5 Summer Weight Loss Strategies

Summer is the easiest time of year to lose weight, especially for those of us who endure long, cold winters. With summer’s abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, not to mention, warmer weather, there’s no excuse for us not to be eating healthy and exercising. Adopting these simple weight-loss strategies into your summer plans may leave you more than a few pounds lighter come October.

Here are 5 Summer Weight-Loss Strategies to try this summer:

1) Get moving – self explanatory, but for those of you who see exercise as a big scary monster and run screaming when faced with it, think of exercise as a time to reenergize yourself. Exercise does not have to result in a pool of sweat (you know who you are). It can be as simple as a brisk walk with your spouse, playing tag with your kids, or biking to/from work a few times a week. Anything that gets you moving for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day is worthwhile.

2) Eat au natural – I’m not suggesting you eat naked, although some people may like to try this, but rather try to eat foods with the fewest ingredients and limit the amount of processed foods you eat. Processed foods can pack on the pounds, because they tend to offer less fiber and won’t fill you up as much as natural foods. One rule is to eat food with ingredients you actually know and can pronounce.

3) MUFA Me, MUFA You – Monounsaturated fat, or MUFA, is known as the “healthy” fat. MUFA keeps you feeling fuller for longer and studies show that MUFA may also help us stave off chronic diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression. There are five main MUFA food groups:

* Oils that include canola, flaxseed, and olive oil
* Nuts and seeds that include walnuts, macadamia nuts, and sunflower seeds
* Avocados
* Olives, particularly the green variety
* Dark chocolate

Check out these great ideas to add a little MUFA to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, make it a habit to eat MUFA snacks whenever possible. Keep in mind, MUFA is still high in calories, but a little goes a long way.

4) Divide and Conquer – Think of your plate as a clock – fill the space between 12 and 6 with fresh or steamed veggies; the space between 6 and 9 with whole grains and 9 and 12 with protein/fish. Throw in a little low-fat dairy and you’ll be good to go. By adopting this strategy, it should be easy to eat meals that are low-calorie, high nutrient foods, and to keep portions in control – just make sure you are using normal size plates!

5) Limit simple sugars – Simple sugars or simple carbohydrates refer to foods made with refined sugars or table sugar. Most foods made with simple sugars are essentially “empty calories”, providing very few vitamins, minerals, or fiber but remaining high in calories. They tend to leave us feeling unsatisfied and/or less full, prompting us to eat more. Simple sugars can also lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, giving us a short boost of energy, but leaving us sluggish and energy-zapped for hours on end. Simple sugars can be seen in foods under the names of corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, and glucose, among others. Foods high in simple sugars include sweets like cookies, cakes, and candy. Simple sugars also are found naturally in fruit and milk, but, unlike other simple sugar foods, these provide essential nutrients.

Have another great summer weight loss tip? Let’s hear it….

My Top Three 5 minute MUFA Snacks for weight loss

Eat MUFA, mono unsaturated fat, for weight loss.
My favorite MUFA Snacks.

I know I blogged a while back about adding mufa to your diet for weight loss.  Of course, I feel bad if I don’t eat my own dogfood.  What I mean by that, if I write or talk about something as a positive, I try my best to live what I say.  This brings integrity to my life.  As a by-product, my actions can then speak louder than my words.

Since Jan 1, I’ve been trying to eat more MUFA and lower my calories.   From January to March, I was doing great. I lost about 10 pounds, and all was smooth sailing.

What did I do:  I try to eat MUFA at every meal.  I try to eat sensible portions, and I try to eat often.  Notice the word try.  I’m not perfect, but overall, I’ve had a good experience with MUFA.  There was a keyword you may have missed:  “was”.  From March until recently, I stopped eating MUFA at every meal, and I stopped eating sensible portions.  So, I gained about 7 lbs back from early in the year weight loss. When eating MUFA, Portions are the number key.

One of my personal nutrition challenges has been:  Finding:

  • Quick,
  • Portable,
  • Highly Nutritious

MUFA Snacks that I can eat on the run.

After some searching:  here are my top 3 MUFA snacks that can be had in under 5 minutes.

  1. My number one snack favorite is naked Almonds. Trader Joe’s has the perfect 200 calorie snack-sized packages of  naked almonds.  If I can’t do that, or I’m more economical, I’ll buy a bulk bag of naked almonds and make my own snack-size using my handy scale.  However, that takes a little more time.
  2. My second favorite snack is Dove 63% Dark Chocolate or Ghiradeli Square Dark Chocolate. Again, these are very easy to take and eat. However, Dark Chocolate is addicting for me. It can be very difficult to stop at just one chocolate square.  My MUFA Chocolate hack is only bring one square to work with me. Obviously, I have to stop at only one since I don’t have any more.  Additionally, I’ll try to break that square into 4 pieces so it feels like more than it really is.   When the whole bag is so close to me, I end up eating more than one.
  3. My third favorite MUFA snack is well, this is hard.  I like walnuts on my cereal, I like sunflower seeds on my salad.  I cook my egg whites in olive oil, and I’ll eat Peanut Butter and Jelly, but all of those items are lunch/breakfast/dinner items.  They’re not really snacks.I guess my third favorite would be adding two tablespoons of Peanut Butter to Fruit Smoothies.  It takes a while to get used to, but you get the punch of Protein from the PB combined with the MUFA, and after a few times, you get used to eating the Smoothie that way.  My favorite recipe is add a banana, to some frozen strawberries, add some 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of orange juice and the two tablespoons of Peanut butter and blend until smooth.  This makes a great snack or a great breakfast.

Of course, I’m interested to hear.  What are your favorite 5 minute MUFA snacks?

If you liked this post, you’d may want to read: Flat Belly Diet: A Skim Review

Warning: I'm going to make weight loss personal

I’m going to make this personal – I just wanted to warn you up front.

IPromiseToBeGood.jpgHave you ever noticed that when you make a commitment to someone important to you, that you do everything you can to hold yourself to that commitment. Be it your child, spouse, sibling, parents or just a good friend; when that commitment is made you do your best to keep it. You know that if you miss your commitment that you just let someone down who is important to you. Have you ever asked why that doesn’t work for yourself?

Think about it for a second. How many times have you made a commitment to be more healthy? And how many times did you let yourself down? Aren’t you important to yourself? Shouldn’t you worry about how you feel when you don’t meet your own commitment?

Well, I’ve done it recently, and I think I know why. It’s easy not to hold yourself to something you haven’t openly stated. It’s even easy when you mention it in passing. Essentially we’re really not trying to make that commitment because we know it’s easier just not to do.

That ends today for me. Today I’m making a commitment to eating healthy for the next 30 days. In addition I’m going to maintain at least 3 workouts a week. I’m stating it here so that everyone can hold me accountable to my commitment to myself – including me!

Now you maybe saying – that’s great Ryan, but that’s not so hard to do. I agree, it really shouldn’t be, and to ensure I don’t fall short here is the list of items I won’t let get in my way:

  • Managing a critical project work with ever ending impending deadlines
  • Two extremely energetic young sons ready to wrestle me to the ground first foot through the door
  • The fact child #3 is on it’s way
  • My wife is on bedrest for preterm labor, and I’m responsible for cooking, cleaning, getting the kids up, and putting them down for bed
  • My commitment to continuing development of simpleweight and all of you using our system! Our next release features a new look and feel, along with the beginnings of our social features

Now that’s just a few, I’m sure I could find more if I were looking. And by making this declaration, I’m not saying I’m going to ignore any of those other commitments – in fact I’m going to keep all those too. All I’m saying is that I’m making my health a priority again now too.

My current weight right now: 197.5 lb.
Chart?chxr=0,179
I’ll be posting updates between now and May 22nd, so please check back for my progress. But better yet – why not make your health your commitment too? Join me in making the commitment, who’s with me?

Photo Credit: Avocado via Flickr, by: miniteca

10 weight loss actions instead of reaching for food, and An Excellent psychological eating tip to overcome your emotional weight gain binges.

An excellent tip for overcoming your emotional weight gain binges:

Create a list of 50 things you can do instead of eating when you’re feeling in need of a boost.
Source: Think Slim: http://smallchange.typepad.com/thinkslim/2008/04/emotional-eatin.html

Often times,

  • When we’re down, we reach for food.
  • When we’re excited, we reach for food.
  • When we want to celebrate, we reach for food.
  • When we want to meet friends, let’s meet for dinner (we reach for food).
  • When we’re sad, we reach for ice cream (food).

Here’s my suggestion:

Do not reach for food.

My friends who do not have weight problems or who are constantly in shape, they don’t do this. They don’t reach for food. They have built up mechanisms to curb their emotional eating.

Sometimes these weight management oriented friends:

  1. Exercise or reach for the runners’ high
  2. Have a big social open support network of people to call when the doldrums hit
  3. Hike or camp
  4. Garden
  5. Clean the house
  6. Rearrange the furniture
  7. Heck, some even design/build furniture
  8. Play a musical instrument
  9. Write in a journal
  10. Play a game

What’s the common thread among these slim friends?

They do anything and everything to try to involve physical movement with activities that are away from food.

In other words, my friends who have no problems with weight Do not reach for food.

I suggest we all could do like Think Slim Suggests: Make a list of 50 things we can do instead of eating when we feel we need a boost.

What do you do to overcome your emotional roller coaster?


One suggestion: Join the Simple Weight Loss Club today, and visit everyday.


How to add MUFA to Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for weight loss?

Eat MUFA for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  Photo Credit:  Jeff Kubina http://www.flickr.com/photos/kubina/146306595/

After writing my Flat Belly Diet Eat MUFA for Weight Loss post, I continued to do more research. Some people asked me,

How do I add MUFA (mono unsaturated fat) at every meal?

Basically, try to add: Avocado, Canola oil, Olive Oil, Nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans, and peanuts, Olives, Peanut butter and peanut oil, or Sesame seeds to your diet.

One of the best ways is to try to mix and optimize those ideas. For example: Traditional pesto is made from pine nuts, olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese. What a tasty way to get MUFA.

Here are some more specific ideas for each meal:

MUFA Breakfast Ideas for weight loss

  • Add Avocado in omelet
  • Spread Peanut butter on toast, bagels, english muffins, or apples
  • Sprinkle Almonds (nuts) on top of pancakes, waffles, and even french toast
  • Mix nut-based granola in your yogurt
  • Blend Flax Seed Oil with your favorite fruit smoothie
  • Add Sunflower seeds, Walnuts, or Pecans to your cereal or oatmeal

MUFA Lunch & MUFA Dinner Ideas for weight loss

  • Toss sliced avocado, chopped olives, or sliced nuts in your green leaf salad
  • Pour Oil Based Dressings on top of your salad specifically Olive Oil, Sun Flower, or Peanut Oil
  • Add avocado to a Mexican chicken or black bean soup
  • Instead of croûtons, add nuts and seeds to your or soup or salad
  • Add nuts to stir fry dishes
  • Ask for Olives in your Enchiladas or other Mexican Food.
  • Dribble Pesto sauce over a small bed of noodles
  • Add a dollop of pesto to dishes such as tomato soup or baked potato
  • Stir olives into your red pasta sauce
  • Sprinkle nuts on cream-based soups like tomato-basil, butternut squash soup, etc.
  • Add Avocado to your deli sandwich (Jimmy John’s is great for this)
  • Top your Chicken Sandwich, Turkey Burger, or Small Hamburger with Guacamole

MUFA Snack Ideas for weight loss

  • Eat Raw Nut based Trail Mix.
  • Spread Olive tapenade on a cracker or crostini
  • Spread Avocado and cheese on a cracker
  • Dip apples or celery in Peanut or almond butter
  • Have an Olive Loaf Bread slice with olive oil

Remember, the key here is you need to keep your quantity of calories down for maximum benefit.

As I detailed in my MUFA weight loss article, Nuts, Avocados, and Oils are all high calories foods. Yet, they are very filling so you need less food at your meal. Try to strive for 400 calorie meals with a vegetable and protein rich diet.

Now that you know my MUFA ideas, What’s your favorite MUFA meal idea?

Photo Credit: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner via Flickr, by: Jeff Kubina
Here are some other articles that you might like to read:

Flat Belly Diet for weight loss, eat MUFA

Eat Avocado to Lose WeightOne of my goals with this blog is I hope to browse the internet to read diet and fitness articles and give you the low down so you don’t have to search all over the place.

The article I saw tonight was by MSN and Prevention magazine titled:
Lose Inches of Belly Fat Now
Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Include Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) at each meal
  2. Have a clear calorie goal
  3. Eat Often
  4. Improve your attitude towards food. ( In other words, Think to lose weight.)
      Examples:

    • Manage Stress
    • Ask for help
    • Control Emotional eating

It seems that Omega 3 fats (Fish Oil and Flax seed) are the ones that have been getting all the buzz in 2007, but other oils such as MUFA’s are healthy too.

What are examples of MUFA’s (monounsaturated fats)?

  • Olive Oil, 9.8g MUFA in 1 Tablespoon, 119 calories
  • Peanut Oil, 6.2g MUFA in 1 Tbsp, 119 calories
  • Canola Oil, 8.2g MUFA in 1 Tbsp, 124 calories
  • Almonds, 12g MUFA in 1/4 cup, 212 calories
  • Peanuts, 9g MUFA in 1/4 cup, 207 calories
  • Most Nuts.
  • Avocado, 19.7g MUFA in 1 avocado, 322 calories
    (mmm, another reason to eat guacamole)

Now I notice one problem with this. Notice the quantity of calories for these foods. They’re high in calories Some people read, I have to eat more Fat to lose weight. Well, it works great, BUT, you must watch your calorie intake.

Notice Step Number 2.

Have a clear Calorie goal.

For the average woman, 1600 calories a day is a decent goal. For the average man, 1800 calories a day is a decent goal. Now, if I eat a MUFA at each meal, that does not leave much for other items such as Protein and Carbohydrates. Before I know it, I am at my calorie goal for the day, but I don’t feel full. What can I eat? Eat Vegetables! Many of these have very little calories. The key here is Journal your Food.

Eat Often

In Jorge Cruise’s book, the Three Hour Diet, he recommends eating every 3 hours. It’s the same in the Abs Diet, and Cardio Free Diet, and almost all other diets. The idea is to eat often to prevent you from getting starved. You also feel full, because you are eating all the time. Some people like to do 4 400 calorie meals. Some people say 5 300 calorie meals. Other people like to do 3 bigger meals and 2 smaller 100 calorie snacks. Regardless, by eating often, your body can easily burn the food into energy rather than eating a one or two huge meals. The body can not burn it all once. So, it stores some as fat.

Improve your attitude towards FoodEmotional Eater?

Most of us are emotional eaters. When we meet friends, we meet for coffee, drinks, dinner, lunch, or parties. All Social events where eating is concerned. We’re having fun when we eat a beautiful big meal where we’re stuffed. Come On, think about it. The Super Bowl, Thanksgiving Day, and July 4th Barbecues are all events with huge eating. We equate happiness with eating. So, what can we do? Change the equation!

Friends + Eating = Happy.

Couldn’t we change it to:

  • Friends + Morning Walk = Happy.
  • Friends + Hiking Trip = Happy.
  • Friends + pick-up soccer game or basketball game = Happy.
  • Friends + Ski Trip = Happy.

Notice the change? We’re social creatures. Making exercise a social event instead of making eating a social event. There is a strong correlation between living in an active community and physical fitness vs. a lethargic community and obesity. The obesity rates are higher in areas where exercise is not as social. So, Improve your attitude towards food. One way to do so is by making your exercise social.

Another way to do so, is by journaling. If you write what you eat, and then also write how you felt when you ate it. you can look back and help determine what caused your bout of emotional eating. Life is an experiment. We all need to find what works for us. The key though is to learn from others. Researchers are finding out what works for the majority, and that’s where you should start.

So, the Flat Belly Diet to me sounds like every other successful diet.

  • Eat less food than you Burn. (Food in < Food Out)
  • Eat the Right Foods.
  • Learn to control your Emotional Eating.
  • Measure your Goal Progress.
  • Make it social.
Photo Credit: Avocado via Flickr, by: ingserban
Photo Credit: Day 161 – Losing It, by: gotplaid?

Update:  If you like this post, you might like: How to Add MUFA to breakfast, lunch, and dinner for weight loss?

3 Tips to help you start Eating Salads as a Meal.

The three tips for helping you Eat Salads as a meal are:

  1. Home-made Salad Dressing
  2. Add Protein
  3. Experiment

Homemade Salad Dressing really makes a salad a meal

When I go out to eat, I never just order a salad. I usually order a salad as an appetizer then eat my entire main course. You can guess that with today’s growing portion sizes, my waist grows. You might ask:

Why do I even order a salad?
Because everywhere you look, the experts say eat more vegetables. Eating salads are easy way to add those vegetables. Eating Salads also helps cut down on eating the larger meal and reduces your total caloric intake assuming you stop eating when your body tells you to.  Yet, Salads at restaurants have always been difficult for me to order.  I think it’s always, because there are so many other good things I want to eat.

What about at home? Do I eat a salad at home for a meal?
Nope. I just never really liked salads for a meal.  It took me a long time to figure out why. Like any good computer training, hacking scientist, I began to study the situation.

First define the knowns: What is my normal home-made salad? For my typical salad, I’d put lettuce, green pepper, cucumber, carrots, and red onion. Then, I add a store-bought salad dressing usually a Paul Newman’s or Kraft’s dressing. So far, nothing really sticks out why I cannot eat that salad as a meal. So, I let the situation stew for a while and let my mind take over.

Fast forward to recent times, while visiting friends in Orlando, I had a great home-made salad. In fact, The salad was enough for my meal. Why was I satisfied with that salad as a meal? What was different with that salad than the salad I make?

  • An ex-Disney Chef made the salad, and all I had to do was eat.  (Doesn’ t it always taste better when someone else makes it?)
  • The salad had crisp bacon and sunflower seeds.
  • The salad had homemade dressing.

PRESTO. I have my solution, and I now eat salads for meals. All I do is ask my ex-Disney Chef friend to make salads for me and ship them from Florida to Illinois.

As much as I’d like that, the feasibility, not to mention the lettuce, starts to break down around Tennessee.

Yet, I still found my solution. If you compare my salad to the Disney chef prepared salad, What’s different? The homemade dressing and the protein, and that’s what I add to make my salad a meal. Here’s my recipe:

A Simple Salad Recipe (~175 calories)

Ingredients

  • 3 to 6 Green Leaves of Lettuce (~115 grams)
    Note you can substitute whatever lettuce you like.
  • 0.5 Medium Green Pepper (~25 grams)
  • 0.5 Medium Cucumber (~120 grams)
  • 1 Medium Carrot (~35 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar -or- Balsamic Vinegar -or- Lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Dash of Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)
  • Dash of Fresh Ground Sea Salt (to taste)
  • (optional) 2 pieces of fresh microwaved cooked bacon
  • (optional) 2 tablespoons Feta Cheese
  • (optional) 2 tablespoons Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, or some other seed/nut
  • (optional) 1 clove fresh minced garlic

Directions

  1. Mix Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Italian Seasoning. and set aside.
  2. Rinse and Wash Vegetables
  3. Chop Lettuce into desired size
  4. Chop Green Pepper and Cucumber into bite sizes
  5. Use a Vegetable Peeler and Peel Carrots into thin slices
  6. Toss Vegetables and Dressing together in a bowl
  7. Add Any of your optional items (Bacon, Cheese, Almonds) and Toss Salad again
  8. Add Fresh Ground Pepper and Sea Salt and Toss
  9. Serve on a nice big plate
  10. Enjoy

One benefit to home-made salad dressing, is I now have a healthier salad due to the lack of typical store-bought High Fructose Corn Syrup in my Salad Dressing.

What are my 3 tips to help you start Eating Salads as Meals?

  1. Make your own Salad Dressing and Use the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford. It makes a ton of difference
  2. Add protein to the salad. Such as: Almonds, Bacon, Chicken, Ham, Salami, and/or Cheese. The protein really helps impact the meal and accelerates your fat burn. Although, I’ll save that for a future blog post.
  3. Experiment to find your own tastes.

If you’d like more tips for a good salad: Eric Gower posted 7 great tips for the immaculately Dressed Salad. After reading his article, I realized that I had been doing what he suggested for the past two months, and that’s how I started eating Salads as a meal. I make my dressing count, add protein, and experiment.

Do you have any tips to help someone start eating salads as meals?

SW's Site of the week: The Faddist. Dieting by Self Experimentation

With SW’s Site of the week: We’ll describe a relevant website or blog that caught our eye.

The Faddist - self experimentation as a way to restore life by adhering briefly to a passing variety of unusual diets
We’ve always said, you can use whatever Fad Diet you want and use Simpleweight to track it. As Ryan mentioned in a previous post, a Diet is what we eat. You may choose to eat healthy or unhealthy, but either way it’s still a diet.

Well, I recently learned of Andy – The Faddist. To paraphrase the Faddist, Andy is using self experimentation as a way to restore his life by adhering briefly to a passing variety of unusual diets.
Continue reading SW's Site of the week: The Faddist. Dieting by Self Experimentation

Patent Search Diet

Weight Watchers Patent Search Diet

Did you know you could use Google Patent Search to diet?

That’s what I learned at lifehack.org. I found an article Kyle wrote describing Unconventional Diet Tips, Lose 50 lbs in 3 months. First, the tips are worth mentioning:

  1. Buy a Digital Scale
  2. Weigh yourself everyday
  3. Drink 8 glasses of water everyday
  4. Make your Diet Public
  5. Don’t Diet on the weekends
  6. Don’t sacrifice your life for your diet
  7. Make Small Changes
  8. Gain perspective by understanding the fractions
  9. Rationalize your workouts
  10. Have a red flag weight

Lastly, for the curious out there…I followed the Weight Watchers diet. I did not pay for the diet, nor did I go to meetings. I found out all the information about the diet on-line. The first place to look is at their patent.

All well known diets are available via Google Patent Search.

Author: Kyle Pott, Source: lifehack.org

Continue reading Patent Search Diet