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!
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.
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.
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.
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I am so excited to have joined a Challenge that appears to be too hard at first but I feel like it is the perfect challenge to complete for those P90 grads who are doing weekly Hybrid workouts like myself. I am up and ready for it. Got a Beach Trip scheduled at the end of June and would love to say I did it. So here is the challenge.
MEN: There are women who will complete this challenge. Will you???
WOMEN: Show the men that you have what it takes to STEP UP and GET IT DONE!!
This is a 6000 Push-up Challenge on JUNE 1st! The idea is to do 6,000 push-ups in one month! Ideally you’ll do 200 a day and you can break them up into whatever is a manageable amount for you. I’m going to wake up and knock out 50, do another 50 at lunch, do another 50 after work, and finally do 50 before I go to bed. I don’t care what kind of push-ups you do. You can do them from your knees, you can do them leaning against a wall. The point is to just BRING IT and do them anyway you can! I want to get as many of you all doing this with me so we can all feel better and know we are doing something to contribute to a healthy life.
What matters is who can do more collectively, the men or the women. 6000 is just a goal to shoot for. If you can do more, great! If you can only do half that, GOOD FOR YOU! That is an accomplishment in itself!
Message me if you are up for the challenge as I am really excited to get this started.
For a lot of us, an elegant sit-down family dinner means serving the chicken without the bucket. Having to work until 5:00 or 6:00 at night and then having to come home and whip up something your children will eat and won’t get you reported to Protective Services can be a challenge for anyone. Then after the cooking, the serving, and potentially the force-feeding, you get to spend the rest of the evening doing the dishes and cleaning your kitchen so you can do it all again tomorrow. They never show that part on Martha Stewart. No wonder you have the pizza place on speed-dial. But it’s possible to eat both quickly and healthily. Here are a few ideas for getting something nutritious on the table in a hurry, and the best part? Only one pot to clean!
(And for single people, invest in some airtight containers, freeze your leftovers, and be a slave to Lean Cuisine® no more!)
Get to wok. Instead of summoning the deliverymen with the greasy white boxes, try making your own stir-fry feast. You can cut out most of the extra fat, corn syrup, and sodium your takeout place so kindly provides, and if you can enlist some prep help with the chopping, it takes only minutes to cook, and even less time to clean!
Heat enough olive, peanut, or sesame oil to keep food from sticking to the wok.
When the oil’s hot, add sliced meat or tofu with some crushed ginger and/or garlic.
When the meat is cooked through, add your favorite chopped veggies, like carrots, celery, cabbage, onions, snow peas, or scallions (you can chop the veggies while the meat’s cooking).
Add a dash of low-sodium soy sauce or tamari or a little orange juice to make a sauce and serve!
If you’re not watching your carbs and don’t want to get another pot dirty, follow the microwaveable rice directions in the “Lazy Chef” article earlier in this newsletter. Same rule applies: Go for brown or wild rice. You can also make extra rice and make Quick Rice Surprise the next day, or stir-fry the extra rice with any leftover meat and vegetables. And if you scramble an egg into the mix, you’ve got healthy fried rice—increasing your meal output impressively for virtually the same amount of effort.
Shortcut: Many grocery stores sell mixes of stir-fry vegetables already chopped and combined in their produce section or frozen. They won’t be quite as delicious as freshly chopped, but as long as they don’t have any extra ingredients (frozen mixes especially might add some sauce or salt you don’t want), they’re just as healthy.
Loafing after work. The humble meatloaf. Most of us remember this classic treat from our childhood. It was usually an alchemic combination of ground beef, bread crumbs, ketchup, and whole eggs. Delicious? Yes. Nutritious? Not so much. Much of the deliciousness came from the beef fat soaking the bread crumbs and combining with the egg yolks to give us a couple of days’ worth of saturated fat in one serving. Then there’s all the extra salt and corn syrup the ketchup brings to the party. But it doesn’t have to be this way—a healthy ‘loaf can be made, still be flavorful without the fat, and still maintain enough structural integrity to be repurposed as a sandwich filling the next day.
Use extra-lean ground beef, or either ground turkey breast or extra-lean ground turkey. Check the label to be sure it’s extra-lean—if it just says “ground turkey,” it can have 15 percent or more fat, and what’s the point of that?
Next, add some vegetables to the mix. You can add chopped or grated carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers, parsnips—whatever you like. Just watch the amounts of juicier veggies like tomatoes, which can turn your loaf into less appetizing soup. The amount of vegetables should be proportional to the meat. (This is also a great way of slipping veggies to the picky eaters in your family.)
Instead of adding bread crumbs, try a handful of rolled oats. You’ll get more fiber and they won’t absorb fat the way that bread crumbs will (not that there’s all that much to absorb with this revamped approach to the ‘loaf).
Add a couple of egg whites, which, along with the oats’ gluten, will provide enough “glue” to hold the ‘loaf together. Also add any fresh herbs, garlic, or other seasonings you enjoy. Mush it all together and shape into the familiar ‘loaf form beloved throughout history..
Most meatloaf recipes bake in a 350ish-degree oven for an hour or so and call for the ‘loaf to sit for at least 15 minutes to cool, letting the ingredients take time to cohere and giving the flavors time to marry fully.
Shortcut: Take a look a little later on in this newsletter for a terrific reduced-fat meatloaf recipe that follows the principles we’ve just laid out for you. It’s delish!
Also, not good at separating eggs? Most grocery stores sell cartons of egg whites on their own. Or you can use egg substitutes, like Egg Beaters®. In addition to being healthier, they’re also more convenient. No cracking, scrambling, or getting hands and bowls dirty. It may only save a couple of minutes, but those are minutes better devoted to serious ‘loafing!
Stew in your own juices. Stew. Or as I like to call it, my vegetables’ last stop before Garbagetown. You’re cooking and cleaning out your refrigerator—now that’s multitasking! You can call it stew, goulash, gumbo, cassoulet, ratatouille, cioppino, or ragout, but most importantly, you can call it dinner.
Put a big pot on the stove. Put a little olive or canola oil in the bottom, and when it heats, brown some raw meat, poultry, fish (best if it’s not too flaky or delicate), or tofu. (If you’re using leftover or precooked meat, just throw it in with the vegetables, and ignore this and the next step.)
Put the cooked protein aside, drain the fat, and then deglaze the pot with a little red or white wine.
Next pay a visit to the vegetable morgue, also known as the crisper drawer, and add to the pot whatever looks like it won’t make it through the night (some garlic and onions are always good, too—even if they’re not at death’s door). Root vegetables are traditional favorites here: carrots, turnips, parsnips, and potatoes are all great ingredients for a hearty stew. Smaller ones can be scrubbed, trimmed, and cooked whole; otherwise cut them in one- or two-inch chunks.
Once the veggies have softened and relinquished their juices, add the meat back in, add some low-sodium chicken, vegetable, or beef broth and/or some no-salt tomato sauce, and cook on low heat until it reaches the desired consistency (about 15 to 20 minutes).
If you’re short on time after work, this could be thrown together in a Crock-Pot® or slow cooker in the morning, and when you return home, dinner’s ready!
Shortcut: Most supermarkets’ meat departments sell pre-cut cubes of meat or fish, all wrapped up and ready to go. Also, it’s always good to have a couple of favorite staple vegetables in the freezer or a can or two of beans on hand to throw into the pot.
The casserole—a pan and a plan. How would the cream-of-anything soup industry stay in business without casseroles? Not to mention the canned-french-fried onion companies. Casseroles, in and of themselves, don’t have to be bad for you. They start out with meat and vegetables, which are usually pretty healthy. It’s the improvisations that usually get our diets in trouble.
To begin with, choose lean meats. Sausage-and-whatever casseroles are usually yummy because the other ingredients soak up all the artery-clogging fat from the sausage. Using lean meat or poultry will help keep it healthy from the get-go.
Also, keep the vegetable-to-meat ratio fairly high. Imagine what a serving of a casserole would look like spread out on a plate in its component parts. You probably wouldn’t consider a pound of meat and a brussels sprout a well-balanced meal. Try to keep the meat to about 4 ounces per serving and fill the rest of the pan with fiber-rich, filling, healthy vegetables (not just potatoes, either).
For sauces, try to avoid cheese and anything that begins with “cream of,” as well as actual cream itself. Canned soups, a casserole staple, usually rely heavily on sodium for flavor. You can do much better by using a low-sodium broth, which you can whisk together with some nonfat powdered milk and corn starch to make a faux cream sauce.
If you like pasta in your casserole, try using a whole-grain variety.
And instead of adding french-fried onions, how about thinly sliced almonds to provide a little crunch?
Shortcut: Most casseroles can be assembled a day ahead of time, so if you’re anticipating a late day at the office, you can make the casserole the night before, and just pop it into the oven the next day. That overnight bonding time you give your ingredients will make the casserole that much tastier.