Exercise for Beginners, Plus HG Staff Favorites!

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Dear Hungry Girl,

First of all, THANK YOU. I have lost 20 pounds since January, thanks in large part to your recipes, tips, and tricks. I still have a lot of weight to lose, however. I want to start exercising, and I love the idea of classes led by an instructor, but I'm not comfortable working out with a bunch of strangers. Any suggestions?

Gym-Shy Janelle

Hi Janelle,

Congratulations on your weight loss! That's truly fantastic. I think it's great that you're ready to incorporate exercise into your life. And I totally get your hesitation to jump right into a group-exercise setting. But instructor-led classes and working out with fellow exercisers can be really motivating and fun. So, I have a couple of ideas for you...

There are many, many great exercise videos available for all fitness levels and workout types. You can find these online, on TV, and on DVDs. They're a fantastic way to get the expertise and encouragement of an instructor without having to brave a room full of strangers. These days I really like (and HIGHLY recommend!) Gaiam TV, a subscription service that gives you access to a huge number of workout videos from your computer, TV, iPhone, etc. It has everything from yoga to cardio to basic stretching, and you can pick your level and length of workout. It's really affordable too -- about 10 bucks a month. And you can try it free for 10 days -- just cancel if you don't want to continue on to the monthly subscription. DEFINITELY worth checking out! (Just do it -- it's FUN!)

Another idea for you is to buddy up with people you already know. Friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. This way you get the advantages of group workouts -- you can encourage each other, and you can schedule exercise plans like appointments so you're less likely to bail -- but it isn't as intimidating as getting your sweat on with a dozen or so people you don't know. If you want to start simple, try going for walks around your neighborhood or on your lunch break. Then work up to activities like biking and hiking with your pals. You can even team up and work out to some of those exercise videos together.

Hope these ideas help! P.S. My favorite way to work out is still walking on the treadmill with my "friend" the DVR :)

Hi HG,

My question is actually for the Hungry Girl employees. Since you guys probably get to try every single recipe, which are the absolute favorites -- the ones you make again and again?

Askin' the Staff

Hi Askin',

What a fun question! All of the HG staffers were more than willing to share their favorite Hungry Girl recipes. By the way, they say HI! Here's the lowdown...

Several staffers (including me!) make egg mugs on a regular basis... They've been raving about the latest recipes, which are making their debut in next Thursday's email. Another HG employee starts every single morning here at the HG HQ with a growing oatmeal bowl -- I think we'd all go into shock if she didn't make it!

One recipe that almost every single HG staffer mentioned as a favorite? The Buff Chick Hot Wing Dip! "Every party I attend, this comes with me or people get upset," said one. The Turkey & Veggie Meatloaf Minis also came up repeatedly, as well as the Chicken Amore and Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole. Whenever that casserole is made, it disappears in record time! Another recent standout is the Super-Special Chicken Sausage 'n Squash Pack -- it's definitely one of the best foil-pack recipes of all time!

When it comes to snacky stuff, one HGer said she's completely addicted to the Baked Kale chips, and another is obsessed with the Pizza-bellas. As for dessert, no surprise here: The classic two-ingredient Yum Yum Brownie Muffins topped everyone's list!

There you have it... A SLEW of recipes made regularly by the HG staffers themselves. Enjoy!

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