Monthly Archives: March 2012

Don’t Starve Yourself- How Eating Speeds Up Metabolism

I constantly see that many women aren’t eating nearly enough calories each day, with ridiculous calorie goals like 300 calories, which is absurd. I’m sorry, but I like eating, and I’d be pretty miserable if I restricted myself from food that much. What’s the point? There isn’t one. It turns out, eating less than 1000 calories a day is not only dangerous, but it also slows down your metabolism because your body goes into a sort of starvation mode with the lack of food. When it finally does get food, it holds onto any calories and fat it can, just in case it doesn’t get to eat again.

So seriously, don’t skip meals. It does more harm than good. You constantly need to refuel your body so it has the energy it needs to get through the day. You should eat every four hours, but personally, I eat every 2-3 hours, even if it is a very small snack. Since I began doing this about two months ago, I feel like a completely different person, and I lost ten pounds.

I eat 1200 calories a day, and I try to eat 5-6 separate times throughout the day. I aim for 200-300 calorie meals, and 100-200 calorie snacks. The best thing about this is that if you feel hungry, you get to eat soon anyway because you’re eating so often. When your body is constantly digesting food, you get hungry faster, but eating every few hours solves this problem. The best part is, you never feel like you’re starving yourself. It’s a lot easier to eat 1200 calories a day when you’re eating every 2-3 hours than it is to eat 1200 calories a day when you’re eating 3 large meals every 5 hours.

As long as you pay attention to calories, fat, protein, and carb intake, eating every few hours will help you speed up your metabolism, and you’ll be a lot more satisfied throughout the day. Protein is especially important. Eating it with every meal is also linked to boosting metabolism, so why not try it?

Here’s an example of what I eat in a day:

Breakfast: Egg whites and feta cheese with a banana (about 170 calories)
Snack: 28 almonds (170 calories)
Lunch: Sliced turkey with mustard on a sandwich thin and an apple with 1 tbs peanut butter (about 300 calories)
Snack: Chobani Greek yogurt with blueberries (about 150 calories)
Dinner: Tilapia with asparagus (about 250 calories)
Snack: Carrots with lowfat Italian dressing (about 60 calories)

Total: 1100 calories, low in fat, high in protein.

I promise starving yourself isn’t going to help you. You may be losing weight, but you’re not helping your metabolism or your health in general. Just eat.


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My Favorite Dinner For My Cooking-Challenged Self

I’ve said a few times that I’m not the best cook there is, but I think I’m finally starting to improve. I have this blog to thank partly for that, since I’ve become more motivated to eat healthy at home. Since I’m kitchen-impaired, I usually stick to the basics when it comes to food, and I never get too fancy with ingredients. My favorite meal that I’ve been making at least 4 times a week lately is asparagus with tilapia. I’m actually about to make it after this post.

You’ll need:

-As much asparagus as you feel like eating. I usually buy a pound, then separate the bundle in halves or thirds. Asparagus is pretty cheap too, and I’m literally addicted to it. I don’t care how it smells.
-fresh or frozen tilapia filets. I buy the frozen kind because a package comes with a ton of filets.
-olive oil
-cayenne pepper
-garlic powder
-any other seasonings/spices you wish to add

This is how I make it. You can adapt it a little if you feel that you know a better way than me. You probably do. I’m not one for following directions to a T.

1.Thaw out the filets if they’re frozen.
2. Preheat the oven to 375.
3. Prepare a baking sheet with foil.
4. Cut the hard ends of the asparagus off.
5. Place the asparagus on the foil. Spread some olive oil on them. I usually use 2 teaspoons.
6. Add whatever seasoning you wish to add, including cayenne, pepper, and garlic powder.
7. Place the asparagus in the oven. I usually put it in the oven before it’s even preheated because I’m impatient. When I do this, the asparagus needs about 20 minutes to cook.
8. Place the tilapia filets on a baking sheet with foil.
9. Repeat the same seasoning/olive oil steps as you did with the asparagus.
10. Wait for the oven to preheat this time, then place the fish in the oven. The filets take 8-12 minutes to cook.
11. Once the filets are done, the asparagus should be done too. This is why I don’t wait for the oven to preheat to put the asparagus in the oven.
12. Take it out of the oven and eat it. Add some grated parmesan onto the asparagus if you wish.

Time for the nutrition breakdown. A tilapia filet only has about 100 calories, and it’s low fat and full of protein, which is obviously amazing. Sometimes I’ll make two filets if I’m extra hungry. The asparagus is obviously very low in calories, and it contains tons of Vitamins A and C. It even has some fiber. Finally, cayenne pepper is said to help speed up metabolism, and apparently it’s all the rage with models. So, with the olive oil, this entire meal (if you have two filets) only has about 300 calories, and it’s very low in carbs and fat. If you don’t use any olive oil, it’s even lower in fat and calories. You decide.


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Eating Healthy Doesn’t Have to Leave You Broke

An excuse that I heard all the time as to why people don’t want to eat healthy or “can’t” eat healthy is because it’s too expensive. Sure, some things are totally out of my price range when I’m going food shopping, but I promise you that it’s possible and easy to eat healthy without spending a ridiculous amount of money. You just have to know what you’re doing.

1. First, I’ll start with what should be the most obvious. Produce really isn’t that expensive. You can get a whole bundle of asparagus for like $3, and it can last you about 3 separate meals if you cook for yourself. $3 for 3 side dishes is a steal. And, if you are cooking for yourself, make sure you don’t buy too much. You don’t need 15 peaches during your shopping trip. You can buy two and be content. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve bought produce and it went bad because I didn’t eat it in time. This can totally be prevented if you don’t overstock your fridge. Sure, the bagged salad might be on sale at 3 for $5.00, but how fast can you eat three bags of salad? And who wants to eat three bags of salad that fast? Anyway, my point is that fruits and vegetables aren’t nearly as expensive as we may think. They’re priced by the pound, and you really don’t need a lot of pounds of food to feed yourself.

2. You should really take advantage of living in 2012. In this year, we happen to have freezers, which are attached to our refrigerators. We can store things in these freezers for long periods of time without having to worry about the food going bad. For instance, you might buy chicken at the store that only has a good date for another 4 days, but this time limit can be extended by freezing the chicken. You can literally freeze anything. Here are a few more ideas.
Bananas go bad fast, but if you cut them up, but them in Ziploc bags, and freeze them, you have instant fruit for a smoothie. You can do this with other fruits, such as berries, if you want to keep them longer to use in shakes and smoothies. This is something I should have taken advantage of this week, since I just threw out two black, rotten bananas.
Bread can also be frozen. If you buy a whole loaf of bread, (which better be whole wheat or multi-grain) it’s hard to eat the whole loaf yourself before it goes bad. If it’s not hard, make it hard, because you don’t need to eat an entire loaf of bread in a week. If you freeze the bread, you can use it to toast at a later date. This can also be done with bagels and english muffins.
Make large portions of food, and freeze the rest to eat during the week. Some good foods that work this way are soups, pasta dishes, and sauces. It will also help you save time during the week, since heating up some soup is a lot faster than making it from scratch. And, you will prevent all your hard work and ingredients from spoiling. I’d say to pick a day, such as today, since it’s Sunday, and make a large portion of something for the week. Today I’m considering making vegetable soup. Let’s see if I actually get it done.

3. Separate or cut fruits and vegetables and place them into personal Ziploc or Tupperware so you can grab them throughout the week. It’s a lot harder to cut an entire stalk of celery to bring to work than it is to grab a bag with already cut up pieces. This will also help you eat more servings of fruits and vegetables, which will obviously help you not let your food go to waste.

4. If you’re not scared of frozen fish and chicken, buy it. I do. And it’s not bad at all. It lasts as long as you want it to, as opposed to fresh fish and chicken. It’s also not very expensive, and the bag usually comes with a ton of servings.

5. Stop eating at restaurants. Seriously, for the price of a sit-down meal, you can go food shopping and get way more for your money. And obviously, it’s healthier. Restaurants taint their food with pounds of butter, salt, and unknown ingredients that you don’t need to risk ingesting if you are trying to lose weight. Instead, go food shopping, and cook your own dinner. At the end of the day, it will be a lot more fulfilling than going out to eat.

Sorry there aren’t any fun pictures in this post, but you all know what fruits, vegetables, and chicken looks like anyway.

So stop making excuses. Excuses get you nowhere.

How I Lost 10 Pounds

Many of you are asking how I lost weight, or what methods I use to diet and exercise. I’m gonna give you some general, simple tips that are common sense, but are easy to follow. They’re things that most people overlook, but losing weight will generally be ineffective if you follow crazy plans and crash diets.

1. I know my account is about dieting, but I actually believe in just the opposite. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s that simple. You need to change the way you live. You can’t depend on some 5 day cleanse or 2 week crash diet or some Kim Kardashian endorsed product to lose weight. Sure, you’ll lose weight temporarily, but the cravings will still be there, and you will most likely gain the weight back. So when you’re ready to change your whole lifestyle, that’s when you’re ready to actually lose weight and keep it off. Changing your lifestyle isn’t just about eating either. It’s about your attitude, your physical activity level, your sleeping patterns, your alcoholic choices, and your determination.

2. Just because something is low-calorie or low-fat, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. In other words, stay away from processed foods as much as you can. This means most frozen foods, white breads and pastas, and many packaged foods. I now believe in eating whole foods as much as I can, because they contain the most nutrients. The more processed it is, the less nutrients it has, and the more calories it generally has. You can’t ignore fruits and vegetables, no matter how much you might hate them. Make yourself like them, and include them in every meal. They are so low in calories it’s insane. You can eat a candy bar for 200 calories, or you can eat like an entire barrel of vegetables for 200 calories. You decide.

3. You need to work out. I know some people don’t and they still lose weight, but I believe that if you want to be toned, you can’t ignore exercise. I try to work out 4-5 days a week for at least 45 minutes a day. You can do way more if you want, but to be honest I am a full-time student and I have a full-time job so working out for more than an hour a day is next to impossible unless I don’t want to sleep. And when I say working out, I mean that you need to include cardio and strength training. Even if it’s 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes in the weight room, it needs to be done. Walking on the treadmill for 40 minutes is a sorry excuse for a workout, by the way. I mean, it’s better than nothing, but not really. Anyway, you need to include strength training if you really want to see yourself tone up, and you need to include cardio to complement the strength training. I promise I’m not lying.

4. Be careful what you drink. In a previous post, I went over some good choices for alcoholic drinks. Look at that post if you want. Alcohol is just empty calories, besides the fact that they’re the most fun calories I’ve ever consumed. You can still get drunk off a vodka club, so try choosing that over a Long Island Iced Tea. And try not to drink 7 days a week. That just ruins everything. I can’t tell you how much to drink, but I think more than 3 times a week is just way too much unless it’s your birthday. Then you’re allowed at least 8 (kidding, but not kidding).

5. Sleep. Sleep at least 7 hours a night if you can. When you’re asleep, you’re not eating. And when you’re not eating, you’re not gaining weight. Also, a lack of sleep slows down your metabolism, and we don’t want that.

6. Protein. Make it lean protein, like chicken, egg whites, sliced turkey breast, fish, beans, greek yogurt, turkey burgers, etc. And fried chicken doesn’t count. Focus on having a produce and a protein with every meal. My personal favorite is fish and asparagus.

7. Small meals. Eat many small meals a day. I try to eat 5 small meals a day, between 100-250 calories each. This is the key to my weight loss because I have never done this before, and when I started to 2 months ago, I lost the weight pretty fast. An example of what I might eat in a day is oatmeal for breakfast, an apple as a snack, egg whites and low-fat cheese on a sandwich thin for lunch, banana with peanut butter for a snack, fish and tilapia for dinner, and greek yogurt as a last snack.

8. Drink tons of water. Duh. Drink green tea and peppermint tea as well. Drink it plain or with a no calorie sweetener if you can. Treat yourself with honey and agave sometimes too. You need to stay hydrated.

9. Have a positive attitude. Don’t look in the mirror and feel like you’re a whale. Every day that you put the effort in, you’re one step closer to your goal. Don’t spend hours looking at models in magazines and crying over a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because you’re not as skinny as them. Get over it.

10. Take it one meal at a time, one workout at a time, one day at a time. There is not get rich quick scheme. There are no instant results. It takes time, motivation, willpower, and perseverance. It’s not gonna happen over night. But if you keep trying, eventually you will be where you want to be.

It’s honestly this simple. If you change your lifestyle, you’ll change your dress size.


Love you all.

It’s Not Just the Calories

This post is sort of a prelude to my next few posts, because I think it’s important for all of you to know about other things involving food besides calories. So many of us obsess over counting calories, but calories are nothing if you don’t take other factors into consideration, like fat, protein, carbs, and fiber. I’m going to briefly go through each of these in case you don’t understand. Before I do, you should know that 300 calories of pizza and 300 calories of vegetables are not the same. I hope you know this. I really do.

Anyway, when it comes to fat, how much is too much? Is there a such thing as not enough? (Yes). Your fat intake should consist of about 30-35% of your total intake. So if you have 1500 calories a day, 30% of that should be fat. Stay away from saturated and trans fat too. Read the labels. It’s okay to have a little saturated fat, but be careful. Unsaturated fats are often good for you, which are in fish, seafood, nuts, avocado, etc. These are monounsaturated fats, and they have tons of other benefits, from protein to boosting your mood. They also include omega-3 fatty acids. But, I’m not trying to get too complicated here. Just pay attention to the fat content as much as you do the calorie content.

We hear every day that carbs are bad, but it depends on what kinds of carbs you consume. For instance, white bread is a simple carb, which ends up pretty much turning to sugar. Apples, on the other hand are complex carbs, contain fiber, and keep you full longer. When choosing foods with carbs, make sure there is fiber as well. Some foods besides apples include whole grain/wheat bread, many vegetables, fruits, and beans. Fiber is key to proper digestion, and like I said, keeping you full longer. Women should have 20-25 grams a day.

In general, your recommended carbs can be calculated like this: Daily Calories divided by 2. (For me, that’s 1200 divided by 2, so 600). Then divide that number by 4. (600/4=150). I usually try to stay around 100 grams of carbs though, since I’m still trying to lose weight.

Now I’ll go over protein. Depending on what sites you read, they will all tell you different amounts for how much protein you should have. In general, about 15-20% of your calories should come from protein. The process is sort of confusing and I’m terrible at explaining math, so try this link to figure out how much protein you need. It shows you how it depends on your activity level as well, since protein plays a role in muscle growth.

This post is a little long and complicated, but the main point I’m trying to make is that counting calories alone won’t get the job done. You need to pay attention to other things as well. Otherwise, you’ll be a lost cause. Don’t be stupid when it comes to what you put in your body.  For my next few blog posts, I will focus each post entirely on one aspect of nutrition, including carbs, fat, protein, sugar, and fiber. I will go into more detail of each during the next week or so, so stay posted. 🙂

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In case you were wondering about me…

I figured I’d write a quick post just to tell you about myself, since I’ve yet to do that. I just want to give you some background on how my life has been the past 6 years related to dieting, exercise, and weight.

In high school, I was super skinny, weighing under 100 pounds until I was 18. It was great, yet somehow I still felt like I needed to be on a diet. I look back now and realize I was crazy. I didn’t need to diet at all. I could have easily enjoyed my high school days at McDonalds, stuffing my face with fast food. But, I’m glad I didn’t.

I went to college, and things changed. I lived with a few girls, and there was a full buffet/dining hall at our convenience most hours of the day. It had everything. Fries, ice cream, bagels, pasta, pizza, burger, you name it. And with such a change in my life of going to college, I sort of lost control. It was fun being carefree, drinking every weekend, sleeping at the most random times, skipping classes, chasing guys, and bingeing on food at all hours of the day. I look back and miss those times a lot, but I don’t miss gaining almost 20 pounds over those first two years. By time I was 19, I was up to 123 pounds, which isn’t exactly skinny when you’re only five feet tall. I’d go to the gym sometimes, but I never really put a lot of effort into it. Honestly, I didn’t care, but I still hated how I looked. I wasn’t used to not being skinny.

By time my junior year rolled around, I moved off campus, and was too broke to eat half the time. Age 20 is that awkward time when you’re too old for house parties and kegs, but too young for the bar. So, I didn’t drink or party nearly as much as I did the first two years. That’s also when I decided to start working out again. Over the course of that year, I got back down to 112 pounds, which was the thinnest I’d been in two years. I was happy, but I wasn’t satisfied.

This year, I took it a step further and put all of my efforts into learning about nutrition and health. I was always into it, but I had trouble practicing it all the time because of all the distractions college brings. I’m over that now though. I try my best to work out at least 4 days a week, I seriously watch what I eat and record everything in a calorie counting app, and of course I blog and update my Twitter, which is more motivation than I ever could have imagined. The best part is that I still go out and party all the time, but I don’t let it affect my weight. I’m 107 pounds now, and I’m looking to get down to about 103 and tone up as much as I can. I love my body more than I ever have, and I know there’s still room to improve. I’ll probably never be satisfied, but at least I’m one step closer every day toward whatever my goal is.

Sometimes it seems impossible to lose weight, but it’s not. Never think of it as impossible. If you’re a female, you’re supposed to be confident, independent, and willing to do what it takes to be happy. So do it. And don’t starve yourself. Don’t skip meals. Learn whatever you can about nutrition. 1000 calories of potato chips are completely different from 1000 calories of carrots. Learn the difference. Do research. Have fun sometimes, but don’t let it hinder you from having what you want.

As soon as you make progress, it will be easier to keep pushing. There’s really no reason to give up. We’re young now, and it’s the only time we’re ever going to be young. Make the most of it and be beautiful.