Posts tagged dieting

Refuse To Be Discouraged

don't be discouragedWhether we are talking about our body, our career, our Christian walk, our marriage or any other “project” or goal we are working to improve or excel in. Anyone who wants to really improve will come to the realization they still have so much room for improvement – and that can easily get you discouraged if you let yourself dwell on how far you have to go. Instead, realize how much further you are already, just because you are actively working to improve.

The truth is, we should be more worried about being complacent, content or satisfied with where we are. The moment I think I’m “OK” or I’ve “arrived”, is the moment I need a real wake-up call. Complacency is a dangerous place to be. While you can be happy where you are, we should always be striving to be better.

So if you have been down on yourself lately, realize you are on the right path! Be proud of yourself. Enjoy the journey! Celebrate every little success or improvement. Be excited about your future!

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. :)

30 Days of Motivation: Don’t Erase Your Hard Work

i will not eraseQuote of the Day: I will not erase all the hard work I did in the gym this week with what I eat in the kitchen this weekend.

Scripture of the Day: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14

What this verse is saying is “Don’t do what everyone else does.” Everyone else does whatever they want on the weekend. Everyone else feels like the deserve the break. “We work hard during the week, let’s live it up on the weekend” some say – but how dumb is that?

Whether we are talking about how we eat, how we spend money or how we act, we should be protective over what we have worked hard on all week long – whether we worked hard to make money, for a good reputation, for spiritual growth, or to make progress toward our weight loss goals. Does it mean you completely live one day like none of that matters? Do we have an “OFF” day, as if no rules apply and the calories, actions, money or whatever don’t count? NO! What happens on the weekends doesn’t stay on the weekends! We carry that junk with us into the new week. Of course we can have small treats and fun, but we should be so dedicated to our goals, and to our standards, that we don’t go so overboard we erase 6 days of hard work on one day.

Sadly, this happens to so many people who in pursuit of a new weight or fitter body. Most people fail, not because they aren’t working hard enough in the gym, but because they aren’t working hard enough in the kitchen (especially on the weekends). They blow 5-6 days of sweat and tears on snacks and cheat meals. Even people who are eating healthy, still can eat too much.

Start becoming protective over your hard work in the gym. It comes with a cost – they are called calories. We burn them in the gym, and we need to protect that investment and prevent replacing them with irresponsible eating.

If you are trying to lose weight, commit to counting every single calorie you eat this weekend, even if you’ve never counted calories before. Before it goes in your mouth, look it up and add it up. Once you know the real cost of food, you will begin to budget your eating better and see the results you want! Have a great weekend everyone! More motivation tomorrow!!

30 Days of Motivation: Taste This!

better than chocolateQuote of the Day: If you think Chocolate tastes good, wait until you taste success!

Scripture of the Day: “Taste and see that the LORD is good” Psalms 34:8

Someone recently was telling Steve how “lucky” he was for having such amazing dedication and self discipline, as if he had extra self-control super powers and dieting was easier for him than others. I have to laugh at this, knowing just how much he struggles with his diet. Why do people think it’s easier for the “fit people” to avoid sweets or not overeat? Then I realized, maybe it is a little easier for those who have already tasted success, because they realize success tastes better than the food they may have to give up.They know without a shadow of a doubt that it is all worth it.

It is hard to give up something for nothing, or for something they’ve never experienced before. It’s hard to invest in something when you have not yet enjoyed the even greater return. However, when you know how it feels to be fit, trim, feel good, feel more comfortable in your skin, feel stronger, feel healthier, etc., maybe it is a tad easier to stick with your diet. Then, trading regular coke for diet coke, or pizza for grilled chicken, seems easy.

I believe that is why scripture says “taste and see” (Psalms 34:8). God knows if we will just give Him a try, and taste His goodness, nothing will compare to it. I believe the same is true for fitness and taking care of our bodies. We are so fooled into thinking that certain foods, or living a certain lifestyle, is worth the extra pounds. However, if you’d just “taste and see”, I believe you’d realize nothing compares to living in a healthy body. Suddenly, sluggishness, heaviness, tight pants, high blood pressure, insecurities that follow weight gain, and all the repercussions of a lack of self-control make that lifestyle no longer worth it. But first, you must “taste and see” so you can make that comparison for yourself – because until you experience it yourself, you cannot fully understand and comprehend the reward.

Stick to your goals this year, long enough to truly taste and see how it feels to reach your goal – and I mean your dreamy goal, not your first goal. No! I’m talking about pressing on past what is good to what is great! Don’t stop short of your very best. THEN, you can say you’ve tasted success – and THEN, you’ll know just how good it really is and maybe then passing up the sweets or sticking to your plan will also be a little easier for you too!

A NOTE FOR DIETERS: Don’t get me wrong! Being fit doesn’t mean you never have chocolate again. However, when you are in the dieting phase and trying to lose weight, it may mean you are giving up some things (or not eating as much as you’d like of those things). The diet phase is more strict, but maintenance phase is much easier, and will allow room for occasional treats and freedom. The key is balance and accountability. Once a treat becomes a habit, the weight will creep right back on. Stick to your plan. I do promise it will be worth it. No one feels a set of tight tone abs and thinks “boy I wish I had eaten more pizza”. :) 

Fitness and Weight Loss Tips for the Injured

Great Dane SittingThere is nothing like totally pigging out Thanksgiving weekend and then not being able to burn it off. Yes, that happened to me this week. I fell flat on my butt, on a concrete breezeway, Saturday night after Marley (my Great Dane) knocked me off my feet. I didn’t realize it, but I jarred my spine and hips so hard that I got out of alignment and, by midday Sunday, I could barely walk.

I had never experienced such crippling pain. I kept saying “this is ridiculous” every time it took me 5 minutes just to stand up – much less wait on me to walk across the house. I felt like Tim Conway on the Carol Burnett show. I went from 40 to 80 years old overnight! (for those of you young’ns who don’t know that character, here’s a skit to watch for giggles). ;)

Step One – A Step in the Right Direction

Jennifer StepanekOK, so back to fitness! So, what’s a girl do who can’t stand, much less walk? I’ll tell you what she does. She listens to her wise husband, who says go to the doctor. So, I verrrrry reluctantly text my friend who is a chiropractor (Jennifer Stepanek at Total Health in Vero Beach) and told her what happened, and she told me to come in.

Before I go further, I need to tell you how I feel about my bones being popped. I am a scared little girl! Maybe it’s my control-freak self that struggles with letting someone manipulate my body – or maybe it’s just that the only time I ever go to the doctor is when I’m in pain (so you are naturally scared of more pain). BUT, what I do know is that Jennifer is gentle and conservative, so I sucked it up and went in.

As I hobbled in the door, she giggled with me (knowing that was SO not me to hobble so slowly and carefully), and she took me straight back to check me out. My hips were twisted and she could tell my fall had jarred me good. She did a few things to relax my back muscles and made 2 simple adjustments (on each side) to line me back up! Then she followed up with some soft tissue work. She encouraged me and said she sees that all the time and felt sure I’d get better and she was right.

I was probably 50% better by the end of the day, and I get a little better each day. But here was my thought: what if i didn’t get better? What if it prolonged? What can I do in this state? The truth is, even though I am definitely limited, I can do plenty.

SET-backs Don’t Have To Be STEPS Back

Many people suffer injuries, and it can be very depressing for people who are trying to work on their fitness and weight. I had high hopes of hitting 2-a-day cardios, taking kickboxing, weight training and working on my FitBit challenge for Shape Magazine – and going from 10,000 steps a day to less than 3,000 steps a day quickly got me discouraged. I was hurting my East Coast Team, and I wasn’t able to reel my body back in as fast as I planned. Then I realized, I needed encourage others who face the same roadblocks. Set backs don’t have to be steps back. I can still move toward my goal – it will be just a little slower. Here’s what needs to happen.

Look at the Facts

calculate caloriesWhile exercise definitely helps burn calories, speeding up weight loss – it’s not required for success. You can still lose weight with just diet alone. Of matter of fact, diet is probably 80% of it. Here’s the facts. If I run 3 miles a day, that’s equal to about 300 calories burned. I can stay in the same caloric deficit by cutting 50 calories off every meal and snack.

Focus On Your Diet

keep-calm-and-count-caloriesFor some backwards reason, we tend to eat even worse when we can’t workout. It’s a ridiculous self-sabotage mechanism most people do that makes things even worse. We dive into self-pity, want to curl up on the couch and be lazy, eat crappy food, and then complain about how fat we feel. How retarded is that?! If you want to feel good, EAT GOOD! Even though I’ve had some snacks at night, I basically have just been eating homemade soup since I got home from vacation. For 4 days straight, I have eaten soup every meal except one (when I had the Atkins pizza).

As I limit my food intake, my stomach is starting to get smaller and I’m feeling a little better every day. You have to remember, when you eat big portions (like on Thanksgiving), you have a lot more food in your gut than normal (making you feel stuffed, because you literally are!). This takes a few days to get through your system before you start thinning back out.

Drink a Lot of Water

Another issue we have when we come out of an eating frenzy is we tend to hold more water. Whether it’s from eating out and eating more processed foods, or it’s from being very sedentary and not allowing your body to opportunity to move water around – we feel even more fat and bloated simply because we are holding more water. This would be a great time to pound the water and flush your system.

Take Care of Your Body

DIY Ice packHealing requires being proactive with your injury. See a doctor and make sure your own diagnosis is correct. Seek appropriate therapy, whether it’s with a professional or just taking action at home. Don’t just sit there and expect it to get better on it’s own. Oftentimes, a bulk of the pain is from inflammation. If you control inflammation, you control pain and increase mobility.

In addition, sitting still can actually make the problem worse. Your body stiffens up and can make it even harder to bounce back. Ice the affected area, take anti-inflammatories and keep moving, while still avoiding specific movements that cause pain. Ice after activity and get plenty of rest too.

Lastly, take baby steps. Don’t jump back into your fitness routine, full steam ahead. Test the waters first with light activity and light weights first. But nine times out of ten, doing nothing actually can make things worse, not better. CLICK HERE to learn how to make your own gel ice packs.

Do What You Can

walk the dogThis is a tricky one. We rarely want to do what we can. We want to do what we WANT to do, not what we CAN do. I normally run. I don’t want to walk. I want to run, but I can’t run right now so, today, I will walk – whether I want to or not. Since I’ve been down for a few days, I’m more lazy feeling than I normally am (which is already pretty lazy). So I have to fight the lazies even more.

Also, my pride gets me and I find it very hard to tame my workouts down when I’m hurt. As a result, sometimes I don’t even want to do anything at all. However, I know if I do SOMETHING, it’s better than NOTHING – and I’ll feel SO much better when I’m done. Even if I don’t burn a ton of calories, it will strengthen me mentally.

The fact of the matter is, it actually hurts more to sit and get up from sitting more than it hurts to walk now. Of course, at first I hardly could walk, but now I am able to walk Ok and just have trouble putting on my pants (lifting my legs), getting up off a chair or couch and a few other movements. While there is discomfort standing, it’s not painful – and staying moving will actually help me loosen back up even more.

So, while I probably won’t be lifting weights, or back to my normal routine, I do plan to start increasing my activity. I plan on going back to kickboxing soon if walking goes well. I just won’t be able to do burpees, jumping and some other moves, but I can tame the workout down to fit what I CAN do. I hate to be “that girl” – the crippled pathetic one in class, but maybe I have that all wrong. I can turn that into being “that girl!” – the one who is not letting a bad back get her down! Yeah, I want to be THAT girl! Don’t you? :)

 

So You Ate Like Crap, Get Over It

I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up

When I talk about fitness and dieting, I often refer to falling and getting back up again. Maybe it’s because I’m a clutz and relate to falling, or maybe it’s just because falling is a part of life.

We’re human and it’s inevitable that we will mess up – and there is no truer example than with diet and fitness. However, I don’t think it’s all about just preventing the failure, I think the most important action is what we do after we fail.

Damage Control

I think it’s healthy to allow ourselves to cheat occasionally. It’s almost like planning a controlled fall. Stunt men do it all the time. They learn how to fall without getting hurt. We all know eating certain foods aren’t healthy, but we “allow” ourselves to have them. But, if we don’t plan it carefully, and practice safety measures, we can find ourselves in big trouble quick.

While some people planned their Thanksgiving cheat meals out carefully, there are others that just threw out all the rules, and dove face first into every dish that came their way. Whether we convinced ourselves that  “we deserved it” or acted like we really didn’t care, eventually our bad choices catch up to us. The feeling of disappointment and guilt might hit us as soon as we finish the last bite, or it might take days of repetitive bad behavior to finally get us to the point of being sick of how those bad choices make us look and feel. However long it takes us to reach that point, when we finally get to that point, it’s time for damage control.

It’s time for you (and the scale) to face the facts.

Some people are quick to jump back on the scale and boldy face reality. One thing I can guarantee is this: You WILL eventually deal with all this. You can deal with it now or later – the choice is yours.

3 Post Holiday Scenarios: Which One Will You Choose?

1. Stay Knocked Down. This is what most people do after a Holiday – especially when there is another excuse (like another Holiday) right around the corner. They decide it’s going to be impossible to fight, too hard to manage, not enough time, no fun, or not worth the effort. So, they just give up and pretend they can continue through the Holidays without repercussions. The problem with this is, if you do this often enough, it becomes a pattern. Weight continues to creep up on you – and before you know it, you are in way over your head, and you may be tempted to quit for good.

2. Get Back Up – slowly. This person waits for the ref to count all the way to 9 before they get back up again. They are procrastinator, slow learners and naturally lazy (like me – yes ME!). Sometimes it takes a friend (or dog!) to drag them back to the gym. But, most of the time, this person will try everything under the sun before doing what they know they need to do. They’ll cut everything out they don’t mind forfeiting and try making “their way” work by finagling diets and fitness around their lifestyle. Then they will complain when they fail.  They will justify their actions, make a million excuses, and, finally, at the very last minute (when they just can’t take it any longer), they will stand back up and get back to what they know works.

3. Bounce Back Fast – The person who is fast to recover and quickly gets back on their feet, accepts what has to be done and doesn’t waste any valuable time. They get right back on their diet, and get right back in the gym – as fast as they possibly can. They may dread it, they may not want to do it, but they do it anyway because they’ve either learned the hard way or they hate feeling fat and unhealthy more than they hate the work it takes to stay fit. They could easily wallow in their sorrows and beat themselves up while their down, but they don’t. The get over it. They move on. They get back up on their own two feet – and fight it back out.

So, you ate like crap  – get over it, it’s time to get back up!

Subscribe to my blog to get Bounce Back Tips tomorrow, and learn how to get your home and body back in shape FAST! 

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.

 

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

Small Fitness Tweaks that Can Make a 10-Pound Difference

This is a picture of me and my bike for an article in Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine back in February, 2009. I was 37 years old. I wasn’t obese by any means, but I look at this picture and think “who is that?”. She doesn’t even look familiar to me. I’ll tell you who it is. It’s the old me. The older model. Bonnie 3.7

motorcycle cruiser custom yamaha

Bonnie 4.3

The old Bonnie still worked, but didn’t work as well. Bonnie 3.7 did many of the things the new version does. The old Bonnie worked out. The old Bonnie knew how to eat healthy. The old Bonnie just wasn’t as consistent – didn’t run as well. She ate healthy, but ate too much. She worked out, but she didn’t work as hard. She got a little too comfortable. She kept crashing. She’s wan’t bad. A matter of fact, she was much better than the 3.0 version. But Now There’s a NEWer Bonnie.  She is just better, healthier, stronger, fitter. She is Bonnie 4.3. (yes, that stands for 43yrs old!! lol)

iphone Have you ever looked at a new iPhone and wondered “what makes it better?” Of course you’d never say that looking at the old brick cell phones, comparing them to the new smart phone. It’s pretty obvious! But, as technology improves so much, the tweaks almost always are about being lighter, stronger, faster and more reliable. Isn’t that the same with fitness?

As we continue to tweak our fitness, and our physique, we can still make a lot of improvements to help us perform well. It’s not like we are in that bad of shape maybe to begin with, but can we run faster, better, stronger? Like the iPhone, what if we can have all the same “muscle” but we weigh a little lighter – run a little smoother. I loved my first iPhone, but I love my new iPhone even more. I also felt pretty good in 2009, but I feel so much better now – and to think, it was small tweaks that made a 10 pound difference.

10 pounds doesn’t seem that much, and that’s why we use the InBody body composition machine. The InBody tracks what’s actually happening INSIDE of your body, instead of solely relying on the scale as the only measurement of progress. Look at the difference between my body composition then compared to now.

3.7 vs 4.3: The Comparison

Bonnie PfiesterTHEN: 145lb. NOW: 135lb.
Fat Then: 31lbs. Fat NOW: 15.2lbs.
Lean Mass Then: 114lbs. Lean Mass NOW: 119lbs.
% Fat Then: 21%. Now: 11%

I don’t have any full body shots of me right now(aside from a few shameless selfies! lol)  =- but I will next week!!). However, to put things in to perspective, these two photos (left and below) were me 7lbs heavier than I am now (all fat), taken last April.

These two photos also show the difference between what it looks like to just be relaxed (with soft lighting), and be “pumped” (with harsh lighting). The one with the kettlebell is of me after I “pumped up” a little, posing with weights. The one in the suit is at the beginning of the same shoot, before lifting weights. However, there would be no “pumping up” in the world that would have made me look better in that picture of me with the bike. I had a layer of fat covering any muscle I did have.

Get the Upgrade!

Bonnie PfiesterDo you want to know what I did to get leaner? I did the same exercise, same running, pretty much the same types of foods. The only difference is I track every calorie in my LoseIt app and consistently stayed on a caloric budget for 3 months. I have a little over a week to go before show time, and seeing this old picture of me online just fuels me to continue pressing toward my goal to beat the old me, and even beat the April 2013 me! As long as I’m breathing, I can always continue to strive to improve, learn, and step out of my comfort zone to be the best version of myself – and YOU CAN TOO!!

My 5 Fitness Tweaks:

1. Less Rest – I rest less between sets and do more conditioning exercise. Instead of old school weight lifting, where I do a few reps and then rest. I do more timed workouts, more reps, more sets, less rest.

2. Count Every Calorie – I don’t just guestimate calories. I weight and measure everything, so I know EXACTLY how many calories I eat each day. This holds me accountable and helps me keep my portions where they need to be. In addition to counting calories, I also watch my carbs. I try really hard to not get more carbs than protein.

3. I Am More Consistent – I have a few rules to keep me on track. I never take more than 3 days off, I always hit the gym every Monday, and I have a weekly goal of a minimum of exercising 3 times a week.

4. I Bounce Back Faster – If I fall off the wagon, I have a plan of attack already in place. I have a cap on the heaviest I’ll allow myself to be. If I hit that cap, there’s no cheating PERIOD. I basically treat it like a maxed out credit card. I hit the limit, and it’s time to pay it off. Once I get my weight back down, then I can have a treat – but until then, I go back to logging food and training until I’ve gotten closer to my ideal weight for maintenance.

5. I Prioritize – I like to lift weights, but I don’t like cardio as much. However, if I’m crunched for time, I have learned to do what my body NEEDS, not just what I WANT. If I need to burn calories more than I need to pump iron, that’s what I do. Before, I would have lifted weights because it was easier. Today, I focus first on calories burned to stay healthy and control body fat, and second on sculpting muscle.

I Will Beat Her 

I will beat her

Banana Protein Oatmeal

Banana OatmealI go ape for bananas. I love banana bread, banana & peanut butter sandwiches and banana pudding, so when Quaker started making banana and cream oatmeal, I finally made oatmeal a part of my daily nutrition plan – until I started dieting. While dieting for my competition, I’ve had to strip away any sugar and keep my foods simple and clean. When you diet for 3 months to this extreme, I get creative so I can still enjoy food without feeling deprived. As I brainstormed on ways to spruce up my plain oatmeal, I decided to make my own healthier version of Quaker’s Banana & Cream Oatmeal.

designer whey proteinIngredients:
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Quaker Oats
3 tsp Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Protein
1/4 Banana (thinly sliced)
1-2 tsp Sweetener
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
(Optional) Couple of Drops of Butter Extract & Banana Extract

Cooking Instructions:

banana protein oatmealCook the oatmeal in the water as directed. Reduce heat and add the banana, followed by the almond milk and protein powder, mixing over low heat. Add salt, sweetener and extracts. Add more almond milk if needed (depending on your preference of consistency). Poor into a bowl and sprinkle cinnamon on top to serve.

My Oatmeal vs Prepackaged Oatmeal
4.6 sugar vs 9g sugar
21g carbs vs 26g carbs
7.5g protein vs 3g protein
3.1g fiber vs 2g fiber

Log your food into the LoseIt app and track your calories with me!

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