Posts tagged diet

3 Type of Dieters Who Fail: Beware of These Common Mistakes

Ladies share their diet struggles with me all the time. They tell me how they’ve tried every diet on the planet but never got results or how they used to workout but that didn’t work either. Most of the time they just didn’t stick with it long enough or their regime was just too unrealistic to maintain long-term.

My favorite complaint is the one where they tell me how they’re doing all the right things and still can’t lose weight. They say how hard they work out and how healthy they eat – but, honestly, they just can’t work out that hard, eat right and NOT lose weight. It’s just science. If you are taking in fewer calories than you’re burning – you WILL lose weight.

So what’s their problem? Well, it seems there are a few common scenarios.

The Weekday Dieter

eating healthyThere is the person that really does eat very well…..MOST of the time – and that’s their problem. This person eats very few calories during the week but completely blows it on the weekends.

This eating pattern is more for someone in the maintenance stage of their diet. If they want to lose weight, they need to eat right seven days a week until they lose a significant amount of weight. It may take a few weeks, but it is crucial for weight loss. After they lose their first chunk of weight they can celebrate and cheat a little but they have to get right back on their diet until they reach their goal.

The Clueless Dieter  

eating blindfoldedAnother type of dieter is the person that just has no clue what they are eating. They really believe they are eating well, but are just relying on guess work.

For example, I had a woman tell me that she was on a “No-Carb” Diet (which is a whole other topic to be discussed), but she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t losing weight. I asked her to give me an example of what she was eating and the first three things she listed were all high-carb/high-calorie items. She simply didn’t know any better. She thought carbs were basically only bread, pasta and french fries. Her knowledge was limited. In this situation it is imperative dieters get the knowledge they need to make the right choices.

The Healthy Dieter

frustrated-woman-cookingMany dieters eat healthy, but still eat too many calories. They avoid all the obvious high-calorie foods like ice cream, french fries and cream sauces, but still gets too many calories from other foods or overeating. They might not even count fruits and vegetables, or other items that sound healthy, even thought they still are calories.

The healthy dieter may fix healthy meals, but forget all the extra items like alcohol, sauces, dressings, etc. If they’d keep better track of what they are eating, they would find the lost calories.  To make things worse, this type of dieter typically works out a lot and feels they can “afford” more calories.

Keeping a diet journal and tracking calories with a calorie counter app like www.LoseIt.com is normally a big eye-opener. It not only helps people learn more about calories in food, but it also teaches them how many calories are really burned in exercise, so they can understand how to balance the two – calories in vs. calories out.

The Answer

The bottom line is calories are calories, no matter where it comes and whether you know you are eating them or not. When it comes to losing weight, it doesn’t matter if the calories are coming from unhealthy foods or healthy foods. Of course healthier calories are always better, but you will likely just end up a healthier, but still overweight, dieter.

Whether you try a fad diet or make up your own, success boils down to eating fewer calories than you are burning. It’s just that simple.

Do You Use Exercise for Damage Control?

damage controlThink how much further you’d be if you didn’t eat something you shouldn’t eat, with the mindset of either “I worked hard today in the gym” or “I’ll just do an extra cardio tomorrow”. Sadly, if you workout at all, you’ve done this before – we ALL do!

Think about what we are really doing. We are taking one step forward in the gym, then taking one step (and often 2 steps) back with our lack of discipline in eating – and then we take one step forward again to get back to where we started to begin with. We are basically getting nowhere, or we are letting our diet slow us down to a snail’s pace.

What if EVERYTHING we did in the gym was a NEW step forward? Where would you be now if you didn’t rely on exercise as simply damage control?

30 Days of Motivation: Beware of the Unknown

just becauseQuote of the Day: Just because you don’t read food labels, it doesn’t mean the calories aren’t there. If you don’t see the calories on the label, you may see them later on your hips.”

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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30 Days of Motivation: Good Food vs Evil Food

FOOD IS NOT BOSSQuote of the Day: “Food is not the boss of me” 

Scripture of the Day: “…I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

One of the problems with eating and dieting is that there are no set rules that apply to everyone. There is somewhat a grey area when it comes to eating. Eating is not wrong, it’s not a sin and it’s not against the law, but it can be deadly, it can destroy self-confidence, it can make you miserable, it can make you feel bad and it clearly can be very harmful to you when abused.

Bottom line, for something that isn’t necessarily bad, it can definitely be a huge problem to some people. As a result, you get a lot of opinions from people that can cloud your own beliefs and understanding. You may even fall into peer pressure as some people snub their nose at others who eat fast food or might enjoy an ice cream sundae. Some health fanatic may even take it up a notch and preach to everyone everywhere they go about avoiding sugar, gluten, dairy, sweeteners or whatever other thing they personally are convicted to avoid.

Who’s the Boss?

sweetsI’m here to help you differentiate between what is OK and not OK for YOU. You need to know without a shadow of a doubt whether sweets, snacks, meat, carbs, alcohol or whatever is right for you so you. You need know without a shadow of a doubt what is OK for your eating plan and what is not. You should know where the boundaries need to be set – and I believe this blog will help you make the right choices.

Question #1: Does it have any power over you?

Paul says in 1 Corinthians “…I will not be brought under the power of any.” Other translations of verse 12 say it like this:

I will not be mastered by anything.
I must not become a slave to anything.
I will not be dominated by anything.
I will not do them if I think it would be hard for me to stop when I know I should.

Bonnie’s translation is “it won’t boss me”. How many of us let food boss us around? It’s ridiculous!! For some people, sweets are their boss. For others, carbs are their boss. It may not even be one food, but more of a lifestyle – like wining and dining with friends habitually, snacking every night, or drinking every day. Ask yourself: Who’s the boss? Is it me, or is it XYZ (fill in the blank)?

Harmful vs Helpful

evil foodThe next thing we need to look at is not just whether or not it has control over me, now we need to ask this next question.

Question #2: Is it beneficial?

The first part of 1 Corinthians 6:12 says “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” Other translations say “beneficial” or “good for me”. Sadly, we often try to determine whether something is OK or not based on whether or not it is harmful – but what about if it’s not harmful, but it’s also not helpful.

Now combine those two questions. Is it helpful and could it have power over you? If so, then there need to be some serious boundaries on whatever it is you are trying to determine is right for you or not. It may mean you can never have that thing in your life because of it’s control over you (whether it’s sugar, alcohol or maybe something that would put your life at risk). On the other hand, it may simply mean you need to put strict regulations on that item in your life (like you will not ever bring sweets home, but it’s OK to have a treat once a week out of the house, to avoid temptation of making it a habit again). These are just some ideas. It’s important you be honest with yourself and decide what is best for you.

food temptationsLastly, is it helpful for others? I know, I just said this is supposed to be all about you, but if you desire to walk in wisdom and not just make good decisions, but make excellent ones, you need to think about how your actions affect you – as well as others. So, let’s say you aren’t addicted to cookies, but your spouse is overweight and struggles with a sweet tooth. Let’s take that up a notch. Let’s say you love red wine, but your spouse is a recovering alcoholic. Would you bring alcohol home knowing your spouse struggles with alcoholism? I doubt it! So why are we so selfish to bring ice cream home when our spouse struggles with managing their weight? That’s a good example of “things that make you go hmmmm”! While it may be “lawful” for you, it may not be OK for you if it’s not helpful to you and others around you.

Interestingly enough, the next verse talks about this very thing: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall” 1 Corinthians 8:13. Honestly, you can’t get a clearer answer than this. Paul is saying, even though I don’t have a problem eating meat, I won’t do it if someone else does because that wouldn’t be helpful – and even worse, it could cause them to stumble. BUT, to do this, it requires selfless living.

It may be easy to say “that’s not fair”, but if you live selfishly (to please yourself without regard of others), then I believe you are in full-on sin. Believe me, I understand. I could have a big thing of peanuts in the pantry that would last me months, but I can’t have them because Steve pours them in his mouth like a glass of water. There are some things I can’t have in this house because I know they are a weakness for him. However, I love him more than I love peanuts, so it’s a small sacrifice to help him with his diet and health. I sure as heck won’t put peanuts, ice cream or whatever else before my husband and I should also not let anything other than God have its grip on me. Believe me, I have my own issues, and I too am learning how to set boundaries – and the first step is asking these 2 questions.

Right Living, Digging Deeper

jesus facepalmHopefully, I’ve gotten your brain juices going and you would like to think about how this could apply to your entire life – and not just eating. Whether it’s how you eat, speak or act, Chuck Smith asks these questions that I feel should be on the refrigerator door and on the bathroom mirror in every house. It’s so awesome! (I’m literally cutting and pasting from his sermon notes he entitles “Limits to Liberty“)

A. Does it impede my being like Jesus. Would I be apt to find Jesus participating with me?
B. Could I be brought under it’s power. Could it get such a hold on me that I cannot control myself? Could it enslave me?
C. Does it build me up in Jesus? Does it make me more like Him? Does it build up others?

Ice cream is not bad, but it is bad if it enslaves you.
Bodybuilding is not wrong, but it is if it dominates you.
Working isn’t bad, but it is if you can’t put it down.
Spending money is fine, but not if you can’t stop when you know you should – and the list goes on…

Life is full of questions, but finding the answer to is so much easier with the help of 1 Corinthians 6. :)

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.

 

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.

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.

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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

10 Tips to Kick the Never-Ending Diet

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” Dolly Parton

When I think of Dolly’s quote I think of how my mother also tried every diet in the book before she finally lost her weight. I know she must have felt like she spent her entire life dieting. The truth is she just made a few common mistakes that just continued to prolong her results – and it happens to so many people. That’s why so many American live their all their life dieting.

10 Tips to Break the ‘Never-ending Diet’ Cycle:

  1. Avoid diet hopping. Some people never stick to a diet long enough to get results before they hop on the next diet that comes their way.  If you chose a diet plan, stick to it.
  2. Never attempt an unrealistic diet. I can’t help but think of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which I was on for all of four very long days. A successful diet is one you can stick with for the long haul.
  3. Don’t rely on the quick fix. We all know better, but our patience often gets the best of us. Don’t give in to weight loss gimmicks. A quick fix is just a temporary fix and only postpones the inevitable.
  4. Be realistic. If you are on a mild diet and exercise plan, expect mild results. The more intense the program, the faster the results. Be realistic when setting and working toward your goal.
  5. Be honest with yourself. People seem quick to recall all the healthy low-calorie foods they eat but get amnesia when it comes to unhealthy choices. The scale will tell on you so, in all actuality, you aren’t fooling anyone but your self.
  6. What you don’t know can hurt you. I find most people who have failed on their diet have been guessing their way through it all. Other people just don’t want to know the truth. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has taken a bite of something and as soon as I begin to read off the calories he plugs his ears saying “lalalalalalalala, I don’t want to know, lalalalalala”!  The fact is the calories are there whether we know it or not.
  7. If you aren’t dieting, you should be maintaining. Even if you lose the weight, you still have to be accountable for what you eat in order to maintain your new size. Many people who hit their goal end up right back where they started because they went back to eating poorly.
  8. The “Weekday Diet” doesn’t always work. Many people diet all week, only to erase their hard work each weekend with poor food choices. Although this may work while in maintenance, this diet faux pas is what makes people feel like they are dieting all the time and never reaping the reward.
  9. Never underestimate the power of the calorie. Weight loss boils down to one thing – calories in vs. calories out. You can’t expect results if you are not sure how many calories you are eating.
  10. Commit to dieting the right way. A lack of commitment just prolongs the amount of time it will take to get results. You can live on a yo-yo diet for the rest of your life and get mediocre results, or you can commit to working hard for a while and live the rest of your life enjoying your results.

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

5 Tips to Avoid Weight Gain Rebound

Few people can stay competition lean (or should). A little extra weight is healthy - but parameters must be set to avoid rebound.

Few people can stay competition lean (or should). A little extra weight is healthy – but parameters must be set to avoid rebound.

One of the things I hear a lot after someone has lost a lot of weight is that someone gained all their weight back. It’s a big fear for most people. They join a boot camp or do a competition and they reach all their goals, and a few months later they are right back to where they started – or worse.

While, in our gym, there are more people that keep it off than people who gain it back, it happens – and I sure didn’t want that to happen to me after my competition so I sat down with Steve and we made very specific rules. Here are the parameters I plan to put in my life to help me maintain my weight during our “off season”.

Whether you are in between trainers, boot camps or competitions, you can apply these same rules to your own life to make fitness a lifestyle instead of a phase, and make your new goal weight your new normal weight.

5 Tips to Maintaining Your Weight

scale1. Decide on your new ideal weight. If you haven’t reached your goal yet, your ideal weight will be a lower weight. If you have reached your goal, your ideal maintenance weight should be your new weight (unless you’ve just competed and dehydrated – then your weight should probably be 5-7lbs heavier than your stage weight). This weight is what determines whether you should be dieting (eating fewer calories than you are burning) or maintaining (eating the same amount of calories than your burning).

At 5’9″, my ideal weight used to be 144 for me. If I started rising above 144 (my NO! STOP weight was 148), I would diet back down and get my weight back into control. Now, my new normal weight is 136. After the show I stayed in the high 130s and hit 140 and I immediately jumped right back on my diet until it went back down. Today, I weighed 135 today. I will continue to weigh in to keep me accountable.

goals2. Set a new goal. Whether this is a race, a bikini or bodybuilding competition, a weight loss contest, a cruise or a photo shoot, you must put some kind of goal into place. Goals give your training purpose, and make it easier to say no to high-calorie foods and the temptation to skip a workout. My goal is to come into January at a specific body fat percentage, muscle weight and fat weight. I want to know I am starting my diet ahead of where I started it last time. I also want my skin to stay tight and continue tightening up. I can’t do that if my weight fluctuates too much, so my goal is to avoid weight gain so I can improve my skin texture. Plus, I just feel a million times better in all my clothes!

running3. Make a recovery plan. What do you do if you bounce a check or max out a credit card? Do you keep spending what you can’t afford? No. You start making a plan to pay it off and get back in the black. The same goes for dieting. As soon as you go over budget, you have to start paying it off because you can’t afford to eat that much anymore. This is when you step up your cardio (work off your past debt) and reduce your caloric budget (learn to be more frugal with your calories). This is just checks and balances – but you have to make a plan ahead of time. As soon as you get back to your ideal weight, you can afford to have a cheat meal, you can afford to skip a workout. But, until then, you have to stay disciplined and get your body back in control.

chocolate syrup4. Cheats are treats. What I mean is, cheat meals should be a treat, not a habit. There are certain things Steve and I decided we would not buy and bring into our home. This forces us to go out and get it if we want it (which requires more planning and reduces the chance of impulse eating). For instance, we will not buy ice cream. If we want ice cream, we’ll make a date out of it – but I’m not going to have something that available to me. Same goes with chips and other high-calorie snack foods. As soon as I bring them into the house, they can work their way into our daily lives. Then it becomes a unhealthy eating habit. We will continue to have limits on how much we eat out and how much we “treat” ourself. And, we will continue to cook healthy, low-calorie meals and have low-calorie snacks at home.

Maintenance 5. You’re never “off”. One of the biggest mistakes people make is doing a boot camp or competition and then taking “off”. They work hard for 3 month and then they stop completely. You should never be “off” – you are either in weight loss mode or maintenance mode. While a competitor can gain a little weight in off season while they try to build muscle, the more fat they gain, the harder they have to work to get it off when they are in season. Why not try to keep your fat under control so you start your season ahead of where you started it last time.

Stop right now and make a plan of how you plan to control your weight over the holidays so you don’t start 2015 behind where you are right now. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail. Planning is key to success!

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