Category: Eating Healthy

The Realistic Victory

The Realistic Victory

You’ve been cutting carbs, lifting weights, and doing cardio till you are soaked. You’ve actually dropped two sizes. You feel fabulous. You look fit. Now if only you could lose those last five pounds…

Sound familiar? Welcome to the infamous Diet Plateau. After making a mountainous effort to exercise and eat right, you find your weight loss results have come to a halt. Diet plateaus are very real, usually occurring four weeks to two months into a diet.
I have a friend who I see about every six months. For the last three years, every time I see her she is complaining about losing that last five pounds. Talk about a diet plateau. We all know it doesn’t take three years to lose five pounds. She seems to be doing the right things, but just can’t seem to get those last few pounds off.

 

To lean down for my bodybuilding competition I lost around 20 pounds. This was not a sustainable weight, and it was purely for the competition. However, I did want to equalize at around a 10 pound net loss after the competition. I was able to keep my weight there for about five months, but then it started to creep up.

I have never been a fan of scales, and I even recommend that people put their scales away and just go by the fit of their clothes, and how they look and feel. When I was training, though, it was important to keep track of my weight loss and fat loss, so I started weighing myself every few days. This continued after my competition was over, and that is how I noticed this creep. I really couldn’t understand it. I was eating about the same as I had been eating the past five months, yet my weight was five pounds higher, and I couldn’t seem to get it off. I even bought a scale (for the first time in 30 years) because I thought that there MUST be something wrong with the scale at the gym. I know… a little obsessive.

A diet plateau can result from several factors. It may be a question of what, exactly, you’re losing. Seventy percent of the weight you lose in the first two to three weeks of a diet is water. By the end of the third week, water loss will account for only about twenty percent of weight loss. Once you begin burning body fat rather than merely shedding water, you have to work harder. Most people can lose a pound of water weight a week by cutting their daily intake by 200 to 300 calories. Losing a pound of fat a week requires cutting about 500 calories a day.

Beware though… consuming too few calories also can waylay weight loss. You need a certain amount of calories for everyday functioning. If you try to lose weight too quickly by radically reducing calories, your body will slow your metabolism to compensate, creating a weight-loss plateau.

Other ways that diets are unintentionally sabotaged include underestimating portions—essentially overeating without realizing it—and consuming hidden sources of calories, such as excess fat used in meal preparation. You also may not be working out at the right exercise intensity, thereby overestimating the calories you’re burning at the gym.

(Below are some tips to help with a plateau.) However, I have been considering some other things. As I really look at how much exercise I am doing, I realize that I have not decreased the amount of time or intensity. I also know in my heart of hearts that it is not realistic to do more exercise than I am already doing. I also took a look at my diet. I am averaging 1400 calories a day. That is sustainable for me. I do not feel deprived or hungry, but if I start to cut a few hundred calories, it is not realistic. I have decided that I have reached my ideal weight. My sustainable weight. Yes, I would like to be five pounds lighter, but it is not realistic, so I am okay with it. I think my friend has also reached her ideal weight, and she just needs to be okay with it.

Anyway, on to the tips…

Consume the Correct Number of Calories

Eat enough to maintain weight loss at a pace of one to two pounds per week. If you’re losing more than two pounds of body fat a week, some of that weight loss is coming from muscle. When you lose muscle mass, you slow down your metabolism.

The Calorie Need Calculator link and Activity Calorie Calculator link can help you to figure out the perfect number for you.

Exercise

Add some exercise. Do some form of extra aerobic exercise three to five days a week and strength training two to three times a week. Strength training maintains and/or increases muscle mass, helping boost your metabolism.

Start a Food Journal

Recording what you eat make you aware of extra calories. The numbers don’t lie and they can add up fast. That handful of Doritos will affect your body, even if it came from a bag on someone else’s desk.

Be Patient

Sometimes we need to allow the body a period of time to adjust, and then weight loss will resume.

The Bottom Line: Take time to congratulate yourself on having come this far. Then adjust your routine to carry you to weight-loss victory. But make sure that your victory is realistic and sustainable.

WASTED CALORIES

WASTED CALORIES

There are a few things that I have learned during the past few years that have changed my life with regards to fitness and nutrition. One of the most important life changing ways of thinking for me is to eat consciously, especially when it comes to the bad calories and junk foods.

I guess I am somewhat of a control freak… just ask my husband. So when it comes to eating, I give myself a cheat day. As a stay at home mom, control is somewhat of a luxury, as most of my day is filled with the chaos of kids. I CAN control my food, however. So, I choose a day to cheat. Lately, it has been once or twice a month, but it can change as plans change. Sometimes it may be as often as once a week.

All week, I stick to eating healthy and eating about 1400 calories. I try not do not deviate at all, not even a bite, because I know that soon I can eat whatever I want.

Today was my cheat day. I love Costco Pizza, and I have been looking forward to it all week. So when I got to Costco this afternoon and ordered my pizza, I couldn’t wait to “dig in”. As I ate consciously and paid attention to every bite, I began to realize that this pizza had probably been sitting under the heat lamp for sometime. I asked myself, as I always do when I am cheating, is this the best pizza I have ever tasted? The answer was a clear NO… not even close. I had eaten at least half of it, but threw the other half away. There was no way I was going to waste my cheat day and all those bad calories on a mediocre slice of pizza.

If I am going to eat junk food or something truly decadent, it better be the absolute best thing I have tasted. I make it count, and I don’t regret it because I know that I really enjoyed what I have just consumed. The other day was not my cheat day, but my husband brought home a few slices of red velvet cake that one of his employees had made. I took one taste to see if it was worth saving for my cheat day. This cake was THE MOST AMAZING CAKE I have ever tasted… and I know cake!

I decided that I didn’t want to refrigerate it for a few days, because it would definitely lose that freshness. I ate all three slices right then and there. Best decision I have ever made. No regrets, no guilt. Now I just need to figure out how to get another one of those cakes!

Even if the cheat day strategy sounds crazy to you, and is not suited to your lifestyle, eating consciously must be a part of every diet. Don’t be the one who sits in front of the TV and polishes off a bag of Doritos, and then wonders where they all went.

If you are going to eat junk food, make sure it is out of pure indulgence and delight. Make sure it is your most favorite food that you may only get once and awhile, or you have a serious craving for something specific. However, if you start to eat and it isn’t absolutely delicious, don’t waste the calories on something that isn’t the best… i.e. old Costco Pizza, stale cookies, wilty french fries, overcooked anything. You get the point.

Conscious Eating: mentally choosing what and how much food you eat and being in a conscious state, right before, during, and right after you eat.

BABY STEPS: EASY and EFFICIENT WEIGHT LOSS

BABY STEPS: EASY and EFFICIENT WEIGHT LOSS

A healthy body works more efficiently, and here is the best part…a healthy body loses weight more easily and more efficiently than an unhealthy body.

This is why nutrition is so important for weight management as well as general health. There is a definite difference between a healthy diet and a weight loss diet. However, if you want to take baby steps, start on a healthy diet and don’t worry about calorie counting. You will actually feel fuller because of the healthy foods your are eating, so your calories will naturally be lower. Once you get in the habit of healthy eating and you make a conscious effort to reduce your calories, the weight will fly off.

It’s worth remembering that 20 minerals, 13 vitamins and fiber (none of which contain any calories) are essential for health. Their presence or absence can also change the rate at which energy is produced or calories burned. When foods cannot be metabolised properly because they lack the necessary minerals and vitamins, their energy becomes unavailable to our body and is stored as fat until we get the necessary minerals and vitamins at some later time. In the meantime we feel hungry and eat more. This too turns into fat unless minerals and vitamins are also provided.

When you choose NutrientDense Foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, oily fish, oats, beans, nuts and seeds, and avoid wasting your daily calorie allowance on “empty-calorie-foods” (which contain calories but no nutrition), like regular sodas, alcohol, sweets and candy, you will get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet which creates a healthy body which makes weight loss easier.

Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

Keepin It Simple – 4 Easy Ways to Stay on Track in 2015

keep it simple

Happy New Year! and Happy New Year Resolutions! What will it be this year? Losing weight, gaining health, getting fit, building muscle, exercise more, eat less. Whatever your goals, one of the best strategies for success is  to Keep It Simple.

Here are my four favorite tips for any health and fitness related goals –

1.  Don’t Stress Out!  Stressing out about “how bad” you ate over the last 4 days, or how little you exercised is NOT going to help you lose the weight.  Nope, in fact, stress can make you hold onto more fat and pounds.  So stop it!  Move forward and don’t look back at what you did or didn’t do last week or weekend.

2.  Exercise with intensity!  Workout hard!  It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to be intense.  And who wants to spend hours exercising anyway? I was so busy with kids this week, I only got 10-20 minute at the gym each day. I made sure my intensity was maxed out, and I feel like I got a good, all be it short, workout.

3.  Drink water like it’s your job!  Yes, down that water to flush out what you are retaining from any over-indulgent eating.  Salt, alcohol, and excess sugar can lead to a lot of bloat, so drink your water to flush it out! Who cares if you go to the bathroom 12 times a day?

4.  Just eat sensibly.  Eat your lean proteins, high fiber foods, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.  It won’t take many days to see the changes.

Big Props for the Park -6 Exercises Using a Park Bench

Big Props for the Park -6 Exercises Using a Park Bench

In honor of the start of fall, I want to give props to the park bench.
Here are a few ideas to get a great workout without having to go any farther than your neighborhood park:
1. Bench jumps
  • Start by squaring up your shoulders to the bench and slightly bending your knees.
  • With both legs, jump up onto the bench and try to land in the same position from which you started.
  • Jump back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Try to do three sets of 10 jumps to get started.

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2. Incline push-ups

  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the bench, and put your feet back into a plank position.
  • As you do a push-up, make sure to keep your back and neck in line with each other to prevent any strain on your neck.
  • Reverse your position for a more challenging option.

 

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3. Bulgarian split squats

  • Start by facing away from the bench.
  • Move your left foot back and lift it up onto the bench with your right foot still underneath you.
  • Slowly bend your right leg into a 90-degree angle. “Avoid bringing your knee over your toe and turning your hips,” said Kensie Noble, senior in kinesiology and president of Alliance for Health and Fitness Professionals Club.
  • Come back up to your starting position. That’s one rep. Try to finish two sets of 10 on each leg.

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4. Step-ups

  • Face the bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Put your right foot onto the bench.
  • As you come to the top, drive your left knee into your chest before stepping back down.
  • Do 10 reps on each leg for three rounds.

 

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5. Side Step-ups

  • Stand parallel to the bench
  • Using your inside leg, step up onto the bench and drive the opposite knee upward.
  • Do 10 step-ups on each leg for three rounds.

6. Tricep Dips

  • Sit on the bench and position your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the seat.
  • With your legs extended out in front of you, scoot your butt off the seat so that your hands are the only thing touching the bench.
  • While keeping your back straight and close to the bench, use your arms to slowly lower yourself until your elbows are around a 90-degree angle.
  • Press down into the bench to raise yourself back to the starting position.
  • That’s one rep. Try to complete two sets of 15.

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With all of these exercises, make sure that you are using good form to prevent injuries. Put some headphones in or grab a friend, and go enjoy the great outdoors.

Family Friendly Fit Tricks for Healthy Weight Management

Family Friendly Fit Tricks for Healthy Weight Management

fridge_pic-full[1]I love Google. I use it for almost everything, including health care, how to do whatever, recipes, shopping, and more. But Googling weight loss is like opening Pandora’s Box. There are way too many sites and supplements that are questionable at best, aimed at your pocket book rather than your waist line. Here are five family friendly fit tricks for healthy weight management.

1. Build a healthy home environment. It can be as simple as having a fruit bowl on the table, rather than a bin full of fruit tucked away at the bottom of the fridge. Keeping healthy food visible encourages kids (and adults) to grab and go when they are hungry and in a hurry. Keep cut up veggies, yogurt, or fruit salad front and center in the fridge. When a kid (or adults) opens the refrigerator to mindlessly search for snacks, the healthy option will catch their eye.

2. Purchase small portions and limited amounts of convenience food that is high in sugar and fat. Pre-portion any junky snacks in little ramekin cups, baggies, or mini cupcake liners, so there is no mindless eating from the bag of chips or cookie box. Store these items in the images[9]pantry on a higher shelf so they are less visible.

3. Make physical activity a routine, and make it fun. Take a walk or walk the dog after dinner to unwind. Get up during commercials while watching your favorite show and play catch with a Nerf ball, or strike up a game of balloon volleyball with your kids.

4. Eat meals around the table, at home as often as possible. Family meals offer kids a chance to see parents eating healthy. Show how to load the plate with a variety of vegetables and smaller portions of meat and carbs. Meat packs between 55-110 calories per ounce, so it’s easy to pack on the pounds when the portion shifts even a couple of ounces on a regular basis (especially as you age).

5. Praise yourself and your kids when you practice the skills and behaviors linked with healthy eating. Give high fives after those active commercial breaks. Notice when you and your kids have put in the effort to taste an unfamiliar food and choose healthy options over the junk.

 

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