Top 10 Tips For Weight Control

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I’ll never be on the “The Biggest Loser”. I’ll never be able to tell you my inspiring weight loss story.  That’s because during the 30 years of my adult life, I’ve been a weight maintainer. No, I’m not one of those people who can eat whatever I want and stay thin and fit. I work hard at it, just like many of you.  Over the various stages of my life, I’ve had to adjust.  I like to say that If I was a car, I had to make the switch from “regular” gas to “high octane” at about 21.  All of a sudden, the teenage “eat what you want” diet didn’t work anymore and I was slowly, but surely gaining weight. Then in my 30’s I had to adjust again to “post baby body” and up my exercise to more than just a brisk walk around the neighborhood with the stroller or a wagon full of daughters. And at 47, it was time to add some serious resistance training to combat the muscle loss of aging.  Now I’m working to tweak my diet again to find what works best post menopause. I’ve pulled the best information I have gathered over the years into my top ten 10 for weight control.  If you are struggling to lose weight and get in shape, these tips will help you with your journey.

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Top 10 Weight Control

 

    1. Keep track:  I know some experts will tell you not to weigh yourself.  They are right if you are the kind of person who goes into deep depression if you gain a pound from one day to the next.  You DO need to keep track of where you are at, however. Otherwise weight can creep up on you when you don’t realize it.  You’ll need to find a way that works best for you.  Take your measurements each week.  Put on your favorite pair of jeans once a week and take note of how they fit. Here’s what works for me.  I have a “weight window” of 10 pounds, with a low end and a high end.  I weigh myself each day.  As long as I am “in the window” it’s all good.  If I go too low, time to eat some more nutrient dense, healthy food (not junk).  If I go above the window, I know it’s time to create a negative calorie balance by cutting some calories and adding some more activity.
    2. Keep moving: This is one of the biggest problems Americans have.  We sit too much! We sit at work, we sit at home.  You will still get hungry, even if you don’t expend calories and then you gain weight.  No movement means muscle atrophy (they go away).  Muscle tissue burns more calories than body fat, which leads to a vicious weight gaining cycle. Make yourself move.  Park and walk, take the stairs, take a break from your desk.
    3. Drink water: Your body craves it, but you consistently do not give it enough.  It can’t function properly if you don’t hydrate it.  Sugary drinks (can you say frappucino?) give you absolutely nothing except excess sugar and calories. A soda should be a treat, not a staple of your regular diet.
    4. Eat breakfast:  I can’t stress this one enough. Breakfast jump starts your metabolism for the day.  If you don’t eat breakfast, by 10:30 your starved and shoving anything into your mouth that will fill your belly.  You don’t make good decisions eating that way.
    5. Cut your sugar intake: Sugar is linked to diseases like diabetes and cancer. Processed sugar is nothing but empty calories.  It’s in  A LOT of the foods we eat that you don’t think of as a sugary food, like bread and spaghetti sauce.  Read the food labels and make wise choices.
    6. Stick to complex carbs: These are things like brown rice, 100% whole wheat breads, sweet potatoes and quinoa. Refined carbs pack on the pounds.  Think of the color white (white bread, white rice, white flour, white sugar) and highly processed foods (crackers, cookies, chips, donuts, etc.).  They fill your belly, but they are low on nutrients.  They spike your insulin level and then when it dips later, you crash.  You’re tired and hungry and guess what your body will crave? More refined carbs.
    7. Eat Clean Foods:  What are clean foods? These are foods in their most natural state.  An orange, an apple, a carrot. These are clean because they come straight from the tree or the ground. Lean meats and whole grains are minimally processed.  Things that come in boxes, bags and cans are more processed.  Foods that have the word “refined” in the ingredients label are highly processed. Fill your diet with clean foods and cut back on highly processed foods.
    8. Resistance Train: It doesn’t HAVE to be weightlifting, but you will lose muscle as you age unless you work at keeping what you’ve got.  That means your muscles need to get a workout on a regular basis. Body weight,  resistance bands, medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells and weight machines are all ways you can resistance train. More muscles mean more of a calorie burn.  You will also look leaner, even if you weigh a little more.
    9. Do what you like when it comes to exercise: Find activities you enjoy.  You won’t stick with it if you don’t like it.  If you get tired of something, change it up! Variety is the spice of life, so take part in several activities you like. Right now, I’m into walking, cycling, pickleball, and kettlebell workouts.  I also love to kayak when I get the chance!
    10. Get an accountability partner:  You need a workout buddy!  It should be someone who will encourage you on the days you don’t feel like doing anything.  It should also be someone who will celebrate your accomplishments with you and be understanding when you have a setback WITHOUT letting you give up.

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Skinny And Company Coconut Oil


Every now and again, I get asked to try and then review a “health” product. I’m very finicky about which ones I review. Quite frankly, some of them are not very healthy. So when Nina Martin e-mailed me asking me to sample Skinny and Company Coconut Oil Products, I did my research to see if this was the type of product I wanted you to see on my blog.

Skinny and Company was founded by Luke and Matthew Geddie, two adventurous brothers who travelled to Viet Nam and fell in love with the country people and culture. Along with Kim Vo, they decided to found a company that could bring the natural coconut products of the country to the world while supporting the local Vietnamese community. The products are:

100% natural and truly “tree to table”, cold processed (never heated above 97 degrees), no chemicals, no fillers, no preservatives and pesticide free.

That was good enough for me to tell Nina to go ahead and send me a sample box. When I got them I was excited to try the coconut oil, facial oil, and sugar scrub they sent me.


The first one I tried was the facial oil. I used it first as a moisturizer for my hands.
The guide that came with the products said it was good for sensitive skin. I will caution you not to expect miracles when it comes to inflamed skin (I have some eczema that just won’t quit) but it worked well on my other sensitive skin. As a make-up remover it worked really well too. My favorite use was as a conditioner for my hair. I put just a little bit in after shampooing and worked it all through my hair. It gave me a lot of extra body and shine that my regular conditioner could not match.


The next product I tried was the coconut oil. I was intrigued by the claim that adding it to my favorite foods would keep me feeling fuller for longer. I added a teaspoon to my morning protein shake. It added a nice coconut flavor to my chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry shake. And yes, I drank my shake at 8:30 am and did not feel hungry again until about 1 pm. That’s unheard of for me. I also used it to cook. I would recommend using it in foods you would enjoy an added coconut flavor. I added it to quinoa, mushrooms, and pine nuts. Not the best flavor mix. The next time I cook with it, I will try it with chicken, shrimp or tilapia. That would taste great!


The last (and favorite) product I tried was the sugar scrub. It tastes delicious and as soon as the weather cools down, I am trying it in my tea (yes, you can eat all these products). During my shower, this stuff sloughed the rough skin right off. It also doubles as a moisturizer. No need to lotion after my shower. Bonus!

If YOU would like to try any of the Skinny and Company Coconut oil products, I have a code that will get you 10% off your purchase. Just comment “skinny” below and I will send it to you.

 

Healthy With What You Have

 


Sometimes you have to try to make it healthy with what you have on hand. A few days ago, we were low on groceries so I had to scrape together a meal with what was in the fridge and pantry. Here’s what I came up with.

We had fresh low sodium mozzarella left over from Margarita pizza. We had cherry tomatoes that are always on hand for salads. I had fresh basil growing in my garden.

I used 1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella, 6 cherry tomatoes cut in two and 3 to 4 fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces.

Put the cheese on a plate, put in in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it begins to melt. Lightly press the tomatoes into the cheese and cook for another 10 seconds. Press the basil into the cheese and enjoy!

This is one serving of protein or 2 servings of healthy fat and 1/2 veggie (if you are a 21 day fixer)

Would you like some help to eat right and lose weight? Healthy meal planning templates will help you eat the right foods in the right amounts. Learn more!

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10 Vacation Fitness Challenge Ideas

Summer is here and most of us are getting away, at least for a long weekend if not for a longer vacation. Here’s an idea to keep you from falling off the healthy lifestyle wagon while you relax and enjoy the summer at your favorite destination.

For every day you are away, do one thing that keeps you moving in a healthy directions. Of course you may eat a little more and drink a little more and…well you know the drill, while on vacation. If you plan one healthy activity each day, you will have a goal in mind that will counteract the unhealthy. You may be pleasantly surprised when you get home and step on the scale for the first time!

Here are 10 ideas to get you started.

 1. Rent bikes

 

Morning ride to Bethany Diner

It’s a great way to really see the area you are visiting. While you are enjoying the scenery, you will be getting some great exercise. Many vacation areas have bicycles for rent at reasonable rates.

 2. Try an active water sport


A lot of us head to the beach, the lake, or the river in the summer. Active water sports abound! Kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving or swimming are all great ways to work some exercise into your day on the water.

 3. Look for an exercise class near you

I just spent two weeks at South Bethany Beach, Delaware. There were beach yoga, Pilates and Boot Camp classes all within walking distance from our beach house. Prices were reasonable and it’s a great way to meet a new fitness minded friend.

 4. Bring your workout with you

My hubby and I pack our exercise mats and his iPad. That’s all we need to get a good workout every morning. YouTube has tons of free workouts that are only a click away. Search for Fitness Blender to find really good bodyweight workouts so you don’t have to lug any equipment with you.

 5. Take a walk

 

Moonlite walk on Rehoboth Beach

The weather is always better in the summer. Sunny skies and warm temps are common. Even a walk in the rain will probably be a warm one. Put on a sturdy pair of sneakers and start walking. If you are camping, find a good hiking trail and go exploring.

 7. Eat in

 

Selfies with my hubby, daughter and niece after dinner.

My extended family takes turns cooking supper at our beach house. We get to try each other’s cooking, help each other in the kitchen and do some bonding over meals. Your home cooking will naturally contain less calories, fat and salt. That does not mean you shouldn’t go out at all. Everything in moderation!

 8. Relax


Vacations are meant to be a respite from your usual activities. Disconnect from the responsibilities of work and household chores. Resist checking work e-mail and texts. Your company will survive for a few days without you.

 9. Try local food

Wherever you go, remember that fresh, whole foods are best. When you are planning your meals, don’t forget about local farmer’s markets. When you look for a restaurant, look for farm to table places that use local meats, cheeses, produce etc.

 10. Escape into a good book


When you are on vacation, it’s a great time to read something purely for pleasure. Head to your library, favorite bookstore, Amazon or Kindle and pick out a few books you have been dying to read…then escape!

The challenge has been thrown down! Comment below to let me know how YOU added one healthy activity to each day of your get-a-way. Go to my Facebook site Sue Kauffman Fitness and like it. Then you can post a picture and a description of your healthy vacation activities! Happy Summer.

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Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches

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This is a great summer recipe that you can use in place of burgers.  They taste delicious and are perfectly seasoned.  We love to grill them on a summer afternoon and enjoy them in our sunroom as the sun goes down!

You will need:

Two to four large portabella mushrooms

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Sun dried tomatoes in oil

fresh spinach

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Hellman’s olive oil mayonnaise

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Red onion

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Rolls (whole grain will make this a healthier meal)

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  1. Brush each mushroom top with oil from the sundried tomatoes
  2. Grill mushrooms on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until desired doneness
  3. Place mushroom on roll
  4. Put mayonnaise on the mushroom top
  5. add fresh spinach and sun dried tomatoes (the mayonnaise will help keep the spinach and tomato from sliding off)
  6. Serve with salad and brown rice

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Fitness and Travel: Las Vegas Health Expo!

 

Las Vegas’ very own marathon and health expo

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Are you looking to combine a fitness challenge with a fun trip?  If so, then read on. Guest blogger, Olivia Wood, helps you learn more about the Health and Fitness Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada coming up in November.

Las Vegas doesn’t cut corners when it comes to providing the ultimate entertainment to people. It may be known for its noisy and flashy casino halls but now, it’s also becoming the go-to place for health buffs to challenge themselves. On November 11 – 13, 2016, runners and fitness enthusiasts will be happy to know that Sin City will be holding a 3-day Health and Fitness Expo that includes a Marathon, which will see participants using part of the Strip as their circuit. This event is great for people who are looking for health products, tips, and services that can aid them in losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.

The Health and Fitness Expo will be featuring leaders in the fitness industry speaking at the event. Some of the notable speakers include Michael Ryan, CEO of Fitness STAR International, and Adriel Borhesi, Operations Manager/personal Trainer at Dumbbells Too.

Those who wish to participate in the marathon will need to visit the Health & Fitness expo in order to get their race packs, which include a t-shirt, gear bag, and race number. During the race, runners will get the chance to see the Strip at night, passing by some of the most iconic establishments such as the Wynn Casino, Caesar’s Palace, and Mandalay Bay Casino. Participants don’t need to be experienced long distance runners as there’s also a half marathon for beginners. For experienced marathon runners, the full version usually takes around 5 hours to complete. Around 20,000 runners participate in the event every year so if you’re interested in participating, register as early as now. Slots are limited and people sign up to the event every day, so make sure you secure your place now.

There have been a lot of fitness expos in Las Vegas currently, alongside popular annual events such as comic cons and tech shows. Las Vegas is trying to bolster its annual events schedule due to the fact that its casino services are slowly becoming redundant thanks to the advancements in online play. Today, people don’t need to go to Las Vegas just to play in the city’s huge bingo halls or gaming floors as people can simply do so in the comfort of their own home and enjoy cash rebates and multiple variants of TV and movie-themed bingo titles. Slots and table games can also be played on smartphones, complete with live dealers for blackjack and poker. Since Las Vegas cannot compete with the comfort that online casino gaming provides, Sin City casinos are constantly looking for alternative ways to generate revenue, and in this case, the Las Vegas Marathon and Health Expo is one of the ways that the city considered to counter the ongoing trend of online gaming.

Such an events as this, helps bring in a new demographic to Las Vegas every year, and introduce them to the wonders of Las Vegas. After all, Las Vegas isn’t all cocktails and burgers.

For more information, you may visit the event’s official website.

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Yummy Snack Recipe to Fill You Up

When 3:30 p.m. rolls around on a school day, I am famished. What to eat that will fill me up and get me to supper time? It has to be something healthy and it has to be enough calories to keep me from stuffing my face with the first thing I can find when I get home from school.

I found a good trail mix recipe that I shared with you in an earlier post. Now I have another one, that fits the bill. I’m sharing it with you so you you can enjoy it too. It’s only 251 calories and has a scant 3 grams of added sugar.

1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt. (I use Stonyfield)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup gluten free Honey Nut Cheerios.

Put the yogurt in a 1 cup plastic container with a lid, add the raisins and stir them in. It’s best to do this the night before. They get big and plump and delicious!
Put the Cheerios in a 1/2 cup plastic container. Take it to work and when you are ready to eat, stir the Cheerios into the yogurt and raisin mixture.

*If you want less calories, try fresh fruit like strawberries or grapes instead of raisins.


This gives you just the right amount of sweetness and the whole milk yogurt will keep you feeling full until dinner time.

Try it and let me know how you like it!

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5 Day Yoga Challenge

Here’s another fun fitness challenge for you.  It’s brought to you by Brett Larkin Yoga.  She has a YouTube channel of free videos for every level of yoga fitness.  I’ve put together a challenge made of videos only for beginners.  So if you have never tried yoga, or you haven’t done yoga for a long time, this is a great way to get into it, or get back into it.  I use the beginner morning yoga to get the kinks out when I sleep in a hotel bed, or after an intense workout.  Try this 5 day challenge and if you like these yoga videos, click here to get Brett’s beginner yoga guide and join her beginner’s live event on March 30th.  Namaste!

Day 1 How to Down Dog for Beginners (7:27)

Plus Sun Salutation for Beginners (4:32)

Day 2 Beginner Morning Yoga (16:38)

Day 3 Beginner Bedtime Yoga (10:00)

Day 4 Power Yoga for Beginners (15:00)

Day 5 Complete Beginner Yoga Class (60:00)

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“Skinny” Comfort Food Recipe

I’m loving a new cookbook I got called, “Cook This, Not That”. It’s brought to you by the same guys that do “Eat This, Not That” articles in hubby’s Men’s Health magazine. I got it at school for a whopping $5.99 (great price). You can find it here on Amazon. The premise is simple: You can have your comfort food and eat it too IF you make it at home with healthy ingredients.

The first recipe I tried was grilled cheese and tomato soup. It was delicious and perfect for dinner on an overcast, chilly day.


To make the soup, you need to roast the tomatoes in the oven. The recipe called for Roma tomatoes. All I could find at the grocery store were plum tomatoes. They worked just fine. I cut them longways, brushed them with olive oil and roasted at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes. I also heated up some minced garlic from a jar along with it. You should really crush your own cloves, but that’s what I had in the fridge.

Next, you purée the tomatoes, garlic and some more olive oil in your blender. It comes out really smooth. I thought there would be gross skins all trough it, but not so. Chicken stock is added to the mixture and you heat it in a pot. Salt and pepper to taste and it’s soup! Pretty simple.


The cheese mixture was a combo of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, diced pimentos, green onions, plain Greek yogurt, and olive oil mayo. It also called for some jalepeno peppers, but we’re not hot and spicy fans at my house, so we skipped that. The mixture grilled up nicely in our electric skillet. You’ll want to keep the heat a little lower and take your time. The cheese melts slowly and you don’t want the whole wheat bread to burn!


I made some notes on how I would change this recipe a little to suit my own tastes. When I make it again, I’ll post the full recipe. In the meantime, if you like comfort food, but not the extra fat rolls it puts around your waste. Check out “Cook This, Not That”.

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Try The Beginner’s Fitness Challenge

Spring has arrived early in Central PA!  I’m so glad that we have a had a mild Winter after the  last two years of some pretty brutal snow and cold. Once the warm weather gets here, we all start thinking about getting in better shape for the shorts, tank tops and swimming suits.

There’s no better way to stay motivated to work out than to take part in a fitness challenge.  Here’s a really good  one I found on the Fit Women of God website.  It’s been their most popular post and has gone viral on Pinterest. I like it because it uses a variety of exercises. It starts out with a few reps and increases the amount gradually over time.  It includes two rest days every week. It has all the components of a good workout. This is a great challenge for you and a friend to begin for Spring. You can even start your own Facebook fitness challenge group and use this challenge for your workout.  Have fun!

New Beginner's Challenge

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