Smart Snacking Tips

What do you do when your stomach starts growling hours before your next meal? You grab a snack of course! Snacking definitely has a bad reputation thanks to our tendency to choose empty calorie and fattening snacks, but snacking isn’t a bad thing! Eating a healthy snack will hold off hunger and keep your energy levels high. So here are some tips to snack smart!

-Steer clear of foods with added sugar like candy bars or soda

A glass of skim milk or soy with calcium will sustain you longer than a soda will.

-Look for foods with fiber and combine them with protein filled snacks.

You can pair peanut butter, cottage cheese, or low fat yogurt with whole grain breads, cereals, fruits, and vegetables for a quick healthy snack!

-Prepare healthy snacks in advance!

When you prepare your own snacks, for example trail mix, you can control the ingredients and put in what’s good for you!

-Keep healthy snacks with you to eat when those hunger pains strike.

Keep whole grain crackers, fruit, or baby carrots in your backpack or work out bag. This is healthier than stopping at that vending machine!

-Keep it interesting!

Give yourself a variety of choices so you don’t get bored eating the same things.

-Satisfy cravings with healthier options.

For example, if you’re craving chocolate, go for a chocolate drink instead of a candy bar. If you’re craving something salty, go for pretzels instead of chips.

-Read labels and serving sizes.

What looks like a small package of cookies can contain multiple servings meaning multiple calories, sugar, and everything else!

Need Healthy snack ideas?! Check out The Snack App available on the IPhone! Whether you are craving something sweet, crunchy, sinful, or just a late night snack this app has every snack you could possibly think of! AND it’s all less than 200 calories. If you happen to slip up, it even suggest simple ways to burn those extra calories!  It also sends out daily tips!! I love this app and I hope you learn to love it too!



How Alcohol Contributes to Weight Gain

I’m sure you have all heard it …“If you want to lose weight, you need to stop drinking alcohol” …but do you really understand why alcohol is of concern?

Let me explain. Alcohol is broken down into acetate after it is consumed, which is basically vinegar. The body burns acetate before any other calorie consumed or stored, including fats and sugars. Like I have said before, calories are all the same, but by adding alcohol to your diet you are likely to consume more calories than you burn in a given day.  When you drink alcohol your body is getting all of its energy from the acetate; therefore, the calories you don’t burn are likely to come from the Nutella you ate earlier or that Pepsi you had at lunch. Alcohol temporarily inhibits “lipid oxidation.” This simply means that your body can’t burn the fat already on your body as easily.

To sum things up, following a high-fat, high-alcohol diet will cause weight gain. That doesn’t mean that you can’t drink and lose weight. Remember: MODERATION IS KEY.

Here are some simple tips to follow to avoid weight gain caused by alcohol:

  1. Be aware of what and how much you are drinking. A margarita can have up to 700 calories, where a single glass of wine only has 70 calories.
  2. Drink water between drinks. Not only does this keep you from drinking too much, it keeps you hydrated helping you avoid a hangover the next day.
  3. Don’t skip out on exercise. A night of drinking can leave you too tired or hungover to exercise. Don’t give in!
  4. Practice self-control. If you tend to drink too much or overeat at parties, try eating a healthy snack beforehand. This keeps you from drinking on an empty stomach, which only speeds up intoxication.

The Ultimate Dining Out Guide

Do you love to eat out? I know I do. Well, here is some good news. You can still eat out and lose weight. Sounds impossible, huh? It’s not as difficult as you think. Just follow these tips.

(1)  Research – If you don’t want to break the bank, eating out healthy requires a little forethought, planning, and self-discipline. Most restaurants have their menus online with nutrition facts. I use a free app on my phone called ‘Restaurants.’ This iPhone app has a list of numerous restaurants and the calorie count of different items on the menu at that restaurant. If you know the restaurant you are going to has a dessert you absolutely can’t go without, you can cut back during other parts of your meal. I would always pick out my meal ahead of time and log it in ‘myfitnesspal’ journal, which is another iPhone app. This allowed me to keep track of how much I could eat without consuming too many calories.

(2)  Bread – Ask your waiter/waitress to bring out the bread with your meal. Often many consumers fill up on unnecessary calories from bread and butter before their meal and then turn around and eat what they ordered. If it comes with you meal it makes it easier to stick to only one piece.

(3) Alcohol – For those of you that are of age, be careful about ordering that glass of wine or bottle of beer with your dinner. Like I have said before, the empty calories in alcohol can add up. So if you decide to drink with your meal, skip dessert. You can have one or the other, but I suggest not having both.

(4) Salads – Order smart salads. Ask for your dressing on the side, it could save you 100 extra calories. Salads piled with cheese, croutons, and dried fruit can take away from the healthy aspect of having a salad before a meal, so don’t be afraid to customize your salad to make it healthier.

(5)  Main Food Choices – Go for fish or lean meats and pick healthy sides! Order vegetables instead of French fries and you’ll save big time. Often restaurants have a section of the menu dedicated to those health nuts, so use this to your advantage.

(6) Portions –  Decide how much you are going to eat before you start eating. When eating out, one plate of pasta could be enough food to feed you for three different meals. Maybe box up half of your meal ahead of time; if it’s not in front of you, you won’t feel the need to eat it.

(7) Desserts – Share your dessert. You can still satisfy that sweet tooth, but I wouldn’t suggest keeping that massive slice of cheesecake to yourself, well unless it’s your birthday then go right ahead. 😉 If you eat out every night, keep desserts to once or twice a week. Here is another helpful tip. When ordering coffee ask for nonfat milk instead of using whole milk or cream.

(8)  Order Errors – Don’t be afraid to send a dish back if it didn’t come as you ordered. If your salad didn’t come with the dressing on the side, speak up. Don’t sabotage a week’s worth of hard work at the gym. The goal is to leave any restaurant feeling satisfied.

Train yourself to crave healthy foods! Image

Diet Mistakes

Not seeing the results you want? Here are a few ways you may be sabotaging your diet.

–       Yes, it is possible to eat too few calories. Don’t do it !! Trying to maintain a diet that is very low in calories will most likely lead to binging on unhealthy foods later down the road because you feel deprived. It might even cause you to give up dieting all together. Also, not eating enough can slow your metabolism.

–       Don’t forbid certain groups of food from your diet. You can still have that pizza or dessert without putting on those extra pounds. Simply, watch your portion sizes. Letting yourself eat small amounts of ‘forbidden’ food will prevent high-calorie binging and keep you happy with your diet plan.

–       Skipping breakfast is a HUGE mistake. Not only does it slow your metabolism, it may cause you to over eat at lunchtime!

–       Getting lax about portion sizes because you’re down a few pounds? BAD IDEA. A few large meals can easily push you back off track.

–       Think that just because you worked out today, you can eat more? That defeats the whole purpose of working out, especially when you’re trying to lose weight! Also, avoid those sugary sport drinks!

–       Proper sleeping habits are essential to maintaining a healthy weight. Make sure you are getting seven to nine quality hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can have a direct effect on the amount of food you consume through out the day leading to weight gain.

–       Have late night cravings? Eating late at night just adds extra calories to your diet. Remember, calories count no matter what time of they day they are consumed.

–       Liquid calories count too and they can add up quickly! Think twice about ordering that soda pop with your sandwich everyday.

These are only a few ways that may be causing you to eat more food than your body actually needs. Just remember successful long-term weight loss is rooted in commitment to a healthy diet and exercise plan you can stick to! I know from experience how challenging weight loss can be, but it can be done! Avoiding these diet mistakes is essential to seeing progress. Also, it helps if your friends and family are supportive of your goals; they were for me! Check out my before and after photo!