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.

 
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Love you all.

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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.

My New Love for Almond Milk


I’m not a huge milk drinker, but since I’ve been making smoothies and shakes, I decided I need to incorporate milk into the recipe. Plus, I probably could use some of the vitamins. However, instead of buying regular milk from a cow, I decided this time I would buy almond milk, which is literally made from crushed almonds.

I’ve been drinking it for a few weeks, and I figured now would be a good time to look up and write about the benefits of almond milk, besides the fact that it has fewer calories than regular milk. I chose unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk by Almond Breeze, which only has 40 calories per cup. That’s obviously the first benefit, since most of us are trying to maintain or lose weight.

Another benefit is that this milk doesn’t contain any cholesterol, and it also doesn’t contain a lot of sodium. This is a lot lower than let’s say, 1% milk, which has about 12mg of cholesterol and 100 mg of sodium. Besides being low in cholesterol and sodium, this milk also contains calcium and Vitamin D, which most women do not get enough of.

If you care about your skin and eyes, almond milk has plenty of Vitamin E and A as well. Seriously, who doesn’t care about their skin and eyes? And, it is great for any person with diabetes, has diabetes in the family, or anyone who cares about not consuming too much sugar (I care).

Plus, this milk tastes so good, and it doesn’t contain dairy for anyone who may be lactose intolerant or vegan. (I’m guessing you probably already love almond milk). Today I put Ovaltine in it, which made it even better, and provided me with even more vitamins than the milk alone. So you should totally try almond milk. Put it in shakes, or drink it plain. Either way, you will probably thoroughly enjoy it.

If you want to read more, click this link from Livestrong.com http://www.livestrong.com/article/246903-nutritional-benefits-of-almond-milk/

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My Newest Shake Obsession


I tweet a lot about how bad I am at cooking, and how I’m not good at being creative in the kitchen, but I actually am really into anything involving food since I love nutrition so much. I mean, I watch tons of shows on Food Network, and that’s about how far my talents extend. But I’m learning, and I’m getting a little better each day. Lately I’ve been making shakes in the morning, and I figured I’d just quickly share with you all my shake “recipe.”

I didn’t totally make this shake up. I saw it on a Stumble Upon site but I made a variation of it.

Anyway, this is the shake:
3/4ths of a banana
3-7 ice cubes depeding on your preferences for ice
about a half cup to a cup of Vanilla Almond Milk (amazing) I use the brand Almond Breeze
TSP of vanilla
Some peanut butter, but not too much. I use about 1 heaping teaspoon. (You can also use a variation like almond butter if you prefer that).

Blend til you feel like it’s ready. Drink it, obviously.

Today, I added ovaltine and skipped out on the peanut butter, and it was even more delicious. Plus, just the Ovaltine powder is only 40 extra calories, compared to peanut butter which is almost 200. And, Ovaltine has tons of vitamins. I’m actually obsessed with Ovaltine. It’s delicious.

Anyway, that’s my shake. It has all you need for the morning. Some carbs, potassium, protein, good fat, and vitamins. One day, I tried adding blueberries and raspberries to it, and it was kind of gross. So don’t do that.

Without the peanut butter, the whole shake is only around 140 calories. With the peanut butter, about 240. Either way, it’s super filling. So it’s up to you if you want the extra calories, but at least you’re getting some protein. I learned this week that protein can help curb your appetite and you end up eating less throughout the day in general.

So, this is as far as my kitchen abilities have come. Send me some other shake/smoothie recipe ideas and I will try them, write about them, and give you credit for the submission.

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Why I Only Drink Water


When I was younger, I was obsessed with the 99 cent cans of Arizona Iced Tea. I mean, who wasn’t? I’d bring them to the beach every day, and I would finish a whole one in about 30 seconds because I was so thirsty from the 9 million degree sun. They were delicious. But now, you can’t even get me to have 2 sips of an Arizona. While they still taste amazing, I can’t get over how much sugar is in one can.
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Before I tell you the amount, you should know that 4 grams of sugar are equal to one teaspoon. So if you put a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee, it is the same as 4 grams, or one sugar packet. So when you put 5 sugar packets in your coffee, it’s equal to 20 grams.

Arizona Lemon Iced tea has 90 calories per serving, and 24 grams of sugar, which is the same as 6 teaspoons. Doesn’t seem too bad, except that there’s actually 3 servings per can, so the whole can is actually 270 calories and 72 grams of sugar, or 18 teaspoons. That’s disgusting. And, I just spent forever even trying to find the servings in one can online. They seem to do a pretty good job of hiding this information.

This obviously isn’t the only drink that contains a ridiculous amount of sugar. A bottle of vitamin water is actually 2.5 servings, and it has 39 grams of sugar, or about 10 teaspons of sugar. Once again, not okay.

Here’s a chart of some other drinks with their sugar content.
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We all know sugar can be bad, unless it’s natural, like in an apple. Drinking beverages with added sugar immediately spikes your blood sugar levels, and after it is sent to the bloodstream, any excess levels of glucose is turned into fat. We don’t need extra fat. Also, once your blood sugar levels fall, you’re back to being hungry and tired again. Over time, you could even develop diabetes. It’s not a good situation. Plus, drinks are for hydrating, not for enjoyment.

If that wasn’t enough, you should remember that sugary drinks are basically just empty calories. They don’t make you full. They might taste good, but if you’re going to waste your time eating all that sugar, you should at least consume something that’s actually filling.

I stick to water most of the time. Sometimes I will drink Diet Coke, Vitamin Water Zero, and tea. Otherwise, I stay away from the sugar. Get your sugar from natural places, like fruits and vegetables. We don’t need sugar from processed soft drinks that have only been around for a short period of time. Why do you think so many Americans are overweight? A lot of it has to do with what they drink.

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100 Calorie Miracles


One food I don’t think I could ever give up is bread, but since its high in carbs and certain kinds don’t deliver much nutritional value, I had to find an alternative. There is no option to give up bread entirely. I love it way too much, and I don’t know what I would do without a turkey sandwich at least…90 times a week (I’m kidding, sort of).

My life changed when I discovered Arnold Select Sandwich Thins, because each bun is only 100 calories. That’s a drastic decrease in calories compared to other types of bread, which can be almost 100 calories per slice. These 100 calorie buns taste amazing too. I don’t know what it is about them, but they are totally a legitimate substitute for regular bread.
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And, there are a variety of kinds, such as whole wheat, whole grain white, multi-grain, and seedless rye. I’m on their site now, and they even have mini rolls at 50 calories each, and Whole Wheat Fill ‘Em rolls that are perfect for subs. I don’t know about any of you, but this makes me really really happy.

The rolls are also only one gram of fat and contain 5 grams of fiber. We need fiber. It keeps us full longer and speeds up our metabolism. White bread doesn’t contain fiber, and although regular whole wheat and multi-grain do, they obviously have more calories. Oh, and the sandwich thins have less carbs. One slice of regular wheat bread has about 18-22 grams of carbs, while this entire 100 calorie bun only has 22. So it’s basically half the amount of carbs. This is a miracle.

As I sit here and write about how much I love food, I should also mention that these buns don’t get as soggy as regular bread, and they toast well. I’m in love with them. And I’m out, so I definitely need to go shopping today and get more. There’s nothing like some mustard and turkey on these buns. Or, for breakfast, you can put egg whites on them. It’s pretty much perfect. You can also use them for turkey and veggie burgers. The possibilities are endless.
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These also come in other brands. I just recently saw them from Pepperidge Farm, and also in the store brand form. So far, I’ve only tried Arnold. And I have to say they’re the best, because they were the first to come up with the idea, I think. I’m not being paid or anything to advertise for them. I just really love them.

Also, since I’m terrible at preparing food, I would recommend going to the Arnold Site. They have tons of other recipe ideas.
I will be hopefully posting more today, so stay tuned.

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Dieting Problems: Knowing about BMI


I’m sure most of you have calculated your BMI at least once in your life, or if not, I hope you’ve at least heard of the letters BMI, which stand for Body Mass Index. You might think BMI measures your percentage of body fat, but it doesn’t. Measuring body fat is a lot more complicated, and often not very accurate. Your BMI has to do with the ratio between your height and weight, and there are healthy and unhealthy BMI numbers.

For an adult, a healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9. Above 25, and you could be considered overweight. However, if you are an athlete, BMI isn’t always an accurate assessment of your health because the BMI number does not take muscle mass into account.

Your BMI can easily be lowered by the obvious: dieting and exercise. So when all of us complain about the need to be skinny, remember that it’s not just because we want to look good in the mirror. We also want to be healthy, and having a BMI in a normal range contributes to overall health.

You can calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703, then dividing that number by your height in inches. Or, you can go to the following site if you don’t feel like doing math. I know I don’t.
 WEebMD BMI Calculator

By the way, my BMI is 20.6.

This is just a quick post I figured I’d write because I had to do a class project on my BMI. I’ll be blogging a lot this week, so if article wasn’t entirely useful to you, I promise something else this week will be.

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Saturday Workout Motivation


I know it’s Saturday, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. Go work out anyway. Or at least take a walk. And maybe you’re going out to dinner tonight and you want to indulge, but make sure breakfast and lunch are healthy anyway. Or maybe you’re going out to drink tonight. At least make up for those calories you will consume tonight by having a productive day. Every bit of effort counts. There’s no need to give up just because it’s the weekend. If you can work out and diet on the weekend, you can do it any day. This is the true test for your success. Here’s a few quotes to help you a little more.

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So seriously, get off Twitter and Facebook and my blog for an hour and get yourself to the gym. Or perhaps you can go make a salad. You really can do it. I love you all!

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Quick Calorie Counting Info



There are a variety of different versions of calorie tracking applications that can be added to your smartphone. Among those popular are My Fitness Pal, Lose It!, Calorie Counter, The Daily Burn, and The Daily Plate.
The programs allow you to search for what foods you ate throughout the day, how much of a food you ate, and what meal you had it for. Not only will it track your calorie intake, but it will also monitor fat, carbohydrates, protein, and other nutritional qualities depending on the application. Another perk of most of the applications is that they allow you to track your weight loss progress. This is a useful tool because it can teach users that weight gain or loss directly correlates with the types of foods you eat. And, since it’s on YOUR phone, you should probably not lie to yourself about what you ate. The more honest you are, the more you will learn from your mistakes and see results.


I personally use The Daily Burn, and before that I used Livestrong.com/thedailyplate. I love using these applications for many reasons, but especially because when you do overeat, you feel really guilty inputting it into the calorie counter. So, the next day, you will hopefully be more inclined to eat healthy. Over time, you will see a change in your eating habits because you will learn just how many calories are in certain foods. For instance, I don’t believe I will ever eat short rib or macaroni and cheese again.


Another benefit of calorie tracking applications is the option to input what fitness you accomplish each day. However, this is something that still needs to be improved, because the applications are not completely accurate on the amount of calories burned for each exercise. The counters do not seem to take your current weight into account when calculating the calories. However, the fitness aspect of these applications is a great way to estimate how much you burn throughout the day. Also, the categories are sort of general. You can’t really put “ten situps” in the search and expect something to come up. I actually don’t use the fitness portion of my application. I feel that it’s too inaccurate to rely on.


Here’s an image of my Nutrition intake on The Daily Burn.
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This website elaborates further on applications that specifically iPhone users can download. They have way more apps that I didn’t even mention. So, you better be downloading at least one of them right now if you haven’t already.

More posts to come Friday!