Tag: diet tricks

Grocery Store 101 – Healthy Eating Starts Here

Grocery Store 101 – Healthy Eating Starts Here

I have come to realize that I am a grocery store check-out line snob. I know, it sounds shallow, but when I am at the grocery store checking out, I always like to see what everyone else is buying and compare it to what I have in my cart. Of course I feel like I am the “winner” each time, because my cart is loaded with healthy, real food. Told you it was shallow.

I love going grocery shopping, and I take a lot of pride in buying healthy stuff. And, yes, when the mom in front of me or behind me has a bunch of “crap” in her cart, I feel superior (and shallow).

As moms, there are so many things that we feel we can’t control, but grocery shopping is one of those activities that we have complete control over. We get to choose exactly what we want to buy, exactly what we want our kids to be eating, which also carries a lot of responsibility.

Some months ago, I was having a lot of anxiety about all the junky snacks my kids were eating. I was 100% responsible for my anxiety, because I had started to buy little treats at the grocery store. As my kids were eating Popsicles for breakfast, I knew that I needed to regain control.

I threw out all the crap, and on the next grocery trip I only bought healthy options. Snacks consisted of fruits, cheese, and healthy cereal.

On that fateful shopping trip, as I stood at the check out line, I felt really proud of my choices. I think that is where the whole snob thing started, because I looked around at what others were buying and kind of felt sorry for them, and all the crap that they had in their carts.

When I got home from the store, the kids rushed over to the bags to see what kind of snacks I had bought. Much to their disappointment, they saw nothing snacky looking. But guess what? A few hours later, my daughter asked if she could have some grapes. My son snacked on some pieces of cheese without a single complaint.

It is time for you to become a grocery store checkout line snob. Here is my challenge to you. For the next month, every time you go grocery shopping follow the guidelines below. Compare what you are buying to the person in front of you, and make sure that you are the “winner”.

You and your family can’t eat crap if it is not there!

· First fill your cart by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located. Avoid the center aisles where junk foods lurk.

· Stay clear of most pre-packaged foods. Especially ones that have labels touting low fat, no trans fats, low carb, etc.

· Stay clear of foods with cartoons on the label that are targeted to children. If you don’t want your kids eating junk foods, don’t have them in the house.

· Avoiding foods that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

· ALWAYS eat a healthy snack before you go grocery shopping. If you have a full stomach, you will not be tempted to buy junk.

Not Losing Weight? – Six Things to Consider

Not Losing Weight? – Six Things to Consider

Losing weight can be invigorating… and frustrating, maddening, overwhelming, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could choose a diet plan that would allow you to lose 2 pounds a week (or 5 pounds, or insert your number here ____) every week until you reached your goal?

But if you have ever been on a diet, you know that’s not how it works. Some weeks your effort reflects the number of pounds lost. Some weeks you work your butt of and lose nothing. Some weeks (all be it rare) you slack a little and lose a pound or two.

Calories IN vs. calories OUT is definitely important, but there are other things that creep into the equation.

Here are 6 things to keep an eye on to make sure your effort reflects your outcome.

Eating too few carbohydrates It’s true that we need to be careful when it comes to carbohydrate intake to maximize fat loss, but we still want to make sure we are getting enough carbs. Did you know that fat molecules will not enter the fat burning cycle unless they have a little glucose (carb) molecule to take them there. It’s easy to get excited when you reduce your carbs and instantly lose weight, but often this is more of a factor of storing less water than fat loss.

Eating the wrong type of carbohydrates You might be eating the right amount of carbohydrates, but the type of carbs you eat has a big effect on weight loss. There is a buzz around high glycemic index (GI) foods and low GI foods, and the reason is that the type of carbs you eat will directly affect your weight loss. To keep it simple, low GI foods are good, high GI foods are bad.

Good carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates that take the body longer to break down. These carbohydrates typically are high in fiber, which takes the body longer to break down and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. The best sources of good carbohydrates include fresh vegetables, fresh fruit,  grains and beans. All of these foods provide the body with energy, vitamins, fiber, minerals and phytonutrients. 

Bad carbohydrates are foods that are easily digestible and provide the body with limited nutrients and vitamins. Because these foods are so quickly digested, your body will experience a quick spike in energy followed by a crash. Examples of bad carbs include soft drinks, cakes, cookies, chips, white bread, white rice, alcohol.

Eating too little fiber When we are eating for weight loss and we restrict our carb intake, it also changes our intake of fiber. Fiber might be the single most important secret to weight loss, and it is an essential factor for maintaining health. It helps you feel fuller and therefore eat less. It also binds with acids in the body and helps carry out excess fat, and it speeds the transit time of the food we eat, keeping the intestines in good order.

Getting too little sleep When we are constantly sleep deprived the body secretes a hormone called ghrelin. Higher ghrelin levels have been shown to reduce energy, stimulate hunger and food intake, and promote retention of fat. Do you ever notice that some days you feel hungry all day, even though you are eating your regular diet. Think back to your sleep patterns, and you may realize that you haven’t gotten as much sleep lately.

Eating too little fat Low fat diets have been really popular, but too little fat may actually make it harder for us to lose weight. Essential fats (aka good fats) help burn fat by helping to transport oxygen, vitamins, nutrients, and hormones to the body’s tissues.

Good fats include foods like non-hydrogenated oils (olive, canola, sunflower, peanut, sesame), avocados, olives, raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews), fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines), and tofu.

Bad fats include things like commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips), margarine or vegetable shortening, any fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish), and candy bars. 

Drinking too little water Dehydration happens more than you think. If you want to have steady fat loss and high energy, it’s necessary to keep your body and liver hydrated every day. Our liver converts the fat soluble toxic chemicals (that we consume, breathe in, and absorb through our skin), into water soluble chemicals that are flushed out by the kidneys through urine. With limited water supply, the kidneys cannot completely flush out metabolic and foreign waste and weight loss can be more  difficult.

So if you start feeling diet frustration, take a minute to evaluate your carbs, fat, fiber, sleep, and water. A small tweak might make all the difference.

 

 

In Training – Your Best Fit Self

In Training – Your Best Fit Self

I wanted to title this post “The Best Weight-Loss Program”, but I knew that once people started reading it and realized that it was not a magic pill, they may move on to something else.


If you want to lose weight, the best way is both the easiest and the hardest:

Change your lifestyle

Changing your lifestyle boils down to changing your habits. Changing habits can take time, but once you have new habits, a healthy and fit lifestyle will fall into place fairly easily.

You must develop healthy eating habits. If you instead change your lifestyle and how you approach food, then you’re looking at a long-term plan for health and easy weight management.

 

Think about your habit forming period like you are in training. This training is not going to last forever, but it is critically important to set the groundwork for living a fit and healthy life. During this training period you will need to do a few things that you may not want to do and may not have done in the past; however, you will only need to do these things while you are in training. Set a goal for 30 days… that’s it.

 

Yes – you do need to record everything you eat and keep track of your calories every single day.

Yes – you do need to do some type of physical activity every single day.

Yes – you do need to eat healthy every single day by adding lots of fruits and veggies into your diet.

Yes – you need to clear out ALL of the junk foods from your house.

It all comes down to calories. If you eat 100 more food calories than you burn each day, you’ll gain about a pound a month. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you slowly but surely will lose weight.

1. Figure out how many calories you should be taking in to maintain your current weight. Here is the easy way to figure it out:

For sedentary people: Weight x 14 = estimated cal/day

For moderately active people: Weight x 17 = estimated cal/day

For active people: Weight x 20 = estimated cal/day

 

(Note: Moderately Active is defined as 3-4 aerobic sessions per week. Active is defined as 5-7 aerobic sessions per week).

 

2. Adjust your physical activity to match or out burn the calories you take in every day. Please see the Activity Calorie Calculator 

 

3. Make Smart Food Choices by choosing your foods carefully to maximize nutrition while minimizing calories.

Let me help you with the details. Check out my blog for a variety of information on exercise and nutrition. Email me anytime with questions. Musclemommy@ gmail.com.

Opportunities, Failures, and Mistakes – 3 Goal Setting Realities

Opportunities, Failures, and Mistakes – 3 Goal Setting Realities

Setting goals can be inspiring, exciting, overwhelming, and a little scary.  The path to achieving those goals can be extremely rewarding, overwhelming, and a little scary. Whatever you goals, here are three concepts that may help along the way.

#1 – You will never feel 100% ready when an opportunity arises.

The number one thing that holds people back is their own reluctance to accept an opportunity simply because they don’t think they’re ready. In other words, they believe they require additional knowledge, skill, experience, etc. before they can aptly partake in the opportunity. Sadly, this is the kind of thinking that stifles personal growth.

The truth is nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually. They force us to stretch our comfort zones, and ourselves, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first. And when we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready.

Just remember that significant moments of opportunity for personal growth and development will come and go throughout your lifetime. If you are looking to make positive changes in your life you will need to embrace these moments of opportunity even though you will never feel 100% ready for them.

#2 – All people posses dimensions of success and dimensions of failure.

Trying to be perfect is a waste of time and energy. Perfection is an illusion.

All people are multidimensional. Powerful businessmen, polished musicians, best-selling authors, and even our own parents all have dimensions of success and dimensions of failure present in their lives.

Our successful dimensions usually encompass the things we spend the most time doing. We are successful in these dimensions because of our prolonged commitment to them. This is the part of our lives we want others to see – the successful part that holds our life’s work. It’s the notion of putting our best foot forward. It’s the public persona we envision as our personal legacy.

But behind whichever polished storyline we publicly promote, there lies a multi-dimensional human being with a long list of unprofessed failures.

#3 – Every mistake you make is progress.

Mistakes teach you important lessons. Every time you make one, you’re one step closer to your goal. The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.

So don’t hesitate – don’t doubt yourself. In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work. Most of the time you just have to go for it!

And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win. Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same spot forever.

Calorie Blast: Four Exercises

Calorie Blast: Four Exercises

I have been writing a lot about goals, staying focused, and nutrition, and I realize that I have gone a little light on exercise information. So here is a quick calorie burning workout that you can do anywhere. One reason I love these four exercises is that they are hatefully awesome.

(Courtesy of Active.com these four explosive moves created by Kim Blake, a trainer at Nike World Headquarters Sports Center in Portland, Oregon. )

You’ll push your body weight off the floor and then absorb it when you land. Translation? Your muscles will work hard, and you’ll blast fat.

Do 12 to 16 reps of each move, resting for 15 seconds between each exercise. When you’ve finished all four, rest for a minute or two, then repeat the circuit two more times. Do this calorie-burning workout three times a week, or anytime you need a little “damage control” when you have overdone it on the calories.

 

Four Power Moves

1. Runner’s lunge to knee skip

Start in a pushup position, then bend your left knee and place your left foot between your hands (a). Push through your left foot, raise your torso, and drive your right knee and left arm into the air, hopping off the ground (b). Return to start, then switch legs and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.

2. Plie jumping jacks

Stand with your hands at your sides (a) and jump into the air, bringing your arms overhead and your feet wide, knees and toes turned out, then lower into a squat (b). Quickly jump back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

3. Quarter-turn squat

Lower into a squat (a), then jump up, swinging your arms overhead and rotating 90 degrees to the left while in the air (b). Lower into a squat (c), then jump up and rotate to the right. That’s one rep.

4. Donkey kick

Start in a pushup position, legs extended directly behind you and hands under your shoulders (a). With your legs together, brace your core and glutes, then kick both legs into the air, bending your knees to bring your feet toward your butt (b). Reverse the movement to return to start, trying to land softly on the balls of your feet. That’s one rep.

Seven Tips That Make Dieting Strategies Work

Seven Tips That Make Dieting Strategies Work

1. Drink Your Water

It’s important to stay well hydrated on a diet. I often hear that people can mistake thirst for hunger. Is this true? The jury is still out, but the next time you get a hunger pang, drink a glass of water first. If you really are just thirsty…problem solved. If you are really hungry, the water will help to fill up some of your stomach space so you won’t scarf down a bag of chips. Tip: Water may be the most boring beverage on the planet, so add a bit of flavored carbonated water to jazz it up. I like La Croix.

2. Remove Sugar

If you want to lose weight, you have to remove the SUGAR. Sugar makes it easy for our bodies to store fat. Removing sugar out of your life is a tried and true way to shed and keep off the pounds. Tip: Sugar is found in many forms, so if you’re trying to reduce sugar intake you also have to stop eating the foods that act like sugar in our bodies. Whether you put a spoon full of table sugar in your mouth or chomp on a bagel, the effect is the same. For a complete list of these foods, http://www.olsonnd.com/what-foods-that-act-like-sugar/

3. Eat Smaller Portions

We love “super-size”! It makes sense, right? More food for your buck. When it comes to a good value maybe, but when it comes to good health, “super-size” is the enemy. Be mindful of the amount of food you consume at every sitting. Tip: use smaller bowls and plates for your portions. It will look like a lot of food, and it will be just the right amount. When possible, use a scale, and when eating out avoid anything with the words “all-you-can-eat” and never “super-size” anything unless you are going to share it with at least four or more people.

4. Eat Your Vegetables
Vegetables are superstar foods. Not only are they low in calories, they are high in fiber. Vegetables are a great replacement for rice, pasta and other starchy foods during weight loss. Non-starchy vegetables are the best selection for weight loss; they include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, field greens, spinach and more. Tip: Eat your veggies first to fill up most of the space in your stomach.

5. Get Enough Protein
Protein is the best fill-me-up food. It’s more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats because it keeps you feeling full for longer. Protein also helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning. Tip: Include healthy proteins like lean meat, sugar free yogurt, cheese, nuts, or beans into every meal and snack.  If your choice is a carb or a protein, go with the protein.

6. Limit Late Night Snacking
Dangerous snacking occurs most often after dinner, when you finally sit down and relax. Snacking while reading or watching TV is one of the easiest ways to throw your diet off course. If you are going to snack, make sure it is a low-calorie snack like fruit, low-fat cheese or a sugar free yogurt with a serving size of no more than 100 calories. Tip: Brush your teeth right after dinner. This is your signal that eating is done for the day.

7. Get Moving
Regular exercise is an important part of effective weight loss. It helps to control your weight by using excess calories that otherwise would be stored as fat.  Enjoy your exercise routine whatever it may be; sports, a trip to the gym, bike riding, walking, household activities, yard work, or work-related tasks — all are beneficial. Tip: Do some kind of movement EVERY SINGLE DAY, even if it’s just for 5 minutes while you are watching your favorite show. Make a game out of it. Every time your favorite character says his catch phrase do 10 jumping jacks, or 20 sit-ups, or 5 squats, or whatever.

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