Low Calorie Foods Essential to Weight Loss

With obesity on the rise and posing one of the most single most severe health problems in the country, it is no wonder that so many are trying to lose weight through any means necessary. There are countless fad diets, diet food delivery programs, fitness regimens and weight loss plans that swear to give you fast, noticeable results, but, when it comes to dieting, there is no such thing as an easy solution. The best way to achieve permanent weight loss is by eating fewer calories than what your body burns throughout the day. Obviously, incorporating fitness helps as well since it burns calories and helps off set the calories in versus calories out.

Foods and Beverages That Aid in Weight Loss
Although it is important to cut down on calories consumed, it is also just as important not to restrict calories so much so that you are hungry all day and causing the body to burn muscle for fuel. In order to avoid this, you will not only have to restrict calorie intake, but will also have to incorporate certain foods into your diet that aid in weight loss simply by consuming them. Yes, that’s right, there are actually certain foods that are low in calories, low in fat and contain plenty of fiber. These foods help keep you full longer, speed up your metabolism and assist in digestion. They help prevent overeating and make calorie restriction a much easier goal to accomplish.

Water is the key component to losing weight, keeping it off and doing it in a healthy way. Water helps the kidneys and liver function properly so that your food is digested and fat is burned efficiently when consumed. If you do not consume enough water, your kidneys will have a difficult time processing protein and your liver will have to jump in and help. One of the liver’s main functions is to process fat in the body. If it has to do another job to help out the kidneys as well, fat burning will be inhibited. In addition to being a necessary tool for digestion, water also helps keep you full in between, before and after meals. By drinking one to two glasses of water prior to each meal, you will get full quicker and consume fewer calories.

Green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach kale and other leafy green vegetables contain a variety of nutrients critical to weight loss, especially an abundance of fiber. Fiber helps keep you full longer, hence helping you consume fewer calories at each meal. Leafy green vegetables also fight free radicals and improve muscle recovery after exercise. Incorporate a leafy green vegetable to each meal of the day by adding a green salad prior your main meal. This is an easy way to add fiber and cut caloric intake with a healthy, pre-meal food.

Whole Grains
Whole grains are important, especially when they are consumed and substituted for starches or white foods such as white bread and white rice. Some examples of whole grains are brown rice, whole grain cereals, quinoa, whole oats, and bran. Each of these foods, when eaten in small quantities at each meal, can help prevent the body from storing fat by helping move it along in the digestive system. This results in less fat storage and increased weight loss. Whole grains also provide a similar benefit to leafy greens and water. They help keep you full longer, preventing snacking between meals or overeating.

Lean Protein
Lean protein such as white meat chicken, lean turkey, fish and extra lean meats all assist in weight loss. They do so by assisting your body with the muscle building process. After exercise, it is suggested that you consume a high protein meal or snack in order to help rebuild muscle fibers and help muscles heal. High protein meals and snacks are also more filling than sugary, carbohydrate filled post-workout favorites such as granola bars, cereal bars or pasta.

Fruits contain many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the body to function. When it comes to fruit, however, it is important to choose the right foods in order to prevent insulin spikes and unnecessary fat storage. Fruits contain plenty of sugars, and although they are natural sugars, they will still have an impact on your blood sugar level and cause spikes in the body’s insulin levels. These spikes can cause you to feel hungry when you should not be, they can make you feel fatigued and can have an overall negative effect on mood. In order to consume fruits that will benefit the body and assist in weight loss, it is important to consume mostly low glycemic fruits. Some examples of low glycemic fruits are cherries, berries, grapefruits, plums, apples and pears. In addition to ensuring most of your fruits are low on the glycemic index, it is also important to eat fresh fruit and avoid juices or dried fruits. Juices do not provide all of the nutrients that the skin and meaty portions of the fruit contains. Dried foods typically have plenty of added sugars and some of their nutritional value has been depleted.

Low Fat Yogurt
Plain, low fat yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, is high in protein and calcium. This combination helps increase metabolism and break down fats during digestion. Research suggests that those that incorporate low fat yogurt to a balanced, low calorie diet plan maintain more lean muscle mass while losing weight.

The Bottom Line
While there are many foods that assist in weight loss, as previously mentioned, there is no magic pill or food that will shed calories without effort on your part. The keys to effective, permanent weight loss are simple. You will need to eat less calories than what you burn, either through calorie restriction and/or exercise and you will have to incorporate healthy, nutritious foods into each meal and snack you consume. Ideally, you should aim to consume less than 20% of your calories from fat each day. The remainder of your calories can be evenly distributed among proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The benefits of exercise are abundant. It not only burns calories, but also keeps the body’s metabolism working long after exercise is complete. This helps burn more calories and fat even while you are sitting at work or sleeping.

Healthy Foods to Eat During Pregnancy


Deciding to start a family and getting pregnant will be one of the most exciting moments of your life.  At the same time, it can also be a bit daunting since the nine months prior to your baby’s birth are so critical to his or her development.  Many expectant moms wonder what to eat, what to avoid, how much to eat and how often they should eat.  Some think they need to be eating twice as much as they did before getting pregnant, and some have no idea at all how to change their eating habits in order to properly accommodate their growing babies.


Pregnancy Diet Basics

The key to a healthy pregnancy diet is plenty of variety, including as many different types of foods as possible.  Eating many different types of foods will ensure that your baby is getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients he needs to grow and develop.  In the first few months, nausea may be an issue, and may inhibit you from eating certain foods.  To prevent nausea, it is best to eat small meals spread out throughout the day, and include foods such as crackers or breads to ease the discomfort.  Ginger has also been known to help fight nausea, and it is a healthy food permitted during pregnancy.  The nausea usually subsides at the end of the first trimester, and makes it a little easier to add variety to your pregnancy diet. This is the time when you should take advantage of the relief, and incorporate as many healthy foods as possible.  Remember, though, that being pregnant does not mean you need to eat twice as much as you ate before.  All your baby needs is approximately 300 extra calories per day. This can be just one more meal per day or two extra snacks.  Combined with prenatal vitamins and a healthy diet, the extra 300 calories will be more than sufficient to ensure your baby grows and develops into a healthy, happy baby.


Healthy Foods to Eat While Pregnant

For a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, an expectant mom’s diet should be balanced, nutritious and include plenty of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and fiber.  A little sugar is allowed here and there as well but should be kept to a minimum.  Below is a detailed list of smart food choices while expecting.  Incorporate these tips into each day, and your little bundle of joy should be born as healthy as can be!



Even when not expecting, it is important to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day to ensure proper kidney and liver function.  Water also helps with digestion.  During pregnancy, water not only helps hydrate you and keep the digestive system working at its peak, it can also help alleviate many of the side effects associated with pregnancy.  Water can help deliver healthy nutrients to the baby through the blood flow, it can prevent excess fluid retention and it can also prevent urinary tract infections which are common during pregnancy.  In addition to the above benefits, water during pregnancy is also critical in order to continuously help replenish the amniotic fluid.  Amniotic fluid is replaced several times throughout the day through water that is stored by the body.  Ensuring you are drinking plenty of water will help ensure your baby is continuously getting a new, fresh environment in which to thrive.



Foods high in fiber are important during pregnancy because they help alleviate constipation.  Constipation is a common side effect of pregnancy, and it can become very bothersome as a pregnancy progresses.  Some foods that can help ensure you get your daily dose of fiber include:

Bran cereal



Leafy green vegetables (Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, kale)


Pumpkin seeds





Citrus fruits



Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for a growing baby’s bones.  In order to ensure you are getting at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, you should eat three to four servings of low fat dairy products each day.  This can include:

Low fat milk

Low fat, low sugar yogurt

Cottage cheese

Pasteurized cheese



Iron is an essential nutrient, especially during pregnancy, because it is critical in hemoglobin production.  Hemoglobin is what helps red blood cells carry oxygen through the blood stream.  During pregnancy, the blood volume in the body increases by up to 50 percent.  This means the body needs extra help moving the oxygen through the blood stream and to the growing baby.  Expectant moms should consume about 27 milligrams of iron per day.  It is important to consume iron from plant foods, as well as from meats and animal products.  Three to four ounces of meats, poultry and fish, or about the size of a deck of playing cards, should be sufficient to provide you with the 27 milligrams iron needed daily.  Good sources of iron from both groups include:

Dark meat turkey

Chicken breast


Lean beef

Pork loin







Whole Grains

Whole grains are high in nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, niacin and vitamins B1 and B2.  In addition to providing so many essential nutrients, these foods are also an important source of energy for mom and her growing baby.  It is important to consume about 28 grams of whole grains per day.  Some examples of foods expectant moms can eat to get a proper daily intake of whole grains are:

Brown rice





Whole wheat bagel, pita or English muffin

Whole grain pasta


Healthy Fats

Fats are essential to every diet, but it is important to eat a variety of healthy fats, especially during pregnancy.  Healthy fats improve digestion in the mother, and they have also been linked to a reduced autism risk in babies.  Healthy fats should make up about 30% of an expectant mother’s diet and should preferably consist of monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids.  Some healthy fat choices include:

Olive oil


Nuts and seeds

Peanut oil

Canola oil







Prenatal Vitamins

Last but not least on the list is ensuring you take a prenatal vitamin each day during pregnancy.  Prenatal vitamins give the body and the growing fetus all of the necessary nutrients that may not be consumed through a healthy diet.  If possible, it is recommended that women planning to become pregnant in the next year begin taking prenatal vitamins early.  Taking a prenatal vitamin at least one month prior to conception, including one with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, can help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida in the unborn fetus by up to 70%.  Since prenatal vitamins can sometimes cause nausea, it is best to take them just before bed with a small snack and plenty of water.


Weight Loss and Weight Management Tips That Really Work!


In our society, it seems everyone has been on a diet at some point in his or her life.  With celebrities seemingly shrinking a way, it is no wonder there is such a focus on physical appearance and being as skinny as possible.  With such a focus on weight loss, it is no wonder that fad diets such as the master cleanse, the cabbage soup diet and the HCG diet continue to gain a following years after they have been proven to be an unhealthy way of achieving weight loss goals.  Losing weight, especially with some of these fad diets that promise instant results, may be easy, but the difficulty lies in maintaining the weight loss once you are off the diet and back to the real world.   If you are one of the many that have tried fad diets, lost the weight and gained it back within months or a year, you are well aware of the many pitfalls that come with losing weight the wrong way.  With that said, there are many ways to achieve your goal weight in a safe, healthy way and finally learn how to eat in order to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle.



So, what are they keys to successful weight loss and weight maintenance?  It is much simpler than expected, but it takes a lot of will power, determination and discipline.  By implementing the tips below, you should be well on your way to achieving the body you have always wanted and maintaining your weight, even if it means splurging once in a while on delectable dinners, drinks and desserts!

 The Basics

In order to understand weight loss and weight maintenance, you will first have to understand why most individuals gain weigh to begin with.  Each day, your body requires a certain number of calories in order to maintain your current weight.  On average, women need approximately 1,200 – 1,700 calories per day to maintain and men require 2,100 to 2,500.  These numbers vary depending on height, weight and activity level, but tend to be the norm.  Although these are general guidelines, this number differs in every individual and has a lot to do with lifestyle.  If you are active, your body will require more calories than someone who is sedentary.  If you want to lose weight, you will need to eat fewer calories than the amount you burn each day.  It is a very simple math equation.

In order to understand how weight gain happens, you have to understand that one pound is equal to approximately 3,500 calories.  This means that, if you eat 3,500 calories per week more than your body requires, you will gain at least one pound per week.  If you want to lose weight, you will have to eat less calories than you burn.  To lose weight, you should decrease your caloric intake and create a deficit.  Creating a deficit of 3,500 calories per week or 500 calories per day, will help you lose 1 pound per week.  You can cut 250 calories per day by eliminating a soda at lunch and dinner and cut an additional 250 calories by not eating that chocolate cookie after lunch.  It is not difficult to do but definitely takes some thought and pre-planning.  If you opt to, you can also burn 500 calories per day instead of cut your calories.  Go for a 5 mile run, swim for an hour or jump rope for 45 minutes and you will torch the extra 500 calories per day you need to burn.  By creating a calorie deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 calories per week either through exercise or by eating less, you can lose 1-2 pounds a week and reach your weight loss goals.  In order to maintain it, all you need to do is ensure that the calories you consume are not greater than those you burn.

Weight Loss and Weight Management Tips

So, now that you understand how and why you gain and lose weight, here are some tips to help you succeed and achieve the weight loss and maintenance goals you have been striving for.

 Drink Water

This may seem easy and mundane but it is the easiest weight loss tip to implement into your life.  It is suggested that you drink eight to ten glasses of water per day or a total of 64 ounces.  This recommendation has been suggested by physicians and dietitians for years, but it has recently gained popularity with regards to weight loss.  By drinking one to two glasses of water before each meal, you will feel full faster and help cut your portions, usually by one quarter to one third.  This can help cut calories, leading to healthy, maintainable weight loss.  To maintain your weight, continue to consume water throughout the day and before meals.

Get Moving

It is no surprise that exercise helps you lose weight.  The problem for most individuals is finding the time to fit exercise into today’s busy lifestyles.  On average, 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise, such as fast walking, jogging, swimming, hiking and jumping rope, can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories.  The actual number varies depending on intensity and physical size.  By fitting at least 30 minutes of exercise into your day, you can burn 1,400 to 4,200 calories per week.  This can lead to a weight loss of one to two pounds per week.  Fitting 30 to 45 minutes of exercise does not have to be impossible either.  You can go for a brisk walk at lunch and then another walk after work.  If you are traveling, a workout video in your hotel room can give you quite a workout as well.  If you have kids and are busy running around from school to practice, go for a jog around the football field while they are practicing and get your own workout in.  The key to fitting in exercise is making time for it.  Remember, you do not have to do all 30 to 45 minutes at once. If it is easier, you can do 15 minutes of push-ups, sit ups, lunges and squats before work, go for a 20 minute walk at lunch and finish the day with a 20 minute walk or light jog after dinner. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and any exercise is better than none.

 Fill Up on Vegetables, Fruits & Protein

Often times, people on a diet fail because they cannot fight the feeling of hunger they feel when they cut calories.  Cutting calories does not have to mean eating less though.  By making smart choices, you can actually eat more and still consume fewer calories. Eating the right foods is crucial when it comes to losing weight and maintaining weight loss.

The three most important food groups to eat are vegetables, fruits and protein.  Vegetables can be eaten on an almost unlimited basis.  Snack on vegetables throughout the day and fill up on them before reaching for the chips or cookies in your desk drawer.  You may still want a cookie, but you will most likely eat less of them after starting off with veggies.  Before lunch and dinner, start with a small salad dressed in balsamic vinegar and a pinch of healthy olive oil.  Vegetables tend to contain plenty of fiber, helping to fill you up and prevent you from over eating during the main course.

Try eating a fruit for breakfast and then add protein such as yogurt or a hard boiled egg to round out the meal.  Top it off with some fiber in oatmeal or high fiber cereal.  The fruit will give you the natural sugar and energy you need to start your day and the protein and fiber will help keep you full through lunch.  Making sure you eat a balanced, healthy breakfast will be the key to prevent those mid day work binges on the lunch room treats.

Plan Your Meals

If you are the type that will reach for the first thing you see when you are hungry, it may be helpful to plan your meals ahead for the week and prepare them in advance to keep them handy.  To get the week off to a good start, grill several chicken breasts on Sunday and pack them individually to take with you for lunch each day.  Make some grilled vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, bean salad and quinoa to have as a side dish.  You can also pack your sides so, each morning, you grab your chicken, pick your side and you have a healthy lunch that takes less than a minute to put together.  If dinners are your pitfalls, make dinners over the weekend and freeze them individually.  When you get home from work, all you have to do is pop them in the microwave and heat them up.  Not having to wait 30 minutes to an hour to eat while you cook will help prevent grazing and ensure you have a healthy meal.

Watch Your Liquids

Most people do not realize the number of empty calories they consume each day drinking soda, juices and alcoholic beverages.  One can of soda has an average of 140 calories and 30 grams of sugar.  Drinking 3 cans of soda per day, one with each meal, can add up to almost 3,000 calories per week.  Simply by cutting out soda, you can lose one pound a week, without changing anything else in your diet.  Juices have similar calorie content and, often times, even more sugar.  Just because it is 100% juice does not make it healthy.  Ideally, it is always wiser to eat the fruit instead of drink its’ juice.  Not only will you get the nutrients, but you will also get the substance, helping making you feel full.

Alcohol is an even bigger culprit.  One margarita can have as many as 700 calories and almost 100 grams of sugar.  In addition to the high caloric value, alcohol can also lower your inhibitions, causing you to eat more and make poor choices when it comes to good.  If you have to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, it is better to keep it to a minimum and enjoy alcohol sparingly on weekends.  If you are going to drink, it is helpful to know what to drink in order to minimize the calorie intake as well. Light beers, a glass of wine, a glass of champagne or vodka and soda can be some of the least damaging drinks to enjoy.  Most of these options have 100 or less calories per serving and have minimal sugar content.

What is it that you do?

I have been talking to a lot of people this week about what I do and these are people that I have connected with on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, amazing people.  I like to get to know people and what they love to do, what their family is like, do they have kids?  Are they married?  What do they do for a living?  I love finding that stuff out, but why?  To stalk them?  Well of course not!! I love to get to know them because I want to naturally make sure they are living their life to the fullest and if I found that out than I can ensure that I can be available no matter what their needs are.

So, really what do you do?  Well during the day I am a Registered Nurse and yes I still am doing that.  I invested in my college education, I take pride in what I do for a living as I had climbed the corporate ladder quickly and to me that is kind of like the prize.  By climbing the ladder I have also climbed the pay scale, not gonna lie.  I also have to admit that by doing that, my husband and I have acquired property to maintain and kids to feed and send to their various activities which require money.  For a long time I felt like people may think differently of me because I was not doing my business fulltime and still was having to commute 4 days a week, 45 min each way.  Was she not successful in her business?  Hmm, I am not sure I trust her because she is still working fulltime, shouldnt she already be doing her business fulltime?  These are the things I constantly told myself, until one day I realized that I was going to embrace IT ALL!!  Why not that is MY STORY!  Yes I work fulltime and yes I run a successful business parttime and YES I wish I was home with my kids at this point of the evening (7pm) but I am still at work.  So why do I do it?? and again what is it that you do?

Anna Gray

Well now for my business.  I am an Independent Beachbody Coach, you may or may not have heard of it.  Those people that make “PX90”, “P90x” or more likely nowadays “Insanity”, yeah those are the people I work with.  How do you work with them and what exactly do you do?  Well I am business partners with them.  I own my own business (keep in mind I had never owned a business before in my life), Beachbody was kind enough to do a Success Story that kind of explains it a bit more HERE.  So over the last three + years I have enjoyed working out and eating healthy doing just about every Beachbody workout program they have, drinking Shakeology on a daily basis, living an amazing healthy life, keeping my family happy and healthy.  OK so you do that for a business but how do you make money in that and why would you want to do that on top of your 40 hour a week job.

I make money by helping people!

You what?  Yes everytime I help someone find a tool that they can use to reach their fitness, nutrition or financial goals and help them get started with it and help them continue to reach the goals they set out to reach, I get paid.  Well doesnt that mean you are taking advantage of them because you want to earn money?  No, in fact remember in my first paragraph I say I try and get involved in people’s lives to ensure that I help them live the most healthy and fulfilling life they possibly can.  That is where this comes into play.  Before I even set them up with the tools they will use I make sure that those tools are geared towards them 100% by asking lots of questions.  I am not here to sell you a product, I am here to sell you a lifestyle.  I want to see your results just as much as you want to see your results…. Your results mean that I can share them with others and inspire others that may think it is not possible to reach those goals.  So by you getting results you have done me a favor and have opened the doors for me to help even more people.  I am completely vested in your success.  Well do you get paid per hour for coaching, NOPE!! I receive commissions when I connect individuals with their programs that we mutually agree upon and that is it.  Well that doesnt sound fair to you?  Well actually it makes me want to work harder so that you do get the goals you are looking for because I DON’T WANT TO WASTE MY TIME.  Get it?  Your success is my success.

Well isn’t this one of those MLM things how does that work?  Once again this is a results driven business.  Results is not defined by weight loss, although most of them are.  Results are defined as outcome of something, in this case a workout program, healthy nutrition and 1 on 1 support as well as group support.  When you receive results, any results, people want to know how you did it?  When someone looses 100 lbs they ask, “how did you do it?”  when someone says their cholesterol dropped 30 points, people ask “how did you do it?  My doctor just put me on medications”.  When someone says they have the most energy they have ever had in their life, someone will as “how did you do it?”  When you start to see results, it is only natural to want to help those that ask you “how you did that?”  so what is the next step?  YOU BECOME A BEACHBODY COACH.  Those that lead in this business with their heart and set out to help as many people as possible end up fulfilling their financial goals.  Goals they probably never dreamed of.

I can tell you I don’t live pay check to pay check, I have money to go out on date nights and take vacations and out to dinner on a whim.  That is where my heart has lead me.   I never got in this business strictly to make money.  I actually got in this business to change lives just as my life was changed but guess what, I am not afraid to say I make money in this business.  In fact at this moment in time I make over what I made graduating from college and over what my husband made working at Federal Express for 15 years.

So, when are you going to leave your job?  I am going to leave my job when the time is right, when I have reached my financial goals and have done what I have needed to do to set myself up so that I don’t have to look back on any regrets.

I hope this helps you understand what I really do and why I do it and most of all why I pour my heart into it.

If this sounds like something you would like to do or if you are in need of finding your way in life with your health, fitness or finances.  I am here for you at no charge to you.  Hit the Contact Button on this site and I will get back to you as soon as possible.  I look forward to working with you.