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Posts tagged ‘nutrition’

Portion Sizes – Measuring is Critical for Weight Loss Success

I recently hired a natural bodybuilder to set me up with a diet plan. As I get older, I find I have to tweak my nutrition plan to get the results I’m looking for. I typically do not stay lean all the time and have to lean out for certain events or video filming. So in this occasion, I was curious on how my body would react with something specifically structured for me.
The diet plan was pretty bodybuilder basic 101. He had me eating 6 small meals a day and drinking at least 150 oz of water.

I was getting results, slowly but surely. But then my body hit a stall. The weight wasn’t moving for 3-4 days and I didn’t look any different either. The problem lies in my serving sizes. I wasn’t measuring, just eyeballing. Hey, I’m a fitness professional, I know what 4oz is. I can figure this out. I THOUGHT my husband threw out my manual scale when we moved from NY to TX. He always hated that thing. I went searching for it again deep in the cabinets, and found it!

To my surprise and madness, I was overeating on serving sizes! Sometimes 3-4 times the amount! Pictured here I was suppose to eat 2.5 oz Chicken and 3 oz Yam. As you can see my “guessing plate” and the “measured plate” on how I was way off!

So many of my meals throughout the day consisted of having 1oz of peanuts with the meals. Well, boy do I love peanuts! And the daily increase of an extra peanut or 10 surely made a difference when you times that by multiple meals in a day! No wonder I wasn’t losing weight! Even an extra couple hundred calories a day can make all the difference. Here was another one of my meals and how off I was:

So what does this all mean? YES, weighing and measuring is THAT important for your weightloss success! Even a fitness professional like myself can get it wrong. Invest in a digital scale (btw, I did throw out my manual cheap one after I bought a digital). It will seriously make all the difference in your hard efforts. By delaying measuring, is only delaying the success of your efforts and hard work.

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Lose the Fat! How to get into shape after having a baby

How old is your baby? Well if you are like me after having a baby, there’s only a certain amount of time that passes before you feel embarrassed or silly saying, “I just had a baby” as your excuse as to why you are out of shape. It’s been said that it takes your body at least 1 year to be back to “normal” after having a baby. But, there are so many factors that decide what your shape will be. For me, I worked my butt off to get the weight off without compromising “supply” for nursing. That meant I couldn’t restrict my calories so aggressively to strip the fat off as fast as I would want. And let’s be honest here people, there is that slight mental advantage where you do allow for indulgences as you have that excuse for being out of shape, right?

But sometimes you just have to face it, take control, and get yourself back to healthy with no more excuses.
So what is the best way to lose the baby fat? And FAST! I mean I need it gone next week! Right? I know, I’ve been there! Assuming you have checked with your doctor and are in the clear to go for it, it can be a huge variable depending on your situation. But in general, it’s all trial and error in figuring out how to lose the weight.

I always get asked for help from people to lose weight. It’s a loaded question- because there are so many variables. Also, honesty is something some people don’t want to honestly admit all the time how they may not be living up to their end of the deal on exercise, or their diet is all over the board, or how they think a “this won’t hurt” bite of that won’t hurt their efforts. Well, it does.
As we get older, I tend to find that what worked for me last year, may not work exactly this year. General problems that people come across is they put so much ‘weight’ into the exercise portion of their results. Yes, exercise IS important, but I have seen many bodies come my way who exercise all the time, and they still look the same. The topic of your choice of exercise, is a WHOLE other topic. General rule and guideline we’ll go with right now, is to make sure you are exercising 5-6 times a week, both weight resistance and cardio.

When it comes to really transforming your body, your results are mostly dependent on what you do with your nutrition. You can try and take any fatloss pill to accelerate or stimulate fatloss, but that still doesn’t work if your nutrition is a mess.

TRUTHS
-YES, “that” will derail your efforts! – We nibble extra calories all the time and don’t think they add up, but seriously just having a couple hundred calories each day, adds up. Not to mention the off the wagon of blowing this day may play on your mind as you binge on all the goodies you have wanted because you will start again Monday.

– Water IS important! Generally try to get about 80-100oz a day.

 It IS important to measure! Get the measuring spoons, cups, and scale out because you will be amazed at what an actual serving is!

MY SUGGESTED/RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES:
1) Figure out what your daily caloric intake should be for a low activity day.This is the lowest amount of calories you will eat per day, and no, it’s not 1200 calories for everyone.
*Average a couple hundred extra calories on top of your low calorie range, and eat that amount about every 3-4 days in rotation.

2) Suggest dividing up 5-6 mini meals. Get away from calling them 3 meals and a snack. The brain will work more efficiently if you can keep it easier to count. Suggest keeping your mini-meals about the same amount of calories each time you eat.

3) Be sure to pair up your food with a carb/protein/fat almost every meal you eat. Generally have your starchy carbs in your morning meals and have your fibrous carbs in your afternoon/evening meals. Be sure to keep good fats in your diet and sometimes in each meal. Be careful to not have too much of a serving of the fats when you do, use your caloric range on each meal to guide you on how much.

4) If you stay up late, then you need to eat! If you are a night owl, gage that your last meal should be about 3 hours before bedtime. If you go to bed at 1am, then yes, you can eat at 10pm. Be sure to choose a fibrous carb and protein in this time. Or straight protein works well here too. If you aren’t sure what to have, go basic with greens and lean meat. Or you can make it easy and fix a protein shake.

These are some basic guidelines and the mistakes people tend to make when looking to lose the weight.
Important to get your vitamins, Omega’s, and suggest CLL.

I’m not a nutritionist, just a fitness professional. Just sharing what I have learned along the way.

5 Unhealthy Diet Foods that Can Make You Gain Weight

Eating healthy and finally deciding to take charge of your health and fitness is a great step in achieving the fountain of youth and quality of life!  It’s a fact! People who are fitter and healthier are happier!  A quality diet is essential for good health, but as s novice jumping into this so-called healthy food world, you can easily be fooled. Just jumping into the world of “diet” food conjures up feelings and thoughts of negativity.  My mother use to think that whenever she had to drop some pounds, she would have to eat grapefruit, cottage cheese, and lettuce for all of her meals.  Doing is surely a way to set yourself up for failure in the long run.  That’s not a normal daily diet, and is a quick temporary fix.

Be careful about the so-called diet healthy food.  Companies know how to fool their consumers with just a play on words. Check out some of the common words that easily fools someone into reaching for this so-called healthier version:

  • Fat Free
  • Reduced Fat
  • Low Fat
  • Sugar Free
  • No Added Sugar
  • Diet

We easily can believe that these foods in this category are healthier and the version we should choose, right?  This is an easy mistake to make.

Typically, those words cover up the real story of what is hidden: Full of Sugar, Chemicals, High Carbs, High glycemic index….I could go on!

Think about candy.  Isn’t sugary candy like starbursts, lollypops, jellybeans etc fat free? Why yes! But it’s loaded with artificial ingredients and sugar!

Check out some of the so-called diet good for you items that we so easily get wrapped up in using:

1) Diet Soda – Fewer calories and sugar yes, but research has shown that dieters actually gain weight when drinking this for long periods of time.

2) Smoothies – If you can blend it, it must be good for you, right? Wrong! How many calories are in that smoothie? Sometimes you choose items to add that have high levels of sugar, fat, and calories. It all adds up!

3) Pre-Packaged Frozen Diet meals – Easy for you to heat and eat, but loaded with sodium! These types of foods need artificial preservatives, that’s why they are in long term freezer storage!

4) Yogurt!  Most common choice of yogurt is loaded with calories, sugar, and fruit!

5) Popcorn!  – What? Popcorn is in the category?  Most often times people pop the 3 or more serving bags, and then eat it all! They are loaded with calories, sodium, and preservatives. Stay clear.

General rule of thumb is to choose fresh foods with limited processing.  If you stay simple with your food choices, you will get greater healthier results. Stick to lean meats cooked grilled, baked, or broiled. Fresh vegetables and fruits. And always remember to keep an eye on serving and portion sizes.

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How to Fit in Working Out When You are TOO BUSY?

Fact- You are NOT too busy, you just haven’t scheduled in the time to work out or you haven’t made it a priority in your life. It’s just an excuse, and first thing you have to do, is admit that you are making excuses. I think nowadays, we can all have an argument on who is busier than whom, correct?
I have had many directions and obstacles in my life that could easily be used as an excuse as to why I wasn’t working out. I used to travel nationally/internationally. Flying all day, working all day in an unknown environment, eating out every day; easy recipe to just go back to the hotel and watch tv.
I have had 2 babies, both via c-section all while working 2 full time jobs, 1 managing and developing 60 fitness professionals for a major fitness company and the other was starting up my home business JC Dwyer, Inc where I’m working in creating a monster downline and achievement in the Team Beachbody home business. I was also scheduling and presenting trainings on weekends (3rd job) and so much more! Was that an excuse, could be, but wasn’t.

I’m going to be honest, I personally don’t LOVE working out all the time. I’ll be VERY honest. If it wasn’t for me teaching group exercise, working for fitness celebrity Chalene Johnson, and being a fitness and health coach with the Team Beachbody business, I probably wouldn’t think to work out as much.
But even if those things aren’t your goals or even have the opportunity to do that, you don’t have to believe that’s what you have to do, to do it. You may just need to find the reason for accountability. Because, that is one of mine.

Recently, I moved from upstate Rochester NY to outside of Dallas TX. Family of 4, driving 2 separate vehicles, 1500 miles. My 2 toddlers always wanted to ride in mommies car, which I loved =). But moving across country, away from the state you have always known, the life you developed, comforts of home- is stressful and exhausting.
I didn’t schedule in working out. Left it up to it would only be a couple days, I’ll get back into it. But the struggles of waiting to get into your new home, closing, getting the your stuff moved in from the truck, putting it away can easily be an excuse to not fit in exercise. I did just that! Didn’t schedule it and left it up to how I felt that day and if I had time to work out.
I’m now faced with no classes to teach for group exercise! That was an EASY way for me to have it on schedule, I had to teach other people! It’s up in my hands now.

After 1 week of packing up, traveling across country, unpacking some, I finally scheduled a work out.
It felt horrible! I wanted to quit so many times, but I had to follow through and just do it, because it’s that important.

Bring on the TURBO!


So the moral of this is, schedule it! Life is busy! You can easily let it take over you! If you work for someone else, work from home, or don’t even have a job, your day can easily escape you and get filled with errands and other people’s requests.
Each day, start with these tips to ensure you fit in exercise:

1) Get your work out gear ready the night before!
2) Make your To-Do list which includes your work out
3) Put it on your actual calendar- schedule the EXACT time you will work out!
4) Set an alarm reminder for 30 mins before your scheduled time
5) If you are overwhelmed with things to do when your work out time hits, and you HAVE to do them, change up the length and intensity of your work out to be faster and more intense.

The things you do for other people, the business you build, the meals you make, the errands you run are temporary. How you feel about how you look, your energy level, and your overall positive feeling that you did something for yourself is the fountain of youth. That is longevity, so make it a priority.

Are you Scared to Eat?

Do you REALLY believe that when you hear people say, eat more often to lose weight, that it’s true? Or do you think, “Well, for other people, but not MY body. I’ll gain weight if I actually eat!”

I struggled with this for the greater part of my adult life. Always challenged with eating too much, and gaining weight. When I wanted to lose weight, I was always successful when I barely ate anything or ate many “filler” foods like sugar free jello and salads! But ballooning back up as soon as I ate food again was just around the corner. I have always been into fitness and always had to battle with “looking the part.” Being a mesomorph, I would naturally have a stronger more muscular build, but I additionally would hold/gain fat easily if I wasn’t too careful.

It has taken me years to figure out how my body works, but mostly in general, how to have my body work for me. I struggled with the concept of eating more often because I didn’t understand how to plan my meals and the right amount of protein, carbs, fats and calories I should eat to reach my goals.
I still don’t count these grams and ratios exactly but now just match up what I know I should be eating and stay within a calorie range.

You may find some arguments on the myth of eating multiple small mini-meals a day as opposed to the traditional eating three meals a day concept. In my studies and experience, eating 5-6 small meals a day works for most people in achieving their desired body fat goals. Many reasons why this works to be true:

1. You are eating more often so you mentally feel “fuller” and not starving for the next meal
2. Your body is processing food more frequently throughout the day, thus making it “work, thus burning more calories

BUT- BEWARE!!

Some people think of eating 5-6 mini meals a day, but fail to plan and prepare! You can easily fall into the bad trap of eating TOO MUCH each time you eat!

Here are my suggestions to ensure you meet your weight loss goals instead of defeating yourself and going back to the, “scared to eat” problem:

1. Be as planned and prepared as you can to eat 5-6 small meals a day. If you like variety, plan each mini meal to have 2-3 options to choose from each day. Some people prefer the same thing everyday (that’s me). It decreases me having to think of what to eat, preparing food, and shopping is easier!
2. Know what your daily caloric intake should be for your body fat goal. For your goal, be sure to know what your maintenance caloric needs are, and then work on decreasing your caloric intake to lose weight up to no more than 2 lbs a week.
3. Start Simple! Avoid being too creative and “fancy” with the preparation of your food, especially if you are just starting out on trying to eat better and to eat more often.
4. Be sure to get enough protein! It’s easy to think of fruit, vegetables, and carbs when planning your meals. Each “meal” should involve a protein source
5. Supplement! You don’t always have to sit down for a plated meal. Using meal replacement or protein bars or shakes are a great way to “pop” food in so you are fueling the fire in your belly!

More importantly, this isn’t a diet, this is a lifestyle. Never “go on a diet”, because “going” is an action of forward process where a destination should be reached. Eating to work with your body to tweak out where you want to create and define it is where you may tighten up on your daily diet, but it is just that, a daily nutritional diet.

Exercise is highly critical in developing a strong body as you work to define it, but that’s a whole other topic! =)

Back to School Routine…but It’s Not about the Books

Kids all across the country have started the school year, and as you know, mine did as well. But school isn’t what this blog post is really about. It’s about the routine – ya know, getting up, going to school, doing homework, and repeating to bring about an expected end result of passing the grade and graduating? In the same way that going back to school means a new year and new beginning for the kids, this is the perfect time of year for the whole family to make it a new beginning and get into a healthy routine and work toward an expected result as well.

But let’s remember, kids don’t walk into school and take their final exams and hand in their final projects. It’s a process. It takes small steps, constant work, much preparation, and repetitive actions. We need to implement this same sort of philosophy in our daily lives to be healthier.

So, how do we get started?

Lay the groundwork. Make sure the cupboards and fridge help support your healthy habits. Get rid of junk food and soda. Keep fresh fruit in bowls on the counter, and wash and cut fresh veggies ahead of time and keep at eye-level in the fridge for easy snacking.

Plan ahead – in writing. Create your daily plan, from what time you will all get up, eat breakfast, workout, and so-on. Post it on the fridge or somewhere that everyone will see it on a regular basis. Check things off as you complete them for a sense of accomplishment in sticking to your plan.

Don’t get impatient. It is going to take time, to develop the habits of your new routine and to see results. Whether some of your family needs to lose weight, or wants more energy, or more stamina and endurance – these will all take time. Just know that each time, each day you follow through on your new healthy routine, you are stepping closer to your goals. Stay positive.

Celebrate victories. Pat one another, or yourself on the back for making some new, positive changes—no matter how small. Sure there will be days that don’t go as planned or you have a set-back. So what. Start fresh the next day. As you succeed, you gain self-confidence, which leads to greater success, and it will just continue. You are on your way. You and your family are getting healthier and stronger each and every day and adding years to your life! Don’t you dare slow down now!

I hope you had an awesome summer and Happy Labor Day! Are you ready to make a fresh start this time of year? Have you started? Let’s go!

How to plan your meals for weightloss

If you’re thinking about losing a few pounds, there are a few ingredients you need to ensure your success. Of course you need to have an exercise program scheduled in your week, complete with resistance, stretching, and cardio training. BUT, I’d like to focus mostly on how to organize and plan what you should be eating throughout the day to make those strides towards your goals in weight loss.

If you are like me on the days you haven’t planned what you will eat, you may be likely to either skip eating or grab a bunch of empty calorie foods or a boat load of pretzels. Planning and being prepared is key.

One of my tricks is to stay as consistent in what I eat from each day. Now if you are a person that likes creativity and variety, then I suggest you plan out a couple of days and then just rotate around them until you get in the habit of knowing how to pair up the foods you eat and the portion sizes. But for me, creature of habit. I’m pretty much good with the same thing everyday.

General rule of thumb is to choose foods you actually like to eat, and yes, healthy foods. Additionally, my suggestions below may not fit exactly in your dietary guidelines, and always suggest checking with your doctor.

But in general, you need to eat carbs, protein, and fats. Your life is not living a lifestyle if you omit a food group so you can quickly lose weight. I am not a fan of the no carb diets. Your body needs carbs as well as good fats. I’m a mom of 2 toddlers, married, running my own home business, as well as working professionally in the fitness world. I don’t have a lot of time to “think” about what I want to eat. These are my general guidelines:

  1. Find out how many calories you should be eating for your body type, weight, and goals (maintenance & weight loss) On average- decrease by 500 calories from maintenance to lose 1 lb per week.
  2. Once you know what your caloric goal for the entire day should be, divide up those calories into 5-6 meals. Then just choose serving sizes and foods each time you eat to fit that caloric range.
    1. If I’m on a 1800 calorie diet and eat 6 meals a day, then each time I eat- I’ll eat about 300 calories each meal.
  3. Always choose protein, carbs, and sometimes fats.
    1. Suggest eating 1-2 times a day of good fat. (Avocado, Olive Oil, Peanut Butter, Almonds.)
  4. Eat your starchy whole grain carbs in your first meals and switch to the fibrous carbs in the afternoon for the later meals.
    1. Starchy Whole Grain- Oatmeal, Whole Grain breads (be sure it doesn’t say enriched wheat)
    2. Fibrous Carbs- Vegetables are best choices (green) limit too many fruits.
  5. Be sure to always eat every 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Fuel your metabolism!

The quality of the food you choose will be your focus as well. When selecting your protein sources, be sure to choose lean meats prepared broiled, baked, or grilled. The more processing to the meat, the higher chance it’s not a good food choice. Also, you want to stay clear of deli meats. Those have a lot of preservatives and are not the best choice of meats to choose from. Only select that option if you are in need of something quick.

I personally supplement my meals as well so I’m not always “preparing”. I personally use meal replacement bars like Kashi but additionally everyday, I at least have 1 or 2 Shakeology shakes.

I know I’m getting the delivery of all my fruits and vegetables, probiotics, prebiotics, daily vitamins, and many rare ingredients I just couldn’t possible eat or fit in my day. It’s easier sometimes to just have a quick shake as well so your body is processing food. I personally chose to be a rep with this company because of this product, but I would suggest it no matter. If you want to know more about it or try a sample for taste, let me know.

Your main goal is to have your body run like a fire. Keep throwing small pieces of wood on it to keep the fire burning! Rather than 1 big load, which will extinguish your fire (metabolism) If you feed your body small mini meals, the fire of your metabolism starts working for you and increases caloric burn.

Also, don’t be so hard on yourself! Allow for moments of sweet tooth fulfillment!. Just jump back on your schedule. The more strict you are in your diet for too long of a time, the higher the chance you will go off on a binge and throw it out the window. So schedule in those days of indulgence. Maybe exercise a bit more that day or cut back the calories in the day leading and following. Be flexible, and know this is a lifestyle. We’re human, and as long as you keep working to see what works best for your lifestyle and to see that improvement, you will get there.

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