How to Lose 5 Pounds When You Need To

 

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!

When I need to lose a few pounds (usually it’s three to five after Christmas or vacation) I follow these steps:

Three days, no added sugar

Step 1. PIck three days when it’s easiest for you to cut out any added sugar. That’s anything that has white sugar on it or in it. Donuts and cake come to mind, but make sure you read the labels. Things like spaghetti sauce and canned veggies have added sugar in them too. While you are doing this part of the “diet”, don’t really watch portions or calories. Eat when you are hungry.

Don’t worry about the sugar in fresh veggies, fruits or dairy products. That is natural sugar. If you are eating yogurt, make sure you are eating low fat plain yogurt for 3 days After you’ve done three days with no sugar, it will be a lot easier to leave those sugary treats alone. Three days seem to be the tipping point.

Step 2. Pick the best way for you to watch how much you eat. For some people, this is portion control, for others it’s counting calories. Use a tool like http://www.choosemyplate.gov to calculate how many calories you should be eating according to your height, weight, how much weight you want to lose and how much time you want to take to do it. The safest and most effective timeline is losing 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Step 3. Find a way to accurately calculate calories or portions. A few good mobile apps are 21 day fix, Lose It, my fitness pal or, the calorie counter on your fitness tracker if it has one. To use 21 day fix, you’ll need to get a set of containers. You can order them online from Beachbody. I have also seen cheaper versions at CVS.

Step 4. Do some sort of exercise for at least 30 minutes, at least 3 times a day. If you are a total beginner, you can start with walking or some of the beginner workouts you can find on the internet.

It’s important to stick with it! You may lose quickly at first and then things will slow down. Keep to the plan, even if you only lose a little bit each week. Don’t lose heart and give up if you have a day where you eat more or fall of the wagon. Remember that slow and steady always wins the race.

Here’s the video from “Real LIve Fitness” that explains the plan.

Cut The Junk From Your Diet

One of the "cut the junk" meals I ate. Pork with peach chutney.
One of the “cut the junk” meals I ate. Pork with peach chutney.

After the holidays, we all want to “get back to healthy”. I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and do my version of the challenge I am offering to all my beginners and exercise “start overs”.

I did seven days of cutting the junk from my diet.  I lost 3.8 pounds.  Here’s what I cut:

  1. No dairy
  2. No gluten
  3. No alcohol
  4. As little sugar as possible (it’s in everything)

Here’s what I DID eat:

  • Lean protein (pork, beef, chicken, fish,)
  • Brown rice, quinoa, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes
  • fresh or home cooked vegetables
  • fresh fruits
  • avocado

Here are links to two of the dinners I ate during the 7 days:

Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa

Shrimp with Tomatoes

Here’s what I did for exercise:

At least 2 days of strength training  I did either PiYo or a power weight workout.  That’s when you use lighter weights, and lift as many reps as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds.

At least 2 days of cardio I did HIIT (high intensity interval training) or steady state cardio (mostly walking or stationary bike)

I did at least 30 minutes each day.

Now, tell me what YOU did and how things went for you!

I explain the first seven days on this Periscope.  Check it out!

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Extend Nutrition Bars Review

I’ve been a health and fitness girl from the time I picked up a hockey stick in 9th grade.  My hubby was a high school athlete, but was never into exercise and healthy eating as an adult until a stent at age 40 made it really important (to say the least).  For the last 13 years, we have been trying to eat right and exercise regularly. It’s great to have a fitness partner right in my own house!

My box of Extend Nutrition came in the mail!
My box of Extend Nutrition came in the mail!

 

So when Extend Nutrition asked me to try their protein bars and write a review, it was only natural that Bob and I try them together and tell you what we think.  When they came in the mail, I was excited to have a new nutritious snack to try. Extend sent six bars and three different flavors.  We were able to each try three different kinds to see which flavor was our favorite.  We are always looking for convenient nutrition.

The letter that came with our bars explained that all Extend Nutrition products (they also make drizzles and shakes) are designed to stabilize your blood sugar for six to nine hours. This would “improve performance during physical activity and enhance muscle recovery post-exercise.”

We decided to put those claims to the test! Bob took one along to work to eat before he worked out with his trainer.  He wanted to see if it would get him through his workout without running out of steam. I tried one before my most grueling workout.  Usually after a day of work and a session of “PiYo Drench”, I am totally spent. I wanted to see if I would feel differently after snacking on an Extend Nutrition Bar instead of my usual snack of peanut butter and raisins.

Bob’s report: “I took an Extend Nutrition Bar along to work and ate it at 10:00 a.m. before my workout. Usually I eat a banana as my pre-workout snack.  I ate the cookies and cream flavor.  It tasted about the same as some other protein bars I have tasted in the past.  I liked the flavor. My trainer put me through a pretty intense workout at 11 a.m.  I felt good throughout my workout.  I wasn’t hungry again until 1 p.m.  When I eat a banana, I usually get hungry again before it’s time for lunch.”

My report:  I planned to eat my bar an hour before my “PiYo Drench” workout.  I’m a personal trainer and I had a client coming at 4:30 p.m.   I was going to eat my bar about 4:20 so it would be totally digested by 5:30 when I would start my workout.  My client showed up a little early so I only ate about half of it before she came and had to eat the other half a lot closer to workout time. I ate the Mixed Berry and it turned out to be my favorite flavor.  It didn’t have the protein powder taste that some other protein bars I’ve tried have. My workout went well and fatigue wise I felt much better than during a usual Thursday night workout (usually I start out tired and just get more tired). After my workout I didn’t feel as spent as I usually do on a Thursday night either.  The only advice I have is make sure you eat your bar an hour before workout.  During the “beast mode” series (trust me, it’s intense) I felt a little nauseous. That was my fault for eating and then working out right away.

I also found some other good uses for Extend Nutrition bars.  You can eat one after you drop your daughter off at college at suppertime and make it home without starving (after she ditches you to have supper with her new roommates!) They also make a great breakfast before you go somewhere like a meeting or church so your stomach doesn’t growl at inconvenient moments!

You can find Extend Nutrition Bars at Walgreens and CVS.  You can also order them from Amazon.com or order directly from http://www.extendbar.com Here’s some nutrition info. that compares Extend Nutrition Bars to other name brands. The best choice looks pretty obvious!

chart-with-orange-highlight

 

Food for Your Mood 15 Day Experiement

At the end of July, I did a lot of research for my “Food for Your Mood” post.  The research points to the fact that eating a healthier diet can improve your mood, alleviate depression and combat feeling like your butt is dragging all day.  So yesterday the lightbulb went off over my head.  Why not conduct a 15 day experiment on this fitness coach (me) and see if your mood is affected by what you eat?  Some days I do very well, some days not so much.  Let’s see if it makes a difference.  So through the magic of the internet and video, I will bring you the “Food for Your Mood” 15 day experiement starting tomorrow.  I will try to hold all other variables as constant as possible, but will include that in the report as well.  So get ready to watch your Ginea pig blog!

My Plate.gov is Full

My pyramid is gone and Michele Obama has ushered in my plate. It’s a simpler way to keep track of of your nutrition at each meal. It’s still color coded and it still says basically the same thing. It’s just repackaged. I think this version will be a lot easier to use and the visual may help with America’s portion distortion. When I took a look at it (myplate.gov) it seamed like all the blocks were pretty much the same size. The vegetable and grain plate wedges were a little larger than the protein and fruit plate wedges. The dairy is smaller and in the shape of a glass to the side of the plate. Note that half of your meal should be made up of fruits and vegetables.  Fats, oils and sweets are not part of the plate.  This means they should be used sparingly. Vegetables loaded up with butter and sauces are missing the point.  So are fruits covered in sugar and syrup.  Half of grains should be whole grains.  The white stuff alone won’t cut it.  Filling half your plate with french fried and ketchup and calling it veggies, well, you’re just fooling yourself.

The moral of the story is use the plate as a reference along with your common sense and it should help you to eat a more nutritios, more balanced meal.  Now who is going to make a million dollars manufacturing kid’s “My Plates” to sell to the public??

Healthy Recipe: Steak Salad

 

My family loves this steak salad in the summertime. It’s cool on a hot day and tastes delicious!

Ingredients:

Sirloin steak (about 3 ounces per person)

One bag of Dole hearts of romaine lettuce

One bag of Dole spring mix

One box cherry tomatoes

One container of feta cheese

Your favorite low fat or low calorie dressing. I like Kraft Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette

Directions:

Cook steak on grill to your desired doneness.  Cut into bitesize pieces and cover with foil. Toss lettuce, halve the cherry tomatoes and add to lettuce.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and toss.  Add the steak and toss again.  Dress with your favorite dressing.  Serves four.

Healthy Breakfast Foods. Eat Them!

Are you one of those people who skips breakfast?  Do you tell yourself it will help you lose weight?  Do you tell yourself you just don’t have time? Well, stop it already! You are doing the nutritional equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I’m sure you have heard that before, but maybe you just aren’t listening.  Your body has had no food (and no nutrients) all night.  You need to “break your fast” in the morning.  If you don’t, you are running on an empty tank.  Your blood sugar will be low, your brain won’t function properly and you will be mentally sluggish.

Now here comes midmorning and you are starving!  You will eat anything to cut the growling in your belly and you usually do.  That donut someone left in the staffroom, those Famous Amos Cookies in the vending machine or that high calorie breakfast burrito you ordered when someone ran around the corner to get coffee.  Now you have filled up on empty sugar and simple carbohydrate calories.  This fills your belly, but these are nutrient poor  foods.  Your body is still hungry because you didn’t feed it the fuel it needs.  You only gave it empty calories.  Gain you spell WEIGHT GAIN??

Here’s a better idea.  Eat a breakfast that includes complex carbs and protein.  This will give your body what it needs to power you through the morning.  You won’t be starving by 10 a.m.  If you are a little hungry, try some high protein light snacks like nuts or cheese to get you through until lunch.  You will now have the energy and mental clarity to work productively through your day.

Short on time?  Prepare a nutritious breakfast a night ahead.  Have the whole wheat toast and the peanut butter laid out on the counter.  Hard boil an egg you can eat with your whole grain cereal and skim milk.  That’s not going to add big blocks of time to your morning and think of the nutrition and health benefits.  If you want something quick and easy to fix that has lots of nutrients you need for you crazy day, check out Shakeology.  I drink this stuff every day and it only costs about $4.00 per meal.