Sunday, 9 April 2017

Focusing on Shape Instead of Weight

It has been such a long time since I've blogged. I've not got much of an excuse. Mostly, I fell out of love with blogging. This place was meant to be me documenting my journey, sharing tips along the way. Instead, it became more of a weight loss blog with just tips and less about my actual journey.

Plus, I was getting to the point where I didn't know what to say. I kept going back and forth on diet plans and I wasn't sure what I really wanted.

In January I made the decision that I was ready to lose weight again. I downloaded the Ultimate Value Diary app to track on Weight Watchers (ProPoints/Points Plus but it does have the option for SmartPoints) and did start following the plan again. But i didn't see the weight loss results that I once did. I wasn't sure if it was because of not physically going to the meetings or something else.

Weight Watchers: A Beginner's SmartPoints Guide For Rapid Weight Loss And Clean Eating - Plus 50 Quick and Easy Weight Watchers' Recipes: Weight Watchers, ... Loss, Ketogenic, Cookbook, Instant Pot)

In February, I gave up with the tracking and focused on the gym instead. Joining classes was fun and I started to feel healthier within myself. By March I realized what I really wanted from my weight loss journey.

It's not quite about the number on the scales but about the way I feel. I want to be healthy and toned. Sure, I want to fit in old clothes again and I want to get my wedding rings back on my finger, but I want to be fitter than I used to be.

But I wasn't sure if I could blog about that. Would that be something you'd want to know about?

Well, then I remembered that this blog was about my journey, as well as a support system for you. It was a place to share what I was achieving and doing. It was about my ups and downs, my changes of focus, and my realizations of what I wanted to gain from a diet plan that I tried.

So, it's time to get back onto blogging. I'm not promising I'll be hear once a week with news of what's happening at the scales. Honestly, in the last 6 months I've hovered around the same point on the scales and not for lack of trying! It's going to be a place for me to come and share my journey. I'll share some of the things I've noticed, some things I've doing, and tips I've picked up along the way.

I'll go back to doing what I wanted to do in the first place.

Weight Watchers: Yoga Starter Kit

I'd love for you to join me. After all, the title is "lose weight with Alex." If you are going to join me, I'd love to hear what you want your goal to be. It doesn't have to be a weight loss goal. While I have a 50lb weight loss in my head, I'm not going to force myself to get there or keep weighing myself every week. My goal is to be healthier and fit back into my rings! From there, I'll move onto the next weight loss goal.

To do that, I'm going to the gym 5 times a week and will stick to the Weight Watchers ProPoints plan. I'll track every day on the Ultimate Value Diary app to make sure I stick within my points allowance. The gym sessions I do include one aquaerobics class, two 6am high intensity interval training classes, one 6am yoga style class (for conditioning), and then a day to choose whether I run, swim, or do something in the house. I'll also do a 50 squat a day challenge on the days that I don't go to the gym.

Feel free to share your weight loss goals in the comments below. Whether you're doing Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Juice Plus or others, lose weight and be happier with me.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Why Planning for Thanksgiving Will Help Your Weight Loss

It was Thanksgiving here in Canada this week. We decided sort of last minute that we would do a Thanksgiving dinner and make a day of it. It was our first Thanksgiving, so we didn't go all out.

In fact, it was one of the most peaceful and enjoyable holidays we've had. It was also a good holiday for weight loss, although it would initially seem impossible. This was because of some careful planning and being sensible with portion sizes.

Keeping the Meal Simple

The first part of keeping this Thanksgiving on track for weight loss was keeping it all simple. We didn't go all out with fancy trimmings and extravagant starters or desserts.

We just opted for a simple turkey with the usual garlic butter beneath the skin, homemade roast potatoes, mashed potatoes and cauliflower cheese. Oh and the veg. But that's it. We didn't bother with cranberry sauce, stuffing, and all the rest.

And you know what? It was all great. There was no feeling of anything being missed. The girls loved it and we enjoyed a healthy meal.

We'd even kept the turkey size to a minimum. I picked up one of the smallest turkeys I could find because there were only four of us. Even that gave us two days of left over turkey for the four of us to enjoy.

Four Small Pies

We still had dessert but we opted for a more sensible option to help with the weight loss. Rather than a big pie or two, which would have been two big for three of us to eat (the youngest one is still too small for a lot of food), we opted for four individual sized pies.

Why four? Well it was one of each filling and getting the four cost us less than it would have done for a big one.

The four pies were split in three, so we each enjoy a bit of all four. There was no ice cream or other side with the pies. There was no need for it. I got to taste the fillings and feel like I could enjoy a dessert without feeling like I'd completely blown it on the weight loss efforts.

No Snacks in the House

We'd actually forgotten about the snacks but found that we didn't really miss them. Usually at Christmas we'd have a box of sweets to share or a bag of crisps. Most of the time they've been munched on for the sake of it or out of boredom.

Instead, we were able to sit back and enjoy a day with the family, without anything to ruin our waistlines. And you know what? Again, we didn't miss anything.

Overall it was a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner that helped our weight loss efforts. This was all because of some planning ahead and focusing on a healthy family dinner.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Healthy Halloween Treat Ideas for All

So, it’s Friday. It’s time for the first weekly update since I decided to make a change to this blog. I came to a blank when I first realised what day of the week it was. I just didn’t know what tip to give you.

This last week hasn’t been the best for me diet wise. I’m not completely off it but it hasn’t been the main thing on my mind recently. Work has been hectic (and I mean hectic) and I haven’t been able to do anything exercise wise because of the pain in my shoulder—which has led to losing feeling at times in my arm and fingers and pain down my back.

So, I’ve just been stuck behind a computer, wondering what I could possibly share with you.

With it being October, there are a few things going on. Here in Canada it’s Thanksgiving on Monday but I don’t really have tips for that yet. This is my first Canadian Thanksgiving. So, instead, I thought I’d look forward to Halloween instead.

When we’re losing weight, whether we’re on the paleo diet, Weight Watchers, or even a temporary crash diet, we want to enjoy the holiday seasons. We want to be able to fit in with our friends and family members. I’ve know I’ve shared healthy Halloween treat ideas in the past, but it’s time for some more.

Don’t forget to Check out:

Healthy Halloween treats don’t need to be boring but at the same time you don’t need to get creative with them. Some of the simplistic ideas will get smiles from people—and put a smile on your face.

Ghost Cheese Strings

Get a pack of cheese strings instead of chocolate. On the clear packaging of each cheese string, draw a ghost face with black marker. The cheese string is the ghostly body. You can eat them all yourself or put them out for your Halloween party as a healthy option for your guests. Parents could also be thankful for you giving out cheese strings instead of chocolate to their treat or treating kids.

Creepy Fruit Kebabs

Cantaloupe melon balls, kiwi rectangles, and marshmallows all make some great fruity kebabs. But what’s the Halloween take on them?

Put them on the skewers with a marshmallow between the two pieces of fruit. With some black icing, draw ghost faces on the marshmallows, pretend your melon balls are pumpkins, and make Frankenstein’s monster faces on the kiwis.

Use a small piping bag for the black icing to be able to draw with it.

Rice Krispie Pumpkins

This is a fun one to do with the kids and it makes many people feel like they’re having something naughty.

Put your Rice Krispies in a bowl with melted marshmallow, as if you’re making normal Rice Krispie cakes. Add some orange food coloring to them and then create small balls out of your mixture, so they look pumpkin shape.

Add a small bit of chocolate in the top. You could use chocolate covered pretzels, small bits of chocolate fingers, or little bits of chocolate sticks. These make the stems of the pumpkins.

There we are. A few more healthy Halloween treat ideas to keep you going for another year.

Friday, 30 September 2016

30 Day Weight Loss Challenge: The Results

It’s been 30 days in September and I’m at the end of the challenge. I promised that I would update you with how it all went.

Overall, my eating habits have improved. The takeaways that we did have were all planned in advanced and we thought carefully about the type of food we would eat. While out for meals, I’d try to choose something healthier, whether they were salads, tacos rather than pizza, or even cutting out the desserts altogether.

The scales say I haven’t lost any weight since two weeks ago, but I’m not that bothered about the scales right now. I feel better in myself. I’ve walked every day except yesterday because of work commitments. I made sure I either picked my daughter up from school or took her in the morning. Sometimes I even did two trips out to do both drop off and pick up.

I’m going to stick to this way for the time being. My head isn’t in the game to follow a plan right now. I need to focus on what makes me happy and it is freeing to not constantly be on the scales. I’m happy to see that I didn’t gain any weight in the last couple of weeks (since getting the new scales).

But what about the blog? I have seen an increase in page views. I’ve seen them double over the last month and I know that’s with the daily posting. Most of my views have come from Facebook but there is still a good amount of Google traffic too. In fact, my best two performing blog posts are from December and February last year. And that was just from last month. When I look at the all-time figures, the top 3 posts are from last year. Number four on the list is from April 2012 and the fifth is from 2011! All of them are also on the monthly top 20 list.

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t really enjoy blogging here on a daily basis. I’m not sure what it is but I just don’t enjoy the weight loss niche as much as I once did. So I’m going to change the way I do this. I’m going to opt for weekly posts on a Friday. I’ll share a tip or two that I’ve picked up from the week that I know will help you with your weight loss journeys.

But I will post during the week with anything that I want to share on my journey—maybe an issue or a recipe that I have for you. I think this is going to be the best option to keep the blog on track and keep sharing something that will help you. Otherwise, I could end up rambling about my daily challenges with food, exercise, and weight loss. I may not ever have something new to offer and I don’t want that blog to turn into that.

So, I’ll share something next Friday unless I get something that is pressing during the week. The Facebook page will have more daily postings to help keep you motivated and going. If you want the extra support, don’t forget to follow me there!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Why Your Weight Loss Diet Needs Carbs and Fat

There’s a misconception that when you want to lose weight you need to cut out fat. And then there are weight loss diets that tell you to cut out all carbs.

I never recommend these types of diets. Let me make it clear that there is a big difference between low-carb diets and no-carb diets when it comes to weight loss. Low-carb diets make you think about what you’re putting in your mouth. They encourage you to focus on healthier carbs that won’t lead to high blood sugar levels and energy crashes afterwards.

And the no-fat diets? Well you can’t cut out all fats—and you really shouldn’t. Yes, your body needs some fat.

No sure about this? Really don’t think your weight loss diet needs carbs and fats? Well let’s look at what they do.

  • Carbs give you energy: while protein is good for energy levels, carbohydrates are better. They metabolize a little quicker. Carbs are actually the main energy source for your body.
  • Carbs help the digestive system: you know fiber is important for the digestive system, but did you know that carbs also help it? The carbs create some of the good bacteria that keeps the intestines working properly.
  • Carbs protect the muscles: if the body doesn’t get energy from carbs, it will look for the next easiest place to get the energy. This isn’t the fat cells but from the muscles! Even if you eat plenty of protein, you will start to lose muscle mass. Make sure you add some carbs to your diet.
  • Fat stores energy: while we don’t want too much fat stored, we do need some. Your carbs will start to run out throughout the day, so the body needs energy from other places. If you have fat stored, it will be easier for the body to metabolize that first before the muscles.
  • The cells need fat: if the body doesn’t get fat, the cells don’t get the protection they need. This means your skin, hair, and organs aren’t looked after properly.
  • Fat regulates processes: your body needs help to regulate all the processes that it goes through. It needs fat to be able to do this.

Of course, I’m not saying you gorge yourself on fast food and deep fried meals, but you do need all the food groups for your body to work as it should. Look for whole grains that include fiber and carbohydrates to avoid quick sugar releases and crashes. Switch to unsaturated or monounsaturated fats instead of the saturated options to avoid high cholesterol levels.

Make sure your weight loss diet includes the carbs and fats on a daily basis. Go low-carb and low-fat if you want, but don’t cut them out completely!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Why You Really Need Protein and Fiber in Your Weight Loss Diet

Whatever type of weight loss diet or regime you’re on, make sure you’re getting enough protein and fiber. Most diets out there will include at least one of the two in large amounts, since they encourage you to at least eat vegetables.

But why are the two so important? Couldn’t you go a diet without both?

Well, you could but you wouldn’t have the healthiest lifestyle. You may even find it harder to feel satisfied while you lose weight. Protein and fiber in your weight loss diet helps in a few ways:

  1. They help you feel fuller for longer: both of these food groups break down slower than the likes of carbs and fats. Have you ever wondered why you feel fuller after a bowl of porridge than you do after a couple of slices of toast? Well, this is why. By the food breaking down slower, your body uses it up over a longer space of time.
  2. They make you feel fuller quicker: on top of that, you’ll find that you don’t need to eat as much to feel fuller. Fiber is especially beneficial for this, because it expands as you eat. The fiber soaks up water, so you feel like you’ve consumed more. That means you eat fewer calories, so you lose weight easier!
  3. Protein builds your muscles: well, the protein helps to build your muscles. It’s the building block for all parts of your body. When you work out, your muscles tear and then repair stronger. If you want to improve the recovery time, get more protein.
  4. Fiber supports the digestive system: there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re bloating and backed up. Getting the right amount of fiber supports your digestive system so you avoid this happening as much as possible.

The last couple of days I’ve touched on protein powders to make sure you get your intake, but you really don’t need them to lose weight. You can get both protein and fiber easily from foods. Think about adding dairy, lean meats, vegetables, legumes, lentils, and other similar items to your diet more.

Do you get enough protein and fiber in your diet? If a plan is telling you to get rid of all of them, then I wouldn’t recommend following it. They’re both essential for your weight loss diet and healthy living.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

3 Top Protein Powders to Use

Yesterday, I looked at whether you really need to use protein powders for weight loss. While you don’t, there will always be some who prefer to use supplements or need to supplement their lifestyle or diet because of choices or needs.

Because of that, I want to make your choices and search for protein powders to use easier. That’s why I’m sharing the top three powders available for women who want to lose weight.

Whey protein powder is considered the better option out there. It has less lactose in it, which helps to keep the sugar content down and helps those with dairy or lactose intolerances and allergies.

Optimum Nutrition

This whey powder tends to make the top of any list of protein powders. That’s because it’s affordable, effective, and easy to digest. It comes in different sizes, but if you’re new to whey protein powders I’d suggest getting the smaller packet first to trial it. If it works for you, then invest in the larger packets to save money.

The powder is full of amino acids to help with the repair of muscles, so you can do more throughout your workouts.

Cellucor Cor-Performance

There are very few carbs and fats in this protein powder and it is fast acting. While it’s 100% whey, it does have a sweet taste. The best part is that it doesn’t have as much of the badness that other whey protein powders have. Some people say that it curbs their sugar craving by having some of this after their workout.

This one comes in different flavors and works well when mixed with water or skimmed milk.

BSN Syntha-6

This is one of the cheaper options on the market, especially when you look at the larger packets. It is packed with amino acids and gives a creamy texture, even when drank with water. It also has a small amount of good fats and some fiber to help support the body.

The only thing that it doesn’t do is support the fat burning workout level. It will support the higher endurance workouts, though.

These are just three to get started with. I really do recommend starting with the smaller tubs of the protein powders to give them a test for a few weeks. Once you find one you’re happy with, then you can opt for buying in bulk to save more money.

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