Monthly Archives: June 2013

Having a Bad Day/Week with Your Diet?

We all have them. We get off schedule, get sick, tired, or life just happens. Something comes up and our routine gets changed. Although, having a bad day/days/week is nothing to fret over. I was talking to my sister the other day when she called me to specifically tell me she had three “bad” eating days in a row. I informed her it was okay. Things like this happen. We all end up bad days where we slip up and don’t do as well as we should. I think the most important thing is to always know there will be times where you do have a day/days/weeks where you don’t exercise, stay with in calorie limits, and so forth. It is completely normal. There is no reason to view yourself as a failure or become unmotivated because you slipped up. Everyone has those days…it is just a matter of making the choice of getting back on track or choosing not too.

You always have choices. You can choose to take care of your body or you can choose not too. Everything is up to you. Don’t let obstacles and off days get you discouraged. Just come back and hit it full force. I reminded my sister three days didn’t mean she was going to gain all her weight back. Three days didn’t mean she was a failure. Three days didn’t mean she could never get back on track. She just needed someone to tell her this is normal and remind her all the hard work she has put in will not be undone in three days. Everything would be alright…because it will be.

Badmeal

Sometimes we take a break from exercising or eating certain foods because we get tired of the same thing or get burned out. The key here is to do something different. If you like a challenge and like change, then pick up some new exercise regimens. Go kickboxing, do yoga, try resistance training, biking, hiking, zumba, crossfit, do something, anything! Change up routine and find something you enjoy doing. As for the food part, this takes discipline. I am a firm believer in eating foods that you want; however, you should always use portion control and count your calories. Practicing portion control helps you become aware how many calories you are feeding yourself. Are you eating enough? Too little? Too much? I prefer people not to go on diets, but find a meal plan that works for you. Experiment with new recipes and new foods. One of my favorite recipe sites is skinnytaste.com. Her stuff is incredible. Craig and I cook off her website the majority of the time. She already counts the calories for you and even has the points for weight watchers listed on her recipes. Don’t worry about finding a diet, but start eating foods you want with moderation and discipline.

So what to do when you have had a “bad” day/days/weeks? You pick up and start again. Find a friend or someone you can talk to you. If you do not have anyone, you are more than welcome to talk here or email me. Remember, you are more than likely going to slip up and have some days that are not your best. It’s okay, but don’t let three off days turn into 2 months of off days. You work hard to maintain/change your lifestyle so don’t let it slip away because of a few days. Get back up and get started. Find your motivation and press forward. No one has ever regretted losing weight and becoming fit. Make the choice to step up after some bad days and reach your goals.

Bad Day

Resistance Training isn’t just for Big Muscles

When most people hear about resistance or weight training, they think of the big body builders and “bulking” up. However, there is much more to resistance training then gaining big muscles. Resistance training helps break down muscle fibers and when the muscles begin rebuilding, they are more firmed, toned, and stronger. Several people use resistance training to increase lean muscle mass and become toned…not everyone wants big muscles.

Resistance training is recommended for all men and women. It offers several health benefits such as: building muscle strength, increasing your metabolism, lowering blood pressure, reducing body fat, making everyday activities a little easier, help prevent osteoporosis, increasing stability and balance, and much more. Adding resistance training into your exercise regimen is extremely beneficial for you and your body.

Weights are not the only equipment used for resistance training. Your body weight and resistance bands can be used as well. Therefore, if you have bands but do not have weights, its okay! You can still get an effective workout with bands. Your own body is a great tool as well; there are several exercises you can do with just using your body which are effective.

To get started, it is extremely important you have permission from your doctor. Sometimes doctors will not allow clients to participate in resistance training due to medical conditions. If you have the clear, then your first step is to know what exercises to do. There are several tools online, tv, videos, and apps which help you with resistance exercises. If you only want to incorporate a small amount of resistance training then that is fine, just make sure you know how to properly do the exercise and watch your form and technique. When you preform an exercise incorrectly, you are putting yourself at risk for injury as well as not receiving maximum results.

Strength training does not only consist of workout out your chest, shoulders, and arms, but it includes your back, core, and legs as well. You want your exercises to range from upper to lower body. You should be doing shoulder fly’s all the way to leg squats. Include your entire body into resistance training.

Resistance training is recommended two times a week until you can work yourself up to three times a week. Reps may vary between 8-10 (muscle growth), 12-15 (lean muscle). You also want to pick weights that are not too heavy. You want your last three repetitions of the set to burn, almost to where you can barely do the exercise without compromising form. If you are not feeling the burn, then most likely you need to increase the weight or use a thicker resistance band. Resistance training should not be painful, if you are experiencing pain, then you need to stop immediately.

My challenge to you would be to begin incorporating resistance training into your workout plan. If you want to only do 20-30 minutes two to three times a week, then great! Keep it up and keep going. If you are unsure about exercises, you can always use a personal trainer/me who can help you and increase your confidence with resistance training. A gym is not necessary to have an effective resistance training program. If you have the tools at home, you can do it there.  You cannot go wrong with incorporating resistance into your workout plan; you will be doing your body and yourself a favor. Good luck and if I can help, do not hesitate to email me at cohennutrition@gmail.com.

change

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Crackers

Okay, so I love sweets, absolutely love them. So today’s post I decided to do one of my favorite sweet snacks. About two years ago, my mom made chocolate covered peanut butter sandwiches during Christmas time and I fell in love with them. They are the perfect snack. A little it of salty and sweet and of course you can never go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.

I know what you are thinking and you probably think these are “unhealthy, full of calories, and a diet no-no”. Well, if you have room for extra calories and you love chocolate and peanut butter, then I would say these are perfect for you.

This recipe is extremely easy and quick! I had the whole grain Ritz crackers on hand and some creamy peanut butter so all I needed was chocolate. (I prefer creamy peanut butter when I make these, but you are welcome to use whatever you want.) I measure out one teaspoon of peanut butter for each sandwich. I also measured how many tablespoons of chocolate I used to dip my sandwiches in. I only dipped half of the sandwich in chocolate because I didn’t want the entire cracker covered in chocolate.

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Dipped Crackers

Ingredients:

20 Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers

10 tsp Creamy Peanut Butter for each sandwich

3.75 Tbsp Baking Chocolate (you can use milk, semisweet, dark, or white)

Spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter between two crackers. Repeat until you fill 10 sandwiches. Melt chocolate chips and dip sandwiches in the chocolate half way. Place sandwiches on wax paper and set in refrigerator to cool.

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I know 3.75 Tbsp sounds unusual; however, I had used the Almond bark which is divided into 12 squares. Each square is 3.75 Tbsp so that is why I used that amount. If you would like to use 4 Tbsp of chocolate that is completely fine. Just make sure you add those calories. I made 10 of these therefore, each sandwich came out to be 84 calories.

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There is enough peanut butter in the sandwiches to where it is a perfect balance of crunchiness, saltiness, and sweetness. Make sure when you make these, you measure 1 teaspoon of peanut butter in each sandwich and keep count of the tablespoons of chocolate used for dipping. Also, using dark chocolate is a great idea because it provides fantastic health benefits for you.

So next time when you want a package of Reece’s peanut butter cups, substitute for two of these sandwiches for only 168 calories while the Reece’s will cost you an extra 42 calories.

I hope you enjoy and happy snacking!

 

The Truth About Snacking

It seems like most people try and avoid snacks because they can pack on the calories or because snacks = junk. That’s not true. Yes snacks have calories in them; but if you are using portion control and watching how many calories you are eating throughout the day, then snacking is a great idea! My husband Craig loves to snack! These two snacks are “staples” in our home.

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Snacks help us get through the day and let us not over eat at meal times. They are vital to children, so shouldn’t they be vital for us as adults?  Of course! Snacks provide energy for activity throughout the day as well as curbing our appetite. You know how it is after you eat lunch and then 4 o’clock rolls around; you get tired, hungry, and so when you get home you attack the pantry and fridge before you start cooking dinner. Probably not a good idea because you have now spoiled your dinner and second, you added more calories than what was intended. Therefore,  if you ate lunch and then ate a snack around 3:30-4:00, you most likely won’t raid your pantry and fridge when you walk through the door. Snacks help us with our weight if eaten properly. Snacks should help you, so don’t abuse them.

So, how do you make sure you are eating snacks worth your calories? Eat snacks that are full of nutrients. For example, fiber is a wonderful nutrient- it helps you feel full for a longer period of time. Food also gives us energy, so eat snacks that your body can use and not store it as fat. Now, if someone in the office is having a birthday and you want some of that cake, go for it. Just be aware of your portion size and calorie count. I would suggest you log it and know how many calories you have left. Also know foods such as cake, cookies, chips, soda, and candies are empty calories. They are full of calories and that’s it. They don’t provide sustaining energy or help curb your appetite. I am not saying don’t eat them, but they shouldn’t make up your entire snack.

Now is the time to start planning. Plan what snacks you are going to have throughout the day and when. I choose to eat a mid morning snack as well as an afternoon snack. It is nothing huge, but enough to keep me going. Find out what works for you. You might not need a mid morning snack every morning. Remember to log your snacks and measure your portions! To help get you started, I have listed 20 of my (and Craig’s) favorite nutrient rich snacks.

The Cohen’s Top 20 Snacks

  1. Popcorn (I choose the light 100 calorie bags)
  2. 1 apple with 2 Tbsp of natural crunchy peanut butter
  3. Yogurt with 2 Tbsp of granola
  4. Trail Mix (almonds, peanuts, raisins, mini choc. chips, cashews)
  5. 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp PB and ½ banana
  6. Pretzels and string cheese/peanut butter
  7. String cheese and a piece of fruit
  8. 2 corn tortillas with ½ avocado
  9. Peanut butter crackers
  10. 1 serving of cereal (I like dry cereal)
  11. String cheese or hummus and whole grain crackers
  12. Reduced fat cottage cheese with fruit
  13. Mixed nuts with a small piece of fruit
  14. Celery, carrots, tomato with ranch or hummus
  15. Oatmeal with a tbsp. of dried fruit
  16. 1 serving of whole grain tortilla chips with ½ avocado and salsa
  17. 1 small (or ½ large) bagel with low fat cream cheese
  18. English muffin with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter
  19. Granola bars/Snack bars
  20. Fruit with a yogurt dipping sauce

Snacking is good for you so don’t abuse snacks by eating empty calories and adding to your waistline. Smart snacking is key to success!

Snack Smart

Get Active with a HIIT Workout!

If you are unfamiliar with a HIIT workouts, it is a High Intensity Interval Training workout. HIITs are very popular and I am sure you have seen them advertised. So, if you are unsure what a HIIT workout is, the benefits, or if the workouts are for you; then I would encourage you to read the post.

What is a HIIT workout?

A HIIT workout is a cardiovascular workout. These exercises consist of repetitions of short, high intensity cardio intervals followed by a recovery that is usually a less intense exercise if not rest. HIITs can be cardio based, but also used with weights as well. There are several different HIIT workouts out there, so it is important to do your research and know what you are doing. These exercises usually last anywhere between 4-30 minutes. They are great workouts because they also don’t require equipment or a lot of space (which is definitely a bonus)! So, if you don’t have the time or you woke up late, then a HITT workout might work out for you. With these workouts being shorter, it is important to preform each exercise with high intensity. You have to give it all you have in order to seek results from a HIIT exercise.

What are the benefits of a HIIT workout?

HIIT workouts offer several benefits. One of the benefits mentioned above is the shorter time.  I think HIITs are wonderful workouts, but I am also a believer in getting out and walking/jogging/running, elliptical, biking, any other form of cardio, and, weight training. It is a great idea to include HIITs into your workout plan, but it may not be appropriate to only do those workouts. It is shown weight training and HIITs combined can help build/maintain muscle mass and burn the fat. However, it is recommended to do HIIT workouts only three times a week. Another benefit to a HIIT is that is can improve your cardiovascular functional capacity. According to the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, a study preformed in 2011 showed, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training. Not only are you improving your body’s cardiovascular capacity and strengthening your heart, but also burning more fat. HIITs are designed to burn a large amount of calories in a small amount of time, so your body is in super repair mode. Therefore, with that being said, it is shown that these workouts burn calories and fat 24 hours AFTER the workout is complete. Besides burning calories and fat after the workout, your metabolism will kick up as well! Your growth hormone, which helps with caloric burn is increased greatly after HIITs so your metabolism begins to speed up. I would say these benefits are definitely worth pushing yourself if you can. Remember, these are high intensity workouts. If you want to achieve these benefits, then you have to be willing to dedicate yourself to the workouts and push yourself.

Are HIIT workouts for you?

Not everyone likes HIIT workouts and some can’t do them because of back, knee, shoulder, feet, and/or breathing issues. It is okay. You don’t have to do a HIIT workout to have those benefits. You can successfully strengthen your heart, improve your cardiovascular system, increase metabolism, and decrease body fat by sticking to a work out plan with out HIITs. When you commit yourself to a workout plan, you can achieve all of those benefits. If you want to work up to doing a HIIT workout, then I encourage that. It is not wise to go from not exercising/barely exercising to doing a high intensity workout. Take your time. You don’t want to injury yourself. Also, as with any type of exercise, it is extremely important to consult with your doctor before engaging in ANY workouts, including HIITs.

Here are two examples of HIIT workouts. HIITs can be done on a bike, treadmill, while your running, lifting weights, or just wanting a quick and sweaty work out.

Example One: This is for beginners; if you want to increase intensity, do exercises for 60 seconds each and or add more exercises.

1. Warm Up for 5-10 minutes (walking, marching, jogging in place, stretching)

2. 45 seconds of squat jumps

3. 45 seconds of mountain climbers

4. 45 seconds of burpees

5. 45 seconds of suicides

6. Repeat this 2x for a total of 3 times and rest 30 seconds in between sets (every 3 minutes).

7. Cool down for 5-10 minutes

 

Example Two: This is a running HIIT. If you need to increase intensity, then you can increase your speed or your incline.

1. Warm Up for 5-10 minutes (walking, marching, jogging in place, stretching)

2. Run at 12 mph for 30 seconds to one minute (hands off!)

3. Walk easy for two minutes.

4. Repeat cycle seven more times.

5.Cool down for 5-10 minutes

Push Yourself

Banana Nut Bread Lightened Up

I love to cook and bake. I love it. So finding recipes and trying different substitutes to “lighten” them up is something I enjoy doing. It is nice to cut back on some calories and use them elsewhere, especially if I can find substitutes that maintain the original flavor and texture of the food. I however, will be the first to admit some recipes were not meant to be altered, but kept as is.

🙂

Today I would like to share one of my favorite bread recipes. This recipe is not only fantastic as is, but you can lighten it up as well if you are looking to cut calories or for heart health. This is my Grandma Ange’s banana nut bread recipe. She makes the best banana nut bread there is. My grandma would bake my dad some bread (usually 2 loaves) and send them up to the house. When I would go visit dad and her banana nut bread was in that house, we were ALL eating it. Dad would eat it for breakfast, snack, and I am sure if he had the chance, he would have eaten it for dinner. I wouldn’t have blamed him…I probably would have asked to join as well. It’s that good. So, though I can’t cook my bread as great as Grandma Ange’s (there is just something about HER bread that’s incredible), I have to say it is pretty close.

I know some people are afraid to replace ingredients with others, but one of my favorite replacements is applesauce for butter/margarine. This bread does not lose any flavor or texture when using applesauce. It is a simple recipe switch that can save over 700 calories. Yes, 700 calories and you are not sacrificing texture or flavor. Seems like a win win right? Of course it is! So, if you love banana nut bread, I would encourage you to try this lightened up recipe.

Grandma Ange’s Banana Nut Bread

½ cup applesauce (I used regular, but you can definitely use cinnamon as well)

2 eggs

2 cups flour

½ cup chopped pecans

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

Dash of salt

3-4 ripe bananas

Cream the bananas and whip until light. Set bananas aside. Mix the applesauce and sugar. Mix in the eggs. Add flour, baking soda, and nuts and mix. Add bananas and mix. Bake for 1 hour at 350.

*Some breads may cook faster that 1 hour.

* A huge key factor in making successful bread is to make sure those bananas are as ripe as can be. You want them to be dark brown/black. Trust me.

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Now, I sliced my bread in 12 rather large pieces for 203 calories per slice! You could probably get 15 thin slices out of the loaf if you wanted for 163 calories per slice. However, with using the applesauce as a substitute, I saved 60 calories per slice.

If you decide to try baking the bread, I hope you enjoy the bread and happy baking!

Do you have WHO it takes for success?

Post #5

 In the last post of the weight loss series, I would like to focus on an important variable in successful weight loss/maintenance. Support and accountability.

When I council clients; I find it’s extremely difficult for an individual to change and make modifications to their lifestyle if they don’t have support and accountability. You can definitely do it on your own, but it helps when you have people who can identify with you, push you, and encourage you. It can be one person or an entire community. I think the most important thing is to have someone who is willing to do what it takes to help you reach your goals. Sometimes when people want to give up, it’s those who have supported you who give you the encouragement to keep going. If you are in a weight loss support group (such as weight watchers), then you have other people who are going through the same thing as you and probably the same feelings you feel. Change is difficult, scary, and frustrating at times; and it is nice to have someone who has been through your journey or who is experiencing the same thing you are. They will be able to help, because they will be able to understand what is going on. Even online, there are support groups to help keep people on the right track to reach their goals. You can find a friend(s), weight loss group, or a wellness coach who will encourage and keep you accountable. When you have support, then you usually have accountability near by. Accountability helps keep you on the right track and your eyes on the prize.

When someone begins to hold you accountable, you no longer think about yourself, but your accountability partner as well. For instance, my husband Craig is my accountability partner. There are some days when the alarm goes off at 4:30 (in the morning!) and I don’t want to get up and exercise. However, he always gets me up and even encourages me by telling me “you will feel so much better”, “you know in an hour you wish you would have gotten up”, or remind me of what I am striving for. Those are the things that definitely get me up and going! If he is holding me accountable, I don’t want to have to tell him I haven’t done my exercises or change my eating habits. I feel like I not only let myself down, but him as well. You should want your accountability partner to encourage, motivate, and be proud of you. They should not be afraid to tell you to suck it up and stick to it. Set backs are normal, but push through and make sure you have your partner to help push you to be your best. When someone is holding you accountable, it changes your outlook on what you are doing. It seems as if you are no longer doing it for yourself, but for someone else as well.

If you do not feel like you have support, then I would encourage you to find someone/group to help you. People who can keep you going and help you reach your goals. Support can be beneficial to  I also encourage you to find an accountability partner. Someone who will be honest with you and let you know when you are slacking. Someone who cares about your goals and success. Someone who will be there every step of the way. Having support and accountability will help you reach your weight loss/maintenance goals.

In conclusion of the entire series, remember that weight loss/maintenance is always dependent on you. You control your weight. Your weight shouldn’t control you. Your goals are worth fighting for. You can change, you can make sacrifices, and you will. Remember five simple factors to help you succeed in long-term weight loss:

  1. Set goals
  2. Be aware of portion sizes and logging your food
  3. Find your motivation and stay dedicated
  4. Individualize your diet & don’t get caught up in fad diets
  5. Find support and accountability. If you already have support and accountability, then make sure they are helping you fight for change.

accountability

Which Diet Should You Choose?

             That diet, This diet, Your diet?

                Post #4

 For post #4 today, I would like to highlight the importance of a diet that works specifically for you. You should create the diet and it should be something you can achieve on your own. After all, it will be your personalized diet.

There are several fad diets out there and other diets in which other people make up and advertise. I am not saying these diets don’t work, but you need to see if they work for you. If someone can eat a low carb diet for the rest of his or her life, then go for it. If someone only wants to eliminate process foods in their diet, then I am a full supporter. Just because one person does it doesn’t mean it will work for you. In order for a “diet” to work, you have to be dedicated. You have to commit and change your eating habits.

I think the best “diet” to practice is no diet. Your diet is not something you will do for the next year, but it will be what you do for the rest of your life. Therefore, instead of getting caught up in low carb, no meat, no fruit diets; focus on well-balanced meals. Eat all foods; don’t restrict yourself if you don’t have too. Be aware of the amount of food you are eating. If you want to lose weight and you are watching your portion sizes as well as calorie intake, then you should be able to eat breads, dairy, fruits, meats, etc. Stop thinking about going on a diet and start thinking about making a lifestyle change. If you are not ready to change your eating habits, then you are not ready to start losing weight. As in post #3 you have to be motivated and dedicated to lose weight. You have to be willing to sacrifice time to make an effort to reach your goal(s).

So, don’t get consumed with trying different diets, really think about what are you willing to do to make a lifestyle change. You shouldn’t have to try all these different diets to see which one works for you. If you are watching your portion sizes and calorie intake, then you should be able to lose weight. Eating low fat dairy, whole grains, lean meats, and fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables is not difficult to do. It is just actually taking the time to incorporate them into your diet. Remember, losing weight is not a science, it is basic math. Calories in versus calories out. Try to make small changes and soon it will become habit and you won’t even have to think about it.

Eating Right

We should always enjoy food; don’t eliminate foods from your diet if you don’t have to. Find what works for you and what doesn’t. Your eating habits should be created by and you and not someone else.

Weight Loss = Dedication

Dedication and Motivation

Post # 3

 In order for someone to succeed at anything in life, there has to be motivation as well as determination. Those who are not motivated/determined by anything will simply not accomplish what they are set out to do. This same principle applies to maintaining your weight as well as losing it.

It is extremely easy for us to tell ourselves we can start a diet tomorrow and lose weight in two weeks or a month. Some of us are great about talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Actually wanting to lose weight is extremely different from doing it. I am not saying your intentions are right, but you have to have a reason for why you want to lose or maintain your weight. That reason is what keeps you going. That reason is what keeps you fighting for success. We know what it is like to be motivated as well as fight for something to attain it. Some of us have worked hard to become debt free, some have worked to get a degree from college, and some of us want to feel confident in the clothes we wear. In all of these circumstances, you were motivated. There was a key factor that kept you going and kept your eyes on your goal. Motivation pushes you; it makes you want to change and to do things differently. It can have you take risks and walk out of your comfort zone. Motivation helps you stay dedicated and focused on your ultimate goal.

Motivation and dedication go hand in hand together. In order for success, you have to work at it. You have to give it all you have and make sacrifices. We have all lived long enough to know you have to work for what you want and nothing in life comes easy. The same applies here. If you are not dedicated to lose weight and change your lifestyle, then most likely you will not succeed. Once you begin to lose weight and feel good about yourself, it is easy to keep going and changing. It is when things start to slow down, your weight plateaus, you are tried of logging your food, and exercising that you begin to lose the dedication and then tell yourself you are failing. When most people feel like they are failing, they tend to give up. When in all actuality you are not failing, but experiencing common, normal feelings. We all get tired and we all need a break from things, it is completely normal. However, there has to be dedication there to actually get back to your lifestyle changes and sustain them. Maybe you need to change up your routine, try different exercises, different foods, etc. Be creative, be spontaneous, whatever you do, don’t give up. Remember why you started this journey.

I am a big believer in writing down goals (mentioned here in post #1). I am also a believer in writing down what you are fighting for. What is it that makes you get up early or stay up later to exercise? What is it that makes you add more nutrient rich foods to your diet? Whatever it is, write it down and put it in a place where you can see it every time you feel like giving up. Before you start on your weight loss journey or to continue to maintain your weight, you should always ask yourself if you are willing to sacrifice your time and give it all you have. If you are, then go for it and know you are changing your life for the better.

Motivation

Portion Control-Size Matters!

It Is All About The Portion Control

Post #2

A key factor in helping you to lose weight permanently and/or maintain your weight all has to do with how much you eat throughout the day. Sounds simple right?

Not exactly. (However, it is not difficult either.)

Portion control helps with weight loss. We all know the principle of calories in and calories out.  If our bodies only need 1500 calories a day, but we feed it 2300 calories, and don’t burn off the excess calories, then we end up gaining weight. This is exactly why portion control AND keeping a food diary is extremely important.

I am a realistic dietitian. I love to eat and I really enjoy sweets. I do not avoid certain foods in my diet because I think it is important to enjoy all foods. As you can see here, this was when I was in Cake Boss Bakery last month and of course I couldn’t resist trying a cupcake there.

Cupcake

As you can probably tell, I love cupcakes! Now, I had the choice of getting a cupcake that was about three times as big as this one, but I didn’t. I didn’t need a large cupcake to satisfy my sweet tooth. This smaller cupcake was a perfect portion for me and I enjoyed ever last sprinkle. I think one of the most difficult things in maintaining your weight is finding a balance. I don’t want to give up foods because they are “bad” for you. I want to eat them, but I have to eat them in moderation.

Therefore, to help control your portions, you need to realize how much you are actually eating. When you buy chips, yogurt, breakfast bars, or anything, it will have a nutrition label on it. Pay attention to the label. How much is a serving? How many servings are you going to have? I know it seems like an ordeal to actually measure out your food. However, if I eat goldfish and want a full serving, I measure out all 55 crackers so I know how many calories I am eating. If you want to maintain your weight or try and lose weight, then measuring out your food should not be a big deal. If you want something this bad, you will do it!

So, read those food labels. It is also important to be mindful of what you are drinking. Do you drinking juice in the morning, soda in the evening, wine/beer, etc.? All of those beverages have calories. Make sure you count those as well!  You are only allowed so many calories a day and you should be aware of how many you are putting into your body. You should know exactly how many calories you have eaten throughout the day if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight.

How do you keep up with what you are eating? You can either do it two different ways. The first one is to write down everything that passes your lips. Not only do your write down the food or drink, but you write down how many portions you had and the calories of that portion. This is a great way to become more mindful and aware of what you are feeding yourself. The second way to do it is through apps such as My Fitness Pal. You can log in your food dairy as well as your exercise. It also has a great tool where you can scan barcodes and it gives you all the nutritional information. This app is extremely user friendly and easy to use. The only difficult part about keeping a food diary is that you actually have to log in your food yourself. Dedicate and commit yourself to your food journal. Losing weight shouldn’t be easy; you have to work at it every single day.

I have to share a story about my sisters. These are my sisters, Mandy and Kimberly. Both of them had average BMI’s and were in the healthy weight range. However, at the time neither one of them felt like they were at a healthy weight or liked the way clothes fit or how they felt. So, they made a change. A change to feel better about their bodies and themselves. They began tracking their diets through My Fitness Pal and both have lost weight and are now maintaining it. They still use My Fitness Pal every day. Mandy and Kim are keeping themselves accountable through their food diary and it helps them reach their health & fitness goals. It takes work to lose and maintain weight; however, it is all about making one change at a time.

Here are their before picture and then their after. You can definitely tell a difference!

KimMan

Mandy 3    Kim3

 

This is your challenge: try and keep a food diary for the rest of this week. If you miss a day, or two, or even three, it is OKAY! Just get back to it and start again. I am sure you will be surprised at how many calories you actually eat throughout the day.