Friday, April 30, 2010

The Weekend Is Here

It's easier for most of us to be disciplined about what we eat during the week than on the weekend. The weekdays tend to have a more regular schedule, while weekends can bring a variety of social occasions, parties, opportunities to eat out and more.

If you read the blog post from Feb 28th, you remember that eating consistently across weekends and holidays is one of the keys to success for people who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that weight loss!

There are 3500 calories in a pound, so you need to create a deficit of 500 calories/day to lose 1 pound a week.

If you stick to your plan and create a 500 calorie deficit each day, you will lose 1 pound a week. If you create a 500 calorie deficit for 5 days (Mon-Fri) but than overconsume 1000 calories on each of your weekend days (Sat & Sun) your weekly balance is only -500.

Since there are 3500 calories in a pound, it will take you 7 weeks to lose 1 pound if this is your pattern! Most of us are not that patient and will abandon our plan out of frustration.

You may be thinking -"Yeah, but I wouldn't overeat 1000 calories, that's a lot!" Here is what 1000 calories looks like:
Margarita: ~400-500 kcal
2 oz tortilla chips: ~300kcal
3 TBS queso & 2 TBS guacamole: ~200kcal

or how about this:
Bagel (large): ~380 kcal
2 TBS Cream Cheese: ~200 kcal
Caramel latte: ~410 kcal

Is it easier to overeat 1000 calories than you expected? Have you felt frustrated by your inability to lose weight when you feel like you're being "so good"? It can take just 2 days to cancel out 5 days of hard work! Stay consistent and make wise choices.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Diet soda is not good for your "diet"

In recent history, we have seen the number of Americans who are overweight or obese rise to 60-66% of the population. A lot of attention has also been given recently to the number of children who are becoming obese.

What or who is to blame? There are many contributing factors including our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, availability of fast food and convenience foods, bigger portion sizes, and more. Another change in the American diet is increased consumption of soft drinks. Statistics show that Americans drink more soft drinks than any other country in the world - the average is over 600 12oz cans per person per year!

Many people drink diet soda guilt-free and without any regard to portion size. After all, it has 0 calories, so people don't think there is any harm. Research is starting to show, however, that there could be greater harm to articifical sweeteners and diet soft drinks than anyone previously realized. Drinking soda may contribute to the following:
  • Increased risk of obesity
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems
  • Reduced calcium in bones and increases risk of osteoporosis
  • Gastrointestinal distress and heartburn
  • Dental caries and erosion

Read more here:

Why drink soda, diet or regular? It has NO nutritional value whatsoever, and could be doing a lot of harm to your body if consumed in high amounts long-term!

Have you found successful ways to kick your soft drink habit? Please share!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Drink This, Not That!

When you are trying to lose weight and control the number of calories you are consuming, one of the first areas of your diet to look at is your beverage intake. Most people would agree, they would rather dedicate calories to satisfying, filling food vs. sugary beverages.

So drink THIS, not THAT for 1 cup/8oz beverages

  • Skim milk = 80 kcal & 0g fat NOT Whole milk = 150 kcal & 8g fat

  • Tea (iced or hot) no sweetener added = 0kcal NOT Sweet tea = 120 kcal

  • Light orange juice = 50 kcal NOT Regular juice = 130kcal and 30g sugar

  • Starbucks tall "Skinny" latte = 90 kcal NOT tall Starbucks caramel macchiato = 180kcal
  • If alcohol is in your budget - Wine spritzer or light beer ~90kcal NOT Margarita ~500kcal

Finally the big one: drink _____ not coke (soda, pop, whatever you like to call it).

The answer is not diet soda! Drink water instead. I'm going to talk some more about soda - including diet - in a blog all its own!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Here are some fun facts to get you exited (or at least moderately motivated) about drinking more water!

The human body is approximately 50-70% water
Water acts as a solvent and lubricant in the body
Water transports nutrients and wastes
Water helps regulate temperature and a variety of chemical processes

Drinking enough water can help with weight loss because
  • It ensures you are not confusing hunger and thirst
  • Helps you feel fuller
  • Can help reduce cravings

In addition, it can help your hair, skin & nails to stay healthy and keeps everything in the body running smoothly. So drink up!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Save hundreds a day

You know that weight loss is a matter of math - calories in need to be less than calories out. The rate of weight loss depends on how large of a deficit you create.

If you are serious about losing weight, one change you need to make is DRINK WATER instead of other beverages. Buy a 32 ounce water bottle and fill it up twice a day. That is the baseline water requirement for most people (you may need more if you are exercising strenuously or outside in the heat).

Depending on your current diet, you could easily save hundreds of calories, probably primarily sugar, and also a lot of money. Think about carrying your own water vs. buying drinks from vending machines or gas stations, and not adding drinks to restaurant bill. That $$$ seriously adds up over time!

Stay tuned for more info about various beverage choices...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Substitute It!

Sometimes, you can find a lower calorie option to satisfy your sweet craving. Note: Desserts are typically never “healthier” (unless it’s fruit) in terms of nutrition, but you can choose options with less calories and fat. Some examples:

· Low fat/no sugar added pudding or jello

· Hot chocolate

· Make substitutions in your baking: applesauce for oil, splenda/truvia for sugar, etc.

· Chocolate milk (skim milk, add no-sugar chocolate syrup)

· Fruit


These tricks can you with any of the above approaches to controlling your intake of sweets. Usually a craving will pass if you can postpone 20-30 minutes.

· Distract yourself with an activity: take a walk, play the Wii, call a friend, paint your nails, read a magazine

· Drink a big glass of water, add some lemon or mint or a cup of hot tea

· Chew gum or brush your teeth

So what is your preferred approach for controlling cravings for sweets? Avoid, control, or substitute? I would love to hear what has worked best for you!

Sweet Tooth: Control It!

So how does "Avoiding It" sound? To be honest, not too good to me! I love to have dessert or something sweet every now and then. So the key becomes PORTION CONTROL.

If you really enjoy dessert, allow yourself to have some in moderation and make sure the calories work into your overall calorie “budget”. When using this approach, go for the high quality stuff that will really satisfy your sweet tooth but only consume a small portion. This is not always the most economical option, but it is SO WORTH IT in the long run if it helps you keep your weight under control. Examples

  • Buy just a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen Daz, or your favorite ice cream
  • A small pack or individual serving of your favorite candy or high quality chocolate
  • Bake your favorite dessert with a plan to give 90% of it away

Have you ever had a craving and tried to avoid by eating something "healthy" like rice cakes...and then you eat pretzels...and then some yogurt...and then something else. And finally you are either stuffed and unsatisfied, or you end up eating what you REALLY wanted in the first place, plus all those other calories in between! That's why I say, sometimes it's best to give your body what it wants/craves. Just keep the portion size moderate :)

Sweet Tooth: Avoid It!


If you have a hard time having “just one” of something, your best bet may be to avoid sweets all together. This requires environmental and mental preparation.

· Don’t keep sweets in the house. Family members will have to go out for their treats.

· Get cooperation from your family and co-workers.

· Remove yourself physically from where the food is available – don’t walk past the vending machine, drive past your favorite ice cream shop, or stand by the buffet.

· Mentally: don’t even entertain the thought of eating _____. In your mind, it cannot even be a possibility!

Sweet tooth

This week I'm going to blog about something many of us cite as a struggle...avoiding sweets! Most of us could use a little help getting our inner cookie monster under control.

Throughout the week, I'm going to discuss 3 approaches to keeping our intake of sweets, desserts, and sugary foods under control. But first, here are some good practices we need to follow to avoid a "struggle" in the first place.

  • · Stay hydrated: drink plenty of water throughout the day. Eight 8-ounce glasses (64 ounces total) is a good starting point. You may need more if you exercise strenuously or spend a lot of time in the heat. Your body will sometimes confuse hunger and dehydration - especially hunger for sweets!
  • · Don’t let yourself get too hungry: eat small meals every 3-4 hours. When you get too hungry, your ability to make wise, nutritious food choices is compromised. Your body may also be more desperate for some quick energy - sugar.
  • · Get enough sleep. When your body is tired, it may crave energy and a quick pick-me-up in any form it can get it; again - sugar! Try to get sufficient sleep for YOUR body every night (anywhere from 7-9 hours depending on your personal needs). If possible, take a quick 20-minute power nap during the day when your energy lags vs. using caffeine or food.
  • · Recognize and deal with stress. When you find yourself thinking, "I have got to have ___(chocolate, cookie, brownie, etc)!", ask yourself - why? Did something stressful just happen? Are you in the middle of a consuming project? Did you just have an unpleasant conversation with someone? Don't use food to numb or pacify your emotional needs and stress!
Do you see any of these points above contributing to your cravings for sweets? If so, what can you do to address them?