Diet & Nutrition Tips
Scripture of the Day: “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.” Proverbs 14:16
Wouldn’t it be nice if every food item came with a label on it? If only we knew how many calories were each home-cooked meal, baked good and menu item, many of us would make much better decisions.
The hardest part about dieting is trying to guess how many calories are in these types of foods. We tend to underestimate calories when we leave it up to our own guesswork. We want to believe certain foods are OK to eat. Then after we talk our self in to believing we’ve made the right choice we expect to lose weight as if our guesses are always accurate.
I made a major mistake one time that enlightened me on this very subject. I picked up a low-calorie snack on a road trip. I noticed the snack was a little over 200 calories. I wasn’t too thrilled about this since I try to keep my snacks to 150 calories or less but I thought I should bring it in case I got hungry. I found myself picking up the snack while I was driving along, re-reading the package over and over – contemplating whether it was worth it or not. I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it and would prefer to eat something better later.
Later, I decided to stop at Starbucks to stretch my legs and refuel my body with a fat-free sugar-free latte. I found myself staring at the pastry case looking for anything that could be the least bit healthy. The store had only one “healthy” item – ‘no sugar added’ banana nut bread (AKA: Cake). I thought that would be an OK choice. Besides, it had real bananas and whole nuts in it which sure beat my processed 200 calorie snack. The bread was larger than my wimpy snack so, even if it had a few more calories, I thought it would be worth it. (I love how I try to talk myself into feeling good about my decision, but this was my thought process.)
After I ate the snack I began to feel a little guilty, second guessing my choice so I looked up the calories for that banana nut bread and found that my little ‘no sugar added treat’ had over 475 calories and 30 grams of FAT!! Ughhhhh! That’s more calories than an entire lean cuisine meal. I couldn’t believe it! I knew it was probably a little higher than my 200 calorie snack, but I had no idea it was going to be more than twice the calories. In addition I had my fat-free sugar-free latte which was 180 calories so in one quick trip to the coffee shop I had over 655 FREAKIN’ CALORIES! This little boo-boo would probably take me about 6 miles to erase! Ugh!
I am sure I’m not alone here. I hear stories like this all the time in the gym, but mistakes like this can be EASILY prevented. It’s simple: If you are dieting and you don’t know how many calories are in a particular food – DON’T EAT IT. It’s not worth throwing away your hard work in the gym and all your other sacrifices you make to control your caloric intake.
Dieters eating food without knowing how many calories is in it is like shoppers shopping for items that have no prices on them. How in the world are you supposed to know if you can “afford” something or not? How in the WORLD are you supposed to make an intelligent decision if you have no knowledge to base your decision on? You can’t! Like Proverbs says “”One who is wise is cautious” but a “fool is reckless and careless.” I could have looked that up BEFORE I ordered it. I could have been more cautious. Sadly, most people live life with no concern for calories at all.
Like me, you can fool yourself into thinking something is okay for you – but just because you don’t know how many calories is in something doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And, like our poor spending habits reflect on our bank statement – your poor choices will eventually reflect on the scale.
The moral of this story: Know what you are eating, or don’t eat what you don’t know – because what you don’t know can hurt you!
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As people start the New Year off with new fitness goals, more people are in search for good supplements and healthy snacks to help them stick to their diet. But what do you look for when trying to find a protein snack?
There are many different variations of protein supplements. There are shakes, bars and ready-to-go Shakes, or RTGs. RTGs are pre-made protein shakes that are great for people on the go and don’t have access to a blender and all the shake-making fixings. The profile for various RTGs vary quite a bit. What you need will depend on what time you eat it.
For instance, if you are looking for a snack to eat between, or in place of meals, and you want it to curb your appetite and boost energy, you need an RTG that has a good amount of fat in it. Fat slows digestion, which will keep you feeling full.
The only time you would want a low-fat, high protein RTG is you are drinking it directly after a workout. A great example of an awesome RTG for a snack that will stick with you is Atkins Milk Chocolate Delight Shake (and the Café Caramel Shake looks to die for, but I haven’t tried that flavor yet!). Atkins RTGs are only 160 calories and have 15gms protein, 4-5g carbs (3g net carbs) and 9g of fat. Not only will you find that this shake tastes much better and richer, you will find that the higher fat content will help this shake stay with you longer – and that is important, especially while trying to restrict calories.
Beware of Sugar & Carbs
I compared Atkins shake (which you can get at the grocery store) to other so-called protein RTGs on the shelf, and there was a startling difference. One popular shake was 190 calories (vs 160), only 10gms of protein (vs 15gms) and 5gms of fat (vs 9gms), and a whopping 30 GRAMS of carbohydrates (vs 4-5gms). It had 18gms of sugar vs Atkins 1gm of sugar. What does this means to you? It means you’ll be starving in about 2 seconds after you drink it. The high-carb high-sugar shake will spike your blood sugar for a moment, but likely follow with a pretty quick and awful sugar crash – leaving you hungry and unsatisfied.
Boost Proteins & Fats
When I reflect back on my first week on Atkins, I could most definitely tell that the higher fat, higher protein diet kept me much fuller and content. Sadly, people are scared to have fat because they treat fat like a 4-letter word. Healthy fats are incredibly helpful for dieters and maintain good nutrition. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, is what does the most damage. Unfortunately, many dieters aren’t getting the protein and fat they need on their high-carb, low-fat diets – and they’re wondering why they are so miserable and hungry all the time. (Watch the Fat Heads movie – SO enlightening!)
If you are changing your shopping and eating, choose fat over carbs, low-fat over fat-free items and beef up your protein (pun intended!). You will be amazed how much better you will feel and how much faster you will get results – both with your health AND your waistline!!
Here’s more on what i learned about Atkins Diet – definitely not what I originally thought!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
Before Steve and I got married, I seldom ate breakfast. Since Steve was in school for exercise and nutrition at that time, he knew how important breakfast was. I, on the other hand, was in the habit of flying out the door with only a cup of coffee if I was lucky. Thankfully, Steve never gave up on me and I finally convinced me to start my day off right by teaching me a few important nutritional facts.
While I didn’t eat breakfast because I didn’t make the time, many dieters may skip breakfast just to skip the extra calories. Ironically, studies found people who miss breakfast are actually 4 1/2 times more likely to be overweight. Our body needs breakfast to stay fit and here’s why.
4 Benefits to Eating Breakfast
- It fuels your body. Adults often rely on a cup of coffee to get them ready for the day, when food is what the body really needs. You must replenish the supply of glucose that you lose overnight with a healthy morning meal. Once you get your blood sugar up, you’ll have the energy you need – with or without the coffee!
- It increases your metabolism. After an overnight fast (breakfast = break the fast), your metabolism is at an all-time low each morning. Your metabolism speeds back up after you eat. If you miss breakfast, you are missing a great opportunity to increase your metabolism and burn more calories.
- It keeps you sharp. When I was young, my mom always fixed me a healthy breakfast on exam days. I just thought the special treatment was to show her support. Little did I know it actually had an affect on my brain! Now I know when we deprive our self of food, we deprive our self of energy and fuel for the brain. Thanks mom!
- Prevents overeating at lunchtime. Skipping breakfast sets you up for making poor choices later in the day. Suddenly fast food sounds like a good idea when you finally get hungry, whether you are dieting or not. When you get really hungry, you tend to go for the quick fixes – which are normally high in fat and calories. You’ll have a lot more self control during at lunch if you give your body what it needs in the morning.
Choose Your Breakfast Wisely
Don’t Skip Your Fat
Fat slows digestion and gives you fuel to energize you. This keeps you feeling fuller longer and keeps you feeling energized.Having more beneficial fat in your diet produces muscle gain with training because it supports hormone balance and recovery from intense exercise. A higher fat diet while restricting carbs can elevate growth hormone, which inhibits muscle breakdown too. This makes a high-protein, high-fat diet a great diet for any fitness enthusiast.
Beef Up Your Breakfast
Another way to increase satiety is to pair low-glycemic carbohydrates with protein for breakfast. The more filling your breakfast is, the less likely you will want to reach for a snack or go off the deep in come lunch time. In addition to satiety, a high-protein breakfast also increases your alertness, because it provides the amino acids your brain needs to function at its optimal level. So if you really want a boost in the morning, you need more than just a cup of coffee.
Watch Your Carbs
Cereal, pastries and muffins are high in sugar and carbohydrates. As a result, the energy you get from this type of breakfast is short-lived. However, a low-carb breakfast stabilizes your blood sugar. This helps prevent cravings and also will stabilize your metabolism and energy. It also encourages your body to use fat stores for energy – which is great for weight loss.
Atkins Breakfast Sandwiches
If you are searching for a quick and easy breakfast on the run, try some of the Atkins breakfast sandwiches. They meet all the above criteria and are convenient for the person on the go! Atkins breakfasts all have a healthy dose of fat to keep you full, ample protein for alertness and to preserve muscle, and low net carbs to help you burn fat stores and boost weight loss.
Steve and I ate them before our trip to Epcot and they lasted us several hours, and were really yummy too! (It was GREAT with hot sauce by the way!!) My dog was just a little jealous that he couldn’t try them too! haha
• 19g Protein
• No Sugar Added
• 340 Calories
• Only 5g Net Carbs
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. Not only do we still have our regular list of things to do, but now we also have to fit in Christmas shopping, football games, holiday parties and special events too. As we all run around like a chicken with its head cut off, it’s easy to neglect our bodies.
This is the time of year when our workouts and diet suffers. We don’t make time to eat, and when we do finally eat, it’s not as healthy as it should be – plus we overeat because we waited until we were completely starving to finally stop for food.
You can prevent a LOT of damage by doing this one simple thing: Bring a bar everywhere you go. Seriously, before you leave the house, you should grab your phone, grab your wallet, grab your keys and grab a bar – like the Atkins Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar.
When we get too hungry, we get stupid – plain and simple.
If you think about all the times you’ve given in to fast food or overeaten at dinner, it’s typically because you allowed yourself to get too hungry. When we get too hungry we get stupid – plain and simple.
We think of stupid ways to get food. We rationalize our poor decisions and we make exceptions to our normal dietary rules. This can all be prevented with one simple healthy snack bar.
Below are my list of top 10 reasons you should have a bar handy – and why!
Top 10 Times to Have a Bar Handy
- WORKING – If you are like me, you can work long hours without rest and, suddenly, you are starving to death. Midday is the perfect time to have a bar. It will give you the boost you need to perform well, and you won’t be as hungry by suppertime.
- STUDYING – If you are a student, you should always have a bar in your backpack. If young students snack on a bar on their bus ride, or walking route, home, they will be less likely to invade the pantry as soon as they walk in the door. Many students also have end of the year exams in December, so it’s good to have extra brain food on hand to help them stay alert and sharp.
- CHEERING – Tis the season for football cheering, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la! Bring a bar with you to all the games. It not only will save you from buying a high-price hot dog, but it will save you the calories too!
- SHOPPING – Graze on a bar while shopping. This will help you resist the food court, and will keep your energy level up. Always have a bar with you when you go to the grocery store too. Sometimes you will find you are hungrier than you thought once you get there – then you’ll throw everything but the kitchen sink in your grocery cart because you are thinking with your stomach and not your brain! lol
- TRAVELING – Pack bars with you on road trips. Having a bar in the car, ready for your next hunger pain, can reduce unnecessary snack stops as well as curb appetite until you find the next restaurant.
- PARTYING – Eat a bar before going to a Holiday Party. You’ll be less likely to overeat all the high-calorie holiday fair. A bar is also great to have for those holiday dinners with the office. It can take a long time to serve a large number of people, so it’s good to have a bar on hand in case it takes two hours to just get your salad.
- SIPPING – Bring a bar to your favorite coffee house. Atkins bars taste like a real treat, so enjoy it with a cup of joe instead of sharing your coffee with a high-fat high-carb scone or muffin.
- EXERCISING – Pack a bar in your gym bag. You should always have a bar in your gym bag in case your blood sugar drops or you lack energy for your workout.
- WATCHING – This is the season for long concerts, plays, recitals and Christmas specials. Bring a bar with you to snack on during intermission so don’t want to eat a horse when the even is over.
- DRIVING – The holidays will have you running all over creation – going on errands, playing taxi for your kids and packing in as many honey-dos as possible. This is why I always have a bar in my car. It’s my emergency bar stash. My car is never without a bar, so I’m never stuck in the car hungry.
Bars, Bars, Bars
Here is a list of Atkin’s Advantage Bars. These bars are great as a meal replacement, or a really filling snack. Bars are available at CVS, Publix, WinnDixie, WalMart, Target, Sam’s and many other common grocery stores. With a total of 24 varieties of delicious snack and meal bars, Atkins has something for everyone and their snacking preference. Bring along an Atkins Advantage bar such as the Blueberry Greek Yogurt bar or the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel bar. They’re portable and can be eaten anytime you’re on the go or you need a satisfying snack or light meal. Each bar is packed with protein and fiber to keep you satisfied when you’re too busy to eat a full meal.
Atkins Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel
Strawberry Almond Bar
Cinnamon Bun Bar
Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
Cookies & Cream Bar
Mud Slide Bar
Peanut Butter Granola Bar
Peanut Fudge Granola Bar
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
“Do you skip your bath because it takes time away from your family over the holidays? Of course not! There are some priorities that should always stay in place no matter what – and fitness is one of them.”
We like to make excuses around this time of year. “I’m too busy”. “I don’t know how to count Thanksgiving meal calories.” “The gym is closed.” “I’m tired.” “We’ll be out of town.” “I need to spend time with family.” “I can’t control myself around all that food”. “I deserve a break”… The list goes on.
Let me tell you, it is ridiculous that we even think any of those excuses will get you out of a workout free and clear. For every excuse someone has, someone out there is working out despite having the same excuses. In addition, there are reasons why even a good excuse is a bad reason to skip your workout.
8 Holiday Excuses Busters:
1. “I’m too busy” – You have time to watch TV, get on facebook, read my blog, sleep late, stay up late, etc. “Too busy” often means, not having as much free time to live life how you prefer. Busy means you need to schedule your day better. It means you can’t just play it by ear and hope you have enough time left over to do extra stuff. When you are busy, it means you need to do what matters most first and get it out of the way. When you don’t HAVE time, you have to MAKE time.
2. “I don’t know how to count Thanksgiving meal calories.” – You should at least try. Use your noggin. Guess the ingredients of the meal. Using the LoseIt app, look up similar dishes served at restaurants, etc., but don’t just not even try. Make it fun. See if people can guess and look it up, like a trivia game. You’ll learn a lot along the way, make better choices and entertain your family with interesting facts.
3. “The gym is closed.” Most gyms are closed on Thanksgiving Day – Big Whoop! You don’t need a gym to sweat. Try one of our Designer Whey workouts online. Any of the training plans from Design Your Body (weight loss and body sculpting program), Basic Training (beginner program), Savage Training (advanced workout), or any of the single workout regimens, are perfect for working out at home or in a hotel. And, of course there is always the road! Take a walk, go for a run. Just commit to 15-30 minutes. You’ll feel a MILLION times better if you do SOMEthing rather than nothing. Here’s a quick 5 minute workout from DesignerWhey you can do anywhere. Repeat 3-5 times.
4. “I’m SO tired.” – Even MORE of a reason to workout. Exercise is exhilarating. It revs the metabolism and boosts energy. And, if you have been light on sleep, it helps you sleep better. So scratch that excuse off your list.
5. “We’ll be out of town.” – People train on the road all the time. The first step is planning. Pack your gym clothes, Reeboks & yurbuds. With apps like RunKeeper, you no longer need to have to map out a course ahead of time. You can step out of your grandma’s driveway and start running, and the RunKeeper will tell you how far you have gone so you know exactly how long to run. Also, most hotels have gyms, and if they don’t, you can use one of the above programs to guide you through a workout in your hotel room. No weights? Improvise! 1 gallon of water is 8.33lbs. Use a set of jugs for dumbbells to do some of the exercises shown below in this video. Bodyweight exercises are awesome and equally effective – especially when done fast with little rest.
6. “I need to spend time with family” – I totally get it. Family should ALWAYS be first. But I think this picture is a pretty typical description of what most “quality family time” looks like. We go to grandma’s and everyone gathers in the kitchen to eat or the living room to sit in front of the TV. You could set the active pace. You could make an impact on your family be setting an example. Play catch outside, go for a walk, play Wii with the kids. Even if you have to leave and go for a run, I think they’ll forgive you for taking care of your health. Do you skip your bath because it takes time away from your family? No! Of course not! There are some priorities that should always stay in place no matter what. Standard grooming habits, your physical health, and your spiritual health need to remain constant. If you do them first and get them out of the way, you will find you have AMPLE time with your family and you’ll have more energy and a better attitude too!
7. I can’t control myself” – Really? You CAN’T control yourself, or you WON’T? Saying you can’t control yourself before you even face the Thanksgiving table is telling yourself in advance that you will fail. That is ridiculous. It’s this simple. You either WANT to get fit and be thin, or you WANT to taste food more. You need to gain control of your body and not let your tongue boss you around. Saying no is empowering. You absolutely can control yourself around food. One, don’t go to the dinner table hungry. Eat something before you surround yourself with tempting food. Two, don’t even negotiate it. Don’t waste time contemplating whether you should have something or not. Keep your rules black and white, no grey. If it’s going to interfere with your goal, skip it. If you aren’t willing to burn it off, skip it. You have more control than you think.
8. “I deserve a break” – If you are happy with where your weight is, that is fine. Take a break and enjoy the family – especially if you are consistent in your workouts and rarely take a day off. BUT, if you are unhappy with your weight, if you are sporadic with your workouts, or find it hard to stick with a program, then you don’t need a break. A break can actually mess you up in a bad way. Not only do you consume a LOT more calories during this time of year, you won’t be burning as many calories by taking a break – a double whammy! AND, getting out of a routine can set you up for a downward spiral of laziness and lack of motivation. When you workout, you become more protective over what you eat, so you’re likely to make better decisions even if you still cheat. Also, working out mentally keeps you “in the game”. Don’t lose momentum by giving in to taking a day off just because a friend can afford to. You have to do what YOU need to do to stick with your program and keep moving toward your goal. Even if it’s strictly for damage control, don’t let a pity-party convince you to be lazy.
If you skip your workout, will it kill ya? NO! But will it affect you? YES. Sometimes just mentally. In reality, the extra calories with the lack of calories burned can set you back a whole week. Ironically, just 30 minutes is enough to make a big difference. If you can’t do your normal routine during the holidays, do SOMEthing. Keep your eye on the prize! You’ll feel great and be THANKFUL you did!
You are probably wondering if there really is a secret to weight loss. In a way, I believe there is. Each diet company would love you to believe that they have something special to their weight loss success (and most companies really do have something that makes their diet different than others), but there is one secret most companies don’t want you to figure out. That’s what I plan to address in this blog.
There is one thing almost all diet brands and supplement companies have in common. They all follow a daily caloric budget around 1200-1500 calories for women and 1500-1800 calories for men to lose weight. That’s why most of these diets work – they are all based on specific caloric restrictions (that’s their big secret). However, they don’t work for everyone because not everyone is willing to stick with their particular “special” program. Another words, they ALL would work if everyone stuck with them like they are supposed to.
Zone Diet: 1200-1500 calories a day
Atkins Diet: 1500-1800 calories a day
Weight NutriSystem: 1200-1350 calories a day for women/1400-1500 for men
Sugar Busters Diet: 1200 calories a day
Jenny Craig: 1200 calories a day
Note: these restrictions may vary depending on height and weight
You see, while most mainstream diets are all based on the same foundation of taking in fewer calories than you burn, they each have a different method of where you should get those calories (which is their “special something” that sets their diet apart from others). Although I could go into more detail about what types of foods we should eat, or why different diets are better than others, that’s kind of like talking to someone about multiplication when they don’t even understand 2+2 yet. Capish? Ok, let’s get back to the secret then.
Weight Loss Kindergarten
What do you learn in kindergarten? You learn the basics, like learning how to count. Consider this blog weight loss kindergarten – and like kindergarten, the first thing we need to tackle is simple math (which is the foundation of every diet plan on the planet).
If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more than you burn. If you want to stay the same weight, but just reshape your physique, you should eat as many calories as you currently burn (but change what you eat and what you do in the gym). If you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn.
Luckily, there is so much wonderful technology (like the LoseIt app) that will tell you how many calories you should eat based on your goals. But, in my opinion, learning about weight management is like learning math. You shouldn’t have to rely on a calculator to get the answer to 2+2. That’s something you should have a good understanding of without technology’s help.
To make fitness a lifestyle, you need to understand the process. Another words, while you can enjoy using apps like LoseIt (as I do), you should have a basic understanding of why the app (and how our body) works.
Here is weight loss 101. It’s the basics. It’s the kindergarden class on basic weight management arithmetic.
Step #1: Find out how many calories you burn a day
A. Choose Your Activity:
1.3 – sedentary, sitting most of the day, light housework/work
1.4 – light activity, work, housework, exercise 2-3 X a week, stand or walk at work
1.5-1.6 – moderately active, all the above activities, exercise 1 hour 3-4 X a week
1.7 – very active, all the above daily activities, exercise 1-2 hours every day
B. Choose Your Metabolism:
10 – Slow (Sleepy after a meal)
11 – Normal (normal or feel the same after a meal)
12 – Fast (Fidgety or hyper after a meal)
C. Apply Above Numbers in this Simple Formula:
WEIGHT X ACTIVITY = RESULT X METABOLISM (B) = CALORIES BURNED (Metabolism)
For example. My weight (138) X my activity (1.6) = 220.8 X my metabolism (12) = 2,650.
Try this online calculator. (it has me at 2,300, so this would be my window: 2,300-2,600 calories a day to maintain my weight).
What does that mean?
What does 2,650 calories mean? It means, that is approximately the number of calories my body burns every day – and that is how many calories I need to maintain my current weight. So, I can eat 2,650 calories a day, and if I continue the same activity, I will not lose weight or gain weight. But what if I want to lose weight? Then, I need to eat fewer than 2,650 calories a day. So the next question is how much fewer?
It takes 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat.
#2 Plan & Predict your weight loss
People often ask me questions like, “do you think I can lose 10lbs in 6 weeks?” I am able to answer this with great confidence because of simple math. I can predict how much weight someone should lose each week, down to the exact weight they want to be on a given day. This is how we get someone ready for the stage. I’m no fortune teller, and to be honest, I’m not even all that smart. I just know basic arithmetic and weight loss principles.
You maybe doubting if this is truly possible. Can I really tell you what you could weigh in 3 months from now? Yep! LoseIt uses basic math too. After you put in your weight loss goals, LoseIt will tell you when you should reach that goal. Here’s how it works.
Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500—1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week. – Center of Disease Control
It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. If you want to lose 2lbs a week, you should be in a 1,000-calorie deficit a day. For instance, if I am burning 2,650 calories a day, I can lose 2lbs a week if I eat 1,600 calories a day. You can also increase your deficit by burning more calories a day, rather than only reducing calories each day. So, if I do a kickboxing class on top of my normal training, that’s another 500 calories I can either eat, or I can add to my weekly weight loss. Now, practice your own fortune telling skills out with this simple equation.
CALORIES BURNED – CALORIES CONSUMED = PROJECTED WEIGHT LOSS
#3 Plan Your Maintenance
Once you’ve lost the weight, you would redo the above equation to determine how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight. As I said before, for me, that’s 2,650 calories a day. I weigh-in regularly to make sure I don’t let the scale creep up too much. When I go over my ideal weight, I return to counting calories until I lose the weight again.
Q. & A. – Top 5 Common Questions
Here are a few common questions I get when it comes to talking about calories.
A. No. Do you need to balance your checkbook to maintain your desired balance? You can rely on guesses if you want, but you have a lot more room for error when doing that. If you want to be SURE your balance doesn’t drop below a certain point, you will keep a close eye on the checks and balances of your bank account – and the same goes for your weight. You can follow a diet that counts calories for you (but be restricted to their diet plan) OR you can learn how to follow the principles of the diet and count calories yourself, choosing foods you enjoy.
Q. Will I have to always count calories?
A. No. When you first bought groceries, you probably had NO idea how much the total was going to be. However, the more you shop, the more experience you have with knowing what a normal shopping trip will cost you. The more you count calories, the more accurately you will be able to guess the weight and calories of different foods. You will use your experience to help you make better choices. Then, if you gain weight, you can go back to being more strict, counting calories again, until you lose the weight – like going on a budget after overspending.
Q. Why does LoseIt have my daily caloric budget so low?
A. Because they don’t add exercise in. That is something you will do. LoseIt says I can only have 968 calories a day (if I don’t exercise) to lose 2lbs a week. However, if I run 3 miles, it adds 300 calories, giving me a new caloric budget of 1,268 calories a week. Each day your caloric budget will adjust around your activity. BUTTTT, don’t go crazy adding every activity you do – adding stuff like “vacuuming” unless you are actually doing it for exercise or sport! This is my opinion, but I only add activity I use specifically designated for exercise. Anything else would only be added to make me feel better about myself, and about eating more. lol
Q. My clothes are getting smaller but my weight is staying the same. What does that mean?
A. It means you are eating as much a you are burning – but you are probably gaining muscle and losing fat because you are eating better. However, this still means you are eating too many calories. So, I’d make sure everything you are counting is accurate. Compare calories to other calorie searches to make sure you have accurate information. Make sure your measurements are correct also. Look for missing ingredients, food or drink you are not logging. Make sure you are logging as you are eating, and not logging at the end of the day, only relying on your memory. The bottom line is this, even if you are losing fat and gaining muscle, you should still be losing weight on the scale if you are eating fewer calories than you are burning.
Q. I can’t lose weight. Is it possible I’m eating too few calories?
A. No. You may be eating too few calories at times (meaning, you may be starving yourself for hours and then overeating when you finally do eat). This may make your body want to hold onto the fat you have if it has no idea when you are going to give your body its next meal. There is a really good reason why diets have you eating 5-6 times a day. They don’t want your body to go into starvation mode, which would slow your metabolism down. They want your metabolism to speed up and start burning stored fat. If you are not losing weight, it’s likely you are still averaging too many calories for the week. You just need to to eat more OFTEN, not just more.
Get More Facts
While I primarily eat whole food on the Atkins Diet, I am also enjoying their frozen dinners. Let’s be realistic. We can’t always do Plan A, and cook a fresh meal. Life gets hectic and we need to have a Plan B. Plan B for Atkins is pre-packaged meals – and it’s been a relief to have that option in a pinch.
The first Atkins meal I got to try was the breakfast sandwich. Since Atkins allows for more fat in their foods, a small breakfast sandwich stuck with me longer than low-fat, high-carb versions. I threw some hot sauce on this bad boy and it was quite tasty! (Marley wanted to taste it too! Lol)
Atkins Frozen Meals:
- High quality proteins without fillers
- Premium cuts of vegetables
- Gravies and sauces made with real natural creams and butter
- No added sugars or preservatives
- 4-7g Net Carbs per meal
- Fits all 4 phases of Atkins
Pre-Packaged Food: Good or Bad?
I have to laugh when people slam pre-packaged foods. While I absolutely agree that whole foods are ideal (and the healthiest option), ideal isn’t always realistic. Ironically, it’s often times the same people who want to argue about frozen food who never think twice about eating out – not realizing many restaurants relay on pre-packaged foods too. (Granted, I do know some of my fit-friends are totally and successfully dedicated to eating organic and completely healthy – and you are our idol. But, for the rest of us mere humans, we just do our best. )
Here’s my take on pre-packaged foods for the health-conscience:
They are convenient, and much better than other convenient options. So many people would be so much thinner and healthier if they chose frozen dinners over eating out. Some people complain they are too expensive, yet they’ll drop double the money on a biggie size meal. While it is an initial investment upfront, they can save you money in the long run.
Healthy intentions are wasted if it never turns into healthy actions. This requires honesty – to your self and to others. You can never succeed if you aren’t realistic about what you are willing to do, or not to do. People set their sites too high, with great intentions to cook healthy food. But, as life gets busy, they find themselves in a bind, sitting at a drive-through window with a car full of kids because they didn’t have time between school and soccer practice to actually cook a real meal. Meanwhile, their fresh veggies are rotting in the fridge because they haven’t had the time to cook. Good intentions? Yes. Bad actions? Yes. Easy and convenient trumps healthy yet once again. However, this wouldn’t happen if you had go-to meals on hand, or you had prepared your meals in advance.
Plan to Succeed
Plan A – You can’t cook healthy if you don’t shop healthy. Plan A begins with shopping smart. Atkins actually gives you a shopping list of foods you can buy to help you shop healthier when you sign up for their free online tools. They also offer recipes and meal plans to help you you’re your meals. http://community.atkins.com/Login.aspx
Plan A2 – The 2nd part of Plan A is you actually have to do something with the food you buy. My suggestion is to set aside time over the weekend to prepare food for the week. We grill out a bunch of chicken, cut up veggies to cook later and do any food prep on Sunday so we are ready to eat right on Monday.
Plan A3 – Yes, there is one more step to Plan A. You can’t eat healthy if you don’t shop healthy or cook healthy, but you also can’t eat healthy if it stays in the fridge. Be sure to have a good selection of Tupperware and Ziploc bags on hand so you can pack your food for lunch, or so you can grab a meal to go in a hurry. The more convenient you make your healthy selections, the more likely you are to eat what you prepared.
Plan B – Finally Plan B. Plan B stands for your “Back-up plan”. Think of frozen dinners as your plan B. Always choose healthy whole foods first, but have other options when Plan A isn’t doable. This may include some frozen dinners, bars, snacks, shakes and other convenient selections. Plan B is much better than Plan C – which is to “Cheat” on your diet! Say no to Plan C!
Plan D - What? A Plan D? Yes, it’s called “Do-Overs”. Seriously. So many people fail because they mess up once or twice and decide that diet didn’t work for them – when, if you were honest, YOU didn’t work for you. Eating healthy takes work. The diet doesn’t fail, WE fail. If you rely on a diet to do all the work for you, you will be disappointed. Diets are there to give you guidance, but you need to learn as you go so your diet can be a permanent life change.
While you won’t need to be in a caloric deficit forever, the principles of healthy eating should continue to be applied while in maintenance. Explore the Akins website, learn why their eating principles work and learn how you can apply them in your normal meal planning. The more you learn, the more you can change the way you eat forever – and that’s the difference between dieting and just eating healthier. Go the distance. Keep doing Do-Overs until you get it right. Eventually, healthy habits will stick!
Atkins offers some healthy alternatives to help fight cravings. I’ll brag on their tasty bars another day, but I have to admit I was very happy to have some Atkins chocolate covered almonds when I faced a sweet craving. I popped 3-4 in my mouth and it was exactly what I needed to end the fixation on chocolate I suddenly had. I’m afraid to think of what I would have done if all I had in the kitchen was ice cream!
Eat this, not that:
Salty Craving Fix
When I craved chips and popcorn, I cut thin slices of low-fat sharp cheddar cheese and sliced up a dill pickle to end my salty craving. Here are some more salty fixes.
- Sliced Cucumbers with Red Wine Vinegar & Cracked Pepper
- ¼ Cup Hummus with Celery & Carrots
- 2 T Peanut Butter with Celery
- ½ C Cottage Cheese and tomato on a bed of lettuce with a Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
- Celery & Sliced Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Sliced Tomato with Shredded Parmesan Cheese & Garlic (Roasted is even better!)
- Sliced Lunch Meat with Laughing Cow Cheese, Sliced Egg White & Hot Sauce
I don’t crave sweets often, but I am thankful for Greek yogurt when I do! Here are a few sweet treats to end s sweet tooth.
- ½ C Cottage Cheese with Pineapple
- 2 T Almond Butter with Celery or Apple
- ½ C Greek Yogurt with Blueberries
- Decaf coffee or tea
- Protein Shake
- Endulge Atkins Treats
- Advantage Bars
Follow Atkins for More Tips & Recipes
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtkinsDiet
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/atkinsinsider
- Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/atkinsinsider/
- This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
In this economy, many people would say they couldn’t afford to get fit. However, it is likely they can afford more than they think. Most people simply spend too much money on things that make them fat, instead of things to get them fit.
As a result, you can easily nickel and dime yourself right out of a healthy lifestyle. For instance, many people don not think twice about going through a drive-through at lunch or buying a five-dollar latte for a caffeine boost. One modest dinner date would cover a gym membership for the month, offering endless fitness opportunities. Sadly, people keep putting their money where there mouth is – literally.
1 drink alcoholic drink per night can average $90.00 a month.
In my recent article on Answers.com, I show how some of our food and drink choices add up if you aren’t careful – and it’s AMAZING how even a cup of coffee a day can add up! CLICK HERE to read the whole article, 7 Ways to Afford a Healthy Lifestyle and see other ways to cut back and make more room for fit choices.
What have you given up to help you afford to get healthy and fit?
As you may have heard, or seen on some of my social media posts, I am in the first phase of the Atkins 40 Diet. What is Atkins 40? Basically, Atkins 40 the new Atkins that lets you have more (healthy) carbs, even from the start.
You may think of Adkins as the no-carb diet, but Atkins has changed over the years, and is also misunderstood (I admit I was one of those people). An all-too-common misconception is that this first phase of Atkins is the whole program, but the key to Atkins is finding the maximum number of grams of carbs, known as your personal “carb balance”, that you can consume while continuing to lose weight, keep your appetite under control, and stay alert and energized.
In this first phase, the Atkins 40 allows you to start the Atkins program with 40 grams of Net Carbs, which is a new entry point into the program. This means you can eat from all food groups from day one on the program, and still enjoy the weight loss success on a fat burning metabolism.
What are Net Carbs?
“When you follow the Atkins Nutrition Approach, you count Net Carbs, which means the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content. The Net Carb number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level.”
You can calculate the approximate number of Net Carb grams of a low-carb product yourself by looking at the information provided on a food label:
– Dietary Fiber
– Sugar alcohol
= Net carbs
For example, I ate 2 cups of spring mix, 6oz of chicken, ½ an avocado and balsamic vinegar. My total carbs was 25.3gms of carbohydrates and my fiber was 8.8gms of fiber, totaling only 16.5gms of Net Carbs for that meal. By labeling carbs, and getting dieters to really look at fiber too, it teaches you the us the difference good carbs vs bad carbs.
More On Carbs:
The Atkins 40 Diet
“Increasing health fat and protein means you stay fuller longer and you have more steady energy through out the day.”
On Atkins 40, I’m eating:
- More vegetables than the USDA recommends
- Proteins including meats, fish, poultry and plant-based proteins
- Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado and nuts
- Dairy including whole Greek yogurt and cheeses
- Variety of fruits and whole grains
With Atkins 40, I’m learning:
- The difference between good carbs and bad carbs
- How to eliminate added sugars
- How to incorporate healthy fats
- How easy it is to adapt to a low carb lifestyle
- How to lose weight, feel great, while enjoying healthy delicious foods with a wide range of food choices.
The Diet: Pfiester Approved!!
I honestly can say I have really enjoyed my meal plan. It isn’t much different than I have been eating, which is higher in protein and lower in carbs, with a good dose of healthy carbs. I only had to make a few minor adjustments.
1. I can eat BACON!! Yahoooo!! (granted, I can only have 2 pieces occasionally, this has been like striking gold for me!! YUM!). This was my breakfast yesterday – 2 eggs scrambled with bell pepper and 2 strips of bacon. What’s funny is I don’t even like eggs, but anything tastes amazing with Bacon! haha!
2. I am eating more meat. Instead of eating 3-4 ounces of chicken, I’m now eating 6 ounces!! This has definitely helped me stay fuller longer and is helping me get the protein I want with very little supplementing.
3. I am reducing my carbs a little. Since I already don’t eat a lot of carbs, this wasn’t a big shocker (even though I admit I was a little freaked out about having only 50gms of carbs a day!). Truthfully, I have been just fine without them. When I normally would want some popcorn, I cut a few slivers of some light sharp cheese and nibbled on that instead. It satisfied my salty craving and my growling tummy.
4. I am paying more attention to fiber. I have always known fiber is good, but I’ve never tracked it as much as now.
5. I am being more generous with fats. Normally, I would barely drizzle a teaspoon of oil on a salad (if I used any at all!), but now I fill up that entire tablespoon of olive oil! I used to only eat egg beaters, but now I’m eating one whole egg with 1 egg white (even though it says I can have 2 whole eggs – I’m working my way up to that. lol).
6. I am eating more simply. Now that I am following a diet plan, I am using fewer ingredients and making better choices than even before. Following the Atkins Diet is teaching me to be OK with simple meals. For instance, yesterday I ate the salad I mentioned above in the Net Carbs section. The salad was only 3 ingredients – chicken, greens and avocado. Before, I would feel like I needed a fruit or something else to “dress it up”. This time, I stuck with what Atkins said (like a good girl) and it was plenty yummy and completely filling.
CLICK HERE for a comprehensive list of all the foods you can eat in this 1st phase.
Week 1 – Getting Started
Atkins has free diet tools, including an online downloadable starter kit, mobile app, recipes, meal planners and trackers. Explore all the Atkins tools, tips & info at Atkins.com. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to get more tips and news. Get recipes and other healthy ideas on their Pinterest.
Week 1 Meal Plan:
Here is a sample of my first week’s diet plan.
Keep checking in for more tips and feedback on my Atkins diet experience!!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Canadian Maple Syrup.
When you think of maple syrup, you probably think “PANCAKES”! A beautiful stack of buttermilk pancakes with warm golden brown maple syrup poured over melting butter, ready to be washed down with a glass of cold milk. At least that’s what I think of! However, there is a lot more to maple syrup than you think – and I think you’ll be very surprised to read what I have to share!
First surprise: 80% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada. If you want real maple syrup you need to make sure it is Canadian Maple syrup, which is unprocessed and 100% natural.
Second surprise: Did you know most leading pancake syrup brands do not even have maple syrup in their syrup? How crazy is THAT? They rely on high fructose corn syrup (which isn’t as healthy and has more calories than Canadian Maple Syrup). When I heard this, I had to go check it out for myself. (watch the video)
Third Surprise: Canadian Maple Syrup has fewer calories than honey (and a LOT more flavor too!). This is funny to me because I prefer maple syrup over honey in many recipes (like oatmeal and mashed sweet potatoes), but figured it was higher in calories. Maybe it’s because it’s called “syrup” and I just think high calories when I think syrup. Ironically, I found I use less syrup than honey because it has more flavor!
Fourth Surprise: Canadian Maple Syrup is high in anti-oxidants – and the darker the grade of syrup the higher in anti-oxidants it is. Check out the difference between Canadian Maple Syrup and other sweeteners.
Canadian Maple Syrup Versus Popular Sweeteners
Pre-Workout Protein Rice Pudding
I found this great pre-workout rice pudding, and I decided to tweak it to make it a little lower in calories and higher in protein. So, I put my thinking cap on and went mad-scientist in the kitchen. I replaced the flour with protein powder and the condensed milk with fat free milk. I reduced the amount of maple syrup (because I’m trying to make the yummy stuff last!!) and I topped it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and granola. Then I tested it out on my house guests. …and the verdict was “Wow! That is really good. Can I have a bowl?” So, I would say it was a success!!
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups fat free milk
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup Canadian Maple Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Combine all the ingredients, minus the greek yogurt and protein powder, in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, mix in the yogurt and protein powder, reducing heat while mixing. Remove from heat and let it stand to thicken. Serve cold or hot. Makes 4 servings. 314 calories per serving.