Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Shape Up Your Attitude!

As a personal trainer, I have heard all the excuses for people not allowing themselves to get into shape. I have heard all the crazy excuses like “but it’s my 2nd cousin’s birthday”, or “I messed up at the beginning of the week, so I decided I may as well start fresh next week”, or the best one yet, “because I have been working out so much, I thought it wouldn’t matter if I let my diet slide for a few month because my fast metabolism from all the muscle should burn all the bad calories. I thought”. Now that is a mouth full!

Its time to shape up your attitude! If your head is not in the right spot, you will never allow yourself to reach your fitness and weight loss goals. There are many people out there that have bad food cravings which they give in to on a daily basis, or they emotionally eat instead of getting off the couch and going for a walk. There are also others who just don’t care because they are in such a bad spot in general that they are allowing their lives to spin out of control.

There are a few steps to take to help “shape up” your mind to prepare yourself for health and fitness.

Think about what is really upsetting you

If you are upset about work, friends, or your spouse, take a step back and think about how to work the situation out before emotionally eating. Nothing is worse then making yourself feel even more upset because you sabotaged your goals with food in a way to cope with your emotions. If you actually think you need to talk to someone about your problems, do not be afraid to do so.

Learn to control your cravings

Ask yourself “do I really need that chocolate bar? What will I get out of eating that pint of ice cream besides regret and self-loathing?” When I am craving something that is not good for me, I sit back and think about if the extra calories is really worth it, and I think about how it really tastes. Usually I remember that the food doesn’t taste as good as I think, and I rather eat something healthy that tastes great. Eating something you crave then regretting it afterwards because it didn’t taste good is never worth the extra calories and the feeling of guilt.

Put health first

I have a problem thinking about some of the foods that are out there for anyone to eat. A 1000 calorie burger and fries never seems appealing to me because of the saturated fat, sodium and overall heart-clogging affects of the foods. I always picture in my mind what these foods could do to my body if I allow myself to eat this way every day. There are many things in life that we all want to do and experience, and we cannot do these things if we sacrifice health for poor food choices everyday. The risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses are not worth messing up our lives. Also think about your family and how tragic it would be for them to lose you at a young age because you had such an unhealthy lifestyle of fast food and no exercise.

I rather live longer then sacrifice my health for poor choices in food.

You don’t need a gym to get into shape

Many people despise the gym, but the good thing is a gym is not necessary to get into shape. The nice weather is here and the possiblilities are endless! Go for more walks, hikes, start running outdoors, play with your children in the park, make a date with your friends and make up your own outdoor workouts, play frisbee, soccer, baseball, I can go on and on! Take advantage of mother nature, it is wonderful out there. There is no excuse not to! There is always the option to workout at home too, and there are many videos and programs you can find for free on the internet.

Stop blaming others for your actions

When it comes down to it, you need to take responsibility for your own actions. Many people like to put the blame on to others, like their spouses or their family, but you are the one to blame. You are the one who is responsible for what you eat, and how you treat yourself. You cannot blame someone else for you pigging out on a plate of nachos at a party because it was on the table. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables and protein, and if you must, take a few bites for a taste and avoid pigging out. If your husband brings home pizza when you are trying to lose weight, tell him to keep it away from you! Explain your goals and kindly express the way you feel about the food that he brings in to your home. If you are at a family gathering, eat the healthy foods. You don’t owe anyone an explaination as to why you choose salad over pasta or fruit over cake or sparkling water over a beer. You are the one in control of your life, so control it!

No more excuses! If you want to change your life and your health, do it! No one can do it for you. Get your head in the right space and realize what you are doing to yourself before you sabotage yourself more. Its never too late to make a change for the better, and no one ever regretted getting healthy and fit. Keep that in mind next time you want to sit on the couch with your bag of chips!

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Remain a Fat Burning Machine On and Off Season

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Come competition time, the aim for all competitors is to become as lean as possible, while maintaining a hard physique. Although achieving this type of appearance should be relatively easy, there is one factor that often negates progress in even the most diligent: a slow metabolism.

A slow metabolism is the one thing a competitor does not want to be cursed with, when the main goal is to lose body fat.

Maintain a Healthy Weight Off Season.

The metabolism is adversely affected when one consumes a large amount of food for a certain period of time. In fact, the term yo-yo dieting stems from many peoples attempts to lose weight, while reverting to bad eating habits, when they should be sticking to a more sensible diet.

The body will simply adapt to maintaining a low metabolic rate if it has to continually adjust to a sharp decline in calories for a certain period of time, followed by engorgement for another period of time. This has obvious implications when it comes to losing weight during competition season. Attempting to lose fat at a rapid rate can also result in losses in protein, and loss of muscle protein means a decrease in metabolism. In my opinion, it is very important to keep a high protein diet, along with supplements like glutamine and branched chain amino acids during dieting to avoid muscle loss.

Another problem with drastic weight loss, is an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL is a fat storing enzyme that increases when calories are dropped at a significant rate. When your body produces too much LPL and you start to pile on the fat, you will possibly need to diet harder to lose this fat after, which may further increase LPL and making fat loss next to impossible.

Your best bet is to maintain a sensible eating plan during off-season, so when pre-contest rolls around, calories do not have to be severely restricted to lose weight.

Eat Smaller Meals

Eating smaller meals more frequently helps to keep the metabolic rate constantly heightened, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. A constantly stimulated metabolism means fat-burning over a longer period of time.

Stabilized blood sugar prevents the hypoglycemia that occurs when one eats a huge meal and feels tired and lethargic soon afterward, due to low glucose levels to the brain. The body is more likely to store fat when in a hypoglycemic state, due to spiked insulin levels.

Train Aerobically

Competitors serious about fat loss should engage in aerobic activity both off-season and pre-contest, to keep the metabolism high. Aerobics, or what we all like to call cardio, has a great effect on fat-loss. Cardio stimulates the metabolism, metabolizes fat directly as a fuel source, and burns carbohydrates. In turn, this will all help to lower the fat-storing potential of these macronutrients.

Cardio can however deplete the body of protein if done too often or for too long. Therefore, if you feel like you are losing muscle pre-contest, it might be a good idea to cut back on cardio to the point where fat, rather than muscle, is being utilized. Depending on the individual, cardio sessions 4-5 times per week for 40-minutes should be sufficient.

Train with weights

This should be an easy one for competitors: training with weights. Weight training builds muscle and muscle stimulates the metabolism to a significant degree. Individuals with more muscle tend to have more efficient metabolisms from the fat-burning effect that comes along with muscle.

Eat Protein

Protein plays a very important role in the fat burning process. Protein stimulates the metabolism far more efficiently than either carbohydrates or fat, due to the energy demands of amino acids.

In fact, studies show that eating a meal high in protein will stimulate the metabolism by as much as 30%, as opposed to fat or carbohydrates which increase it by around 4%. Protein will heighten the metabolic rate for around 12-hours after eating.

Eating sufficient protein shouldn’t be a problem for most competitors, as it is a fundamental requirement in terms of muscle building, and should be an established part of their nutritional plan.

Always eat breakfast

Breakfast has always been the most important meal of the day to most of us, and for good reason: it kick starts the metabolism and helps to negate the possibility of “indulging” later in the day.

Skipping breakfast will keep the body in starvation mode because it has essentially been fasting over an 8 hour sleeping period. When starved for too long, what can happen is the body will need to hang on to every available calorie, and fat loss will be the last thing to occur.

In conclusion, achieving your best body depends on a number of factors, including a functioning metabolism. A slow metabolism can decrease anyone’s chances of losing sufficient body-fat come competition time.

Rather than blaming a slow metabolism on genetic factors, follow these guidelines as best as possible, lose fat, look and feel great!


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Cupcake Temptation


It’s about 11:30 on this chilly, Sunday afternoon and my children have decided to bake cupcakes. I don’t mind, it keeps them happy and they enjoy eating the yummy treats. I am not tempted by sugary treats so I’m ok. However, they smell really good today.  The smell of fresh baked cupcakes fills my house. The cupcakes smell delicious and they look even more delicious. They are decorated with pink frosting and sprinkles and they are calling to me now!

What do I do!? This is never a problem for me! I think the combination of the weather and homemade baking is too much for me to bear. Ordinarily a competitor just keeps these treats out of the house but when you are a mom it is nearly impossible.  I can’t deny my children the experience of baking and eating pretty pink frosted cupcakes.

I grabbed my digital camera and headed up to my bedroom. I put on the tiniest bikini I could find and took progress pictures of myself.  OH WOW! Ok, I suddenly lost my craving for the cupcakes! Instead I was craving a high intensity cardio session. Amazing what a little reality check like this can do.  Competition season will be here soon and I do not want to hold my results back. No, I didn’t look terrible, but it wasn’t nearly stage ready. My abs were starting to come in nicely and nothing, let alone a cupcake, could stop me now. 

I always think about the girls that will stand on stage with me in my class.  I imagine them staying on track with their diets and training hard.  I imagine them looking amazing as they raise the bar of competition. It is here that my competitive mindset takes over. Here is where it really matters what decision I make.

Well,  I can happily report that I stayed away from the cupcakes. I turned my nose up as I passed them by and went for a nice hot cup of herbal tea instead. It was just what I needed to feel cozy and warm on this freezing cold day.  A cupcake doesn’t seem like much but it could make the difference between first and last place. Remember, it only takes a single grain of rice to tip a scale. 


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Coping With Diet Saboteurs


There is always has to be that one person in your life— at your job, amongst your closest friends or a family member. They can mean well or they may be a tad spiteful, but often people in your life have no idea how they are sabotaging you. It seems like every time you take a step forward to gain power over food, they are in your face offering you chocolate, a brownie, some chips, or an extra helping of mashed potatoes and gravy.

To sum it all up, people don’t like CHANGE. Getting fit and losing weight are changes you welcome, but if family and friends are not on the same page, they can be uncomfortable or perhaps a bit jealous with your changes. They may feel guilty that you are losing weight and they are not. Some people may not understand because they have never had a weight problem and they don’t realize how hard you worked to get the weight off. They may think it is ridiculous for you to worry about what you eat. Some friends and family may miss the old you, and the old you was the one spending time with them during happy hour and indulging on high-fat foods. This may be the “you” that they miss.

First thing, don’t assume the worst. Unless sabotage is blatantly deliberate, give saboteurs the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their motives. If your mother serves you your favourite dish, it’s most likely because she associates food with love, not that she wants you fat. It doesn’t pay to get angry, especially to your mother.

Just say no. You wouldn’t expect to have a drink forced on you if you were a recovering alcoholic, so tell the food pusher, “No, thanks,” and leave it at that. You don’t owe an explanation and you shouldn’t feel guilty.

Work on your own support system. It’s a proven fact- when your social network supports you, you will achieve positive results. Try recruiting family and friends to be part of your healthy lifestyle. If that’s not feasible, take a different approach like joining a weight-loss group, temporarily avoid friends who are a negative influence, or join group classes at your gym and meet others with the same goal.  In time you will get stronger and learn to handle the not-so-supportive people in your life.

Explain your goals and ask for help. Don’t expect your friends and family to read your mind and to know what your needs are. Tell them! Explain how important your goals are and be reasonable about them, especially with the people you live with. They may be willing to make short-term compromises about what foods are kept in the house.

Take responsibility. Remember that what you put in your mouth is your responsibility. While others may tempt you, ultimately you’re in charge of your own life. Look at difficult situations as opportunities to test your newfound control, and reinforce the idea that you are not adopting a healthier lifestyle for someone else, only for you.


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Low Fat Egg Nog


Egg Nog is a very popular drink this time of year, and also very high in calories and fat. 1 cup of traditional egg nog is about 343 calories, 19 grams of fat and 21 grams of sugar, and this nutritional breakdown is without rum!

Here is my low fat, low sugar version of egg nog.

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