Home Chef: 5 Ways it Can Help You Lose Weight

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

home chef salmonI’m not a big product endorser, but I’ll make and exception for Home Chef. Hubby and I started getting Home Chef about a year ago.  We really love it for lots of reasons.  Here’s five reasons why we love it for weight loss/weight maintenance:

home chef gnocci

 

Portion Control

Every Home Chef meal comes perfectly portioned for one person.  You get exactly the amount of food you should eat in one sitting. No waste. No leftovers. Controlled portions mean controlled calories and that will help you lose weight.  There is no guess work and no underestimating how much you ate.  Each meal comes with calorie and nutrient totals. Home Chef meals are already included in the Lose It app. That makes it super easy if you’re counting calories.

home chef tostada

Home Chef is 100% Clean Eating

When our Home Chef box comes on Tuesday (you can pick what day of the week you want yours delivered) all the main ingredients (meats, vegetables and grains) are fresh.  The meats are way better quality than I can get at my local grocery. Ingredients free from additives, preservatives, sugar and salt  are better for you and lower in calories.

Low Calorie and Vegetarian Options

The types of meals that will be delivered to you is up to you. We have picked the Low Calorie option.  Every meal that would automatically be sent  to us would come from Home Chef’s low calorie recipes. These meals stay between 400 and 700 total calories. They are restaurant quality and are not boring or bland at all.  You have the choice of all vegetarian if you want, or settings can avoid any food allergies you may have. You can always get online and change what will be delivered to you for each week.

Get as Many Meals per Week as You Want

You can get as many, or as few meals per week as you like. You get free shipping if you keep it at 3 or more per week. The more low cal meals per week you get, the easier it will be to lose or maintain your weight.

Learn How to Cook the Healthy Way

I’ve become a better and healthier cook through Home Chef. I’ve learned how to sear and bake meats over frying.  Olive oil and a variety of spices can be added flavor (but not calories) to meals. Each meal comes with a sturdy, colorful recipe card that goes easily into a spiral notebook. You can reuse them with your own ingredients.

A few things to keep in mind

You order Home Chef with your credit card.  It’s a subscription, so it keeps coming every week, unless you tell them to discontinue.

You can skip delivery ANY week.  If you go out of town or have guests in, just get on the website by the Friday before your delivery date and select “skip” for the week(s) you don’t want meals.

This is a great service for couples or singles. Not so much for larger families on a budget, or with finicky kid eaters! Meals are $9.99 each and are restaurant quality.

I’m not getting any commission for recommending this product. I just really really like it.

 

10 Exercise Myths That Have to Go

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

A ton of exercise myths surround fitness. Some have always been of mythic proportions and some used to be the going “science” and now the theory has been disproved. Here’s 10 to throw out a window near you!

exercise myths

Exercise myth 1: Lifting weights will make you bulky

Attention females! You don’t have enough testosterone in your body to bulk up like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead strength training will increase lean muscle mass, decrease body fat and help you burn calories more efficiently.

Exercise myth 2: Exercise will help you lose weight quickly

You’ve probably heard, “you can’t exercise away a bad diet”.  That’s the truth! Don’t be fooled by thinking a few weeks on the treadmill can cancel out a high sugar, high processed food diet.  Exercise alone will give you many benefits, but weight loss won’t be one of them unless you combine it  with clean eating.

Exercise myth 3: Ab workouts will get rid of belly fat

Ab workouts will give you a nice looking six pack, or “lady abs” as I like to call them if you’re a female. The problem is no one will ever see them if your diet doesn’t cut out the sugar and processed food that cover those abs with a layer of fat. Are you sensing a theme here??

Exercise myth 4: Strength training = weight lifting

Definitely not true! You can strength train using your own body weight, fitness bands, hand weights, kettle bells, medicine balls and even water.  Anything that provides resistance to your muscles=strength training.

Exercise myth 5: Low intensity exercise burns more fat

Here’s the real facts. Low intensity exercise burns a higher ratio of fat calories to carb calories. High intensity exercise will burn more total fat and carb calories in the same amount of time. Plus your post exercise metabolic rate will stay higher.  That means you will continue to burn more calories after you finish a high intensity workout.  Burning more calories when I’m not working out..that’s for me!

Exercise myth 6:  You can spot reduce

There are fat cells throughout your body, so stored fat is distributed equally to those fat cells. Losing weight will lower the amount of fat in those cells equally throughout your body.  The best way to reduce the inches around your middle or around your hips is to take part in exercise that burns a lot of calories.  Some examples are HIIT (high intensity interval training) and aerobic exercise.  Also, see myths 2 and 3!

Exercise myth 7: Stretching before exercise will help prevent injury

This is one that has been disproven with ongoing research. Static stretching before exercise used to be the recommendation. Research has shown that what you need pre-exercise is a warm-up that gets your heart rate up, sending blood to the muscles you will use in your workout. A dynamic warm-up is the recommendation now.  This is a warm-up where you move through  exercises to increase blood flow to the muscles you will be using and increase your range of motion before you start. An example would be walking briskly and doing walking lunges before a run.

Exercise myth 8: If you don’t exercise when you are young, you shouldn’t start when you are older

Fake news! It is NEVER too late to start exercising, even if you have been sedentary all your life. Exercise has been proven to improve your quality of life no matter how old you are. If you have been sedentary for an extended period of time, you should always check with your doc before starting an exercise program. Find what is right for you and start slowly. Build your intensity as you go. If you are unsure about how to start, a personal trainer can give you some guidance.

Exercise myth 9: You should work out every day

You can work  out every day, but you don’t have to.  The surgeon general recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of intense exercise each week.  You can do cardio exercise every day. Strength training should be every other days to let the muscles recover. That’s what helps you  increase your lean muscle mass. If you do work out every day and notice that you are overly fatigued, sore, or seem to be suffering frequent injuries, you could be overtraining and need a rest.

Exercise myth 10: You need to be in a class or at the gym to get a good workout

Not so, exercise myth buster. There is a growing trend in the exercise industry for small group fitness, home gyms, one-on-one instruction and fitness live-streaming services so you can get fit from the comfort of your own home. What will be the best for you is what motivates you the most. That might be a traditional fitness class or it might be something completely different.

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why Fitness Newbies Should Start Slow

With the holidays behind us, many people will decide now is the time to start a fitness program.  Some may be new to exercise and healthy diet. Some will be starting over after a long hiatus.  Here are five reasons why fitness newbies should take it slow.

fitness newbies

We should start slow because…

  1. Fitness Newbies don’t like sore muscles. 

    When we first start out, we are excited to be making a healthy change in our lives. We think more is better and overdue on the weights, the reps and the intensity.  Day 1 feels great! By day 2 and day 3 our muscles are screaming from all the lactic acid we have built up in them. Going up and down steps is agony.  So is sitting down and getting up out of a chair.  This is the time most people throw up their hands and say, “I quit!” Wouldn’t it make more sense to start slow and avoid the dreaded day two and three? After all, quitting is not the objective!

  2. Fitness Newbies tend to get injured. 

    Someone who is starting out at a lower level of fitness is prone to injuries (and other medical problems) if he/she overdoes it. If we have been sedentary for a period of time, we need to see a doctor to be cleared to exercise.  Most gyms and personal trainers will not work with us until we are given a clean bill of health. If our exercise program is supervised, we will, guess what?  Start out slowly.

  3. Fitness Newbies will only feel worse if they quit. 

    When we start on a fitness journey and then quit, it lowers our confidence in our ability to be successful the next time. Starting slowly allows us to set attainable goals and experience success. This will motivate us to reach for new attainable goals and experience more success.

  4. Fitness Newbies often view the process as all or nothing. 

    Starting out slowly can help someone new to a healthy lifestyle realize that “a little fitness” is better than none at all.  Just because we miss a workout one day, or overeat another day doesn’t mean we’ve failed and should throw the whole thing out the window. So we had a bad day?  Start fresh the next day!

  5. Fitness Newbies are, well.. new, and they will make mistakes. 

    As a newbie, do we know all there is to know about fitness ? Of course not!  That information takes time to learn, but that doesn’t mean we should wait until we have it all inside our noggins. Starting slow allows us to make small changes as time goes by.  Before we know it, those many small changes turn into one big lifestyle change.

5 Reasons Why Dieting is Dumb During the Holidays

We have ALL stressed over our not-so-healthy eating habits during the holidays. We even decide to “watch what we eat” and set daily calorie limits between Thanksgiving and the new year. Who hasn’t read articles (and I’ve written one or two) about how to keep yourself from overindulging during this festive time.  Here’s five reasons why we should just chill out a little bit.

You are setting yourself up to fail

With all the holiday parties, get-togethers, and office treats, there is no way you will be able to resist all the goodies, nor should you want to. Take smaller portions, or healthier options if you can, enjoy yourself and the company of your family and friends. Unrealistic expectations means sure failure, and for most people that is a crushing blow you don’t need at this time of the year.

This is a time to celebrate with the people you love most

Celebrations around the world usually mean food and drink. It can also mean dancing, games, storytelling and a host of other fun activities to share.  Strike a balance. Don’t sit around for hours and gorge, but do take part in the celebration feast!

Food = Love for many in your family

For my mom, cooking for the family is a labor of love. Holiday dinners are filled with comfort foods.  That usually means lots of fat, sugar and calories. In the past, I have passed up some of her family favorites and watched her face fall because I didn’t want what she so lovingly prepared for me. Is your diet on this holiday really worth refusing cherished family recipes that have so much history and love attached to them?

You will feel deprived

Severely limiting your participation in the celebration will cause you to feel deprived. Feeling deprived eventually leads to overeating and you will have seriously sabotaged all your hard work in the months leading up to the holidays. Instead, shoot for moderation at each event you are attending.

If you live a healthy lifestyle year-round, this won’t break the bank

Yes, you may have to watch a little harder after the holidays and work out a little more regularly come January, but if living healthy is your usual M.O. indulging a bit in December is okay. Give yourself a holiday from the guilt trip you’re about to put yourself on. If living healthy is not your usual thing, then January is a great time to start!

 

 

 

Benefits of Working Out with Other People

Exercise is just one building block of health—but it’s an important one. People who workout regularly burn more calories, which helps to maintain weight. They use up excess sugar, and often are able to tamp down those low-energy sugar cravings. And if you exercise, you generate endorphins, which are essential to helping you feel good about the day ahead.
But going it alone when it comes to exercise is often a difficult routine to maintain. And it’s harder to push yourself to your max, too, when you exercise alone—which means that you might not be building the strength and stamina that you could.
That’s why working out with other people, and working out in group fitness classes, can be so valuable. It can keep you on edge—the good kind—by constantly making your muscles stronger. It can keep you accountable, too, to the friends and people you meet while exercising. Why else does it matter? This graphic explains it.

 

Better with Friends: Benefits of Working Out with Other People

Healthy Changes That Last; How to Make Them

healthy changes that last 1

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to make healthy changes that last, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Many, of my clients come to me after they have tried… and failed, to eat healthy, lose weight or add exercise to their schedule. I make them an individual plan that works for them and check in with them on a schedule that holds them accountable.  Here’s some tips to help you make healthy changes that last.

Healthy changes that last need a plan

Make it specific. Make a long-term goal (eat healthier) and then get specific (reduce the starchy carbs in your meals and increase the fresh fruits and veggies).

Write it down

Healthy changes that last are ones that you write down and post where you see them every day.  Post your plan on the fridge.  You’ll see it every time you walk in the kitchen!

Start Small

Pick one healthy change you are relatively sure you will succeed at. A good example is to replace one sugary drink during your day with an 8 ounce glass of water. Sure it’s not much, but if it becomes a habit, you can soon replace another, and another until you are drinking the recommended 8, 8 ounce glasses of water and sugary drinks are a thing of the past. You’ll be surprised at how fast you won’t even crave them anymore.  If you cut them all out at once, you’ll feel deprived and have more of a chance of failing, feeling defeated and quitting altogether.

Healthy changes that last should be one at a time

When it comes to making healthy changes that last, we tend to do too much, too fast (see above). Change just one thing until it becomes second nature, then you can move onto one more thing. I’m working on an e-book that makes 10 healthy changes in 10 weeks.  Look for it here soon!

Get into a routine

Put the change you want to make on your calendar. Treat it like any other important appointment. Be there and be on time.  Soon it will be second nature.

healthy changes that last 3

Find someone to keep you accountable

This translates into a friend that can join you in whatever healthy change you are trying to make.  It’s a little harder to make excuses when someone else is waiting for you to join them.  Pick someone who will be supportive and will be fun.  Everything is easier with a buddy!

Do what works for you

I hate to run! It would be silly for me to make a fitness goal of running in a 5K and beginning a running program. I would soon quit.  But I love cycling, kettlebell workouts and dancing.  I could do any of those and still get the same amount of exercise. Running wouldn’t work for me.  Healthy changes that last have to be things that fit into your life.

healthy changes that last 2

Brainstorm ways to get around your roadblocks

One roadblock for me is coming home hungry at the end of a busy workday.  I will graze on anything I can get my hands on. That’s a big healthy eating roadblock. So I keep junk food out of my cupboards and pack a healthy snack with my lunch.  I eat it right before I head home. That can usually get me through until dinner is cooked. Think of a roadblock you might have to your goal and think ahead to be able to crush it!

Let people you love know what your are doing and ask for help when you need it

Talk to the people in your life about your goals and how you are trying to make healthy changes that last. The more people that know, the harder it will be for you to quit. Ask for help from those that support you in your efforts.  Most will be happy to lend a hand.

 

Healthy Lifestyle; Cycling in PA

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

This past weekend, hubby and I went to Pittsburgh and rode the Steel City portion of the Great Allegheny Passage with my daughter Marla and her husband Tony. If you want some exercise and fun on a weekend, Rails to Trails is a great healthy lifestyle choice.

Marla and Tony rented bikes at Waterfront Bike Rental. We brought our bikes from home and Ian at the bike rental place was kind enough to pump up our tires to the correct pressure.

 

Cycling is a healthy way to see the city
View from the GAP Steel city Rails to Trails

The Great Allegheny Passage is a healthy way to see Pittsburgh!

This part of the trail is unique in that you are riding on a wooded trail. Rabbits and squirrels are peeking out from either side of the bike lane, but if you look left, you see the city in all it’s steel glory. Railroads run along beside the trail at some points and a remaining steel mill with fire belching from a pipe is visible in the clearing. You can also spot the back of Kennywood Park at one point. It’s truly a look at Pittsburgh from a totally different perspective. Of course you can’t do anything in Pittsburgh without crossing some bridges. We rode over train yards on bridges and over the Monongahela river.

healthy living
View of the city and steel mill from the trail

We started at Waterfront and rode to McKeesport which is 8 miles away. About 6 miles in, it started to rain. This was almost an hour before the forecast predicted. Since we were going to get wet either way, we elected to continue our ride to the end and then turn around to go back.

Healthy way to cross a bridge
You can’t cycle in Pittsburgh without crossing a bridge!

We almost made it to the end of the 8 mile mark when we heard thunder in the distance. At 7 3/4 miles, we decide to head back. Even though we were pretty squishy and sandy at the end of our ride, we all had fun and we’ll definitely do it again! Marla and Tony are thinking of getting their own bikes soon. There may be a lot more Pittsburgh rides in our future. Yay!

A healthy way to watch trains
View from the train bridge

If you go…

Take your camera
Expect a few hills (made by the train bridges)
Prepare for rain (we didn’t!)

What are your favorite healthy ways to see a new place?  Leave a comment below.

 

Healthy fun day
Drowned rats, but we had fun!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

 

healthy Brussels sprouts and carrots

Many of my clients tell me that they don’t have too much trouble staying on course when it comes to exercise. The area that gives them the most frustration is their eating. Sometimes it’s not how much you’re eating, but what you’re eating that makes you stumble. In that spirit, I am posting one of my favorite healthy recipes for roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots.

This one is a side dish that comes from Home Chef.  It’s a home delivery company that sends fresh ingredients and recipes to your doorstep each week for about $9.99 per meal.  These meals are restaurant quality and portioned so that you don’t overeat.  Genius! I love roasted veggies because they taste great and roasting adds flavor without adding many calories. I used to hate Brussels sprouts. Now that I know how to roast them, I think they are delicious! This recipe feeds two people so adjust accordingly.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

You will need:

2 carrots, 8 oz. Brussels sprouts, two shallots, olive oil, salt, pepper, cooking spray, baking sheet

  1. Wash,peel, trim and cut carrots into 1/4 inch pieces
  2. Wash, and trim bottoms from Brussels sprouts, and halve them
  3. Peel and slice shallots and separate into 1/4 inch rounds
  4. Toss carrots, Brussels sprouts and shallots with 2 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
  5. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with the cooking spray
  6. Roast in the oven set at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes
  7. If any of the Brussels sprout leaves have burned, remove them from the sheet before serving.

What are your favorite healthy side dish recipes? Share in the comments below.

 

Rails to Trails Ride in Poe Paddy State Park

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!


My hubby and I have been spending a lot of time riding our hybrid bikes since we purchased them for each other for Christmas. We are exploring places we’ve never even heard of before. Did you know there is a Rails to Trails in Poe Paddy State Park? This is a place where I picnicked and camped as a child. Many years ago, there was a railroad that hauled lumber out of this wooded area. A whole lumbering community of about 400 grew up around this railroad.

This is a short Rails to Trails of a little over 3 miles. It’s a little hard to find, but it’s worth the drive and the search. It’s kind of a hidden gem if you like hiking or recreational biking.

Poe Paddy is a small state park in Centre County. It’s a primitive campsite for tents and small campers. Park in the Big Poe parking lot and walk or bike up through the camping area. You’ll need to ride on the camp road for about a half a mile. You’ll then take a hard right onto the actual trail.

The trail is gravel and packed earth. It’s not as smooth as some of the larger trails we have biked on, but it’ truly a path through the Pennsylvania mountains. Pens Creek, where some of the best fly fishing in the country happens in the Spring, meanders below the trail.


A special feature on this trail is the tunnel that was blasted right through the mountain. It has had extensive work done to it. The last time my husband had seen it, it was falling down and caved in. We met a man who was camping nearby who told us the renovation was a two million dollar operation. If you ride the trail, make sure you bring some kind of flashlight. The tunnel is not lighted and even though it’s short, it gets pretty dark in there! Also make sure you talk or sing while inside it. The acoustics are great!


The trail would be just the right length for a hike. Since it was a pretty short bike ride, we explored a little bit and found another short trail where we rode until we got to a washed out bridged over Penns Creek. We also rode through the campsites to take a look around.

To round out the day, we drove the four miles to Poe Valley State Park, This is a bigger state park complete with a bathhouse, lake, picnic and camping areas as well as a concession stand. We took a short walk to the breast of the dam and had lunch at the concession stand, then headed home. It was a great day to get out into the woods, explore a new Rails to Trails (for us) and get a little fresh air and exercise.


If you go..
Take some sort of flash light
Use some bug spray
Take pictures
Talk and sing in the tunnel

Fitness Trackers: Do You Need One?

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Welcome to my guest blogger, Caroline!

Do You Really Need A Fitness Tracker?

In a world where we’re surrounded by technology, it’s easy to think updating to the most high-tech equipment will automatically make your life better. And in the world of health and fitness, it’s no different. I remember when I first saw someone jogging with their phone attached to their arm. It confused me, yet it piqued my interest.

As someone who has always enjoyed adding technology to my life, I’ve used quite a few different fitness trackers over the years. Some of you have likely seen others get results using these devices, leading you to ask if you should get one too. While everyone will have their own personal needs, these devices are, generally speaking, a worthwhile investment. Before heading out and buying one, though, here are a few things to consider:

What are your goals?

When we begin our journeys into becoming fitter, we often set ourselves goals. These can be weight goals or ability targets. No matter what they are, they give us something to aim towards. Without these ambitions, it can be difficult to summon the enthusiasm and motivation needed to workout and diet effectively.

A fitness tracker may not be necessary if you plan on fulfilling a light exercise schedule, though. For example, doing an hour of aerobics on a daily basis. However, if you’re training for an upcoming sporting event, say a marathon, the in-depth statistics you can get from a fitness tracker might be more useful to you.

Most fitness trackers are set up to track your weight, heart rate, calorie burn and various other metrics, depending on the type of exercise you’re doing. For example, running apps can track how you perform on gradients, helping you learn useful information so that you can alter your activity to improve in certain areas of your training.

If you have specific goals to accomplish or if you’re interested in giving yourself an extra boost of motivation, fitness trackers are excellent solutions that will help you modify your workout to make it more effective for you.

Are they worth the money?

While fitness trackers are a lot cheaper than personal trainers, they aren’t the only way to track your progress. For example, depending on your fitness goals, you might be able to get away with using a journal. Running times or weights can be quickly jotted down, and this information will help you review your progress over time.

I suppose it comes down to personal preference, budget and your ambitions with fitness. If you’re interested in bringing your fitness routine beyond just a casual pastime but don’t feel like hiring a trainer, a fitness tracker can be a great middle ground. It gives you specific metrics to track. You can do your own research into what these mean and how to improve, turning your fitness routine into an opportunity for personal growth.

Which one is best?

There are many trackers on the market. My favorite is the popular wearable device known as the FitBit. It tracks my heart rate and calorie burn, and it also tells me when I’m in the “fat burning” zone. This data is accessible after workouts via the FitBit app—the device sends information to the app installed on your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.

I prefer the interface of the app and functionality it gives, which is why the FitBit is my tracker of choice. However, there are plenty of apps you can use for all kinds of workouts without the need for a wearable device. You can simply use your smartphone and carry it with you while working out. It’s worth mentioning, though, that a lot of these apps require personal information for data tracking, so I always use a secure connection when running them since I mostly use them in public areas.

Smartphone fitness apps can track your activity in numerous ways. For example, “Argus” tracks your daily calorie intake as well as how much exercise you get throughout the day. If you enjoy jogging, “FitRadio” might be an option for you, as it plays continuous music with a steady beat that helps motivate you to continue exercising. FitRadio also tracks time and route, making it an all-in-one fitness motivator and tracker.

Fitness trackers are excellent tools to help you maximize your efforts and get more out of your workouts. For some, they can be just what’s needed to take your health and fitness to new levels. But for others, they might be excessive, as they don’t fit in with your fitness goals. Hopefully, this information has helped you decide which group you’re in, and if you decide to get one, I’m sure you’ll love it and the results it helps you achieve.

Author Bio: Caroline is a health and tech blogger with a keen passion for fitness. She enjoys spreading awareness of technological solutions that can help people reach their fitness goals in an easier fashion.