Portion Control

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I believe that as dieters the biggest hurdle we face is portion control.  It doesn't make it easier that so many diets have various ways of counting portions.  Personally, I find it exhausting at times. 

If you are just starting out or just want a boost from time to time I can't think of an easier option than the 3 Day Fast Start Diet .  Your food is provided for you in preportioned packages.  Easy Peasy.

Counting Calories - another easy peasy thing.  Of course, if you throw me a question like how many calories in grandma's lasagna I'm really not going to know for sure.  After all, did she get her pork sausage for the sauce from Mikey's or Joe's?  Just kidding...mostly.  They have food apps that allow you to put in your ingredients, divide by portions and there you go.  Everything packaged has a calorie count per portion size and if it doesn't then it's made by mother nature and you can get it a best guesstimate which should come close enough.  I've been using Myfitnesspal but there are many good ones out there, try a few and stick with the one you like.

Counting portions - and you're not sure what 3 ounces of steak is?  Buy a scale.  They really aren't that expensive and you can find them almost everywhere.  After you measure enough times you'll get an idea of what 3 ounces of potato, or steak, or fish looks like.  Just when you think you no longer need the scale I'm going to tell you to use the scale because most of us tend to under guess than over guess and we end up cheating ourselves out of food.  When you're eating out chances are you won't  be pulling out your handy dandy trusty scale.  That's ok.  Here is where you get to use your judgement.  If half of your plate is covered in chicken breast chances are it's more than a portion.  Divide your plate in 1/2 and bring the rest home.  Or better yet...share with a friend.  You may have to pay for an extra plate but you'll save on the over all bill.
Now, we'll address what feels like the impossible.  Most diets will give you a key...they'll tell you what size or weight is worth a dairy, a protein, a fat, etc.  Write out a few of the foods you mostly eat and leave a piece of paper as a book mark in that spot of the book and you'll be good to go.  The more you reference it the more you'll know it.

In the beginning keep your meals simple.  You're food recipes simple.  After you feel like you have a handle on it you can test yourself with some combo foods.

Most diets don't worry too much if you go over on vegetables.  Fruits have more sugar and they're most likely more limited.  As you lose you'll have to adjust you're amount of portions.  You might have to get a little stricter with yourself, but it will be worth it.  You're cultivating a life long eating pattern.  You want to make sure you're still showing a downward trend and once you reach your goal it's all about maintenance.

You thought this was going to be your usual it should look like a deck of cards blog, didn't you? :)  I don't want you eating a deck of cards...I want you to eat something that you love and is satisfying.  I want you to eat and feel like wow I ate well today.  You should look forward to colors and textures.  Embrace you're portion control and feel good about it.

  
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Portions really count.  Don't let it overwhelm you.  You got this! :)

Your buddy and cheerleader,
Mona

Belly Fat

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Let's talk about belly fat today.  I think it's a concern to most of us....our clothes fit better and who doesn't enjoy turning sideways in a mirror and seeing a slimmed down version of ourselves.  There's a lot of information out there about belly flat so let's dive right in and see if I can't find something that you'll find beneficial.

First, you have to know that we can't choose where the weight comes from first.  You may think there isn't much point of doing ab exercises since you can't trim down your waist but what you are doing is making your ab muscles beneath the flab tighter and stronger.  As the weight starts coming off you'll be revealing the toned abs underneath.  Also, working out your abs helps protect your back as you do various exercises.  It is nice to note that most people usually lose from the mid section first but that's not to say you'll have this flat belly while the rest of your is still overweight.

Belly fat is more dangerous than other fat.  Being over weight really isn't ok whether it's on your hips, butt or abs but carrying around a lot of belly fat is worse than carrying it around in other places.  It's the whole pear vs apple shape and apples aren't the winners here.  Belly fat also known as Visceral fat wraps itself around your organs and is associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more.  Basically, we need to get rid of it.  If you want a concrete number to focus on here you go...rule of thumb, women should have a waist that measure's 35 inches (88.9 cm) or under and men 40 inches (101.6 cm) or under.

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I didn't mean to bum you out but you should know.  Now let's focus on what we can do about it.

To lose weight you most likely have to reduce the amount of calories you eat.  If you are already eating next to nothing and you are not able to lose weight checking in with your Dr. isn't a bad idea.  There could be other reasons such as a sluggish thyroid.  Let's go under the assumption that everything is just hunky dory.  Keep a food journal....write down everything for a week and see if you're being honest with yourself.  I love sweetened tea.  I used to have 2 tsps in each cup....yes, at one time they were even rounded tsps but...now I have 1 level tsp sometimes even a little less and I don't drink as much tea.  When I first started counting calories I was shocked that I was drinking that many calories in my tea.  So, let's pay attention to what's really going in and not what we perceive we're eating.

I'm a little confused by the whole gluten, grain, bread thing.  What I do know is that the other day I was feeling bloated and out of sorts so I drank plenty of water and avoided all grains for a couple of days.  I lost 3 lbs.  Losing the grains seemed like a smart idea and I fell pretty good about it.  I'm stuck in a place where I have too many items to just toss out so as we're gradually eat our way through some of the grains I have. (I recently made a huge pot of my favorite beef barely soup and froze most of it.) 

As we get older we lose muscle mass, less muscle means you're burning less calories so you either have to work out to maintain / build more muscle or you need to do some cardiovascular exercise to burn off more calories.  Exercise can not undo an awful diet.  Keep a food journal! 

Drink water.  Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for yourself regardless of whatever else you may do....drink you're water.  A rule of thumb is 1/2 your body weight but always pay attention to how you feel and your urine color.  Yep, I said...look at the color of your urine.  It should look like pale lemonade. 

That's where I'm at, how about you?  Do you have questions about belly fat?  Are you doing your best to lose it?  How's it working for you?  :)  Feel free to leave comments below. 

Have an awesome day,
Mona





sources:
https://www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/nutrition/real-truth-about-belly-fat
https://www.verywellfit.com/facts-and-myths-about-belly-fat-3496261

Eating Clean

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Eating clean.  For the longest time that phrase has just annoyed me.  I suppose what bothered me the most was the inference that if you don't eat clean you are eating dirty. 

I walked into the health food store and there is one of the managers who is looking as slender as always and I ask her, "How do you do it?"  She proudly replies, "I eat clean.  Always."  Yesterday I saw the PA (Physician's Assistant) that checks in on my dad and she looked fabulous!  I tell her she looks terrific and asked her if she lost weight?  She also replies proudly, "Yes, I did!"  Of course I have to ask, "How did you do it?" Her answer comes as no surprise, "I eat clean, I cook instead of eating out and I eat lots of vegetables and fruits, lean sources of protein.  I follow an anti inflammatory diet." 
Here are some of the things I've read about eating clean.  Minimally processed, as natural as possible, no added sugar of any source, whole foods...for example eat an orange not just drink orange juice. 

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Here are a few other things I've heard about eating clean, "I no longer count calories.  I hardly exercised but now that I feel better and lost some weight I've started exercising.  My skin cleared up.  I feel less depressed.  I sleep better."

You just know I had to research all of these things.  It's easy to find yourself on a vegetarian site when searching for clean eating.  I really believe we should all add more vegetables and fruits into our diet.  As your average American comes no where close to what we should be eating but we do not have to be a vegetarians to eat clean.   If you choose to do so that's fine, just check with your Dr and make sure you're getting all the nutrition you need.

I started to order cold cuts from the deli counter and noticed a fresh food station was added to the store...I ended up forgetting about the processed meat and picked up the freshly made chicken salad.  I didn't make the chicken salad but someone did so it counts!  We have to start somewhere.  I have to start somewhere.  I'm never going to be that person that whips up their own mayonnaise but I can be that person that makes there own chicken salad. 

As I added items to my cart there were more fresh items and nothing in boxes.  The frozen aisle is always a challenge for me.  Items of convenience promising one fresh taste and no preservatives call to me.  I stayed strong as I passed the Lean Cuisines.  I did pick up 2 packages of riced cauliflower.  One package was cauliflower and sweet potatoes, oh that was so good the other night.  I sauteed it in a little butter with salt and pepper.  The 2nd package was riced cauliflower which is meant to be more of a take on risotto with pieces of asparagus and mushrooms.  I don't think I'll be adding Parmesan cheese and cream but I'm sure I'll think of a way to fix it up. 

As I stood on the check out line I proudly looked over my cart and thought cleaner.  That's a start. 

Regain Your Weight Loss Mojo


When I lose my motivation for sticking with my weight loss plan I always feel like it's just me.  I notice everyone who is still sticking with it and making great strides towards their goals.  How can I get my groove back?  Here are a few suggestions that have worked for me:

Redefine your goals

Before you're fast to write this suggestion off take a few minutes to think about it.  Do your original goals still fit?  Are your goals still realistic?  When it comes to weight loss I don't think the goal that you will lose 50 lbs when you know your happy weight is losing 30 lbs will work.  That's just setting yourself up to fail.  Make your goal 30 lbs and then...when you reach your goal you can always reevaluate.

A study using data from several weight loss centers found that women who expected to lose the most weight were the most likely to drop out of the program.

Just a moderate amount of weight loss of 5–10% can have a major impact on your health.

Focus on your smaller goals

Give yourself a goal that will help you get to your end goal.  I'm going to walk up and down the driveway 4 times today.  It's something you can do, it's something you can define and it's something that you can easily keep track of. 
Stretch it and make it that you will walk the driveway 3x this week. 

Keep track...add a place to your food journal where you can keep track of it.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. 

Goals do not have to just do with activity they can also revolve around diet.  8 glasses of water or 3 servings of vegetables daily.

By having smaller achievable goals they will help you stay focused, positive and most of all motivated.


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Think and speak positively

You know that moment when you look in the mirror and feel so disgusted that you wonder what the point is anyway....not allowed.  Pffft...just walk away.  That's just self defeating nonsense.  You are awesome and beautiful and you are going to be even more awesome and if you can imagine even more beautiful (or handsome. :)).  Don't speak negatively about yourself.  You would never speak that way to your friend...You would say something like, "You had a rough week, let it go and be nice to yourself.  Next week is a new start, come on lets plan a few days menu together." Be your own best friend. 

Find Social Support

Having strong social support will help hold you accountable and keep you motivated to lose weight. 
Be nice to yourself now

You want to feel good about yourself now.  Make sure you have a couple of outfits that fit and you feel great in.  You didn't gain this weight over night and your not going to lose it over night but you still deserve to be happy and feel good about yourself. 

You may slip up, if you do...move on from there.  Had a bad lunch, make dinner amazing.  Didn't lose anything this week...stick with it!  Tweak it until you found the perfect formula for you.
~Mona
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Inspiration



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Inspiration.  Today I am feeling very inspired by a young woman I met yesterday.  She was so full of energy and direction.  She is ambitious, hard working and ethical.  She clearly has won my respect and I felt inspired by her. 

As I was starting my day I was thinking of what I needed to accomplish and I couldn't help but think of this young lady. I thought of all this time and energy I'm spending on thinking about how I don't really want to do this or how am I going to accomplish that and it really is just dilly dallying around.  I know what I want and need to do.

1. I want to go on my mat and set my intention for today.  I want to stretch, and then get in some pilates.  I also have only 2 days left to my dumbbell challenge and I really want to complete it regardless of how long it's taken me to do the 30 days. (that's how long the challenge was for).

2.  I have some errands to run and bills to be paid.

3.  I'm expecting a house guest next weekend and I want to get the linens ready during the week so I won't have to rush around as the weekend approaches. 

4.  I also wanted some down time for myself.  I wanted to prepare dinner early and then just heat it up later. 
There is really no reason why I can't do most if not all of those things I just have to go do them. :)

How about you, do you have a to do list and where are you on that list?  It may seem that I'm at the end of my list but that's
not true.  Taking care of all the things that I need to will be great.  I'll feel productive and accomplished.  Remember Nike's logo....just do it!

What inspires you?

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Portion Control




Portion Control - I can hear you groaning from here.  I know you are sick of hearing about it but the truth is exercising portion control works! 

I realize there are many times when whipping out your measuring spoons is just not realistic but there are also many times when you can.  It's easy to get lazy and start eyeballing things.  Here's an eye opening fact, most of the time we under judge and end up less then we meant to.

I'm not going to say there isn't value in the many visual charts around but nothing is as good as measuring.  It's not as difficult as you think and after awhile it just becomes second nature. 


Most of us have a set of measuring spoons, measuring cups and a scale and if you don't it's time to treat yourself.  There is such a huge variety at a reasonable prices available.  Make it colorful, make it fun!  You'll be surprised at how much one tablespoon of salad dressing really is. 


At first you're going to look at your well measured out plate and think there is no way you'll be satisfied.  I promise after awhile you will be surprised at how easily satisfied you'll be and how good you're going to feel.  Over eating makes you feel bloated and  huge.  Isn't that feeling when you stand up just awful?  You can't wait to go sit down somewhere...and then comes the inevitable opening of the top button.  That just makes you feel disappointed in yourself.  That's not what we want.  We want our meals to be a positive experience.  We want to feel good about ourselves and to be able to enjoy our meal.  That's how it is suppose to be.  I'm telling you this is a great way to feel in control and better about yourself.

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Eat variety and eat well.  Start off with a salad or a healthy appetizer and by the time you get to your entree you're going to feel like you ate a well rounded meal.  Who knows you might even be able to squeeze in a desert here and there. 

This is doable and I hope you give it a try. :)


What's Your Best Weight Loss Tip?

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What is your best tip?

WeightLossBuddy is all about support and not having to go this journey alone.  Along the way we've all come up with a few tips and tricks.  We have an ebook found on our diet page that you can upload filled with them!
I thought we could add to that...

Most of us have found at least one super easy recipe,  a favorite snack or a work out program that has had a huge impact on your life.  Let's share with each other! :)

My favorie snack is a brown rice cake with 1 tbsp of almond butter and 1/4 tsp of honey drizzled across the top.  It's so satisfying!

My favorite salad dressing is Makato's Honey Ginger Dressing. It's 80 calories for 2 tablespoons but it's so good!  I use it sparingly and it's worth those calories.  When I'm in the mood for something creamy Bolthouse Farms is the way I go.  Cilantro Avocado is yummy used as a dressing or a dip.  40 Calories and 3.5 grams of total fat. 

I don't currently have a favorite easy recipe.  I do have a favorite easy cheat and that is rotisserie chicken.  So many local places have an organic rotisserie chicken available and that's what I opt for.  One night is dinner and the leftovers become lunches. 

We have a Lucky's near us and they have a slice of salmon on top of a salad that is just delicious.  Unfortunately, I don't have the calorie count on me but it's not bad considering...

Water, water, water....how much water should you drink?  You know what makes you feel best.  Shoot for 1/2 your body weight in ounces and use common sense.  If you feel like your sloshing around and have to run to every bathroom in sight...feel free to ease up.  Also, start off slow.  Your body needs to work up to it.  Remember that your body needs to be properly hyrdrated to function well.   Sometimes it's difficult to motivate yourself but if you're having any issues drop me a message.  We can be water buddies! :)

A few off the wall tips I've recently come across. 
sniff peppermint
sniff grapefruit
paint your walls blue


Now, how about you share some of your top tips. :)


Less Stress Equals Greater Success

For most of us when we think about weight loss it can be stressful.  I've been trying to find ways to make it less stressful. 


Ordering the Lipo-3 Diet is an amazing way to take the stress out of giving yourself a jump start.  All you have to do is set aside three days, and on each day, open a new package. No shopping – no cooking – no washing dishes – no thinking - no stress!  It comes with an all natural spray that is an appetite suppressant.


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10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Fasting

    1. Changes The Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones
    2. Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
    3. Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
    4. Can Reduce Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in the Body
    5. May be Beneficial For Heart Health
    6. Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
    7. May Help Prevent Cancer
    8. Is Good For Your Brain
    9. May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
    10. May Extend Your Lifespan, Helping You Live Longer

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Another way to reduce stress is meditating.  I find it a terrific way to slow down and make better choices.

Benefits:
   1. Lower blood pressure
   2. Improved blood circulation
   3. Lower heart rate
   4. Less perspiration
   5. Slower respiratory rate
   6. Less anxiety
   7. Lower blood cortisol levels
   8. More feelings of well-being
   9.  Less stress
   10.  Deeper relaxation

Exercise is also great stress buster.

Finding a buddy who gets you can be wonderful.

Make your journey a pleasant place to be and you'll succeed that much faster. :)
Mona

Staying Satisfyied Longer - the Avocado

My latest passion is eating avocado's. 



I can't imagine anyone going to the grocery and thinking wow, those avocados are really tempting me.  They really aren't very attractive looking and they don't have a wonderful aroma to draw you in.  So, why should eat avocados?  Why am I eating avocados?  They are luxurious.

Yes, I said it.  I threw it out there.  Avocado's are sumptuous and creamy.  You feel almost decadent when eating one.  Slice the avocado in half and fill the center up with tuna that is dressed with finely chopped onions and celery, sprinkled with a little pear infused vinegar and voila!  With each forkful of tuna you'll be adding some of that creaminess.  I am going to warn you, you're going to be worried that it won't be enough.  After all how is that tiny 1/2 with some tuna on it going to satisfy you for the afternoon.  I don't know but it did.  I was good for hours. 

The only down side I can think of is that I really had to slow down and enjoy it because it was over pretty quick.  Yet, it was so easy to slow down.  I liked playing with the fork to insure that I scooped up enough avocado with my tuna.  Next time, I'm definitely going to chop up some tomato and sprinkle that on top.  This morning I had 2 hard boiled eggs and a slice of toast with 1/4 of a regular sized avocado sliced on it and then smushed (my technical term).  I should have weighed it.  I just read that 1 ounce of avocado is about 50 calories.  Now, I'm going to have to weigh my portions so I can judge how many calories I'm eating. 

Avocados are full of nutrition and healthy fat.  Knowing what I do now, I can't imagine dieting and not making avocados an important part of my meals.  I do like guacamole but I really don't want to eat it every day.  Then what are you going to use to dip into the guacamole...slippery slope if you are going to start using chips. 

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My brother eats an entire avocado every afternoon.  He just scoops it out and eats it as is.   Eh...as luxurious as I think avocado's are I'm not sure that would work for me.  My idea with the tuna worked out great, and today as I mentioned I substituted butter for the avocado.  I've also used it as a substitute for mayo on a turkey sandwich and I have a recipe somewhere using mashed avocado with dijon mustard as a replacement of mayo in egg salad.  That was pretty good too, but I didn't put the egg salad on a sandwich I used it on wasa bread and it was more like eating crackers with egg salad.   I also saw chicken salad with avocado cubed and sprinkled over it that looked tempting and of course just on your regular salad.  Either way I really did find it to be a satisfying fruit that was full of nutrition.  Keep an eye on those portions because the calories add up quick. 

If you eat an avocado a day for a month this is what happens to your body - video


If you have any other ways of eating avocados or something you'd like to add please feel free to leave your comments by clicking on the title of this blog. 

~ Mona

15 Day Step Challenge - Starts April 15th and goes until April 30th

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I know it seems almost too easy but walking is a great way to slim down. You can add intervals to amp it up or you can just go for a brisk walk. You can walk in place during commercials or dance around the house while making beds. You can even go for a stroll after dinner. You can do it almost anywhere and for any amount of time. It's free!

Join our 15 DAY STEP CHALLENGE - starts on April 15th and goes until April 30th

The idea is to find out how many steps you normally take and then add 500 steps to each day for a week. If you feel like you can, add another 500 the following week...eventually aiming for 10,000 steps a day...but we are all unique so whatever works for you is great.

Would you like some extra motivation? Leslie Sansone has a slew of walking DVD's that are very inspiring.  I do her DVD's from time to time but I also remember her moves and then with my favorite TV show on, I just have at it. :)

Walking like swimming is a full body exercise.You use your arms, abs, legs it just works it all. When walking outside make sure you loosen up that neck too...be sure to take in the world around you. Breath deep and feel alive!

People commonly take between 2,000 and 2,500 walking steps per mile. A total of 10,000 steps equals 4 to 5 miles. But the number of steps per mile varies from person to person and depends on your stride length. Measuring your stride length will give you a much more accurate number for your personal steps per mile.

Option 1: Count the Mile Out

1. Measure Your Steps
Measure how many feet it takes you to walk 10 steps. Walk at a normal pace to get the most accurate number for how you usually walk.

2. Find Your Average Stride Length
Divide the distance it took you to walk those steps by 10. (Distance/10 = Average Stride Length in Feet.)

3. Find How Many Steps You Walk in a Mile
Since there are 5,280 feet per mile, divide 5,280 by your average stride length in feet. (5,280/Average Stride Length in Feet = Your Number of Steps Per Mile.)

Option 2: Use the Mile Formula

This method may not be as accurate as measuring your exact steps. I’ll use my height as an example.

1. Convert Your Height to Inches
There are 12 inches in a foot. I’m 5’3”, so that’s 63 inches tall. (5 feet x 12 inches + 3 inches = 63 inches.)

2. Find Your Average Stride Length
Multiply your height in inches by 0.413. This is a predetermined number that figures out average stride length. Then convert your stride length back to feet for the next step. (63 inches x 0.413 = 26.019 inches per stride. 26.019 inches/12 inches per foot = 2.16825 feet per stride.)

3. Find How Many Steps You Walk in a Mile
Divide 5,280 by your average stride length in feet. (5,280/2.16825 feet = 2,435 steps per mile.)
Remember, stride length changes based on speed, but both of these ways provide approximate calculations to help you figure out the number of steps you take in a mile. But no matter how you calculate it, there’s one more thing to do after you figure out how many steps you take in a mile…

4. Get Walking!
Walking is a great way to keep your body moving, whether you do it between classes, around the office, or by running errands. Set a goal to walk a certain number of steps each day. You might be surprised at how easily they add up!

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Source:
https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/how-many-steps-walk-per-mile
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