Posts tagged diet tips

The REAL Secret to Weight Loss

the Secret to Diet & Weight LossYou 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.

Common Diets:
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 

abcWhat 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

predict futurePeople 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.

Q&AQ: Do you really have to count calories to lose weight?

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?

weight-scaleA. 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

Don’t just believe me. Read more from the Center of Disease Control & Prevention.

 

MEN’S PFITNESS: Get Your Fitness Mojo Back

BULKING UPAnyone who has worked out for any length of time realizes there are different seasons in the gym. Definitely not referring to Summer or Winter.  The seasons I am talking about are “the lazy season”, “the lean up season”,  “the bulk up season”, or even “the I’m on fire to workout season”.

If you are like me, one week you want to be bigger, then a week later you want to be more shredded. Then, maybe you get bored, then you just don’t care – only to see something that inspires you or motivates you to get back and “train like a freak”. For me, this is usually a picture of my fat face or brand new belly!

Whatever season you’re in, we all aspire to see or experience that “one thing” that organically creates a deep burning desire to be sold to get in shape once more. (Side note: the true desire to get fit has to be because you want the change for you, not to train for anyone else!)

“The Lazy Season”

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterRecently Bonnie, my wife, and I competed in a pretty large bodybuilding and physique event in Daytona Florida. We both were completely motivated to train and eat like a “Pharisee” for over 4 months. Our motivation never wavered. We were relentless in our pursuit of the goal laid before us.  During the training we vowed to have tighter parameters of our weight and diet, making sure to maintain all of this hard work and higher level of fitness. But here I am, 2 Disney trips, 3 nights on the town, 1 week of company at our house, and 6 weeks later, disappointed and rather stale with my eating and training. We had the best intentions, we even set limits on our diet and I have definitely been training. So what happened?

Good intentions and even setting strict parameters are futile if left unchecked. Laziness quickly sets in. Arbitrary goals with no finish line are a sure way to fail.  Our goals need to have a finite beginning and end that depicts some entity of time, and reward. Give your self a start line and a definite finish line that you CAN NOT continue to move every time you mess up. If you keep restarting your diet and training every Monday, it is probably because your finish line is as “wishy washy” as your efforts to get in shape.

TLF APPAREL

“The Get Back on Track Season”

Even after establishing some goals, how do we get back (and stay motivated) to “train like a freak”?

TLF Apparel1. New routine and exercises to facilitate the goals you established (bigger, stronger, faster). Sign up for another show, race, competition or event.
2. Get some food and supplements that will enhance training.  New recipes and doing research on vitamins will help motivate you.
3. Grab some new music and make a sick playlist specific for each workout (cardio, arms, legs, ect…)
4. New gearMy favorite motivator. A new outfit from TLF Apparel, new shoes, gloves or straps, a new med ball, speed rope, kettle bell, did I mention a new outfit?

So whats the deal?  Establishing the goals in a finite time is by far the most important, but making an investment into that goal is paramount.  If every Monday you are starting over you need to feel a loss of your investment.  It needs to cost you something when you mess up or quit. In order to look freaky good, you have to “train like a freak”.

pfit pfindsCheck out this gear I got from TLF (Train Like a Freak) apparel that got me back on track to train like a freak.  Thanks TLF, you guys motivate me!!!

CONNECT WITH TLF:

Follow the Train Like a Freak hashtag for motivation.
Follow them on Instagram
Follow them on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter

TLF is on our Merry Pfitness Gift Idea List. Click HERE to learn more.

TLF Apparel – for men and women

Infinity Rep Sleeveless Hoodie

I can wear this hoodie to the gym or I can throw it on with some jeans and go to a movie. It’s really that versatile – and yet it’s cozy as my most comfy pajamas, so I tend to throw it on when lounging around the house too. It’s definitely one of my favs. As much use as I get out of this, it’s worth the money. Price tag: $54.00. Available in grey or black.

TLF apparelTLF Apparel

Product Highlights:
High-quality Infi-Dry™ fabric keeps you cool & dry
Lightweight soft comfortable fabric Flat seamed for chafe resistance
Mesh back shoulder and hood panels for added style
Reflective Infinity logo on the upper front left chest
Reflective Infinity “punched out” logo on the back right shoulder
TLF engraved drawstring caps

Coupon Code to get 20% OFF
CODE: 20TLF002
CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Infinity Longevity Shorts

TLF’s™ Infinity Longevity Shorts is made with Infi-Dry™ technology, these lightweight, moisture-wicking shorts provide you with comfort that will last throughout your entire workout or any sports activity. Price Tag: $44. Available in grey or black.

TLF Apparel

Product Highlights:
High-quality Infi-Dry™ fabric keeps you cool & dry, wicking away the sweat and moisture
Custom “Property of TLF Crest” artwork on front of left leg
TLF woven skull patch on center back
Convenient side pockets to store items safely during workout
Drawstring waistband for a custom fit
TLF engraved drawstring caps

Coupon Code to get 20% OFF
CODE: 20TLF002
CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Up Next:

I will show off my next outfit. You can get a sneak peak of it, before my review goes out in this recent video (where I talk about sculpting tips).

Atkins Meal Plan & Diet Tips

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:
Total Carbohydrates
– 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:

Learn more about Net Carbs
Net Carbs vs Total Carbs.
Download the Atkins Carb Counter to help you track your 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.

Healthy fats5. 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.

Atkins

 

Week 1 Meal Plan:

Here is a sample of my first week’s diet plan.

2014 Atkins 40 week 1

 

Keep checking in for more tips and feedback on my Atkins diet experience!!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

Avoid the Stretchy Pants Syndrome

jeans don't fit

Stop-Button

Enough is Enough

It’s so easy to do. We have one cheat meal, then another, and another. Or maybe it’s a vacation, a birthday or a holiday that spiraled out of control. Whatever the excuse, it’s easy to get caught in an eating cycle that throws you off course. Before you know it, you put on a pair of jeans that confirm your fears. You’ve gained weight.

It happens to the best of us. The only way to reverse the damage is you have to push the stop button. You have to call it quits. It’s rarely enough to just cut back or slow down. There must be a time you just start saying NO! But, the best thing to do is to prevent the weight gain before it gets too out of hand to begin with.

What Are Your Pants Trying to Tell You?

spandexSome people know when to stop when they hit a number on a scale, or their pants are too tight. However, other people set themselves up for failure because they have no real way measurement to follow. Weight can sneak up on you if you wear stretchy pants. And no, I’m not necessarily talking about Nacho Libre stretchy pants (tights), but pants that have stretch in them. Spandex and clothing with stretch in them can be misleading. They mask weight gain, where jeans with no stretch are less forgiving. Sadly, you may walk around with 5-10 extra pounds on you, and still fit in your clothes.

People who are in the fitness industry fall in this trap a lot because workout attire is designed to stretch and feel good. If you wear nothing but workout clothes every day, you may not notice your weight gain as soon as if you were wearing fitted slacks every day. Since I fall into that category, I weigh myself every day to keep myself in check. You may prefer to take measurements. Whatever measurement you choose, set some guidelines for yourself to help you catch weight gain before it gets out of hand.

5 Steps to Shedding the Fat

reset1. Stop all cheat meals. Cutting back or working out more rarely works. There must be a line in the sand where things drastically change (temporarily) in order to break the cycle. Go back to what got you fit and trim to begin with. If that was counting calories, then start counting calories again until you lose the added pounds you gained. If it was doing cardio more, then do cardio more. However, it’s almost impossible to just try to eat cleaner or make subtle changes and expect big results. Subtle random changes delivers subtle random results.

2. Bump up your cardio. Speed up the weight loss process by burning more calories and doing more cardio than you normally do. Throw in a couple of two-a-day cardios if you really want faster results. While you still want to lift weights, burning calories should be your main focus during this phase. So, if you only have 30 minutes to workout, choose a workout that burns the most calories, like a HIIT workout over a traditional weight lifting routine.

keep-calm-and-dont-shop-alice-in-nappyland-no-buy3. Don’t buy any new clothes. When we feel fat, we are tempted to go buy some clothes that look and feel better on our heavier frame. In a way, it enables us to maintain that weight. Instead, wear the tighter clothes and let it be a reminder to stay on track. Treat yourself to a new outfit once you get back to the size you like best.

4. Plan vacations, parties and cheats AFTER you lose the weight. It’s nearly impossible to go on vacation and lose weight – or even maintain it! Don’t make losing weight any harder than it needs to be. Once you lose it, even a vacation won’t do too much damage if you are someone careful. If you must go out of town or you attend a party you can’t avoid, cut back on your calories before the event and do extra cardio to help prevent too much damage.

5. Set some rules for maintenance and stick to them. People don’t fail because they have an occasional cheat meal. They fail because on occasional cheat meal or snacks becomes a daily habit. You may set a rule to keep certain foods or drinks out of your house to avoid daily temptation while at home. You could make a rule that you can do one cheat meal a week, or allot 300 calories a night for snacks. Whatever you do, you need to have set guidelines in place to help prevent cheats and treats turning into unhealthy lifestyle.

Atkins Diet is Not What I Thought

As a fitness professional, I enjoy trying different diets and products so I can intelligently give feedback to our clients – and having an opportunity to try the Atkins Diet couldn’t come at a better time!

After a week entertaining house guests and another week in Atlantic City with my mom (for Ms. Senior Florida), all shortly after going to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, I am SO ready to put the Atkins diet to the test next week!

5 things I didn’t know about Adkins.

The truth is, I thought I had a grasp on the basics behind the Atkins Diet principles. However, the more I studied it, the more I realized how much misinformation is out there. Since you can eat fat on Atkins, I think many people are under the impression it’s an all-you-can-eat bacon and sausage kind of diet. A big surprise to me, someone on Atkins eats a lot like I do! Here are just a few things I’ve learned so far.

1. More Calories - The average amount of calories in an Atkins diet is 1,500-1,800 calories, which is 25% higher than a typical diet. The truth is, I normally average 1,400-1,600 calories a day when I’m dieting to lose weight. I only drop to 1,200 if I’m at a standstill or not losing as fast as I’d like. Most people should easily be able to lose weight eating 1,500-1,800 calories a day.

2. More Filling – Atkins frozen dinners are the same amount of calories I already budget per meal when dieting, which is around 350 calories. While you can get lower calorie meals, Atkins’ meals are high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates, so the meals will stick with you much longer than a standard frozen low calorie meal.

And don’t freak if you look at the fat in their snack bars. This bar has 10gms of fat, 16gms protein and only 19gms of carbs (only 3 net carbs). Again, because it does have more fat, this bar will keep you fuller longer.

3. More Healthy Fat - Atkins doesn’t just encourage dieters to eat fat, like many people may believe. Atkins encourages you to eat HEALTHY fats, like avocado, nuts, olive oil, Greek yogurt and dairy. I think a lot of people who don’t know much about Atkins think Atkins is all about steak, bacon, sausage and greasy food – I know, because I was one of them!! This is the Atkins pyramid, to give you a better idea of the structure of this diet.

atkins food

4. More Vegetables - From day one, Atkins encourages the consumption of vegetables, recommending more servings than the USDA guidelines.

5. Atkins is 100% FREE – there is no cost to do the program. Atkins offers an online community, resource center, recipes, tools and meal plans at Atkins.com. You can get some of their yummy bars, snacks and food in stores and online. Click HERE to learn more.

As I was typing this, Steve just text me this text. That stinker dove into MY Atkins bars! I have a feeling we’ll both be doing Atkins next week!!! I better go stock up! haha

text atkins

Why It Works

Click HERE to get more info, like this video, on why it works.

Here is a great page on more common Truths & Myths (and, again, I admit I believed some of those myths myself!). I am always learning!

Did You Know?

  • A low-fat diet is almost always a high-carb diet. When these carbs are low-fiber, the body becomes most vulnerable to blood sugar highs and lows that leave a person hungry and low on energy.
  • The Atkins Diet is designed to “flip the body’s metabolic switch” from burning carbs to burning fat. Graduated carb introduction helps avoid blood sugar and insulin spikes, which cause hunger and cravings.
  • When eaten in large amounts, carbohydrate (not fat, not protein) is the macronutrient responsible for raising blood levels of saturated fat and triglycerides.
  • Excess carbohydrate consumption is responsible for raising triglycerides and lowering “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Have you seen Fat Head? OMG! So interesting!!
  • Atkins improves cholesterol profiles and blood sugar levels, as well as other health markers. Following a low-carb lifestyle can also reverse metabolic syndrome and even slow down the progression Type 2 diabetes.
  • Atkins is the weight loss plan of choice for the millions of people who have a reduced ability to process carbohydrates – those who have varying levels of “carbohydrate intolerance.”
  • The Atkins Diet is backed by more than 80 independent, published, peer-reviewed studies conducted over the past several decades. Recently published medical journal articles that reinforce the unsurpassed effectiveness of the Atkins low-carb approach have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine and Lancet.

Get Connected

Follow Atkins to get more tips, facts, news and motivation.

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.

Q&A: Fat Burners, Diet Pills & Thermogenics

diet pills So many people don’t understand what Fat Burners really do. Are they diet pills? Do they work? How do they make you feel? Will it help you lose weight? How fast should you see results? When is it best to take them? These are many of the questions we get about Thermogenics (AKA Fat Burners).

First, watch this quick video, where Steve explains what thermogenics actually are – and what they do.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/KMTDHuw8XyI]

Now, to answer some of those questions.

Are they diet pills? 

diet pillsDiet pills do different things. Many prescription pills curb your appetitive. There is another prescription that blocks fat from being absorbed and stored. Old school prescription pills often contained amphetamines which now is typically prescribed as dextroamphetamine, or the inactive prodruglisdexamfetamine. Then you have the old school fat burners, which contained Ephedra, in combination with aspirin and caffeine. Since Ephedra is no longer legal in the United States, supplement companies have been working hard to come up with a safer way to burn fat. So, in my opinion, I would not classify a thermogenic as a diet pill. While the fat burner we take, ThermoHeat for example, does have an appetite suppressant in it, it’s main job its to increase your body temperature to burn more calories throughout the day.

Do they work?

Diet-weight-loss-Yes, but not if you are depending on a fat burner alone. Fat burners can give you the edge you need to be more apt to move, exercise and stay active. It will increase calorie burn, but you have to understand how easy it is to erase those calories with poor food choices. Let’s say, for example sake, you burn 200 extra calories a day when on a fat burner. You could erase those calories easily with a big gulp coke or an extra snack. For this reason, fat burners work best when you combine it with exercise and diet.

How do they make you feel?

crazyhairSome fat burners make you feel like you’ve had 10 cups of coffee. The old school fat burners that had ephedra in it really freaked people out. However, I think most fat burners today are more mild feeling in comparison to the Ephedra, caffeine and aspirin variations. People may complain about feeling anxious and jittery on some fat burners. Since I have heart palpitations, I have to watch out for fat burners that get my heart racing. ThermoHeat doesn’t make me feel that way at all. It makes me feel focused and more apt to stay moving, but I don’t feel like I’m on speed or anything. Basically, the answer to this question is “it depends”. Every fat burner is different.

weight lossWill it help you lose weight?

Yes. If you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose weight. The key to success is to make the most of the fat-burning opportunity. Exercise when you are feeling energized and avoid replacing calories with poor food choices. However, if you aren’t going to track calories or even try to be in a caloric deficit, you probably will not get the results you want.

How fast should you see results?

How fast you get results depends on how dedicated you are to your weight loss goals. First, you need to know that you should feel results right away. You should feel more energized and more focused pretty quickly. This should help you WANT to workout and stay more active, which can often be an issue for many people. People lack the motivation or the energy to workout. BUT, if you don’t workout and you refuse to be more active, you aren’t going to get all the goody out of your fat burner. If you are taking ThermoHeat, you should also not feel as hungry, which can help with controlling your appetite. So, in many ways, you should be getting results almost immediately. However, if you are talking about seeing results on the scale, that’s a different story. The results you get are dependent on consistency and accuracy. Staying consistent with eating low-calorie foods and exercising will get you faster results. Accurately tracking calories burned and calories consumed will help you get the best results. But if you plan on just guessing your way through the day, I can only guess your results (and I would guess they won’t be what you want).

When is it best to take them?

White Competition Bikini Personally, I like taking Fat Burners to help give me an edge when I’m taking my training or dieting up a notch. I only take them for a season, and then I go off for a while. For example, I took ThermoHeat to help me prepare for my competition. It REALLY helped me get my 3 workouts in a day (2 cardios and 1 weight training workout) when I was extra low on calories. I honestly don’t think I would have had the oomph to do it without it. It’s also great for people who are starting a workout and diet plan. It can give people the mental and physical boost they need to get in a routine. It also will help increase energy when people would typically experience a loss of energy from just starting a diet and exercise program.

ThermoHeatBefore I close, let me be super clear. If you want to lose weight, the first thing you need to focus on is diet. You need to learn to track calories and stick to a caloric budget (I like using the LoseIt app for this). Second, you need to get in a good exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout everyday, but a consistent workout routine you can stick to. Third, once you are willing to commit to eating right and exercising, THEN you can add supplements to the equation, like protein, creatine, fat burners, etc. Sadly, people often do the exact opposite, because making a protein shake or popping a pill is a lot easier than committing to a lifestyle change. You should never rely on supplements – they are only to SUPPLEMENT what you are missing and enhance what you are already doing. They are the icing on the low-cal cake! As long as you understand that, you are golden. Are they effective? Heck yeah, when they are used correctly! As long as you realize there is no protein shake or fat burner alone that will get you ripped like you see in the ads. Will they help? Absolutely! But, if you want results, you will be required to work for it. But I do promise you it will be SO worth it!!!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the fat burner we take, ThermoHeat.

Beware of These Weight Loss Stumbling Blocks

weight lossLosing weight can be very challenging, especially if you aren’t prepared for trials along the way. Since everyone experiences trials and failure on the road to success, the best way to conquer them is to be ready for them. Luckily, most people struggle with the same challenges. Here are 5 of the 10 common stumbling blocks I shared in an article for Answers.com. Click HERE to read all 10 at Answers.com.

1. Denial

You can’t fix a problem you haven’t admitted to. This is why admitting your problem is the first step in addiction groups. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can never overcome the problem you aren’t willing to admit you have.

2. Lack of support

If you had an alcohol problem, your loved ones wouldn’t keep alcohol around. However, people don’t think about having a weight problem as having a food problem. If you suffer from obesity, you likely have self-control issues with food and need more support. If you want success, share your concerns with your family and friends. Be honest with your loved ones about your weaknesses. Explain how much you need their support and protection against temptation. The more your family can understand your needs, the easier the process will be for you.

3. Laziness

With everyone’s crazy schedules, you shouldn’t be surprised when fatigue strikes. Instead, you should expect the temptation to skip your workout. As soon as that thought crosses your mind, remember how energized your body feels after a workout. The same way laziness breeds more laziness, staying moving helps you keep moving. The best way to get energized is to get moving.

4. Temptation

The easiest way to conquer temptation is to avoid it. It is difficult to eat junk food if there is no junk food around. Sadly, many people start a diet plan with all kinds of unhealthy foods still in the pantry. Even worse, many people continue restock the pantry with foods that aren’t on their diet. Even if your family is not overweight, junk food is unhealthy food and should be replaced with healthier options. Purge your kitchen of anything that would be a temptation for you. If it’s out of sight, it is easier for it to be out of mind.

5. Failure

People make mistakes. It’s easy to miscalculate calories, cheat on your diet and skip workouts from time to time. Regrettably, you can let one small slip keep you down if you aren’t careful. The best thing you can do is forgive yourself and plan your comeback. As the silent film actress, Mary Pickford, says “If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Failure is almost inevitable, so expect to fail along the way. Your weight loss success will be determined on how fast you recover from each fall….READ MORE

56 Calorie Calzone Quiche

Calzone Quiche you ask? Really? Yes! calzone quiche
That’s exactly what I was going for when I was trying to think up a new Bonnie creation today. It tasted just like a calzone without the bread!

In my recipe I use what I had on hand, including spinach, mini turkey pepperonis and onion. However, you could make it just like your favorite pizza or calzone by adding your favorite (but preferably low-calorie) toppings like mushrooms, green pepper or black olives. Be creative! Just be careful with how much you put in, since the juices can make the recipe watery when cooking down.

This is a great solution for a fast and healthy breakfast on the go. It also makes a really good snack and even a yummy dinner! 4 Calzone Quiches is only 225 delicious calories and 28 grams of protein!!
pepperoni minis

Ingredients

1 Cup Egg Beaters or Egg Whites
1 1/2 Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
2 oz Mini Turkey Pepperonis
1/3 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Large Tomato
2 T Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Season to taste with Red Pepper, Garlic and Salt

Topping
Your Favorite Tomato (spaghetti) Sauce (pre-made is fine)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together except the sauce and parmesan cheese, and pour in greased muffin pan (with Pam). Top with a PINCH of shredded cheese on each mini-quiche. Bake on 375 for 40-45 minutes (or until firm and slightly brown on top). Serve as is, for a standard spinach quiche taste OR turn it to a calzone applying the optional instructions below. Makes 15 medium cup-cake size muffins.

calzone quicheCALZONIFY IT: Warm up a small amount of spaghetti, marinara or pizza sauce and serve the quiche with a small dollop of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.

Nutrition:
56 Calories
7g Protein
3.4g Carbs
1.4g Fat

Add 8 Calories for the Calzone toppings: My sauce was only 3 calories per teaspoon and 5 calories for 1/2 a teaspoon of parmesan cheese.

Fitness Motivation: The Secret to a Total Transformation

fit girl“Why her? Why does she look so good? Why does it seem so easy for her? We do the same workout and she drops fat like it’s nothing. I workout harder. I’m stronger. I’m faster. I’m better. Maybe it’s her genetics. Maybe she has a faster metabolism. Maybe it’s her supplements. Do you think she is doing steroids? Do you think she has “help”? Maybe the doctor is giving her something to help her get faster results. Maybe I need to see my doctor. Maybe my body just doesn’t work like hers. Maybe it’s my thyroid. Maybe I’ll never be able to look like that.”

This is one downward spiral fueled by an unrealistic negative mindset that is focused on blaming on ANYone else but yourself. We can’t judge a person by what they do in the gym. It’s an hour a day. Have you ever thought that it could be what she is doing the other 23 hours a day that’s getting her the results you want?

I see this in boot camp all the time. People do the same exact workout. They get the same information, yet one person loses 30lbs and gets shredded while their BFF leaves the same weight as they started. Did the BFF lose fat and gain muscle? Probably. But did they radically change like their friend? No. Why? It wasn’t what they did in the gym. It was what they weren’t doing when they left.

change your lifeThink of it this way. We all know going to church won’t get you to heaven. There have been plenty of criminals who have gone to church. They might have even served as a deacon. They could have had the best intentions. They might have gone down to the front, or raised their hand, to say they wanted to change. They might have cried buckets of tears in complete misery with how they were living life, begging God to help them to change. They could have attended every service, gone to every Bible Study, and did everything other church members did, but their life would NEVER change if they didn’t change the way they lived OUTSIDE the church. That would require surrender. It requires discipline. It requires perseverance. It requires a lifestyle change.

Just do itTransformation requires DOING not just HEARING. We teach our fitness competitors the SAME stuff we teach our boot campers and clients. Some reach their fullest potential and some never even scratch the surface. Why? Like with church, the “message” is the same. My pastor is giving the same message to 4 different services, and hundreds of people. Each time his words penetrate our hearts and we take it home and practice it (practice also means we try and fail, and we keep trying anyway).

Our life is not the same as it was the first time we showed up. Our lives are being transformed – and we are not alone. I’ve seen radical life changes – HUGE transformations. So why isn’t EVERYONE that goes to our church having these same awesome experiences as we are? Because the keep going right back to the same way they are living, without applying what they are hearing. They expect to magically be transformed by the one-hour spiritual workout a week – and they fail.

feed on the word of godI’ve gone to church all my life. I failed in life when I quit applying what I’ve learned at HOME. It’s not what I do at church or the gym that transforms my life. My workouts are almost the exact same now as they were when I was 20lbs heavier. What changed is what I was putting in to my body on a daily basis. It’s the consistency of eating clean and denying the flesh what it craves (chips and salsa, cookies, overeating, snacking, etc). If I eat junk, I’ll look like junk. If I eat too much, I’m going to weigh too much. If I eat clean, I will look lean. If I eat healthy, I will feel healthy. What I put in my body (and soul) absolutely has a radical affect on my life.

fitness motivationIf you want to transform your life – whether physically or spiritually, you have to quit feeding your flesh (quit literally feeding your body the things it wants opposed to the things it needs – both physically and spiritually). You need to do more than rely on a Sunday message or a motivational mantra. It takes more than “good works” or a good workout. It takes a life change – 24 hours a day. Will you fail? Heck yeah – and you will STILL be SO much better off trying.

No more complacency.
No more pointing the finger.
No more excuses. 

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Eat Clean

 

4 Dangers of Lazy Living?

LazinessWant to lose weight? Are you the kind of person who would just do better if someone else would cook for you, or at least just tell you what to eat? You aren’t alone. It’s called being lazy – and we ALL have a lazy bone that wishes dieting could be easier. Are we really going to let laziness rule our life? Seriously? We KNOW the reward is great, so why would we let a few food prep and calorie-logging steps get in our way?

We are lazy creatures. We want to be spoon fed. We don’t even want to read information now – we want to hear it or watch it on TV, because reading would take too much effort. We prefer to be forced to do the right thing because making the decision to do the right thing on our own would also be too much work. Even people at church want to be given a really good word from the pulpit to last them all week because they are too lazy to open the Bible and actually get a word from God themselves. Here are 4 ways laziness gets us in trouble.

Knowledge quote1. We do not apply what we learn. We constantly seek more information, when we aren’t even applying what we have already heard. James 1:22 says “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Of course it’s talking about the word, being the Bible. However, I believe we can learn from this and apply it to many areas of our life. How often are we searching for new recipes, new workouts and new fitness toys when we already know what to eat, know what to do and have enough fitness tools to do it? Normally, the difference between someone who is getting results and someone who isn’t is the person getting results is actually applying what they have have already learned. While the person who isn’t getting results is only applying SOME of what they’ve learned, and still in search of an easier route or a shortcut.

big-boned-exercise-cartoon2. We have selective hearing. When we choose to have selective hearing, and only apply what we like while ignoring the stuff we don’t like, we are deceiving ourselves. We live life pretending we are doing everything right, because we are doing some stuff right. This is a VERY bad habit. Why? First, you begin to believe the lie that you are doing “everything” you can. That’s not true. You are doing everything you WANT to do, but not everything you SHOULD do. Second, as we decide to pick and choose what we want to apply, we become more susceptible to false teaching and gimmicks. This applies both to our fitness and diet, as well as our spiritual journey. You don’t get to pick and choose truth. Truth is truth and if you ignore the truth long enough, you will begin to fall for any lie. You must apply all the principles to get the results you want – not just some of them. However, many people find themselves working hard in the gym (because they don’t mind that part), yet ignoring calories (because that is too much work) – and they wonder why they can’t lose the weight. If you want to succeed, you have to decide to apply EVERYTHING you learn, not just some of it.

Diet Cartoon3. You never really learn what is necessary to make fitness a lasting lifestyle. If you take short cuts, you are missing out on gaining more knowledge. Eating Lean Cuisines instead of learning out to prepare and weigh food, and count calories keeps you in bondage to boxed foods. As soon as you are left to cook or eat out, you will be lost. There is a certain amount of “homework” required to the fitness lifestyle. You must make the extra effort to measure food, weigh it, research foods, count calories, look up healthy recipes, study workouts, learn proper form, research supplements and study nutrition if you really want to KNOW how to live healthy. Sadly, people don’t want to know anything. They want to get healthy with limited knowledge. This is why people say “just tell me what to do” or “tell me what to eat”. Just telling someone what to do or eat sets them up for long-term failure. The best way to make fitness a lifestyle is to invest time in gaining the knowledge you need to KNOW how to live healthy (not pretend to live healthy). Think about how much time you waste surfing facebook or watching TV, where you gain NO knowledge. Don’t you think you are worth the investment?

too busy to exercise4. You make life harder than it has to be. ironically, we waste more and energy time trying shortcuts than if we did everything the right (and often longer) way. Proverbs 12:24 says “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” I think this passage is interesting because what it tells me is lazy people will be FORCED to work even harder. It’s funny how easy life is when we suck it up and just do what we are supposed to do. It’s when we try to avoid work, we often have to work much harder. I’ve personally experienced this time after time – especially with home improvement projects. I can’t count the number of times I had to either completely do something over again because I was trying to cut corners.

You can do MOREWhat this scripture also tells me is that I will be more in control if I am diligent. How many of us want to be in control of our lives? Of course our life really is in God’s hands, but there are many things we can control – and exercise and diet falls in that category. Do you really want to be FORCED to labor – possibly doing what you don’t even want to do? Or do you want to take control and choose what you are willing to do? Unfortunately, many people wait until it’s too late and the doctor tells them they need to make changes or they are going to die. You can decide now, or someone will decide for you later. Either way, we really can’t avoid work. It’s a part of life – so you might as well take control now.

Have you been guilty of trying short cuts, waiting on an easier way or only applying some of what you have learned? Save a lot of time and energy, and each your goal faster, by doing fitness the right way – applying what you have learned, and continuing to learn something new every day! You will be SO glad you did!! Your only regret will be that you wish you did it sooner!!

Motivational Quote:

You can do more

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