Ask the Expert: What Should You Do If You Cheat On Your Diet?

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Q: I cheated on my diet. How long will it take to show up on the scale?

The Short Answer:
Probably never and even if it does, it’s most likely temporary fluid retention caused by excess salt or sugar intake. In the extremely unlikely event that you binged so massively over the weekend that you actually gained body fat, there’s nothing you can do about it now, so quit being neurotic and Googling articles like this one—instead, get on with the business of reversing the damage.
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How to Freeze Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Congrats! Thanksgiving dinner was a success and now everyone is now recovering from the enormous meal by relaxing (read: snoozing) in almost every room in the house. But in the kitchen, there’s a mountain of leftovers! You know trying to send leftovers home with your relatives is only going to make a small dent in what’s left. So now what?

You could let the leftovers go bad in your fridge, but that would be a sad waste of the food you worked so hard to make. You could increase your calorie intake for the next few days, but that’s not exactly a good idea. Or, you could simply freeze most of the leftovers.

Ani Aratounians, Beachbody’s Senior Manager of Culinary Development, shares her expert advice on how to (and how long to) save your favorite dishes so they’re flavorful when you’re ready to reheat them.

Most of the Thanksgiving staples are listed below, but if you don’t see yours, the basic rules are simple: Don’t defrost and then re-freeze food and try to save food in an airtight glass container that is both oven and microwave safe.

You can only eat so many leftover turkey sandwiches. After a few days, freeze what’s left of the turkey. For safety reasons, you should only defrost as much as you’ll be able to eat at one time, so freeze small portions into separate containers. Add some broth to help prevent the meat from drying out. Reheat the turkey at 325° F until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
Freeze Time: 3 to 4 months

Leftover ham is slightly trickier to freeze than turkey because it dries out more quickly. Freeze it in an airtight container or in a vacuum pack. Reheat it in an oven-safe container, covered with foil, at 325° F until the internal temperature is 165° F. Only reheat as much as you will eat in one sitting.
Freeze Time: 3 to 4 months

Stuffing is the glue of a Thanksgiving meal, and it can be reused in recipes forbreakfast, lunch, or dinner. Both bread and grain-based stuffing store best in an airtight container, and can be reheated in the oven at about 325° F.
Freeze Time: 1 to 2 months

Mashed Potatoes
Depending on the recipe, mashed potatoes can stay frozen for about a year. If they were made with butter, dairy milk, sour cream, or heavy cream, they will freeze well in an airtight container or freezer bag, and can be reheated in a microwave or oven at about 350° F. Separating the mashed potatoes into single-serving sized balls will allow you to defrost only as much as you need at one time. However, if the mashed potatoes were made with broth, avoid freezing them because ice crystals tend to form, making them watery when defrosted. Convince your guests to take these or enjoy them within four days of the day you made them.
Freeze Time: Up to 1 year

Sweet Potatoes and Yams
If you’re stuck with leftover sweet potatoes or yams that are mashed or pureed, freeze them in an oven-safe airtight container. To reheat, cover the container with foil and put it in a 350°F oven until warm. If you’re left with whole or halved baked sweet potatoes or yams, let them cool completely, and then wrap them individually in foil to freeze, thaw, and reheat at 350°.
Freeze Time: Mashed – Between 3 and 4 months, Whole – Up to 1 year 

Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts and green beans freeze best when they are plain and haven’t been blanched. If there is any fat in the mix, like butter, then it’s best to keep them out of the freezer because the fat will separate. A dish with crumb toppings should also stay unfrozen, because the breadcrumbs will become soft and mushy after they are defrosted and heated. But if they’ve only been topped with light seasonings, like lemon or garlic, then they’ll do just fine if frozen and defrosted.
Freeze Time: Up to 1 year

Other Vegetables
Most veggies freeze will well if they are blanched first, especially if they are frozen in a vacuum pack. Stay away from freezing vegetables with high water content, such as lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts, and radishes, because they will get mushy upon reheating. If you’re left with an abundance of herbs, chopping them up and freezing them in olive oil for up to two weeks should preserve most of their flavor. Freezing them in a standard ice cube tray makes it easy to defrost just the right amount. Consider adding one cube to a pan to serve as the base for a sauce.
Freeze Time: Up to 1 year

Green Bean Casserole
Bad news – this dish is one of the few Thanksgiving recipes that doesn’t freeze well. Crumb toppings usually become mushy when defrosted, and sour cream and yogurt can curdle and separate when defrosted and reheated. It can hold for three to four days in the fridge, but after that, toss it.

Other Casseroles
Don’t freeze a casserole if it it’s topped with crumbs, fresh fruit, or herbs. The crumbs will get mushy when defrosted, and fresh produce tends to turn brown. But, if you can remove the garnishes off before freezing, then this will allow it to be frozen. Casseroles can be reheated in the microwave.
Freeze time: 2 to 3 months

Cranberry Sauce
People are often quite particular about what kind of cranberry sauce they like on a Thanksgiving spread. It might be a pain to make a homemade sauce and buy the canned stuff, but either way, it freezes the same. You can freeze large portions in an airtight container, or individual servings in an ice cube or muffin tray. To defrost, heat the cranberries on low in a saucepan.
Freeze Time: 2 to 3 months

There are seemingly endless variations of gravy, and depending on its base, it will freeze differently. Gravies that are thickened with flour or cornstarch will freeze well. But gravies that have been thickened with fat (like a roux) will separate when defrosted, so avoid freezing these. Similar to cranberry sauce, gravy can be frozen in an airtight container, freezer bag, muffin tin, or ice cube tray. When you’re ready to use it again, defrost it in a saucepan on low.
Freeze Time: 3 to 4 months

Soups with a cream or high-fat base, like chowders and bisques, tend to separate when defrosted and are best left unfrozen. However, broth-based soups, like vegetables soups, will freeze the best. If you freeze the leftover soup in an airtight, microwave-safe container, just pop it in the microwave to defrost.
Freeze Time: 2 to 3 months

If by some chance you manage to have leftover dessert, you don’t have to worry about it going to waste. Wrap pumpkin, pecan, apple, or sweet potato pies tightly with plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and pop them into the freezer. Thaw it in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven, but only thaw as much as you’ll eat at one time. However, don’t keep custard or cream pies past three to four days, as they tend to separate when defrosted.
Freeze Time: 2 to 3 months

For more inspiration on how to use the leftovers you can’t freeze, check out these 10 recipes!

This article first appeared in our Team Beachbody blog. Here’s the link to the original post.

4 Reasons Working Out Could Be Causing You to Gain Weight

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The Short Answer
Right off the bat, it’s important to note that this doesn’t happen to everyone, so this isn’t a preemptive excuse not to exercise! However, if you do happen to gain a few pounds when starting a new program, odds are that it’s not fat, but rather temporary water weight due to inflammation. Give it some time and it will pass.

That said, it might be a few other things, all of them fixable, so let’s run through the list and see if we can find a match.


The Long Answer
The most likely reason your scale crept up is inflammation. When you work out, it causes little tears in your muscle fibers. This is called microtrauma and it’s why you feel sore after a workout. On the upside, your body heals these little tears, making the fibers tougher than they originally were. That’s how you become stronger and fitter. It’s part of a process called adaptation.

To make these repairs, your body uses its standard healing process, including the inflammation phase—something that’s become a dirty word in our modern world. When you incur injury, including microtrauma, your body releases various substances generally known as inflammatory mediators that swarm the area and perform triage, bringing in healing white blood cells and opening up blood vessels to flush out debris and toxins. There’s so much going on that the area swells up, or inflames.

The fluid required for inflammatory response obviously weighs something—and that might show up on the scale. When inflammation is allowed to occur in a healthy way, it’s temporary.

Of course, keeping your diet healthy and allowing for adequate rest and recovery will help speed the body to less inflammatory phases of healing, but the main key is to keep calm and carry on. If you’re new to fitness—or perhaps just new to a particular kind of fitness—there’s going to be a lot of adaptation going on and therefore a noticeable level of inflammation. It should subside in a couple weeks.

Another less-likely reason you’re gaining weight is that you’re building muscle faster than you’re shedding fat. The general consensus in the fitness community is that the most weight someone new to fitness will gain in muscle is about 2 pounds a month, but that’s not a hard-and-fast number.

On more than one occasion, I’ve assisted women who are frustrated because they felt their new exercise regime was making their thighs fat. Indeed, their legs were getting bigger, but only because increased muscle under adipose tissue was pushing out the fat and making it appear to increase. Again, the trick here is patience. Once that fat burns off—which it does if you keep at it—thick legs will give way to a toned, sexy pair of gams.

What if Something Actually is Going Wrong?
There are a couple situations in which you might actually be putting on fat. The first one would be that you’re not following a proper diet. Yes, exercise burns calories, but it also increases release of ghrelin, a hormone that promotes hunger. So if you’re not paying attention, you’ll probably eat more.

Even if you are eating at a deficit, poor food choices can cause all kinds of issues, usually centered on hormonal imbalances that cause your body to hold onto fat. Every one of Beachbody’s programs comes with some sort of nutrition guide that should alleviate this issue. Don’t be afraid to read the white book that came with your DVDs.

Finally, there’s the issue of excess stress. Exercise is a good thing, but it also puts your body under stress. By itself, that’s great. It’s part of that adaptation I mentioned earlier. If done right with the proper nutritional support, rest, and recovery, it toughens you up, fortifying your body against further stress.

However, when you just pile exercise on top of a bunch of other stress—or if you work out beyond your limits—balance will be lost. Exercise will contribute to your total stress load, becoming part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution.

So if you work twelve hours a day, drink more than two standard alcoholic drinks a night on a regular basis, smoke, sleep less than 7–8 hours a night, eat a junk-filled Standard American Diet or an overly restricted low-calorie diet, and attempt one of our graduate programs when you’re 100 pounds overweight with a history of knee issues, exercise will tax your body just like all the bad habits on that list. In terms of weight gain, this can manifest in a few ways. First, that inflammation we discussed earlier won’t have the chance to give way to later phases of healing. When this happens, it can become chronic and systemic. Second, you’ll promote the release of the stress hormone cortisol that, in turn, can promote fat accumulation—particularly around the abdomen.

I’m not telling you not to exercise. Just the opposite, in fact. However, fitness is a holistic issue. If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or get healthier, you might want to take a closer look at your sleep, dietary, and other lifestyle habits. Sparta wasn’t built in a day. If you’re looking for 300-esque abs, it’s going to take a little time (or some expensive CGI), so start with a program you can do and that will keep you motivated instead of burning you out.

Don’t give up. Give your unexpected added pounds a couple of weeks to work themselves out. If they don’t, step back and see if there’s any other aspect of your life that needs fine-tuning.

This article originally appeared in our Team Beachbody blog. Here’s the link to the original post.

How to Season and Roast a Turkey

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There are a lot of ways to season and roast a turkey, and even more opinions about which way is best. Some methods use butter and turkey fat for basting, other suggest to dunk the bird in a deep-fryer, while others add layers of bacon! Here’s how to cook a lean and healthy turkey for your family that is still juicy and delicious. Watch this video and follow the steps below. Use our Rosemary-Orange Roast Turkey recipe, or adapt your family’s favorite recipe.

Preheat the oven
Place your oven rack in the lowest position, remove any other oven racks, and set the temperature of your oven to 450°F.

Dry the turkey
Using paper towels, pat the skin and the interior of the turkey dry. Look for any feathers that were not removed by the butcher, and pull them out. Use a small, sharp knife to cut away any extra fat from the neck or cavity openings.

Add seasonings
Using your fingers, gently make an opening between the skin and the breast meat until a pocket forms that can fit your whole hand. Rub a mixture of herbs and seasoning underneath the skin on top of the breast meat, then rub remaining herbs and seasoning on top of the skin of the whole bird.

Prepare for roasting
Place the turkey, breast-side-up in a heavy roasting pan with a v-rack. (If you don’t have a rack, you can prop up the sides of the turkey with balls of aluminum foil.) Tuck aromatic herbs, vegetables, and citrus inside the turkey. You can use a variety of herbs like rosemary, tarragon, and thyme, quartered onions, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic cloves, and lemons or oranges. Tie the legs together tightly with cooking twine.

Broth keeps it succulent
Pour broth or other liquid into the roasting pan. This helps keep the turkey from drying out. For the recipe featured in the video, we used a mixture of chicken broth and orange juice. Cover with the turkey foil to keep moisture around it while it cooks.

Roasting the turkey
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and put the roasting pan in the oven. Cooking a turkey takes approximately 15 minutes per pound at this temperature. Calculate how long your turkey will roast by multiplying it’s weight by 15, then divide by 60. For example, a 14-pound turkey without stuffing would take about 3½ hours to cook. This is just an estimate, and a lot of factors can affect cooking time, so begin to check your turkey’s temperature about halfway through cooking using either an oven-safe probe thermometer or a quick read thermometer.

Baste that bird!
Baste your turkey every 30 minutes with broth (or a mixture of broth and orange juice). Open and close the oven door quickly, and keep it closed while you baste to keep the oven temperature from dropping too much.

Get it golden brown
About 2½ hours through roasting, remove the foil to brown the skin and let it get crispy. If the wings get too dark, the tips can be wrapped in foil. If the skin starts to get too dark, replace the foil until the turkey is done.

Check the temperature
Your turkey will be done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F. Remove it from the oven.

Give it a rest
Let your turkey rest, covered in foil, for at least 20 minutes before carving. This lets all of the juices reabsorb into the meat for juicer, tender turkey that is easier to slice.

Move it to a carving surface
When you are ready to carve the turkey, lift it out of the pan, tilting so that all of the excess juices can drain out of the cavity into the pan. To lift, you can use oven mitts, or two large wooden spoons inserted into the neck and cavity. Place your turkey on a cutting board, ideally one with a moat. Placing a clean kitchen towel under the turkey will help keep it from slipping when you carve.

Carve like a pro
Check out our instructional video that will show how to carve a turkey like a pro so it looks beautiful on your table.

This article originally appeared in our Team Beachbody blog. Here’s the link to the original post.

Autumn’s Tips on How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner

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I’m going to show you how to survive the Thanksgiving feast without beating yourself up the next day. First, we’ll see what a typical Thanksgiving plate looks like (before you go back for seconds). With a few minor changes, you can make a much healthier plate that is 21 Day Fix-approved–and you can still enjoy the feast with family and friends, with a glass of wine, and pie!

Click here to see the two plates after you watch the video below. Happy Holidays!

Autumn Calabrese

This article was first published on our Team Beachbody blog. Here’s the link to the original post.

10 Healthy Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Whether you eat mindfully on Thanksgiving, or you overindulge, the next day you’ll likely still have enough food leftover to do it all again…and again. Here are 10 delicious – and healthy! – ways to use everything from turkey and Brussels sprouts, to cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Why eat the same old turkey sandwich when you can treat yourself to leftovers that don’t taste like leftovers?

Turkey Ramen

You might not think that Thanksgiving food could transform into a nourishing bowl of ramen soup, but that’s exactly what this recipe does. Miso paste, soy sauce, and ginger give the broth impressively authentic flavor that tastes so good, you may want to sip it by itself! Get the recipe.

Turkey Ramen

Turkey Tostadas
Swap out your typical turkey sandwich for these crispy turkey tostadas. Tomatillo salsa wakes up leftover turkey breast, and makes it moist and delectable. Top with shredded lettuce, onion and Monterey jack cheese, and dig in! Get the recipe.

Turkey Tostadas

Turkey and Stuffing Egg Cups
Make the most of the extra turkey and stuffing by using them to make these ingenious egg cups! Combined with eggs and veggies, these cups will make your busy, post-Thanksgiving mornings much easier, and they’re great for meal prep. Get the recipe.

Turkey Waldorf Salad
This refreshingly lean version of the classic Waldorf salad is made with crunchy apples, celery, walnuts sweet grapes, and turkey. Eat it atop a salad, serve in lettuce cups, or make an open-faced sandwich. Get the recipe.

Turkey Waldorf Salad

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Have leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes? This shepherd’s pie recipe will transform those tired taters, leftover turkey, and even some veggies, into comfort food at it’s very best. Get the recipe.

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Turkey and Brussels Sprouts Frittata
What should you do when you wake up the morning after Thanksgiving to a house full of guests and a fridge full of leftover veggies? This, for starters. We created the perfect post-Turkey Day frittata recipe with turkey and roasted Brussels sprouts, but you can use any leftover vegetables or sweet potatoes. Get the recipe.

Turkey Frittata

Turkey, Cranberry, and Brie Sandwich
Cranberry sauce is the magical ingredient that makes leftover turkey sandwiches sing. But this sandwich has even more going for it with creamy brie cheese that melts perfectly when it’s grilled. Get the recipe.

Turkey, Cranberry, and Brie Sandwich

Pumpkin Chili 
Leftover pumpkin or sweet potatoes are right at home in this belly-warming vegetarian chili that has only 96 calories per serving. Get the recipe.

Pumpkin Chili

Turkey, Apple, and Sweet Potato Salad
With its crunchy pecans, apples, and sweet potato, this protein-rich salad is the perfect antidote to the heavy Thanksgiving dinner you probably downed the day before. Get the recipe.

Turkey, Apple, and Sweet Potato Salad

Turkey Tamale Pie
This tamale pie will make you forget you’re eating leftovers. Turkey gets new flavor in a richly spiced sauce with colorful veggies, and all of it is tucked under a cheese and jalapeño corn meal crust. Get the recipe.

Turkey Tamale Pie

This article was first posted on our Team Beachbody blog. Click this link for the original article.

Turkey Recipes

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Click on any of the turkey images below for the complete recipes.

Citrus Herb Roast Turkey

Citrus Herb Turkey

Rosemary Orange Roast Turkey

Orange Rosemary Turkey

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Herb RoastedTurkey

This article was originally posted in our Team Beachbody blog. Here’s the original link.

Recover Faster with the Right Post-Workout Protein

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Muscle breakdown is essential to improving athletic performance—and the key to benefiting from this breakdown is a quick recovery. With a proprietary blend of proteins and anti-inflammatory ingredients, Beachbody’s Performance Recover helps optimize the recovery process, speeding muscle growth and repair so that users are able to work out again sooner.
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Why It’s Harder Than Ever to Be Thin

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For decades, leading weight loss experts have preached the same formula: Sweat more and eat smarter. And if you’ve ever thought that sounds too easy to be true, you’re right. This month, Canadian researchers called BS. Their study in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice revealed an entirely new reality: It’s more difficult to shed fat today than any other time in the past 30 years, even with the same amount of diet and exercise.
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We Tasted 20 Healthy Fall Snacks – See Our Favorites!

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It’s fall — the season of getting cozy on the couch with a mug of tea, jumping into leaf piles, and enjoying crisp autumn air. Of course, it’s also the season of pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin Oreos, caramel apples, and a cornucopia of other enticing, gut-busting indulgences. Are there any healthy fall snacks worth considering for the nutritionally inclined? We searched store aisles and ate through mountains of pumpkin-flavored goodies to compile what follows: The ultimate guide to the healthier foods of fall. Read on for what’s good, what’s not, and what’s so gross you wouldn’t even feed it to Maleficent. Bon appetit.
[Continue reading “We Tasted 20 Healthy Fall Snacks – See Our Favorites!” »]