Posts tagged weight loss tips

The REAL Secret to Weight Loss

the Secret to Diet & Weight LossYou are probably wondering if there really is a secret to weight loss. In a way, I believe there is. Each diet company would love you to believe that they have something special to their weight loss success (and most companies really do have something that makes their diet different than others), but there is one secret most companies don’t want you to figure out. That’s what I plan to address in this blog.

There is one thing almost all diet brands and supplement companies have in common. They all follow a daily caloric budget around 1200-1500 calories for women and 1500-1800 calories for men to lose weight. That’s why most of these diets work – they are all based on specific caloric restrictions (that’s their big secret). However, they don’t work for everyone because not everyone is willing to stick with their particular “special” program. Another words, they ALL would work if everyone stuck with them like they are supposed to.

Common Diets:
Zone Diet: 1200-1500 calories a day
Atkins Diet: 1500-1800 calories a day
Weight NutriSystem: 1200-1350 calories a day for women/1400-1500 for men
Sugar Busters Diet: 1200 calories a day
Jenny Craig: 1200 calories a day
Note: these restrictions may vary depending on height and weight

You see, while most mainstream diets are all based on the same foundation of taking in fewer calories than you burn, they each have a different method of where you should get those calories (which is their “special something” that sets their diet apart from others). Although I could go into more detail about what types of foods we should eat, or why different diets are better than others, that’s kind of like talking to someone about multiplication when they don’t even understand 2+2 yet. Capish? Ok, let’s get back to the secret then.

Weight Loss Kindergarten 

abcWhat do you learn in kindergarten? You learn the basics, like learning how to count. Consider this blog weight loss kindergarten – and like kindergarten, the first thing we need to tackle is simple math (which is the foundation of every diet plan on the planet).

If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more than you burn. If you want to stay the same weight, but just reshape your physique, you should eat as many calories as you currently burn (but change what you eat and what you do in the gym). If you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn.

Luckily, there is so much wonderful technology (like the LoseIt app) that will tell you how many calories you should eat based on your goals. But, in my opinion, learning about weight management is like learning math. You shouldn’t have to rely on a calculator to get the answer to 2+2. That’s something you should have a good understanding of without technology’s help.

To make fitness a lifestyle, you need to understand the process. Another words, while you can enjoy using apps like LoseIt (as I do), you should have a basic understanding of why the app (and how our body) works.

Here is weight loss 101. It’s the basics. It’s the kindergarden class on basic weight management arithmetic.

Step #1: Find out how many calories you burn a day

A. Choose Your Activity:
1.3 – sedentary, sitting most of the day, light housework/work
1.4 – light activity, work, housework, exercise 2-3 X a week, stand or walk at work
1.5-1.6 – moderately active, all the above activities, exercise 1 hour 3-4 X a week
1.7 – very active, all the above daily activities, exercise 1-2 hours every day

B. Choose Your Metabolism:
10 – Slow (Sleepy after a meal)
11 – Normal (normal or feel the same after a meal)
12 – Fast (Fidgety or hyper after a meal)

C. Apply Above Numbers in this Simple Formula:

WEIGHT X ACTIVITY = RESULT X METABOLISM (B) = CALORIES BURNED (Metabolism)

For example. My weight (138) X my activity (1.6) = 220.8 X my metabolism (12) = 2,650

Try this online calculator. (it has me at 2,300, so this would be my window: 2,300-2,600 calories a day to maintain my weight).

What does that mean?

What does 2,650 calories mean? It means, that is approximately the number of calories my body burns every day – and that is how many calories I need to maintain my current weight. So, I can eat 2,650 calories a day, and if I continue the same activity, I will not lose weight or gain weight. But what if I want to lose weight? Then, I need to eat fewer than 2,650 calories a day. So the next question is how much fewer?

It takes 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat.

#2 Plan & Predict your weight loss

predict futurePeople often ask me questions like, “do you think I can lose 10lbs in 6 weeks?” I am able to answer this with great confidence because of simple math. I can predict how much weight someone should lose each week, down to the exact weight they want to be on a given day. This is how we get someone ready for the stage. I’m no fortune teller, and to be honest, I’m not even all that smart. I just know basic arithmetic and weight loss principles.

You maybe doubting if this is truly possible. Can I really tell you what you could weigh in 3 months from now? Yep! LoseIt uses basic math too. After you put in your weight loss goals, LoseIt will tell you when you should reach that goal. Here’s how it works.

Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500—1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week. – Center of Disease Control

It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. If you want to lose 2lbs a week, you should be in a 1,000-calorie deficit a day. For instance, if I am burning 2,650 calories a day, I can lose 2lbs a week if I eat 1,600 calories a day. You can also increase your deficit by burning more calories a day, rather than only reducing calories each day. So, if I do a kickboxing class on top of my normal training, that’s another 500 calories I can either eat, or I can add to my weekly weight loss. Now, practice your own fortune telling skills out with this simple equation.

CALORIES BURNED – CALORIES CONSUMED = PROJECTED WEIGHT LOSS

#3 Plan Your Maintenance 

Once you’ve lost the weight, you would redo the above equation to determine how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight. As I said before, for me, that’s 2,650 calories a day. I weigh-in regularly to make sure I don’t let the scale creep up too much. When I go over my ideal weight, I return to counting calories until I lose the weight again.

Q. & A. – Top 5 Common Questions

Here are a few common questions I get when it comes to talking about calories.

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

A. No. Do you need to balance your checkbook to maintain your desired balance? You can rely on guesses if you want, but you have a lot more room for error when doing that. If you want to be SURE your balance doesn’t drop below a certain point, you will keep a close eye on the checks and balances of your bank account – and the same goes for your weight. You can follow a diet that counts calories for you (but be restricted to their diet plan) OR you can learn how to follow the principles of the diet and count calories yourself, choosing foods you enjoy.

Q. Will I have to always count calories? 

A. No. When you first bought groceries, you probably had NO idea how much the total was going to be. However, the more you shop, the more experience you have with knowing what a normal shopping trip will cost you. The more you count calories, the more accurately you will be able to guess the weight and calories of different foods. You will use your experience to help you make better choices. Then, if you gain weight, you can go back to being more strict, counting calories again, until you lose the weight – like going on a budget after overspending.

Q. Why does LoseIt have my daily caloric budget so low?

A. Because they don’t add exercise in. That is something you will do. LoseIt says I can only have 968 calories a day (if I don’t exercise) to lose 2lbs a week.  However, if I run 3 miles, it adds 300 calories, giving me a new caloric budget of 1,268 calories a week. Each day your caloric budget will adjust around your activity. BUTTTT, don’t go crazy adding every activity you do – adding stuff like “vacuuming” unless you are actually doing it for exercise or sport!  This is my opinion, but I only add activity I use specifically designated for exercise. Anything else would only be added to make me feel better about myself, and about eating more. lol

Q. My clothes are getting smaller but my weight is staying the same. What does that mean?

weight-scaleA. It means you are eating as much a you are burning – but you are probably gaining muscle and losing fat because you are eating better. However, this still means you are eating too many calories. So, I’d make sure everything you are counting is accurate. Compare calories to other calorie searches to make sure you have accurate information. Make sure your measurements are correct also. Look for missing ingredients, food or drink you are not logging. Make sure you are logging as you are eating, and not logging at the end of the day, only relying on your memory. The bottom line is this, even if you are losing fat and gaining muscle, you should still be losing weight on the scale if you are eating fewer calories than you are burning.

Q. I can’t lose weight. Is it possible I’m eating too few calories?

A. No. You may be eating too few calories at times (meaning, you may be starving yourself for hours and then overeating when you finally do eat). This may make your body want to hold onto the fat you have if it has no idea when you are going to give your body its next meal. There is a really good reason why diets have you eating 5-6 times a day. They don’t want your body to go into starvation mode, which would slow your metabolism down. They want your metabolism to speed up and start burning stored fat. If you are not losing weight, it’s likely you are still averaging too many calories for the week. You just need to to eat more OFTEN, not just more.

Get More Facts

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

 

Avoid the Stretchy Pants Syndrome

jeans don't fit

Stop-Button

Enough is Enough

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

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

What Are Your Pants Trying to Tell You?

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

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

5 Steps to Shedding the Fat

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

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

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

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

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

Atkins Diet is Not What I Thought

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

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

5 things I didn’t know about Adkins.

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

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

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

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

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

atkins food

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

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

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

text atkins

Why It Works

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

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

Did You Know?

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

Get Connected

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtkinsDiet

Twitter: https://twitter.com/atkinsinsider

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/atkinsinsider/

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

Q&A: Fat Burners, Diet Pills & Thermogenics

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

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

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

Now, to answer some of those questions.

Are they diet pills? 

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

Do they work?

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

How do they make you feel?

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

weight lossWill it help you lose weight?

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

How fast should you see results?

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

When is it best to take them?

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

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

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

Beware of These Weight Loss Stumbling Blocks

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

1. Denial

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

2. Lack of support

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

3. Laziness

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

4. Temptation

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

5. Failure

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

It’s Not a Diet, It’s Self-Control

I'm not dietingPeople do NOT like the word diet. It’s like a bad 4-letter word that’s offensive in all countries. Everyone has a different definition of diet. I admit I use the word all the time, but I never think of it as a bad thing. To me, diet means results. It means healthy food, smart food. It means perfect portions, not overeating, not eating junk. It means practicing self-control and it means feeling great.

When did practicing self-control become so scary and bad? God ENCOURAGES us to practice self-control. There are countless scriptures on the importance of controlling our body, cravings and desires.

As you know, I like chips and salsa. I can’t eat it every day (but I WANT TO), but I do eat it. What if you let your kid eat whatever they wanted to eat every day? That’s a scary thought right? Well, it’s not too much worse than a grown adult eating whatever they want to eat every day. It might “look” healthier than PopTarts and Happy Meals, but it’s not much different when it comes to self-control.

Stop looking at dieting (or practicing self-control) as a horrible thing. Instead, look at it as empowering! Every time you resist your favorite cheat food, you are reminding yourself you are strong, you are one step closer to your goal, you are in control, you are not letting food rule your life, you are bettering yourself, you are doing the right and healthy thing. Every time you are eating healthy, you’re fueling your body with the foods it needs to help you reach your goals. Be proud, be excited!

Self-control requires sacrifice. Sacrifice requires being uncomfortable at first, but pleasure follows. Lack of self-control is the other way around. Pleasure first followed by discomfort that typically way outlasts the pleasure. Dieting (eating right, practicing self-control, managing calories) is investing in your future – and it’s SO worth it!!

Download the LoseIt app today and start taking control of your eating – and your body!

2% Fat vs Non-Fat Yogurt

Chobani YogurtMany people grocery shop with the best intensions, searching for low-fat low calorie items. However, just because an item is low calorie or low fat doesn’t mean it is the best choice. A great example of this is Greek Yogurt.

Before you can decide which yogurt to purchase, you need to ask yourself “what type of fuel do I need?” and “what are my goals?”. What do I mean? When I added my yogurt into my LoseIt app, I realized my yogurt was one of the small things throwing off my goals. I was getting more carbs than I wanted and I noticed my protein wasn’t quite as high as I expected (especially at breakfast). As I looked a little closer, I discovered the difference was my yogurt. I had gone from plain greek yogurt to vanilla (and had no idea it was non-fat).

Non-Fat vs. 2% Fat Greek Yogurt

As I compared the 2 yogurts, I was surprised to see how different their profiles were. See for yourself!

greek yogurt nutritional information photo 1

The non-fat vanilla yogurt has zero fat, but a whopping 20g carbs (and 20g SUGAR!) – and only 14g of protein compared to the 2% which only has 7g carbs and 17g protein. Don’t boycott non-fat vanilla yogurt just yet though. There’s more to this story than just choosing low-cal, low-carb foods.

While the 2% plain yogurt is ideal for a breakfast, snack or meal, there is one time of the day the non-fat vanilla yogurt would the perfect fuel for you – after a workout. You see, after a workout you want protein and sugar (to help push the protein through your system quickly). You also don’t want to have anything that would slow digestion in it (like fat). So, the non-fat vanilla yogurt would be a great fuel for those times you can’t get a post-workout protein shake. Since you can buy yogurt in small containers, this makes a great alternative to a shake if you are traveling or in a pinch.

When it comes to breakfast, stick with the 2% plain (unsweatened) greek yogurt. The fat will help the yogurt stay with you longer, keeping you full and energized. You get more protein and also less carbs, which is great for all of us trying to limit carbs and sugar while building or maintaining muscle mass.

Yoplait_Original_Blackberry_HarvestRemember, not all yogurt is created equal. If you have some regular yogurt in your fridge, you need to compare labels. For instance, plain Yoplait yogurt has 33g carbs and ONLY 5g protein! That’s MORE calories, MORE sugar, MORE carbs and much less protein and nutrition for the fit peep.

Even Yoplait Lite has double the carbs and sugar than Chobani’s plain Greek yogurt. This means you will be hungry about 30 minutes after you eat the stuff, and that’s not what any dieter wants to hear!

As you track calories and learn more about nutrition, take your time studying labels and shopping for foods for fuel. Dieting isn’t just about choosing low-calorie foods, it’s choosing healthy foods that give you the nutrients you need without the extra riff-raff (sugar, fillers, etc). When you eat like this, you’ll discover you aren’t really dieting at all, you are just eating smarter!

 

Desperately Seeking Success: How to Find What You Are Looking For

When someone is desperate, how hard to they seek to get help? If someone is in pain, how quick to they seek comfort? When someone needs guidance, how much effort do they invest in finding it? If someone loses a job, how hard are they searching for a new one?

Diet helpOver my years in the fitness industry, I’ve marveled at how many people who desperately need help are not desperately seeking it. I think of the story about a crippled man in the Bible who lay by, what was believed to be, a healing pool for YEARS. He literally lay there waiting for someone to pick him up and take him to the pool to get healed. I think many people (including me at times) are like that guy, waiting on someone or something else to do all the heavy lifting. Sometimes it’s because we are overwhelmed by the task that could be required of us to take action. Many times it is just pure ignorance – we have no idea what to do. Sadly, most of the time, it is just pure laziness. We’d rather hope for a miracle, than exert ourselves in fear doing a lot of work for no reward.

Listen, people who work get the reward. People just have unrealistic expectations, and they have a warped definition of the word “work”. They do a little work, and expect a big reward. They work for a short time, and expect the payoff to keep coming even if they quit.

Seek and You Will Find

It is rare that I see someone really seeking to lose weight who doesn’t lose it. People will often say “I tried, I really tried”, but if you were to reach deeeeep within their soul and could get the truth out of them, the real answer is “I tried a little”, “I tried once”, “I thought I tried”.

piano lessonsIf you try to play the piano for the first time, you don’t expect to play Beethoven within a few “tries”. No, you don’t even learn a song at first. You start by learning the basics (#boring #uneventful #nofun). You have to learn the fundamentals before you can even read music or learn a song. With practice, you finally get to learn a song. You celebrate when you can finally play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with one hand. Then, you celebrate again when you learn to add your left hand. Then, after practicing, practicing and practicing, you begin to play the same song a little better, a little easier. Then you are ready for the next song – and it will be just as elementary as the first.

I can remember piano lessons, and I admit I was SO impatient. I would get so frustrated. I wanted to immediately jump in and play a more difficult “cool” song effortlessly without much practice. As a result, I’d take shortcuts. I’d play by ear, instead of reading music. I’d make up things that sounded good just so I could keep appearing to move forward. The problem was, I wasn’t moving forward. I was exactly where I left off. I might have “sounded” better, but I had not improved.

How often do we act like this in life? We do what we want to do to make us appear more successful (with our job, with our weight loss, with relationships, with God), yet many times we are exactly where we left off – exactly in the same place we were when we stopped actually WORKING.

I want to challenge you today to SEEK HARDER. Seek the things you desire to improve in your life with all your might. Seek answers to your weight loss plateau, seek help in your marriage, seek God in your life – and seek until you find.

man-looking-inside-fridge-artGod doesn’t ever ask us to do work for no reward. A matter of fact, He constantly talks about what we “get” when we seek Him. The key is understanding the word seek. I think we think of the word “seek” more like Steve seeks something in the fridge. He opens the door, looks at the contents and closes the door saying “Bonnie, where’s the BBQ sauce?” I’ll reply with “it should be in the door”. He’ll tell me he looked there. I will go on to list a few other places it could be and he’ll tell me he looked there too. The fact is, he didn’t really SEEK, he looked. Of course, I’ll go right to the refrigerator, open the door, move a few items out of the way and find it within 30 seconds. Why? I wasn’t looking, I was seeking.

Vines Dictionary’s definition of ‘Seek': 
Strive for
Desire
Endeavor
To “seek” to ascertain a meaning (meaning, seek until you understand)

SearchingAre you seeking things like that? Are you seeking God like that? Are you seeking answers to your marriage issues or weight issues like that? Striving for, seeking until you fully understand, seeking until you find what you are looking for?

I had to laugh when Joyce Meyer was talking about how people act like they don’t understand what “seeking God” means. She then listed off a few examples of how we seek out stuff in life, like the woman seeking a 75% OFF sale or the guy in the deer stand seeking the deer in the freezing cold.

Don’t you think your life is worth the effort to REALLY seek the things that really matter? Your physical health, your spiritual health – happiness, joy, peace and well-being?

Today, make a commitment to stop looking and start SEEKING.

Today’s Spiritual Workout:

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalms 34:10

 

New Fat Burner Boosts Results: ThermoHeat Product Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Thermo Heat. 

boost buttonSometimes I feel like I need a little boost to help me reach my goals. While I don’t normally take a lot of supplements aside from protein, vitamins and creatine, I do occasionally add a fat burner to the mix to give me that edge I need when I’m starting a new diet or I’m just kinda feeling blah. So, when I got the opportunity to try ThermoHeat, I jumped right on it – because NOW was one of those times!!

Being a fitness professional, I hate when diet pills claim to help you lose weight, get ripped, get your man back and fix all your problems (because you know some companies do make crazy claims like that!), however ThermoHeat just says it like it is – no fluff, just science (Click here to see clinical studies). It says it’s boost metabolism (and it DOES), helps manage your appetite (and it DOES!) and enhances energy and alertness (and it most definitely DOES).

Natural Boost

fitness rxYou might have seen the ThermoHeat feature in Fitness RX. Basically, ThermoHeat is made up of a variety of nature’s best antioxidants, herbs, extracts and supplements. For instance, ThermoHeat has capsaicin in it, a chemical found in red chili pepper used to make paprika which reduces appetite & increases metabolic rate. Read more. While I’m no dietician or chemist,and can’t explain all the ingredients, I can tell you what this product does for me – or doesn’t do I should say!

Unlike many other thermogenics, ThermoHeat doesn’t make me jittery. Since I have heart palpitation issues, this is super important for me. Some fat burners make me feel very uneasy, but ThermoHeat is energizing without freaking me out. I can actually FEEL the warmth of the ingredients, warming me up from the inside – which is just plain cool (or hot, I should say). Increased body temperature results in more calories burned throughout the day.

Not only am I burning more calories at rest, the energy ThermoHeat gives me makes me want to burn even more calories. This is the edge I need to get my butt going on those days I’m not “feeling it”. Let’s be realistic. I would be lying if I told you to pop this pill and you’ll lose weight. While you will burn a few more calories a day and you may not be as hungry through the day, you will miss out on its benefits if you aren’t exercising and eating clean. What I love about ThermoHeat is I’m not only burning more calories, but I have the mental boost (more energy and alertness) to WANT to workout more. That’s the boost I’m talking about. 

Boost Energy

BCx Boot CampI have taken ThermoHeat before a run or before a class and LOVED the added energy! I don’t suggest taking it right before exercise (especially if you haven’t eaten) simply because the warm feeling feels more intense to me when I am huffing and puffing too, but if I take it with food or an hour before exercise I feel SUPER-FANTABULOUS! Seriously, the other day, I was SOOOOO DEAD! I really, REALLY didn’t want to go to the gym, but I popped some ThermoHeat (I know, it’s not a pre-workout pill, but I figured what the hay!) and DRUG my lazy bones to the gym – and ROCKED it! I totally left the gym feeling 10 foot tall and bullet proof. ThermoHeat is energizing indeed! Just ask Steve, who accused me of taking crack on the last BCx Boot Camp show on LiveExercise! lol After taking ThermoHeat, I was quite the energizer bunny! :)

Reduce Appetite

Healthy-Appetite-Suppressant-300x300Lastly, ThermoHeat is also an appetite suppressant and I DEFINITELY noticed I am not near as hungry now that I’ve been taking ThermoHeat. I do NOT condone going long spans without eating (we need to boost our metabolism by eating ever 2-3 hours), however, the other day I realized it was 6:45pm and I hadn’t eaten ALL day. I completely forgot – that is NOT like me! When I finally did eat, it wasn’t from hunger, but just because I knew I NEEDED to eat.

The Verdict

Basically, my take on ThermoHeat is this. If you want a little kick in the pants and need more energy without the jitters and heart racing, you should try ThermoHeat. I’ve actually never been so good and consistent about taking supplements. With ThermoHeat, I’ve been extra good about taking it on a regular basis like a good girl! Why? Because I’m comfortable taking it and it works! (oh yeah, and I have a lost a couple pounds too!)

SO thankful I got to try this product. I definitely give it 2 thumbs up!

thermo-heat-rot

 

The Strong Keep Trying

weak give upOK, can I get a count by lifting your hands: Who wants to be weak? I’m pretty sure no one is raising their hand right now. No one is jumping up and down saying “Meeee! Meee!” No one wants to be weak. People want to be STRONG! And even if they are not strong, they want to appear strong.

What is required for strength? Well, in the fitness world, building strength requires lifting things that are quite difficult. It requires putting your body under great pressure. Our body doesn’t get stronger using the same 5lbs weights we started with. No, we have to keep moving up, keep trying heavier weights and keep challenging our body – many times to the point of failure (or perceived failure).

I personally HATE to fail. That’s why I hate pistol squats. I only can do so many before complete failure. Not only that, I can’t do them really well, and I can’t do that many of them. Even if I do as many as I set out to do, I consider myself a failure because they aren’t deep as I want, I’m not flexible enough to hold my dang foot out in front of me and I am not strong enough to pump that many out. I leave that exercise every time feeling like a big fat failure.

This is why I don’t like doing them. This is why I want to quit trying them. I stink at them. BUUUUT, I know I will NEVER get any better, any stronger or any more flexible unless I keep trying them.

Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.

failureWe must realize every success requires many failures. We MUST fail to succeed. Every failure teaches us what not to do, it tests our strength, it teaches us discipline, it challenges our poor attitude and it grows our character. The good news is with every failure, is also a mini-success. These smaller successes help keep us trying. BUT, without trying, we never experience the small successes.

No one likes to fail. In fact, people try to avoid failure at all costs. People don’t love, for the risk of a failed relationship. People don’t pursue their dreams, because of the risk of failure. Many people don’t even start a diet or workout program because they don’t believe they can succeed and don’t want to be a failure in that too. However, if you want to succeed, you need to be ready for many failures (big or small) along the way. Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.

Don’t give into your weaknesses. Decide to be strong today. Accept that failure is a part of life, and the more chances you have to fail, the more chances you have to succeed.

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