Posts tagged weight loss tips

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: Stay the Course

Qfat will surrenderuote of the Day: When you can’t catch your breath, when your muscles are on fire, when you are dying to sleep in, when you’re hungry, when you’re tired, when the scale won’t budge, when you’re feeling sorry for yourself, when you are doubting yourself… as long as you don’t give up, Fat WILL eventually Surrender!

Scripture of the Day: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Fat WILL Surrender!

If you are doing everything right, counting calories, and working out regularly, fat WILL eventually surrender and give up the fight. Sometimes it takes a while to break a plateau. Sometimes it takes a while to see the results you want. But, IF you are doing everything right, fat will have to eventually raise the white flag.

Fat and Muscle, What Happens Behind the Scenes

fat vs muscleJust because your scale hasn’t budged YET, doesn’t mean you aren’t wearing fat down. You could literally be losing fat and gaining muscle – and your weight could be the same (while you are losing fat). Of course, over time, your weight will eventually drop, but it is common for the scale to remain the same in the beginning of a fitness program because of these changes going on inside.

Our muscle gets fuller from the new activity, causing them to weigh more. That’s why our muscles feel firm and “pumped up”. While our muscles fill out, we are also simultaneously losing body fat, but our weight appears to balance out on the scale (or worse, it actually goes UP!). Have no fear. Just because you don’t see the changes on the scale doesn’t mean you have SERIOUS changes going on inside.

Look at this photo of me holding a replica of 5lbs of fat (left) and 5lbs of muscle (right). See how much smaller 5lbs of muscle is compared to 5lbs of fat? This is why we can appear smaller, but our weight can be the same. That’s also why you can swear you are losing weight, then get on the scale, only to be discouraged that the scale is not agreeing with your belt. Your belt says you’ve lost in your waist, but the scale acts like no changes have been made. If you are feeling thinner, you are right. You are getting thinner – and eventually, the scale will agree.

If Only We Had X Ray Fitness Vision

x ray bodyWithout doing a fancy body composition analysis (like the one we have, called the InBody), it’s hard to believe what is really going on. Yet, if you could see that you’ve lost 4lbs of fat and gained 4lbs of muscle, you could celebrate – and let that information motivate you to press on. Unforunately, it’s around this time that people give up. They let the scale sabotage their progress. They’ve worked harder than they ever have before, yet they aren’t getting the reward they want on the scale, so they quit – and they quit RIGHT before the scale would have started to show major progress.

Tomorrow, I will go deeper into fat vs. muscle – and I will address some of the exceptions to the rule, as well as some warnings. I  will also give you some ideas of what to expect while you are working toward your goal. If you don’t subscribe, be sure to subscribe today so you don’t miss it!

Remember, the key to any fitness program is remembering you are a science project – and science projects have many variables. You have to understand that weight loss may take some trial and error ..and a lot of patience. Just promise me this: Keep Showing Up and Never Give Up! If you do that, Fat WILL Surrender To You!

Learn more about healthy weight loss:
Get weight loss tips and find helpful BMI and calorie counter tools at Reader’s Digest Health section

How to Choose the Right RTG Protein Drink

atkins caramel cafe shakeAs people start the New Year off with new fitness goals, more people are in search for good supplements and healthy snacks to help them stick to their diet. But what do you look for when trying to find a protein snack?

There are many different variations of protein supplements. There are shakes, bars and ready-to-go Shakes, or RTGs. RTGs are pre-made protein shakes that are great for people on the go and don’t have access to a blender and all the shake-making fixings.  The profile for various RTGs vary quite a bit. What you need will depend on what time you eat it.

Atkin's shakesFor instance, if you are looking for a snack to eat between, or in place of meals, and you want it to curb your appetite and boost energy, you need an RTG that has a good amount of fat in it. Fat slows digestion, which will keep you feeling full.

The only time you would want a low-fat, high protein RTG is you are drinking it directly after a workout. A great example of an awesome RTG for a snack that will stick with you is Atkins Milk Chocolate Delight Shake (and the Café Caramel Shake looks to die for, but I haven’t tried that flavor yet!). Atkins RTGs are only 160 calories and have 15gms protein, 4-5g carbs (3g net carbs) and 9g of fat. Not only will you find that this shake tastes much better and richer, you will find that the higher fat content will help this shake stay with you longer – and that is important, especially while trying to restrict calories.

Beware of Sugar & Carbs

kellog's shake nutrientsI compared Atkins shake (which you can get at the grocery store) to other so-called protein RTGs on the shelf, and there was a startling difference. One popular shake was 190 calories (vs 160), only 10gms of protein (vs 15gms) and 5gms of fat (vs 9gms), and a whopping 30 GRAMS of carbohydrates (vs 4-5gms). It had 18gms of sugar vs Atkins 1gm of sugar. What does this means to you? It means you’ll be starving in about 2 seconds after you drink it. The high-carb high-sugar shake will spike your blood sugar for a moment, but likely follow with a pretty quick and awful sugar crash – leaving you hungry and unsatisfied.

Boost Proteins & Fats 

When I reflect back on my first week on Atkins, I could most definitely tell that the higher fat, higher protein diet kept me much fuller and content. Sadly, people are scared to have fat because they treat fat like a 4-letter word. Healthy fats are incredibly helpful for dieters and maintain good nutrition. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, is what does the most damage. Unfortunately, many dieters aren’t getting the protein and fat they need on their high-carb, low-fat diets – and they’re wondering why they are so miserable and hungry all the time. (Watch the Fat Heads movie – SO enlightening!)

If you are changing your shopping and eating, choose fat over carbs, low-fat over fat-free items and beef up your protein (pun intended!). You will be amazed how much better you will feel and how much faster you will get results – both with your health AND your waistline!!

Here’s more on what i learned about Atkins Diet – definitely not what I originally thought!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

Is Your Head Ready for Weight Loss Success?

Fit brainEven though weight loss is primarily a result of reducing calories and increasing activity, there is one part of your body you must get in shape first before you even begin your weight loss journey.

Your mental health affects everything you do, including tackling fitness goals. If you think about it, success always starts in your brain. You have the power to talk yourself into going for a run, as well as talk yourself out of it. The way you think determines the direction you are headed, however, many people neglect to properly prepare their brain before they make New Year’s Resolutions.

In my recent article for Answers.com, I discuss five ways to get your brain fit for success this year. Before you set goals, before you lift your first weight, before you step on a scale, get your brain in shape first – because it’s impossible to be truly healthy with an unhealthy mindset. READ MORE

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? :)

 

Holiday Survival Kit: Wallet, Phone, Keys and a Bar

Christmas Diet TipsThe holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. Not only do we still have our regular list of things to do, but now we also have to fit in Christmas shopping, football games, holiday parties and special events too. As we all run around like a chicken with its head cut off, it’s easy to neglect our bodies.

This is the time of year when our workouts and diet suffers. We don’t make time to eat, and when we do finally eat, it’s not as healthy as it should be – plus we overeat because we waited until we were completely starving to finally stop for food.

You can prevent a LOT of damage by doing this one simple thing: Bring a bar everywhere you go. Seriously, before you leave the house, you should grab your phone, grab your wallet, grab your keys and grab a bar – like the Atkins Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar.

When we get too hungry, we get stupid – plain and simple. 

IMG_3347Having a bar handy can prevent so many diet boo-boos.

If you think about all the times you’ve given in to fast food or overeaten at dinner, it’s typically because you allowed yourself to get too hungry. When we get too hungry we get stupid – plain and simple.

We think of stupid ways to get food. We rationalize our poor decisions and we make exceptions to our normal dietary rules. This can all be prevented with one simple healthy snack bar.

Below are my list of top 10 reasons you should have a bar handy – and why!

 

Top 10 Times to Have a Bar Handy

  1. WORKING – If you are like me, you can work long hours without rest and, suddenly, you are starving to death. Midday is the perfect time to have a bar. It will give you the boost you need to perform well, and you won’t be as hungry by suppertime.
  2. STUDYING – If you are a student, you should always have a bar in your backpack. If young students snack on a bar on their bus ride, or walking route, home, they will be less likely to invade the pantry as soon as they walk in the door. Many students also have end of the year exams in December, so it’s good to have extra brain food on hand to help them stay alert and sharp.
  3. CHEERING – Tis the season for football cheering, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la! Bring a bar with you to all the games. It not only will save you from buying a high-price hot dog, but it will save you the calories too!
  4. SHOPPING – Graze on a bar while shopping. This will help you resist the food court, and will keep your energy level up. Always have a bar with you when you go to the grocery store too. Sometimes you will find you are hungrier than you thought once you get there – then you’ll throw everything but the kitchen sink in your grocery cart because you are thinking with your stomach and not your brain! lol
  5. travelingTRAVELING – Pack bars with you on road trips. Having a bar in the car, ready for your next hunger pain, can reduce unnecessary snack stops as well as curb appetite until you find the next restaurant.
  6. PARTYING – Eat a bar before going to a Holiday Party. You’ll be less likely to overeat all the high-calorie holiday fair. A bar is also great to have for those holiday dinners with the office. It can take a long time to serve a large number of people, so it’s good to have a bar on hand in case it takes two hours to just get your salad.
  7. SIPPING – Bring a bar to your favorite coffee house. Atkins bars taste like a real treat, so enjoy it with a cup of joe instead of sharing your coffee with a high-fat high-carb scone or muffin.
  8. EXERCISING – Pack a bar in your gym bag. You should always have a bar in your gym bag in case your blood sugar drops or you lack energy for your workout.
  9. WATCHING – This is the season for long concerts, plays, recitals and Christmas specials. Bring a bar with you to snack on during intermission so don’t want to eat a horse when the even is over.
  10. DRIVING – The holidays will have you running all over creation – going on errands, playing taxi for your kids and packing in as many honey-dos as possible. This is why I always have a bar in my car. It’s my emergency bar stash. My car is never without a bar, so I’m never stuck in the car hungry.

Bars, Bars, Bars

Here is a list of Atkin’s Advantage Bars. These bars are great as a meal replacement, or a really filling snack. Bars are available at CVS, Publix, WinnDixie, WalMart, Target, Sam’s and many other common grocery stores. With a total of 24 varieties of delicious snack and meal bars, Atkins has something for everyone and their snacking preference. Bring along an Atkins Advantage bar such as the Blueberry Greek Yogurt bar or the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel bar. They’re portable and can be eaten anytime you’re on the go or you need a satisfying snack or light meal. Each bar is packed with protein and fiber to keep you satisfied when you’re too busy to eat a full meal.

Atkins Advantage bars

Atkins Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel
Strawberry Almond Bar
Cinnamon Bun Bar
Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
Cookies & Cream Bar
Mud Slide Bar
Peanut Butter Granola Bar
Peanut Fudge Granola Bar
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

8 Ways to Gobble Up Excuses Over Thanksgiving

“Do you skip your bath because it takes time away from your family over the holidays? Of course not! There are some priorities that should always stay in place no matter what – and fitness is one of them.”

We like to make excuses around this time of year. “I’m too busy”. “I don’t know how to count Thanksgiving meal calories.” “The gym is closed.” “I’m tired.” “We’ll be out of town.” “I need to spend time with family.” “I can’t control myself around all that food”. “I deserve a break”… The list goes on.

Let me tell you, it is ridiculous that we even think any of those excuses will get you out of a workout free and clear. For every excuse someone has, someone out there is working out despite having the same excuses. In addition, there are reasons why even a good excuse is a bad reason to skip your workout.

8 Holiday Excuses Busters:

1. “I’m too busy” – You have time to watch TV, get on facebook, read my blog, sleep late, stay up late, etc. “Too busy” often means, not having as much free time to live life how you prefer. Busy means you need to schedule your day better. It means you can’t just play it by ear and hope you have enough time left over to do extra stuff. When you are busy, it means you need to do what matters most first and get it out of the way. When you don’t HAVE time, you have to MAKE time.

2. “I don’t know how to count Thanksgiving meal calories.” – You should at least try. Use your noggin. Guess the ingredients of the meal. Using the LoseIt app, look up similar dishes served at restaurants, etc., but don’t just not even try. Make it fun. See if people can guess and look it up, like a trivia game. You’ll learn a lot along the way, make better choices and entertain your family with interesting facts.

3. “The gym is closed.” Most gyms are closed on Thanksgiving Day – Big Whoop! You don’t need a gym to sweat. Try one of our Designer Whey workouts online. Any of the training plans from Design Your Body (weight loss and body sculpting program), Basic Training (beginner program), Savage Training (advanced workout), or any of the single workout regimens, are perfect for working out at home or in a hotel. And, of course there is always the road! Take a walk, go for a run. Just commit to 15-30 minutes. You’ll feel a MILLION times better if you do SOMEthing rather than nothing. Here’s a quick 5 minute workout from DesignerWhey you can do anywhere. Repeat 3-5 times.

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

4. “I’m SO tired.” – Even MORE of a reason to workout. Exercise is exhilarating. It revs the metabolism and boosts energy. And, if you have been light on sleep, it helps you sleep better. So scratch that excuse off your list.

5. “We’ll be out of town.” – People train on the road all the time. The first step is planning. Pack your gym clothes, Reeboks & yurbuds. With apps like RunKeeper, you no longer need to have to map out a course ahead of time. You can step out of your grandma’s driveway and start running, and the RunKeeper will tell you how far you have gone so you know exactly how long to run. Also, most hotels have gyms, and if they don’t, you can use one of the above programs to guide you through a workout in your hotel room. No weights? Improvise! 1 gallon of water is 8.33lbs. Use a set of jugs for dumbbells to do some of the exercises shown below in this video.  Bodyweight exercises are awesome and equally effective – especially when done fast with little rest.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/Ud4e9VuSwzE]

6. “I need to spend time with family” – I totally get it. Family should ALWAYS be first.  But I think this picture is a pretty typical description of what most “quality family time” looks like. We go to grandma’s and everyone gathers in the kitchen to eat or the living room to sit in front of the TV. You could set the active pace. You could make an impact on your family be setting an example. Play catch outside, go for a walk, play Wii with the kids. Even if you have to leave and go for a run, I think they’ll forgive you for taking care of your health. Do you skip your bath because it takes time away from your family? No! Of course not! There are some priorities that should always stay in place no matter what. Standard grooming habits, your physical health, and your spiritual health need to remain constant. If you do them first and get them out of the way, you will find you have AMPLE time with your family and you’ll have more energy and a better attitude too!

7. I can’t control myself” – Really? You CAN’T control yourself, or you WON’T? Saying you can’t control yourself before you even face the Thanksgiving table is telling yourself in advance that you will fail. That is ridiculous. It’s this simple. You either WANT to get fit and be thin, or you WANT to taste food more. You need to gain control of your body and not let your tongue boss you around. Saying no is empowering. You absolutely can control yourself around food. One, don’t go to the dinner table hungry. Eat something before you surround yourself with tempting food. Two, don’t even negotiate it. Don’t waste time contemplating whether you should have something or not. Keep your rules black and white, no grey. If it’s going to interfere with your goal, skip it. If you aren’t willing to burn it off, skip it. You have more control than you think.

8. “I deserve a break” – If you are happy with where your weight is, that is fine. Take a break and enjoy the family – especially if you are consistent in your workouts and rarely take a day off. BUT, if you are unhappy with your weight, if you are sporadic with your workouts, or find it hard to stick with a program, then you don’t need a break. A break can actually mess you up in a bad way. Not only do you consume a LOT more calories during this time of year, you won’t be burning as many calories by taking a break – a double whammy! AND, getting out of a routine can set you up for a downward spiral of laziness and lack of motivation. When you workout, you become more protective over what you eat, so you’re likely to make better decisions even if you still cheat. Also, working out mentally keeps you “in the game”. Don’t lose momentum by giving in to taking a day off just because a friend can afford to. You have to do what YOU need to do to stick with your program and keep moving toward your goal. Even if it’s strictly for damage control, don’t let a pity-party convince you to be lazy.

If you skip your workout, will it kill ya? NO! But will it affect you? YES. Sometimes just mentally. In reality, the extra calories with the lack of calories burned can set you back a whole week. Ironically, just 30 minutes is enough to make a big difference. If you can’t do your normal routine during the holidays, do SOMEthing. Keep your eye on the prize! You’ll feel great and be THANKFUL you did!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

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.

 

Avoid the Stretchy Pants Syndrome

jeans don't fit

Stop-Button

Enough is Enough

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

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

What Are Your Pants Trying to Tell You?

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

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

5 Steps to Shedding the Fat

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

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

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

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

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

Atkins Diet is Not What I Thought

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

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

5 things I didn’t know about Adkins.

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

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

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

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

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

atkins food

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

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

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

text atkins

Why It Works

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

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

Did You Know?

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

Get Connected

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

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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

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