10 Simple Calorie Cuts You Can Make Now to Make A Big Impact

Losing weight is hard. Unfortunately, we often make it harder than it needs to be. We read about the latest diet trend and flip our whole lifestyle upside down.

Sure, this may work for some – but let’s be honest, it doesn’t work for many.

Going from a standard American diet to the latest green smoothie, gluten free, dairy free trend is like trying to go from 0 to 100 in your grandmas Oldsmobile. It’s going to be a struggle, and that much change at once is hard to stick with.

To lose body fat, you need to be eating fewer calories than you burn – and here are 10 simple swaps you can make to save you calories over the course of the day. If you currently eat these foods, you don’t need to stop, just make these small adjustments and you will be golden.

1 – Bread – are you a sandwich person? There is nothing inherently bad about sandwiches, they really get a bad rep. Look at your bread. How many calories per slice? How many grams of carbs and fiber per slice? I really like to keep it in the 15 carbs per slice and 2+ grams of fiber per slice range. 50 calories.

2 – Milk – if you can handle milk, lucky you. Switching from 2% to skim, or even from whole to 2% can shave off some calories over the course of a day. 40 calories.

3- Soda – yes, in a perfect world we would all drink water. But even by switching from regular to diet, you can REALLY cut off some calories especially if you are a big soda drinker. And no, you don’t need to worry about the artificial sweeteners unless you are drinking over 23 cans per day…then we should talk. 150+ calories.

4 – Cheese – do you REALLY taste the cheese on your sandwich or burger? If not, cut it out. That alone can save you 80-120 calories.

5 – Breading – breaded chicken or fish may taste great, but between the breading and the grease that is trapped in the breading, there can be a whole lot of calories that can be cut. Go with baked or broiled and you will still get all the protein and none of the grease. 200 calories.

6 – Mixers – just like the soda, switching from regular soda or tonic water in cocktails to water or club soda (different than tonic) will cut out unnecessary calories from your drinks. Or just relive your glory days and rip some shots (kidding, sort of) 150+ calories

7 – Lean meats – switching from 80/20 beef to 93/7 or leaner is a big calorie saver. And be aware of ground turkey. Just because it is turkey, it can still be 80/20 – so leaner red meats are still fewer calories. One of my favorites is using 99% lean ground chicken for tacos – because once all the seasonings and other stuff is added, you can’t tell the difference. 200 calories.

8 – Eggs – if you are big egg eater, try switching out even one egg per day for some whites. You can still get all the protein but cut calories from the yolk (fat). Yolks are not as bad as once thought, but even cutting back from 3 to 2 eggs will shave off 80 cals.

9 – Carb swap – if 1/3 or 1/2 of your plate is usually carbs (rice, pasta, potato) – try dropping it to 1/4th of your plate and fill the void with more veggies. This will make sure that you are still getting enough volume in your meal, without as many calories. 150 calories

10 – Coffee dessert drinks – switching a latte for a cafe Americano will save you 200 calories. If you still need creamer at home, I suggest Walden Farm’s creamers. They are zero cals and still taste awesome. 200+ calories

There you have it! 1340 calories of savings – without much of a change!

10 swaps you can make right now, without completely revamping your diet.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

3 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Fat

1)You’re eating too much

2)You’re eating too much

3)You’re eating too much

…really.

In all seriousness, this is the cause of weight gain. Too many calories in over time, with the body not able to expend them, leads to fat gain. Notice that I say “losing fat” vs. “losing weight”.

Weight loss is dumb. Weight loss is frustrating, confusing, and random. Unfortunately, so many people only focus on weight loss, instead of really focussing on fat loss.

If you lose weight, here’s what could be lost:

  • Water
  • Muscle
  • Poop
  • Urine
  • A limb

If you lose body fat, here is what could be lost:

  • Bodyfat

The goal should never be to lose water weight, lose muscle, or most definitely not a limb. So how can you determine if you are losing fat?

Many options, but my favorites include:

  • Belly button measurement – if it goes down or up, this MAY be from water retention, but over the long term, it is a good basic measurement of body fatness.
  • Skinfold measurements – make sure you get them down by someone who actually knows what they are doing. Still plenty of room for error.
  • DEXA Scan – the gold standard of body fat analysis, but it will cost you $75-$100.
  • The clothes test – do your clothes fit better? Down a size?
  • The naked mirror test – how do you look to yourself?

Back to the topic of this post, you need to focus on the “why”, not the what.

Just stepping on the scale or measuring your waist makes you aware of body fat, but it doesn’t change anything. This is the desired result, not the desired process.

The 3 areas that I see most people underestimating their intakes on are:

You Drink Too Many Calories

Alcohol, soda, milk, juice, creamers, all add up to your total caloric intake. Some are obviously better options than others. If you can stick to zero-calorie drinks as much as possible – water being ideal – this will make the process so much easier.

https://www.bodysculptorsaustralia.com/diet-sabotage---dont-drinking-your-calories.html

https://www.bodysculptorsaustralia.com/diet-sabotage—dont-drinking-your-calories.html

Alcohol especially is a double whammy on the fat loss goal. When you drink, your body diverts energy to break down the alcohol – because it is toxic. Where does it divert this energy from? Your fatty acid oxidation and muscle protein synthesis pathways. When alcohol enters your body, your fat burning system slows down, AND your muscle building/repair system also slows down.

5 beers might “only” be 600 calories – but the caloric toll it takes on the body is likely closer to 1000+ because of the slowing of your other metabolic processes.

Not saying you can never drink – but I recommend a self-audit on your intake, and if you are over 3-4 drinks per week, this might be an area to address.

You Snack Too Much

A nibble here, a bite there…it all counts.

If you try to stick to 3 square meals a day with nothing in between, could you do it? This strategy has worked for many of my clients based on the pure fact that they are chronic snackers.

At the moment little bites of things don’t seem like much. But look at how it can add up – and even with “good” foods.

 

500 calories, mostly from carb and fat. This might be an okay meal (little skimpy on protein if you ask me), but these are things that most people might have here or there during a day, and even if they track their food, they forget about. These aren’t massive portions either.

Awareness is key, and sometimes cutting back on areas that you know you struggle with is what it takes.

You Are Too Impatient

Lastly – the big one. Your body is always going through changes. As stated earlier, water weight can fluctuate like crazy, and this can drive people nuts. This is why it is very important to focus on the long game, watch your progress from week to week, month to month – instead of day to day.

Observe this 2-month stretch. Between the lines is 10 pounds.

You can see the day to day ups and downs. But the overall trend is money. It’s easy to get discouraged after a few days of hard work and nothing to be seen on the scale. This is where most people say screw it and give up. You have to get past this point. This is also why DAILY weighing can be so powerful and helpful.

Can you imagine if the weight was only measured on a weekly basis? That is where all the highest peaks are! (This person always weighed the most on Mondays…as is typical 🙂 This would be tremendously frustrating and psychologically disastrous to most people.

With daily weighing, you can see the trend over the long haul, and with the right mindset approach – this can make a huge difference.

Before you toss out your scale and down a dozen doughnuts in anger, remember – you are likely eating too much over THE LONGER period of time, not day to day – and this is okay, but if you want to make change, you gotta take some action, and it starts with taking a good honest look at yourself.

 

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Never Strength Trained Before? No Problem.

Strength training is growing in popularity among average Joe’s and Jane’s, which is friggin awesome! I write about its importance all the time, and how it is literally the fountain of youth (when done correctly).

One of my client’s grandsons just signed up for a gym membership because he enjoyed training this summer. How cool is that? However, I want to make sure that even he has a credible resource that he can go to for training because there is a ton of fluff out there!

If you have absolutely no experience, are afraid, need a refresher or have zero clue where to start and what to do – this is for you.  I will try and lay it out in the post, step by step, as clear as possible. If you have any questions feel free to post or email me – mike@mgfitlife.com.

1) Focus on all the fundamental movements – push, pull, squat and hip hinge.

What the heck are these?

PUSH – think push up, or pushing AWAY from your body, like a chest press. Can’t do a push up? Try hands elevated pushups. Any pressing machine or dumbbells will work as well.

PULL – pulling weight towards you. Start with a form of horizontal pull like a dumbbell row, a body weight row, or cable row.

SQUAT – pretty much exactly how it sounds. The squat is more of a knee dominant exercise and it tends to work the quads, or front of the legs more than the hamstrings, or backs of the legs.

Start with just body weight, then add weight once you can sit down to the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor.

HINGE – this is also a lower body exercise but focuses on hinging from the hips – and works more of the backs of the legs – hamstrings and glutes (butt).

Start with a slight bend in the knees, but then push your hips back keeping your spine straight. Go to the point of feeling a stretch in the backs of your thighs then return to the top.

If using weights, keep them close to your legs, and shoulders back and tight.

If you know you have lower back issues, do not feel ready for this movement, or don’t think your form is on point, you can also use the floor glute bridge as an option.

 

So these are the 4 basic movement patterns that will cover most muscles of the body, now what do we do with them?

Start with ONE workout, because one is infinitely more than zero.

First – warm up. This can be as simple as a 5-10 minute brisk walk followed by 20 forward and 20 backward arm circles to warm up your shoulders.

Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions (reps) of the first exercise before moving to the next. Give yourself about 1 minute rest in between sets.

What weight should I use??? Use a weight that allows you to get all 8-10 reps, but it somewhat challenging by the final rep. If you know you have some natural strength, you may have to start with some ramp up sets. This means you wouldnt jump to a max effort set on set one, but rather build up to it. Say your working weight is 100 pounds.

You might start with 1×10 @ 50 (ramp 1), then 1×10 @75 (ramp 2), then 3×10 @ 100

You still shouldn’t go to failure on your working sets, and you shouldn’t force sloppy reps.

I often use the cue – leave a few reps in the tank. Meaning, if you absolutely HAD to do 12 or 13 reps you could.

How does this look?

Example:

  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 push ups or dumbbell presses – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 rows – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 squats – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute
  • 10 hinges – rest for 1 minute

That’s it!

See how you feel 2 days later, and if you feel up to it, repeat the same exact workout once or twice in the week,

Then what?

The most simple way to progress is to add reps until you get to about 20. Then go back to 10 reps and add weight. This will cover you for a decent amount of weeks and if you are truly new to lifting weights you will be good to go.

Example:

  • Week 1 – 10 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 2 – 12 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 3 – 15 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 4 – 18 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 5 – 20 chest presses with 10 pounds
  • Week 6 – 10 chest presses with 12 pounds
  • Week 7 – 12 chest presses with 12 pounds
  • And so on and so on…

That is literally the most basic form of weight training you can do, and if you are totally new to it this will be a great place to start!

Don’t try to get ahead of yourself and add weight every workout. It takes time for muscles to grow, and slow and steady is always the way to go!

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Reach Your Goals Faster By Adding THIS to Your Plan

“I’m going to get healthy”

“I’m going to save more money for ____”

“I’m going to spend more time with my family”

All reasonable goals that people might say. However, what is the one common trend among them? They are all about “I”. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do things for yourself, and go at it like a lone wolf, the power that other people can have to help accelerate your progress can be tremendous.

Three Ways to Use Others to Accelerate Your Progress

Use sounds so harsh, but know that this is not in a bad way like manipulating or taking advantage of, but rather using the power of others to progress quicker, stick to plans, and boost results.

1 – Make a Promise

Studies have shown that when you make a promise to someone, you are more likely to do it. If you make a promise to a group of people, you are even more likely to do it. If you make a promise to a large audience – like your social media circle, a crowd of people, etc. you are even MORE likely to follow through (tell that to the politicians though… 🙂

It is our human nature to not want to let other people down, and not disappoint social expectations.

When it comes to these promises, make sure that they are centered around your process goals (actions to reach the goal), and not your result goals (actual goal).

If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by Jan 1, write out the things that you need to do to reach this goal, then choose 1 or 2 to focus on, and make that promise to someone, or a bunch of people. Write it out, make a contract, etc. The more “intense” you make it the better.

2 – Band Together with a Tribe

We want to fit in. We want to be accepted. Again – it’s human nature – actually it’s nature. Even animals show interesting traits of wanting to fit in when they are in groups.

You are much more likely to achieve your goals if you spend time with like minded people. Saving money for a house? Maybe you shouldn’t be trying to keep up with your friends who want to party every weekend and don’t have the same goal as you. I’m not saying you need to abandon your friends, but pick and choose when you hang out with them based on the influence that it might have on your ultimate goal.

Joining a group that has the same interest or goal as you makes it easier to continue to do those things because it’s seen as the norm when you are with that group. It’s what these people do, so I should to it to! Peer pressure isn’t always a negative.

Even more powerful is joining a group with the same goal as you that also has a current shared interest/commonality.

Mom’s Reading Book Club – Goal: To Read More, Commonality: Mom’s

Ladies Lifting Group – Goal: Lift weights and get jacked, Commonality: Ladies Only

Young Entrepreneurs Networking Group – Goal: Increase Network, Commonality: Young Entrepreneurs

You get the idea. Find a tribe or group, and hang with them more – and the challenging actions from outside of the group will magically become the social norm for you.

When you constantly hang out with people who don’t align with your goals, you are much less likely to achieve them. Sure, willpower can work for some time, but eventually you hanging out with the group of friends that wants to crush beers, pig out, and sleep in until 11 AM will pull your further and further from your goal of losing fat.

3 – Use a Friend to Increase Your “Risk”

Give a friend $500 and tell them that for every day you go to the gym with them, they have to give you $5 back. Every time you back out, they get to keep $5.

Seems outrageous, but it’s actually more likely to get you to the gym frequently. This gives you 100 money making opportunities to get to the gym. That is a pretty damn good goal, wouldn’t you say?

Even one step further – tell them that every time you back out, they get to donate your $5 to the political party that you DON’T align with. Classic reward/punishment system here.

Whatever you choose to do, the more you put on the line as far as potential rewards or punishments, you are more likely to have that extra kick in the pants when it comes time to do your action.

The key here is involving someone else. When you make promises and set up reward systems for yourself, you are more likely to make excuses, and justify half assed promises. It can really be anything – someone will pay for dinner, will buy tickets to _____, will take you ____, – anything that gives you that extra kick to push towards your goal.

Even if you are more of a lone wolf, finding one person to align with, make a promise to, or setup a reward system with will increase your odds at winning. Link ALL 3 techniques together, and I think you would be pretty much unstoppable!

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

Eating While on the Road

***THIS WAS ORIGINALLY SENT TO MY INSIDERS EMAIL LIST***

If you aren’t already on the list, get on it here –> SUBSCRIBE

I got so much feedback on this one that I figured I would post it here as well, but this is rare, and might never happen again 🙂

If you travel a lot for work or find yourself in the car a large portion of the day, it can seem like the food choices are stacked against you if you are trying to maintain some sort of healthy diet, or even tougher if you are trying to actually lose some weight.

Truth is, it is “harder” but not impossible – and it is actually rather simple if you follow these simple rules.

Rule #1: Are you actually hungry? 

If you just ate breakfast or lunch, you shouldn’t be hungry. Driving long days in the car can be stressful, boring and tiring. However, using food to cope with these three emotions is never a good idea, especially when you are stuck in a small confined space of a vehicle.

If you find yourself mindlessly stress snacking in the car, the first thing to address is the question of “how did this snack food get in here in the first place?” – you. It all starts with you. If you know you are prone to this, don’t buy that stuff. You are only exposing yourself to an opportunity to mindlessly eat.

It’s like a recovering alcoholic popping in the liquor store to buy a water…not the best idea.

Rule #2 – Protein First

I like the rule of “20 grams or bust” – anything I eat in the car, when I am actually hungry, has to contain 20 grams of protein or more per serving. This will help keep you full, minimize the possibility that it is a junk food, and should hold you over until you reach your destination.

It doesn’t have to be all from one food, or even at one time either, but keeping it to 20 or more grams of protein is key.

Some examples might be:

  • Quest Protein Bar
  • Fairlife (Core Power) High Protein Milkshake
  • Jack Links Tender Bites
  • Hard-boiled eggs

These are all things that you can buy at most well stocked, larger gas stations.

Just like avoiding the snacky, mindless food takes the preparation of not buying them, making sure you are stocked up on quality protein foods also takes preparation.

Rule #3 – If Eating Fast Food…

Let’s be real. You’re going to stop for fast food at some point. While it may not be ideal, it is still possible to do some form of damage control. Applying the protein rule again – this should be your first focus. Luckily, most fast food places have the calories listed on their menus now, so you should be able to figure out what the better choices are.

Stick to these basics and you should be covered:

  • Don’t drink your calories – water, or diet soda ALWAYS
  • Non-breaded chicken is the leanest option
  • Minimize the extra fat – cheese, bacon, mayo, all can be skipped
  • You might be better off getting 2 sandwiches than 1 sandwich and fries…
  • 6″ subs with double meat are always a good choice
  • You don’t need dessert with your fatty lunch…ever.
  • It is already high in calories, so no, you don’t want to supersize it.

While it may not be the most convenient, eating on the road and sticking to your goals is possible. Like accomplishing anything else, it takes a little planning, and little prep, and a little bit of willpower.

In the end, it comes down to keeping your target goal in mind, and reminding yourself what this is all worth, and where you are trying to get to in your health journey.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,

The True Cost of Convenience

This post idea comes to you from the great mind of one my clients and good friends, and mentors 🙂 You know who you are.

5 for $5, Dollar Menus, Meal Deals, they all scream deals and steals – but at what cost?

011516-Fast food meal deals_1

Sure they, are cheap, easy, and convenient – but do they make your life cheap, easy and convenient? Dig a little deeper, and we see that these meals are absolute calorie bombs, add up in the long term due to high costs associated with obesity, and make you feel sluggish, bloated, and downright greasy.

The National Institutes of Health released an extensive review article in the Obesity Review Journal in January of 2011 on the direct medical and healthcare costs of being overweight or obese in the United States.

After reviewing 33 journal articles, NIH researchers concluded that the average annual cost of being overweight is an additional $266 and the annual cost of being obese is $1723, with a total aggregate cost of overweight or obese is $199.3 billion (1).

Unfortunately, the percent of Americans that are overweight/obese is on the rise. Currently, 66% of Americans are overweight (BMI > 25) and 32% of those Americans are obese (BMI > 30). Researchers have concluded that if our country stays on the current path of weight gain, 86% of Americans could be overweight by the year 2030, with 51% of them being obese (2).

Along with potentially leading to obesity, these meal deals can lead you down a path to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and much more!

What do these “meal deals” provide?

Looking at the Burger King 5 for $4, this is an incredible amount of food for $4.00. Split between a few people and it could be somewhat calorie controlled. But lets be honest, we could all take it down by ourselves.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 11.44.41 AM

At 1,130 calories, 155 grams of carbs, and 47 grams of fat, this could be close to the ENTIRE DAILY INTAKE for a smaller woman looking to lose body fat.

For a man, this could easily account for more than half of your daily calories.

Not to mention, most of the fat is from saturated and trans fats, along with very simple carbs – and very low protein.

Next, the 2 for $2 at McDonalds

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 11.47.38 AM

620 calories, 62 grams of carbs and 30 grams of fat. Another calorie bomb, and this is even without adding a nice fountain soda (pop to some of you) to wash it all down.

Lastly, we look at the Wendy’s 4 for $4 deal

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 11.50.55 AM

Once again, we see 1,030 calories, 118 grams of carbs, and 49 grams of fat.

Another huge intake, easily in one sitting.

If this was a theoretical day, it would look like this (compared to my goal intakes)

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 11.52.50 AM

Note the lower protein intake at only 85 grams for the day and still hitting almost 2800 calories. This is where this “diet” would really miss the mark if you were trying to optimize your body composition, lose fat, and feel better overall (myfitnesspal doesn’t take into account how this diet would make you feel, and the amount of time you might be spending on the toilet).

The 85 grams of protein comes out to measly 12% of total calories, not nearly enough to support a young man trying to get his muscle swell on or a busy woman trying hard to lose fat and get back into that red dress she has hanging in her closet.

At 2780 calories, I might be able to salvage my maintenance weight if I am training hard, and staying pretty active. Again, I don’t see this day being a very pleasant one however.

This level of calorie intake, and the given amounts of macronutrient intake will only be working against any goals you may have. The huge intake of carbs and fat will trigger big time fat storage, especially in a relatively sedentary individual, and the calories alone are likely to put most people into a surplus unless your name is JJ Watt or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

the-rock-cheat-meals*** I can bet the Rock doesn’t eat like this 24/7 – and he works his butt off in the gym***

“But these meals are all I have time for, and I can afford them easily!”

This is very narrow minded thinking. Yes they are affordable, yes they are convenient, but for what type of life? Who are you trying to be? Who are you in charge of feeding? Would you not sacrifice and extra 5 minutes a day to eat healthy, feed your kids better, and work towards the body of your dreams? You can find the time, I guarantee it.

chart9

But what about the cost?

This was my lunch today:

IMG_2403

It took me 2 minutes to make.

Add a piece of fruit to it, and I would consider this a pretty healthy, and filling meal – chased with a nice glass of water of course.

Here is the nutrient breakdown:

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 12.15.51 PM

445 calories – very reasonable for someone looking to lose some fat.

39 grams of protein – great for a meal for anyone, 46 grams of carbs – coming from whole grain bread and fruit, and 12 grams of fat (not trans fats from fried garbage)

But what about the cost?

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 12.34.56 PM

No need for an explanation here, but at this cost, you can easily afford to take the time and afford the cost of making a healthy, balanced meal in minimal time.

While this is just one example of a meal, their are many other options out there that you can throw together quickly, afford the cost, and make the time for your and your families health.

Before you leave the office to grab an awesome meal deal at the nearest fast food joint, just remember what the real cost of that so called “convenient” food is, and what it is really doing to your body long term.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

[blog_subscription_form]

Stay healthy my friends,

 

1. Tsai A, Williamson D, Glick H. Direct medical cost of overweight and obesity in the USA: A quantitative systematic review. Obesity Reviews. January 2011;12(1):50-61.

2. Wang Y, Beydoun MA, Liang L, Caballero B, Kumanyika SK. Will all Americans become overweight or obese? Estimating the progression and cost of the US obesity epidemic.Obesity. October 2008;16: 2323–2330.

How to Salvage Even the Worst of Diet Days

Starting off, I know this post might ruffle some feathers because I still will be talking about eating processed and fast food. By no way do I think any of these foods are the best choice to be eating; however, we have ALL had that day where all our plans go to $#!t and we end up eating at places we might not normally eat. This post is about how to minimize the damage while still eating at different “junk food” locations.

Think of it as a Eat This, Not That kind of post. No one is forcing you against your will to go to McDonald’s, but if you happen to end up there, how can you make the smartest choice?

What if your kids REALLY REALLY want to go to Dairy Queen for ice cream, and you just HAVE to get something? Yes, the best option would be to politely say, no thank you, but I personally haven’t figured out how to do that yet when it comes to ice cream.

For the purpose of this post, we will be following Person A, and Person B, and we will see where they end up at the end of the day. Calories are listed, along with amounts of carbs, protein and fat (in grams).

So you decide to start your day at Starbucks. Ready to buy a triple vente mochalattefrappa vanilla coffee? Think again.

 

A) Vente Salted Carmel Mocha = 473 calories – 74 carbs, 18 fat, 14 protein

B) Grande Skinny Salted Carmel Latte = 130 calories – 19 carbs, 0 fat, 12 protein

***Don’t drink your calories. You came to the coffee shop for a quick kick of energy in the form of caffeine, not for your early morning dessert. Make the smart choice, leave out the added sugar and heavy cream, and get your caffeine fix without the added calories***

Next on our day of fun comes breakfast! Let’s stop at Denny’s, ‘Mericas Diner! Ok lots of choices here, but they have this “Fit Fare” menu… must be healthy. I’ll take the Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast, right off the Fit Fare Menu!

Wedding at Denny’s? #Merica!

A) Fit Fare Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast = 750 calories, 131 carbs, 14 fat, 29 protein

B) Fit Fare Loaded Veggie Omelet w/ Fruit Cup Side option = 420 calories, 51 carbs, 13 fat, 29 protein

***Just because something is labelled healthy or fit, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice still. When it comes to breakfast, try to be as anti-American as possible (this might get me on a watch list or something?). The traditional American breakfast is SO carb heavy that one can easily meet their carb goals for the entire day if they aren’t careful. Cereal, toast, pancakes, muffins, bagels, waffles = ALL CARBS! Your first choice should be a protein source (eggs in this case). Starting the day with protein will set you up for success. If there is an option to add on a side, always pick the fruit or vegetable option. This should be an automatic response.***

It’s the lunch hour and you are crammed into your co-workers van. “Hey guys, mind if we stop at McDonalds?” He says as he takes a gulp from his 36 oz. Super America Mt. Dew from yesterday’s lunch break…

A) Double Cheeseburger, Large Fry, and a Medium Coke = 1140 calories, 153 carbs, 47 fat, 31 protein

B) Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Kids Fry, and a Water = 460 calories, 56 carbs, 11 fat, 34 protein

***Yes, I realize you could be even healthier and get a salad instead of fries. Or if you are a male trying to get more protein in the day, another grilled chicken sandwich might be a better option. The point I am trying to make here is damage control. If you just NEED to eat some McDonalds fries, the kids portion is more than enough. A large fry is over 500 calories alone, while the kids option is only 110 calories. BY making this simple swap alone you are saving 400 calories from your daily intake, and still getting a little bit of those salty fries.

Also, same thing as at Starbucks, don’t drink your calories! A medium fountain soda is right around 200 calories. Combine this with a dessert before breakfast from the coffee shop and you have drunk over 600 liquid calories for the day! These calories are of ZERO benefit to you and your body. I can’t stress this enough.***

It is now 3pm at work, you are crashing, you think you are hungry (but its really just boredom or stress?) Time for a healthy snack! Kashi granola bars sound healthy.

A) Kashi Granola Bar – 130 calories, 21 carbs, 4 fat, 6 protein

B) Nothing OR Chocolate Milk Whey Protein Shake made in water = 130 calories, 5 carbs, 2 fat, 25 protein

Maybe a little overkill…

***Equal calories here, different macronutrients. By having some protein for a snack, you will be more satiated (full) versus eating a quick carb source. This should tie you over until dinner. Also, maybe you aren’t hungry. Take a second to reflect on what is going on in your day. Are you stressed out? Are you just bored at your desk? Food won’t fix that. Go for a little walk to the drinking fountain, fill up your water bottle, and take some deep breaths. ***

You are driving home from work and your spouse calls. “Hey honey, we have so much going on tonight, I am going to pick up Pizza Hut for dinner. What do you want?” Sigh…

A) Two pieces of hand tossed, large, pepperoni and sausage pizza = 660 calories, 98 carbs, 26 fat, 30 protein

B) Two pieces of thin crust, large, pepperoni = 560 calories, 56 carbs, 28 fat, 24 protein

***This is a tough one here. Even by switching to thin crust and only one fatty meat, you only save 100 calories. You could get a veggie pizza option here, but would the kids eat that? If so, then do that. However, if you have to get one pizza for you and one for the kids, there will likely be leftovers – and we don’t want leftovers sitting around for later. Another option here could be to politely recommend to your spouse/person offering to pick up pizza, to grab a pre-made rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, along with some type of veggie. Saves time, and a ton of calories!***

Just when you thought your diet day from hell was over, juniors tee-ball team is hitting up DQ for Blizzards! You know that ice cream is not on the plan, but you just can’t say no…

A) Small DQ Reese’s Blizzard – 580 calories, 74 carbs, 21 fat, 13 protein

B) Kids Vanilla Cone – 170 calories, 27 carbs, 0 fat, 4 protein

***Another option here is get nothing, enjoy company and your kids, and maybe steal a bite from someones treat. Especially if you are person A in this case, you have had more than your fair share of food for the day. Also notice that Blizzard is a SMALL! 580 calories in a SMALL! Holy crap!***

The day is over. That was crazy. Now I will be the first one to say that neither one of these people had the best day when it comes to food choices. But lets take a look at the daily totals:

A) 3733 calories, 551 carbs, 130 fat, 123 protein (269 grams of sugar)

B) 1873 calories, 214 carbs, 54 fat, 128 protein (76 grams of sugar)

Person B ate at all the same places as Person A, but had almost 2000 fewer calories, 340 less grams of carbs, less than half the fat, and a little more protein!

The power of choice can be huge, especially when it comes to making decisions about what you will eat at some of the less healthy locations out there. It can be done.

Remember, we all fall off the wagon sometimes, it’s not your whole life, it’s only one day. You haven’t thrown everything away ($100 to anyone besides my best friend who gets that reference).

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

[blog_subscription_form]

Stay healthy my friends,

How to Survive a Long Weekend Food Fest, and Still Enjoy Yourself

Overview:

  • Portions still matter, calories still matter
  • Maintain healthy eating patterns
  • Be active, however you can
  • Return to your routine as soon as the trip is over
  • Enjoy your vacation guilt free

Reuben Sandwich with fries, authentic Mexican fajitas + 20 oz. margarita, Denny’s Grand Slam* and Gino’s East – Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza. (*The Grand Slam was custom, more about this later*)

Rueben...

Rueben…

What do all these foods have in common?

 

I consumed them all this past weekend on my road trip to Cedar Point (the rollercoaster capital of the world) with my lovely fiancée, Amanda. You know what also rocks? After just one day of being back, my weight was right back to where it was before I left. (I’m not a huge fan of the scale, but I weighed myself purposely before the trip because I wanted to prove this point)

Fajitas...

Fajitas…

Now before you think I am trying to rub it in your face and brag about how much crap I ate, let me make it perfectly clear that I sorta am. That may sound harsh, but at the same time I want it to. I want to get rid of this notion that you have to starve yourself, forgo enjoying foods that you want to enjoy, and make all these terrible sacrifices while going on what is supposed to be a fun, and enjoyable vacation.

This being said I also want to make two very clear points:

  1. I am not overweight, obese, or really trying to lose weight right now. However, I do not want to gain weight either with my wedding coming up in 5 months (HOLY S#!T)
  2. I realize how hard it is to lose weight, I know that it is not easy, and I know this post may come off as offensive to people who really struggle with their weight. I work with people every day who struggle with their weight and body image. I was once there. I was once 260 lbs. (45 more than I am now) and I lost it and kept it off now for over 6 years.

20 oz...

20 oz…

In no way do I mean to offend, rather, I want to help people regain control of their lives without obsessing over food while trying to enjoy their lives.

Now, how the hell did I consume this food, along with riding in a car for 14 hours over the weekend, and not gain a single fraction of a pound? This is where the magic happens…

First off, go back to the word: vacation. This should be a time of enjoyment, relaxation and plenty of fun. It doesn’t mean pure gluttony. The foods I listed at the start may sound like pure gluttony, however I will argue they were purely part of the vacation. The follow-up to that reasoning would be; how are those foods not gluttony?

Gino's East...pure enjoyment, only 350 cals per slice!

Gino’s East…pure enjoyment, only 350 cals per slice!

This brings me to point numero uno:

1) Maintain Portion Control and At Least Match Calorie Goals

Yes I ate some less than “healthy” foods, but no I did not eat ONLY those foods nor did I eat ridiculous quantities of those foods. Here are the quantities of the foods I ate:

  • The whole reuben sandwich, half the fries, water for beverage
  • The entire plate of fajitas, and the 20 oz. margarita, water for beverage (this was the day we spent at the park, in which I tracked over 16000 steps, and had a tiny sandwich for lunch to avoid puking all over my fellow riders)
  • A build your own Grand Slam (2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 2 chicken sausages, and whole wheat pancakes) coffee as beverage
  • 2 slices of Ginos East deep dish

All of these meals (except the fajitas) were right around 700 calories, which for me, is my goal per meal to maintain my current weight. Yes, they weren’t very nutritious, but calorically they were “controlled” and consistent with my caloric intakes prior to the trip. I could have easily ordered a full Grand Slam or had a third slice of pie – making these meals closer to 1200 calories each.

"Healthified" Grand Slam

“Healthified” Grand Slam

This is where mindful eating can be huge. Slow down, and listen to your body. Eat until you are satisfied, but not bursting at the seams.

If you have NO CLUE how to guesstimate your calories, use an app like MyFitnessPal to check out your meal options BEFORE ordering them.

You can even use the strategy with fast food joint. Yes they aren’t optimal, but it also doesn’t mean you need to pound 1500 calories in one meal. Do your research BEFORE you eat it, or plan out a cute car full of healthy meals and snacks, like my good friend and fellow RD, Jen, suggests here on her awesome blog.

*All other meals on the trip were very light, because I knew we would be going on rides, or eating hardy later in the day.

2) Maintain normal eating patterns

I am not a big snacker throughout the day. If I do snack, it is usually a protein shake or another source of protein and maybe a little healthy fat. Therefore, the only snack we brought in the car for the drive was beef jerky. The big goal again is to maintain some consistency.

People tend to go crazy with snacks in the car, why, I have no clue. You are literally setting yourself up for boredom eating. Car rides suck, especially when you have nothing but flat ass northern Indiana and Ohio to drive through.

jack.links_.beef_.jerky_

If I would have brought M&M’s, sodas, chips, trail mix, etc. I can guarantee I would have pounded those foods like nothing. Only bring snacks if you are a snacker, and you know you snack responsibly. If so, only pack portions that you normally would eat so you can’t devour an entire bag of almonds in one sitting (almonds are healthy, but are still easy to over consume)

3) Physical Activity is a MUST

Notice I didn’t say exercise here. It doesn’t have to be an actual workout, but move around when you have the chance. Go explore the local areas. Find some state parks that are close by and walk, climb and hike them. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, then you may have to get a little more creative, but just don’t sit around all day. Find something of interest and go walk around. A museum, art gallery, shopping mall, anything to get you moving after sitting in a car or on a plane all day.

Lake Erie shore, precious.

Lake Erie shore, precious.

Every bit matters.

As I stated earlier, we got about 16000 steps in while at Cedar Point. The night before, we went up to Johnson’s Island and walked around the Lake Erie shore line, and checked out the area. As soon as we got back from our trip, I got in a quick bodyweight and band workout while Amanda went for a run.

It was just returning to the norm. Which brings me to my final point:

4) The SECOND Vacation is Over, Get Back to Your Routine

This is assuming you already have a good routine in place. You don’t need to go on some detox, or starve yourself, or workout for 3 hours the day after. Just get back to your routine. As soon as I was unpacked I was itching to workout (or maybe it was that I hadn’t showered yet…) It felt great to get a workout in as soon as I could.

Normal Breakfast

Normal Breakfast

Standard Lunch

Standard Lunch


Typical Dinner

Typical Dinner

Then the next morning I started my day off with my usual workout day breakfast, followed up with a standard lunch and dinner. No big deal.

If there were one word to sum up the process here it would be: consistency.

Anyone who takes their health seriously needs consistency throughout it. From your meals, to your workouts, to your sleeping patterns. Consistency is huge.

On the flip side, anyone who takes their LIFE seriously, also needs to know how to enjoy it, guilt free, knowing that they will return to their consistent patterns as soon as the vacation is over.