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Day 3: How To Build A Healthy Morning Routine

Welcome back to the Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge. How are you liking it so far?

Today is day 3, which means it’s time to talk about your daily routines, starting with your morning routine. Everyone has a morning routine, which simply consists of the tasks you do each day after you wake up. But, is your current morning routine working for your health and weight loss goals?

Let’s find out.

How much time do you give yourself each morning? This is really the first thing you should ask yourself, because if you barely have enough time to get ready for work, you probably don’t have much wiggle room for adding more to your morning routine.

If you are constantly rushed and always running late, the first thing you need to do is set your alarm for earlier, so you can practice some healthy habits before the family wakes up.

Do you have any personal or self-care time? Next, think about the tasks you complete each morning. If none of them have to do with relaxing, eating a healthy breakfast, or moving your body, it’s time to reevaluate how you spend your time.

What healthy habits can you add? Finally, think of what you would like to add to your morning routine to help change your lifestyle to a healthier one. Maybe you do yoga in the morning, pray, write in your journal, read a chapter from a book, or make yourself a nutritious smoothie.  

Tip – Set your alarm about 30 minutes earlier than necessary to fit in more tasks during your morning routine.

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How To Include More Protein In Your Diet

For day 2 of the Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge, you are going to learn your very first nutrition tip – getting more protein into your diet! This is really important, as protein helps to fuel your body, give you more energy, and keep you full between meals.

Why Protein?

If you have ever read about weight loss or fitness, you have probably come across countless articles recommending more protein. But why protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient everybody needs on a regular basis. You already have protein in your hair, skin, and nails. But when you don’t replenish it through your diet, you start noticing side effects like brittle nails and hair loss.

In addition, more protein also means more energy, being full between meals, and having a properly balanced hormonal system. It’s important!

Foods with Protein

The good news is, it’s super easy to add more protein to your diet. The obvious choice is adding meat, seafood, and poultry. Eggs are also an amazing source of protein.

However, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, or prefer more plant-based foods, there are many more options as well. Here are some foods that are good sources of protein:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Oats
  • Whole grains like quinoa
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Tofu
  • Greek yogurt (if you aren’t vegan)

Tip – Use collagen powder in your coffee in the morning as a quick boost of protein without any added sugar or flavor.

Journal Prompt – What are your thoughts on body positivity and body acceptance.

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Day 1: Introduction to Lifestyle Changes for Weight Loss

It’s finally here! The day you’ve been waiting for. The day you begin to adopt new and healthy habits that will change your life forever. Take this from a person who grew up seriously overweight, was teased by her peers and wanted desperately to lose weight. Then one day my high school P.E. teacher, noticing my reluctance to participate in the class, looked at me and said, “You should move more. It will do you the world of good.”

I thought about what she said and began to exercise. The result was stunning. Not only did I lose the excess weight, I grew to love exercise and it became a daily habit. My eating habits also changed. I come from a culture where starches—bread, rice, potatoes, ground provisions— are the staples of every meal. That’s a recipe for obesity, diabetes, and all the attendant illnesses. I learned to limit my carb intake and that also had a positive impact on my weight.

I didn’t do anything drastic; I simply made simple lifestyle changes, and this is what I’m encouraging you to do. This is all important when it comes to developing a healthy lifestyle not only for your health and wellness, but also when you want to lose weight more naturally.

For so many people, they are overweight from small choices that don’t seem like a big deal, but can have a large impact. The iced coffee you get every morning, the muffin you choose instead of a more balanced breakfast, skipping too many workouts in a row.

This is why just changing your lifestyle may be all you need to do to successfully lose weight.

Tip – Keep adjusting your routine and habits to blend well with different changes of your life. Your lifestyle won’t always be exactly the same, but remember it is all about balance.

Journal Prompt – Do you remember what triggered your weight gain in the first place or were you always overweight? Write it down in your journal. If you know someone who can benefit from this challenge or this blog, invite them to sign up below. Until next time, start changing.

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Spicy Peach Salsa And Challenge Reminder

Your Friday recipe is Spicy Peach Salsa, a delicious blend of sweet and spicy flavors that make it a wonderful addition to simply prepared chicken, fish or pork dishes.

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For best results, make this salsa the night before serving so the flavors have a chance to blend. This will also soften the peaches and onion to a nice consistency.

Prep time: 20 minutes (+ 30 minutes to overnight for flavors to develop)
Cook time: n/a
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh peaches, pits removed and cut into small pieces
  • 3 T. red onion, cut into small, thin slices
  • 1-2 t. jalapeno peppers, seeds and veins removed, and very finely minced
  • 3 T. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients* in a large glass or other non-reactive bowl. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine.

*Tip: Start with a very small amount of jalapeno pepper and taste before adding more.

If you don’t like the strong flavor or odor of the red onions you can soak them in water for for 10-15 minutes before using.

  • Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Serve with foil packet citrusy white fish or other minimally seasoned fish, chicken, or pork recipe. This can also be served in place of regular salsa with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Tip: Half-ripe mangoes make a great substitute for the peaches.


Your challenge reminder

In my last post, I told you that my lifestyle weight-loss challenge will be starting on Monday. This is just a reminder to help you get ready. I’m sure many of you have taken all sorts of challenges before and you’ve probably seen results, but if you are taking part in this one, it’s probably because you realize you need to either do something more or something different. I applaud you for that.

The challenge is starting on Monday! Are you ready to get started? Here are some pre-challenge tips to help get you prepared for the 21-day Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge.

Get Your Journal Ready

You will be answering writing prompts each day. If you haven’t done so already, either get a journal to write in, or print the journal pages I will provide you.

It is also a good idea to weigh yourself and take measurements just once at the beginning of the challenge, and not again until the end. Weight loss is not your focus right now, working on your lifestyle is.

Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing This

It’s also really helpful to keep reminding yourself why you have chosen this method of weight loss and improving your health. It is going to be the best motivation not just through this challenge, but long after it’s over.

Tip – Start your day each day of this challenge by reading the email and tips, then writing in your journal. It will become a great part of your morning routine.

Journal Prompt – List 5-10 things you hope to gain from this lifestyle change.

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Join My Healthy Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge

This is not my usual Monday morning inspirational/motivational post, but I’m hoping it will motivate you enough to join me in my healthy weight loss lifestyle challenge, starting one week from today. Yes, I know I did mention in my previous post that it will be starting this week, but I wanted to give more of you a chance to sign up for this exciting challenge.

Who would benefit from this challenge?

This challenge is aimed primarily at those of you who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and wish to lose weight in order to control your glucose. However, I hope that others who are neither diabetic nor overweight will also join the challenge in order to make those lifestyle changes that will help you look better, sleep better and have more energy.

How is it Different From a Diet?

Since weight loss is not your ultimate goal, the approach is entirely different than dieting. You will be making small changes in your daily life that will move you forward to your health and wellness goals. It’s not about starving yourself, or working out to the point of exhaustion —those methods never work long term— instead, you are looking at your health and life as a whole, and making changes that offer lasting impact and lasting satisfaction.

The key here is to achieve healthy and natural weight loss. Not through a diet and not with extreme methods that will only lead to yo-yo dieting and your weight constantly going up and down. We want this to be a permanent change in your life that follows you through for many years to come.

To help you get started:

You will need a journal or notebook to record your thoughts and activities each day. Writing things down helps to make them more concrete and bring them into focus. Keeping a journal can also act as a reminder for those times when you may forget to do something. It will also serve as a good record to look back on and see what you achieved. You should also start thinking about healthy meals, exercises, and other habits you want to incorporate into your healthy routine.

Journal prompt – What makes you want to switch to a healthy weight loss lifestyle?

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Spice Up Your Diet With These Grilled Veggies

Summer is here, the weekend is here, making it the perfect time for grilling. If you are looking for flavorful ways to add more vegetables to your diet, grilling is one of the best ways to do so. So why not pull out the grill, gather the family around and have a fun time grilling your veggies.

Grilling is a great way to enhance the natural sweetness of summer garden vegetables. For best results, cut all vegetables to a uniform thickness before grilling.

The recipe I have for you is Grilled Summer Vegetable Medley with Herb Butter. Prep time is only 15 mins., cook time is 10 – 14 mins. and this recipe serves 4 -6.

Compound Butter Ingredients:

¼ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 t. fresh thyme leaves, stems removed, Pinch of sea salt

Remaining Ingredients:

  • Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for grill
    3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into ½-inch thick half rounds
    3 red bell pepper, core removed and cut into 4 equal-sized flat pieces
  • 3 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 small yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 T. black Hawaiian salt (see below)

    Black Lava Hawaiian Sea Salt:

Directions:

  1. Add butter, thyme, and salt to a small bowl. Combine thoroughly with a fork and transfer to a sheet of wax paper. Shape into a log and roll in the wax paper before placing in the refrigerator to firm up.  
  2. Prepare grill by brushing grates with a wire brush and lightly coating with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Pre-heat grill to medium.
  3. Brush both sides of the vegetables with the extra virgin olive oil. Place the onion and bell pepper on the pre-heated grill and cook for 5-6 minutes before turning.
  1. Continue grilling the onion and pepper for another 2-3 minutes before adding the zucchini and yellow squash. Grill the vegetables for another 4-5 minutes, or just until crisp tender. (Turn the zucchini and yellow squash once after 2-3 minutes)   
  1. Remove from heat and serve immediately with grilled bone-in pork chops or any other meat of your choice. Add a pat of the compound herb butter to the vegetables and pork chops for an extra bit of flavor and a nice presentation. Enjoy!

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Mid-week Study: Exercising Outdoors Can Save Your Life

In South Florida where I live, summer is a great time for exercising outdoors, especially during the early hours of the morning. The air is crisp and just warm enough to make you break out a sweat. It’s a great time to walk your dog, ride your bike or just take a brisk walk or jog.

For those of you who live in places with air pollution, you may be tempted to forego your exercise because of the air quality, but according to this study, “the benefits of regular outdoor exercise in areas with air pollution outweigh the risks.” In fact the study goes so far as to say that habitual exercise can save your life.

Researcher Dr. Xiang Qian Lao, from the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care at Chinese University of Hong Kong claims, “Habitual exercise reduces the risk of death regardless of exposure to air pollution, and air pollution generally increases the risk of death regardless of habitual exercise.”

While the study concluded that less exposure to air pollution was better, it also reiterated that compared to inactivity, a higher amount of regular exercise was beneficial, even in polluted areas. This study was done on 384,000 adults in Taiwan. Smaller studies conducted in the United States, Denmark and Hong Kong also found that regular exercise, even in polluted areas, is beneficial.

If you have been putting off exercising outdoors because you live in an area with air pollution, the results of these studies should set your mind at ease. Habitual exercise reduces the risk of death regardless of exposure to air pollution. So, put on your walking shoes, your sunglasses, and sunscreen and head for the great outdoors.

The shoes shown below are made for walking, standing, nursing, working out etc. They are lightweight and comfortable. The links are affiliate links, meaning If you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission. It does not cost you anything more.

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How Far Will You Go To Achieve Your Goal?

One mile? Five miles? Ten? If you have been following this blog, you know that most of my posts are aimed at helping people with type 2 diabetes, but today I came across this story about a mother and son in Canada who are walking 100 km to raise money for diabetes research. The boy has type 1 diabetes.

Oscar Munier Martinez is only ten years old, but his life changed when doctors diagnosed him with Type 1 diabetes this past March. With the help of his mother, Anne, Oscar has spent the past few months learning how to count carbs, monitor his glucose and exercise. He has even learned how to give himself insulin injections.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Dr. Frederick Banting and his team at the University of Toronto. Their breakthrough opened a world of possibilities for people with diabetes worldwide, such as Oscar. Now, the Munier Martinez family is striving towards even better outcomes for those living with diabetes. “We’re not just doing the 100-kilometre walk as a celebration, we’re also fundraising for a cure for diabetes,” Anne Munier said. 

Anne and Oscar have already raised $4000 for their walk, all of which will go to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Canada. Its team is researching how stem cells can derive insulin-producing islet cells that can be transplanted back into a diabetic patient’s body. 

In addition to monetary donations, people have also sent gift cards to help pay for groceries, while others have offered to provide lodging for the Muniers along the way. And the Royal York Hotel in Toronto has offered a room for the last night of their trek, something the mother and son are looking forward to.

Anne reports that Oscar is doing really well in terms of activity level, his motivation and attitude toward life. So what about you? How far will you go to achieve your goal? I don’t mean in terms of physical distance like Anne and Oscar are doing, but in terms of effort, motivation, and will. Are you willing to cut back on calories, increase your physical activity and monitor your progress?

If you are, why not sign up for my 21-day healthy lifestyle challenge that starts next week? You will learn simple changes you can make that will help you lose weight and improve your health. Sign up below.

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Video: How To Stop Feeling Like A Victim

Sometimes when things are not going your way you may decide to curl up in a corner and have a good pity-party. Or, you may complain to others how unfair life is, or ruminate on all the hurt you suffered and the many ways you have been victimized.

You would most likely stay in victim mode for a while, but it should be a short while. If you follow the tips in the video below, you just may end up feeling like a victor and not a victim.

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How To Cut 200 Calories From Your Diet Daily

I am sure you know by now that losing weight can also help you control your diabetes, but you may think it’s difficult to lose weight, especially when you are older and don’t feel very well. Here’s good news: This week I came across a study that showed that cutting just 200 calories daily and adding moderate exercise can help older obese adults to lose weight and improve vascular health.

Researchers observed three groups of sedentary adults ranging in ages from 65 to 79 over a period of 20 weeks. One group ate their regular diet and exercised. The second group exercised and restricted calories by about 200 per day. The third group exercised and reduced calories by 600 per day. All participants received supervised aerobic training four days a week. Then the researchers used cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure aortic stiffness.

The group that restricted calories by 200 showed weight loss of nearly 10%, or about 20 pounds, and significant improvements in aortic stiffness. (Aortic stiffness occurs when elastic fibers within the arterial wall begin to fray. This is usually seen with aging and other cardiovascular risk factors). The other two groups showed little change in aortic stiffness, however both of the calorie-restricted groups showed bigger changes in BMI, total fat mass, percent body fat, abdominal fat and waist circumference than the exercise-only group.

Both of the calorie-restricted groups showed bigger changes in BMI, total fat mass, percent body fat, abdominal fat and waist circumference than the exercise-only group.

This study shows the efficacy in cutting calories in order to lose weight and improve cardiovascular health.

So, how do you cut 200 calories a day? Let’s look at the caloric content of some common foods:

  • 1 slice white bread 100 cal
  • 1 slice wheat bread 115
  • 1/4 cup granola 100
  • 1 fried egg 105
  • 1 plain omlette 190 (2 eggs)
  • 1 boiled egg 75
  • 1 strip bacon (8gm) 45
  • 1 chicken breast w skin 249
  • 1 chicken breast no skin 130
  • 4 oz lean beef 160
  • 4 oz white fish broiled 130
  • 3 oz hamburger 240
  • a 12oz can of soda 150

This is just a small sampling of foods you probably eat every day. Do you see how you can easily eliminate 200 calories from your diet every day? According to the study above, if you do this and add exercise four days a week —at least 30 mins a day— you should be on your way to sustainable weight loss and improved cardiovascular health. You can search the internet for the caloric content of any of your favorite foods, or you can go to MyPlate.gov by clicking the link on this page.

Listen, your health is your greatest asset. You can have all the money in the world but if you don’t have health you would be very unhappy. The good news is that your health is largely under your control. So, I want to challenge you to make some lifestyle changes. Starting next week, I want you to join me in my Weight Loss Lifestyle Challenge, a fun and sustainable way to make those lifestyle changes that will set you on the path to better health. And I will be right there with you. It costs you nothing, except a small segment of your time.

If you think this is something you would like to do, please fill in the form below.