Kemme Fitness

Complete Resources for a Functional Fitness Lifestyle

Archive for Weight loss/nutrition

Breaking the unhealthy patterns

Most of us have these patterns. We might all exercise regularly in a Functional Fitness program (or any other program for that matter) yet we have one or two….or ten habits/patterns which we just can not break.

Maybe you just have to have a beer or 3 each night after a long day. Maybe you can’t help but finish off your plate cuz your parents mistakenly trained your brain to work that way (not so good if you have too large of a plate of food you should never wipe clean). Maybe the hours between 8:00 and 11:00 pm are your weakest times – times where you can’t help but throw the popcorn bag into the microwave, or fill that bowl with a “few” chips. Maybe you are staying up to 11:00 pm every night and not getting the necessary sleep your body requires to keep working efficiently.

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Whatever your bad habits or patterns, we all tend to have a few.

How to break them is the question of the day (well today anyway). Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter answer to this. I do have a few tips to try out though, which might help with success.

TIP #1: Determine if you want to try the “baby steps” method or the “cold turkey” method. If you eat snacks each night or feel you are drinking too many calories in alcohol after the kids are in bed, you might want to lean more towards the “cold turkey” method and cut out weekday snacks/drinks and only allow yourself to have Friday and Saturday nights. Doing “cold turkey” too intensely (i.e. cutting out snacks every day) might be too extreme and will steer you towards failure.

The “baby steps” method might be a good method for too large of dinner plates. Just pick one item on your plate such as your meat portion and actually try and reduce it to the recommended “palm-sized” portion. You know you better than anybody else. What method has failed before? Which one had some success? You decide.

TIP #2: Get a friend!  Changing life’s patterns is easier and more effective when you have somebody doing it with you. The main reason is the sense of accountability. Accountability is one of the greatest motivators in any endeavor in life, from work to exercise to dispute resolution to eating healthy, etc.

TIP #3:  Change a larger pattern. Here is an example to help explain what I mean here. Let’s say you are cutting out late night snacks. That is a big change, but I suggest you make a bigger change such as changing your evening activities. If you always sit and watch your favorite sitcoms, well don’t do that anymore. Trying to stop snacking while watching the same shows will be challenging. However, if you read in your bed where snacks are not allowed then maybe you will have a leg up in the battle. Or maybe you try exercising in the evening instead of the morning. The point is to change a larger pattern to help take your mind off of the actual healthy change.

I’m sure you might have a few additional tips, but these 3 may be a great place to start. Please share your thoughts and tips. What has worked for you?

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How buying better beer might help you to lose weight

I’m actually going to start this post out with a disclaimer because we all know any excuse to drink beer might be taken to extremes.

DISCLAIMER:  There is no guarantee this theory I am spelling out in this post will work, and if you don’t know the negative affects of alcohol, you are too stupid to drink.

I recently had a post on drinking your caloric intake for the day (click here) and the main point was to educate so you don’t work your butt off with diet and exericse, only to unknowingly negate your efforts by what you drink. I thought this post is a good compliment to the earlier post.

Diet is all about choice. If you don’t drink alcohol you are at a huge advantage with any weight lose efforts, however, if you are like me and enjoy a beer (or wine) here and there, I offer up an idea – drink good beer.

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The reason for this comes down to the notion of enjoying the gifts we are blessed with in this life without abusing or overdoing it.  Drinking great beer can help you to learn to appreciate those blessings and just might….just might help you to lose weight.

Let’s say you are a typical beer drinking male. You might have a beer or two in the evening and probably a six pack (or case) on the weekend. Many of these men drink average beer such as light pilsners (Bud Light, Miller Lite, PBR, etc) and can put a few down no problem. These beers hover at just over 100 calories a beer, with some reaaaaalllllly light beers coming in under 100 calories. See that photo above with the yummy breakfast stout by Founder’s brewery? Yep, that is pushing 250 calories.

So how do you lose weight? It only makes sense you would gain more by drinking the above said beer at 250 calories. First off, a great many awesome beers are still under 200 calories, so the example above is an extreme. I only used it because that is my favorite beer right now,  and did I mention it was yummy?!

What can happen (by CAN I mean is SHOULD) is when you switch to rich, flavorful, tasty beers is you tend to appreciate each beer more fully. There are 2 possible layers of benefits to this.

#1 – These better beers are thicker and have more alcohol so typically you will drink less. There is a good chance you will end up drinking less calories overall in the week because you are not pounding light beers. Instead of 2 a night, you drop to 1 and enjoy every sweet sip of it. On the weekends, you’re not going to gulp down a 12 pack, but instead slowly appreciate 3 or 4.

#2 – This deeper layer is a more lofty thought. It comes down to changing the way you consume. Beer, wine, coffee, food, and other pleasures are gifts to us. We are meant to enjoy them, but not to abuse or over use. If you change the way you drink to this formula: water to sustain and other beverages as gifts to savor and appreciate,  instead of pouring cheap beer and pop down your throat like it is water, you change the entire way you consume.

This change in consumption can awaken your senses and sensibilities. Food and water are taken into your body for energy. Treats such as snacks, pop, or beer can be just that – treats. Take these in moderation and eat/drink them slowly. Enjoy them.

So do you drink your calories?

There is nothing worse than making a conscious effort to lower your caloric intake or simply eat healthier and find out you aren’t. I hated it when I found out those healthy granola bars I was eating were as many calories as a donut. Give me the donut then! Sure, the granola bar had more nutritional value, but some bars even have a not so pretty first ingredient (read your labels).

In addition to being dupped by “health” foods, there is the another trap folks fall into. Picture the sacrifices you make to eat healthier, thinking you are going to lose weight, but you miss one little thing – what you drink.

Here is some sobering math for you:
35 year old woman + lose weight + exercises regularly = around 2200 calories a day.
 
35 year old woman + lose weight + no exercise = around 1800 calories a day.
 
35 year old man who + lose weight + exercises regularly = around 2800 calories a day.
 
35 year old man who + lose weight + no exercise = around 2300 calories a day.
 
1 cup of mocha coffee in the morning = 200 calories
 
2 cans of pop  = 300 calories
 
2 beers or 2 glasses of wine = 300 calories
 
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So, let’s say you have to have your mocha in the morning on the way to work. Then you have a can of coke at lunch and maybe one in the afternoon to keep you going. Finally, after a long day, you only have 2 drinks. All of that seems reasonable, doesn’t it. Add it up though…you just drank 800 calories.
 
If you are an average woman of average age, average height, and average weight, and you don’t exercise much, you just drank almost half of your day’s calories! Good luck feeling full eating 1000 calories between all of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
 
The point here is don’t fall into the trap of forgetting to pay attention to what you drink. If you want to drink your calories for the day, go ahead. However, if you are working hard to maintain your weight (or lose some) don’t take two steps forward and one step back each and every day without knowing it.
 
Something, somewhere, has to change. You decide what stays and what goes.
 

Can’t give up fast food? Well here are some tips to help

I recently agreed to help a friend with a weight loss program. The Functional Fitness piece was easy, as I’ve been sharing that with others for years. I’m not a certified nutritionist, but I realized I have been making choices and improving my eating habits bit by bit for many years now, and have learned a trick or two.

This latest conversation was unique because this person made it clear they were not going to stop going to fast food restaurants. Typically an easy answer there would be to avoid fast food, but what do you do when that is not an option for time or other reasons?

fast-food

The best answer would be to help the person create fast, healthy options to avoid the restaurants, but again that was not an option. So, what do you do to improve how you eat at fast food places? I came up with a couple ideas to offer and so I thought I’d share them with others who find themselves in the drive thru.

#1: There are more and more healthy choices on fast food menus these days. Those salads at McDonalds are quite yummy. Try ’em out. Yogurt parfaits are also scrumptious.

#2: Avoid french fries like the plague. If you can’t live with the healthy side choices (like me because an apple as compared to fries is too difficult a choice) then try this idea. It isn’t as cheap, but buy your burger and then buy another small burger instead of fries. Burgers are a poor choice for carbs, proteins, and fats, but they are balanced between the three. In contrast, fries offer nothing but taste (and a bazillion calories!).

#3:  If you eat at fast food 4 times a week, make 2 of them Subway and eat a healthy sub there.

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#4:  Don’t have time for subway? First off…really? Anyway, if not then at least make 3 of the 4 days a day where you get that salad or the healthy side. You get the point. Any healthier choice is a step in the right direction. Think baby steps.

#5: Going along with that last point, try to cut out just 1 day a week where you hit the drive thru. Plan ahead and pack a lunch or pack a snack that can buy you time to make a dinner at home.

Remember, I’m not suggesting you ever get fast food, but some people just can’t (or won’t) avoid it. If that is you, then just try one of the tips above and make a small change for the better.

How to make small, healthy changes with your meals

It’s 2013, time for a bunch of you to do your new diets! Oh wait, it has been a month, so you have already stopped. Right?

Why do we fail with diets over and over and over again? My thoughts are the mental game is just too tough, coupled with your body fighting back. You body is like, “no more pizza? Fine then, just wait to see how I punish you for that!”

If you are one of the million Americans who try and fail at a diet each year, maybe you should step back a notch and go with baby steps. First off, you should be exercising, which is a foundation and needs to become a part of your lifestyle in any case. Then, slowly make some changes for the better – changes you can keep.

Here is a perfect example of a change: My family usually has a Mexican style meal each week, whether it is tacos, taco soup, fajitas, or quesadillas. One of the yummiest add-ons to any Mexican meal is sour cream (and/or) guacamole.

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Mmmm, I could just eat that photo. What we did was find other flavor adders which were not caked with a million calories. We thaw out a frozen peppers/onion mix and get really good salsa. Both of those are darn near freebies and full of flavor. We use them to replace the sour cream. The point is we did not throw away a calorie-laden meal, we made a small alteration which allowed us to still enjoy the meal greatly, but cut out a boat-load of calories.

Think about some of your meals. Can you remove cheese, or reduce the amount? Replace mayonaise with mustard and ground pepper? Upgrade your bread to a slightly healthier choice? Because eating healthy is not just about reducing calories – It is also about getting more nutrients.

When you find a small change that works for you, keep it. And don’t make too many changes at once. Just take baby steps. Alter your meals one or two at a time. Maybe you can go from that instant oatmeal to real oats with some cinnamon and brown sugar added? Maybe you can put some energy into making your lunchtime sandwich healthier by having orange and red peppers cut up? Maybe you find a better tasting spaghetti sauce so you don’t dump all that parmesan cheese on your plate of spaghetti?

Baby steps. Small changes, but changes you can keep. As the cumulative effect takes place month after month, you will one day just realize how healthy you are eating. And you didn’t have to upset your body with a crash diet!

lose weight by going old school for lunch

Lunch-Panini

What do you do for lunch?

Do you know where all the good restaurants are near your work?

How often do you eat out? All 5 days a work week?

If you answered yes to the last one, think about this:

First off, think about how much you spend a day on your lunch and then multiple it times 5 for a weekly total. Now multiply that times 4 for a rough monthly total. Still not motivated to change your habits, then multiply that last total times 12 for a yearly total. Most folks spend between $1500 and $2500 a year just to eat during the work week.

Secondly, most lunches will put you easily up close to 1000 calories (if not more). FYI, lunch should be around 500 calories!

How would you like to cut your cost – and your calorie intake – in well-over half? The answer is to go “old school,” and pack your lunch. The downside to this is the missed networking with coworkers you would normally have over a lunch table, but the benefits are amazing. Here are some tips to get started with the lunch packing.

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Tip #1: Find a staple sandwich or two and make ’em healthy. Think turkey or chicken and liven it up with freebies such as mustard, ground pepper, or fresh peppers.

Tip #2: Avoid adding flavor with high calorie dressings like mayonaise.

Tip #3: Spoil yourself with good cheese. Cheese has protein and if you can’t handle a sandwich without it, then make sure you do real deli cheese and not the proceesed American cheese.

Tip #4: Pack 2 sandwiches, and think of your lunch as two small lunches if possible in your work setting. For example, I eat half my lunch at 10:00 or 10:30 and the other half at the end of my lunch hour.

Tip #5: Have fruit, cottage cheese, or yogurt to go with your sandwich and eat a helping with each sandwich to balance out eat mini-meal

Tip #6: Tossing in 6 almonds with one of the mini-meals is a great treat (almonds = healthy fats)

Tip #7: You might need a protein bar or yogurt for the 3:00 hunger pangs to help you avoid snacks or pop before you leave work.

Going “old school,” for people used to eating out each day is a large change, however, if you only change this one thing, you are light years ahead of where you would be in the weight loss/nutrition battle. Instead of changing your whole world with a drastic diet, try this one small trick for a while and note your progress. Once it becomes a habit (6 months or so) I bet you will never go back.

No-Bake Protein Bars

Normally I do not talk about nutrition, but I have been using this great recipe for protein bars. I only have them in the afternoon between lunch and dinner to keep me going at work.  My one daughter has a half of one to make it through school. They taste awesome and are easy to make.

2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
4 scoops of protein powder (I use rich chocolate, but vanilla or cookies n cream are good)
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds (I don’t grind mine, as I like the texture)
1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cup water (depending on type of protein powder)
 
Knead ingredients in a large bowl
line a square baking pan with wax paper and put mix into it with spatula
freeze for 30 minutes (don’t forget about it, or it will get rock hard and will difficult to cut – trust me!)
remove from freezer, cut into 8 bars
 
Nutrients per serving:
230 calories
total fats 10 g. saturated fat 2 g.
cholesterol 15 mg
sodium 20 mg
total carbohydrates 21 g
dietary fiber 4 g
sugars 3 g
protein 15 g
iron 2 mg
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