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.

5 Tips to Get Weight Loss Back on Track After A Bad Weekend

Fell off the weight loss wagon? 5 Tips to get back on.
Fell off the weight loss wagon? 5 Tips to get back on.

I had a disasterous weekend!  I was working at the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg. We worked 12 hour days. We ate a big breakfast. We had no lunch.  We nibbled our way to 9 p.m on snack food.  We got little exercise (except for a walk to get a famous Farm Show milkshake).  We ate dinner in a restaurant at 9:30 p.m.  We didn’t get to bed till midnight.  We did it all over again the next day.  I tried to make healthy food choices, but when I got home the scale was WAY up.

Has this happened to you? From time to time, we all fall off the weight loss (or weight maintenance) wagon. It’s okay! Don’t throw your hands up in defeat and quit forever.  Here are 5 tips to get you back on track.

  1. Forgive yourself- It does absolutely no good to beat yourself up over it.  That causes undo stress that, guess what?  Makes it harder to lose weight and keep it off. The stress hormone Cortisol makes it more difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
  2. Realize there may be other factors at play-Being on my feet all day, lack of sleep, lack of water (we forgot to take some in our cooler) and eating late all played a part in the big number on the scale Monday morning. (My fingers were so swollen, I couldn’t budge my rings).  By Monday afternoon I had already lost a pound.
  3. Get back to regular habits as soon as possible-I can’t stress this enough.  Many people think, “Oh well, I blew it, I failed, I’m done.” Then they use that as an excuse for more unhealthy behavior.  You will feel better quickly if you just get back to healthy eating, sleeping and moving.
  4. Get moving-As soon as possible, get moving. Do some yoga, take a walk at lunchtime, get your workout in.  My aching feet and sore back from all that standing in one place thanked me!
  5. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet-There will always be bad weekends, or vacations, or holidays that will be stumbling points.  Think of them as hurdles to jump over or go around rather than brick walls that stop your progress!

Do you have any “get back on track” tips?  Share them in the comments!

Here’s the periscope video I did about my disaster weekend:

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21 Day Fix Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry


I’m done with my three weeks of 21 Day Portion Fix. I’m now on maintenance. So far, I’ve lost five pounds and my hubby has lost seven. He’s not even really a fixer. He just counts his calories and eats what I cook for him in the evening. So I think we will keep going. Because if it’s not broken, don’t fix it! Yikes, that was a really bad pun.

Here’s a recipe I came up with myself. I love stir fry and this is all “fixed” up to be a healthy meal for two (there I go with the bad puns again, sorry). if you are a fixer, this is worth:

1 red, 1 orange, 1 1/2 green, 1 yellow

You will need:


1.  Cut the beef into bite size pieces
2. Stir the soy sauce and coconut oil together in a medium bowl
3. Add the beef to the soy mixture and marinate. I marinated for about 30 minutes.
4. Rinse frozen broccoli in colander with warm water
5. Mix rice and water in microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave according to package directions
6. Stir fry beef on medium high heat until no longer red
7. Add broccoli and stir fry until heated through
8. Add brown rice and stir fry briefly until mixed
9. Season to taste with onion powder and garlic powder and serve

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

How to Lose the Christmas Weight

The hard core holiday party circuit has begun.  I don’t know about you, but I gain more weight that needs to come off between Thanksgiving and New Years than I do any other time of the year. Holidays mean sticky gooey sugar laden simple carbs, special holiday drinks and high calorie casseroles.  You know the drill. I cringe at the trip to the scales.

christmas-party-215501__180

So what to do when the parties stop and you want to get back to normal?  My answer to fastest excess weight loss (at least for me) is to cut way back on the simple carbs.

Here are two recipes that you can try for  dinner that could help.  The key is lean protein and vegetables.  Ax the bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, at least for the short term.  Serve meat with vegetables and a salad for dinner.  You will feel satisfied and you will be happier the next time you step on the scales.

Bar-g-q chip baked chicken (this one is my own creation)

fried-chicken-250863_640

You will need:

1 package of chicken parts

1 bag Cape Cod Chips (the 40% less fat version)

2 Tbsp bar-b-q powdered seasoning (I used Hartley’s bar-b-q seaoning)

One cup fat free milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Skin the chicken parts, set aside
  3. Crush the potato chips. I used a food processor, then finished with my wooden meat tenderizer. Put the chips in a shallow bowl
  4. Add the bar-b-q seasoning to the crushed chips
  5. Coat each chicken part with milk
  6. Roll in the chip mixture and place in a baking dish
  7. Bake the chicken for one hour

Serve the chicken with a romaine lettuce salad and a fresh or frozen vegetable of your choice.

Grilled Marinated Steak (get more great recipes like this at eDiets.com)

You will need: (per person)steak

3 oz of sirloin beef

3 tsp of balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic

2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp of olive oil

  1. Mince garlic
  2. Combine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, onion powder, black pepper and garlic in a shallow pie plate or dish
  3. Add steak and marinate, refridgerated, for about 30 minutes, turning meat once
  4. Preheat grill or broiler and cook steak on highest oven rack for 4-6 minutes
  5. Turn, brush with remaining marinade an grill 3 to 4 minutes
  6. Serve with your favorite fresh salad with a clear dressing

Do you have any suggestions for dropping the Christmas weight?  Please share!
free recipe blog graphic

 

Why do YOU Exercise?

When most people start an exercise program, the reason they give is “to lose weight”.  It’s no wonder. Our culture is obsessed with thinness and equates being thin with being happy.

If you ask someone who has made exercise and fitness a part of their lifestyle, you will get a very different answer.  Did you know that money, looks and status contribute to only 10% of our happiness?  (Idea Fitness Journal, “The Skinny on Happiness”)

A long-term exerciser will have other reasons as to why they continue to work out. They feel healthier, more relaxed or less stressed.  They have more energy, more focus, are more productive at work. They can keep up with their kids or grandchildren.  They experience a reduction in chronic pain. They are training for a future fitness event. They have made a new set of friends they enjoy.  And the list can go on.

Here’s just one example of the  reasons I exercise almost every day.  On October 18th, my oldest daughter got married.  We have been planning and preparing for this day for almost a year.  The weekend involved a trip to Pittsburgh for my side of the family.  On Saturday morning, I woke up with an overabundance of energy.  I’m not one to show my excitement on the outside.  It all builds up on the inside.  By 7 a.m. I felt like I was about to jump out of my skin.

Marladownaisle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank goodness the hotel had a nice size gym.  A half hour on the elliptical and the stationary bike and I was much calmer.  Good thing..as later in the day we were stuck in a traffic jam getting back from hair and make-up and it was touch and go on the decision about an outdoor service.  Thanks to my workout, I was able to stay much calmer and really enjoy such an important day.

sueandbobdance1

 

So what are YOUR reasons for working out regularly?  If you  haven’t started yet, why do you want to get started? #notjustweightloss

Weight Loss Without the Weirdness

Counting calories annoys me.  It’s time consuming. It’s a lot of guesswork. It’s tedious. If  I stop for any length of time the weight starts creeping, creeping up. Who’s with me? I’m not into deprivation diets. I’m not going to eat cabbage soup for a month. South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers…. they are all hard to stick to for any length of time.  So what’ s the answer?

The more I research and read, the more I am convinced that portion control is the way to go. You can eat the healthiest food on the planet, but if you eat too much of it, you are STILL going to gain weight, slowly but surely. We eat about 100 to 300 calories more or less than we need everyday. If on most days we are going over, we can gain 10 to 30 pounds each year. That’s a lot. Our obesity rate in the US tells us we are usually overeating. We do this without realizing it.

What if we could change some of our habits so that we could usually eat 100 to 300 calories less than we need on most days? By year’s end we would have lost 10 to 30 pounds! The really good news is..you can do this and not really notice that you are eating less.  It just takes some practice. Click here to get four free videos I made that will teach you how to “trick yourself thin” using some pretty common sense behavior changes. Don’t worry, they’re short, easy to understand and easy to put into practice.

mindless eating

To really dive into the subject, the book Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, PH.D. is a great resource. I found it on amazon.com.

 

 

9 Weight Loss Tips for Regular Folks

 

 

 

 

Are you like Jared?  Did you go on an all Subway diet and lose a ton of weight?  Are you like the biggest loser contestants who spend weeks at “the ranch” with nasty personal trainers, medical supervision and all day exercise?  Maybe you have special food delivered to your door every day that is perfectly balanced in calories for scientific weight loss.  No?  Didn’t think so..  not me either.

I’m not even like the Beachbody success stories who pick a workout program and 90 days later have gone from fat and flabby to ripped.  Throughout my adult life, I have been about the same size  (give or take 10 to 15 pounds).  At certain times in my life, I find myself needing to lose a few pounds. I’m guessing maybe there are more people like me out there. I am never going to win one of those contests or be on TV because I have always tried to eat healthy, exercise and live a balanced life.

Before 2003

If you are one of those people (or would like to be one), I’ll share what I do to maintain my weight and lose it when I need to.  My rule of thumb is “take care of little problems before they become big problems.”

1.  Weigh yourself frequently.  You don’t have to be obsessive about it.  Pick one day each week and weigh yourself.  Have a ten pound window, five pounds below and five pounds above your ideal weight.  If your weight is outside the window on              either end, it’s time for you to get to work..

2.  I use Lose It to keep track of calories and exercise.  I try to keep calories in and calories out balanced.  It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.

3.  I eat three meals a day and two or three snacks a day.  I eat very little bread, pasta, or wheat based foods.  I mainly eat lean meats along with fresh or frozen fruits and veggies.  I’m not a fanatic about “no wheat” or “no grain” in my diet, but I try to keep it to a minimum.

4.  You will hardly ever find me in McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King or Starbucks.  You will seldom find me in the middle isles of the grocery store. Processed foods are not really foods to me.  They are full of all the things you should avoid.  You won’t find me buying lunch in the cafeteria of the school where I teach, but that’s another story…

5.  I almost always drink water.  I have a water bottle with me at work each day and I carry one to my workouts.  I will drink ice tea or hot tea. I can’t remember the last time I had a soda. If I want one (or a piece of cake, or a cookie etc., etc.) I will have it, but it’s a treat, not an everyday habit.

6.  I work out at least six days a week.  Two or three days of weight training and two or three days of cardio. On these days, I get my heart rate up and work up a good sweat. The other days are lighter workouts or “recreational” workouts.  These are things like yoga or stretching, a walk or a hike in the woods, a bike ride or ballroom dancing.  This is a habit and a regular part of every day.  If I am not feeling well, injured, or I am too busy to work out, I skip it, but it’s not ever an excuse to quit.  I just pick it up where I left off the next day.

7. I try to get a good night’s sleep every night.  I don’t always get the seven hours my body needs per night, but I try.  On weeknights I head to bed a 10:30 p.m. On the weekends I try to be there by 11:30 p.m.

After 2012

8.  I try to meditate at least once a week, read books of a religious or spiritual nature and try to stay centered mentally and spiritually.  I also try to balance work, workouts and fun time with family and friends. If one area gets out of  balance, it can throw the other areas out of balance as well.

9.  I am lucky that I don’t have to take any kinds of medications.  Because of this, I focus my energies on preventative medicine.  I eat good, nutritious food, I exercise regularly, I stay strong mentally, spiritually and socially, I see my chiropractor every four weeks and I get bloodwork, mammograms, colonoscopies and other preventative screenings.  Hopefully, I won’t have to start any long term medicines anytime soon!

There is no magic pill, there is no perfect diet or workout that brings you instant weight loss or instant health.  It’s small lifestyle changes added together and continued over time that will bring fitness that will last a lifetime.

Want to get started? Try at least one of the nine steps above, just one, over at least a four week period and see what happens.  Reply here and let me know how it goes!

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Get Your Zzzzz’s!

Happy Weekend!  On the exercise and  fitness front today, I took a three mile walk to get ready to walk a 5K.  It was another perfect day for a long walk.  Then I came home and did ChaLean Extreme.  I’m on the lean circuit now and that one is the most intense.  You get a weight and core workout at the same time.  It really has increased my metabolism. My weight is consistently 3 lbs. lighter since I increased my weights during this round. Woo hoo!

I had a whirlwind Thursday and Friday.  Our family hosted a choir member from Hofstra University Thursday night.  My daughter, Katie is in the Choir at her high school and the Hofstra choir came and workshopped with them, did a concert that evening and left the next morning. I got up extra early to take Leah (who sang beautifully by the way) to catch her bus.  I worked all day, then changed clothes and drove an hour and a half to see “Menopause the Musical” with  some gal pals.  The show was an absolute hoot!  If you are female and over forty, you owe it to yourself to see this one.

I didn’t get home until 12:30 p.m. and had to wake my daughter at 3:30 a.m. (I know get the toothpicks for the eyelids) to go on a bus trip to NYC to see “Sister Act”.  Needless to say, I am feeling a little bit sleep deprived today.  Thought this would be a good time to share an infographic from frugaldad.com on the dangers of sleep deprivation.  Studies show if you average only 5 1/2 hours of sleep per night in a year, you will also average a 12 pound weight gain? YIKES  Another good reason to get your Zzzz’s

sleep

Source: http://frugaldad.com

 

Online Fitness Coaching: Tackling Food Pushers

This is the third post in my online fitness coaching series to help you overcome common obstacles to regular exercise and good nutrition.

Obstacle #3  “When I go to functions with family some people push me to eat more than I know is good for me.”

We all have a food pusher on our family tree or in our circle of friends.  It goes something like this:

Food Pusher “(Insert your name here), what else can I give you to eat?”

You “Nothing, (insert food pusher’s name here), I’m full.

Food Pusher  “Oh, you can’t be full yet.  Don’t you want more mashed potatoes?”

You “No thank you, I’m good.”

Food Pusher “How about some more roast beef?  You don’t want me to have to throw all this good food out do you?”

You “Really, it was great, but I can’t eat another bite.”

Food Pusher “Well, make sure you save room for a BIG piece of cake later.  It’s your favorite and I made it especially for you!”

You (Sighs)

Food Pushers usually mean well.  Food equals love to them.  The more food they cook for you= the more love they have for you.  The more food you eat= the more love you have for them.  I’m sure you are spotting the problem here.  Here are nine tips to help you navigate this minefield of food and emotional connections.

  1. Be honest about your weight loss efforts.  Tell your family or friends that you have decided to really watch the amount and kinds of food you are eating.  You can tell them it’s doctor’s orders if that takes the pressure off you.  Then ask them to help you by respecting your refusals on seconds and desserts.
  2. Eat slowly and enjoy your meal.  While you do that, the food pusher has offered everyone else firsts AND seconds.  By the time you finish it will be clean up time and the pressure to eat more will be lessened.
  3. Eat smaller portions of your regular meal.  Take a little bit of everything.  During the chaos of the big food dishout, the food pusher won’t notice.  Then take a small portion of dessert.  If Food Pusher asks why say,” I’m so full from that wonderful dinner!”
  4. Use stealthy stall tactics.  When asked to take seconds or dessert, again exclaim that you are really full from the wonderful dinner and you would like to wait till later.  Later may never come and Food Pusher may never notice.  He/she may have moved on to someone else by then.

Some food pushers are of the “misery loves company” persuasion.  They feel better about overeating if you are overeating with them.  These folks are often more persistent in their offers.  Here’s some tips for them.

  1. If you are asked repeatedly to take seconds say, “I couldn’t possibly eat another bite right now.  If you are offering doggie bags, I would love to take some home.”
  2. Just offer a polite, “no thank you” without an explanation.  Sometimes these can be shot down easily by the food pusher and that could leave you scrambling and eventually giving in.
  3. Apply the broken record technique.  Apply the tip above as many times as necessary.
  4. Bait and Switch:  Answer repeated offers for seconds or desserts with a question about the kids, the grandkids or an upcoming trip that’s planned. Be very interested in the response.  Your attention= love too!
  5. Bring a healthy side dish or dessert to share with everyone else. Combat unhealthy food pushing with healthy food.  It may turn out to be the most popular dish at the event!

Have you had to deal with a food pusher?  What were you faced with and how did you handle it?  Comment below.  Your advice could help someone else in their exercise fitness and nutrition journey.

 

Be More Consistent with Short Workouts

 

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? You have a crazy day; work, appointments, obligations with kids, supper, clean-up, homework, bedtime. You have no idea how you will fit a workout in so you just skip it for the day. Doctors recommend at least 60 minutes of exercise each day, but studies done at Boston Sports clubs show that people who exercise for shorter periods of time remain more consistent with their workouts. If your day is jam packed you are more likely to stick to your work out if it is shorter.

The recommendation for 60 minutes of exercise can be broken into smaller pieces. You could do two thirty minute workouts or three 20 minute workouts or even six 10 minute workouts and fit them in wherever it made sense. I read about one  professional woman who would do a few minutes of ab or lower body exercises every time she took a bathroom break. She said some of the other people in the bathroom gave her some funny looks, but she was getting results and that’s what really mattered.

A short workout is better than no workout at all. If you only have time for 10 or 15 minutes, do it! It will keep you on track and make you less likely to give up all together. Of course you can always take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther away from the entrance when you go anywhere and play with your kids instead of just sending them outside to get your minutes in.

Another option is a workout program designed specifically for busy people. Ten Minute Trainer is a workout program that gives you cardio, total body, upper body, lower body and flexibility training all in ten minute clips. If you have time, you can do two or three, but if you don’t…well everyone can find ten minutes in their day to work out right? I like this one when I don’t have time for my usual workout. That way I can stay..consistent! See the theme? If you think you might be interested in Ten Minute Trainer, watch the video. It’s about 7 minutes long and in that time you could almost have your workout done!