Archive for the ‘nutrition for weight loss’ Category

Yet Another Reason to Reduce Sugar

July 16, 2007

I think that sugar, in it’s many forms, is one of the biggest causes of weight gain and obesity. It’s in nearly every bit of processed food you put in your mouth. Heck, take a look at the sugar content in the SALADS at fast food places; you’ll be shocked.

And now, there’s another reason why you should be cutting your intake: too much sugar may contribute to vision loss!

In a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  it was noted that a diet high in refined sugar has been linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  This condition is known to affect the retina and affect your vision.  The study found that the higher in refined sugar your diet is, the greater the chance that you could suffer from AMD.  Conversely, the study also showed that those who ate a lot of fruits, veggies and other low-glycemic foods were found to have lower risk for AMD.

Hmmm…interesting.  Eat a lot of sugar and possibly hurt your vision, or eat healthier, protect your eyes AND lose weight.  What choice are you going to make?


Quick & Easy Steak Salad Recipe — Perfect for Sweltering Summer Days

July 15, 2007

Oh man, fire up the grill and get ready for your taste buds to start singing.  🙂

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty recipe to feed yourself and your family on these summer days when it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen, here’s one you’re going to want to try.  Not only is this dish tasty, it’s perfect for your weight loss goals; a portion of it is less than 300 calories!

Steak Salad with Tomatoes, Peppers, Sweet Onions and Balsamic Vinaigrette

This recipe serves: 4

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes

For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

For the grilled steak:
2 top sirloin steaks, about 8 ounces each

For the green salad:
8 cups romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed
1 green bell pepper stemmed, seeded and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
4 small crusty rolls

Cooking Instructions
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1. Place the shallots and vinegar in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Continue whisking and slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
(This can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

For the grilled steak:
1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

2. Season the steaks with salt and pepper.

3. Grill the steaks on both sides until it is cooked through, about 6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest.
(The steak can be grilled in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

For the green salad:
1. Slice the steaks into strips and place them in a mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper and onion slices and half of the balsamic vinaigrette.

2. Place the romaine lettuce in a separate salad bowl and toss it with the remaining vinaigrette. Arrange the steak, tomato, bell pepper and onion mixture on top. Serve with a roll.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size about 3 ounces of cooked steak with 2 cups of salad

Amount Per Serving

Calories 283

Protein 29 g

Total Carbohydrate 19 g

Dietary Fiber 3 g

Soluble Fiber 1 g

Insoluble Fiber 2 g

Sugar 4 g

Total Fat 11 g

Saturated Fat 3 g

Recipe courtesy of the American Council on Exercise.

10 Day Countdown to Fitness: Day 5

July 7, 2007

Welcome to Day 5 of our 10 Day Countdown to Fitness!

I’m assuming that you have done the previous assignments from the first 4 days of the Countdown. If not, PLEASE go back and do them. They’re essential parts of this whole process. If you are serious about using the 10 days to jump start exercising for weight loss, you will not get the long term results you want and deserve without doing the previous assignments. If you skipped over them, or if this is the first post you’re reading in this 10 day series, you can find Day 1 here.

Starting today, I want you to park your car at least 10 minutes away from every place you’re going.  That way, you’re going to get an extra 10 minutes of walking to your destination, and an extra 10 minutes  of walking back to your car.  Doesn’t matter where you’re headed; church, school, work, shopping, wherever.  Park 10 minutes away and enjoy a little movement.  Remember, this is in addition to the other activities you’ve started in the previous days of the Countdown.  Now, the pace of this extra little walk does NOT have to be fast.  By all means, make it a leisurely stroll for the sheer pleasure of it.

If you take the subway or the bus to get around, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you!  Just get off a few stops before your destination and start walking.   🙂

You’re going to find that these extra little movements that you’re starting to make are going to rev up your metabolism like crazy.  If you reduce sugar, reduce processed foods, reduce portion size and cover 2/3 of your plate with fruits and veggies at the same time you’re doing this Countdown,  get ready to buy smaller size clothes in a couple of weeks!

See you tomorrow for Day 6.

6 Best Summer Time Weight Loss Foods

July 1, 2007

I don’t know about any of you, but I find it easier to eat healthy in the summer.  The vegetables are so fresh that they just seem to burst with flavor.  Fruit tastes fantastic, and there’s even a larger variety available than other times of year.  And the grill…I hope you are putting your grill to use right now for meats and veggies!

Apparently, WebMD agree.  Here’s their list of 6 Summer Time Weight Loss Foods:

  1. Chilled Soups
  2. Watermelon
  3. Grilled Veggies
  4. Salads
  5. Low and No Calorie Beverages
  6. Fruit based Desserts

Be sure to check out the article for suggestions on low cal beverages and fruit based desserts…yummy!

One of the things I like about this list is that so many of these foods you can eat to your hearts content and not have to worry about calories.  Watermelon, for instance, has around 200 calories…in a pound of it!  WOO HOO!

Take this list has start thinking of the many recipes you can try that will taste great, not cost very much, and most importantly, will support your weight loss efforts.

The Salad Secret to Fresh Greens

June 29, 2007

I think everyone is aware that increasing the amount of fresh veggies you eat will help your weight loss efforts.  It’s a great way to be able to fill up on a food that tastes good but isn’t full of calories.  Plus, vegetables give our bodies many nutrients that our bodies need and that are missing from the processed crap that most of us eat.

When I first started my weight loss efforts, I added vegetables by eating a big-a$$ salad every day for lunch.  It’s a habit that has served me well, and one that I continue still.  I’ve gone from eating no veggies at all to having a diet that consists of AT LEAST 2/3 of each meal being vegetables.

And now, thanks to FitSugar,  I will be able to enjoy fresh salad green ever more.  I have discovered the secret to keeping lettuce and other salad greens fresh for longer periods of time!

This is so cool; I never dream it would be this easy.  Here’s the secret:

“Place the greens in a plastic bag, close the top of the bag lightly with your fist, and blow into the bag and fill it with air (carbon dioxide). Then seal the bag by twisting the top a few times before closing it firmly with a twisty-tie.  Place it in the fridge and your greens are good to go.”

 Isn’t that something?  No more eating greens that are wilted and getting a little funky.  Better yet, no more throwing out a ton of lettuce that went bad before you can eat it!

I know you can buy pre-bagged salad greens.  I have bought and used these bags, and have recommended them to others.  But by using this method, you should be able to save a little dough, and have no worries about how your greens have been packages.

Straight From the Mouth of Some Big Losers

June 25, 2007

Let me say this right up front: I am a not a fan of “The Biggest Loser” television series.

Why? Because I think it sets unrealistic expectations as far as weight loss goes. First of all, it’s WAY too scale-oriented. It’s nothing for the participants to have a 7, 8, even a 10 pound weight loss in a week. And we watch them get upset if they only lose 3 pounds or so. Most of us would kill for a 3 pound weight loss every week. I’ve also read (and don’t know if it’s true) that the participants work out 4 hours a day, every day they’re in the house.

This is just not the real world of weight loss. And I’m always afraid that there’s people watching it and finally getting motivated to get started eating right and exercising. And then I’m afraid that they’ll be crushed the first time they “only” lose 2 or 3 pounds.

I do have to admit, though, that I get very excited about the success the contestants experience and the fact that these folks are learning, many of them for the first time, how to eat right and exercise. And I get thrilled along side them as the see the benefits of getting fit and thin.

I read an article today with weight loss advice from some of the Biggest Loser contestants, and I have to recommend it to you. You can find it here. The advice in it is AWESOME; it’s very apparent that they have truly been taught how to lose weight. Here’s 10 tips from the article:

10 More Tips From The Biggest Loser

To help keep you moving toward your weight loss goals, Lyons, Alexander and several of the “Biggest Losers” offer these additional tips and tricks:

  1. “Eat often — snack often,” says Alexander. While this may seem contrary to traditional dieting advice, the chef says that as long as you keep an eye on calories and portions, eating often will stave off hunger attacks that ultimately sabotage your diet. “When you’re starving, you grab whatever is available — and that’s the quickest way to get off your eating plan,” says Alexander.

2. “Eat your carbs in the morning,” says Biggest Loser contestant Brian Starkey. “It gets your day off to an energetic start.” Lyons adds that carbs are quickly burned with activity, so eating them may help motivate you for that morning walk or bike ride.

3. “Post a picture of yourself on the refrigerator — at your worst,” says Biggest Loser contestant Dana Desilvio. “The next time you’re thinking of grabbing something you shouldn’t from the fridge, you’ll be reminded of what you don’t want to look like!”

4. “Instead of watching the clock during workouts, listen to music,” to make the time go faster,says Erik Chopin, TheBiggest Loser‘s season-three winner. Lyons reminds us that everyday activities, like bike riding, tossing a Frisbee, or walking your dog, count as physical activity, too.

5. “When eating out, always ask for a ‘to-go’ box — at the start of your meal,” says Biggest Loser contestant Bobby Moore. Then, when your food arrives, immediately put half of it in the box, he suggests. This way, you’ll not only get used to eating smaller portions, but you’ll have a snack for later.

6. Learn to cook healthfully. “Cooking healthy doesn’t have to be hard — or take more time,” says Alexander. While many “Biggest Loser” contestants said they thought cooking healthy would be complicated or time-consuming, Alexander says, most found that cooking healthy is actually easier, less expensive, and faster.

7. “Never overlook the power of seasoning,” says Alexander. One way she made even the blandest diet foods grab the contestants’ attention was by using low-sodium seasonings.

“People never realize what a major difference spices can make on even simple dishes like grilled chicken or salmon,” she says.

8. “When it comes to cooking in flavor, it’s never about the oil,” says Alexander. Many dieters believe that unless food is fried in oil, you don’t get much flavor. But, she says, the real secret is pan-browning, which can happen without oil. The trick to getting restaurant-quality taste, she says, is to never overload your pan with food. “If you put too much in the pan, the moisture content causes the foods to steam and not pan-fry,” she says. “By reducing the amount of food in the pan you get that tasty pan-seared browning, without the use of any oils.”

9. Don’t try to do too much exercise, too soon. You not only run the risk of injury, but you’ll also get quickly discouraged. “Don’t try to stare down 45 minutes of exercise,” says Lyons. “Tell yourself it will be OK to quit after 10 minutes, because most of the time once you get going, you’ll keep going.”

10. Remember: Self-esteem feeds on self-esteem. Accomplishing a little something toward your weight loss goal every day will not only get you on the road to success, but help keep you there. “You are not just losing weight, you are changing your life and your lifestyle,” says Alexander. “If you keep that in mind, you come to see that every change, no matter how small, comes together to make a huge difference in not only your weight, but your life,” says Alexander.

See what I mean?

There is some profound wisdom in this article. There’s even a couple of recipes from the Biggest Loser Cookbook that I’m going to try. So do go spend a little time with this article.

You may not lose 10 pounds in a week, but if you take this advice to heart, you can lose weight EVERY week and keep it off. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

And Speaking of Burning Calories…

June 22, 2007

Yesterday, I posted about 8 different ways to burn 100 calories. Today, I want to show you a nifty little tool that will help you determine how many calories different activities help you burn off.

The West Virginia Dietetic Association web site has some awesome calculators that will measure how many calories are used in various activities. You can see the calculators here.

Now, the link I just gave goes to the calculator that figures out the calories burned in gym activities. But if you look at the bottom of the page, you ‘ll see links to other calculators. You can determine calories burned by participating in sports, in activities at home, or even at work. You can figure out how many calories you need a day to maintain your body weight (HINT: use this to figure out your calorie needs, then deduct 500 from it to give you a good ballpark figure of how many calories to eat when you want to lose weight), or estimate your Body Mass Index.

There is a lot of information you can learn from these calculators, and I recommend adding the site to your favorites. I certainly did.

By the way, if you know of a good web site or tool pertaining to weight loss, exercising, diets, recipes, nutrition, motivation, etc, be sure to let us know about it!

Gotta Eat-a Pita

June 20, 2007

I’ve been on a pita kick lately, and with good reason.

You can use them to wrap meat and veggies at lunch, you can scramble some eggs, cheese and turkey in the morning and eat a breakfast pita, you can even use pitas as a crust for mini-pizzas.

All in all, a handy, nutritious, tasty food.  Especially the whole wheat version.  🙂

I’ve got a recipe I want to share with you for a Grilled Veggie & Yogurt Sauce Pita that is awesome…I urge to give this a try.  It’s kind of tangy and has a Mediterranean taste to it.  It’s great by it self or with a salad.

Man, when I eat things like this it’s hard to believe that I’m eating healthy!


Yogurt Sauce
1/4 cucumber
1/4 cup low-fat yogurt
1/2 clove garlic

1 whole grain pita (7-inch)
1 1/2 ounces feta cheese
1/3 bell pepper
1/3 carrot
1/4 medium onion
Olive oil
Seasoning of your choice

Chop the cucumber into small pieces, mince the garlic, and combine both with the yogurt to make the yogurt sauce.  Let that marinate for awhile, somewhere between an hour and overnight.  And yes, it makes a difference — the longer it marinates, the better is tastes.  Slice the pepper, carrot, and onion in thin strips and place them on the grill. Spray lightly with olive oil and the seasoning. Grill for 5 – 10 minutes,  to your taste. During the last minute or so of grilling, warm up your pita. Spread the sauce on the pita, then pile on the grilled veggies, and top with crumbled feta.

5 Drinks to Avoid Like the Plague This Summer

June 17, 2007

I don’t know about where you may be located, but where I’m at, it’s HOT today…nearly 90 degrees and steamy.

All though the official start of summer is still a few days away, for all practical purposes summer is already here. As our outdoor activities increase, so does the need to increase the amount of fluids that we drink. If you do not keep yourself properly hydrated, you may be risking some serious health dangers, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

As important as it is to keep a steady intake of fluids, here’s 5 drinks that you DON’T want to drink this summer:

  • Krispy Kreme – Mocha Dream Chiller
    (12 oz: 670 calories, 28g fat, 320mg sodium, 105g carbs, 1g fiber, 58g sugars, 3g protein)
  • Dairy Queen – Peanut Butter Malt
    (15 oz: 870 calories, 46g fat, 630mg sodium, 94g carbs, 3g fiber, 70g sugars, 21g protein)
  • Starbucks – Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème with Whipped Cream
    (16 oz: 580 calories, 22g fat, 370mg sodium, 86g carbs, 3g fiber, 65g sugars, 14g protein)
  • Fatburger – Chocolate Ice Cream Shake
    (16 oz: 880 calories, 38g fat, 370mg sodium, 120g carbs, 4g fiber, 75g sugars, 14g protein)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts – Vanilla Bean Coolatta
    (16 oz: 440 calories, 17g fat, 95mg sodium, 70g carbs, 1g fiber, 69g sugars, 1g protein)

(Nutritional information source –

As important as it is to drink enough, you also want to make good fluid choices. My preferred drink choices for these hot, sticky days are water, Crystal Light, and unsweetened iced tea.

And if you’re looking for a quick, cold, sweet treat to help beat the heat, avoid the choices listed above and try a sugar-free fudgsicle. At just 81 calories and 1.5 grams of saturated fat, you can’t go wrong.

A Little Help With Portion Control

June 16, 2007

I believe that one of the pillars of successful weight loss and weight control is portion size. Our portions, both at home and when we eat out, have become huge. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as our portions have gotten larger, our country has gotten more overweight.

I saw a new tool today that helps with controlling portion size, and I wanted to tell you all about it.

It’s called Portionpal, and despite a kind of cheesy name, it’s a pretty cool little gizmo. It’s designed to help you learn the correct portion size for 5 different foods: meat, chicken, fish, side dishes and dessert (and I do hope that dessert is the one you eat the least). It consists of 5 different discs made of silicone, 1 disc for each of the 5 foods. You simply use the discs as a cutting board by placing your food on the appropriate disc, then cutting around the printed outline to get the correct portion size. Pretty simple, huh?

I do want to be clear that I have not yet tried Portionpal yet, but for less than $18 bucks (+ tax and shipping) I figure it’s worth trying; I’ve ordered it and do honestly think it will be very helpful.

One word of caution if you go to the website: as soon as you land on the home page, you get assaulted with music. I don’t know about you, but personally, I do not like to have of music forced on me on websites. Thankfully, the webmaster has a button about half way down the page that allows you to turn off the music. So if you don’t like “Thank you for being a Friend”, you can turn it off fairly quickly. And please don’t let the music drive you from the page without checking out the site.