Thursday, April 28, 2011

You're getting sleepy

What's the connection between sleep and weight loss/gain? Well, there seems to be a whole lot of different opinions out there on the subject. However, they all seem to have a common thread.

Those who sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night, will have a much better chance of losing weight, and keeping it off. For those who sleep less then 7 hours a night, you have a 30% higher chance of obesity.

Scientists are still trying to track down the exact cause, but it seems that the lack of sleep affects two important hormones in your body. Ghrelin is the hormone in your body that tells you you are hungry, and Leptin is the hormone that tells your body you're full.

For those who sleep less, there is higher levels of Ghrelin and lower levels of Leptin. Therefore, your body is being told to eat more and told to stop less.

However, for those people suffering from sleep apnea this is not always the case, sometimes it's actually reversed and the person can have abnormally high levels of Leptin, but the brain doesn't seem to get the message. Once sleep apnea is treated in patients, it is common for patients to naturally lose weight once sleeping patterns are restored.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to try and get 8 hours of sleep tonight and every night! You need it, and so do I! (Wish someone told that to the cops last night when they swarmed my apartment building at 1am to arrest my neighbor!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This Week's Progress

This week has been fairly good. I had hit a plateau for a week or two and the scale wasn't really moving. However, after downloading the My Fitness Pal app on my android phone and religiously counting calories, I am down 3 lbs! I still feel like I need to boost up the actual exercise though. Even when I work out 2-3 times a week, I feel like I should be doing more.

However, I am losing just the right amount every week or two weeks though, so I remind myself it took 18 years to get this heavy it's going to take at least that many months to lose it all. If I keep it up at this pace I should be right where I want to be by next summer! Look out swimsuit here I come!

So just remember, take it one day at a time. This will not happen over night and don't kill yourself trying to do that. Baby steps...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What's your dream home gym?

Not everyone has the luxury of having a gym membership or a home gym set up. I am lucky and have the Wii Fit, but I am looking to expand and gradually build a home gym for the whole family to utilize.

Here's what I would like in my home gym:

1. Pro-Form XT 70 Treadmill - $400
I miss my treadmill, and wish I had been even half as dedicated when I had it, then now. Treadmills are great Aerobic exercise and with a treadmill you can workout in the comfort of your own home, and out of the weather.

2. Stamina CPS 1305 Indoor Upright Exercise Bike - $110
Another great aerobics work out. Also nice for when you'd like to work out and still have the option to sit down and read, or play on your phone.

3. Century Aerobic Waivemaster Punching Bag - $92
I would like to strengthen up my arms, but I live in an apartment, therefore I can't go hanging a heavy bag from the ceiling. So this free standing version would be a better (and cheaper) option.

4. Valeo Adjustable Wrist and Ankle Weights - $13
These are totally cool ankle/wrist weights that are adjustable. There are five pockets with one pound removable weights, letting you go from 1 to 5 pounds. Plus wearing wrist or ankle weights leaves your hands free. Buy 2 sets and you can wear them on your ankles and wrists at the same time for extra strength building.

5. Weider 65cm Stability Ball - $15
These exercise balls are great for core work outs and sit ups. One of these can help tone up your tummy. I had one when I was pregnant, it was great till either a cat or small child popped it later on :) I'm still not sure which it was...

6. Tone Fitness 5, 10 & 15 pound Vinly Cement Kettlebell Set - $35
These have become fairly popular in gyms and work outs I've seen advertised lately and would like to give them a try. I like that it comes with 3 different weights, so you can start out small and work your way up.

The grand total for my dream gym actually comes to a nice moderate price of $755 before tax and any shipping costs. Considering how many single machines I have seen out there for thousands of dollars, I was surprised with my grand total.

What would you put in your dream gym? Are you trying to bulk up or slim down? How much would your dream home gym cost you?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marijuana Deficiency?? Is it possible?

While browsing facebook today, I came across an interesting article about marijuana I would like to share. I am a strong believer in Medical Marijuana and have seen first hand the benefits it can have on patients.

However, this article comes to the conclusion that the marijuana isn't just helping keep the symptoms in check, but actually has the missing components our body needs that cause such ailments as: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Migraines and Fibromyalgia.

Why is this? Most humans are what scientists call endocannabinoid deficient. These endocannabinoids help regulate appetite, anxiety control, blood pressure, bone mass, reproduction, motor control and more. Marijuana naturally fills the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain.

Another important thing this article discussed was the difference in "intoxicants" and how marijuana is "remarkably non-toxic"! You can do more harm to your body (especially your liver) with a couple of Tylenol then you could ever do with marijuana.

Here's the story on Marijuana Deficiency if you would like to read it. I know this doesn't touch on the subject of weight loss, but it does concern healthier living and so I felt it should be included.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Dirty Truth about PB&J's

I love a good Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, but I hadn't really thought about the calories. Now that I'm an adult and trying to lose weight I am finding out more and more about the foods I like and have eaten without thought in the past.

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread is roughly 450 calories, if you're using Weight Watchers Plus Points, this is a whopping 12 points! When you're limited to around 35 points a day this childhood favorite becomes more of a harsh reality check.

I can't say enough about counting calories and/or tracking points. It is an eye opener and you will learn a lot about your eating habits, good or bad! Try and find healthier alternatives to your more calorie laden favorites. I'm still looking for a good pb&j replacement...

Housework & Calories

One of the main reasons I will put off a work out is if my house is dirty, or the chores are piling up. Instead of feeling guilty for cleaning my house instead of working out, I did some research.

Turns out you can burn a lot of calories doing your everyday routine. Here's some example of calories burned doing everyday tasks around your home. These calculations are per half an hour, so set your timer and get moving!

(Note: These calculations are based on my current weight and will vary somewhat between individuals)


1. Cooking - 140 calories

2. Carrying an Infant -195 calories

3. Gardening - 285 calories

4. General Housework - 150 calories

5. Ironing Clothes - 120 calories

6. Loading/Unloading Car - 165 calories

7. Mopping - 235 calories

8. Mowing with a Push Mower - 230 calories

9. Pushing Child in Stroller - 140 calories

10. Putting Away Groceries - 140 calories

11. Raking Leaves - 220 calories

12. Re-arranging Furniture - 350 calories

13. Sex - 225 calories

14. Shopping - 125 calories

15. Shovel Snow - 320 calories

16. Washing the Car - 235 calories

17. Washing Dishes - 120 calories

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

10 Healthy Snack Choices

When the munchies strike, don't let it ruin your day! There's plenty of healthy choices, it's just knowing what to grab. So the next time you hit the store or the pantry grab some of these snacks and snack guilt free!

1. White Cheddar Popcorn (1 3/4 cups = 160 cals) That's a lot of popcorn! Make sure you stick with air popped.

2. Glazed Cashews ( 1/4 cup = 150 cals) Calories vary by nuts, but nuts have a lot of the good fats that your body needs and help lower bad cholesterol.

3. "Grown Up" Cereal  (3/4 cup w/ skim milk = 220 cals) Stay away from sugary coated kid's cereals, I like Raisin Nut Bran

4. Hard Pretzels Sticks (53 sticks = 100 cals) Pretzels are a great salty snack and make great party food.

5. SunChips ( 15 chips = 140 cals) I love SunChips, and they make a great alternative to fried potato chips.

6. Apple w/ Peanut Butter (Apple + 2Tbsp PB = 260 cals) This is not the easiest on the go snack, but if you're home this makes a great filling snack.

7. Raisinets (1 bag = 100 cals) Chocolate covered raisins or cranberries make a great treat when you are craving something sweet.

8. Fudgesicles (1 Popsicle = 100 cals) These sweet frozen treats are a wonderful replacement for calorie laden ice creams.

9. Yogurt (6 oz = 150-200 cals) I can't say enough good things about yogurt, especially for women's bone health.

10. Smoothies (1 cup = 170-250 cals) Smoothies make a great filling snack that also gives you lots of natural vitamins and energy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Apps, Apps and More Apps!

So I have an Android phone with no phone service, but it does everything else and we have it set up on our wireless network. I have been downloading apps like a mad woman.

You are probably wondering, "What does this have to do with weight loss?" There are dozens and dozens of weight loss, exercise, calorie and point counting apps out there. Some apps cost moolah, but I have been sticking with just the free apps.

One of my favorite apps I downloaded is Restaurant Calorie by Reza Shay. This app has the nutritional facts list for 50 of the most popular fast food restaurants nation-wide. What a great tool for when you are out and about and want to find the healthy choice.

I also downloaded a few different Weight Watcher Points Plus calculators. I've decided to track my calories and use the points system to see how they compare. I will figure out which app I like best and post about it in the near future.

There's also pedometers, exercise workouts and routines, and even Gps software that can track where and how long you ran. If you have a smart phone you should check out some apps that can help you stay on track, or just make it all a little more fun!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Yummy Snack

Late last night at Safeway I had a hankering for yogurt. I grabbed two of the Fage (pronounced Fa-yeh! according to the package) Greek Strained Yogurt with cherry. My significant other is trying to be more adventurous with his food, and decided he wanted to try Greek yogurt. Sadly, he has decided he does not like Greek yogurt, plain, vanilla or with fruit. I, however, have found that I quite like it, especially with fruit.

The Fage Greek yogurt with fruit comes in a single serving container and has only 130 calories in 5.3 oz which is less then a Yoplait Original. The Fage has only 2% milk fat and only 2.5 grams of total fat, and 18 grams of carbs which is only 6% of the daily values. So all in all it's a very nice healthy snack or breakfast food, and low fat.

For those of you who do not know what the difference is between Greek and regular yogurt, the main thing you will notice is taste. Greek yogurt is not sweet, it taste closer to sour cream and it's very thick. I like the sourish flavor next to the sweet of the cherry, and it gives it a sweet and savory quality that I like.

If you feel like experimenting with a new food, give the Greek yogurt a shot, or try some new flavors of regular yogurt if you decide it's not your cup of tea. Yogurt is a great snack, especially for women, who need extra calcium.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Skirts, Bikinis and Shorts...Oh MY!

I saw a commercial the other day where a woman was working out and with each stretch she listed summer clothes she wants to fit like skirts, bikinis and shorts. This commercial struck me deep down and I've kind of incorporated it into my workouts.

It can be really hard to get through 30 minutes of any kind of workout, so finding ways to stay on track and motivated are important. I think about this commercial when I work out and envision myself in gorgeous summer clothes I've never been able to wear, like a two piece!

Focus on your reason for losing weight while working out. I have multiple reasons and I try and think about them all. I think about being healthier, how I will look thinner, what clothes I can fit, and I think about the things I can't do now because of my weight.

I would like to run a marathon and at my current weight and fitness level that's not going to happen, but who's to say in 6 months what I can or can't do if I keep up on my workouts.

So for all of you out there struggling, remember why you are doing this and picture it in your mind, the minutes on the workout clock will start moving faster if you're not focused on it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Great Combo

In the last few months I have developed a love for oatmeal and cranberries. As a child I hated oatmeal and cranberries, and I'm not sure if eating better, or just growing up caused the change in my pallet.

I have had cranberry oatmeal granola bars, cranberry and granola cereal and then two days ago I found cranberry oatmeal cookies at the store. Yum! These cookies were amazing. It was a two pack of jumbo cookies from the bakery at Safeway. The only bummer is the bakery doesn't list their nutritional facts on the packaging.

So, today I am hunting down a low calorie cranberry oatmeal cookie recipe to try. I always have oatmeal and dried cranberries in the pantry and I am looking forward to making some of my own here at home. These would be a great filling snack and would even make a great breakfast for someone on the go.

I will follow up on this post with the results, recipes and nutrition facts!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One of My Favorite Blogs

One of the blogs that I read on a daily basis is Snack Girl. This woman puts her heart and soul into finding and creating nutritious, low calorie snacks and food ideas and sharing them with people.

Check out Snack Girl sometime and if you like what you see sign up for her daily emails and she'll send you a list of 100 healthy snacks. She includes the nutritional facts for each snack or recipe she features. She also recently revamped all her old articles with new plus points information for those doing Weight Watchers or counting points.

If you are trying to lose weight, or just eat better you should really check out her site. She has a love for avacados that I just can't understand but most everything else on the site peaks my interest, and most of her snacks are adaptable.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Metabolism Boost

So what are easy ways to boost your metabolism? There are some simple changes you can make to your life that will encourage your metabolism to rev up.

The first is one we've all heard is eat breakfast. I love breakfast food, but was never good at eating it during the morning. I spent years skipping breakfast, sometimes lunch too, and then pigged out for dinner. My attitude was I haven't eaten all day so I can eat all my calories for dinner! Never mind I was already drinking over half of my calories in soda.

Since I have incorporated breakfast into my life, I wake up hungry and I can feel the difference, especially if I eat something good for breakfast. I also make sure I eat lunch and a small dinner.

Another way to boost your metabolism is exercise. Even if it's just parking at the outskirts of the parking lot and walking more, or start an actual work out program, this will force your metabolism to pick up. As you build muscle strength and your muscles get bigger they will burn calories more efficiently as well.

Stop eating a few hours before bed. Your body burns calories much slower in the evening and while you are sleeping. Think about your dinner sitting in your stomach at night adding fat to your system. If you stop eating a few hours before bed, you have the opportunity to digest and burn off most of your dinner before going to bed. This will also make eating breakfast much easier as you will be hungry in the morning.

Try any or all of these tips for just a week. I know you will feel the results, and you may notice a change on the scale at the end of the week too.

Friday, April 1, 2011

10 Fun Ways to Lose Weight this Spring!

Spring is here and it's one of my favorite times of year, and not just because my birthday is the first day of the spring season. It's the time of year when everything is coming in to bloom and the sun starts coming back around.

I am looking forward to getting outside more now with the change in the weather and have some ideas on how to have fun in the sun and lose some weight.

1. Walking through the park or trails.

2. Farmers Markets are a great way to do a lot of walking and pick up some fresh produce for the week.

3. Take your bike instead of your car. Just running out for some bread? Ride a bike instead of driving to the store.

4. Swimming is great exercise and the lowest impact of any exercise. Water workouts are also great for people with back or other injuries.

5. Gardening, doesn't seem like a workout? Try working up a sweat pulling weeds and tone your arms at the same time.

6. Wall or rock climbing is a lot of fun. I haven't gone since I was about 15 but I had a blast when I went, and it's great strength training.

7. Spring Cleaning! Set a good fast pace, maybe blast some music and burn calories while making your house look better at the same time! Two birds, one stone!

8. Fruit Salad. I know this isn't a workout but fruit is very good for you, it has lots of things your body needs, it taste great and will naturally help you slim down. Try it as a lunch or breakfast replacement.

9. Go Fly a Kite...Literally! It's fun to teach your kids to fly a kite, or just fly one yourself. Get a running start with your kite and keep going!

10. Horse riding is a lot of fun, and it's a good strength training. Your core and legs get a great workout from horse riding. Lots of places have horses you can rent and ride with out the massive expense of owning a horse.