Showing posts with label diet tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diet tips. Show all posts
Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Drink Water Before A Meal To Lose Weight: Fact Or Fiction?

Could one of the easiest ways to slash calories be as simple as drinking a big glass of water before we eat? Yes, according to a recent study by the University of Birmingham in the UK.

RELATED: 5 Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Monday, May 25, 2015

4 Simple Diet & Fitness Tips To Help You Get Ready For Summer

Diet & fitness tips, diet tips for summer, fitness tips for summer, stephanie hanson, innergy fitness

With Memorial Day behind us, summer has unofficially started. Pools are open which, in turn, means bathing suit season is here.

Are you ready? Me? Sorta.

Innergy Fitness owner, trainer and nutrition expert Stephanie Hanson recently shared a few secrets with me to help us feel better during the summer months. You know the routine: we're wearing tank tops, shorts and bathing suits. We want to feel good about doing that. Stephanie's tips can help. They don't require any crazy weight loss regime, diet pills or ridiculous exercise program. They're along the lines of the smart, simple strategies that I have been preaching for years.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How To Eat Healthy In Restaurants

How to eat healthy in restaurants, dine out eat well.

Most restaurant meals are absolute fat pills. You can eat an entire day's worth of calories in one sitting. Whether you dine out for work or leisure, there are a number of strategies that can help you survive eating in restaurants without blowing your diet.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Resolving to Lose Weight In 2015? Start NOW With This Simple Diet Tip

easy diet tips, diet tips & tricks, how to lose weight fast

Are you resolving to finally lose that unwanted weight in 2015? Don't wait until January 2015 to begin. Start now to jumpstart your new year's resolution. It serves two purposes:
  1. It gets you mentally ready to prepare for your weight loss journey.
  2. It works. You WILL lose weight. Bonus! 
This is one of the world's easiest diet tips and you won't even feel like you're dieting. You don't have to starve, over-exercise or avoid certain foods. All you have to do is this: leave two bites on your plate at lunch and dinner.

Here's How To Do It
Enjoy both lunch and dinner but leave two substantial bites on your plate during those last two meals of the day. Don't leave baby bites. Leave two solid, full-fork bites.

Simple is that. The thing is, this works.

By leaving two big bites on your plate at lunch and dinner, you will save roughly 100 calories a day (Tweet this). If you start today you can cut about 700 calories by January 5th. Not a ton, but it's a step in the right direction and helps you get ahead of the game when you start that weight loss journey for real.

Now, if you're eating spinach and broccoli for lunch and dinner, that's a different story. But if you enjoy a sandwich and chips for lunch and pasta, steak or some other big meal for dinner, this tip is for you.

A Few Calories Here & There Add Up To Serious Weight Loss
Those little caloric savings add up. If you do this every day, you will shave about 36,000 calories over the course of the year. That's 10 pounds, friends. Without even trying! If you do it only five days a week, you will lose about seven and a half pounds in a year.

Get Simple Diet & Fitness Tips In 2015
This is one of the easiest diet tips ever. There are more. Tons of them. Do you want them? Looking for extra motivation this year? Sign up for The Real Skinny. You will receive smart, practical advice that you can use in the real world to help you reach your diet and fitness goals.

Me, circa 1999, close to 200 pounds
Why am I an expert? Friends, I'm a recovering fat girl. At one point in my life, there wasn't a Golden Corral buffet I didn't love. I have lost more than 50 pounds and kept it off for a decade. Most importantly, I know how to do it while juggling work, studies, parenting and other aspects of our chaotic lives that can derail even the most dedicated dieter.

I have been there....and am fighting to the good fight every day to avoid going back there.

Sharing 2015 Goals. What's Yours? 
Are you trying to lose weight in 2015? Share your goals in the comments section. Publicly stating your intentions keeps you accountable.

Me? I want bikini abs. That's all. A stomach that won't embarrass me while wearing a bikini. That's my goal. I'd love to hear yours.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Diet Tip #21: Make Sure You Eat Enough to Lose Weight

If eating less helps you lose weight, then eating a LOT less will help you lose weight faster, right?
Don't starve in anticipation of a big meal
Not so fast.

When your body doesn't get enough quality nutrition, it switches into starvation and conservation mode.  Meaning, it slows down your metabolism so that when you do eat, your body will burn the calories at a slower pace.  This helps you conserve what energy your body does have.

Additionally, if you are eating next to nothing the likelihood of you bingeing and blowing it all is high.

We've been there haven't we?  We're going out to a big dinner and we decide to eat next to nothing during the day.  Yet when we get to dinner, we devour the bread basket or chips and salsa and make bad food choices.  We end up eating way too much and feeling guilty about it afterwards.  This, in turn, makes the experience unpleasant.

Now, we've all seen the skinny folks who starve themselves.  That's borderline eating disorder and a completely different issue.

I'm focusing on consuming adequate amounts of quality foods, to help you be as healthy as you can be and maintain a good weight that's right for your body.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Diet Tip #20: Check for Sneaky Sugar

Tuesday we focused on snack swaps you can make when you're craving sugar.  Today let's be more proactive.

Sugar can be the devil.  It's a devil I love and battle every day.  Excessive sugar can damage your heart, cause diabetes and much more.  It's not like one cookie killed anyone.  Moderate indulgences are fine but it's hard to be moderate when it comes to the white stuff.

That legal crack is everywhere.

If you start checking nutrition labels you will be shocked when you learn about the amount of sugar in some of your favorite foods that you thought were naturally sugar free.

In fact, among the changes the FDA recently suggested the White House make regarding food labels was to address added sugar.  Most food labels only list "Sugar" which is a combination of added and natural sugars.  One proposed change is that the amount of added sugar be clearly labelled. This will help you determine how much sugar comes from a natural source and how much is added.

Still, it's good to check for what I like to call "sneaky sugars".

Any time you see a word ending in -"ose" that's added sugar.  Dextrose, fructose, maltose, sucrose, glucose?  All forms of sugar.  Beware of other forms such as cane syrup, cane juice, corn syrup, malt syrup, honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate or brown sugar.

Then there are foods you wouldn't think have much sugar but do:
Fat-free salad dressings, crackers, bread, spaghetti sauce, instant oatmeal (a sugar BOMB), yogurt (another bomb), frozen dinners, cereals, ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Look at these two examples from my cupboard:

On the left is a box of All Bran cereal while on the right is a box of Back to Nature Crispy Wheat crackers, two things you generally wouldn't consider "sweet" food items.  The cereal has six grams of sugar per serving while the crackers have four. 

This barbecue sauce has nine grams of sugar per serving. 

How much should sugar you consume? 
The American Heart Association recommends nine teaspoons for men and six for women per day.  You can blow your wad in a regular 12-ounce soda when you realize it has 10 teaspoons of sugar.  

The thing is, sugar is listed in grams on most nutrition labels.  A gram and teaspoon are two different units of measurement.  A gram measures mass (aka weight) while a teaspoon measures volume.

How do you know how much you're consuming?  In general, there are about four grams of sugar per teaspoon. 

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon 

The Takeaway
Again, moderate consumption of any of these items won't hurt you.  It's the cumulative effect and overindulgence that does damage.  Just be mindful of your overall sugar consumption each day.

I'll be fighting that battle against the White Devil right along with you.

Follow on Bloglovin
Monday, January 27, 2014

Diet Tip #18: Brush Your Teeth

If you're fighting a craving, brush your teeth.  Doing this signals your brain that you won't be eating for a while.   Brushing your teeth also gives you that minty fresh breath, something that doesn't mix with chips, candy or whatever it is you might be craving.

sonicare tooth brush
Brush those teeth to fight cravings!
I am a nighttime eater.  This trick has worked for me time and again to help fight those evening urges.

Not only does this diet tip give you fresh breath and improve your oral hygiene, it might also help you lose weight.

Try it just once and see how it works.
Monday, January 20, 2014

Diet Tip #14: Go Green One Night a Week with 7 Easy Veggie Dinner Ideas

Or red or purple or orange, whatever color floats your boat.

One night a week have a vegetable-based dinner.  That's it!  It's so much easier and more delicious than you think.

We know we need to eat more vegetables but we don't do it.  This gets you in the habit.

Stumped on what to make?  Here are some ideas:
  • Spaghetti squash with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil.
  • A veggie-based soup - I love my kale, lentil & sweet potato.
  • A mish-mash of steamed vegetables - broccoli, sweet potato, cauliflower, brussel get the idea.  Top with any seasoning you like. 
  • A huge veggie salad - use a dark lettuce and go wild creating a big vegetable mix featuring onions, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, celery, beets, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, whatever rocks your veggie world.
  • Steamed cauliflower with mustard - I could eat this as a meal almost every day.
  • Deep dish polenta pizza, recipe courtesy of Cooking Light. 
  • Eggplant Mexicano, recipe courtesy of Readers' Digest. 

Diet Tip #13: Nix the Artificial Sweetener

You might think you're doing yourself a favor using artificial sweeteners to make your favorite beverages sweeter. You're not.  Not only are you ingesting fake crap, you might also be making yourself fatter.

Studies show that artificial sweeteners stimulate your appetite and can increase your cravings for carbs.

So what can you do?  Nix the fake sweet stuff.  Don't replace it with sugar just nix it.  Have your coffee or tea without sweetener.  Novel concept, right?

I pitched this idea to a friend looking to lose weight and she asked "But how can I sweeten my drinks?"

My advice?  Let your appetite mature.  We're no longer children.  We don't need sweet drinks, sweet tea, sweet juices or sweet coffee all the time.  Once in a blue moon?  Fine.  Every day.  No.

Once your taste buds get accustomed to coffee with milk or naturally brewed tea without sweetener, fake or real, you will cringe at the taste of the pink, blue or even the yellow stuff.

You won't miss it all.  Promise.
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Diet Tip #11: Eat Vegetables as Snacks

For some reason, I was starving at 10am today.  Maybe because I didn't have much dinner Wednesday night but even after a substantial 7am breakfast my stomach was growling only three hours later.

It's easy to fall into the trap of a carbohydrate rich snack.  Vending machines offer them and they're more convenient to grab and go.  I love crackers as much as the next person but they're not a good diet staple.

We also know that our diets need to include more vegetables and fruits.  Snacking is a perfect time to incorporate them into your diet.  Vegetables might take a few more minutes to prepare but the payoff is worth it.

Here are some easy snack ideas to satisfy your appetite AND get more vegetables into your diet:
  • Edamame - okay it's a soybean but it's green....and not crackers.  It's actually what I had for a snack today at 10am. 
  • Baby carrots with hummus 
  • Red bell peppers and hummus - a perfect snack match 
  • Raw cucumber slices - don't knock these until you try them, they're delicious.  You could eat the cucumber whole.  Be prepared to be the butt of a few jokes, though. 
  • Celery with any type of dip or topping - salsa, greek yogurt with spices or topped with peanut butter and raisins (LOVE ants on a log) 
  • Raw or lightly steamed broccoli with salsa - another one of my favorite snacks
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Diet Tip #9: The 2-Bite Rule in Restaurants

Are you a member of the clean plate club?  I was for years.  At dinner my parents consistently told me to clean my plate, regardless of my hunger level.
ALESSI Plates KITCHEN Plate Porcelain
Don't leave your plates empty
Sure, there was some "eat your vegetables" thinking in that directive but so many of us were told to finish everything on our plates as children.  That thinking has subconsciously carried over into adulthood and we now feel compelled to eat everything put in front of us.  At least I do.

Today's diet tip: when you go out to eat, leave at least two bites of your restaurant entree on your plate.  That's it. Most restaurant portions are too big to start.  You could really get away with asking them to bag half of your dish at the beginning of meal, that IS if you're ordering an entree. You know I am a fan of ordering two appetizers in restaurants.

Leave a few bites, better yet take half of this home
Anyway, if you order a big entree leave two bites on the plates.  It's just a few calories but it adds up over time. And remember: put down that fork between bites.

All of these tactics are incredibly effective.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Diet Tip #5: Lose Weight by Eating A Good Breakfast

Green smoothie
I know we start the day with the best intentions, then happy hour rolls around and we've had two margaritas, a bowl of queso and a taco.  Or at least I have.

So if we wake up with good intentions to eat healthfully throughout the course of the day, take advantage of it and eat a quality breakfast.  Study after study shows that eating a well-balanced breakfast starts your day on the right note, helps you concentrate better and gives you more energy.  Breakfast doesn't have to be a huge ordeal.  Just make it a nutrient-filled offering that honors your intentions.

The finished product!
When I was fat, I avoided breakfast, thinking I would "save calories".  I would wind up hungry and binge later in the day.  Every now and then I'll skip breakfast but most days, I get in a green smoothie.  If I'm hungrier, I'll eat something more substantial.

My green smoothie features almond milk, a banana, spinach or kale, dark berries and chia seeds or flax seeds.  If all else fails the rest of the day and I eat nothing but cheese fries, I know that I will have at least consumed some healthy vegetables and fruit to get the day going.

Other quick & easy breakfast recipes: 
  • Quick oatmeal (NOT sugar-laden instant) with a variety of toppings - apples, berries, banana, dried apricots, etc.  Top with some peanut butter and cinnamon.  Delicious. 
  • veggie and egg white omelet with a side of berries - again, takes all of five minutes to prepare. 
  • Hard boiled eggs with salsa - don't knock it till you've tried it.  Hard boiled eggs are an easy make-ahead item. 
  • A high-fiber cereal with some berries or a banana - a 2005 Harvard Health study indicated that high fiber cereals can help men reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, stroke, intestinal polyps and colon caner.  Look for a cereal with at least six grams of fiber per serving and is low in sugar.  Fiber One and All Bran are solid choices.  (A friend of mine calls these "colon blow"...that's another story) 
Personally, I tend to binge on cereal and am rarely satiated by it.  For some, it works.  Me?  Not so much.

Eating on the run?  Here are four breakfast options:
The Takeaway
Get that good food in your stomach first thing on most mornings.  Your body (and waistline) will thank you later in the day. 

Daily Diet Tip #4: How High-Volume Foods Help You Lose Weight

To drop pounds, pump up the volume.  Not the volume of your music but the volume of your food.  Think fiber and water.

Fiber is your best diet friend.  It is bulkier and makes you feel full on less food.  Foods with a high water content offer the same benefit.

Wonderful Watermelon/Courtesy
A cup of watermelon has 46 calories, according to TheDailyPlate.  One big, oatmeal cookie from, say, Starbucks (which I love) has 220 calories.  The watermelon is also a better choice from a nutritional standpoint versus the cookie which offers little nutritional value.  I usually can't stop at a cup, so have two cups for dessert.  That's still less than 100 calories and after two to three cups of a watermelon, you're probably pretty full.  One cookie?  It's not all that satiating.

starbucks oatmeal cookie
The Starbucks Oatmeal Cookie/Courtesy Starbucks
The watermelon for cookie is an easy swap.  What else can you do?

Fill up on a big bowl of broth-based soup as an appetizer, go light on the cheese, breaded items, etc.  Too hot for soup?  Go for a veggie-laden salad.  Again, nix the croutons, heavy cheese, bacon bits and creamy dressings.

The Science
There is data behind this.  According to Women's Health Magazine, a study at Penn State University examined obese women who ate foods with a higher fiber and water content.  Those women lost 40% more weight than women who simply controlled their portion size and cut back on fat.

In another Penn State study, women ate the same weight of food over a 2-day period.  The women who ate the high-fiber foods on the second day took in 30% fewer calories but did NOT feel hungrier or less full.

The Takeaway
Think about it.  When you eat soup before dinner, you get full faster.  It's a simple matter of volume.

Here is a great list of high-volume foods (aka high-fiber, low-calorie) from the American College of Healthcare Sciences.  Definitely worth your time.
Monday, January 6, 2014

Daily Diet Tip #3: Eat Dessert, Just Not All of It

Neiman Marcus Red Velvet Rose Cake,
Neiman Marcus Red Velvet Rose Cake

This is one of those "well, duh" diet tips but it's one we tend to follow in theory, rather than at the table.

Go ahead and eat the rich, decadent dessert but don't eat all of it.  Eat only three bites.  You don't need every last bite of the key lime pie, chocolate cherry bundt cake or (in my case) Baklava Ice Cream Cake from Ziziki's.

This is how it works:
  1. Order dessert or, if you're at home, put it on the table.  Make the presentation nice.  
  2. Take a normal-size bite. 
  3. Put down your fork.  Remember that one? 
  4. Slowly savor your dessert. 
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 5 two more times.
  6. After your third bite, put down the fork for good and push away the plate.
  7. Enjoy what you just had and be proud of the fact you didn't gorge.
 Studies show that the first and last bites are the most rewarding. 

That's it!  It works.  Try it the next time you go out to eat or make dessert at home.  It's a truly effective method to lose weight or maintain your hard-earned weight loss.
Friday, January 3, 2014

Try This Trick When Dining Out Diet to Help You Lose Weight

Heading to a nice dinner this weekend to continue your New Year's celebration?  You can still maintain your 2014 weight loss resolution and enjoy your evening out with this simple tip that has helped me drop more than 50 pounds and keep it off for more than a decade.

What is it?  When it comes to ordering your food, think two....appetizers that is.  Order an appetizer, salad, soup or side as your, well, appetizer and another appetizer as your entree.

We know that restaurant portions are way too big.  Appetizer portions are just about right and, many times, more interesting than entree offerings.  If your dining companion is eating a full entree with side items, have a bite or two.  It's much more fun to share AND you won't miss the extra calories of a full portion.

Here are some real world examples:

Al Biernat's Menu
Al Biernat's is one of my favorite splurge spots.  When I was pregnant, I ate an entire order of their fabulous macaroni & cheese AND au gratín potatoes.  In one sitting.  Yep.  It was heaven.  I digress.  They have a diverse starter and salad menu.  Here are a few "healthier dinner" options:

  • Mozzarella, Amelia's Farm Tomato, Avocado, Basil, Balsamic Demi salad to start followed by Steamed P.E.I. Mussels & Littleneck Clams in White Wine (my personal favorite)
  • Soup of the Day followed by Teriyaki Marinated Natural Texas Quail, Roasted Mushrooms & Pickled Ginger
  • Baked Goat Cheese, Portabella Mushrooms & Sweet Garlic with Al's Salad (another favorite).  
I employ this approach consistently at Al Biernat's and am always satisfied.  Al's is wonderful but not something we can afford to do every week. 

Let's look at a place like Hillstone (which I still call Houston's).   I actually order two side items every time I visit: the kale salad along with black beans and rice.  It's one of my favorite meals and, at $12, is a substantial and healthy option.  Here are some others: 

  • Focaccia bread plate followed by the Grilled Artichoke. 
  • Couscous and seasonal vegetables, ordered together.     
Craving Italian?  Maggiano's Little Italy, anyone?  They have a ton of great options: 

Courtesy Maggiano's Little Italy
  • You could start with one of their side items like that Asparagus, Spinach or Broccolini (ask them to go light on the oil) and have the side order of Angel Hair Aglio Olio as an entree
  • Tuscan Chicken Sausage & Orzo Soup followed by the Tomato Caprese salad.
  • Bruschetta followed by the Jumbo Lump Crabcakes
  • Start with Stuffed Mushrooms and have the Chicken & Roasted Pepper Flatbread
These are just examples.  You get the idea.  Try this approach once or twice and you'd be surprise at how you won't miss an entree when you dine out.  

Double Bonus?  This approach is friendlier on the wallet.  Eating sides and appetizers is normally less expensive than eating entrees.

Interestingly, I examined restaurants like Applebee's and Chili's.  Their appetizer options were consistently fried or cheese-filled items.  In this instance, it would make sense to stick with an entree from their "light" menu or a salad (hold the dressing - eat with salsa or vinegar) and enjoy one of those items.  The portions are still big, so I suggest taking some of it home.

Thank you for reading!  Have a great weekend.