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Health and Fitness Blog 101

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Busting a Weight Loss Plateau

Posted by larends on March 28, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

If you arbreak throughe trying to lose weight and you get to a point where the scale won’t move, it can be frustrating.  It’s a natural part of losing weight and can happen to anyone.  Our bodies naturally adjust to what we eat and the exercises we do and they stop responding.  That’s when we need to change things up.  Below are some tips to get your weight loss moving again:

  • Change what you eat – If you eat mostly the same things every day, it’s time to make some changes.  You can make small changes that will make a big difference.  Here are some suggestions:
    • Eat more fruits and vegetables. 
    • Eat more fiber and whole grains. 
    • Drink more water. 
    • Cut back on foods with sugar.
    • Eat whole grain bread instead of white bread
    • Eat brown rice instead of white rice
    • Eat eggs instead of cereal
    • Cut back on rolls, biscuits, and other baked goods
  • Change your exercises – When you continue to do the same exercises every day, your body will adjust to it and your weight loss may slow down or stop.  You just need to do some different exercises to jump start your weight loss again.  In the summer I like to walk a lot, but I also mix in some swimming and pool exercises to mix it up.  I have several workout DVDs and mix those into my routine too.  I have Tae Bo, Dance it off, Walk it off, and several other various exercises.  If you find yourself doing the same exercises, try something else.  Doing a variety of exercises is important.  I recently tried a hula hoop made by Merri Davis of Hoop Happy, Hoop Healthy in Muskegon, Michigan.  It’s a great exercise that works your core and it’s fun.  Some things you can do to change your exercise program:
    • Try a bike instead of the treadmill
    • Play soccer instead of doing aerobics
    • Play Frisbee with your kids instead of going to the gym

    Add strength training – When you add more strength training to build muscle, you will burn more calories and push past that weight loss block.  Lift weights, add lunges and squats, and exercise your abs.  Your abs are a key muscle group and will help boost your weight loss, so be sure to focus on your core.

    Add interval training to your exercises – Research shows that adding interval training to your exercise routine will burn more calories than exercising at one pace.  Interval training combines short, high intensity bursts of speed, with slower or normal intensity exercises.  An example of this is when you are walking add in a quick fast walk or jog for 20 to 30 seconds and then go back to your normal speed for 1 to 2 minutes and repeat several times.  Interval training can be used with many different types of exercise.  Simply increase your speed and intensity periodically with whatever exercise you do.  This could help you to bust through that plateau and move you toward your weight loss goal.

  • Spread your exercise throughout the day – By exercising 10 minutes 3 times throughout the day instead of one 30 minute exercise session, you could increase your calorie burn and get your weight loss over the hump.  You just need to mix it up and trick your body by doing something different. 

Any of these ideas could be what you need to get your weight loss moving again.  It’s important not to get frustrated by the weight that shows on the scale.  I’ve exercised and dropped a pant size without losing a pound.  Focus on how you feel and how your clothes fit.  The scale doesn’t tell the whole story.  If you feel more energy from eating better and exercising, that’s half the battle.  Exercising will get easier and easier, so stick with it and you’ll reach your goal.


Tips to Lose Weight

Posted by larends on March 22, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

eggs and fruitA lot of people look for ways to lose weight fast.  We all want immediate results.  However, when it comes to losing weight, we have to be patient.  If you lose weight too quickly, you are more likely to gain it back.  Losing weight requires a change in our lifestyle.  We can’t just go on a restrictive diet and once we’ve lost the weight, go back to eating what we did before.  If we do, we will gain the weight back.  We gain weight gradually over time, so slowly that we may not notice.  We have to lose weight in the same way.  The good news is that by eating healthier and exercising consistently, you can lose weight.  A healthy amount of weight to lose is 1 to 5 pounds per week.  More if you weigh over 250 pounds.

To lose weight you need to exercise (which burns calories) and cut back on calories that you eat.  It’s also important to eat healthy foods in addition to cutting calories.  You can’t just eat sweets or unhealthy foods and expect to lose weight.  Your body needs nutritious foods to feel satisfied and give you energy.  When you are hungry you need to eat something healthy or you will continue to feel hungry.

Below are some tips for losing weight:

Eliminate or reduce the following foods:

  • Soft drinks & other sugary drinks
  • Fried foods
  • Food containing a lot of sugar (candy, cookies, desserts)
  • Foods containing trans fat (baked goods, pancakes, ice cream, frozen dinners)
  • Salt
  • Processed foods (foods with ingredients that are hard to pronounce)

Eat a healthy breakfast – include plenty of protein (eggs are a great source).  Never skip breakfast.  You need to eat something to jumpstart your metabolism.

Eat every few hours to prevent your blood sugar from falling and to keep your metabolism running.  Eat 3 meals and 2 healthy snacks.  The snacks should be about 100 calories.

Bring a healthy lunch and healthy snacks to work instead of going out to eat or hitting the vending machines.  Food at restaurants is typically high in calories and salt.  When you don’t have time to make a lunch, go to the grocery store to pick up salad or fruit.

Always have healthy snacks available, so you aren’t tempted to eat junk food.

Get plenty of sleep

Eat these healthy foods:

  • Protein (fish, poultry, beans, nuts, eggs)
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits (fresh are best and don’t add sugar)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta)
  • Low-fat cheese/dairy (limit to 1 to 2 servings per day)
  • Water or tea (with little or no sugar)

Exercise 3 to 6 times per week.

  • Include cardio (exercises that get your heart rate up)
    • Examples include: aerobics, dancing, Zumba, biking, running, skating, swimming, and even walking.
  • Include strength training (exercises that build muscle)
    • Examples include: lifting weights, lunges, squats, crunches, leg lifts, pushups, and planks.

Anyone can lose weight if they choose to.  These are some basic tips.  You just need to be consistent and stick to it.  Don’t give up and you will lose weight.

Why Do We Give Up?

Posted by larends on March 8, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

yogaHow many times have you started a diet or exercise plan only to give up before you’ve reached your goal?  The best way to be successful and stick to it in the future is to understand what caused you to give up in the past.  Below are some reasons we give up:



Too many restrictions
One of the biggest reasons that people give up eating healthy is that they start a diet that is too restrictive.   It may be a low carb diet or a diet that only allows you to eat certain foods.  Sometimes people limit their calories so much that they are always hungry.  Many people think that healthy foods are those that don’t taste good, so they get sick of eating them.  When your diet is too restrictive, you lose your willpower quickly.  My biggest weakness is chocolate, so instead of completely eliminating chocolate I allow myself to have 3 Dove dark chocolate bite size candies each day.  Did you know small amounts of dark chocolate is actually good for you?

Another reason people give up on a diet is that they don’t see results soon enough and they think it’s not working.  When you start to lose weight it’s so gradual that you may not notice it.  That’s why it’s important to weigh yourself once a week or once every two weeks, so you can see the weight you’ve lost.  One mistake people make is weighing themselves every day.  Your weight doesn’t change that quickly, so you get discouraged.  Sometimes you may even gain a little weight and think that your exercising isn’t working.  However, if you are doing strength training, you are building muscle and muscle weighs more than fat.

Lack of Support
Many people give up on a diet or exercise program because they don’t have a support system or their family puts pressure on them to quit.  Sometimes a spouse or significant other criticizes or teases them for eating healthy or exercising.  Friends or family members can also influence whether you stick to a fitness plan by tempting you with unhealthy foods.  Many people want you to fail, because they are jealous and don’t have willpower themselves.  They don’t want you to succeed if they can’t.  It’s important to find friends that will support your healthy living and encourage you.

Lack of Time
Sometimes people get so busy that it’s hard to find time to exercise or make healthy meals.  They pick up fast food because they don’t have time to cook.  Plus, if they miss a couple of days of exercise, it’s harder to get back on track and they give up.  I’ve found that when I don’t eat healthy, I’m less likely to exercise and if I get out of my exercise routine, I eat more snacks.  It can be a vicious cycle.  The key is to work in at least 10 minutes of exercise throughout the day or at least once a day.  I know what it’s like to be busy all the time.  I work full time, I have 3 kids, I write this blog, I’m writing a book, and I volunteer for different organizations.  I have a hard time saying “no” and often take on too much.  I know how hard it is to find time to exercise.  You have to make time for exercise and make it a priority.

When people are overly tired they have a hard time being motivated to exercise.  They are also more likely to eat unhealthy.  Lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to rise which increases your appetite.  You may also crave sweets when you are tired.  When you get a good night’s sleep, you are more likely to have willpower and make good healthy decisions.  Getting enough sleep also keeps your immune system strong so you are less likely to get sick, which can hamper your efforts.

Pushing Too Hard
Finally, many people give up on exercise because they try to push themselves too hard in the beginning.  They do an intense workout and the next day their muscles are too sore to exercise anymore, so they give up.  Another problem is when people do a hard workout that they hate and decide exercise is not for them.  I used to think you had to run or work out until you could hardly breathe to lose weight.  The reality is that you can get moving and enjoy yourself and still lose weight.  It’s important to start out gradually with exercise and do something you enjoy.

These are some of the reasons people give up on eating healthy and exercising.  If you know what can sabotage your efforts, then you can be prepared to avoid them.  It’s easy to give up, but it takes determination and self motivation to stick with a fitness plan.  Losing weight isn’t that hard.  You just have to be consistent and stick to it.  Have you got what it takes?