Life would be much easier if we didn't have to work hard to get what we wanted. Well... life isn't like that at all. If you want something, you have to work hard to get it. For a toned body or to lose 10 pounds, you need to work at it and exercise.
I found it to be quite hard starting out with working out. It's hot, sweaty, sometimes strenuous but can make you feel like a million bucks once you finish. Not a lot of people have time, money or the drive to get up everyday and hit the gym, but once you see progress, then the reward is sure worth it.
I have a few tricks to help you get moving and motivate you to keep going back to the gym:
1. Little at a time - Don't start off doing crazy amounts of weights and hours of cardio when, and if, you start working out. Take it a little at a time. Maybe start with 10 minutes on the elliptical (elliptical is a low impact machine that won't be hard on your joints) for a few days and slowly add 5 minutes to it. Hey, I didn't say this will be a fast process and you lose the weight instantly. Not to mention, losing weight fast hurts your metabolism and your body's ability to maintain a steady weight. You should be losing 1-3 pounds per week at most. Though, once you start, you will see a lot of weight come off first. I like to use the analogy of boats; It takes more fuel to move a cruise ship than it does to move a tug boat. You will be burning a lot more calories if you are heavier and therefore will lose more weight to start. Just don't get discouraged or feel like you have to match the person on the machine next to you to get results. Go at your own pace and listen/be mindful of your body and what it is telling you. If you're on a machine and after 10 minutes you start to feel pain, stop your workout. Pain is NOT gain, pain is your body's way of saying "this isn't right we need to stop!".
2. Track your progress - This may seem tedious but it works wonders for me. I use a FREE tool called MapMyWalk to track my workouts. You can create an account online. They also have apps for mobile devices so if you decide to take a walk outside, you can turn it on and your mobile device uses the GPS to track your distance, calories burned and time. This is a great motivator because it gives you a visual representation of what you are doing and can help you try and top your last workout. I know I try to beat my time at the gym everyday so I can improve on my stats. Not to mention I feel great after a hard workout.
3. Weight yourself once - You all know who you are, you who step on the scale every day hoping that the number will miraculously plummet in 24 hours. Well stop that! You are causing yourself harm by doing that. Scales are a horrible guide to weight loss because a scale can't tell you if you lost fat weight, water weight, muscle weight or if your arm was chopped off. A 5 pound brick and a 5 pound bag of feathers weight the same, but are not made up of the same material, but a scale doesn't know that. It just takes a measurement. So why use the scale if it is so inaccurate? Because, it gives you an idea of the direction you are headed towards. The trick to getting an accurate reading is to weight yourself at the same exact time, ONCE per week in the nude. Resist the urge to do more than once per week. Pick a day that you would like to weigh yourself, my day is Friday, and commit to that time. Write down your weight and track it from week to week.
4. Workout Buddy - Nothing screams motivation then someone else working out next to you. You feed off of each other and sometimes try to top each other which motivates you to push yourself through your workouts. Find a friend, co-worker, family member, fellow gym member and create a buddy system that will motivate you to get moving.
I never said it was going to be easy, but if you are willing enough, these tips will be sure to help you get started and motivated to join a gym or even workout in your own home (which I don't recommend). A gym atmosphere helps to motivate you as well. With everyone there for the same purpose, you wont feel so alone. Happy lifting!
As we know, restaurants are notorious for giving us tons of food when we eat out, at least in America they are. I don't know about you, but I really love side dishes and having a variety of food to pick from when I go out to eat. We tend to consume a lot more food when we eat out, mostly because it is there and it's fun to nibble. Below are some sides and normal things a typical restaurant serves and some tips on what to do and some healthy ways to approach the norms of a restaurant.
1. The Bread Bowl - Gah, the infamous bread bowl. It's there, calling your name with a little plate of spreadable butter, just within reach. You can nibble and enjoy your conversation... WRONG! Hah, fooled you, bread and butter kills people when they eat out. Not literally, but most people eat the bowl of bread which has enough calories as their meal that they ordered. Nix the bread bowl or ask your server to not bring it so you aren't tempted. I know I'd eat the whole thing if it was there.
2. French Fries - Yummy fried potatoes. No nutritional value at all and is loaded with fat from the oil it was fried in. Who can resist french fries though!? A great way to have your fries, and eat them too, is to share them with your friends at the table. Nothing like sharing the calories with the people you enjoy spending time with. If you share your fries, you force yourself to eat less of them so you aren't so effected by the calories and fat. 5 french fries wont kill you, but a whole plate of them can!... again, not literal.
3. Soup & Salad - Everyone loves a nice hot soup with crisp salad. Buyer beware, they can be loaded with hidden calories and fat. Avoid cream based soups and stick to something with broth. Try to not put those saltine crackers into your soup, extra sodium and carbs make for bigger tummies. Salads, believe it or not, can be more caloric and fatty then your meal if you aren't mindful. Try to get salads with dark greens like spinach or arugula, iceberg lettuce is light green and doesn't carry nearly the same amount of nutrients that dark greens carry. Avoid the bacon and all the heavy toppings that are offered with a salad. The hardest thing, is the dressing! Order it on the side so you can regulate how much you are using. Fork your dressing into your salad instead of dumping the whole cup on top. You'll be surprised how much dressing you DON'T need to actually have it taste good. Less is more in this case. Again, try to avoid the creamy dressings like ranch, blue cheese, thousand island. Mind you, you CAN have these foods, I'm giving you healthy alternatives. You can have blue cheese, it's actually my favorite dressing. Just need to make sure you don't put too much or you'll be consuming more calories and fat then you want to.
4. Beverages - Biggest. Crock. Of. Shittle... beverages are empty calories. Soda and juice can really kill your meal if you eat out. I dropped soda completely from my life. There are alternatives though for those who can't give up the bubbly taste! I like sprite, so I make my own... how?... well that's easy. Order a club soda or seltzer and ask for a lot of lemon and lime. Squeeze your lemon and lime into your seltzer and then add a packet of real sugar. Yes, I said REAL SUGAR. The artificial stuff is processed, fake chemicals that is unnatural to your body and in fact, your body doesn't really know how to process splenda, sweet n low, or equal, so, you might as well have the real thing. And I know soda has sugar, so you might as well have soda right?... WRONG... Soda has aspartame and all these processed chemicals that are harmful to you. Stick to the natural seltzer, lemon/lime and sugar that I mentioned. You will thank me later, I assure you.
5. Salt Me! - You ever eat your meal and say, "Wow, I'm full, but this is too good to not eat the whole thing"? Something I do, and it may seem stupid but it works, when I get to that point in my meal that I know I am satiated and feel no need to keep eating except I want to because it tastes good. I open the salt at the table and dump a majority of it on my food. This forces me to not eat anymore. Waste of salt you say? I think not. When you get to that point in your meal when you know you are done, resist that impulse to keep shoveling and grab the salt and ruin your food. I use to trick myself into actually eating the rest of what was on my plate. Thoughts like "well, it's almost gone so might at well finish it." or "it's only one day"... phrases like this are terrible. They are simply rationalizations and manipulations of your own mind tricking you to getting that full, stomach-to-the-back-wall feeling. Feeling like your belly button is going to invert itself it NOT a healthy feeling. Your stomach is begging you to eat less, and it tells you that. So force yourself to salt your food when you KNOW you're finished.
6. The Doggie Bag - Order your doggie bag when you order your food. Once your meal comes, put half of it into the doggie bag to take home. You eat less at the restaurant, and don't have to feel guilty about what you're eating. Bottom line!
7. Children's Menu - This is debatable in most restaurants. Some restaurants have age restrictions on children's menu items, but that doesn't stop me. Almost every restaurant serves 4-5 servings of food per plate. One plate of food is enough for 5 people most of the time! This is because restaurants want you to feel like you're getting a lot for your money, but it's hurting your health. Restaurants serve food on plates that are massive and therefore you eat more. If you order off the children's menu, you will be ordering a normal serving of food for an adult. I have argued with waiters and management when I order out about the age discrepancy on children's menu items. I simply tell them I am on a special diet and have to order off the kids menu; I have never been denied this... EVER. Think about it, the restaurant is there to serve YOU. They would much rather have you spend 6 bucks on a kids meal then have you walk out the door, so order from the kids menu when you can to help your portion sizes.
I have many more tricks and tips to eating out and will be divulging them to you soon! Eat well, and be happy, until next time.
The one thing in weight loss, and life, you cannot live without, no matter what life style change or behavior/habit you are correcting, is motivation. There are two types, extrinsic motivation (outside) and intrinsic motivation (within). There are a lot of things that motivate people to lose weight which are extrinsic such as looking good and fitting into a smaller size. However, extrinsic motivation only takes a person so far. Intrinsic motivation relies on taking pleasure in a certain activity rather than working towards a reward or goal.
Our minds get bored very quickly and so we need to always keep finding and adding new goals and motivators to help us along. So here are some ways you can motivate yourself to lose weight/get healthy:
1. Goal Clothing - We need achievable goals to strive towards. People tend to want and look at the end result first and don't take the time to enjoy the process of getting their. I want you to go to your favorite clothing store and purchase an article of clothing you would like to fit into someday. Obviously, if you are an extra-large at the moment, do not buy a small as your goal; that is not achievable and you will not succeed. Take the clothing home and hang in it your bedroom where you will see it everyday and use that as a goal to get to. If you're an XXL, then purchase an XL to start. As you fit into the sizes, you can keep buying new goal clothing.
2. Photo Booth - Take pictures of your progress. Our minds are tricky and have an image of ourselves the way we think we look. We see ourselves in the mirror every day and may not notice a 20-pound difference that a friend or family member will see. I can tell you that after losing over 100lbs, I still feel like I've lost nothing some days. Far from the truth, but again, our minds don't help! So take pictures of yourself and compare them as you go along to see the changes.
3. Success Stories - This could either encourage, or discourage you from what you're trying to do. The best thing to have are other people who share and are going through the same thing you are. Check out some weight watchers stories or forums.
My reason and motivation was that I was pushing 300lbs. I never EVER wanted to weigh that much and I made a deal with myself to not get that high. So, I did something about it and found motivation.
Call me crazy, but you should be eating more if you want to lose weight. It is true. I'm not saying that if you eat 5 cheeseburgers you will watch the pounds miraculously fall off. Eating more frequently is what I'm really looking for.
Most people skip breakfast and have a normal lunch and a huge dinner. Or, some people just eat once per day. Even 3 meals per day is not enough. I try to have 6-7 meals throughout the day, spacing them out every 2-3 hours. This helps to keep your body busy all day long and helps your metabolism.
It's like your body is the Titanic. The workers below deck in the hull are like your liver and they constantly need coal to keep the engines moving and the ship going. If you don't put enough coal in, you end up having a slow moving ship and it sits idle like your metabolism. Put too much in and it doesn't work properly. If you put in a little at a time every few hours, you're smooth sailing... so to speak.
Here is my breakdown for a normal day. You can adjust times however you'd like, this is just a little template:
8am - Breakfast
10:30am - Snack
1pm - Lunch
3:30pm - Snack
5pm - Dinner
7:30pm - Snack
Try to incorporate healthy snacks. I usually have some kind of protein, a serving of fruit or vegetable, and a carb. So a snack for me would be a Greek yogurt (protein) and maybe a banana (fruit) and/or granola (carb). You can play around with what would work for you.
In conclusion, you may feel like you're eating way too much, but you will actually become accustomed to this and will feel fine!
I love PBnJ sandwiches, they are creamy and delicious. Though, depending on how it is made, PBnJ can add some unnecessary, unwanted calories to your meal. I came up with a new version in a wrap which packs a lot of nutrition and doesn't lose the tasty, creamy quality of the real thing.
The first question I ask myself when I am making something like this is, "What can I add to it to make it healthier and nutritious?" If you take the classic PBnJ, it really doesn't offer too much nutritionally. Its bread, peanut butter and jelly. We can spice this up a bit by adding some color. I try to eat a variety of colors everyday. To do this, we can add an apple and banana. Let's take it one step further, and healthier, and add cinnamon. Cinnamon is a spice that boosts your metabolism and can aid in weight loss.
1. Start by measuring out 1-2 tablespoons (1 serving) of peanut butter. I like to use all natural peanut butter that has roasted peanuts and oil in the ingredients. No chemicals. And make sure you're not cheating on your measurements! A tablespoon is a tablespoon, no more or less.
2. Measure out 1 serving of jelly. I use all natural with no sugar added and no HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Concord Grape Jelly is loaded with sugar and HFCS, your body will thank you.
3. Slice up your apple and banana. I like to use a mandolin for the apple because it slices it into stackable slices, the banana will be messy so just use a knife to cut even sized pieces. I enjoy the crisp apples like Macintosh or HoneyCrisp.
4. Construct! Use whole wheat bread or pita/tortillas to make your sandwich or wrap. Make sure to use the bread that doesn't contain HFCS. Start with the peanut butter, then bananas, apple slices, jelly and finally the cinnamon. Consume and enjoy!
This is packed with protein from the peanut butter, potassium from the banana and metabolism boosting spices. You will feel very full from this and it will be delicious.
Eating out is very social, entertaining and fun but can really take a toll on your health if you aren't mindful about what you're consuming. I use to be the kind of eater where I would go out with friends, order whatever sounded good and was cheap, then shovel it all in once it came and leave feeling much worse than when I walked in. This isn't the worst thing you can do. I allow myself room to splurge a bit here and there; we all need to treat ourselves. However, that pattern of eating out can be quite dangerous if you eat out more than 2-3 times per week and are "shoveling it in". Outside food is a problem when it is the majority of what you eat and becomes a staple in your diet.
There are still healthy options that you can find that will not rip a hole through your stomach if you are unable to cook at home and have a job, or school schedule, that doesn't allow for much flexibility. Here are three options for eating out on-the-go:
1. Stop by a supermarket and go to the salad bar. Most supermarkets have them and they offer tons of healthy options. The one thing I warn you of though are the dressing packets that are there. Most of them are loaded with saturated fat, sodium and useless calories. Instead, head to the dressing aisle and find a small sized dressing that is healthy. Most stores now carry salad dressings made from yogurt in the produce section.
2. If salad bars aren't an option, try McDonalds... you can pick your jaw off the floor now... However, food selection is very important here. Try a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato (hold the mayo) and get rid of the fries and soft drink. Instead, get apple slices and a water. Not my favorite option but certainly the most healthiest at McDonalds. By the way, if you're wondering about some of the salads at McDonalds you might want to think twice... check out those nutrition labels on their website. (http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf) I'm not a fan of fast food, nor do I promote eating eat. However, I figure I give you a nice alternative for when and if you DO choose to eat it.
3. Sushi! I'm a huge sushi lover and I would eat it everyday if I could, but I'm not that rich! Sushi has tons of health properties. Seaweed (in the sushi) is a good source of iodine, which helps the thyroid and it also can help with arthritis pain. You can really screw up sushi if you get a Philadelphia Roll, which is cream cheese, smoked salmon and cucumber. Try to get healthier rolls like vegetable, California or salmon. I also request brown rice instead of the white along with low sodium soy sauce when I eat sushi.
I can imagine some of you who are reading this thinking, "Who really gives a shit. It doesn't matter if get white rice or brown". You're absolutely right, it doesn't matter... to you. But over time, these little things add up and it doesn't help with weight loss. Brown rice is the better option.
Until next time, enjoy eating out and always be mindful of what you're putting into your body!
Now, some of the information in my blog may seem like no-brainers, but rest assured, there IS a method to my madness.
I'm sure you have heard time and time again that you should eat less of what is on your plate, don't go back for seconds, eat food the size of your fist and so on... well some of that is accurate but I have some little tricks that can help you in addition to those "diet" tidbits of information:
1. Chew your food at least 20 times before you swallow it. Next time you eat something, count the number of times you chew it. You'll be surprised. Most people chew their food 5-8 times before it's down the hatch. Chewing 20+ times allows you to taste what you're eating and it allows time for your stomach to send the signal to your brain that you are full. People who do this tend to eat less and get satisfied quicker, hence eating less calories and in turn losing weight.
2. Use smaller tableware. We eat with our eyes first. If you have a huge plate in which you are putting your food, then you will tend to eat more. As an experiment, make yourself a normal sandwich and put it on the biggest plate that you have in your house. Then take that same sandwich and put it on the smallest plate in your home and see if you notice the difference. Nice trickery huh!? By the way, this goes the same for restaurants... which is a whole different blog topic for another day.
3. Measuring cups are your friend. Make sure you are measuring everything that you are cooking with... don't you DARE eyeball anything, this isn't Rachael Ray's "30 Minute Meals". Measure that EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).
Now... some of you may be like, "but I'm not full after eating what I portioned out". If this is the case, then you should look at the kinds of food you are eating. Try to fill your plate with some whole grains and protein to help fill you up. Brown rice and barley are great for filling you up without over eating.