Dare to Quit Smoking

Join more than 14,000 others as they dare to quit smoking in 2011 with the support of LIVESTRONG.com.  Smoking may be a big part of what is holding you back from reaching your fitness goals.  Aside from the risks of lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema, smokers can count on a lowered lung capacity which hinders their ability to perform high intensity cardio.  Weight loss and toning are both dependent upon strength training AND cardiovascular activity.  Don’t get discouraged if your workouts feel tough, quit smoking to make things easier and stay on the right track.

Here are a few ideas that may help you ease into quitting:

1.  Pick one part of your day to cut smoking completely out.  Whether it’s cutting out that cigarette you always have with your morning coffee, or not smoking while you’re in your car, make this your first step and you’ll be that much closer to quitting.

2.  Set a long term fitness goal.  Challenge yourself to running a mile, a 5k or competing in a triathlon, make it something that seems nearly impossible now but would feel great to complete.  Setting a goal and staying committed to reaching it should give you a reason to cut down on smoking.

3.  Say it out loud.  Make your commitment official by telling someone close to you that you’re going to quit.  I don’t know about you, but once something comes out of my mouth I become committed to making it happen!

4.  Check out LIVESTRONG and other online support groups.  These are places where people committed to quitting can get online and encourage each other to keep at it.  It’s an easy way to get positive feedback or even just see what others are going through.  If you can commit to quitting with a friend or family member that could be a great form of support too.

5.  Set your cigarette money aside.  Once you get to the point where you are buying cigarettes less, start setting that money aside to save up for something you want.  You’ll be surprised how quickly that money adds up.  If you can succeed at quitting, you’ll be saving that kind of money all the time, so don’t feel guilty about spending a few month’s savings on some type of reward…you earned it!

White Bean and Turkey Chili


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup diced seeded plum tomato (about 1)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • lime wedges (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden. Add chili powder, garlic, and cumin; sauté for 2 minutes. Add oregano and beans; cook for 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
  • Place 2 cups of bean mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Add turkey, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Add diced tomato, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

The Importance of Goal Setting

“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose– a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”  – Mary Shelley
If you’re struggling with motivation it may be time to reevaluate your goals.  Figure out what it is that you really want and go after it.  Having something to work toward will help you stay enthusiastic and on track.

A Guest Blog From Chef Melissa & The Dinner Rescue Crew!


If you think you’ll just skip lunch, think again. A healthy lunch is a beneficial meal for several reasons.  
1.       Eating lunch fills in the “gap” between breakfast and dinner which keeps your metabolism running in “drive”.  Even a small lunch will re-energize you and keep blood sugar levels in check. Include a serving of protein along with carbohydrates for maximum benefit.
2.       Eating lunch gives you the right ammunition against becoming ravenously hungry later…then blowing out your calorie intake late in the day – most likely with junk food. Skipping lunch is setting yourself up for nutrition sabotage later.
3.       Eating lunch within 4 hours of exercise has shown to enhance workout benefits as compared to those who do not eat within 4 hours of exercise.
Folks with hectic lifestyles can still find time to eat a quick, healthy lunch. Next time you go grocery shopping add turkey, roast beef, yogurt, pre-cut veggies and fruit and whole grain crackers to your cart for quick grab and go lunch options. No more skipping lunch!

Stuffed Chicken Divan From Food Network


We’ve updated this classic dish while still keeping all the elements that people love: crisp broccoli, juicy chicken, and a tasty Parmesan sauce. By stuffing the chicken breasts we were able to cut down on the overall cheese in the dish while still maximizing flavor. A mixture of low-fat evaporated milk, broth and sherry with a touch of cornstarch makes a creamy sauce that tastes as rich as the full fat version.


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups (4 ounces) fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat the broiler. Mist a shallow rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and run under cold water until cold. Drain well again and squeeze dry in paper towels.
Chop the broccoli and toss in a bowl with the Gruyere and garlic. Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of each chicken breast to make a 3-inch deep pocket. Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the broccoli mixture. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking through. Transfer to the baking dish.
Meanwhile, combine the milk and stock in a small pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the sherry and cornstarch until smooth and pour, whisking constantly, into the sauce. Cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of sauce and place under the broiler. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut each breast in half on an angle. Whisk the mustard into the remaining sauce and spread a few tablespoons on each plate. Top with a halved chicken breast.
Nutritional analysis per serving
Calories 347; Total Fat 11g (Sat Fat 5.1g, Mono Fat 3.9g, Poly Fat 1.1g) ; Protein 50g; Carb 10g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 126.5mg; Sodium 433.5mg

Outstanding Effort and Achievement Award!

Bernadette Romelfanger is the recipient for July’s Outstanding Effort and Achievement Award!  Bernie and I have been training together for almost three years and if there is one thing I’ve learned about her it’s that she never lets up.  Her tireless efforts have helped to boost her strength and endurance tremendously.  Many of the exercises that proved to be tough when we started are beginning to seem effortless now, which keeps me, as a trainer, on my toes!

This year alone, Bernie has lost inches in her waist, hips, and thighs, and has brought her body fat percentage down almost 2%.  She is committed to working out on her own three days per week in addition to our two training sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Her consistency has been unfailing in the entire time I’ve known her, and because of that she is now able to complete some of my toughest workouts week in and week out.

Bernie, working with you over the past few years has been a privilege.  I look forward to training you each week and I am appreciative of your outstanding efforts.  You truly do challenge me as a trainer and I am thankful for that.  You work exceptionally hard, and even when I try to get you to complain you don’t!!  We’ve come a long way from where we started and I’m looking forward to seeing where we end up.  Keep up the great work and it will continue to pay off.  You’re workout ethic is the definition of “giving it 100%” and I love that about you.  Keep giving it your all!