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Searching for Fitness Tips? Beware!

diet tipsAre you constantly looking for all the best tips, information and advice. If so, beware of falling into the trap of reading tips and advice, and your knowledge stopping there. To truly transform your life, you need to become a student of fitness - study, learn and apply. Here’s what I mean…

In today’s world, we want quick fixes, fast answers, a short word of advice or small tip to help us get through the day. We want our trainer to motivate us to workout, we want our preacher to give us an inspiring word to make us want to live better and we want someone to just tell us what to eat so we can lose weight. Basically, we want everyone else to do the hard work – the studying, the thinking, the troubleshooting…and pass along the results of their labor to us.

However, even the best advice is worthless if it isn’t fully understood or being applied. Being told what to do in the gym isn’t going to make you any more fit than going to church once a week isn’t going to make you spiritual. These tidbits of information are to SPARK an interest in you to dig more, to study more, to learn more and to put what you have learned into practice. When you only get the tip, you are only getting part of the story. The tip should be the START of a journey, not the end-all be-all.

I try really hard to put short bits of information out there for everyone to enjoy, BUT there are some exceptions and more information than I can squeeze in a short blog or motivational mantra. The goal is to spark something in you to want to learn more.

“I have been in an academic setting my entire life, I have been obsessed with weight loss reality TV shows since they existed, and I have read magazine article after article on diet and nutrition for weight loss because I knew I deserved more than to be fat and unhealthy my entire life. But when your sister shared your book with me, I read it cover to cover in one sitting and my life was changed forever.” Jenny

Why was her life changed? It wasn’t because she bought my ebook. Because she UNDERSTOOD the text and APPLIED IT. It’s really that simple. AND, she didn’t apply PARTS of it, she applied it ALL – and she lost 70lbs!

JenVenn_unhealthy_2000 JenVenn_healthybike_May2012We need to become more knowledgeable if we want to make better choices. We can’t rely on rules, a list of approved foods or tips to get us by in life. We need to understand they WHY behind it all. It’s in understanding WHY that we are much more motivated to DO.

Let me encourage you! Today, Joyce Meyer said we aren’t supposed to just read the Word, that we are supposed to STUDY the Word. Look at what the word “READ” actually means:

  • to look at and comprehend the meaning of…
  • inspect and record…
  • to have such knowledge of (a language) as to be able to understand things written in it

studyingI believe this is how we are to treat ANYthing that is important to us and has the potential to improve our life. We can’t rely on tips or CliffsNotes to help us make the best decisions in life. We must read (study), take notes, practice what we have learned, troubleshoot, experiment, learn from our mistakes and re-test yourself (try and try again).

Isn’t it time you make a commitment to STUDYING the important things in life? Parenting, Health & Fitness, God, Marriage & Career Skills – THESE are worth studying and will pay off big-time!

Stop looking for people to spoon-feed you fitness tips or religious inspiration. Let’s go deeper!

Why You Can’t Work Off Your Weight

diet AND exerciseI’m going to tell you something that could save you hours in the gym and weeks of wasted work for little to no results? Ready? OK, here it goes: you can’t exercise the weight off. (allowing a pause here for every woman to shriek in pure horror and disappointment)

Don’t get me wrong. There are SOME people who start exercising and lose weight, but normally they are also trying to eat better too. OR, maybe they were extremely overweight and sedentary so their new active lifestyle was a very drastic change for them. Whatever the case, it’s rare and exercise can only get you so far when it comes to weight loss. Weight loss requires cutting back on the calories taken in, unless you want to run 5-10 miles a day to get in the 500-1000 calorie deficit that is required for weight loss.

Unfortunately, many people join a gym and hire a trainer in hopes of losing weight and rely on those 3 workouts a week to do all the work. I only WISH this worked! Being a trainer would be awesome, everyone would get results and the world would be a happy fit and trim place. But it just doesn’t work like that.

Think about it. Do you really expect a one hour workout to erase all the poor choices you make for the rest of the 23 hours in your day? Does that even make sense? However, many people are doing just that. They expect their 3-5 hours in the gym each week to erase all the extra calories they eat over the 168 hours a week. Do the math! 5 hours vs 168 hours. If we were gambling, I’m pretty sure we’d all bet on the 168 hours winning the fight.

“You can’t compete with what you eat” 

sconeThink of it this way. If 30 minutes on the treadmill only burns 300 calories, but you can eat a 300-calorie pastry in 5 minutes, can you see how that math will never work? (PS: 1 blueberry scone at Starbucks is 460 CALORIES!!) So for every 5 minutes of pastry-eating, you’d need to work 30 minutes on the treadmill? Yeah, that ain’t happening.

It doesn’t have to be poor choices either. Most people just eat too much. They may eat healthy, but they eat a LOT of healthy food. And, the more they workout, the more they mentally think they can afford to eat.

Of course I’m just using these examples to help you grasp the whole exercise vs diet concept, do don’t get freaked out. This is also written for people who need to lose weight. Maintenance mode is totally different. When you are maintenance mode you aren’t trying to be in a caloric deficit so you can eat more. I can order fries if I want to and I probably won’t gain weight because I’m in maintenance. Now, if I did it every day, that’s another thing! However, I keep my calories low throughout the day so I CAN cheat here and there and not gain weight. I may also do an extra cardio here or there to make up for any extra calories, but I never can be completely irresponsible for several days straight or I will blow up quick. ;)

WORTH THE SACRIFICE copySadly, most people don’t want to give up their simple little pleasures – even for a much BIGGER and GREATER reward, like a fit and trim body. They feel like they “must have chocolate” or “can’t give up wine”. Maybe their goal is too far away that they don’t truly realize what that glass of wine or nightly ice cream is costing them. They don’t realize how fast they’d reach their goal if they just stuck to both diet and exercise.

So, to make themselves feel better they decide to exercise. Working out is awesome and you can absolutely get in better shape. You can have a firmer body, stronger muscles, better stamina and more energy BUT you may not lose one pound if you are burning as many calories as you are eating. Diet is required for weight loss.

Diet-Plus-Exercise

Changing-Body-StructureThe same way you can’t eat a bunch of protein and magically grow muscle, you have to make sure you are doing what is required to reach your goal. If you want to lose body fat and lose weight, you have to diet. If you want to get fit, you have to exercise. If you want a better health report, you probably need to do both. If you want to look fit, you need to do both.

Most people act as if they are in maintenance mode – exercising and eating whatever they want. However, most people need to be in weight loss mode, which is dieting and exercising. The sooner you do it right, the sooner you can be in maintenance mode – but just a thinner fitter you in maintenance mode!

TIP: The longer you put off dieting, the longer you put off results. Go ahead and start today! You can lose 8-12lbs in one month with a great low-cal diet and exercise program. Do the math! How much do you need to lose? Isn’t it worth a few weeks of discipline!?  I think it is!! You’ll be SO glad you did! Otherwise, 5 years may fly by and you are still the same weight because you weren’t willing to work as hard in the kitchen as you were in the gym.

The Amazing 63 Calorie Quiche

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Daisy Cottage Cheese. 

63 Calorie Quiche RecipeEating healthy is always easier when you plan ahead. Part of my planning ahead includes making a healthy breakfast that’s easy to heat and eat! This week, my breakfast of choice is a low-fat spinach quiche made with Daisy low-fat cottage cheese.

One thing I love about adding Daisy Cottage Cheese to my quiche is because it’s packed with protein (13gms per 1/2 cup 90 calorie serving). Since I like to get the majority of my protein from whole foods, Daisy Cottage Cheese is a great way to boost protein in your diet naturally. (FYI: Daisy Cottage Cheese has no preservatives, thickeners or additives and only has ingredients, where other brands have more than 10).

Shopping Tip: Look for the LIGHT blue lid (that’s the low fat one. Daisy’s regular cottage cheese has a dark blue lid). Also, alway look at ingredients when shopping. Less is more!  I took a photo of the ingredients for Daisy (below left) compared to another popular brand (below right). Look at all the extra ingredients. Who wants to eat Xanthan gum and Guar gum? lol

Daisy Cottage Cheese Daisy Cottage Cheese

63 Calorie Quiche

Daisy Cottage Cheese

16oz Bag of Defrosted & Drained Spinach
1 Cup Egg Beaters
2 Cups Low-Fat Daisy Cottage Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 Cup Crushed Crackers or Croutons
6 1 Medium Tomato, Diced
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Cook the spinach in a pan and drain well. Mix spinach in with all the ingredients. Pour in well greased muffin pan (I use Pam) and cook on 325 for 45 minutes. The recipe makes 12 63-calorie yummy low-fat, high-protein, low-carb mini quiches! BAM!

Change it up

63 Calorie Quiche RecipeUse this same recipe and just make some subtle changes to make your own new creations. Swap cheddar cheese for feta cheese or tomatoes for mushrooms. Change spinach for broccoli or asparagus. Dress your recipe up but adding a sliced cherry tomato on top. Don’t care about calories? Use 2 cups of cheese instead of 1/2 cup of cheese to richen the recipe (NOTE: that will make each quiche 120 calories instead of 63 calories).

Nutritional Information

Enjoy 2 quiches for only 125 calories, 16.4g of protein, 3.9g carbs and 4.8g fat. Look at this awesome pie graph! See all that light blue – that’s ALL PROTEIN!! WOOOT!

63 Calorie Quiche Recipe

I log my recipes in the LoseIt app to track calories and nutrients. What I love about making quiche in a muffin pan is that I have 12 perfect individualized portions, making tracking calories a breeze!

10 Ways to Cook With Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese recipesIf you are like me, and aren’t a big fan of eating cottage cheese solo, here are some great ways to enjoy the benefits of Daisy Cottage Cheese to eat healthier, reduce calories and boost protein.

1. Use cottage cheese instead of sour cream to add creaminess and a bunch of protein to a baked potato.

2. Use cottage cheese to thicken homemade dressings (using blender)

3. Use cottage cheese in place of Ricotta cheese in Italian dishes. (90 calories per half cup vs 216 calories)

4. Add a nice dollop of cottage cheese to a salad.

5. Use pureed cottage cheese instead of sour cream for a creamy healthier chip dip

6. Add cottage cheese to your smoothie for a creamier protein shake with even more protein.

7. Use cottage cheese in place of oil when baking.

8. Use cottage cheese instead of mayo when making tuna salad. (Puree it to make it creamy if you don’t like it chunky)

9. Mix cottage cheese with salt, pepper and herbs for a yummy and healthy cracker spread.

10. Mix or layer with fresh pineapple, apple sauce, peaches, pear or mandarin oranges and top with a dollop of whipped cream for a healthy dessert or breakfast.

HOW DO YOU EAT COTTAGE CHEESE?

twitter chatJoin us in our Twitter Chat! Daisy wants to know how you “Power Your Way Through the Day”. Getting the proper fuel we need can be hard on the go. Getting protein, outside of eating meat or having a protein shake, can also be challenging. Daisy Cottage Cheese is the perfect protein source. Daisy is extremely versatile and can help power your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and pre/post workout. Learn more about the Daisy Difference April 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm EST #DaisyDifference! See you there!

 

Diet Tip: Eat More Veggies, Eat More Food

You can have 1 oz of pasta and have a big empty plate OR you can have 2-3 times the amount of veggies for the same amount of calories. Check it out!

calories in pasta

Trade 1/2 cup of pasta for 1 FULL Cup of:

1. Asparagus: 27 calories
2. Broccoli: 35 calories
3. Brussel Sprouts: 38 calories
4. Cabbage: 41 calories
5. Cooked Cabbage: 65 calories
6. Cauliflower: 23 calories
7. Lettuce: 8 calories
8. Fresh Spinach: 20 calories
9. Cooked Spinach: 41 calories
10. Cooked Collard Greens: 62 calories

The less high-carb foods you eat, the MORE you can eat. Avoid large amounts of pasta, potato, rice, beans & bread. Increase green veggies to increase portions without INCREASING your waistline!

 

How to Kill a Bad Habit

Joyce Meyer said, “Every time you feed the flesh, you strengthen it. This is good if you are trying to build a good habit, but detrimental if you are trying to stop a bad habit. The way to “kill the flesh” is to starve it; to stop feeding it.”

feed your fitnessWhat a simple concept: Starve what you want to die, feed what you want to live. In the context Joyce was talking about, she was addressing feeding our physical desires, not necessarily just our stomach. Our body has physical desires. It lusts, it hungers, it wants to sleep, it wants to be lazy. Sometimes it wants to get angry, it wants to cuss, it wants to be get its way and if we LET it get its way, without practicing self control, the flesh will kill you.

So how do we subdue the flesh and grow the things we want to grow in our life? The same way we kill something or grow anything – it depends on how we feed it.

Trust me, if you don’t feed a plant it will die. If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you the plants on my back porch. However, the plants in my yard are thriving. Why? Because my lawn people take really good care of those plants. They feed it fertilizer, they get rid of weeds that may choke out any life, and they give it regular attention.

Our fitness is the same way. It requires attention. The more we feed it, the more it will grow. This means we need to attend to it regular. It also means we need to pull anything out of our life that might choke out our progress. And, it means we need to starve our bad habits (poor eating habits, laziness, business, etc) that will make it more difficult to succeed.

You are in control of your flesh. You decide what lives and what dies.

You are what you think:

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, (this means you decide what you want your mind should be on, think on those things, meditate on them, focus on them, fix it and keep it there. However, we can think on better things, healthier things, greater things…) “but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5

What have you been allowing yourself to set your mind on that doesn’t belong? Decide now to not meditate on those things and replace those thoughts on the things you want to grow in your life. :)

100-Calorie Soup

What typically goes in soup? Well, let’s think… Potatoes, Carrots, Corn, Peas, Lima Beans, any kind of bean, rice, pasta…basically all high carb vegetables. What do you not see in soup that often? Low-carb veggies like Brocoli, Cauliflower, Spinach and Cabbage. Why not? Did someone make a rule? Are there only a few soup-approved veggies? NO! People just like their carbs. A high-carb meal is a high-calorie meal, so i decided to make a low-carb soup that would entertain my tastebuds without costing me a few miles of cardio to burn off. This soup is perfect for those nights I had a post-workout shake and don’t need a lot of calories, but still want a hot meal when I get home for the gym.

Low-Carb Low-Cal Soup100-Calorie 2-Cup Soup

4 Quarts Vegetable Broth Base (I used Knorr Vegetable Mix)
1 Bag of Frozen Cauliflower (or 2 cups fresh)
2 Cups frozen chopped spinach
2 Cups chopped brocoli
2 1/2 Cups Ground Turkey (20 oz)
2 Chopped Zucchini
2 T Splenda/Stevia
2 T Hickory Liquid Smoke
Salt/Pepper to taste

Makes 25 Cups
59 Calories per Hearty Cup!

I entered everything into my LoseIt app. Here is the profile :)

100-calorie soup

Potatoless Low-Cal Shepherd’s Pie

potatoeless sheperd's pieI love potatoes. Honestly, I think they are probably one of my favorite vegetables. BUT they are super high in calories and carbs, so I try to limit them. One baked potato is a whopping 270 calories – that’s most of my allotted calories for a single meal when I’m dieting (which is around 300-350 calories/meal) – and that’s without butter, sour cream or anything extra!

A medium French Fry from McDonald’s is 360 calories!! Sadly, I have to admit, when I get fries, my eyes are bigger than my brain and I feel the need to order a large fry because I like fries more than the darn burger. However, that large fry will cost me about a 5 1/2 mile run!  A large fry had more calories than my sandwich – 537 calories (Super Size is 610 CALORIES!)!! Needless to say, if you are counting calories, it doesn’t take long to realize you need to limit potatoes from your diet if you want to lose weight.

With all that high-cal potato talk, I got a little creative last night and made a potatoless Shepherd’s pie. Honestly, if I had cauliflower, I would have made mashed cauliflower. Instead, I started my meal out like I always do. I look in the fridge and pantry to see what I have and then I start brainstorming. Yesterday, I ended up with Ground Turkey & Cabbage Shepherd’s pie and it was a success. Steve loved it, and he liked the carb to protein ratio – so here it is!

potatoeless sheperd's pie

Potatoless Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 head of cabbage chopped (made 4 cups)
  • 4 cups cooked and seasoned lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 cup yellow corn
  • 1 1/2 cup lima beans ( didn’t have peas!)
  • 1 tablespoon butter/margarine
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of Stevia and Splenda
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Badia Complete Seasoning

First I combined cooked and seasoned turkey meat with cooked corn and limas (cooked and seasoned with salt and pepper) and put that in the casserole dish. (I seasoned my meat with lemon juice and Badia Complete Seasoning). Then, in a separate pot, I boiled the cabbage with seasonings and the Stevia until really tender and soft. I drained the cabbage reeeeeally well and added the butter to add a little fat, as well as a buttery flavor. Next, I spread it out on top of the meat mixture, topping it with the sprinkle of cheese and baked it on 400 for 20 minutes or so (just to melt the cheese and do the final bit of cooking).

After you pull it out of the oven, drain off any fluid (from the cabbage) and let it stand for a few minutes. If you can’t wait, you can serve it right away, but it will be a messy meal. If you let it cool, it cuts in nicer squares. I let mine cool completely and stored it in the refrigerator. Then I cut it in squares and put it in tupperware (cuts beautifully when cold). Steve loved it and it was darn tasty!

9 servings: 278 calories 25g P, 15g C 13g F
12 small squares: 209 calories, 19.1g P, 11.3g C, 9.9g F 

potatoeless sheperd's pie

NOTE: Fat slows digestion, helping you feel fuller longer, as well as provides you with more lasting energy.

 

Tangy Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soupWhen I want to enjoy a hot meal, but I don’t want a lot of whole food in my stomach, I go the soup route. The fluid fills me up, without putting a lot of whole food through my stomach. As a result, I eat fewer calories and my stomach flattens out. I headed to the kitchen, looked to see what I had and started creating. Here’s basically what I came up with.

Please note: I didn’t measure as I went. I was just shaking, dumping and stirring stuff in, using what I had in the pantry and doing what I do best – make stuff up as I go along. I tried to guestimate what I did after I realized I probably should share what was brewing – especially since it was SO yummy and only 107 calories a cup, 8.5gm protein, 15.6 carbs and 1.2g fat! :)  Feel free to adjust the seasonings, water and lemon juice to fit your tastes. As for the 2 cans of soup. I often use a can of soup as a base for my pot-luck soups. You can use pretty much any vegetable soup as a base, or skip it altogether and just add more seasoning, diced tomatoes, bullion or powdered soup mix. :)

Tangy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

DIET TIP: Scan food as you cook to track calories in your LoseIt app. Remember to adjust serving size to match the ENTIRE can or food product. 

4 Chicken Breast pulled (boiled in lemon or lime juice, water, salt and seasonings)
(1-2 Cups of the broth from that soup can be used for the base)
1 1/2 Cup Yellow Corn (limit corn to limit calories)
1 Can Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 Can of Vegetable Beef Soup (that’s just what I happened to have)
3-4 Cans Water (depending on desired thickness)
2 Cans of  Black Beans (dieters use 1 can)
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
1 Can of Dices Green Chiles
1 Cup Yellow Rice (optional)
3 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/3 Cup Lime or lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Sonny’s Sweet BBQ Sauce  (optional – gives a chipotle taste)
1 1/1 tsp Splenda or Stevia
Fresh Cilantro (to taste)
A few shakes of Red Pepper
Salt to taste

Should Make Approximately 23 1/2 Cups

Boil the chicken until the chicken falls apart. Chop it up, pull it apart and combine it with all other ingredients in a huge pot. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for a couple of hours. The longer it stews, the more flavor the chicken and veggies will have. Don’t do final tasting until it has cooked for a while. The taste of the broth will change as it adopts the flavors of the tomatoes, chicken, corn, black beans and green chiles. Once it has had a chance to simmer for a while, then you can determine if it needs more lemon or lime juice, or seasonings.

After I finished cooking it, I measured out (one cup at a time) into a tupperware container to find out how many cups it made. Add more chicken to increase protein, or decrease corn and beans to decrease carbs. You can add sliced avocado on top as a garnish if you want to increase fats. The key is finding out what your diet needs and making adjustments to fit your needs.

lose it pie graph

One cup makes a great snack. 1.5-2 cups is a filling meal!

Beef up the meal and protein by combining 1 cup of soup with 3 oz side of chicken for a 277 calories, 31g protein, 27gm carbs and 5g fat. (pie graph above shows the breakdown of nutrients)

DIET TIP: LOWER CALORIES EVEN MORE

Use 1 can of black beans (instead of 2), 3/4 cup of corn (instead of 1 1/2 cup) and no rice (instead of 1 cup), and you’ll reduce your calories to 78 calories per cup. (29 calories less – lower carb). Add broccoli to add more fiber and consistency with fewer calories.

 

Kabbage & Kale Asian Salad

Kabbage & Kale Asian Salad

It’s Dinner Time!

When we are in “diet mode”, salads are our first pick for supper. Since we try to minimize carbs, and predominately eat protein, greens and fats at night, salads make a perfect filling (and delicious) dinner. However, you can only eat a traditional Chef salad so much, so I’m always making new creations to entertain our taste buds. This is when I open the fridge up, see what I have and start brainstorming on what I can create based on what ingredients I have on hand.

My Salad Formula
After I see what I have to work with, I first choose my “style”. Then I pick my greens. To help me manage calories, I normally choose one sweet item (like Craisins, apple, pear, mandarin oranges, etc) and one fat (like goat cheese, avocado, nuts or olive oil). Then I add in “freebies”, the extras that don’t have a lot of calories like tomato, onions, cucumbers, seasonings, etc. Lastly, I top it with protein and choose a light dressing to toss everything in.

Last night, I was in the mood for Oriental! So here’s what I whipped together for Steve and I! I have to admit, I couldn’t get enough and was super sad when it was all gone! :)

Salad Ingredients
2 Cups Shredded Cabbage
2 Cups Finely Chopped Kale
1 Can Low Sugar Mandarin Oranges (chopped up slightly)
1/2 Chopped Sweet Onion
2 Small Grilled Chicken Chopped (I smoked chicken rubbed in Curry & Seasonings)
1/3 Cup Cooked Quinoa
Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Lite Dressing
1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds
Almond Accents Sliced Almonds

cucumber relishCucumber Side/Topping
1 Cucumber chopped in short straws
1 Teaspoon Splenda
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar

In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of splenda. Let the cucumber marinade while you mix the salad together. In one large bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients accept for the chicken and almonds. Divide the salad into 2 servings and top with chicken and the cucumber topping, sprinkling the almond accents on top for a nice added low-calorie crunch.

Is Your Salad Making You Fat?

Here are 7 tips to making healthy salads at home.

31 Days of Motivation: Better Than Chocolate

Crave your goals more

SUPERWOMANWe all have a favorite food we seem powerless around. Some people crave sweets, others (like me) crave salty snacks. If you want to see me struggle, just put a bowl of chips and salsa in front of me. It’s my kryptonite. I will shrivel up into a ball and lose all my super powers. OK, not really, but you get the point.

If you want results this year, you need to STOP obsessing over your kryptonite, and START obsessing over the super powers you will get as soon as you get away from it. If you think you can’t live without your nightly ice cream, you should be more stressed out about living one more night not feeling your best, your strongest, your fittest, your healthiest. That, my friend, is actually something worth worrying about.

Think about living one more day in tight fitting jeans. Think about living one more day, out of shape and out of breath. Think about giving up a healthy heart, a long life, and spending time feeling your best playing with your grandkids. THAT, my friends, is what you are GIVING UP every time you GIVE IN – and THAT is some scary stuff!

Are you giving your kryptonite too much power?

Homework:

Make a list of the things you are giving up (the future, healthier you), if you don’t give up the things you need to reach your goals.

 

 

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