Tag Archives: diet

My Lazy Woman’s Diet

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So, some of you have embarked upon the Hairscapades 28 Days/10 Minutes a Day Fitness Challenge. And among a variety of goals, one of the most common is to lose excess pounds to improve health issues, energy, and/or self-esteem. As you may know, that is partly what motivated my 28 turned 365 Days of Fitness challenge almost a year ago. I started at 148.5 pounds (I’m 5’1″) with a goal to get back down to my preferred weight of 120 pounds and ultimately, I did reach my goal. So, I often get asked, “Did you have to change your diet?”

Ummm. YES!! LOL!

I have never been a person who lost weight with only diet or exercise. I have to do both. There is no way around it, in order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. Simple. Truth. You can work out 4 hours a day. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you eat as many calories as you burn, your weight will remain the same. I can’t tell you how many people I saw in the gym REGULARLY who always looked the same … overweight. And I’m not talking about the folks who only seemed to go to the gym to socialize. I’m talking about the people really breaking a sweat who looked the same year … after year … after year.

So, I’m telling you this now. You can get stronger, you can build more muscle, you can improve your endurance, and you can improve your health with exercise alone. But 80-90% of weight loss is diet. You will not lose weight if you don’t know/understand how much you are eating and how much you are burning. So, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to look at your diet and figure out how to eat enough to fuel yourself while still creating a calorie deficit. Also, you can’t tone fat and muscle is already toned. So, if you are looking to get tighter, leaner, lose the jiggle or the spare tire … you HAVE to increase muscle mass and lose fat weight.

All that being said, I’m not going to tell you what to eat. But, what I will do is share a very simple food fact and then what works for me.

carb-fat-protein

THE SIMPLE FOOD FACT

FOOD IS COMPRISED OF THREE SOURCES OF CALORIES ONLY! THREE.

  • FAT (9 cals per gram)
  • CARBOHYDRATES (4 cals per gram)
  • PROTEIN (4 cals per gram

That’s it. There’s nothing else. Most people can readily identify protein and know the difference between lean and fatty cuts. And we know whole fruits and vegetables are mostly low calorie and the good for us carbs (fresh or frozen). So, if it’s not protein or fruits and veggies, it’s fat or carbs and often both (and dairy has all three). Reduce the fats and non-fruit and vegetable carbs and you’ll probably lose weight. Because, seriously, I don’t know anyone who binges on grilled, skinless chicken breast, broccoli, or apples. LOL!! And, even if they did, the damage would probably be minimal to none. Oh, and don’t think I’m saying fruit and veggies are the only good carbs. I co-sign on whole oat oatmeal, rice (particularly brown), white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (my faves).

Okay, so that’s my spiel on that.

Now, on to my diet when I want to lose weight. As some of you may know, I am not a fan of cooking and rely heavily on Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen meals for lunch and dinner when I am “counting calories.” Because of that, I’ve coined my diet, “The Lazy Woman’s Diet” aka “Cooking? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” LMBO!! That being said, this is what it typically looks like

MY LAZY WOMAN’S DIET

  • Breakfast:
    • Green smoothie (1-2 c. kale or spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, handful of frozen sliced strawberries, 1 c. almond milk, 1 scoop Vanilla Bean or Strawberry Mousse Nectar Whey Protein Powder), or
    • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal or 1/2 cup cooked Grapenuts with 1/2 cup blueberries (Dole frozen/thawed) and 1/2 c. plain almond milk
    • A cup of instant coffee w/2 packs of Truvia, 1 tsp Agave and a little powdered skim milk.
  • Snack:
    • Fage yogurt (fruit variety/2% or 0% fat)
    • 9-10 almonds or handful of walnuts (occasionally)
  • Lunch:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish with rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta)
    • 1/2 to 1 c. added frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, sugar snap snow peas, mixed veggies)
    • Piece of fruit
  • Snack: Organic baby food
  • Dinner:
    • Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish w/rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta) w/added vegetables (spinach, broccoli or sugar snap snow peas)
    • A piece of fruit (occasionally)
  • Post work-out: Nectar Whey Protein Shake (w/banana if after yoga) (I only do this if a regular meal doesn’t immediately follow my work-out)

LCRewardsMy bucket of un-entered Lean Cuisine Rewards Codes. Told ya.

If you are concerned about the amount of sodium in my “diet plan” due to the frozen meals, check out this post I did earlier last year about Sodium and Weight Loss.

So that’s it. Wait. No it’s not. One tip that I would give on “dieting” is to not worry about the amount of calories when you start watching what you eat. Think about the QUALITY of the calories instead. Rather than jumping into reducing your calories to 1200-1500 or whatever, just get rid of food that has little to no nutritional value, ESPECIALLY calories that you can’t chew (except green smoothies ;)). Seriously, soda, juice, milk shakes, lattes, etc. … squash them. Replace those empty calories with nutritious ones so that you don’t feel like gnawing off your arm by noon!! Fruits, veggies, low fat/sugar yogurt, whole grain crackers, granola, nuts, brown rice, low fat popcorn, etc. are all options. Get your body adjusted to eating a healthier type of calories. Then, you may find that you are naturally able to reduce your calories because you won’t find yourself overeating whole, healthier foods. And, because you are eating every few hours, you’ll reduce cravings and be able to start cutting back on calories without losing your mind.

WAIT!!

(Who remembers Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures? ;))

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS!! At least, that’s what I believe. As I said the other day on FB, some healthy foods taste great, but I don’t care what anyone says, nothing makes my toes wiggle like buttercream icing!! LOL!! That being said, I believe that we can indulge in our favorite bad foods every now again and still lose weight. It might take a little longer, but it’ll happen. So, enjoy your life along the way ;)! Because this is the thing. You can’t go back to eating the way you did before you lost the weight and expect to keep it off. Therefore, it’s important to learn to eat in a way that you can sustain a lifetime.

Aaaaaaaaand … I’m done!!

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If you have struggled with weight loss, what are the challenges you’ve faced? If you’ve overcome them, what did you do to make a “diet” work for you?

Sodium and Weight Loss

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As some of you may know, I am not a fan of cooking and rely on Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen meals for lunch and dinner when I am “counting calories” in order to lose or maintain weight. I’ve posted this in the past, but as a refresher, my “Lazy Woman’s Diet” typically looks like this:

  • Breakfast: 1/2 oatmeal or 1/2 cup cooked Grapenuts with 1/2 cup blueberries (Dole frozen/thawed) and 1/2 c. plain almond milk; cup of instant coffee w/2 packs of Truvia, 1 tsp Agave and a little powdered skim milk.
  • Snack: Fage yogurt (fruit variety/2% or 0% fat)
  • Lunch: Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish with rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta) and added vegetables (spinach, broccoli or sugar snap snow peas) and a piece of fruit
  • Snack: Organic baby food
  • Dinner: Lean Cuisine (chicken turkey or fish w/rice, potatoes, whole wheat or orzo pasta) w/added vegetables (spinach, broccoli or sugar snap snow peas); fruit (apple, navel orange, cherries, banana) on occasion.
  • Post work-out: Whey Protein Shake (Nectar Strawberry Mousse); w/banana if after hot yoga

Now, I often hear healthcare professionals like Dr. Oz indicate that “light” frozen meals aren’t good choices because of the high sodium levels. In fact, everyone has heard this so much, I’m often questioned about it.

However, I’ve never been concerned about it as the other food in my diet has little to no sodium and provides a decent amount of fiber. Regardless, back in Jan/Feb, when I was tracking my calories and nutrients with the app, Lose It! (which I posted about here), I decided to do a little research about sodium and weight loss. I then compared the recommendations to my average daily sodium intake following the above “diet plan.”

via Livestrong.com

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that individuals younger than 51 consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. On average, Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. In order to lose weight, it is recommended that you consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

How Sodium Affects Weight Loss
Excess sodium in the body leads to sodium buildup and water retention. A high level of sodium in the body causes the kidneys to work harder and hold onto extra water in order to excrete the sodium. Those who reduce the amount of sodium in their diet will notice weight loss because the kidneys are able to process sodium without the help from extra water.

When I reviewed my average daily sodium intake for the three weeks that I tracked my meals on the Lose It! app. It was as follows:

Week 1: 1547.2 mg
Week 2: 1576.2 mg
Week 3: 1994.9 mg

And, that week three? I believe I had a Greek salad at a diner and only tracked my meals for a few days that week. So, that caused my average sodium intake to increase to an average of almost 2000 mg. However, in general, it seems that with my sodium intake is pretty well-controlled and close enough to the recommended 1500 mg or less a day that is needed to support weight loss.

So, if you were wondering about incorporating frozen meals into your diet in order to lose weight and wondered how sodium affected weight loss, there you go! Hope that you found it helpful!!

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Do you consider and monitor your sodium intake when attempting to lose weight?

10 Foods that Promote Healthy Hair

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by Nicole W. of Loving Me Naturally  

Hey Ladies,

We all have taken the time to find the right natural products for our hair, but what about putting forth the same effort or initiative, when it comes to what we put in our bodies? Below are the 10 foods you should incorporate into your diets for healthy hair.

Salmon
I love love love salmon. We eat this in our household at least once a week. I bake salmon fillets or I make salmon patties. Salmon is filled with vitamin B-12 and Iron.

Dark Green Vegetables
Broccoli and Spinach for instance. I make great spinach dip and I also like spinach salads with, bell pepper, cucumber, carrots and tomatoes!

Beans
I really like green beans and, when I make chili, I add kidney beans to it.

Nuts
Cashews are my favorite nuts, but you can eat almonds and pecans as well.

Poultry
We eat chicken a lot. But also, I make turkey tacos, turkey burgers, turkey chili, turkey spaghetti and baked turkey wings. Mmmmmmmmm!! :o) Poultry will give the protein that hair needs.

Eggs
Now, I don’t like eggs unless I eat them at Crackel Barrel! Lol. Eggs give us protein and Vitamin B-12.

Whole Grains
Whole wheat bread, which is the only kind I eat, is a great whole grain.

Oysters
Oysters provide us with zinc.

Low-Fat Dairy Products
Skim milk and gogurt provide great calcium. I do not drink skim milk, but I love yogurt, especially Yoplait.

Carrots
Carrots are awesome, especially when dipped in a little ranch dressing. Or, you can add them to your salad. Carrots provide Vitamin A, which promotes good vision and healthy hair.

So ladies, incorporating a good diet into your natural hair journey will only benefit you more!!

Baby Food: It’s Not Just for Babies!!

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Okay, first … Don’t judge me!!! So, a fellow NC.com/CurlyNikki/Kim Cole’s GOC blogger got me interested in the whole banana in your deep conditioner thing last May (“Look man, I ain’t fallin’ for no banana in my tailpipe.”). Anywho, so shortly thereafter, I was at the grocery store and was in the baby food aisle and remembered the post. But, as I was standing there, I thought, “You have 4 deep conditioners in the house. You do NOT need to be experimenting and buying one more thing for your hair.” (Anyone else use “you” instead of “I” when talking sternly to yourself?)

Anyway, so I’m standing there repressing my PJ tendencies and looking at the baby food bananas thinking, “Maybe I’ll get some to eat, because I remember this stuff tasting good.” I looked at the calorie content and it was, like, 100 calories in that little jar!!! However, in close proximity to the bananas were these little pouches of HappyBaby and Ella’s Kitchen organic baby food that combined fruits with veggies.


I flipped to see the calories and they ranged from 45-90 a serving, with fiber, low sugar and no fat. Also, no water was added either. In case you don’t know, I don’t do cooking too much. When I’m working out, I need my food fast. I have great respect for all those doing raw food diets or making healthy meals. But, that’s too much prep for me to ever maintain. That is why I am the Lean Cuisine Queen. So, back to the story. As I’m looking at these packets, it hit me, this could be a really easy, convenient, healthy and economical post-work, pre-workout, driving home snack!! So, I bought, like, 10!!! I’ve been eating these for many months nows and they are pretty good (especially cold). I especially LOVE the HappyBaby bananas, beets and blueberries … mmmm, mmmm DELISH!! Anyway, I’ve found them to really meet my needs! It seems that they were on sale when I first found them (less than $1 each). They seem to range from about $1.19 – $1.89 at regular price. So yeah, now that I’m back on my grind, I eat baby food as a snack once a day now. Think of it this way, it’s just pureed fruit and veggies!! Whatever works baby, whatever works!

Count You Calories for Weight Loss Success

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by JKoi of The Koi Experience

When we begin the desire to lose weight, the first thing that comes to mind is the amount of exercise that we should do to drop whatever amount of pounds we feel we should get rid of. What many do not realize is that many extreme fitness gurus believe that physical training is only 25%  of what it takes to have proper weight loss. Guess what the other 75% is?

Nutrition.

Now don’t start to roll your eyes and think of starving yourself and eating a carrot and a glass of water 3 times a day. That foolish thinking is what causes people to fail their weight loss journey. In my experience, the most successful way to start a healthy eating regimen that will not only cause you to lose weight, but will eventually become a way of life is to start counting your daily calorie intake and maintaining a food journal.

I know everyone has heard about calories, but I will break it down as to what exactly a calorie is and the importance of understanding what it means to your weight loss and fitness goals.

Did you know a calorie isn’t a thing right? It is actually a unit of measure of the energy contained in food and beverages that we consume.  Calories are found in protein, fat, carbohydrates. Take a wild guess which contain the most calories of the group? That’s right, fat (protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and fat 9 calories per gram).

Look at it like this: calories contained in food and drink are the fuel that runs our bodies like gas in a vehicle.  Just like cars, we all have different tank sizes and we each have a certain amount of calories that we burn each day before our tank goes empty. This is our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). To calculate this it depends on several factors such as your level of activity and metabolism. Fortunately for us there are online calculators such as this one that will figure it our for us. Once you have this number, then you can take a look at how to cut calories from your diet to obtain your weight loss goals then be able to maintain them.

Now here’s a few other tips to keep in mind when you are trying to lose weight:

  • One pound equals 3,500 calories. So if you eat up to 3,500 or more calories within a week, don’t be suprised when you see the scale jump.
  • The USDA recommends that  the average recommended caloric intake for losing weight is about 1,500 calories a day. While this is true, I believe that you should figure out your own before just going with this number.
  • People who believe that dropping to 1,200 calorie diets is a sure fire way to lose weight, this isn’t necessarily true because if you are following a rigorous workout regimen, that is nowhere near enough to properly fuel your body and you will lose energy and even possibly become ill.

Well since I’m all about making things simple, here are some awesome sites that will not only assist you in finding your proper calorie intake, but also be able to keep a food journal so you know how many and what kind of calories you consume each day.

My absolute favorite site is SparkPeople.com. This site has it all, nutrition, fitness and motivation tracking, all for free! You can find me under username LadySgt83.

Here are the other sites.

Calorie Count Plus

My Calorie Counter.com

Livestrong.com/thedailyplate

New Calorie Counter.com

Well here you go, if you have any questions or need assistance on counting calories, please feel free to leave your question in the comments. Next time, I will go in detail with my own calorie intake and staying honest on the food journal.

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One thing that I’ll add is that once you understand calories, the components of food and have kept a food journal for a while, you’ll be able to guesstimate the calories in your food almost intuitively. I no longer calorie count to lose weight as I know exactly what I need to eat, how often and how much exercise to reach my weight loss goals. That being said, it started with journaling my food and I did that for close to two years before it became ingrained. Also, as J Koi indicated, a food journal is about being honest with yourself. Often, we may forget that little snack we had here or that little morsel there and it all adds up. So journaling really forces you to confront your eating habits and the foods and drinks that you consume.  

But, once you get it down, you will really feel a sense of empowerment and control, both of which are priceless.

Do you/have you ever maintain(ed) a food journal? How did/does it work for you?