Category Archives: Helpful Hints

Favorite Hippie Foods & Drinks

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Here are some of my go-to foods that help me achieve my healthy eating goals:

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Simple Truth Organic Digestive Herbal Team. I am absolutely in LOVE with this tea. It is not a detox tea. It supports a healthy digestive tract and reduces bloating. If you suffer from bloating (whether regularly or occasionally), this is the tea for you. I drink about 3-4 cups of my “tummy tea” throughout the day. I have a very temperamental digestive tract and most foods make me very bloated and distended. This tea is amazing at significantly reducing bloating and keeping you regular.

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Uncle Matt’s Orange Turmeric Probiotic Juice. A fantastic way to get 1 Billion probiotics and 500 mg of turmeric. Probiotics are extremely important to your digestive health and losing weight. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant; including lowering your risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression. I drink one cup of the orange juice with two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has many benefits including healing acid reflux and ulcers, lower blood pressure, improve diabetes, super-charge your metabolism, stabilize blood sugars, and assist with weight loss. I have personally noticed more stable blood sugar levels, more weight loss (than before when I did not use ACV), more energy, and my ulcers do not bother me anymore. I have at least two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar per day and I typically start my day with this drink.

IMG_3448Better Oats Oatmeal. The oatmeal that I purchase is the 100 calories, sugar free, and contains 24 grams of whole grain. This is a heart healthy option that contains flax seeds and whole grain rolled oats. The healthy fats help lower cholesterol. Also, the oatmeal is filling and keeps me full until lunch.

IMG_3552Tuna and Dill Triscuits. My favorite lunch is tuna with Dill Triscuits. Tuna is packed with protein and the Triscuits are a whole grain healthy alternative to chips.  I season my tuna with pepper, mustard, and about a teaspoon of Light Miracle Whip. Fast lunch that goes great with vegetables or salad.

IMG_3449H2O. Never forget about water! Your body needs water to stay hydrated and keep your body functioning at its best. I use a water bottle that is clearly marked to make sure I get at least 80 ounces of water each day. For me, this makes everything easier and it doesn’t feel as daunting to get my daily water intake.

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A Week’s Worth of Tips

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Helpful Weight Loss Tips and Tricks

Staying motivated to keep going, even when your mind and body are telling you not to or even trying to sabotage you, is very hard; especially when starting out. This week was difficult to get back into the swing of things but I noticed it’s the little things that make this journey easier.

Tip #1: When you are out and about, stay out and about. Meaning: get everything done you need to get done when you leave the house. For example, I dropped my daughter off at school and immediately went to workout. I didn’t tempt myself by driving back home. When I drive back home, I tend to not want to leave the house again. After your workout, get any shopping done or errands done. That way, when you come home, you are settled and ready to start work or take care of chores, etc. I noticed I stayed committed to my exercise routine.

Tip #2: Eat five small meals a day. If you suffer from cravings (like me), take the total number of calories you need to eat for the day and divide it by five. For example, if your BMR is 1,500 calories per day and you will have five small meals per day: 1,500 / 5 = 300 calories per meal. Most people have an “average” day of 8:00A to 6:00P when most of their “eating” will be done; that is 10 hours. So you would space/schedule your eating every two hours. I do not each a meal first thing. I do my 30 to 45-minute cardio every morning at 9:00A. My first meal is at 10:00A, eating every two hours, and I finish no later than 6:00P. This worked wonders for my cravings and hunger pangs. Adjust the timetable to your schedule and your BMR needs.

Tip #3: Set alarms on your phone or calendar (or both) to remind you to eat smaller meals throughout the day. I always forget to eat throughout the day. When I don’t eat throughout the day I get severe hunger pangs and cravings, then I am so hungry in the evening that I overeat and just sabotaged myself. I use my phone alarm; very simple and easy. It isn’t fool proof but I found this hint kept eating at the forefront of my mind. I didn’t miss a meal all week.

Tip #4: Plan your meals for the week. Have your healthy food on-hand and ready to go for cooking and consumption. If you don’t plan your meals and snacks for the week, the temptation to eat other (unhealthy) foods will always be there. If you always have your go-to healthy snacks and a variety of healthy foods readily available, the temptation won’t be as great. When I was out and about (Tip #1), I made sure I got all the items I would possibly need for the week.

Tip #5: Drink water! And I mean drink lots and lots of water. Staying hydrated helps with hunger pangs and cravings, increases skin elasticity and appearance, reduces cramps and bloating, and keeps your body functioning appropriately. I am working my way up to one gallon (16 cups) of water per day.

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Protein Shakes Update

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GNC Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn

Here is an update on the GNC Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn protein powder. I exercised without the shake and I exercised with the shake. Every time I drank the shake 30 minutes prior to exercising here is what happened:

  • Jitters, shakes
  • Heart was racing
  • Nausea (intense)
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache, dizziness

I could only make it 20 minutes through my typical work-out (50 minutes) before the above listed symptoms made it unbearable and I could not continue my work-out. It took several hours (3-4 hours average) for the above listed symptoms to go away. Not fun at all.

On days that I did not take the shake, I did fine. I was energized and made it successfully through every work-out without issue.

The GNC Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn is not for me; I did not find it effective because I could not exercise, therefore not allowing me to burn fat and calories.

I will continue to drink their Total Lean 25 Shake. This is a shake that comes in a bottle and has 25 grams of protein as well as only 170 calories. I drink this shake if I am in a hurry and I know I’m going to need some hunger pains or cravings assistance. Also, this is a great “recovery” drink due to the high protein content. If I have a hard-core exercise day and my muscles are feeling the burn, I definitely drink the Total Lean 25. It is delicious and healthy.

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Protein Shakes

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GNC Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn

I took my usual monthly trip to GNC (where I get my serotonin supplements) and saw their Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn. It is a whey-based protein powder and it is a high-energy thermogenic supplement.

What does that even mean? Before you exercise (30 minutes before), you drink the shake. When you exercise, the product claims to burn three times more calories and give you extra energy. Also, the Lean Shake Burn has 30 grams of protein, which is most helpful in building lean muscle and muscle recovery as well as keeping your body feeling full.

I didn’t buy the big container. I wanted to try it before committing to that much of the Lean Shake Burn. I bought a few of the packets (vanilla and chocolate).

The Lean Shake Burn has a note that the product may have significant settling. Change that “may” to “have”. The shake definitely settles and have significant clumping. I had to constantly stir/shake, then drink; stir and drink, stir and drink, very quickly. Such a pain. You can only mix it with water in order to get the maximum effectiveness of the product. The taste wasn’t that bad (I tried the vanilla).

I don’t “feel” any different; a little energized but I don’t know if that is from the exercise or the shake or both? Time will tell. I will keep you posted. Check here for my update on the GNC Total Lean Advanced Lean Shake Burn.

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Sabotaging Myself

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When You Have a Bad Day (or Days)

Everyone has a bad day (or series of days) and I am no exception. Please don’t beat yourself up; I have to tell myself that I am not perfect and one (or several) days of unhealthy eating and no exercise is not the end of the world. (I promise, it isn’t the end of the world, though it may feel like it at times). The trick is picking yourself back up and moving forward.

Life happens people, I get it; stress, work, kids, cravings. I can always tell when my body is out of whack (or my PMS symptoms are kicking in) when my face gets oily and I start to get pimples. Also, I crave salt and fried food like an addict. For the past few days, I definitely have not stuck to my nutrition plan and had a bunch of food on my naughty list (i.e. fried food, gluten, sugar, beer, etc., etc., etc.). So I woke up this morning feeling sluggish with an oily face, headache, bloated, blah, blah, blah. So…what’s a girl to do? Well, after my little pity party I decided to get it together (no matter how much I want to stay in bed and sleep it off, that isn’t going to help).

For those pesky PMS symptoms: I wrote a great article on maintaining your weight loss goals while on your period. Check it out!

For those CRAVINGS!!!:

  • Eat mini-meals throughout the day. Eat six smaller meals throughout the day in order to maintain blood sugar and ensure your cravings don’t turn in to binges. *Bonus: this technique makes you feel you are eating a lot, when in fact, you are eating the same amount of food (sometimes less) as if you were only eating three large meals per day. I actually eat little amounts throughout the day all the time because I have an issue with self-control and moderation of my food intake.
  • Complex carbs. Eat fiber-rich foods with every meal. The body takes its sweet time breaking down and absorbing fiber, therefore you stay fuller and satisfied longer. Here is a list of complex carbs to get you started.
  • Protein with every meal. This is another example of the body taking longer to break down and digest, keeping you fuller longer.
  • Exercise. You need to keep moving, especially when your body is feeling sluggish. (I know, so ironic isn’t it?) When you keep your body moving (whether with scheduled exercise or cleaning your house and walking the dog) you release endorphins that decrease your appetite.
  • Stop the stress. Stress increases cortisol and cortisol greatly decreases metabolism and increases appetite. Practice yoga, meditation, or other stress reducing techniques.

I had to focus and start eating healthier; and, most importantly, exercise. I gave it my best effort today and I am feeling a little better already. Always listen to your body; if it feels like crap, stop eating like crap. If it is sluggish, start moving. Just work at your own pace and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Even the little mountains are accomplishments. Everyone has to start somewhere; the important thing is to get started.

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Better Way to Eat Dressings and Sauces

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Great Trick! Salad Dressing Fork Method

Many dressings and sauces have an enormous amount of calories associated with them; so that deliciously healthy salad you had for lunch was for nothing because you put two tablespoons (one serving) of ranch dressing over it. Often times, people order a salad thinking it is going to be the healthier option; however, after restaurants put all the dressing, cheese, croutons, bacon bits, and other items all over the lettuce, you now have a salad that is a whopping 850+ calories. Two cups of leafy green lettuce is only 20 calories. All those extras add up in calories, sodium, and fat; with the main culprit being the dressing. I will let that sink in for a moment.

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So how do you have a salad, that is still tasty, without all the extra calories? You think like Sally (from When Harry Met Sally) and keep the dressing on the side. Of course, you will want to “hold” all the extras (cheese, croutons, bacon, etc.) and keep the lean protein (chicken, fish) and even keep the hard-boiled egg. Now how do you still have that ranch dressing (or your favorite fatty dressing) without all the calories and fat? Lightly dip your fork in the side of dressing (just the tip of the prongs are covered), then grab a bunch of salad on the fork, and eat. This light dipping of the dressing will get you the flavor without all the calories and fat. This is called the Salad Dressing Fork Method. (no joke; it is a real method used by many big name health corporations including Weight Watchers). You can use this method with salad dressings and sauces. If you have a favorite chicken dish that comes smothered in a rich sauce, ask for the sauce on the side and use the same method but with your sauce. This method saves you over 80% of the calories and fat normally consumed by dousing your salad with dressing.

Here is a great video on the Salad Dressing Fork Method by The Mojo Coach, Debi Silber.

If the Salad Dressing Fork Method does not appeal to you, there is another way to still have your favorite fatty dressing but cut back on the caloric intake. I call this the “Dressing Dilution Method” (yes, I just made that up LOL). Take one tablespoon of your favorite creamy dressing (Cesar, Ranch) and place in small bowl. Add one tablespoon of water to the small bowl. Mix well. Pour over salad. This saves you 50% of the calories and fat normally consumed by dousing your salad with dressing.

Hope this was helpful. Do you have any successful methods at reducing calories but keeping the flavor?

Maintaining Your Weight Loss Goals

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While on Your Period

Ladies, I know how much of a pain being on your period is; and when you’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle that annoying monthly visitor makes everything worse. Seriously, that uterus is out to sabotage all my wonderful progress. I decided to research what can be done to limit the symptoms that have the most negative effects on your weight loss goals.

Fatigue! One of my biggest complaints (and many other women) is the lack of energy suffered during a period. A great way to get your energy back is to move (exercise, clean the house, walk). I know you don’t want to (all I want to do is sleep) but just get up and start moving around. Do your very best to stick to your exercise plan and keep working out to the best of your abilities. Keep pushing! Also, get enough sleep. Be sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep during your period.

Beat the Bloat! Drink water like a fish. When most women are on their period, they retain water and get bloated. If this is you, drink lots and lots of water. Try your hardest to have no alcohol this week. Also, limit your sodium intake significantly. Salt increases bloating symptoms and inhibits water absorption. During your period, salt is the devil, so avoid it as best you can. Hang in there!

Junk Food! Believe me, I know this is hard. I adore salty snacks and my period makes me crave salty junk food. Rather than give in to your temptations, have lots of healthier food options. I know your period makes you want to veg-out (and not on vegetables). Nosh on fiber rich foods. These will fill you up (as well as all the water you are drinking) and stave off those junk food cravings.

Food Management! Eat lots of the following to manage PMS symptoms and cravings:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Whole grains (brown rice)
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Grapefruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Dark chocolate (60% cacao or higher)
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Lean, iron-rich red meat (flank steak, tenderloin)
  • Milk, yogurt
  • Omega-3’s (salmon)

It is only a one week inconvenience (a miserable inconvenience) but we are strong, incredible women. Just keep moving forward and don’t let your annoying period be a hindrance to your weight loss goals.

suck it up