 10,000 steps actually is, the larger goal was to complete as many steps as possible while having fun and feeling great!  We’re already looking forward to doing it again next Spring.

A big thank you to all who took part!

Posted on Thursday, 1 December 2011, 10:55 AM

The Holiday Season is here and for most that means eating.  From baking, to parties, to family get-togethers there’s no doubt many will consume more calories over the next few weeks than at any other point during the year.

The next few posts will provide thoughtful advice on how to successfully navigate this festive time of year.  

First up: Holiday recipe suggestions. 

I absolutely love the Cooking Light website:  Whether you’re looking for a tasty appetizer or a delectable main, you’ll find what you need here.  And the best part: the recipes are more than reasonable from a calorie standpoint.  Simply click on “food” at the top of the page and then “recipe finder” and you’ve got thousands of recipes at your fingertips complete with the nutritional information per serving.  Not sure what to search for?  I entered “Christmas baking” (pretty generic, right?) and the site returned a slew of options.  

Happy Searching!

Next up: Holiday eating strategies.