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12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 10 – The 11 Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders

(This is part 10 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Losing weight can be tricky business: When you’re insanely busy, it can be tough to focus on your goals in a healthy, sustainable way, let alone work towards them at all. It’s easy to fall into pitfalls, but hey, knowledge is power—when you know the traps you’re most likely to fall into, it’s easier to steer clear.

  1. Focusing on what you CAN’T eat. So many people embarking on a weight loss journey focus on what they can’t have – no sugar, no alcohol, no dessert, no bread, no cheese. Shift your focus instead on what you can have and make a list of all the filling and nutritious super foods out there.
  2. Adopting an all-or-nothing attitude. Don’t eliminate foods you love. Too many people who are trying to lose weight develop the all-or-nothing attitude. This way of thinking can be detrimental in the long run. Instead of depriving yourself of foods you love, learn how to incorporate them into your diet in a healthier way. For example, love pasta? Instead of adding a creamy high fat sauce, add lots of veggies, grilled shrimp, and toss in olive oil and garlic. Can’t live without bread? Well, you shouldn’t have to. Make a healthy sandwich for lunch on 100 percent whole grain bread with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, and tomato.
  3. Not having a solid plan. Not having a solid, realistic plan is a mistake. People should set themselves up for success by coming up with small, challenging yet attainable action steps to work towards. Start off with a few actionable and specific goals for the first week. Once you master those, keep adding on. Before you know it, those action steps will become lifelong healthy habits.
  4. Cutting out an entire food group. When you are trying to lose weight and you cut out an entire food group, like carbs or meat, this usually just results in an unbalanced diet and even deficiencies in certain nutrients. Plus, for most people, this is not sustainable for a lifetime. Words of advice – if you couldn’t do it for the rest of your life, it’s a diet that’s probably not going to work in the long run.
  5. Replacing meals with liquids. Green juices and smoothies are very popular, and a lot of people will use these as meal replacements. Unfortunately, oftentimes these beverages aren’t made up of the right mix of nutrients. Green juices lack fiber and protein, which are key nutrients in keeping you full and helping you meet your nutrient recommendations, and smoothies are typically loaded in sugar from juice, sweeteners, or too much fruit, and can be really high in calories from over-sized portions of healthy fat sources like nuts and seeds.
  6. Eating too few calories. One of the biggest pitfalls I see constantly is people falling into the calorie counting trap. Sounds counter intuitive but trust me – you need to eat! We live in a culture that is so obsessed with calorie counting that oftentimes we are depriving our body of the very nutrients that will actually help us not only to live healthier, but lose more weight. What you eat is just as important as how much you eat.
  7. Steering clear of healthy fats. Unfortunately too many people still fear fat and are stuck eating low-fat or fat-free versions of food, a holdover from the fat-phobic days of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. A moderate amount of fat is important as it helps with satiety. Plus, people end up replacing fat with refined carbs, which we now know can have a detrimental effect on health and weight. Include healthy fat at every meal, in the form of nuts, seeds, liquid oils, avocados, oily fish, soy, and dairy products.
  8. Ditching fruits and veggies with high sugar content. Cutting out certain fruits and vegetables because you think they contain too much sugar is just ridiculous. Sure, some do contain a bit higher amount of naturally occurring sugars, but they also contain fiber, which helps counterbalance the effect on blood sugars. Compared to highly processed snacks and drinks, there is nothing to be worried about.
  9. Relying on weight loss pills and supplements. The bottom line here is if there was a pill or a potion that really worked in the long term, then not one of us would be talking about weight management at all! The weight loss industry is so successful because we are so desperate to find a quick fix. The only long-term effective weight management skill is to change the way you think about fueling your body. We need to think of food as fuel for daily living and to fuel it the best way we can. The rest takes care of itself.
  10. Taking the weekends off from healthy eating. You should take the weekends off from your job, not your diet. Sure, you can still have fun and go out to eat on the weekends, but make an effort not to stuff yourself to the brim with food or drinks. Simply eating mindfully when you are enjoying good food can be enough to not wreck your hard work during the week. If the weekends are a problem for you, consider weighing yourself Friday mornings and Monday mornings. If you see that number routinely creeping up on Monday, try changing your weekend routine to include more exercise and healthier food choices.
  11. Not drinking enough water. A lot of people simply don’t drink enough water. Changing this habit is one of the easiest ways to help your health. Studies show that drinking water or eating a water-rich salad or broth-based soup before a meal can help decrease how much you eat during the meal—plus, staying hydrated helps prevent headaches, which can lead to stress eating. Figure out how you prefer to get your water: Do you like a bottle with a straw or a wide-mouthed top? Whatever your preference, keep a water container at your side as often as you can. You’ll reach for it a lot more if you don’t have to get up to fill a glass.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

See you Monday for Day 11 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Day #3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays
Day #410 Fitness Myths That Need to Die
Day #59 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full
Day #6The Cult Of Supplements And The Dangers Of Multi-Level Marketing
Day #7 – The First 5 Things Nutritionists Will Tell You To Cut From Your Diet
Day #8 – Dispelling 5 Common Training Lies
Day #9 – Fitness is a Choice and Mindset

 

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 5 – 9 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Feeling Full

(This is part 5 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Let’s face it—there’s no single, magical way to lose weight. Everyone’s body is different, which means everyone’s optimal diet is also different. But essentially, losing weight comes down to three main factors: exercise, food, and mindset. That last one can be the most challenging to conquer. Our brains, more often than not, get in the way of our weight loss goals, and make us think we’re hungry when in reality we’re just bored, tired, dehydrated, or something else. But your brain doesn’t have to be a diet saboteur. In fact, there are plenty of ways to manipulate yourself into achieving your weight-loss goals. Here’s a list of some proven ways to eat less, painlessly.

  • Keep a healthy snack on hand. Fast food or something from a vending machine may call your name when hunger strikes on the go. But if you keep a healthy snack like an apple in your bag or glove compartment, you won’t have to sacrifice your diet to silence a grumbling stomach.
  • Keep a journal. Would you still eat that chocolate muffin if you had to log it in a food diary? Research says maybe not. A Kaiser Permanente study found people who kept a daily food journal lost twice as much weight over the course of six months than those who didn’t record their meals. Researchers believe writing down what you eat makes you more aware of food choices, and therefore encourages cutting the calories you’d otherwise sneak in.
  • Just keep chewing. If you like to chew gum, it may help you keep off the pounds. One study discovered that women who chewed gum for 45 minutes after they ate lunch ended up keeping snack cravings at bay later in the day.
  • Curb hunger with coffee.You may think you’re just drinking your daily cup of joe for a morning pick-me-up, but in reality, it’s doing more than just giving you a caffeine boost. Drinking coffee can actually boost your calorie burn by 12%, according to findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Plus, it’s a natural appetite suppressant. But be wary of adding sugar and cream, since too many extras will kill your coffee perks.
  • Count your bites. Counting calories can help you slim down, but it can also be time-consuming and/or frustrating to jot down every bite. Try counting your bites instead, which a recent study found actually works. Study participants lost an average of 3.4 pounds over the course of a month by reducing their daily bites by 20 to 30%.
  • Serve yourself directly from the pot. Rather than leaving serving dishes at the table where you can easily dip in for seconds, leave them in the kitchen—otherwise overeating is simply too convenient to resist. If you have to physically get up and walk to the kitchen for another helping, you’re less likely to do so.
  • Start out with a smaller portion. If food is on your plate, you’ll probably end up eating every last morsel, according to a Cornell Food and Brand Lab study. But these findings don’t mean your diet goals are hopeless—in fact, this knowledge can help you outsmart your own appetite. The solution is simple: serve yourself less food. Then go back for more if you’re still hungry.
  • Slow down. Scarfing down your dinner doesn’t give your brain enough time to register that your belly is actually stuffed. Let your body realize you’ve feasted sufficiently by slowing the pace. You’ll end up eating less food and feeling more satisfied.
  • Go for the H2O. One of the best ways to trick your body into feeling full costs you nothing: just turn on your tap and fill a cup. Drinking an entire glass of water before every meal fills your belly, so you’ll likely end up eating less than you otherwise would have. During your meal, taking sips in between bites will help slow your pace and eat less overall. What’s more, staying hydrated boosts your metabolism—making water better than any “diet” beverage out there.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you Monday for Day 6 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Day #3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays
Day #410 Fitness Myths That Need to Die

 

 

 

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 3 – Festively Fit: Staying Fit Over the Holidays

(This is part 3 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Are you fearing this year’s holidays? Are you wondering how you will handle the challenges of being confronted with mountains of delicious food, endless parties, and crazy schedules? Unfortunately, these worries and fears often lead to complete resignation, which causes people to give up all regular routines, self-discipline, and otherwise manageable self-restraint related to health and fitness. This, in turn, can result in guilty consciences, sick stomachs, sleepless nights, sluggish bodies, and bad attitudes.

The Good News: There is a Better Way!

If all this sounds familiar, your first step is to change your mindset. Practicing sound nutrition, health and fitness habits is vital to life-long wellness. Healthy eating, effective physical activity and regular rest are practices that should become part of who you are and essential to your daily life, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. This shift in mindset sets the stage for greater self-empowerment and self-confidence, as well as a transition in locus of control from external to internal. The key is to recognize that you have the power to transform your life and live it to the fullest during times of joy, trouble, hardship, success, holidays, and festivities by applying key foundational behavioral principles. When you do that, you won’t get bogged down with seemingly endless challenging choices in every situation. If you make the following key foundational behaviors a priority, circumstantial, seasonal and unexpected events won’t have the power to derail you. Here ya go:

1) Drink water.Choose to drink water over anything else. Cold or hot herbal teas are a good option, too. Drink two cups of water when you first wake up in the morning and when you feel hungry outside of your regular mealtime/regular snacks. Festive Fit Tip: When you arrive at a holiday party, drink two cups of water or herbal tea before you start eating.

2) Move more, sit less. If you have the option of standing versus sitting, stand. If you have the option of walking versus driving, walk. If you have the option of moving about versus standing, move about. Daily physical activity and structured exercise, including cardio, strength and flexibility exercises, are a part of a healthy daily routine. Festive Fit Tip: When you attend a holiday party or an event, find a way to avoid sitting for the majority of the time (move about the room, start a dance party, etc.).

3) Something positive is better than nothing. Get away from an all-or-nothing mindset. If you don’t have time for a full workout, do 10 minutes of exercise and you’ll reap some positive benefits. If you forgot to add any fruits or vegetables to your meals during the day, add an apple at night. Apply this principle where it makes sense. Festive Fit Tip: Focus on nutritious foods during the holidays rather than on what you shouldn’t eat. Each time you eat at home or at a holiday party, add things to your plate that are good for you, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts or other healthy proteins or grains.

4) Take control. Focus. Reflect. Ask yourself: Is this behavior good for me? Be mindful. Choose wisely. Follow-through. Festive Fit Tip: When you are at a party and about to fill your plate with all the goodies from the buffet, pause and ask yourself: Is it time to eat now? What have I already eaten today? What is available here that is considered healthy?

5) Half is enough. Eat only half of the less-nutritious foods on your plate. If you take a cookie, for example, eat half of it and pack the other half for another day. Festive Fit Tip: At a holiday party or event, serve yourself only half of what is on the serving platter. For example, if you want a brownie, cut it in two on the serving platter and only serve yourself half (and don’t go back for seconds).

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 4 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #16 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain
Day #2 – Cholesterol Myths You Need to Stop Believing

 

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 1 – 6 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

(This is part 1 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

There are countless opportunities to pile on extra pounds during the holiday season. If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to turn down all that scrumptious food and drink. And guess what? You shouldn’t! Forget denial and follow these science-based strategies to enjoy the season healthfully without making that tired resolution to lose the weight come the first of the year.

  1. Eat mindfully It takes time for our brains to respond to satiety signals that say “Stop eating! You’re full!” They’re either drowned out by our desire for more yumminess or because we are not giving your body the chance to react. The holiday season is meant to be savored, so enjoy each delectable dish to its fullest by eating mindfully. Chew slowly and focus on the experience..
  2. Drink water Liquid calories contribute significantly to our daily energy intake, especially during the holiday season when tasty libations abound. Our bodies aren’t great at recognizing that calories in liquid form contribute to fullness, so we tend to pack them on as extra. Choosing water rather than an alcoholic or sugar-sweetened beverage means you’re consuming fewer calories.
  3. Focus on veggies and fruits Holiday treats tend to be loaded in calories and rarely feature lighter fare like vegetables and fruits. “Eat more plants” may sound like tired advice, but there are so many festive ways to prepare plant-based dishes for your holiday table that help boost nutrition and keep calories in check. And why not feature fruit for dessert.
  4. Select smaller plates and cups Selecting smaller plates and cups leads to less food and drink consumed. Try setting your holiday table with smaller place settings. Choosing smaller plates is especially important in a buffet situation, which is a recipe for over-indulgence given all of the tasty choices for the taking. And smaller portions also means you’re more likely to finish what’s on your plate, which means less food waste.
  5. Watch your weight Weight gain occurs incrementally, and stepping on a scale either daily or several times a week is the easiest way to tell whether you’re holiday feasting has gone awry. Weight gain around the waist is especially harmful because of its inflammatory effect, so keeping track of how your clothes fit throughout the season is also key.
  6. Get out and play Weight gain is, ultimately, a simple equation: consuming more calories than you’re burning will lead to storage of energy as body fat. So the other side of energy balance—physical activity—needs to be on the list. Maintaining a fitness routine is a challenge during the holiday season, but the fact remains that we should actually increase our activity to offset the extra calories we’re consuming. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. And if stuff gets in the way, don’t beat yourself up; just get back out there when you can.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

12 Days of Fitness 2011 – Day 9: A Case For Water

water-wrapper(This is Part 9 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful fitness tips over the holiday season)

Water is the medium of life. It supports all life’s processes and it is 100% calorie free.  Its importance can not be emphasized enough and in a day and age when there are hundreds of flavored waters, sugary energy drinks, and juice cocktails at every corner, plain old water still reigns supreme.  Today’s post is short and sweet and gives you some interesting facts about what you may or may not know about H2O.  Drink up and cheers!

  1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. (Likely applies to half the world population)
  2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.
  3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as 3%.
  4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
  5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
  6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
  8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%., and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Are you drinking the amount of water you should drink every day?

See you tomorrow for Day 10 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

 

Thanksgiving Survival Tips

d_56234_22604_061113104442684Definitely one of my favorite holidays of the year, Thanksgiving unfortunately strikes fear in the eyes of those who have struggled with or are in the process of  losing weight. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be one of those gatherings where you feel (and look) ashamed afterwards. Neither is it something you “get through” This Thanksgiving, allow me to equip you with basic caloric information on some holiday favorites and healthy eating tips. It’s up to you to choose and portion it out intelligently so that you don’t end up looking at your belt notch in shame. Remember, Thanksgiving is a joyous occasion and that one overindulgent meal won’t be the one that makes you gain weight. It is the many large meals in a row and consistently poor eating habits that will do you in.

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

1. Use a smaller plate. Studies have shown that when we eat from a smaller plate, the illusion is created that we are eating from a full plate, thus making us feel like we’ve eaten enough.

2. Eat what you like, but in smaller portions. Don’t skimp on the pie or your favorite indulgent sides. Enjoy it all and most times, only a taste is necessary to satisfy your craving.

3. Drink lots of water. While it’s important to stay hydrated, drinking water between bites or even before the meal will make you feel fuller sooner.

4. Don’t starve yourself for the “feast” or “feasts”. Simply “banking” your calories for the big meal is a sure fire way to send your metabolism into a spiraling frenzy.  Eat as you would normally that day and avoid the sudden blood sugar surges and crashes. (Fun Fact: The myth that tryptophan makes you sleepy is just that – a myth.  The amount of tryptophan you would have to consume to make you sleepy is way more than even the heartiest eater could consume.  What makes you sleepy? The extraordinary large amount of calories at one meal that cause the blood sugar to rapidly rise and subsequently crash hard afterwards.  Think about it.  Do you get sleepy eating turkey any other time of year?)

5. Eat slowly. Chew your food; enjoy it; savor it; don’t inhale it.  Eating faster than the brain can process the signals from the stomach that you are full will almost certainly lead to overeating.

6. Eat plenty of salad and vegetables. No different than any other meal, fill up on the fibrous, good for you vegetables for a more nutritious, satisfying meal that won’t break your belt.

7. Limit your drinking to a glass of red wine. To be really conscience of your eating and its aftermath, limit your “liquid” calories.

8. When you feel full, stop eating. Sounds too much like common sense, but don’t eat to the point of uncomfortableness. Enjoy the day and all you have to be thankful for, especially being able to push away and walk from the table.

9. Go for a walk after the meal. Movement stimulates good digestion. Get up and move around after the meal, and more than just going from dining room table to recliner.

Food For Thought

And here’s some caloric information for those Turkey Day favorites (a serving size should be just about 4-5 ounces of turkey or other meat):

Roasted Turkey (4 oz.): 153 calories, 5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, <1 g carbohydrates, 92.5 mg cholesterol, 397.5 mg sodium

Pumpkin Pie (my personal favorite) (5.4 oz.): 260 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 33 g carbohydrates, 85 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium

Gravy (2.2 oz.): 80 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 3 g carbohydrates, 5 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium

Mashed Potatoes (8.3 oz.): 230 calories, 6 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 39 g carbohydrates, 15 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium

Candied Yams (6.0 oz.): 170 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 37 g carbohydrates, <5 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium

Cranberry Sauce (3.6 oz.): 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 31 g carbohydrates, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium

Stuffing (3.8 oz.): 160 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 21 g carbohydrates, 15 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium

Remember, one day will not make or break your health and fitness success.  Enjoy it and be thankful for all there is to be thankful for. My best wishes for you and your families to have a Happy, Healthy and Delicious Thanksgiving!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

 

12 Days of Fitness Truth 2010: Your 2011 Checklist to Taking Control of Your Health – Day 8

2011 newsA short one for a Sunday morning.  Just think, in two weeks we’ll be fresh into a brand new year.  Here’s a checklist to prepare yourself for what’s going to be a great 2011!

  • Get up and move around for at least 30 minutes everyday.  And this does not mean a leisurely stroll; you body must be working harder than normal.
  • Eat five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day.  The health benefits are high, but so are the lack of high calories and fat intake
  • Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that sleep can not only help with alertness but also metabolism.  The number of hours is dependent on age as well as individual – seven to eight hours a night is recommended.
  • Stop talking about taking action and actually do it.
  • Drink water.  Drinking the eight recommended glasses of water a day is a great way to replenish your body after a workout but can also help with everything from your metabolism to the condition of your skin you reducing some types of cancer.
  • Cut out the things that are getting in the way of health.
  • Improve overall attitude.
  • Understand metabolism.  Metabolism works better if you eat better food more often and in smaller portions.
  • Make a list of daily habits.  These are not the extra things, but the things that aid health and wellbeing.
  • Disable and avoid all negative thoughts, feelings, emotions, and if necessary,negative people.

See you tomorrow for Day 9 of the 12 Days of Fitness Truth.