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16 Exercise Benefits (Other Than Weight Loss)

You might start an exercise habit with a particular goal in mind, such as weight loss, but exercise can have a variety of other benefits for your overall health.

1. Exercise Can Boost Your Mood


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Exercise releases feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin. Some studies show that exercise might be as effective a anti-depressants for mild to moderate depression. As you meet fitness goals, even small ones, it can help to increase your confidence. Some of the other benefits in this list can also in turn improve your mood.

2. Exercise Can Reduce Stress


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Exercise can distract you from your worries. It can also help to loosen muscles that have become tense. Exercise that has a social aspect, group classes or exercising with a buddy, can have emotional benefits, plus exercising in the beauty of nature can also have a positive effect on stress.

3. Exercise Can Soothe Anxiety


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In addition to the points above, the act of exercise can release tension in the body. Exercise can also reduce stress hormones. Some studies show that exercise can reduce sensitivity to anxiety responses in the body which might lead to fewer panic attacks.

4. Exercise Can Increase Your Energy


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A study by the University of Georgia showed that those with a sedentary lifestyle had boosted energy after starting an exercise regimen. Exercise improves blood flow and cardiovascular health, and that may be part of it. Exercise also stimulates the production of mitochondria in cells. Mitochondria produce ATP, a chemical the body uses as energy.

I’ve experienced it myself. When I’m regularly doing my dance fitness, I’ll feel like dancing everywhere I hear music, even the grocery store. I have to say that I’m usually discreet and haven’t created any big scenes like the grocery store scene in the animated film, Sing.

5. Exercise Can Boost Your Creativity


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A study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience showed that those who exercise scored higher on a creativity test than sedentary people. The study showed that physical activity seems to positively affect convergent and divergent thinking, used in problem solving.

6. Exercise Helps Prevent Diseases and Health Conditions


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Exercise can be helpful in the prevention of a lot of illnesses and conditions. It can help prevent the development of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as colon and breast cancer. Exercise reduces blood sugar, raises healthy HDL cholesterol and lowers unhealthy LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, all of which can prevent disease or the progression of it. It also helps to keep muscles, bones and joints healthy and can lower blood pressure in those who already have high blood pressure.

7. Exercise Can Boost Your Immune System


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Exercise flushes bacteria out of the lungs which may prevent colds and flu. It also may prevent the growth of bacteria. It also gives a boost to antibodies and white blood cells.

8. Exercise is Good for Muscles and Bones


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Exercise strengthens muscle which then helps your bones to stay strong and prevents osteoporosis.

16 exercise benefits (other than weight loss.) Image shows women using dumbbells in an exercise class.

9. Exercise is Good for Your Skin


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Exercise increases blood flow to the skin. According to one study, exercise not only keeps skin looking young, it can also help reverse aging in those who start exercise later in life.

Lately, YouTube has been recommending videos to me on unusually fit senior women involved in different sports or forms of exercise. I’ve noticed these women seem to have youthful skin as well.

10. Exercise is Good for Your Brain


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A study by the University of British Columbia showed that those who get regular aerobic exercise increase the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in verbal learning and memory. Other research suggests that exercise can slow down the loss of brain cells through aging.

11. Exercise is Good for Your Lungs


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Exercise helps the body deliver oxygen. It can improve lung capacity and endurance and can reduce breathlessness.

12. Exercise Can Increase Your Flexibility


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Many different exercises can help your flexibility, and some like Pilates are specifically designed for that. Dancing is also very good for flexibility.

13. Exercise Can Improve Your Balance

Increased balance, one of several exercise benefits. Woman is balanced  with one leg stretched out behind her. l

I’ve personally tried a variety of exercises over the years, including ballet based workouts and kickboxing. Although one of these seems gentle and graceful and the other aggressive, both involve balancing on one leg. With practice, balance gets easier.

14. Exercise May Help You Be More Productive


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Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and can help you feel more alert. The exercise benefits to the brain and energy levels, listed elsewhere in this article, also contribute to greater productivity.

15. Exercise Can Help You Get Better Sleep


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Exercise benefits your ability to sleep as well. According to the Sleep Foundation, exercise raises your body temperature and the drop in temperature after exercise may help for a better sleep. The mental benefits of exercise may also help you get better sleep.

16. Exercise Helps You Live Longer

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

If exercise has all of the benefits above, it makes sense that it could also lengthen your life.

My First Week with the Firm Express Workouts

This past week, I started something new in my rotation of workout videos, The Firm Express.

Over the years, my relationship to exercise has been an interesting one. At times, I have been extremely gung ho and dedicated to exercise, with a weight loss goal in mind, and, as dedicated I was, still allowed life to get in the way and to gradually get out of my habits. Now, I am attempting to get more in the mind frame of a lifestyle change rather than a yo-yo dieter.

I have been back in a good exercise pattern for a while now and decided to intensify it, at least twice or three times a week. Some of the workouts I have seem a little easy now and not as challenging as they could be, while others are still a bit challenging. I was already familiar with other workouts from The Firm and had a lot of success with them in the past.

13 DVDs, Four Cycles of Three Weekly Workouts

The Firm Express is a 13 DVD workout. There are four cycles, a new one for each week of the month, three different workouts per week. These are Cycle 1: Ignite, led by instructor Emily Welsh, Cycle 2: Accelerate, led by Rebekah Sturkie, Cycle 3: TurboCharge, led by Alison Davis McLain and Cycle 4:Overdrive, led by Kelsie Daniels. Click on the image below to see on Amazon.

For these workouts, you will also need a set of dumbbells. The instructors recommend 3, 5 and 8 pound dumbbells to start. The set below has exactly those weights with a nice rack for storage. Again, click the image to see on Amazon.

Each workout is only 21 minutes long but is pretty intense. You get a cardio workout alongside strengthening/sculpting exercise. This combination should be very effective in improving fitness and burning fat. You work every muscle and do a lot of full-body exercises that work arms, legs and core at the same time.

Whenever I view anything on Amazon, I like to look at both the highest and lowest reviews. For this DVD set, the biggest complaint among the one-star reviews was that these are not workouts for beginners.

I think these workouts are definitely challenging and may not be the best choice if you haven’t done any form of exercise in ages or if you have a lot of joint or other physical issues, but I don’t really agree with the one-star critics.

I have to say that, due to the challenge, I did not execute everything perfectly in the first cycle of workouts, but I am not discouraged. I actually pause the video if I need more of a breather, and I don’t think I or you need to feel badly about that. Even if it’s not perfect, you are still getting a better workout than if you had not tried at all. There are modifications to make things a little easier and lower impact, and Emily always pointed out one of the instructors who demonstrates the modified moves. Conversely, I’m sure the instructors probably use heavier weights themselves than what they recommend for beginners. These workouts can be done on many levels.

I really like that there are 12 different workouts and that each one is varied and not too similar. I seem to like endless variety in both exercise and eating. Once I have an exercise routine memorized and it begins to feel easy, it also becomes less interesting.

I won’t give you a breakdown of every exercise, but I’ll show you a few to give you an idea. Below is one exercise from the first workout, a dumbbell row with leg lift, so you are working on balance as well as strengthening all sorts of muscles at once.

Row and leg lift from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Cardio and Sculpt, with Emily Welsh

Then there are lunges with arm rows.

Row and lunge from Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Cardio and Sculpt, with Emily Welsh

Then, there were alternating pushups with arm rows. You can see the woman at the right is demonstrating a knee pushup, which is what I did.

Pushup and row from Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Cardio and Sculpt, with Emily Welsh
Pushup and row, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, with Emily Welsh

Each video also has periods of eight second minibursts of intense exercise, which are followed by 12 seconds of rest, just toe tapping. I may have paused the video occasionally, but I did make it through all of the bursts. Often, there was a series of rounds for these bursts with each new one intensifying the exercise a bit. So, these squats below …

Squat minibursts, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, with Emily Welsh

became squats with little hops and then squats with bigger jumps. The woman at the right never came off the ground. I did something in between, little hops and then little hops again. I didn’t attempt any big jumps this time through.

Little squat hops, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Cardio and Sculpt, with Emily Welsh

In the second video, there was a cool little move called a hitch kick, which I don’t feel I mastered but would like to improve. You pull one knee up, then kick with the opposite leg as you pull the knee down.

Hitch kick, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Cardio, with Emily Welsh

There were also some kickboxing moves in the second Cardio video, like this jab punch below and some kicks.

Jab punch, from the Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Cardio, with Emily Welsh

In the third video, there were kicks with an overhead press. You can see you use a lot of different muscles at once in these exercises.

Overhead press and kick, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Sculpt, with Emily Welsh

In this one, there was a series where you alternated a plie, twist to lunge to the side and twist to the front again to do an upright row.

Plie with dumbbells, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Sculpt, with Emily Welsh
Lunge with dumbbells, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Sculpt, with Emily Welsh
Upright row, from The Firm Express, Cycle 1 Ignite, Sculpt, with Emily Welsh

I definitely had sufficient challenge, and I am feeling good. I am feeling stronger, more energetic, more flexible and just really good. Some of that is not just a result from this one week of exercise but a cumulative effect from my recent efforts to intensify my workouts, including using some of my older workouts from the Firm. I’ve had some soreness but not unbearable soreness. I developed really bad, almost crippling soreness after trying out HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts twice before.

Some Amazon reviewers expressed their disappointment that the Firm seems to promise you will lose 30 pounds in 15 days with these workouts, since that seems to be almost an impossible feat. I’m sure that this promise works, supposedly, if you are following their diet plan as well. I am reducing calories but am not following any official diet plan from the Firm. I will be very, very surprised if I lose 15 pounds in 30 days. I do expect that, if I keep this up, I will lose weight and improve my condition in a variety of ways.

They’re, Their, There — Homophones and Their Sometimes Confusing Spellings

Homophones are words that have the same sound but different meanings as well as different spellings.

Sometimes, people confuse these spellings. You may have come across grammar Nazis of the Internet complaining of the misuse of they’re, their and there.

As I was thinking of the definitions of the three, I seemed to hear it to the tune of “Do Re Mi.”

“They’re, they are, a contraction,

Their, something belongs to them,

There, a place that is not here …”

Only, singing it and hearing it sung would not help much, would it? All the homophones sound the same. It would perhaps help if you could both hear it and visualize it simultaneously.

One blunder this “grammar Nazi” often comes across on the Internet is swapping of “it’s” and “its.” It’s is again a contraction of “it” and “is,” and “its” is the possessive of it.

It’s raining.


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It’s raining. It is raining. By the way, isn’t that a cool umbrella, book lovers?

Its reign

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“It’s raining” and “Its reign.” How is that for double homophones?

Its reign over the amphibious world was a kind of benevolent dictatorship. Now, if only he could find a girl to kiss.

Some homophones come in triplets.

Pear


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Pair (of Boots)


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Pare


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To pare is to cut off the outer skin of something such as a fruit or vegetable.

Bear(s)


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Bare



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Just like there is “pear” and “pare,” there is also “bear” and bare.” Actually, I think the pretty lady above is wearing a bathing suit, but that is as bare as I dare go on this site.

I remember my older brothers telling me this rhyme when I was little.

“Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,

Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.

If Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,

And Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair,

Then Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?”

In that case, Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bare bear, don’t you think?

Here are some other homophones that are a bit more tricky. Recently, I read two different online articles that, although otherwise well-written, had a misspelling of palate. In both cases, the writer meant to say, “palate,” as in a person’s taste or appreciation of flavors. In one case, the writer spelled it as “pallet” and, in the other case, as “palette.”

Pallets


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A pallet is a platform on which goods can be moved, stored, or stacked, especially with a forklift.

Palette


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A palette is a slab on which an artist mixes colors.

Palate

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Palate can refer to either the roof of the mouth or to a person’s taste or appreciation of flavors. A wine critic may use the term in both senses.

How can you remember the differences?

I personally find it very easy to visualize words in their correct spellings, but I understand that not all brains are wired in a similar way.

Pallet — Perhaps, you can imagine the two Ls as stacking pallets turned vertical.

Palette — This word has a French origin and spelling, so you could imagine the stereotypical French artist painting “au plein air” with a beret on his head.

Palate — Perhaps, you could imagine the two As as something edible, like two sunny-side-up eggs with strips of bacon to the right of them, forming the stems of the As.

Sometimes, silly mnemonic devices are effective.

“Stationary” and “stationery” are another pair of homophones I often see confused. Something “stationary” is not moving. “Stationery” is writing paper.

Stationary (as in Stationary Bikes)

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Stationery


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How do you remember the difference? How about this? While it’s true that “stationary” can be used in other contexts besides “stationary bike,” think of cyclist Lance Armstrong. The first two letters of his last name, AR, are the same two letters in the beginning of that syllable that has a different spelling than its homophone. Armstrong, Ary.

An infographic illustrating a triplet and pair of homophones: pallet, palate, palette and stationary and stationery.

Guerilla


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Gorilla


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There’s a big difference between “guerilla” and “gorilla,” although both would be pretty intimidating if you came across one in the jungle.

If you have a background in French or Spanish, it might be easier for you to remember the difference in spelling. “Guerre” is French for war, and the Spanish word for war is “guerra.”

Fawn


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So, here we have a little “cuteness overload.” A fawn is a baby deer, but “fawn,” with this spelling, can also have three other meanings. It can refer to a light, brown color or, as a verb, can mean to court favor in a flattering manner or to show affection, (used eespecially of dogs.)

Faun

Image from Pixabay

A faun is a mythological creature that is half-man and half-goat. The creature has the upper half of a man and the lower half of a goat. Usually, the head is drawn with some goat-like qualities as well. The Greek god, Pan, is a faun, and Mr. Tumnus, of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is a faun. Faun is synonymous with satyr. Satyr is from the Greek, and “faun” is Roman.

You don’t want to confuse heroin with a heroine. Heroines need to stay clear of the other kind of heroin.

Heroin


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The picture above is rather a pretty one to represent a harmful, addictive drug, but heroin is an opiate that comes from poppies.

A heroine is a female protagonist or hero of a story.

Heroine


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Cymbals


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Symbols

Image by Pixelkult on Pixabay

Remember the cymbals on a drum set and those icon symbols on your phone or computer have two different spellings, as do friar and fryer.

Friar

Image by pcdazero on PixabayI

Fryer


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I suppose a friar may do some cooking, so it’s possible he may do some frying? We call someone in that position a fry cook, and the appliance they use is a fryer.

Have any of these homophone pairs or triplets confused you in the past? Can you think of some other interesting homophones? Share in the comments.

If you like the study of interesting words and expressions, check out The Wonder of Words category of the blog.

Do You Put Hundreds and Thousands on Your Fairy Cake?

10 More British-American Language Differences

Do you put hundreds and thousands on your fairy cake? Or do you put sprinkles on your cupcake? Do you eat candy floss or cotton candy? If you said “Yes”‘ to the first choices, you are probably from the U.K. (or perhaps from Australia,) and if you said, “Yes,” to the second, you are likely from the U.S.

It is fun and sometimes practical to study the differences. If English is not your first language, and you plan to travel to either the U.K. or the U.S., it might be helpful to be aware of these language differences. Here is an American and British English words list with some explanation.

1. Arugula vs. Rocket

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I didn’t know about this difference until somewhat recently when I saw the British term “rocket” on an Australian food blogger’s site. I also had assumed until recently that arugula was an Italian term and that Americans borrowed it from the Italians. It’s not. The Italian term for arugula is “rucola.” Experts believe the word arugula comes from a mispronunciation of an Italian dialect for the word. The Calabrian dialect for the word is “aruculu.”

2. Bacon vs. Rashers

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Rashers is really more of a term for the slice of bacon, although I have read the term “rashers,” used alone, referring to bacon, rather than “rashers of bacon.” The best explanation I found online for the term is that “rasher” may come from a Middle English word, “rash,” meaning to cut. Sound-wise, rashers makes me think of “rations,” which, by association, makes me think of a stricter diet instead of feasting.

3. Like vs. Fancy

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As an American, I had to watch quite a bit of British TV before I picked up on this little language nuance. It seems British use this term for when someone has romantic interest in someone else. “He fancies her” or “She fancies him.” Americans don’t seem to have such a specific expression. Aside from wording it as, “He is interested in her,” we tend to say, “He likes her.” “Like,” of course, has more than one meaning and can be used to mean liking in friendship or liking as in romantic interest. This can lead to somewhat silly and awkward junior high expressions as in, “He doesn’t just like her. He like likes her.” Maybe, we Americans should borrow the British expression?

4. Nice vs. Lovely


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Both Americans and British use both terms, “lovely” and “nice.” The difference I’ve noticed is more relating to the frequency in which we use the words. I’ve noticed Brits use the word “lovely” in a lot of the contexts where Americans are more likely to use the word nice: a lovely day, lovely weather, a lovely person, etc. American men, I think, find the word “lovely” to be less than perfectly macho and rarely use it except to occasionally describe a special woman. American women say “lovely” a bit more but are still more likely to use the word “nice.”

5. Pants vs. Trousers


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Trousers is not an unfamiliar word for Americans, but we don’t use it much. We can buy pants at the store that are labelled by American clothing companies as trousers, but, in ordinary conversation, we usually call them pants. The British seem to prefer the term, “trousers.”

A graphic for American and British English words list, showing sprinkles/hundreds-and-thousands
American and British English words list

6. Checkers vs. Draughts


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Even some games go by different names in the U.S. and in the U.K., like checkers and draughts (pronounced like drafts.) American linguist, Lynne Murphy, says in her blog Separated by a Common Language, “The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that draughts is related to dragon and goes back to 1400.” Well, that is interesting, but that raises other questions for me. Maybe, if you combine the draughts/dragons with the queens, kings and knights of chess, you have the makings of some sort of fairy tale. The term “checkers” is related to chess, from the Middle English exchequer. From chessboard came “chequered,” meaning marked like a chessboard.

7. Attorney-at-law vs. Solicitor

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In the U.K., lawyers are barristers or solicitors. Barristers can plead a case in open court and appear at the bar. Solicitors may conduct litigation in court but are not permitted to plead cases in open court. Barristers deal with clients indirectly through a solicitor. The attorney-at-law is the U.S. equivalent for solicitor.

8. Pharmacist vs. Chemist


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I’m an American fan of British Golden Age mysteries, and the word chemist has come up a lot in that context. It took me a while to realize chemist was the British term for pharmacist. A pharmacist certainly is a kind of chemist, but there are other sorts of chemists in different fields of chemistry. This makes me wonder if this term causes any confusion for the Brits. Would a Brit in some other field of chemistry have to use some extra labels or terms to explain his profession so that he is not confused with a pharmacist? If you live in an area where British English is spoken, please, share your comment.

9. Cotton candy vs. Candyfloss


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Cotton candy and candy floss both seem like sensible terms for this interestingly textured sweet. The fluffy shape and texture of the candy, as a whole, is like cotton, but the fibrous threads of sugar which make up the candy are like floss. Take the word “candy” out of either name, and neither name seems appealing to the palate, does it?

10. Cupcake vs. Fairy cake


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American cupcakes and British fairy cakes are practically synonymous but there are a few differences. The two cultures have language differences and also some different food preferences and traditions. Fairy cakes are a bit smaller than cupcakes. They are lighter, spongier cakes and topped with a thin glace icing rather than buttercream or cream cheese frosting. The Brits call them fairy cakes, because, traditionally, the top was cut off and split, and the center was filled. The split top was placed on either side of the center, resembling fairy wings.

11. Sprinkles vs. Hundreds-and-Thousands


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Hundreds-and-thousands seems to refer to how uncountable these colored bits of sugar are. Sprinkles, are, well, sprinkled. As an American, I think hundreds-and-thousands seems like a lot of extra syllable-bles. I also wonder what sort of reaction I would get if I went to an ice cream parlor near me and asked for hundreds-and-thousands on my ice cream. The server might ask “Of what?” and think I’m very greedy. Actually, the owner of one ice cream parlor near me is from the U.K. I think that man would be charmed if I did this.

I hope you enjoyed this American and British English words list. Would you like to see more like this?

Healthy Choices at Three Popular Chain Restaurants

If you’ve been trying to reduce calories, you know that eating in restaurants can be tricky. You can easily save a lot of calories by cooking and eating at home, but eating in restaurants is not always avoidable, nor would we always want it to be. There are occasions like road trips, birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions and get-togethers with friends. We don’t completely want to give up the fun of eating out, but when you see that some menu choices have 1200 to over 1300 calories, it can be discouraging.

If you plan ahead, you can do pretty well without spoiling your diet, and you can plan your other meals and their calorie count around what you plan to order out.

Here are a few lighter, healthy choices at Applebee’s, Olive Garden and Ruby Tuesday.

Healthy Choices At Applebee’s

One of your better choices is the cedar salmon with maple mustard glaze, which is 350 calories without sides. Add the garlic mashed potatoes for 250 calories, your best choice for a carbohydrate side, and steamed broccoli at 100 calories. Another option is to skip the potatoes and add another veggie side, such as the garlicky green beans at 180 calories.

Image of cedar salmon with maple mustard glaze, a healthy choice at Applebee's

Another one of the better choices is the shrimp wonton stir fry at 680 calories.

Shrimp wonton stir fry
Source: Applebees.com

One of my favorite choices at Applebee’s is the Bourbon Street chicken and shrimp, which is Cajun spiced and served on a sizzling iron skillet along with roasted potatoes, mushrooms and onions. Unlike the shrimp wonton stir fry, it is not promoted as lighter fare, but it is actually a little bit lower in calories than the stir fry, at 600 calories and equal in calories to their cedar grilled lemon chicken, which is promoted as lighter fare. I’m not sure why it’s not officially included in their lighter menu, although it lacks a nutrition-packed veggie like the broccoli in the stir fry and comes with potatoes which might seem not as low-carb friendly. Still, calorie-wise, it’s in the range of these other dishes and even a little bit lower than some.

Bourbon Street chicken and shrimp
Source: Applebees.com

Healthy Choices At Olive Garden

Olive Garden or any Italian restaurant may seem particularly difficult to navigate if you are on a low-carb diet such as Atkins, South Beach or Keto. You’ll find several lighter fare choices under their “Tastes of the Mediterranean” section of the menu. A few of these are pasta-free.

One of these is the fairly new salmon piccata, accompanied by parmesan-crusted zucchini, at 570 calories. The grilled salmon is drizzled with a lemon garlic sauce and sprinkled with tangy capers and flavorful sun-dried tomatoes. Honestly, I have not been much of a fan of zucchini for most of my life, but this parmesan-crusted zucchini is one of the dishes that helped turn me around.

Image of Olive Garden's salmon piccata, a healthy choice.

Olive Garden also has a sauce-less herb-grilled salmon served with steamed broccoli at 470 calories.

The chicken margherita is another high protein, pasta-less dish, served with that same parmesan-crusted zucchini. It is topped with basil pesto — one of my favorite tastes — mozzarella, grape tomatoes and a lemon garlic sauce. This dish has 550 calories for a dinner portion and 380 calories for a lunch portion.

Olive Garden chicken margherita
Source: yelp.com

I’m of the philosophy that cutting calories is more important than cutting carbs or any particular food. Olive Garden also offers some healthy choices in their pasta dishes.

For instance, you can order the chicken giardino at 530 calories. The ruffled pappardelle pasta noodles are mixed with a light, lemon herb sauce and a variety of healthy vegetables such as carrot, red bell pepper, broccoli and zucchini.

Olive Garden chicken giardino
Source:Travelvisor.com

Healthy Choices at Ruby Tuesday

One of my favorite things to order at Ruby Tuesday is the New Orleans seafood. This dish is Cajun-seasoned tilapia with small shrimp and a parmesan cream sauce. Although it’s not included in the official Fit&Trim menu, at 336 calories, it can certainly be light if you choose your sides carefully.

Image of New Orleans seafood, a healthy choice dish at Ruby Tuesday.

This meal comes with two sides. The lightest of the side dishes are fresh steamed zucchini at 22 calories, fresh steamed broccoli at 45 calories or the green beans at 51 calories. In the past, Ruby Tuesday has also offered roasted Brussels sprouts which were delicious. The lightest of the starchy sides is the rice pilaf at 190 calories. The garden salad bar is also a choice for one of your sides.

Another good choice, not necessarily included in the Fit&Trim menu, is to get a small steak with healthy, lighter sides. Try the 6 oz. asiago peppercorn steak at 297 calories. The tasty steak comes with a parmesan cream sauce and shaved asiago cheese.

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