Tag Archives: Health

Eat Less, Move More to Lose Weight…..It’s NOT that easy!

Does this sound like you?

*You have an increased appetite and cravings?

*You have a hard time recovering after exercise?

*You’re irritable and have mood disorders?

*You’re gaining weight or reaching a weight loss plateau.
*You’re always hungry despite having a satisfactory meal?
*You have increased blood pressure?

These are symptom of Leptin Resistance!

Leptin, the “satiety hormone,” is a hormone made by fat cells which regulates the amount of fat stored in the body. It does this by adjusting both the sensation of hunger, and adjusting energy expenditures.

It is one of the most important hormones made exclusively by fat cells.

When a person overeats and gains weight, there will be an increase in body fat which would lead to an increase in the production of the hormone leptin. The leptin secreted will be signaled to the brain that there are adequate fat stores. The brain will then stimulate the metabolic processes that results in appetite suppression, weight loss, reduction in hunger, increased satiety with eating, increase resting metabolism, increase in lipolysis (fat breakdown) and stimulate fat burning, allowing the person to restore back to the normal body weight. This process of internal self-correction is called “homeostasis” and it stabilizes the body’s internal state.

When there is an increase in body fat, there is also an increase in the levels of leptin in the blood. For people who are overweight, leptin is not doing its job of reducing appetite and stimulating fat burning. When the functions of leptin are blocked, it results in a state called LEPTIN RESISTANCE.

We will, through diet and meal planning, restore your hormonal balance so your body functions like it should.

Leptin was only discovered in 1994 and the reason why much of the advice you’ve been given about diet and exercise is WRONG!

Don’t worry, We can make it right.

Comment here or message me at fb.com/homefitnessjunky10380737_1002444073105861_6482846359825096671_n

What’s your excuse??

What’s your excuse??

I already know all the excuses because I was the queen of them for years… It’s raining out, it’s too nice out, my workout clothes are dirty, I forgot my headphones at home, I don’t have time, I don’t want to get bulky, I’m too tired…blah blah blah. The real question to ask should be what’s your REASON?

My before picture is just after finishing my doctorate. I did not regularly exercise. I held baby weight after each pregnancy. I was constantly exhausted and used the excuse that chasing the children around was enough exercise. I came down with every cold and virus that could fester and spread on the grocery cart handle. I was miserable and avoided any pictures with my children – which now in hindsight is just plain sad for them and me. I went to bed miserable every night because I failed at what I had sworn that morning I would do – which was to make better food choices and get to the gym. It was an ugly vicious cycle and the effects of my misery did not go unnoticed by my family. 

Finally, one morning I woke up and said I am done talking about it -(I felt my back fat jiggle) and from that day on I started living it and being about it. There have been setbacks, struggles and tears but the truth is, once I started getting up and consistently working out in the mornings, it made me want to make better choices all through the day, including in the kitchen. My energy levels became increasingly better and I slept like a rock all night. My moods were much happier and instantly improved my family life and relationships. It would be a straight up lie if I said I wasn’t motivated to rock a bikini at my age but I also realized these kids in my life really were MY WHY and they needed and deserved a happy, healthy, active mom who could step up and be their healthy role model. When I found my reasons why, I simply lost all of my excuses.

My decision to coach keeps pushing me further, keeps me motivated and providing goals but it is very far from my reason why I continue to live this lifestyle.

So instead of looking for your excuse, are you able to dig deep and find YOUR reasons WHY? When you do find your why and your passion, your results will follow. Message me for help.11042942_947364438631658_7105274840541815394_n

Goodbye love handles. Hello Sexy Abs!

Are you sick of muffin tops and love handles, or are you comfortable with the roll of flab that pops over the waistband of your jeans and ruins the sleek line of fitness clothes, clingy sweaters, and tailored shirts.

A lot of people think that they can get rid of this annoying bump with daily sit ups. While crunches do tone muscles this exercise alone will not get rid of love handles. Do you know why? Well it’s because love handles aren’t muscle. They’re fat, and to burn fat you need a healthy diet and a rigorous cardiovascular program.
A good overall plan for 30 to 45 minutes of cardio three to four times a week, strength training (including the exercises below) two to three times a week, and a day of rest every week so your body can rebuild muscle. Spice up your workouts with a variety of cardio approaches will be the most effective — don’t just stick to only the elliptical or just a few spinning classes. Getting stuck in a cardio routine can lead to a plateau. Instead, you want to keep challenging different muscle groups. My personal favorite high-intensity interval training to burn fat is TurboFire. You get results quicker instead of working at the same steady pace throughout your workout.
Your initial goals will be weight loss and trimming down the fat. Once you’ve done that — or at least made significant headway — you can start to tone the muscles underneath your love handles. As you burn fat and increase your metabolism through building muscle, that extra padding will eventually go away.

Ab Workout: Kiss Love Handles Goodbye

Make these five exercises part of your plan to tone waist and hips:
1. Bicycle Crunches: “This exercise will work your internal and external obliques as well as the rectus abdominis [the largest ab muscle],” Keigher says.
Lie on your back, knees bent.
Place hands behind your head without interlacing your fingers. Lift your head slightly.
Twist so that your left elbow goes toward your right knee while you extend your left leg.
Pull your leg back in and extend the other leg, twisting so that your right elbow goes toward your left knee.
Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

2. Standing Trunk Twists
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
Keep hips and legs facing forward as you twist to the right, extending your left arm out (like a punch) to the right.
Twist in the opposite direction (left), extending your right arm out in a punch to the left.
Aim for 100 repetitions.

3. Lying Leg Twist
Lie on your back with your arms stretched out to the sides, hands flat on your mat.
Lift legs and bend knees so that your calves are parallel to the floor and your thighs form a 90-degree angle with your torso.
Lower both legs together to one side so that your outer right thigh touches the ground on the right side, maintaining the 90-degree angle.
Return them to center and then lower to the other side so that your outer left thigh touches the ground.
Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

4. Side Planks: “This exercise strengthens your core, in the front and the back,” Nasser explains.
Lie down on your right side, leaning on your elbow.
Extend your legs out straight, with your feet stacked. The edge of your right foot should be on the floor.
Use your core to hold your body up in a straight line (you can modify it by putting your right knee down on the floor if you need support). Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, or longer if you can.
Lower yourself fully to the floor and switch sides.
For added challenge, lift the top leg and hold it up so that it is not touching the bottom leg.
Holding each side for about 30 seconds, do four or five reps, and increase as you get stronger.

5. Seated Russian Twists
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
Hold your arms out in front of you, hands pressed together.
Lean back about 45 degrees. With a slow, controlled movement, twist to your left side. Return to center, and twist to your right. That’s one rep.
One full rep should take about 20 seconds. Take a breath and repeat. Start with four to five reps, adding more reps as you get stronger.
For an added challenge, lift your feet off the floor as you do this exercise.
If you eat a healthy, low fat diet and burn more calories than you take in, and enjoy a good mix of cardio and ab workout time, you’ll watch your love handles start to melt away within a few weeks.

Resource: Healthy living from everyday health.

Sleep: How much to you need?

sleep debt

sleep debt (Photo credit: appratt)

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See Wikipedia:Sleep deprivation). Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love to sleep and it is funny to see how much less sleep I need in my 30’s to feel rested.  When I was in my 20’s I felt like I needed so much more, but I think it was not the same quality of sleep that I get now, since I am not getting up several times a night with kids.  This made me wonder more about what the research actually says.  I found out that there is “no magic number” for the amount of time we need to sleep. However, there are two different factors that researchers are learning about: a person’s basal sleep need – the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis for optimal performance – and sleep debt, the accumulated sleep that is lost to poor sleep habits, sickness, awakenings due to environmental factors or other causes.

Sleep Debt:

The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a “sleep debt,” which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don’t seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need, while we may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired.

Consequences of Too Little Sleep

  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
  • Increase in perception of pain

If you are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep then check out these tips:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake times, even on weekends
  • Start a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
  • Make sure your room is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  • Get a good, comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
  • Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking

Newborns need 12-18 hours of sleep and this decreases with age.  Ultimately, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

Can you be skinny and still look fat?

Definitions and Misconceptions:

To begin, we need to address some misconceptions about how the body works…

  • You cannot “tone” a certain portion of your body.  Your body will not lose fat in one spot at a time, it will only lose fat.  Thus, you must reduce your overall body fat percentage to see results in the area you want.  This is why the “ab-(insert attention-grabbing verb)” you see on TV won’t work to help you get a better midsection.
  • Lean – having little to no surplus fat – Thus, to look “lean”, you need to have low levels of body fat.
  • Toned – seeing muscle definition on a human body – Thus, to look “toned”, you need to have low levels of body fat combined with having enough muscular development that you can see the shape of the muscle under the skin.  This is usually accomplished at below 20% body fat on women, and below 10% on men.
  • You will never “bulk up” overnight, except from maybe an ice cream and beer binge (guilty).  You will never wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and realize that you just built bulky muscles in your sleep.

First, I want to establish that having muscle doesn’t mean being bulky…

The first thing you need to do is compare these two women:

For reference, the girl on the left is a runway model and the girl on the right is an elite CrossFit athlete.  Both have approximately 12-15% body fat.  Both are doing something they love, and the bodies they have created help them do that.

On the left, we have a runway model who has almost zero muscular development while also having almost zero fat deposits.  She has enough essential muscle to not fall over walking, but not much more.  If you want to look like the woman on the left, sorry, but we cannot help you get there.  Although, if you have an apple and a cigarette a day for about a year, you could get close (it supposedly worked for Christian Bale in the Machinist).  However, CrossFit South Bay will not help you create that type of body.

The female on the right has spent years developing her strength and muscle.  She has battled heavy weights and pushed herself to the limit to squat, deadlift, and lunge heavier weights every time she comes into the gym.  She weighs approximately 35-40 lbs more than the runway model due to the large amount of muscle that she has acquired.  She is likely approaching her genetic limits in the amount of muscle she can develop without going on a bodybuilding routine.  Between her and the runway model, there is likely very little difference genetically, yet there is a huge difference in training and diet (more on this shortly).

 Here’s a fit girl, now dressed up, still bulky??

Thus, you can have a large amount of muscle without ever looking “bulky”.  Don’t you agree??

Now that we know that muscle doesn’t make you “bulky”, what does??

Well, the answer is fat.  Excess adipose tissue will result in less than satisfactory aesthetics.  This is regardless of the amount of muscle you have.  This is easily seen in the image below:

The image at left shows a female figure that has a large amount of fat, while having a very small amount of muscle.  This is described in the fitness community as “skinny fat”.  While not overly “bulky” she  doesn’t have the aesthetics that most of us work so hard to attain.  The woman in this image is likely at a level close to 30% body fat and likely has a similar amount of muscle as the runway model.  So even though she may look fine wearing a sweater, it is a different story at the beach.

The trick is how to fix this.  Well, option 1 is to eat less and do tons of cardio, surviving on a diet heavy with running and light on food, and you will end up looking more like the runway model above.  Option 2 is to develop muscle to burn away the excess fat while doing cardio, resulting in looking more like the elite CrossFitter above.

Ok, so we have started to establish that building muscle isn’t a bad thing, right??  Yet, you are afraid that by squatting and deadlifting, you are making your legs and butt bigger, thus getting more “bulky”, correct??

Here is the kicker, the reason your legs (and shoulders and arms and back) are getting a little bigger is that you have now started to add some muscle to them.  Now, that muscle will burn more calories, starting to help whittle away at the amount of fat you have on your body, even while you sleep.  You now are able to achieve that “lean” and “toned” look, as your body fat levels have decreased, and your muscle is starting to show, giving the “toned” look.

Additionally, you cannot have a “toned” look without muscle.  This is because that “toned” look that you are going for is the result of seeing muscle that is underneath a layer of fat.  If you have too much body fat, it acts as a shielding layer.  For those of us that require a visual, imagine your muscle as an apple sitting on a hard surface.  Now cover the apple; what you cover it with is representative of your body fat.  A wet paper towel=very low body fat.  A dish towel = low body fat.  A comforter = high body fat.  As the covering gets thicker, it becomes harder to see the apple, which is exactly what happens as you gain body fat.  Now, more muscle makes the object bigger, imagine the apple is now a grapefruit.  Less muscle makes the object smaller, imagine changing the apple to a cherry.  Even with all the objects being similar in size, it is the covering that determines how “bulky” they look; same with body fat.

BAD cardio

Bad cardio and worse cardio…

Some people keep saying to be leaner they just need more cardio and less strength.  Well, yes, if you just do “more cardio”, you will lose more fat, but you would also lose muscle because without anaerobic and strength training, your body burns muscle as well as fat.  So, instead of looking more like a Victoria Secret model, you start to look more like a runway model.  Then, once you stop doing “more cardio” you will gain fat even faster now that you don’t have the muscle to burn the extra calories, resulting in the “skinny fat” look.  You can see this in ex-athletes that have tried to “get leaner” by doing “more cardio” only to result in having more fat with less muscle.

Skinny vs Strong

This can also happens as we age, as the muscle we built by running, jumping, and playing in our childhood and teens atrophies due to under-use with a more sedentary life, so people in their early twenties are seen as having “high metabolisms”, supposedly not having to work to maintain lean body shapes.  This “high metabolism” is because the muscle they built in their teen years is burning excess calories and fat, and with the low body fat levels, you can see their “toned” muscle underneath.  However, as they take day jobs and do not stimulate their bodies, their muscles atrophy, burning less calories and thereby lowering their “high metabolism” and leading to increased body fat as they age. Usually, people try to do “more cardio” to regain their lean, toned bodies that they had when they were younger. However, since they do nothing to build new muscle or maintain their current muscle, they slowly transition to a thin, but “skinny fat”, look as they age.

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Train like an athlete…. Look like an athlete…

Most people can agree that they want to get “toned” and “lean”, but have you ever asked someone that was “toned” and “lean” what they have done to get that way??  You should, because almost every athlete I know that looks “toned” and “lean” has spent years working to develop strength, power, speed, endurance, and stamina for a sport.  They move HEAVY weights quickly.

Lastly, you will never be able to create muscles like a man lifting weights.

A WOMEN THAT LOOKS LIKE SHE HAS MUSCLES LIKE A MAN HAS LIKELY TAKEN STEROIDS!!  This is the defined truth, a woman’s muscle development is much different than a man’s.  Unless a woman has a very different genetic make-up (a very, very small portion of the population), it is almost impossible to build muscle like a man.  (And, as much as you might think it is true, you only have a 1 in a million chance of being the 1 in a million that has the different genetics, so stop saying, and believing, it)

This is because males have 20-30 times the testosterone of women, resulting in deeper voices, more body hair, and more muscle development.  Women just physically cannot build muscle like men can, sorry but it is a scientific fact.  Some of the maximal amounts of muscle you can put on a female frame with CrossFit training can be seen below.  These are women that built their bodies using sports and strength training.

An extremely high level of muscle on a female will look like the pictures above, but again, only with many YEARS of weights training and a focus on a clean diet.

So, lastly, just to clarify, “bulky” means fat.  Which does not happen when you work hard at http://www.homefitnessjunky.com!!


Don’t let summer binging wreck your hard work!

By: portions why Jillian Michaels.

Don’t let summer get togethers and picnics destroy your new diet and fitness goals. Here are a some tips to help keep you on track and you’ll feel better, too!

It’s Memorial Day weekend and summer is kicking off, even though we had snow in my neck of the woods yesterday. That means, summer foods, drinks, outfits – and challenges. Summer can throw people off their game plan because it seems fun to join in with the crowd, but it doesn’t have to.

Alright, so let’s break down the biggest issue — food. I’m not going to call names, but some of you are planning on hitting a barbecue on the weekends. Am I right? I can envision the usual spread. Burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, cookies, chips, snack foods — the whole nine yards. Anyone thinking they’ll have a run in with an ice cream cone, icy, or a fruity, syrupy frozen drink too? Yeah, I thought so.

Let’s keep it simple. You can’t expect the world to be on the same page as you when it comes to your nutrition plan and goals. You also can’t expect to find a bounty of healthy, organic, and nutrient-packed foods at your friend’s cookout, your neighborhood block party, or along the beach boardwalk. You will need to plan what you’ll eat or what you’ll bring, and how you’ll respond to tempting situations before you face them.

You can bring healthy dishes to the cook out, snacks in your cooler for the beach and you can make smart decisions to skip the mayo-heavy potato salad. Preparation is the only way to know you’ll stay in control and won’t undo the good work you’ve started. Got it? It’s been said that “Discipline is about choosing between what you want now and what you want most!” This weekend, it’s all on you. What kind of summer will you have? One of regret and disappointment in yourself — or one that keeps you moving you towards your ultimate healthy goals? I know all of my rockstars will make the right decisions.

What fun summer plans do you have lined up? What’s your strategy to have a blast while staying on-track? Here are a few summery dishes to keep in mind this weekend.

5 Ways Hydrating Can Keep You from Hurting

By: Howard Shapiro

 

You’re all set for your 3:00 workout. Pre-workout snack? Check. Exercise clothes? Check. But just when you thought it was safe to Push Play on your P90X® DVD, you realize there’s one important thing missing: your water bottle!

Water Bottles and Dumbbells

That little 12-ounce bottle is truly a fitness enthusiast’s best friend. After all, adequate fluid intake during a workout is essential for comfort, performance, and safety. And the longer and more intensely you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right kind of fluids.

Here are 5 important things to know about hydration and exercise:

  1. Woman with Sports Bottle Water works wonders. Did you know that in 1 hour of exercise, your body can lose a quart or more of water? (If you did, give yourself a big pat on the back.) It’s a fact: Water helps replenish your body because of the amount you sweat during a typical workout.

    Drinking water throughout your workout has a variety of other benefits too. Your muscles can start to cramp if you don’t drink enough. This is because water aids in the removal of lactic acid, which is the primary cause of muscle soreness.

    It also helps prevent the dreaded “D” word: dehydration.

    Becoming dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic performance, slowing you down and making you feel sluggish. But in extreme cases, it can also cause dizziness, heatstroke, or even death. Last time I checked, none of these seemed like appealing options.

    Want to make a preemptive strike against dehydration? Don’t wait until you begin your workout to get water into your system. So when should you start, you ask? Great question.

  2. Man Drinking Bottled WaterDrink water before, during, and after your workout. Many people tend to forget about drinking before exercise, which can be another major reason for dehydration. None of the water you drink when you start working out makes it into your system quickly enough to help your body. This is why you need to drink about 15 to 20 ounces 2 to 3 hours before you work out in order to hydrate properly. (Sorry, this doesn’t include alcoholic beverages.)

    It’s also vital to stay hydrated while you exercise. Remember to drink 8 to 10 ounces of water approximately every 10 to 15 minutes while you work out, not just when you’re thirsty. And once you finish working out? Since your body needs to replenish the electrolytes it lost during exercise, a good sports drink will do the trick quite nicely.

  3. The skinny on sports drinks. Sports drinks are perfect for athletes, or those exercising at a high intensity for 60 minutes or more. These drinks contain fluids that supply the needed calories required for continuous performance.

    Be careful though, as most of these drinks add extra calories from sugar, which can wind up hurting your diet if you drink too much. How’s that for a catch-22?

    The bottom line is there’s nothing wrong with sipping on a sports drink throughout your workout, and afterwards to replace essential electrolytes.

  4. Woman Drinking Water After WorkoutKnow the signs of dehydration. The first sign is thirst. I know this sounds painfully obvious, but it’s true. When the body is dehydrated, it sends a message to the brain that fluids are needed.

    The next sign is the ever-annoying muscle cramp. When you sweat, you lose sodium, which causes cramping of large muscle groups. People sweat at different rates, and those who sweat more are at greater risk for cramping.

    Next, it’s time for a little bathroom break. No, not now—during your workout.

    Basically, if your urine is the color of lemonade, you’re doing well. If by chance it’s leaning toward the color of apple juice, you need to reach for another glass of fluid. Other symptoms of dehydration include headache, poor concentration, fatigue, constipation, disorientation, and light-headedness.

  5. Woman with Bottled Water During WorkoutTips for “wetting” your appetite. Here are a few helpful reminders to ensure that you don’t find yourself on the verge of dehydration:
    • Carry a bottle. Many people find it useful to fill up a big plastic drinking bottle. If you carry it with you all day, you won’t find yourself without water when it’s time to work out. Plus everyone else is doing it, so you’ll look really trendy!
    • Set a reminder. Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder so you don’t forget to drink.
    • Track your progress. Keep a log of how much you drink. This will help increase awareness and help ensure you’re staying on track.
    • Little by little. Whatever you drink during your workout, take it in frequent small amounts. This proven strategy guarantees that your body will absorb fluids more rapidly and effectively—leaving you energized and well hydrated.

In truth, the dangers of dehydration are real and often overlooked. However, staying hydrated before, during, and after exercise will keep your body’s engine running smoothly. You’ll be protecting your internal organs and preventing your muscles from getting damaged. I’ll drink to that!

8 Tips on How to Fit a Balanced Diet into Your Busy Schedule

 

By Maura Tibbs

 

Welcome to a typical day at the office. Most of us know it well. You’re not even at your desk yet and your mind is already preoccupied with emails to answer, phone calls to return, and meetings to attend. Before you know it, lunchtime rolls around and you’re running on nothing but caffeine. By this point, you’re fighting hunger pangs, so you head to the vending machines as a temporary solution, or maybe you grab something unhealthy at a nearby fast-food place or roach coach. Five or six hours later, the hunger hits you again and the cycle repeats itself. Does this day sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone.

These days, a mere eight-hour workday is becoming less and less common. A lot of us are working additional hours at home, on our laptops, and via our smartphones. With crazy hours like these, the best way to make sure you stay on track nutritionally is to prepare yourself a week’s worth of healthy meals in advance. Here are a few tips for doing just that.

Master the grocery store
When you arrive at the grocery store after work, you’re starving and in a hurry to get home. Without thinking, you find yourself drawn into the bright, shiny, end-of-aisle displays like a moth to a flame. Before you know it, you’re about to fill your cart with 10 frozen pizzas for $10. Stop! Change direction. Go straight to the produce section and select enough lettuce and fresh vegetables to make a salad that’ll last you all week. It’s best to avoid the center aisles, which contain all the processed foods you want to avoid, and keep to the perimeter of the store. This path will lead you to healthy choices like veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, lean meat, and poultry. The items being promoted in the aforementioned end-of-aisle displays are rarely healthy food options. Keeping this in mind will help you walk past these traps and head straight for the good stuff.

Cook out on Sunday
Roast a bunch of chicken, make a big stew, and grill some veggies; you’ll have a great meal on Sunday and enjoy the leftovers for the next few days. Another thing to do on Sunday to prep for the week is to wash and chop all that lettuce you bought while strolling the perimeter of the store and put it in a zip-top bag. With this combination, you’ll have fresh, healthy food to put into meals all week.

Make over your leftovers
Reinvent last night’s chicken (or other protein) for the next day’s lunch. Throw it in a tortilla with some salsa for a yummy burrito. Heat it up with some curry seasoning and chickpeas. Put it in a whole-wheat pita pocket or between two slices of whole-grain bread with crisp lettuce and your favorite seasonings for a healthy sandwich. Toss it into that great salad you prepared, along with some fresh or grilled veggies. The possibilities for different, great-tasting meals are easy—and limited only by your imagination.

Prepack your snacks for work
You may not always have time for a full meal at work, and that’s OK. The night before a busy day, measure out foods—nuts, dried fruit, baked chips, sliced veggies—you can graze on all day. Measuring the portions in advance helps assure that you won’t accidentally snarf down an entire 1,000-calorie bag of trail mix.
Another great approach to snacking that’ll help satisfy you until your lunch (or dinner) rolls around? Some of that protein you cooked up on Sunday, in convenient snack portions. Quick bites of chicken, beef, tempeh, or tofu with the seasonings of your choice make for a great snack option. And having fresh, lean protein rather than packaged, processed snack items will not only help curb cravings, it’ll also give you sustained energy and help you fight hunger throughout the day.

Hydrate in fashion
Instead of going through tons of plastic bottles at your desk, buy yourself a fancy water bottle. Busy people often forget to hydrate properly. In addition, the average American drinks 57 gallons of soft drinks each year! You can avoid the temptation to purchase soda by refilling a beautiful Kleen Kanteen® with water throughout your day. On a budget? Wash out a glass water, juice, or milk bottle and make that your go-to reusable water bottle.

Be smart about beverage calories
The average American consumes around 400 calories a day in liquid form! This includes soda, sport drinks, energy drinks, juice, and flavored ice teas. You can be smart by making sure any calories you drink are in the form of a meal replacement rather than a hydrator. (Water’s still the best hydrator out there.) Shakeology® is a great meal-replacement shake for busy people, because it’s convenient, jam-packed with important nutrients and antioxidants, and low in calories.

Combine forces
The total price of ingredients is much higher when you’re buying smaller items and amounts. Cooking for one can seem inefficient, especially when your produce is spoiling and you have to deal with the guilt that comes with throwing away a bag of spinach or a bundle of brown bananas. Combining forces with a roommate, a coworker, or a friend who lives nearby can help cut costs. If your friend is also health conscious, you can gain support from and give advice to one another.

Don’t go fad-hopping
Will all the new diets, food crazes, and “miracle” supplements popping up, it’s easy to feel confused or insecure about your current choices. If your plan is working, just stay the course. If you want to try something different, it’s a free country, but don’t hop on the latest trend just because your workmates are all talking about it at the water cooler. Do your homework. Read critiques. Talk to people who have tried it for longer than a weekend. Ask yourself, “Is it healthy? Does it involve whole, real foods? Is it realistic?” Finding and keeping a diet that supports your lifestyle will more likely result in long-term success

You’re stuck at the same weight, now what?

 

If this sounds like you then you may need to reset your metabolism.  The human body is a well-designed, amazing & complicated machine.  Many systems work together to help you maintain a stable weight.  But, when your metabolism slows down, you may feel tired and those extra pounds just seem to pile on.  According to the American Council on Exercise, a slow metabolism can be the result of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition or lack of sleep.

Calories are important to track, but they are only one part of the equation.  In order to lose weight consistently you need to make sure that your metabolism is running at top speed.

One factor that influences metabolism is your set point.  Think of your set point like a thermostat for your body. When you are home, you set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature and expect your heating or air conditioning system to respond to outside conditions and maintain your home at that temperature. By the same token, your set point raises or lowers your appetite and metabolism — the rate at which your body burns calories — in response to how much you eat.  If you consistently eat less than you body needs your system will slow down.  After a while, you have a gap between the calories you eat and those you use up in exercise, your body’s regulation system will adjust your set point upward. Your body then settles in to maintain that higher weight. This is why it’s so hard to the weight back off.

When you start to lose weight, your body’s metabolic alarm goes off. It tells your body — which strives for stability, or status quo — that you are not eating as much as usual. In turn, your body demands more food. It’s a stubborn survival mechanism that is not reprogrammed easily.  You may be tempted by the lure of crash diets.  Don’t get me wrong, they work, but only for a little while.  Your body will think that it is starving of much needed nutrients and as a result your metabolism will slow down so that it can make the best use of the resources available.

As long as your set point remains elevated, you will have intense cravings every time your body senses that you are not eating enough to maintain your present weight.

Thankfully, there are some ways you can kick your body back in gear and reset your metabolism, giving you more energy to do the things you enjoy and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Know your numbers

  1. How many calories do you burn for your gender, age, body composition and activity level?
  2. How many calories do you consume/burn in a day?

To lose a pound you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories.

Avoid temptations

Those hunger alarms make it very difficult for overweight people to lose weight, and even harder for them to keep it off. Your body is fighting to hold on to whatever excess fat it has become accustomed to, and it does its best to replace any weight you lose. This is where you need to stick to your plan and avoid temptations.  Don’t give in to those strong cravings.  Your body needs time to readjust its settings.

Temptation can be an early warning sign that you need support. We all have moments when we can be around our favorite foods and stick to our program. But, there are times when we just sit right down and give in. Think of that craving as the first step toward actually eating the off-limits treats; think of it as the signal to call for help and reach out to someone that will support you before you start to feel like heading for the treats.

If you feel tempted, STOP! 

Stop Sign

Stop Sign (Photo credit: ladybeames)

STOP is an acronym for a four-step process that you can use to good benefit.

S — Stop!
Visualize a stop sign and hear the word “stop.” Immediately stop whatever it is you’re doing.

T — Take a deep breath.
This creates time for you recognize and look at the temptation you’re faced with, and take steps to avoid it.

O — Observe your situation, yourself, and the options you have.
Analyze what’s going on. How are you feeling? What do you want? What do you need? In your observation, use the HALT analysis. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? That’s because we often react automatically, sometimes inappropriately. The only good reason to eat is true hunger. If there’s something else tempting you, then eating is not the answer, plain and simple.

P — Plan your correct action.
You’ve got choices, so what are they? What’s really important to you? What actions will help you move toward what matters, toward an appropriate response, and away from the temptation and reactionary eating.

Go ahead and let yourself hear whatever voices inside you are suggesting that you abandon or sabotage your healthy intentions, and pause long enough to acknowledge and respond to those voices. A good response might be, “Thanks for sharing, now move along.”

Then shift the focus away from food by doing something else: Sit quietly for five minutes and let your attention rest on your breathing; phone a friend; review a list of your motivations for getting healthy (you have made that list by now, haven’t you?) or take a walk.

Guess what?  You need to encourage yourself as you would a friend or loved one. Sometimes we are so critical of ourselves and say things about our bodies that we would never say to another person.  We’re often too willing to let ourselves fail without offering the support we would give to even a casual pal. Remember that sometimes, if you’re not hearing what you need to hear, it might be because you’re not saying it yourself.

The more often you use the STOP method to manage cravings, the more easily and effectively you’ll be able to resist temptations and overcome your body’s natural tendency to push you back to your set point.

This does get easier the more you do it, but it takes practice. After a while you get good at it, and it just becomes a habit.

Here are some things to remember:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast. Your metabolism slows during sleep. The sooner you eat the quicker the metabolism restarts.
  2. Drink 8 glasses of iced water a day. It will make your metabolism speed up to warm itself.
  1. Eat a minimum of six (and up to eight) times per day. These feedings will consist of snacks and main meals.
  2. Make lists of your favorite protein and carbohydrate foods. You should have at least five different protein foods and ten different carbohydrate foods to choose from that include vegetables and fruits.
  3. Each meal should ideally consist of 60 percent carbohydrates (from grains, vegetables, and fruits), 30 percent protein, and 10 percent fat.
  4. Eat only one serving of each food and one plateful for the entire meal. Never have a second serving.
  5. Never skip meals or snacks between meals.
  1. Have an apple. They are full of fiber and pectin that help you feel full and provides slow, steady energy for a longer period of time.
  2. Have a chili pepper. Spicy foods can increase your core temperature and your metabolism

References

  • American Council on Exercise Personal Trainers Manual, Cedric X. Bryant; 2003
  • 100 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism; Cynthia Phillips, et al.; 2009