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Archive for category how many calories should I eat?

Eating. How to do it. {And other stuff}

Wondering what to eat to lose weight? Or maybe you want to know what to eat just to be as healthy as you can?

It’s no secret, diet is extremely important to weight loss and health and wellness. You can work out every single day, but until your diet is clean, you won’t see the best results possible. Some people will tell you that a calorie is a calorie. If you want to be literal, yes, I suppose it is. If you have a lot of weight to lose, counting and cutting back calories and thinking about little else will definitely help. But there will come a time when you’ll plateau. Not only that, if you’re eating low-calorie junk, you’ll still feel like crap. Not to mention, eating low-calorie junk food will not help your actual HEALTH any. A healthier choice at the SAME calorie count will mean more nutrients, more fiber, more filling, etc.

So, put down the 100 calorie snack packs, the pretzels, and the diet ice cream. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. Your results will be SO noticeable, and you’ll feel SO much better once you clean up your diet.

But I know you’re still asking… “How do I eat clean?” True, 100% clean would be nothing store-bought, really. Maybe bulk grains and of course produce from the store, but anything in a box would be a no-go. I try to work toward this, but I’m not there yet.

Instead, I want to share with you what I believe is some of the most important things to eat (and not eat) that will make a big impact but also be reasonable for those of us who still need a little convenience in our lives…

Here’s my “Rules to eat by”:

  • Get rid of enriched wheat products. Replace with items that specifically say “100% whole grain”. Doesn’t have to be wheat as the grain, you can think about rice, barley, oats, etc
  • Drink water all day long, every day
  • Get rid of sodas, inculding diet sodas.
  • Eat at least 3 servings of veggies every day. (1 serving of leafy veggies like raw spinach is equal to 1 cup. Small veggies like chopped carrots & broccoli is 1/2 cup as a serving.)
  • Eat 1 serving of fruit every day
  • Buy organic as much as possible, especially the types of produce and fruit that were directly exposed to pesticides and all that garbage. Berries, greens, apples, etc are especially important. Things that you peel, like oranges and bananas are less important.
  • Eat 1 serving of beans every day
  • Combine the ‘must eats’ as much as possible. Try having a big salad for your lunches…include beans, seeds, etc & plenty of veggies, then you get it all in at once!
  • Eat every 3 hours or so. Snacks can include small stuff if you’re not super hungry. Think nuts, greek yogurt, fruit, etc
  • Try to keep meat to only 2 meals a day to start. Try to work your way to 1 meat a day, then if you’re feeling amazing like I think you will be, you can go from there.
  • Get rid of as much packaged food as you can.
  • Check product labels, look for stuff with only real ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
  • Remember to keep your meats lean. Stick to chicken, fish, and turkey as much as possible.
  • Treat yourself some, but be reasonable. Have a drink once in a while if it’s important to you. But be real with yourself about how much you’re eating/drinking, measure it out. Stick to dark chocolate (72% cacao or darker), or red wine..or just a couple cookies a week,etc). This shouldn’t be a daily thing, work to kick your sugar habit. YES you can.

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A few random *other* tips for well-being & weightless/healthy living success:

  • Sleep 7-8 hrs every night. No excuses
  • Take time every day to relax. No, sleeping doesn’t count.
  • Drink more water (Yes, I know I said that already. Must be important, huh?) 🙂
  • Work on speaking to yourself in a positive voice.
  • Write out your goals. Not just your fitness goals. Write them all out and revisit often.
  • Laugh alot.
  • Make new friends.
  • Find old friends.
  • Help someone in need.
  • Be nice to yourself and to others, even if they may not deserve it.

Soooo….what your FIRST step going to be?? Tell us in the comments below!

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Eating is easy!

Lots of times when people ask me for help losing weight or getting in shape, a hang up ends up being about food. Sometimes folks think they should eat very little. Or perhaps they just don’t feel like they have time to cook or prepare anything. And even a few just don’t know what to eat because they’re confused about all of the conflicting information out there.

Well I’m here to tell you a few things about that.

a) No, you should not cut your calories to 1200 or less. There’s a formula based on height/weight/age/activity level that can help you figure out how much you should be eating. And no. It’s not 1200. People get that in their heads because they hear people say “you should never eat less than 1200”. That’s true. That’s the bare minimum to fuel your body for NO activity. But trust, me 1200 is waaaaay too low. You may lose weight this way, but you’re losing muscle and water weight. If you eat too little, you are slowing your metabolism down. Not cool! We all want faster metabolisms, don’t we? You must eat, eat, eat to get that. (Eating healthy foods, of course, not junk!) I literally eat something every 2-3 hours. My body is a fuel/fat burning machine, partially due to my food intake, and partially due to my muscle-building workouts, of course.

b) Yes, you have time to prepare healthy stuff. Here’s what I make for most mornings. I make a bunch on the weekend and freeze them. They take 2 minutes to heat up in the morning, and it’s homemade so you know there’s no added crap in it. There’s plenty of protein and even some whole grains so you’ll feel fuller longer and you’ll fuel your body the right way.

Make ahead breakfast wraps:

Just scramble some eggs with salt and pepper, spoon the equivalent of about 2 eggs onto a whole grain (or low carb) tortilla – the small, taco sized tortiallas. Add a slice or two of canadian bacon – or turkey bacon if you prefer. Optional, top w/ a tablespoon of salsa and or a little bit of low fat cheese. Roll your tortilla with both ends tucked in and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze. To serve, take plastic wrap off and microwave for about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave power.

It takes only about 10 minutes to cook, assemble and throw 6-8 of these in the freezer.

Here’s a freshly made one that I made over the weekend. I added a little gouda to this and it was absolutely heavenly and I was actually full for a few hours, YAY!

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and finally,

c) I know there’s lots of confusing information out there. And I’m happy to answer your questions, so please always feel free to comment here or even email me: fithappy@yahoo.com and I’ll help you sort through the confusion. But a couple of rules I’ve found to live by… don’t get caught up in any fad diets, they will work short term, but are typically too radical to follow for very long. Not to mention many times they cut out entire food groups. Not a very sustainable way to eat. Don’t be afraid of things like carbs. Switch to whole grain pastas and breads and your carbs won’t be as evil…and do try to go carb-free for one meal a day or so. We all need carbs if we’re active at all! And finally, don’t be afraid of fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar does. Kick that sweet tooth habit if you have it. And yes, carbs do turn to sugars, so that’s why you should go carb-free once a day and why you should switch to whole grains. Really, don’t get too caught up in these things. Eat whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, limit your boxed/canned/processed foods and pay attention to eating something every few hours. That, combined with exercise is the key to a healthier lifestyle!

So tell me, what’s the most confusing thing about food for you?

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Oh, Calories…

Ever wondered how much you should *really* be eating? Well you should! Many of us tend to overeat or even under-eat. Overeating is more recognizable. Most people who do it, sort of know they’re doing it. Under-eating is a different story. Some people “just aren’t hungry” enough to eat all the time. The bad part about that – is that means their metabolism is SO slow that they aren’t feeling hunger like other people. And eating too little makes your metabolism stall even further – AND it makes your body store fat. Bad combination, huh?

The good news is, this can all be fixed – with a little knowledge and some new habits.

First, you have to figure out how many calories you burn in a day without trying. This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR). It’s what your body burns just by living. You can estimate your BMR by using some online calculators. The one I use is this one: http://www.bmrcalculator.org/

Basically, you’ll enter in your height, weight, age, and sex and the calculator will tell you what your BMR is. Now, you must account for your activity level in addition to the BMR to figure out what you *really* burn in a day. Unless you’re literally bed-ridden, you are burning more than your BMR. The activity levels vary based on how hard you work out and how many times per week. That activity level adds to your BMR to give you total calories burned per day. So, if you wanted to stay at your same weight, you’d want to eat right around that number of calories every day. If you wanted to lose a little weight, a good rule of thumb is to eat about 500 calories less per day than what your BMR + Activity level amount shows. Using the site I mentioned above, you can figure out your BMR, then right below that, there is a chart that you can use to determine what your total is based on activity. Take that number, write it down somewhere.

Now, to get a handle on what you’re really eating, you should start logging your intake. I use fatsecret.com to do this. I don’t use it much anymore because I now have a good handle on what my 1600-1800 calories looks like (that’s how much I should be eating every day, so yours may be different!) Just create a free account there and start logging every single thing you eat and drink. Don’t overlook things like sauces and dressings too!

After a few days of this, you’ll get to seeing your patterns. This is a tool you’ll be so glad you found, because really, calories in versus calories out is the BASIS for any healthy diet. From there, you can start thinking about protein, carbs, fats, ratios, etc. I’ll hit on this in another post, I promise!

If you already use another calorie tracking program, I’d love to hear about it – comment below! 🙂

~To your health~

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