My Interview With Women Who Have Lost 50 Pounds Or More

“Don’t compare yourself to other people’s results, but find inspiration in their methods of success.” – Darren Hardy 

When it comes to weight loss there are hundreds of different ways to go about it. Every day there are ads on social media, the news, the radio, and even the gyms we go to talking about the newest and latest nutrition or exercise program/equipment that can help you to the lose weight FOR GOOD. These constant flow of messages can be so overwhelming that it causes paralyzation in a person rather than motivating them to try. I am challenging you to do some research before starting something new. If you find yourself admiring someone’s success, ask them how they did it; get the details before jumping in. If their response is something you can realistically see yourself doing long-term then it’s worth a shot! However if it their response seems completely outside of your comfort zone, you may want to tweak it a bit or do a little more searching for other methods. To create change we must go outside of our comfort zone however that can be done at your own pace, so discover these methods until you can find the balance that fits best for you.  My hope is that after reading this article you will feel empowered, focused, and ready to make a change that works long term. In my efforts to get you to feel that way I interviewed 3 women who have lost 50 pounds or more and here’s what they had to say.

  1. Tina: “It took 2 years to lose the 100 (pounds), and I’ve maintained that for almost 3 years. I use Weight Watchers for the nutrition side and a few gyms and challenges for the fitness. I am on a mission to reach LifeTime- a point in WW where you don’t have to pay anymore…before I turn 40 in December.” She went on to tell me that she turned her personal Instagram account to a public platform to give people motivation to get off the couch and try something new themselves.  As a follower of Tina’s page myself I have definitely felt inspired and you can too; follow her on Instagram (@theothersideof100) to see more!
  2. Krista (name changed for privacy purposes): “Yes! 143 pounds down with natural weight loss.” She went on to tell me that  she has been eating more vegetables, drinking more water, consuming smaller portions, and exercising on a more consistent basis.
  3. Elyssia (IG: Elyssiaflo): When I asked Elyssia how she lost the 45 pounds since August 2016, she replied “just better diet and exercise.” Two weeks later she posted that she is now down 52 pounds, go Elyssia!

Remember, although there are hundreds of methods to weight loss there is only one of you! Learn from others who have had success and begin to apply what you are willing to stick to. If you need additional guidance, I am always here to help you! Send me an e-mail to TipsWithToni@gmail.com and let’s see if together we can find a long term solution to your weight loss success!

8 Ways To Track Your Progress Other Than The Scale

weightloss scale

Are you on a health journey and the scale won’t budge? Although the scale can be one form of measurement to assess if you are on track with your goals, it is not the only one. Our body weight fluctuates day-to-day and week-to-week based off of a variety of reasons, some of which cannot be explained. This can be frustrating at times, especially when you think you did everything right and are expecting a certain number in your head and then “Darn! I am up a pound?”. Before you get discouraged and decide to throw in the towel, let’s see if there are other ways we can celebrate your efforts. Here are 8 things you can do to track your progress other than using the scale:

  1. Celebrate saying “No, thank you” to temptation. You are trying to resist junk food but your co-workers are not on the same plan and offer you candy and chocolate, so you politely refuse. The old you would have indulged because one piece of something sweet usually leads to more and because you said “no” you avoided that roller coaster. That’s a huge step in the right direction!
  2. Celebrate getting back on track in the moment. Going back to the work scenario, maybe you do give in this time. And unfortunately it does lead to another piece and then another. However this time you don’t allow it to ruin your healthy dinner plans and since you over did it on the sweets at work, you decide to skip dessert tonight and have a small piece of fruit or decaf tea instead.
  3. Celebrate being kind to yourself. In addition to putting action forward to picking yourself back up after going off track, you’ve mentally decided to forgive yourself and remind yourself that you are human and that everything cannot be perfect all of the time. Since you are working on loving yourself and improving your overall health, you then kindly talk yourself into finding new solutions going forward.
  4. Celebrate drinking less empty calories. Soda. Juice. Sweetened Teas and Frappacinos. These are all beverages that provide calories but lack nutrients therefore the only reason behind drinking them is the immediate satisfaction of taste and the more we satisfy our sweet tooth with empty calorie beverages, the more we want to drink them. Cutting back on sweetened beverages creates an opportunity for us to consume more nutrient dense foods and water.
  5. Making healthy swaps at a restaurant. The waiter comes to your table to take your order and even though you really want the chicken parmesan with pasta you ask: “I would like the chicken parmesan but instead of pasta I’d like to substitute it for steamed broccoli. Oh, and you can take the bread off the table. I don’t want to be tempted to eat it. Thank you!” Chances are the portions at the restaurant are larger than the proper size and even though that option is fried you still made small adjustments which eventually will lead to big results.
  6. Check your body fat. You may want to invest in a Fat Loss Monitor because even when the scale does not move, your fat to muscle ratio might depending on your exercise regimen. Most of our organs and tissues require muscle support to work optimally so I recommend tracking your body fat in addition to your body weight. On average, a healthy body fat range for women is 21-36% and 8-25% for men, respectively. This range varies slightly depending on age.
  7. How do your clothes fit? Our body fat distributes as we change our eating patterns and believe it or not where we carry excess fat can dictate our health for better or worse. When we carry weight closer to the heart we are at a greater risk for heart disease so if you notice the belly fat is going down and going closer to the hips then that is something to celebrate.
  8. Notice improved energy and mood. You notice you are sleeping better, you are happier, and overall in a much better mood than usual because you are making efforts to take care of yourself and making changes to your diet. How we feel matters most, do not let the scale dictate otherwise!

If you did not hit your target using the 8 ways above then there are two things probably happening. One, you are not letting enough time pass or you are not doing the above often enough. Consistency over time leads to big results so be patient and keep trying. Two, you may not be going about achieving your goals in the most effective way. If that is the case then reach out to a nutrition professional who can help you. Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at TipsWithToni@gmail.com so we can figure out how to keep you motivated and on track!

 

 

Making 2018 Your Healthiest Year Yet

newyearsresolutionloseweighexercise-more

It’s that time again, a new year, a fresh start. You may be feeling anxious to get started on attacking your resolutions headstrong however I am going to suggest that you slow down a bit and take a moment to plan ahead. This exercise should take you about 20 minutes, but will save you months of back tracking so sit down, grab a pen and a piece of paper and let’s do this!

Remember being in grade school and having to report on Current Events for your Social Studies class? Well I am going to encourage you to do the same when developing your 2018 goals; we’re going to break down the Who, What, When, Where’s, and Why’s. Although you probably have a list of New Year’s resolutions, pick ONE. You can do this with each goal however realistically I probably wouldn’t choose more than three. Focus your energy on 1-3 this year and 2019 can be the year you focus on the others on that list. There will always be things that need change and improvement, but only a few can be top on the priorities list. It may be helpful to break them down into categories: personal, professional, relationship, financial, spiritual, health and fitness, etc. It’s not to say that the other goals get completely neglected, but they are not going to soak up the majority of your attention. Since I am a Registered Dietitian I am going to focus this exercise on nutrition related goals, but you are welcome to use this strategy with any other! So here we go…

Who: “Who” may seem like an obvious answer, you’re probably reading this and thinking ME of course! Well yes, you of course is correct however there are other people in your life that can help or hurt your progress and you need to take a minute to define who those people are.

  • Example Goal A- You are trying to eat less sweets but you have that one friend who  brings you homemade desserts on a regular basis.
  • Example Action Plan A-  I am not suggesting you need to de-friend that person, however you may need to speak up a bit. Tell him/her that you are serious about your health and although you appreciate the love and attention she shows through his/her homemade sweets, it is not something that will help you get to your goal.
  • Example Goal B-  You are trying to lose weight and get healthy but every year you tell yourself the same thing and have yet to make progress.
  • Example Action Plan B- Schedule an appointment with a nutrition expert like a Registered Dietitian (RD). RD’s can help you find realistic solutions to your nutrition plan and teach you how and why to eat healthy long-term so you never have to “diet” again.
  • Example Goal C- You want to start going to the gym on a regular basis but don’t know how to use the machines or what exercises to do when you get there. 
  • Example Action Plan C-  Invest in a personal trainer who can teach you the fundamentals and proper form. By working with a trainer you will stay motivated and on track longer than expected and your likelihood of developing an injury decreases significantly. 

What: “What” is also the “How”. This is the meat of the action steps and when developing these you must remember the quote, “Success is in the details” so the more you think this through the better off you’ll be. Read through the progression and you will learn to understand how goal C will most likely produce results in the long run.

  • Example Goal A- “I will eat more vegetables.”
  • Example Action Plan A- “I will add a side salad to dinner each night.”
  • Example Goal B- “I will eat 5 servings of vegetables each day.”
  • Example Action Plan B- “I will snack on cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, or snap peas each day and fill half of my dinner plate with cooked greens.”
  • Example Goal C- “I will eat 5 servings of vegetables each day.”
  • Example Action Plan C- “Sunday’s I will roast broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts so they are ready to add to my lunch and dinner. I will pack snack bags of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and snap peas so they are ready to come with me to work each day. If I don’t have time to cook the vegetables, I will make sure to always have frozen options in my freezer so that they can be ready in 5 minutes or less to add to any meal. I’ll purchase bags of salad that are ready to eat since I don’t want to waste time washing, cutting, and prepping when I get home from a long, tiring day at work.

The more specific you are, the better however when you begin to take action don’t get caught up in the details. This activity is meant to prepare you, get you thinking, and planning ahead, but you will have times where the plan doesn’t go as anticipated so you must be ready to adjust in such times. That does not mean choose the cheeseburger and french fries when vegetables aren’t available, it means do the best you can in that moment and make every effort to follow through the next time.

When: “When” is putting a time frame to your goal(s). We know the BIG goal is set for January 2019 but what are the small goals that will help you get there? It can be overwhelming to think of all that you need to accomplish in 12 months so I suggest breaking it down into 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, and 9 month segments.

  • Example Goal A- You have 50 pounds to lose this year.
  • Example Action Plan A- You will aim to lose about 4 pounds per month, which is about 1 pound per week so by April 2018 you would be 12 pounds lighter, by July 2018 you would be 24 pounds lighter, by October 2018 you would be 36 pounds lighter, and by January 2019 you would have reached your weight loss goal of 50 pounds.

It won’t go perfectly but when the weight comes off it will stay off when done in small, progressive increments. I don’t know about you but just the thought of losing one pound per week sounds a whole lot less intimidating than losing 50 pounds!

Where: “Where” do you need to be to help your goals become a reality. The gym? The home? Are you working later than your scheduled time and that’s why you’re not able to make it to that gym class you’ve been wanting to take? Do you surround yourself with temptations in the home? Do you need to remove the candy dish from the work office? Do you need to create a workout space in your living room? Do you need to spend more time in the kitchen? These are all questions you should be asking yourself to find the answers to success!

Why: Your “Why” is the most important “W”. This is what will keep you going and achieving your goals. The second you forget about your why, is the same second you stop trying. The quote that comes to mind when discussing your why is this: “Our desire to change must outweigh our desire to stay the same.” When we want something to change we do everything in our power to change it because it matters to us. I can think of hundreds of more cliche quotes to describe why the “why” is so important to figure out, but rather than dragging on this article I’ll just refer you to one of my earlier post that describes this segment in greater detail: Finding Your Why.

Once you have clearly defined your 5 “W’s” and have written them down, I want you to put that piece of paper in a location that you can look at on a regular basis, if not daily. In the beginning you’ll feel motivated and ready but by February/March you’ll be finding these changes are hard to stick to. If that’s the case, review the steps you are taking to get there and ask yourself:

  • Are they timely and realistic?
  • Am I taking extreme measures to reach my goals?
  • Do I need to put less pressure on myself?
  • Do I need to be more disciplined and structured?
  • Do I still want the big goal?

Your goals may need to be tweaked along the way and that is okay. If you need help developing or following through with your health goals I am more than happy to provide you with guidelines and strategies. Send me an e-mail to TipsWithToni@gmail.com and let’s chat about it. 2018 is your year. Grasp it, control it, and make it your healthiest year yet!

Want to hear how I explain these tips? Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and watch it here: Making 2018 Your Healthiest Year Yet.

How To Get Back On Track After The Holidays

back on track pic

After over eating throughout the holiday season you may be tempted to go on a fast or juice cleanse, but let me caution you not to. Why not? Because if you continue to over and under eat it will only keep you in the cycle of perpetual dieting. As a Registered Dietitian I do not want you to “diet” even though the word is in my name. What I want is for you to change the way you think about eating in general and change what your day-to-day diet consists of to align with your personal health goals. There are very few “good” or “bad” foods, but there are foods we should aim to eat more of and foods we should eat less of; the sooner you accept that and practice that, the better off you’ll be. Regardless I am sure you are feeling bloated, sluggish, and disappointed from indulging over these past few weeks so knowing that I am going to give you 5 simple tips to help you start feeling like yourself again. My only request is that after you do these 5 things, you begin to practice the fundamentals to a healthy lifestyle, rid yourself of dieting, and finally commit to wellness.

  1. Out of sight, out of mind: There are probably leftover holiday meals and desserts lurking in your refrigerator and since you’ve enjoyed them it is now time to get rid of them. If you have an issue with wasting or throwing away food then give it to family or friends so you’re not tempting to eat it again.
  2. Stay hydrated with water: Chances are you are feeling bloated from all the added sodium in the foods prepared so the best way to rid that feeling is to drink plenty of water. Initially you’ll still feel bloated, but when you have drunken enough the bloat will go down. Want to make sure you are drinking enough? Check the color of your urine, if it’s a dark yellow, drink more water, if it’s pale yellow or clear, you’re fully hydrated and should start to feel better soon!
  3. Do not skip meals: Instead have smaller well balanced meals and limit foods with added salt, fat, sugar, sauces, and gravies. These foods may make you feel even more lethargic.
  4. Get active: Rather than restricting calories by under eating, take a group fitness class, go to the gym, or go for a walk to burn it off. Some physical activity will also make you feel more energized and can alleviate that sluggish feeling.
  5. Forgive yourself: We cannot change the past. What’s done is done so now it’s up to you to learn from it. You are capable of getting back on track. With a little planning and dietary adjustments you’ll be feeling better in no time!

 

For more on-on-one help, e-mail me today at TipsWithToni@gmail.com.

Finding Your “Why”: The Key to Getting Motivated to Losing the Weight & Keeping it Off!

Weight Loss Highway Sign

As a Registered Dietitian, people often ask me, “What should I do to lose weight?”

So, what do you think I tell them?

Eat more fruits and vegetables?

Choose whole grains more often than refined grains?

Vary your protein sources and incorporate more plant-based proteins?

Limit fried food, sweetened beverages, and processed foods with added salt?

Move more and sit less?

Well yes! Of course, those are usually part of my response, but then I follow up with, “Did I tell you something you did not already know?” and they respond with, “No, I guess I know what to do, I just don’t do it.” This is when I ask them to rate how much they would like to see a change and why.

“On a scale of 1-10, how badly do you want to achieve this goal?” Whichever number they give me; I then ask them why not a higher number and why not a lower number. Depending on the person I may get a different response but the reasons why are usually quite similar:

Why It Is Not A 1: I Want…

  • To be healthy.
  • To prevent taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol like my parent(s).
  • To have more energy for my kids, loved one, or spouse.
  • To be happy with what I see in the mirror.
  • To feel confident in my skin again.
  • To be able to walk up the stairs without losing my breath.

Why It Is Not A 10:

  • I do not have time to cook at home and exercise regularly.
  • I cannot afford a gym membership.
  • Eating healthy is too expensive.
  • I am too tired.

Defining our “Why-To’s” and our “Why-Not’s” are essential steps to creating change. Our “Why-To’s” remind us what we actually want to achieve. Our “Why-Not’s” are the reminders that the road to a healthy lifestyle is not a quick fix and takes consistent effort and planning.

Did you know that we can turn our Why-Not’s into Why-To’s simply by the way we think about them? For example, preparing food at home can help you save both time and money. Think about how much time is spent deciding what to eat and when because you did not plan or cook ahead of time. You end up spending more money ordering take-out, going out to a restaurant, or snacking on junk food each day than you would have if you took the time to shop at the grocery store and prepare your food. In addition, you spend more time waiting for your take out to come, driving in traffic, standing online for your order, and/or getting a reservation at the original time desired. It is not to say these events cannot be a part of your new way of eating, but if the goal is more money in your pocket and time on your clock than I would highly consider doing them less often!

Are you still not convinced? Here is another example of changing your perspective: You may be feeling tired all of the time because your body is not getting what is needs. By not consuming a variety of nutritious foods on a regular basis, you could be depriving your body of essential nutrients. You may be feeling sluggish all of the time because you spend most of your days sitting therefore there is decreased blood flow in the body from lack of movement. Moreover, you may be having difficulty sleeping because you are not expending enough calories through exercise on a regular basis. As a Registered Dietitian, I encourage my clients to focus on health as a whole and as a result they tell me how much more energy they have because of it. Their increase in energy increases their productivity, which leads to more time for healthy cooking, exercise, and quality sleep. Do you see how it is all connected? Your WHY determines your decision and when you feel unmotivated that is when it is time to change your perspective. Keep in mind that “change is only possible when your desire to change is more than your desire to stay the same.”  When you are feeling fed up with your recurring circumstances, all of those barriers and “why-nots” slowly begin to disappear. Your original score of importance goes from a 6 to 8 and you somehow find a way to quiet the voices in your head that are telling you otherwise. When you finally decide that you are going to change your lifestyle to a healthy one you eventually figure out. There will be a lot of trial and error but with consistent effort and perseverance, you will find your secret to staying committed to a healthy lifestyle because, “When there is a will, there is a way.” Stop thinking there is a quick fix to weight loss and start making yourself a priority to develop yourself into the person you were intended to be: happy and healthy.

Need some help getting started? Here are my Top 3 tips to losing the weight and keeping it off:

  1. Keep a food journal. “If you can track it, you can change it!” Writing down what you eat everyday will allow you to see eating behaviors, food choices, and portions. With this knowledge, you will learn what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat by reviewing repeated behaviors and comparing them with the outcomes. For example, after a week of journaling, you get on the scale and become frustrated because you are not losing weight. You then review your journal and notice that on the days you skip lunch, your dinner portions are very large. Now that you are aware of this, you can create the steps to incorporate a balanced and nutritious lunch resulting in a smaller dinner portions, which will inevitably lead to weight loss.
  2. Seek out a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN). Registered Dietitians are credentialed nutrition professionals with a wealth of knowledge and insight about how to help you. Speaking with a RD will help to a eliminate a few “trial and error” attempts which can get you closer to your goal at a healthier pace than you were doing before.
  3. Slow down, but never quit! When you’re feeling tired, stressed out, or like you just want to eat an entire cake; take a step back, remember your WHY, re-focus, and write down the steps that will get you back on track to your goal(s).