You’ve been eating right and exercising for weeks now,  yet the scale just won’t budge.  You’re getting frustrated and about to throw in the towel, it must be your slow metabolism, right? Wrong!

I hear this complaint often from clients and while it may be easier to blame your metabolism,  the truth is, it’s simply too many calories eaten.  Quiet frankly,  often the metabolism of heavier weight individuals is actually higher than with normal weight individuals.  The body is carrying more weight around and requires more strength, strength means more muscle, more muscle means a faster metabolism.

So, what exactly is the problem?  Here are the three most common weight-loss mistakes people make:

 

Mistake #1:  Too much of a good thing.  You have been doing all the right things, eating breakfast in the morning,  having a healthy mid-morning snack, salad for lunch, then a healthy afternoon snack, followed by a nutritious dinner. But the scale will not budge.

Solution:  You may want to look more closely at the portion sizes of what you are eating.  Having a cup of almonds as a snack, although healthy, contains about 530 calories!! A salad with too many toppings can turn a low-calorie meal into a calorie bomb.

The best way to keep track of what your eating is measuring out your food portions and tracking it with a food tracker, such as Fitnesspal, Lose it or any other food tracking device you want to use.  You will learn new portion sizes and discover a slimmer you.

Mistake #2: “Rewarding” your workout with food.  Even though it was a lousy day and you didn’t feel like working out you just finished 30 minutes on the Treadmill.  Exhausted you come home, eat a healthy dinner and as a reward for making it to the gym, you have a bowl of  ice cream after dinner.  After all you worked out and the workout will “take care” of the calories.

Well, only 1/2 cup of chocolate ice cream can have 250 calories, and we all know that no one eats 1/2 cup, right?  A 30 minute workout on the treadmill may have only burned 250 calories.    In other words, you pretty much cancelled out all that hard work you did in the gym plus some, all in just minutes…

Solution: Try to reward your workouts with non-food items, such as new workout clothes, a spa treatment or a new book.

Mistake #3: You’re drinking your calories.  Your having your pumpkin spice latte for breakfast, a coke with your lunch and a Sports drink with your workout.

While liquids may seem innocent enough, you’re not even chewing, they can be huge calorie bombs.  A 16oz iced white chocolate mocha carries 340 calories!! But even sports drinks are not guilt free, one 12 oz Gatorade “Quencher” has 200 calories!  A 20 oz coke has 240 calories.  That is a total of 780 extra calories,  and they don’t even help you feel full afterwards.

Solution:  Keep your beverages simple, coffee and tea don’t have calories but watch what you add to them.  Water is perfectly adequate for a workout under 1 hr, no need to reach for designer drinks. And if you’re still drinking regular coke, switch to water or diet drinks.

 

 

Oversized portion of raw almonds

Oversized portion of raw almonds


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SaladDid you know that the Bruschetta Chicken salad at Applebee’s has more calories than a sizzling steak and cheese? The salad has an unbelievable 1110 calories and the steak and cheese “only” 1000 calories.  To avoid adding loads of unwanted calories on a seemingly innocent salad, make your own by following  these simple guidelines.

1. Start with a variety of leafy greens.  Move beyond iceberg lettuce and try different types of greens, such as spinach, arugula, endive or Boston lettuce, to name just a few.  Three cups of lettuce has only 40 calories, so don’t be afraid to load up. Make it easy on yourself and buy the “triple washed” bagged salad varieties, this will save you time by eliminating the washing, drying and storing of greens.

2. Add some lean protein.  This is the part most people forget to do, but it’s the most important part because it turns a side salad into a satisfying meal.  Choose grilled chicken or turkey breast (without skin), boiled eggs, tuna fish, sliced sauteed tempeh, garbanzo, canellini or any other type beans.

3. Give it some crunch.  Instead of the oil drenched croutons try a tablespoon of nuts.  Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds contain heart healthy fats, vitamin E, manganese and many other minerals and vitamins. Studies show that adding moderate amounts of nuts into your diet lowers your risk of heart disease.

4. Add unlimited non-starchy vegetables for variety. Additional toppings such as roasted bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus will boost the nutrition of your salad without adding a lot of calories.

5. Choose your Salad dressing wisely.  You’ve done well up until now, don’t let the dressing be your downfall.  Just two tablespoons of full-fat salad dressing can have 150 calories. That is more calories than 9 cups of leafy greens.  You can either use a squeeze of lemon, a spray salad dressing (which only has about 10 calories  per 10 sprays) or choose one of my favorites below:

 My picks contain only a few ingredients, are all natural with no artificial colors or flavorings.  They are less than 100 calories, less than 300 mg sodium and less than 10 g fat, per 2 Tbsp serving.

  • Annie’s Organic Buttermilk dressing (2 Tbsp: 70 cals, 6g fat, 250mg sodium) Gluten free.
  • Annie’s Lite Goddess Dressing (2Tbsp: 60 cals, 6g fat, 240mg sodium) Vegan and Gluten free.
  • Brianna’s Lively Lemon Tarragon (2Tbsp: 35 cals, 0 fat, 150mg sodium) Also great as a marinade on seafood.
  • Bragg Ginger and Sesame dressing (2 Tbsp: 90 cals, 9g fat, 170mg sodium) Gluten free.

 


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It’s the holiday season! A season for cheer, joy, family… but also regret! Regret for helping yourself to an extra portion of

turkey, or cake, or ice-cream and the extra pounds associated with that. And this is exacerbated by the fact that it’s not just one holiday, it’s three! First Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s! This holiday season, plan ahead and get through the season without having to get out your stretch pants.  Here are 10 tips to help you get started.

1.    Weigh yourself once a week.  To stay consistent get on the scale before you had anything to eat or drink.

2.    Always start your day with a healthy breakfast.  Include a lean protein to help you stay full, such as a non-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or eggs.

3.    Don’s skip any meals.  Skipping meals does not save you on calories, it only increases your hunger later which makes you eat even more during the next meal.

4.    Start a food journal, or use an app, and keep track off EVERYTHING you eat AND drink.  Food diaries keep you accountable and can help you identify what’s keeping you from your weight loss goals.

5.    Exercise at least three times a week.  As busy as you may be, try to include some exercise into your day, even if it’s only 10-15 minutes of brisk walking, it matters!

6.    Don’t drink your calories, step away from sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas, juices and sweetened teas.  These calories can easily add up and studies have found that we don’t compensate for these calories by eating less.

7.    At holiday parties and get-togethers focus on the conversation not the food.  Try not to stand next to the snack or buffet table but instead mingle with people.

8.    Eat slowly and wait 20 minutes before going for seconds. It takes about this amount of time for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full.

9.    Drink alcohol in moderation- that is one drink for women and two for men.  And choose your drinks wisely.  A Margarita can have close to 800 calories.

10.     Try not to snack when cooking or in-between meals- these little bites can add up! If you are preparing the food, try to chew gum or snack on baby carrots or cucumber sticks.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


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Think outside the box this 4th of July and instead of having the same ole’ coleslaw or potato salad, experiment with your favorite vegetables.  Grilling brings out the natural sugars of vegetables which causes them to caramelize and add a sweet and smoky flavor.

Which vegetables are great for the grill?
The possibilities are endless.  I’m listing a few of my favorites to help you get started.

Corn
Summer Squash- cut lengthwise
Mushrooms-leave whole
Eggplant-cut into rounds
Endives-halve lengthwise through core
Fennel-cut thin slices
Onions- cut into slices
Peppers (red, green, yellow or orange)- halve lengthwise remove insides and cut into thirds
Scallions- leave whole

What about fruit?
Grilling fruit makes a great dessert.  Serve with a dollop of low-fat ice cream or honey sweetened Greek yogurt and you will never look at fruit the same way again. Here are some fruits that are great on the grill:
Pineapple- cut into rings
Banana- you can grill with skin or peel and cut lengthwise into planks
Peaches-cut in half and remove pit
Nectarines-cut in half and remove pit


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Tofu is so versatile, low calorie and packed with healthy protein that I’m always looking for new recipes.  The cilantro sauce really makes the tofu stand out.  It’s also delicious served with grilled summer squash, mushrooms or other grilled vegetables.  I mopped it up with some crusty bread, like a baguette.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups cilantro leaves

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 jalapeno chile (remove seeds for less heat)

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 scallions, white and green parts separated and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tsp agave nectar

1 package (14oz.)extra firm tofu pressed* and cut into 1/4 inch slices

Directions:

1.  Heat grill pan to medium.  In a food processor, combine cilantro, 1/4 cup oil, jalapeno, ginger, lime juice, agave nectar and the green part of the scallions.  Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

2.  On a baking sheet, place the tofu slices and brush with oil.  Season with salt and pepper, repeat on other side.

3.  Lightly brush grill pan with oil and place tofu slices and scallion whites on pan.  Grill for 4-6 minutes, turning occasionally;  brush with cilantro sauce and grill 30 more seconds.  Transfer to platter and serve slices with the remaining cilantro sauce.

 

*Pressing Tofu

Place tofu on a plate and wrap with paper towels.  Place another plate on top and place canned goods or heavy pan on top.  Let drain for at least 2 hours, replace paper towels as necessary.


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