Portion Control 7 Day Challenge

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Join me on my facebook challenge this coming week starting on Monday, August 22nd.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1779376209015629/

Challenge: Implementing Portion Control

Do you know the portion or serving sizes of your foods and how much you should be eating per day?

I find one of the biggest reasons that people are not successful in their weight management is because they are over eating. One of the reasons over eating occurs is not knowing daily portion/serving size requirements and implementing portion control into meals and snacks throughout the day.

This challenge is going to educate you on what a portion/serving size is, how much you should be eating and applying that to your meals and snacks.

During this challenge we will be measuring out our portion/serving sizes for each meal and snack. This will make you aware of what a portion/serving size should look like and make sure that you are within your daily requirements.

Before the challenge begins please read my blog post on what a portion/serving size is and determine how many servings of each category you should be eating per day based on my instructions and write it down. Keep a daily journal of your portions and servings sizes to make sure you stay within the daily requirements you have set. Here is the link to my post:

What is Considered a Portion or Serving Size? And, How Do You Control It?

Who’s up for the challenge?

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The Three C’s to Success

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What does it take to be successful when it comes to fitness, nutrition and weight loss?

The most important elements you can apply to your program are:

  1. Commitment
  2. Confidence 
  3. Consistency 

Let’s break these elements down and see why they are so important:

Commitment

What is commitment?

Enthusiasm for something and determination to work hard at it.

What does this mean in fitness, nutrition and weight loss success?

You must be 100% ready to take on the dedication, time and hard work it will take to follow and implement whatever program you begin. Without this commitment to your program, you will be unsuccessful in the goals you set.

It’s your commitment to your goals that will push you through the elements, time constraints and other obstacles that get in the way. With commitment you will make it work!

Confidence

What does confidence mean ?

The belief that you are able to do things well.

What does this mean in fitness, nutrition and weight loss success?

You absolutely must believe in yourself and your ability to be successful at your goals. If you believe you can do it, you will do it!

Consistency 

What is consistency?

The ability to remain the same in behavior, attitudes or quality.

What does this mean in fitness, nutrition and weight loss success?

You must remain working toward the goals you set. Your actions in behavior, attitude and quality of implementing your program must continue for it to be successful. If your consistency suffers so will the success of your program. With consistency success will eventually come. I feel this is the most important element of the three C’s, you must remain consistent to reach your goals!

In order to find success you must apply the three C’s in this order:

  1. Commit to whatever program or goals you set
  2. Have confidence that you can implement and reach your goals
  3. Remain consistent in your program and the goals you set

 

Arugula Salad

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Here is one of my favorite salad recipes to make! I absolutely love the taste of arugula. It is definitely my new go to leafy green.

Ingredients:IMG_3434

  • 1 package baby arugula
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes
  • Approx. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Spices: salt and pepper

Directions:

Rinse and dry arugula, place in mixing bowl.

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Dice Red onion and roma tomatoes, place in bowl with arugula.

Dress salad adding extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper. Mix with clean hands or tongs to distribute ingredients evenly throughout salad. If needed add more of any ingredient little at a time until you reach your desired flavor.

Serve over grilled chicken, steak or fish for added protein, enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

Makes approx. 2 servings

Each serving is approx. 133 calories, 7 grams of fat,  14.5 grams of carbs,  3 grams of fiber

Food servings: 1.5 fat, 2.5 carbs/vegetables

What is Considered a Portion or Serving Size? And, How Do You Control It?

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One of the biggest things that can affect your weight gain or loss is proper portion control. I find that most people are over eating because they do not know what is considered a portion or serving size and how much they should or should not be eating.

So, What is considered a portion or serving size?

In order to answer this question we need to break it down by food category and macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats):

Fruits

fresh-oranges-on-small-farmers-market-picjumbo-comWhat is a portion or serving of fruit? A serving of fruit is considered to be 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. Fruits are part of your macronutrient carbohydrate group.

Fruit portions and serving sizes will differ according to the fruit. Here is a list of servings for some common fruits:

  • 1 small apple, peach, pear, orange (medium or large fruits will be more than 1 serving)
  • 2 plums, kiwi, clementines
  • 1/2-3/4 cup blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cherries
  • 1/2 banana, grapefruit (1 whole is two fruit servings)
  • 1 cup honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon
  • 1/2 cup of 100% fruit juice, or canned fruit in 100% juice

Eat between 2-4 servings of fruit a day for both women and men. The amount of servings will depend on your age, gender and activity levels.

One way you can determine your serving amount per day is according to your activity levels. If you are not very active eat only 2 servings a day, if you are moderately active eat up to 3 servings a day. If you are highly active eat up to 4 servings per day. If you are gaining weight or not loosing weight, adjust your serving range per day to only 2 until you have hit your goal weight.

Fruits are healthy and pack a lot of vitamins and nutrients, but, do contain sugars. Although these sugars are healthier naturally occurring in the fruit, too much can lead to unwanted weight gain, so it is important to remain within your daily limits.

Vegetables

tomatoes-and-carrots-picjumbo-comWhat is a portion or serving of vegetables? A serving of vegetables can range up to 50 calories. Vegetables are part of your macronutrient carbohydrate group.

Vegetable portions and serving sizes will differ according to the vegetable. Here is a list of servings for some common vegetables:

  • 2 cups of raw leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, romaine, iceberg, kale
  • 1 cup cooked leafy greens such as spinach
  • 1 cup of most other raw non-starchy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of most other cooked non-starchy vegetables

Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables a day for both women and men. But, try to fit in more on a daily basis.

For the most part non-starchy vegetables are very low in calories but, high in vitamins and nutrients. You could eat almost as many non-starchy vegetables a day as you want, so mix it in with as many meals and snacks as you can. Just be careful what you add to them that will add calories, carbohydrates and fats.

Here is a link to a list of good non-starchy vegetable choices: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/non-starchy-vegetables.html

Grains

IMG_3425What is a portion or serving of grains? A serving of grains is considered to be 80 calories and 20 grams of carbohydrates. Grains are part of your macronutrient carbohydrate group.

Grain portions and serving sizes will differ according to the grains. Read labels to determine a serving based on calories and carbohydrate grams from above. Here is a list of servings for some common grains:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/4- 1/2 bagel
  • 1/2 English muffin or roll
  • 1 small wrap/tortilla or 1/2 large wrap/tortilla
  • 5 crackers
  • 1 small muffin or 1/2 large muffin
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa, barley
  • 3 cups popcorn
  • 3/4-1 cup cereal
  • 1/2 white or sweet potato (starchy vegetable – but, count as a grain serving in your diet)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup corn (starchy vegetable – but, count as a grain serving in your diet)

Eat between 4-6 servings of grains a day for women and 6-8 servings of grains per day for men. The amount of servings will depend on your age, gender and activity levels.

One way you can determine your serving amount per day is according to your activity levels. If you are not very active eat only 4 servings a day for women and only 6 servings a day for men, if you are moderately active eat up to 5 servings a day for women and up to 7 servings a day for men. If you are highly active eat up to 6 servings per day for women and up to 8 servings a day for men. If you are gaining weight or not loosing weight, adjust your serving range per day to the minimum amount for your gender until you have hit your goal weight.

Grains are healthy and pack a lot of vitamins and nutrients, but, only when eating the right kind of grains. Opt for eating whole grain varieties of this category and not the unrefined ones. By eating unrefined grains you eliminate all the nutritional value of the grain and are left with useless empty calories which will most likely turn into fat.

It’s also very important to eat within your daily portion or serving limits. It is very easy to over eat grains and eat the wrong kind. You must read labels carefully, measure and plan out your meals according to your daily limit. Over eating grains will lead to unwanted weight gain.

Protein

preparing-salmon-steak-close-up-picjumbo-comWhat is a portion or serving of protein? A serving of protein is considered to be 1 ounce and equals 28 calories and 7 grams of protein. Proteins are part of your macronutrient protein group.

Protein portions and serving sizes will differ according to the protein. Read labels to determine a serving size based on calories and carbohydrate grams from above. Meals can include anywhere from 1-4 ounces of protein. Here is a list of servings for some common proteins:

  • 1 ounce of lean red meat, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, ham
  • 1 slice deli meat such as turkey, roast beef, chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 ounce nuts
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup beans and peas
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1/4 cup tofu

Daily protein intake is considered to be approx. 46 grams for a sedentary woman and approx. 56 grams of protein for a sedentary man. Key word is sedentary, that means a non active person. The amount of grams will depend on your age, gender and activity levels.

One way you can determine your grams per day is according to your activity levels. If you are not very active eat approx 46 grams a day for women and approx 56 grams a day for men, if you are moderately active add at least 7 grams more for both women and men. If you are highly active eat at least 14 grams more for both women and men. If you are gaining weight or not loosing weight, adjust your serving range per day to the minimum amount for your gender until you have hit your goal weight.

These numbers are just estimates, more or less may be needed for certain individuals according to strength training and muscle building routines or other lifestyle, dietary reasons.

Dairy

IMG_3490What is a portion or serving of dairy? A serving of dairy is considered to be 90 calories and will include carbohydrate and/or protein grams. Dairy products are part of your macronutrient protein and/or carbohydrate group.

Dairy portions and serving sizes will differ according to the dairy product. Read labels to determine a serving size based on calories from above. Here is a list of servings for some common dairy products:

  • 1 ounce of cheese
  • 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and soy milk
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups cottage cheese

Daily dairy intake is considered to be 3 servings for both women and men.

Dairy products contain calcium, so, it is important to try to meet the 3 serving requirement. Opt for eating low-fat varieties of this category to limit the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet.

Fats

IMG_3485What is a portion or serving of fat? A serving of fat is considered to be 45 calories and 5 grams of fat. Fats are part of your macronutrient fat group.

Fat portions and serving sizes will differ according to the fat. Read labels to determine a serving size based on calories and fat grams from above. Here is a list of servings of some common healthy fats:

  • 1 tsp. oils such as olive and canola, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, butter, margarine
  • 1 tbsp. regular fat dressing, mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. low-fat dressing, mayonnaise

Eat 5 servings or less of fats a day for women and 6 servings or less of fats per day for men.

Fats pack a lot of vitamins and nutrients, but, only when eating the right kind of fats. Opt for eating the healthy fat choices listed above.

It’s also very important to eat within your daily portion or serving limits. Fats are added to a lot of processed food, so, limit those foods and eat fresh where available adding the fat yourself for cooking with or to enhance flavor. Over eating fats will lead to unwanted weight gain.


 

Now that we have learned what a portion and serving size is, let’s answer the next question.

How do you control it?

Here are some steps you can take to help control your portions and servings throughout the day:

  1. Determine your personal portion or serving sizes from above, based on each food category according to your gender and daily activity levels.
  2. Stay within those limits on a daily basis.
  3. Measure and weigh your food so that you know exactly how much you are eating and what a portion or serving size should look like. Here is a handy chart you can use to do all of your measuring using your hands: http://www.healthyeating.org/Portals/0/Documents/Tip%20Sheets/Portion_Serving_Size_Chart_Eng.pdf
  4. Eat from 2 or more food categories per meal or snack, not just one! This will help control over eating of one food category at any given time, give you variation and help you feel fuller.
  5. Eat from all food categories, do not neglect any! Each food category gives us something different, without it our body will most likely be missing some part of an essential vitamin, mineral or nutrient. If you eat your recommended portions from each food category, your body should be getting all it needs to function at its best!

Follow these 5 steps and you will be on your way to a portion controlled healthy eating lifestyle. It takes some planning and understanding, but it is all worth it!

 

Baked Zucchini Parmesan

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This dish is a great alternative to a lasagna or baked ziti!

Here is how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 green zucchini
  • Homemade or jar of tomato sauce
  • Olive oil or canola oil
  • Box of whole wheat Panko crumbs or whole grain bread crumbs
  • Bag of 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Few ounces of grated locatelli or parmasean cheese
  • Seasonings such as salt, pepper, seasoned salt

 

Directions:

  • Slice zucchini long ways like lasagna strips.
  •  In one bowl or tray pour oil and in another bowl or tray pour bread crumbs and add seasoning such as salt and pepper or seasoned salt to flavor.
  • Dip strips of zucchini into oil and then into bread crumbs to coat.

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  • In deep baking dish add a bit of sauce into bottom of pan.
  • Add a layer of zucchini strips.

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  • Add sauce on top of zucchini
  • Add shredded mozzarella and sprinkle parmasean cheese.
  • Repeat, layering zucchini, sauce and cheese until all zucchini is used.

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  • Bake at 350-375 degrees covered until bubbling and heated through. Uncover and bake until cheese is lightly browned.
  • Take out and allow to cool a bit.
  • Take a paper towel and place in pan where there is excess oil to absorb. Always a good idea to remove the excess oil you can see to reduce the amount of fat in your meals. Using paper towels is a quick and easy trick to do this.
  • Slice and serve

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Nutritional Information:

Makes approx 10 servings

Each serving is approx 200 calories, 10 or less grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs,  3 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.

Food servings: 2 fat, 1.5 carbs/vegetables, 2.5 protein

A lot less fat and carbohydrates then you will find in a traditional lasagna and tastes so good!

Whole Grain Change 7 Day Challenge

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Join me on my facebook challenge next week starting on Monday, July 18th.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1779376209015629/

Challenge: Make the Whole Grain Change!

Whole grains are healthier for the body than the refined white grains that we like to enjoy. The problem with the refined breads, pastas, crackers, cereals, rice, etc. is that they are missing the important nutrients that the body needs and uses from these foods. Eating these refined grains are just putting empty calories into our bodies with no nutritional value.

This challenge requires you to swap the refined grains you eat with the whole grain varieties.

Here is what you need to look for in your labels:

Ingredient list must read WHOLE as in WHOLE Wheat or WHOLE grain and not just wheat.

Must contain at least 2 grams or more of fiber

I will be posting a list of healthy grain options as well as other information on whole grains leading up to and during this challenge

Who’s up for the challenge?

Freeze Fruit for a Healthy Refreshing Treat

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Want a healthy refreshing treat for the summer?

Try freezing your fresh fruit.

Fresh fruit is packed with vitamins and nutrients. It is a great choice for a healthy snack.

One of the things I love about summer is the fresh fruit options of the season.

Instead of grabbing sugar filled ice pops freeze those wonderful fresh fruits.

Get the feel of a summer frozen treat without all the added sugar that comes along with it! Fill your body with natural sugars, vitamins and nutrients your body can utilize.

IMG_3234My favorites to freeze are:

  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapples
  • Raspberries
  • Melons
  • Peaches

Try making mixed fruit kabobs for variation!

No Added Sugar 7 Day Challenge

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Join me on my facebook challenge next week starting on Monday, June 13th.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1779376209015629/

Challenge: No Added Sugar for 7 Days

I will be going added sugar free for 7 days and I am inviting you to join me. I will be leaving behind my vanilla creamer in my coffee and my semi-sweet chocolate chips for the week. I will be eating foods with only naturally occurring sugar such as fruits, milk, and plain yogurt along with vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.

It will be a challenge and a reward all in one. My body will benefit and my will power will be tested. But, it is a challenge I accept and I encourage you to do the same!

Who’s up for the challenge?

Exercise Build #2 and #3 Combo

Here is an exercise build combo. This combo includes exercise build #2 and #3. An exercise build is when you start with one exercise and add exercises onto that one.

For these builds I am using 5 exercises and I am starting with 15 seconds. Each time I add an exercise I am also adding another 15 seconds to the clock. So, both the exercise and the time will grow.

This exercise build combo will start with exercise build #3 starting up on our feet and transition into exercise build #2 bringing it onto the floor.

Exercise Build #3

Main muscles worked: quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, lower abdominals, shoulders, biceps, lats (mid-back) and triceps.

This build requires one dumbbell.

Exercises included in this build are:

  • Knee Balance and Shoulder Press
  • Knee Balance and Hammer Curl
  • Runner’s Lunge
  • Narrow Row
  • Tricep Kickback

Exercise Build #2

Main muscles worked: Hip abductors (outer thighs),  hip flexors, abdominals, obliques

This build requires only a mat or soft surface.

Exercises included in this build are:

  • Plank to Hero
  • Side Plank
  • Side Plank Reach Through
  • Side Plank Hip Abduction
  • Side Plank Knee

Fitbit Charge HR Review

IMG_2732I have been a Fitbit user for over a year and a half now and I just upgraded to the Fitbit Charge HR with the heart rate monitor. I enjoyed using my older Fitbit Charge, but, I was really excited about having a Fitbit Charge HR that would now include numbers based on my heart rate. Having the heart rate measured meant my numbers would be more accurate for calories burned overall and during workouts and activities.

What I really like about the Fitbit Charge HR or any other activity tracking device is that you can compare your day to day and week to week activity. You can see the days you are most active and the days you are less active and you can adjust your days or weeks according to your records. This keeps you accountable, as well as aware and will most likely result in a more active lifestyle.

There are two ways the Fitbit Charge HR tracks your activity that you can review.

  1. Total steps
  2. Total calories burned

Total steps is a nice feature, but, I feel less accurate. It calculates more then just steps, it will include arm and other movement patterns. And, at the same time it may not calculate certain movements such as bicycling and weight training. Which means, although the workout may be intense, the Fitbit Charge HR may not necessarily be recording that particular movement in steps. Therefore, the steps and movement patterns are somewhat inconsistent. I feel it’s great to check your steps and have a goal in mind that you would like to reach, but, realize that it will not be accurate and may not reflect your overall activity for the day. It will however, most likely be lower on your less active days and higher on your more active days and help you to push yourself to reach your overall daily goals.

Total calories burned, I feel, is a more accurate number and one I can now use to determine my calorie intake for the day. It will not be completely accurate as there are a lot more factors that go into burning calories then just heart rate, but, it is a good approximation. Depending on whether you are looking to lose, gain weight or remain the same you can now give yourself a deficit or surplus in calories according to this number. The more calories you burn the more active you have been that day.

Other things I like about the Fitbit Charge HR include:

  1. You can record your workouts and review each one to see your overall calorie burn, steps, heart rate patterns, fat burn and cardio percentage per workout.
  2. I can sync it up with myfitnesspal app and it will automatically track my activity and add it to my calorie intake for the day. And, what I input in myfitnesspal automatically gets recorded in the Fitbit app. The Fitbit app does have a food tracker you can use within in the app, but, I prefer using myfitnesspal for the extra features it has, so I am happy that they can work together and I’m not locked into using the Fitbit food tracker.
  3. The badges and rewards are a nice bonus to help motivate you and see what your overall achievements have been.
  4. Being able to connect with friends and motivate each other within the Fitbit app is fun.
  5. You can connect the Fitbit Charge HR to your phone for Caller ID and see your incoming calls on the Fitbit screen from your wrist. This really comes in handy when I am with clients to view my incoming phone calls when my phone is not with me.

Things that I don’t like or need improvements:

  1. Battery life is short only lasting about 2-3 days max before needing a charge. My older Fitbit lasted about 5 days, but, I am figuring the heart rate monitor feature absorbs more of the battery life and therefore doesn’t last as long.
  2. Uncomfortable to sleep with. Although, that is probably just a preference, so I take it off when I sleep and do not benefit from viewing the sleep patterns.
  3. Friends section is lacking. I would like to see more features in the friends section, there is really not much to view besides steps. I would like to be able to see workouts, especially if they are clients or class participants, so that I can review what they are getting out of the workouts.
  4. When you log a workout it does not include mileage. If you take a walk, hike, jog, run, bike, etc. the miles are not recorded and logged in the workout. For certain activities you may want or need to know your distance traveled, so, it would be nice if the Fitbit kept track of that.

Most of my experience using my Fitbit Charge HR has been positive and I enjoy using it to track my days, weeks and months activity. It is a great device to keep me active and accountable for my daily workouts and activity levels. I would certainly recommend the Fitbit Charge HR to anyone who is looking or thinking of purchasing an activity tracker.