Drink More Water

Challenge Yourself: Drink More Water

Measuring cup

The Lehmans and Avaglianos were both so successful in upping their water intakes–and decreasing their soda and alcohol consumption–that we declared both families the winners of Challenge #2.

Here’s how you can follow their lead and do the same:

Q. Does everyone need eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day?

A. No, adults need more. Eight 8-ounce glasses is a guideline, not a one-size-fits-all recommendation. “The amount of water you require depends on many factors,” says Stephanie, the Lehman’s nutritionist, who suggests you start with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations of thirteen 8-ounce glasses for men and nine 8-ounce glasses for women.

The IOM recommends 7 glasses for girls 9 to 13, 8 glasses for boys 9 to 13 and girls 14 to 18, and 11 glasses for boys 14 to 18. Bump this up if you are physically active or live in a hot or humid climate or at a high altitude.

And remember: You don’t have to meet your water needs through H20 alone. Caffeine-free liquids count, as do fruits and vegetables like watermelon, grapefruit, lettuce, broccoli and tomatoes, some of which are 90% water.


Smart Drink Swaps

When the heat rises, it’s nice to cool off with a drink. But some summer tonics can do in your diet. Water and unsweetened beverages are ideal, but if you treat yourself, here’s how to avoid going overboard.

If You Want a: Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino 16 oz.
Know It’s: 400 calories
You’d Have to: Run 3.4 miles in 40 minutes to work that off.
Instead Try a: Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Light 16 oz. 130 calories

If You Want a: 7-Eleven Cherry Orange Blitz Slurpee 16 oz.
Know It’s: 110 calories
You’d Have to: Lift weights for 30 minutes to nix those calories.
Instead Try a: 7-Eleven Slurpee Lite Fanta Sugar-Free Cherry Limeade 12 oz. 30 calories

If You Want a: Red Lobster Traditional Lobsterita 24 oz.
Know It’s: 890 calories
You’d Have to: Bike 16 miles in one hour after an indulgence like this.
Instead Try a: Red Lobster Classic Margarita On The Rocks 4.75 oz. 250 calories


A Two-Step Motivational Plan

To keep them going strong, each family had a coaching session with motivational expert Tony Ricci, senior health and fitness specialist at Pfizer. “The secret to remaining focused on a goal is being able to define it and visualize it,” says Ricci. Here’s how to do just that.

Be specific. Don’t simply write down your goals; write down the true, intimate reasons why you want to do something and what your life will be like once you accomplish those goals. For example, “When I lose 20 pounds, I’ll stop making excuses about not wanting to go to the pool and have more energy to bond with my kids on weekend bike rides.”

Create a picture. Gather images that represent your goal (and its rewards) as a constant reminder to yourself of what you’re after. Use a bulletin board, poster board or Pinterest board to post photos of the little black dress you want to fit into or the beach you want to (fearlessly) wear a bathing suit on.

What have you done to drink more water? Share in the comments below!

Challenge Yourself: Drink Healthy Smoothies and Get Your Daily Fruit and Veggie Servings

Carrot-Peach Smoothie

You may not be avoiding produce like your kid. But chances are neither of you are getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables you should either. That’s where homemade smoothies can save the day. Not only are they packed with vitamins and minerals, but they’re also filled with fiber and natural sugars, unlike so many other drinks on the market. Plug in your blender and try whipping up these two delicious recipes from smoothie books that just hit shelves this spring.

Eastern Apricot Pistachio Smoothie
Serves: 2 (352 calories per serving)

1/3 cup pistachios
2 ½ cups chopped cucumber
10 dried apricots
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ cups water

  1. In a high speed blender, combine pistachios, cucumber, apricots, parsley, and water
  2. Blend until completely smooth

Credit: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies (Alpha Books)


Celerapple Frapple
Serves: 4 (124 calories per serving)

1 cup romaine lettuce
3 Granny Smith apples
2 celery stalks
2 cups orange juice


  1. Combine lettuce, apples, celery, and 1 cup juice into blender, and blend until smooth
  2. Add remaining 1 cup juice, and continue to blend until smoothie reaches desired consistency

Credit: 201 Healthy Smoothies & Juices for Kids (Adams Media)

For more delicious summer drink recipes, check out “10 Supercharged Smoothies.”

Challenge Yourself: The Art of Making A Cup of Tea


photo via flickr.com/laurelfan

By Maria Masters

You’ve probably heard that wine is best when it’s allowed to breathe for ten or fifteen minutes before serving. Or perhaps you have your own tricks for making the perfect cup of coffee, like scrubbing that coffee maker down so residue doesn’t muddy up your brew. But did you know there are secrets for pouring the perfect cup of tea as well?

As Peggy and Tiffany mentioned, they received Lipton teas to help them stay hydrated. (Not only is tea delicious and calorie-free, but studies also suggest that it can speed up weight-loss and lower a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes.) So we asked Lipton for the inside scoop on preparing the perfect cup.  Follow their tips:

Get Fresh. Bottled is best for making tea. But if you’re going to the faucet, run the water for a few minutes. Doing so ensures that the water is as fresh as possible.

Watch The Clock. Green tea only needs about 1 to 4 minutes, but black tea generally takes about 3 to 5 minutes. For a stronger brew, let the tea steep longer.

Keep It Warm. If you tend to sip your tea slowly, use a tea cozy. Some of the brew’s flavor is lost when you reheat the drink.

What’s your favorite tea? Share in the comments below.

Challenge Yourself: 3 Amazing Mocktails to Try

By Maria Masters

Summery drinks like pina coladas and margaritas can top 250 calories or more. Part of the problem is that alcohol itself can be caloric—and that’s before we start adding mixers into the glass!

But like Tiffany and Peggy have reported, you don’t have to limit yourself to water if you want to slim down. We’ve rounded up three lighter, alcohol-free indulgences for you to stir up at home. These delicious drinks replace booze with juice, seltzer or tea instead of a heaping cup of sugar. Plus they all come in at under 130 calories a serving. Cheers!

Velvet Sienna
From Cristian Molina, head bartender of Rouge Tomate in New York City

(Serves 1)
3 sage leaves
4 oz fresh pineapple juice
3 oz carrot juice
1/2 oz cranberry juice

Muddle and shake with ice. Strain in a highball glass with ice. Garnish with sage leaf.


Peach Spritzer
From Family Circle
(Serves 2)

½ cup peach nectar
½ cup ruby red grapefruit juice
½ cup seltzer

Blend peach nectar, grapefruit juice and seltzer. Serve over ice.


Black Tea Sangria
From Lipton’s
(Serves 6)

2 bottles Lipton 100% Natural Iced Tea with Lemon
1 cup unsweetened grape juice
¼ cup orange juice
1 small orange, sliced
1 Gala apple, cored and sliced
1 lime, sliced

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Visit Lipton’s Tea Recipes for even more great summer drinks.

What’s your favorite mocktail recipe? Share in the comments below.

Challenge Yourself: Teach Yourself Portion Control

Red wine

Tiffany has told us about her struggle with cutting down on wine and beer in her quest to lose weight and get healthy. And her nutritionist, Stephanie Karpinske, shared advice on how to keep your alcohol intake in check. To learn another way to do so, plus more ways to teach yourself portion control, check out this story.

How have you taught yourself portion control? Share in the comments below.