This will be the third year that PFTL will offer a free walking clinic to our clients and the public.  We will meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette.  Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise.  Contact Julie at 847-251-6834 or for more information.


More than 20,000 new food and drink items hit our grocery store shelves each year and, with so much conflicting information about health and nutrition floating around, it can be challenging to know what you should and should not be putting in your body. Here are five foods with unwarranted health halos that aren’t doing your body any favors, especially if you’re trying to reduce or your maintain your weight.

Fruit Juice – skip the juice. Eat your fruit—don’t drink it. Juice adds calories in a concentrated form without any of the fiber found in real fruit, which is one of the best reasons to eat fruit. When you juice fruitand discard the pulp or don’t include the peel, you’re getting rid half or more of the fiber.

Granola Bars – Granola bars aren’t so good for your waistline.  If it looks like a cookie and it tastes like a cookie…it’s a cookie. At its core, granola is just a grain with added sugar and fat. Package it up in bar form and it gets even less healthy. Most commercial granola bars are made with refined grains and contain added sweeteners and fat, and they rarely feature whole grains, fiber or protein, which should be key components of a better-for-you bar. You can find great recipes for homemade granola bars that are full of fiber and flavor.

Flavored Yogurt – flavored yogurts is bad for your waistline. If you can tolerate dairy, there is nothing wrong with plain yogurt. Unfortunately, not all yogurts are created equal, and most are packed with added sugar. Fruited and flavored yogurts are the worst, as they pretend to feature fruit. If they actually did include real fruit, it would also contain fiber, which yogurt products don’t. If you like fruited yogurt, make it yourself by adding real fruit to real yogurt and leave the flavored stuff on the shelf.

Veggie Chips – veggie chips aren’t a healthy food.  Veggie chip bags show pretty pictures of real vegetables, but the ingredient list tells a different story. Most vegetable chips are a variety of fried and salted versions of potato starch. While a potato is technically a vegetable, when you fry and salt it, you negate its nutritional value. In other words, veggie chips are glorified potato chips. You want real veggie chips? Cut up vegetables, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with a modest amount of salt and bake them.

Pretzels – pretzels aren’t good for staying slim.  Somewhere in the fat-free frenzy of the 1990s, people got the notion that pretzels were a health food. Sure, they have no fat, but neither does white bread. And pretzels are just white bread with a little more crunch and salt. What about whole-grain pretzels, you say? You’d be hard-pressed to find a pretzel in which the first ingredient is actually a whole grain.  If you want a satiating snack, choose nuts over pretzels. Nuts contain fat, fiber and protein, and are a much more satiating snack.

WHY GOOD POSTURE MATTERS  (excerpted from IDEA Fitness Journal 2017)

Posture—or structural alignment—is a key element in any exerciser’s program. Our personal trainers constantly remind clients to maintain good alignment in order to minimize stress on tendons, joints and ligaments while exercising.  And clients do a good job of perfecting form under scrutiny—but as soon as their training sessions end, posture sometimes falls apart.

Most of us know and try to do other healthy behaviors—like getting enough sleep, eating vegetables and drinking water—we also need to think about our in everyday situations.

Why is this important?  –  Most people do not realize that good posture/alignment can improve their jobs, verbal communication, self‐confidence, mood or even bedroom relations.

Here are several ways posture can have a huge impact on quality of life.

Mood Booster or Buster – Just looking at somebody’s alignment gives a clue on how the person is feeling. For example, someone whose head is drooped could be feeling sad or depressed. In effect, mood dictates the alignment. But researchers have shown the reverse is true as well: Alignment can dictate mood.  A slouched posture has been shown to induce higher stress, feelings of helplessness, and the impression of depression on those viewing the slouched posture.  Good posture promotes a feeling of being in control.

Energy Drain – Researchers from San Francisco State University and Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan hypothesized that structural alignment could cause feelings of energy depletion. They found that students who were asked to walk in a slouched position reported a drop in energy levels,  and a subsequent increase in energy when asked to skip upright.

Success Builder – Several years ago, Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy, PhD, gave a TED Talk in which she popularized the concept of the “power pose.” Her presentation encourages people to hold a “posture of confidence” for 1–2 minutes before an important social interaction—even when they lack confidence. Cuddy says such a pose can influence testosterone and cortisone levels and may enhance a person’s success potential. She believes a powerful pose elicits perceptions of success and strength, while a meek one has the opposite effect.  Practicing a power pose before a job interview, for example, boosts a person’s odds of getting hired, according to her research.

Breath Booster – Posture has a big impact on breathing capacity, and it’s easy to prove it. Try this,  maintain an upright position and then inhale as fully as possible. Then, go into a hunched‐over position and inhale again. It will become obvious that poor alignment limits oxygen intake.

Confidence Builder – We’ve already discussed how a strong, confident posture can affect how others see us, but can it alter how we see ourselves? Researchers from Ohio State University and the Autonomous University of Madrid believe it can. To test their theory, they asked 71 students to write down their best and worst attributes while in a slumped or an upright position. The students then completed other tests requiring postural changes and self‐evaluations. For example, participants rated themselves on their work experience and qualifications in a job‐seeker scenario. Almost always, the slouched subjects rated themselves lower and expressed less confidence than the upright ones.

Words of Wisdom: Food is the most abused anxiety drug.  Exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant.