How I Don’t Make Weight Loss Harder Than It Already Is

         How I Don’t Make Weight Loss Harder Than It Already Is

I am not saying that losing weight and  keeping it off is easy- but it is possible! Besides myself there are many others that have been successful. My job as a Health Coach, Nutritionist and Personal Trainer is to decipher why some clients have had long term success vs. those that have lost weight then reverted back to old habits and gained weight back. *Over 90% of people or “dieters” have regained their weight back within 3 years~90%!! With many years of research, and working with all different types of individuals I have a better understanding of  what is needed to have sustained weight loss. I know how I have adapted my lifestyle to keep the weight off for over 20 years. 

Most diet plans don’t advertise how their clients have had long term success, they try to get people to join by telling them they can lose weight quickly, or get a jumpstart. Unfortunately that’s what most want, a quick fix- until it becomes too difficult to stick with it. Those clients that I have worked with that have stuck with their plan, with modifications are most successful! If you are always looking for the next new trend you will most likely not be able to sustain it and end up back at square one- and regaining the weight.

 It’s hard work, you must put effort into weight loss just as you put effort into your job, raising your kids, or taking care of your house. If you neglected taking care of any of the above there would be unwanted consequences. Your body and health are no different. 

How I can maintain without the struggle:

  1. I don’t need extreme workout sessions~ I believe exercise is super important, and necessary for weight loss and maintenance. I will admit at times I thought I needed to run 5 miles and take a bootcamp class-sometimes before 7am! I also believed cardio was the only way to go. These days I continue to run, ride my stationary bike, or do a bootcamp workout for approximately 30-40 minutes a day. I  have also incorporated Pilates and strength training for core stability, flexibility, and to build more muscle. I have found the combination of cardio and strength training are optimal.  I try to walk or at least set a step goal for myself everyday. You don’t have to join a gym or even “ workout” every single day but it is necessary that you MOVE. There are so many videos and apps out there that you can do at home. 
  1. I do not cut out macronutrients totally (carbs & fat for example)~ I try to eat a balance of protein, good fat and carbs( mostly lots of veggies). I have tried many of those diets that promote high fat, low protein, low fat, no sugar, etc. The bottom line is I wasn’t able to sustain any of those diets and it is not good for long term health to eliminate any macronutrient.  Rather focus on portion control of all food groups.
  1.  I don’t eat 100% perfect.~ I still eat my favorite foods in moderation. I would never suggest going on a “strict” plan where you can’t enjoy what you’re eating. You will be miserable, tired and resentful for HAVING to do it. Of course I make sacrifices but that’s what keeps me going and it prevents me from falling back into old habits. 
  1. I don’t use stress or emotional issues as an excuse anymore.~ I have many clients that get overwhelmed and frustrated during certain situations, this tends to giving up or looking for the new diet trend to try.  Stress is often an excuse, but sometimes it is unintentional. Most importantly is to be aware of it and how to CONTROL it-you are always in control. I still overthink party situations on occasion. I have learned how to handle it by planning ahead and preparing by bringing something or having healthier options on hand.
  1. I choose veggies first!~ Starting with a salad, cut of veggies, or even frozen veggies is a helpful way to (1) get more veggies into your life and (2) fill up on better options. If we add a side of veggies with our meal we are less likely to eat enough of them and they get overlooked by tastier foods.  I typically try to make the veggies the main course ( spiralized zucchini, spaghetti squash casserole, or riced cauliflower dishes)
  1. I don’t ignore how my body feels~ If I overeat or indulge in something I am not used to eating I feel horrible, don’t sleep as well, I experience stomach issues, and fatigue. Not to mention the emotional consequences along with the physical ones. It certainly makes me think for the next time. 
  1. I don’t set unrealistic goals for myself~ Just as I started my journey, I continue to implement small goals and changes. It’s great to be motivated at first, however this can cause anxiety and often you become overwhelmed. This leads to wanting to give up and/ or possibly failing. It has become easier to tell myself that I can eat ice cream or have some fries with dinner but then I need to get back on track the next day. If I decide to cut out all sugar and carbs for example, I feel deprived and less motivated if  I can’t enjoy certain foods at times. 

If you are willing to make a change to your overall eating habits for the long run, you should have an easier time maintaining weight loss!

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups of pure pumpkin
  • ¼ cup of cream cheese-softened 
  • ¼ cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of PB2 or peanut butter
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of honey-optional 
  • 3 tablespoons of ini chocolate chips
  • Optional ingredients- scoop of vanilla protein powder, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or coconut milk.
  • Serve with: apple slices, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, celery, cinnamon somersaults. Or eat by the spoonful!

Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients except the mini chips with a hand mixer or by hand.
  2. Store in the refrigerator, serve at room temperature.

Pizza Soup~ Slow Cooker

Pizza Soup~Slow Cooker

 Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground sausage, ground chicken, or ground beef ( lean & preferably organic)
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese 
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 can of ROTEL 10 oz or diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup of diced red and green bell peppers
  • 1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
  • 3 oz of sliced organic pepperoni
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese for topping 
  • Additional ingredients-chopped mushrooms, olives, chopped onion
  • Note- you can also use cooked shredded chicken.

Preparation

  1. In a large sprayed skillet, brown your ground meat on medium until cooked or no longer pink. Add the minced garlic.  If you are using onion or peppers I would suggest to throw these in the pan with the meat to soften them up.
  1. In a slow cooker, add all the ingredients except the mozzarella cheese. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for  2 hours. 
  1. Top with mozzarella  or parmesan. 

My Published Book & Why It Is Unique

My Published Book & Why It Is Unique!!

I am so excited to announce after months of writing and working with an editing team my first book has been published!! This has been a goal of mine for years. During quarantine was the perfect opportunity to proceed with this. One of the main reasons for writing my book is that over the last couple of years I feel that I have found a good balance in my life. This is something I have struggled with in my life. I believe there are many others out there that are also trying to accomplish this. A major part of my education entailed an understanding of “Primary food” which includes a healthy lifestyle, diet and nutrition, relationships, career, physical activity, and stress management. All which are significant for overall balance.

One important question I often ask my Health Coaching clients is “ At what point in your life did you feel the best?”

This is very emotional to think about for some. For myself, I feel that NOW is the time I have felt the best. My hope is to help clients and readers achieve this goal for themselves. 

WHY MY BOOK IS UNIQUE:

I understand that there are many books and literature out there that promote weight loss and diet plans, I have purchased many myself. After doing some research I have come across a various selection of books. I have realized that most books out there are cookbooks, speciality cookbooks, specific meal plans or diets ( keto, 30 day diets, detox, atkins, low carb, intermittent fasting), 21 day kickstart plans, meal prep, etc.

There are very few  that promote long term weight loss or how to keep it off, which should be our ultimate goal. I agree that many programs do work for losing weight, however most of those diets cannot be maintained consistently. 

I have lived the overweight life and I have lived the weight loss challenges as well as maintaining it  for 20 years. I have done a lot of research and had education on all aspects of what it takes to sustain a healthy mind and a healthy body through diet and exercise. I chose to include my story beginning with childhood, through high school and college years, how I dealt with divorce, pregnancies, and stressful situations. There are also chapters on emotional eating, TONS of helpful tips on how I started on what I am doing now, and motivation.I felt putting together my food diary, meal plans, and some recipes would be helpful for some!

WHAT AND WHY I INCLUDED FOR READERS:

  • Emotional childhood memories and experiences. I wanted to share personal conversations and events throughout my life. I hope to connect on an emotional level with readers if they are, have been or have a loved one that struggles with being overweight. 
  • Tips for day to day healthier lifestyle- steps that I took to improve my health and lose weight long term success.
  • Healthy recipes and meal plans for ideas that you can incorporate. 
  • My food diary to help you understand how I am able to maintain.
  • Accomplishments and old photos to encourage you.

WHY I WANT YOU TO READ IT AND HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM IT:

  • To help you find what’s right for you, what’s in your way of the change you’re trying to create. 
  • Encourage you to stop doing things that aren’t right, aren’t necessary, or aren’t working and  incorporate strategies to improve your behaviors. 
  • Eliminate the tension between who you are and who you are capable of becoming. 
  • Give you the support for transformation, not only information. 
  • To acknowledge your fears and build confidence in yourself.

You will get out of this book what you put into it! Be stronger than your excuses.

    Preface:  The Story Behind How I Lost & Maintained 120 Pounds

At 270 pounds

I was disgusted with my weight

So I want to share my journey

To help inspire and motivate

Looking back at old thoughts and memories

Where I ended up in tears

Eventually led me to the present day

Of many successful years

I have experienced weight loss first hand

To say it was easy would be a lie

So my goal for this book 

Is to help readers find their “why”

Although my adventure still continues on

This story does not end sad

As a health coach & trainer I offer support

Using the affective experiences I have had

I’ll cover emotional eating, helpful tips & techniques

As well as mistakes I’ve made in the past

To help you create new healthy habits

And accomplishments that will last

I am proud of how far I’ve come

I invite you to take a look

And start your own success story 

By opening up this book!

HEALTHY mistakes I have made & learned from

          HEALTHY MISTAKES I HAVE MADE & LEARNED FROM 

In my opinion weight loss is about lifestyle changes long term. It is a slow, learning, progressing journey. It involves not only WHAT you are eating, but HOW MUCH you are consuming.. I have neve seen anyone succeed long term by eating unlimited amounts of certain foods, no matter how healthy it may be. 

Unfortunately we are persuaded by tons of marketing techniques for products, quick fix diets, and weight loss programs, none of which mention losing weight and keeping it off! What exactly is the right plan to follow- low carb, high protein, high fat,low fat, low calories, fasting? These all have their own rules and can be very confusing if you are trying to maintain weight loss and be healthy. Eating plans should be specific to each individual.

The most important job as a Holistic Health coach and nutritionist is to EDUCATE. This includes helping others become more aware of what they are actually eating, as well as portions, by reading labels! I have a lot of practice checking nutritional info on products and online. I still seem to  be surprised when I look at certain labels and some restaurant menus. 

Did you realize that a medium fast food milkshake could set you back 800 calories, 17 grams of fat, 104 carbs, and 89 sugars! The amount of sugar that it contains is approximately 22 teaspoons, the recommended daily intake of sugar for women is 6 tsp a day, and 9tsp for men. 

In the same respect, you can enjoy a vanilla cone for 200 calories, 32 carbs, and 24 sugars  (6tsp). 

SOME HEALTHY HABITS I HAVE CHANGED:

  1. TRICKED BY LABELS~ I realized that there was more than only looking at the calories. Checking the carbs, sugar, saturated fat, fiber, and even the ingredients are all crucial when it comes to losing weight.   At first it can be overwhelming and a little confusing, but the more you make it a habit, the easier it becomes. 

~A  product doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy because it  is low in calories or fat.  It still may  contain a lot of carbs and sugar. In addition to saturated fat, you need to keep your carbs and sugar to a minimum.

Some products that are portrayed to be healthy but may not be beneficial for weight loss.

Some prime examples include cauliflower crust pizza, veggie or plant based beef, veggie burgers, even ground turkey vs. ground beef or chicken. The following are some examples to portray the importance of reading labels. 

NUTRITIONAL INFO:

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA:

Serving size- ⅙ of the pizza

Sarbs=17 grams per serving ( 102 carbs for whole pizza)

Protein- 1 gram

sodium= 220 mg  

It also contains corn flour and cornstarch

It’s best if you try to make your own cauliflower crust or a ground chicken crust. Another great alternative is PLANT POWER crust and sandwich thins.

PLANT BASED BEEF AND BURGERS:

Most of these are made from soy, and many additional ingredients. A lot of them are processed. 

Serving size- 4 oz

Calories- 240 calories

Fat- 14 grams, 8 saturated

Carbs- 9 grams 

Protein- 19 grams

Sodium- 370 mg

Fiber- 3 grams

List of ingredients- Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), Soy Protein Isolate, Vitamins and Minerals (Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12).

If you choose plant based look for a simple list of ingredients and pay attention to the saturated fat content as well as the carbs. Try to make your own veggie burgers. 

GRASS FED GROUND BEEF: 93 % lean

Serving size- 4 oz

Calories- 170 

Fat- 7 grams, 3 saturated

Sodium- 65 mg

Protein- 25 grams

Carbs- 0

Ingredients- organic beef.

GROUND TURKEY- LEAN

Serving size- 4 oz

Calories- 170 calories

Fat- 7 grams, 3 saturated

Sodium- 95 mg

Carbs- 0 carbs

Protein- 22 grams 

Make sure you are checking the label before you purchase! Different brands and types vary as well. 

  1. THE TRICKY CARBS ~ Even though I incorporated” better” carbs into my diet many years ago, I have learned to slowly decrease the amount of them from my daily routine. These include sweet potato, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, lower carb breads, fruit and quinoa.  Some choose foods that are processed and contain a lot of sugar and simple carbs just because it is low fat. I feel it is okay to choose foods that have fat, good fat as well as carbs. It is beneficial for our body and for me is a better choice than choosing low fat, higher carb foods as mentioned above. Switching to more veggies, avocados, seeds and nuts, olive and coconut oil, dark chocolate- all which contain fat, has been more successful for my long term weight loss goals.  

LABEL EXAMPLES:

OATMEAL- PLAIN

serving size-½ cup

Calories- 150 calories 

Carbs- 27grams

Protein- 5 grams

Fat-3 grams

PASTA/ BROWN RICE

Serving size- ½ cup

Calories- 110 

Fat- 2 grams

Carbs- 22 grams 

Fiber- 1.5 grams 

Sodium- 240 mg

SWEET POTATO

Calories- 115

Carbs- 25 grams 

Sugars- 5 grams

Fiber- 3 grams

Protein- 2 grams

Sodium- 72 mg

These are all healthier choices however the amount of carbs can add up if you are not using them efficiently. I recommend limiting them to one per day or a few times a week. You can get carbs through more veggies! Substitute more veggie dishes into your meals such as spaghetti squash, riced cauliflower,spiralized zucchini, broccoli casseroles. Add protein as needed. 

  1. TRICKED WHEN EATING OUT~ Dining out in a restaurant or getting take out can be one of the most overlooked mistakes when you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The portion sizes, calories, carbs and sodium could be much higher than you would expect. Most restaurant servings are 3x the amount of a normal portion size! If you are going out on occasion it may not be a problem, however you don’t want to negate your hard work you may have put in during the week on one Saturday evening.  I have many clients that get anxious about what to order at a restaurant.  I still struggle with this issue on occasion. This is a major part of socialization and it’s important not to avoid it. 

A few tips that have helped me:

  • Enjoy the company! Have a plan before you go!
  • Check the menu and nutrition info before you head out. Most restaurants have this available online. It will be a huge eye opener. It also helps to decide what you are going to order so you are prepared when you get there. 
  • Try to skip the appetizer or order a salad so you can have something while you are waiting or others are partaking in an app. If a dip is ordered for example, ask for a side of veggies ( carrot or  celery) to have with it opposed to chips or bread.
  • Drink water in between alcohol or try to have soda water with lemon or lime or a add splash of your favorite drink to it. 
  • Choose your favorite item and forgo a side or dessert. French fries are my favorite , so I will have a couple ( or a couple from my boyfriend’s plate) and order a side of veggies. I will order a grilled item without the roll or bread. The less temptation the better.  
  • Split a meal with someone.
  • If the portions are large, get a to go box and put half it away before you start or push it to the side. 

You will feel much better leaving when you know you made at least one healthy choice. You should be able to go out and enjoy without gaining two or three pounds on the weekend. I know it sounds crazy but restaurant food can set you back thousands of calories.

BE AWARE OF MENU ITEMS:

 LARGE CHIPS & GUAC

Calories- 1270 calories

Fat- 82 grams

Carbs- 120 grams 

CHIPS & QUESO

Calories- 1290

Fat- 75 grams 

Carbs-124 grams

Sodium- 1570 mg

CARAMEL FRAPPUCCINO 

Calories- 192 calories

Carbs- 37 grams 

Sugars- 28 grams

PIZZA

Serving size- 1 slice

calories -320 calories

Fat- 13 grams, 6 saturated

Carbs- 31 carbs

Sugars- 5 grams

Sodium- 810 mg

BURRITO BOWL

Chicken, beans, grilled veggies, brown rice

Calories- 675 calories

Fat- 23 grams

Protein- 47 grams

Carbs- 65 carbs

 Sodium- 890 mg

  1. TRICKY BITES~ Don’t be fooled by all those times you eat a couple of bites of your kids leftovers,  eat croutons and cheese on your salad, or grab a handful of chips. These all add up. A lot of times when we eat it is either emotional, we are not hungry, or it is out of pure habit. We feel we need a snack at night when we sit down in front of the t.v. 

Just an extra 500 calories a day adds up to gaining one pound per week. That may seem like a lot of calories, however indulging in a bowl of ice cream ( only 1 cup) can add 320 calories, 42 carbs and 38 grams of sugar! A portion of chips, 200-300 calories.

Even an apple is 140 calories, 34 carbs,and 24 grams of sugar. Throughout the day an extra 500 calories adds up quickly. Just be aware of every little bite. 

Taco stuffed peppers

Taco Stuffed peppers

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef or chicken
  • 2-3 green peppers
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese 
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise 
  • ⅓ cup of shredded mexican or cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning 
  • Pepperoni slices-optional
  • Green onion or sliced olives for topping-optional

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops of the green peppers and scoop out the seeds, set aside.
  2. In a large sprayed skillet, cook your ground meat on medium until no longer pink. Add the taco seasoning and a ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. I added some diced onion in with the beef. 
  3. Fill each pepper with the meat mixture and top with cheese, pepperoni, green onion or olives. 

Note- I cooked  my peppers on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to soften them up first.

4. Place stuffed peppers on the baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. 

Magic cookie bars~ healthier version

Magic cookie bars~healthier version

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups of almond flour
  • ¼ cup of crushed cinnamon “somersaults”-optional
  • 4 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • Water to moisten 

Second layer:

  • ½ cup of unsweetened coconut
  • Dark chocolate chips or chunks-melted with a tsp of coconut oil

Top layer~homemade condensed milk

  • ½ cup of full fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup of almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons of butter 
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut palm sugar, honey or maple syrup

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine the ingredients for the crust and press into a lined 8 x8 baking dish. You will have to moisten your hands a bit.
  2. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Let cool. 
  3. In the meantime make your condensed milk.  Is a saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, butter, and sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Microwave your chocolate with a tsp of coconut oil in the microwave for 2 minutes. Pour over the cooled crust. 
  5. Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the chocolate.  Finally pour the condensed milk over the entire dish and bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Spinach, artichoke, and sausage stuffed mushrooms


Spinach artichoke & sausage Stuffed portabellas

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken sausage-cut up into small pieces
  • 3-4 portabellas or small white mushrooms
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1-2 tsp of garlic
  • 1  bag of fresh spinach- I actually added more spinach. It depends how much you want. You can substitute frozen or canned
  •  ½ cup of cut up artichokes or artichoke pesto- I used a jar from Trader Joe’s
  • ½ cup of cheddar cheese, feta, or parmesan – optional 

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Scoop out the stems and inside of the mushrooms. Place them   on a lined baking sheet and cook for about 5-8 minutes to soften them. 
  2. In a sprayed large skillet, cook your sausage pieces and garlic on medium heat. Add in the spinach, cream cheese, and artichokes until combined.  
  3. Stuff each mushroom until filled, sprinkle with cheese if you want. Cook for about 8 more minutes. 

*Note~ you will have leftover stuffing. It’s good to eat on its own or freeze for another time.

Hot dog roll ups~pigs in a blanket

Hot dog roll ups~ pigs in a blanket

Ingredients

  • 4 organic hot dogs-cut into ⅓’s
  • 1 ½ cups of almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup of cream cheese or ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup of cheddar cheese or parmesan- optional
  • Everything bagel seasoning-optional

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the dough, combine cream cheese, butter, and eggs. 
  1. Add the almond flour, baking soda, apple cider vinegar,  garlic powder, and cheese if you wish. 
  1. Let the dough sit or refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  1. Roll the dough around each piece of hot dog and place on a lined baking sheet. You may have to wet your hands as the dough will be sticky.  Sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning.  Bake for about 12-15 minutes.

Pizza patties~low carb

Pizza patties- low carb

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chopped pepperoni
  • 1 bag riced cauliflower
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese or half ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of mozzarella
  • ¾ cup of sauce
  • ⅓ cup of almond flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs or flax eggs
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of italian seasoning
  •  parmesan-optional

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Microwave your cauliflower rice for about 3 minutes and squeeze excess water out. 
  2. Combine the cream cheese, pepperoni, cheese, sauce and eggs. Stir in the cauliflower.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, and seasonings.
  4. Chill for 10 minutes.Form into balls or patties on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. You can top or dip in marinara.