Healthy

Want Lasting Weight Loss? Follow this 1 Rule!

Want Lasting Weight Loss? Follow this 1 Rule! It's not what you think!

Maintaining your weight can be just as difficult as losing it! Why? Because it’s something you’ll need to be fully aware of for the rest of your life. Lasting weight loss doesn’t just happen; you have to monitor it frequently and figure out what works for your body and what doesn’t. Exercise, although important for weight loss and management, isn’t the key to lasting weight loss. But, don’t stop doing it!

Food is the key. Yes, food. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t out run your fork.”? It’s true. No matter how much you exercise, your food choices dictate lasting weight loss. Carbs, sodium, sugar…they all contribute to weight gain. What you eat matters! Continue making healthy choices and keeping track of everything you eat. Want a brownie? No problem – eat one but make sure you budget for it accordingly and log it.

Weight loss is all about calories in versus calories out. You need to burn more than you consume to see a loss. If you’re not making healthy food choices and see that you’re consuming 3,000 calories per day but you’re only burning 1,500 calories per day, you’ll eventually start gaining weight. We all burn so many calories each day just by being alive. It’s called our basal metabolic rate (BMR). You can calculate yours here. The trick is to burn more calories than you consume.

If your BMR is 1,700 calories and you burn 300 calories through exercise, you shouldn’t eat more than 2,000 calories. If what you burn equals what you eat, you’ll maintain your current weight. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t go over your calories every once in a while, but don’t make it a habit if you want lasting weight loss.

You should always, always keep your body in motion! Don’t think you don’t have to exercise as long as you’re under your daily calories. Exercise isn’t just good for weight loss. It helps improve your overall health and your mood.

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Weight Loss is Body over Mind

Weight Loss is Body Over Mind: Move your Body to Train Your Mind

After losing more than 100 pounds, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that weight loss is simply body over mind. Well, not simply because it’s far from simple. I don’t care what anyone says….there is NO quick fix to weight loss. You HAVE to make a permanent change to your lifestyle if you want to be successful. That’s it. The secret to weight loss is….CHANGE!

The first thing you need to change is your thinking. Now, let me tell ya, this is the hardest freakin’ part to change! That’s why this entire post is dedicated to it. If you’ve ever struggled with food, you know what I mean. When you first decide to lose weight, you’re often overwhelmed by a few things. It’s either the amount of weight you need/want to lose, the amount of exercise you should do, the constant stream of never-ending, conflicting information, and the list goes on. How in the hell are you supposed to know where to start?! It’s simple – K.I.S.S. I learned this acronym when I was in business school and it means Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’m not calling anyone stupid, so don’t think that. What’s it mean? It means that you start where you are with what you have….

Your mind is the first thing that needs a reboot. You’ve probably been so damn hard on yourself for being overweight that it’s become a core part of who you are. It’s not who you are! Let go of thinking you have to be perfect; that you have to do it all right every single day. That kind of thinking isn’t productive. Our minds are very powerful and will, oftentimes, talk us out of changing. Why? Because change is uncomfortable. We’ve become so complacent with how things are that we often resist making changes for the better. Change is work!

Our bodies were made to move; it’s inherent in our DNA. Don’t deny your body a vital function because your mind is like, “Nah, we don’t need to take the stairs because the elevator is right here.” Whether you believe in the Garden of Eden or the Theory of Evolution or neither, it makes no difference to me, but our bodies were designed to take us where we need to go. We’re built with a fight or flight reflex; you’ve probably noticed it at one point or another in your life. That reflex has been there since the beginning of time and it’s not going away. Our bodies know what to do to survive and it’s high time we start listening to them again!

It’s time to tell your mind to shut the f*%! up and start doing what your body wants you to do! If it helps you to say that out loud, go for it (that’s what I do). Each time I have a negative thought creep into my head, I work on shutting it down fast. If that means I have to get sassy with myself, that’s what I do. What do I mean by that? If a thought enters my mind that tells me I’m not going to be physically able to walk 5 miles or I don’t have time for a walk or whatever, I say, out loud, “you watch me!” I don’t like being told what I can’t do, even by my mind, and I don’t tolerate it very well.

We’re our toughest critic; no one will ever be harder on us than we are. While that has the ability to help us become better, it can also lead to overwhelm and eventually shutting down. It’s time to start talking to yourself and treating yourself the way you would a friend or family member. If a friend told you she didn’t workout today, would you call her lazy? Probably not. But, I bet that’s exactly what you’d say to yourself, right? STOP IT!

Eating healthy and exercising are expressions of love for yourself and your body; they’re not punishments. Your mind will have you thinking that your body is being punished because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. Turn that thought around for a minute. What if you thought about exercise as a way to be able to eat a piece of chocolate cake? My conversations with myself go a little like this:

Mind: “Ok, I want another iced coffee from Dunkin.”

Me (usually out loud): “Do I really want a second coffee or is my body craving something else? Let me do [insert activity here] before and if I still want the second coffee, I’ll get it.”

Mind: “Why do [insert activity here] when you’re already so close to Dunkin now?”

Me (again, out loud): “Because I’m not going to spend the money or the calories if I don’t really want the damn coffee!”

Mind: “Ok, ok, you win. Do [activity]…sheesh!”

If you think I’m joking about this, just ask anyone who’s ever ridden in the car with me, talked to me on the phone, or has just gone out in public with me. I’ve just applied the body over mind technique and won! It’s a constant struggle that will never go away but it will get so much easier. I don’t always win, and neither will you, which is why it’s important to celebrate each and every success! Even when you don’t win, let it go – don’t beat yourself up over it. Shit happens and, despite what anyone may have told you, you’re not perfect. We’re going to mess up, have set backs, and get discouraged; it’s all part of the process. The important thing to remember, and to do, is always keep going!

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4 Ways to Boost Your Energy in the Morning

4 Ways to Boost Your Energy in the Morning

I used to be the person who couldn’t function if I didn’t get at least 12 hours of sleep a night. I was also the first person to hit snooze or just not hear the alarm at all. My husband used to have to call me, on the phone, every morning to make sure I was awake. I just couldn’t get it going in the mornings. But, all of that has changed for me and I couldn’t be happier about it! Here are my top 4 ways to boost your energy in the morning.

1. Keep a Sleep Routine

Keeping a sleep routine is one way to boost your energy in the morning. What is a sleep routine? Well, for me, it’s going to bed around the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. My bedtime is generally between 9 and 10 pm every night (yes, even on the weekends) and my alarm goes off at 5 am every morning (not on the weekends). Even when I get to sleep in on the weekends, I’m usually up by 7 ready to go. What works for me may not work for you and that’s OK. Listen to your body and do what it needs. If you need to go to bed earlier, go. If you can stay up later, do it. Tune in to your body every morning to see how you feel and adjust your sleep routine accordingly.

2. Don’t Hit Snooze

This was SO hard for me in the beginning because I’m the queen of the snooze button! Even when I moved the alarm across the room, I found myself getting out of bed, hitting snooze or turning it off entirely, and climbing back in bed. I’m a die-hard sleeper, y’all. Hitting the snooze button disrupts your sleep and often leaves you feeling more tired in the end. I no longer keep my alarm on the bedside table but I don’t have it across the room either. I have to get out of bed to turn it off and it’s been working. There have still be times when I’ve climbed back in bed but not many.

3. Exercise

Yep, exercise will boost your energy in the morning and may even suppress your appetite and make you more productive throughout the day! This doesn’t have to be balls to the wall circuit training or Cross-Fit; just something to get the blood flowing. Yoga or Pilates will do the trick. Even just taking a brisk 20 minute walk will do it. Feeling ballsy? Go hard for 5 minutes and see how your body thanks you. It’s an amazing feeling to know you’ve done something for YOU first thing in the morning. Your body will thank you and love you for it all day!

4. Eat a Protein Breakfast

I’m not going to lecture you on eating breakfast but I will say that adding protein to your breakfast is a great way to boost your energy in the morning. This is especially true if you exercise because you need to refuel your body. For many of us, breakfast consists of coffee and something quick and starchy because we’re usually running short on time. Some great sources of protein are eggs, nuts, and lean meats. As a rule, for me, I stay away from turkey sausage and bacon because they have more sodium than “regular” breakfast meats. Obviously, the choice is yours; just make sure you’re getting some protein.

So, what does a typical morning following these suggestions, look like? This is every morning for me…

  • 5 am wake up & coffee
  • 6 am breakfast of 1/2 c of egg whites and 1 whole grain English muffin with 1/2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (real butter)
  • 6:30 am morning routine (washing my face, brushing my teeth, sunscreen, etc)
  • 6:45 am out the door to walk 5+ miles

Some of you may feel like I have more time because I work from home. Well, guess what? I have the same 24 hours that you have but I may use them differently. My health is a top priority for me so I make damn sure I get my 5 miles in every morning, weather permitting. You may not want or need to walk 5+ miles and that’s OK; do what’s best for you and your body will love you for it. Always, always, no matter what, do what’s best for your body!

4 Ways to Boost Your Energy in the Morning

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But, I Eat Healthy. Why am I Overweight?

Eat Healthy

I hear this all the time. Hell, I used to say it! But, since I began this journey (again), I’ve learned so much more about what it truly means to eat healthy. And, guess what? Neither of us have been eating healthy.

You may, in fact, eat a lot of healthy foods, but you need to examine HOW you prepare them. Do you cook with vegetable oil? How about butter? Do you cook veggies too long? All of these things, and more, need to be taken into consideration.

I hear people say they eat a lot of fruit and don’t understand why they’re not losing weight. Well, what are you putting on that fruit? Sugar on strawberries? Salt on cantaloupe? How about whipped cream? How much are you eating?

The truth is, you can eat whatever you want and lose weight but the trick is to eat it in moderation. I still eat Hershey’s Kisses but I don’t eat the whole bag. I still have potato chips, but I count out a serving. See where I’m going with this?

Even if you’re eating in moderation, you still need to be very mindful of how you’re cooking your food. A baked potato isn’t bad for you….until you load it up with sour cream, butter, bacon, etc. You’ve just eliminated any nutritional value that poor little potato had. If you’re having broccoli for dinner, great! Just don’t boil the hell out of it with a stick of margarine.

Think about the food you eat and how you eat it. Are there things you can do to make your foods a healthier option? Of course there are! Here are just a few:

  • Swap sour cream and mayo for plain Greek yogurt
  • Use unsalted real butter instead of processed margarine
  • Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil

Saying that you “eat healthy” is more than just the food you eat – it’s how much of it you eat and how you eat it. I highly recommend tracking what you eat of an entire day. What I mean by that is, if it goes in your mouth, you write it down. There are a ton of free apps that will help you with this and Lose It! is my go-to. Take a close look at your calories, fat, carbs, sugar, and salt and I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what you see.

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Air Fried Chicken Tenders

Air Fried Chicken Tenders: A Healthy Alternative to Fried Chicken

I’m always looking for ways to make comfort foods in a healthy way so when I first heard about the air fryer, I had to have one. The first thing I made in it was sweet potato fries. It took no time to cook them and they were so good! Needless to say, I was impressed. I came across a recipe for chicken tenders in one the health magazines I’m subscribed to and immediately thought of how I could make it better. The original recipe is below.

Original Chicken Tenders Recipe

As you can see, this recipe contains 330 calories for 2 tenders and 1 Tbsp of sauce. Well, my version allows you to eat half of the tenders and 1 Tbsp of sauce for 320 calories! Which one do you want to make? Here’s my recipe for air fried chicken tenders…

Air Fried Chicken Tenders
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ c. + 1 Tbsp. Opa Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing
  • 1 lb. chicken breast tenderloin
  • ½ c. Progresso Italian Style breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Coat chicken in dressing and cover with breadcrumbs. Cook in air fryer for 10 minutes or until done.
  2. **Reserve ½ Tbsp of dressing for your dipping sauce**
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Calories: 320 Fat: 8.9 Saturated fat: 0.1 Carbohydrates: 8 Sugar: 0.5 Sodium: 695 Fiber: 0.3 Protein: 48.6 Cholesterol: 149

My recipe for air fried chicken tenders is a much healthier alternative than the original recipe. And, using an air fryer instead of oil makes it that much better. Trust me, you won’t miss frying food in oil! If you’re interested in purchasing an air fryer, this is the one I have:

Air Fryer

I got this from Bed, Bath and Beyond but I recently saw the same model in Target. Be sure to give it plenty of room when you’re using it because it pushes all the hot air out of the back. I heard a story of one woman melting her Keurig!

I’d love to know what you think of the chicken tenders so comment below when you’ve tried them. You won’t be disappointed!

Air Fried Chicken Tenders: A Healthy Alternative to a Family Favorite!

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When Should I Weigh Myself?

When Should I Weigh Myself

Weight loss is as unique as we are. What works for one person may not work for another so it’s important to pave your own way. Sure, take suggestions, try new things, but don’t beat yourself up if they don’t work for you. You’re not doing anything wrong. Your body just doesn’t respond to certain things like someone else’s body would and that’s OK! People are always asking me how often they should weigh themselves. My answer is always the same – as often as you want but be prepared for what you get.

Daily Weigh In

When I first began 2 years ago, I would weigh myself every morning religiously. I didn’t miss a day. I got that idea from Candace Cameron Bure’s book “Reshaping it All” so I figured what the hell. The premise behind weighing yourself daily is so you can keep a very close eye on the fluctuations in your weight. Because I would weigh myself daily, I could almost immediately see what foods made me retain water or see what changes in my eating I needed to make.

BUT – after a while of this, I started to become obsessed with the scale. If it didn’t go in the right direction, I instantly became discouraged and even gave up a few times. If you’re going to weigh yourself daily, be sure that you don’t let the number on the scale define you. I’m not going to tell you that muscle weighs more than fat because, the truth is, they weigh the same. One pound of fat weights the same as one pound of muscle – one pound! The difference between fat and muscle, however, is that muscle is more dense, which means it takes up less room on your body. Fat, on the other hand, comes in and sprawls all out everywhere.

Weekly Weigh In

When I got back on the wagon in February, I started weighing myself daily again but moved to weighing in once a week, thanks to the Weekly Weigh In post in the Lose It group on Facebook. At first, it was difficult for me to only weigh myself once a week but, eventually, I got used to it. Stepping on the scale once a week allowed me to see a “bigger” loss than I did when I was weighing myself daily. Well, that was all the incentive I needed to keep it up.

Monthly Weigh In

Back in April, a few of the Lose It group members and I decided to give up the scale for the entire month. I was really nervous at first because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep track of my progress. I made it through the month and learned a valuable lesson! After a month without the scale, I realized that I CAN stay on track WITHOUT stressing myself out about my weight. On the first day of May, when I weighed in, I had lost almost 10 pounds! Since then, I only step on that blasted thing once a month.

Long story short….how often you weigh yourself depends on who you are and what you can handle. There is no right or wrong way to weigh in so find one that works for you and stick with it. Way back, I never would’ve thought that I could handle weighing myself once a month but now I can’t believe there was a time I was so obsessed with the scale. Weight loss changes you in so many ways; you’ll learn to let go of shit that once irritated you because it no longer serves you, but more on that in another post.

How often do your weigh yourself? I’d love to know what works for you so leave a comment below.

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My Workout Skincare Routine: Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

My Workout Skincare Routine

I’ve had problem skin since, well, since birth, I’d say. For as long as I can remember, my skin has given me issue after issue. Now that I’m older, my skin is taking on a freakin’ life of it’s own. What used to work, doesn’t work anymore. It’s gotten worse since my hysterectomy and I’m just thrilled about that {insert sarcasm here}. But, I’ve managed to come up with a workout skincare routine that, so far, seems to be working rather well.

Many people don’t realize that our skin is our largest organ. It covers every inch of us and renews itself daily. It’s subjected to all sorts of elements and toxins and needs constant care. Each skin type is different, and, since I’m not a dermatologist, I’m only going to speak about my experience with my oily, acne-prone, problematic skin.

Pre-Workout Skincare Routine

In the morning, my skincare routine is pretty much the same, whether I workout that day or not. I wash my face with Oxy face wash, tone with witch hazel, and apply moisturizer with sunscreen. Yes, I use a moisturizer even though I have oily skin. Why? Well, because my skin still needs to be hydrated and there’s sunscreen in it. I’m currently using the Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer with SPF15 and it doesn’t make my face greasy.

Post-Workout Skincare Routine

This is where my routine gets a bit different. When I get back from my walk or finish a workout, I always take a shower. Now, I don’t wash my face with the same stuff I use in my pre-workout routine because that would be too harsh. While I’m in the shower, I wash my face with my Dove bar soap. It gets all the sweat, dirt and grime off my face without adding a bunch of chemicals I don’t need again so soon. I still apply a moisturizer after this because the soap leaves my face really dry. If I’m not going anywhere, I’ll use the Neutrogena again. But, if I have to run out, I use the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation because it’s a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

Before heading off to bed, I wash my face again. This routine is very similar to my pre-workout routine in that I use the Oxy face wash and tone with witch hazel. From there, I spot treat any trouble spots with Neutrogena spot treatment and head off to bed.

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that benzoyl peroxide works best on my acne so I look for products that contain that. My spot treatment contains 10% benzoyl peroxide and generally clears up my blemishes within a day or two, depending on how bad they are. You see, I suffer from cystic acne which is very different than any other type of acne.

I’d love to learn about your skincare routines, whether you workout or not. Comment below and fill me in on your favorite products!

My Workout Skincare Routine pin

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