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.

Disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links. All that means is I earn a little whenever you buy a product. The price doesn't change for you and I don't see any of your personal information: it's all collected by the sites you buy from.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Do I Need Protein Powders to Lose Weight?

I came across this question recently. My husband uses protein powder after exercise to help him repair his muscles. While they’re mainly used by men, there are also some women who use them.

But do you really need protein powders to lose weight? Can they help or will they just make it harder to shed the pounds?

Your body needs protein

Let me start by saying that our bodies need protein. I’ll get into that in more detail later this week, but cutting protein out of our diets is bad. The protein helps with the building of muscle and aids with losing weight because it fills us up for longer.

You can get protein from all sorts of foods. There’s no need to use protein powders really, but they can help to increase the amount you get if you don’t eat the right type of foods. There are vegetarians and vegans who can struggle to get enough protein. Those who workout a lot may find they need extra protein to help their muscles repair.

Protein powders can help you lose weight

There are some people who find protein powders useful for their weight loss journeys. The powders can help you slim down, because they help to repair the muscles. They give you some extra energy, so you push yourself a little more.

Isn’t this bad? Well, no, not really. It all depends on your body. You still need to listen to your muscles and what they’re telling you. If you feel pain or dizziness, you should stop, whether you’ve had protein shakes or not!

Do you need protein powders to lose weight?

Not necessarily. There are fitness experts who recommend that you get protein from natural sources, instead. They offer the right type of protein and will fuel your body in other ways. You’ll get the fibre, fat, and carbohydrates at the same time.

Protein powders can add extra calories to your diet. Some also have extra sugars and other ingredients that can upset the balance. You’ll need to look at the full details of any protein powder you consider adding.

Not all protein powders are bad. They can help you lose weight and build/tone your muscles. Do you need them for your weight loss? Not at all! It’s completely up to you. I recommend focusing on a healthy diet first and foremost.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

I Went Shopping This Weekend: A Look at My Weight Loss Efforts So Far

I had to go shopping this weekend for clothes. Not because I’ve gone up or down sizes, but because the fall and winter weather is starting to close in. We need all sorts of clothes that we’ve never really had to buy before with the change of country.

According to the scales, I’ve actually put on 7lbs since the start of the month! I know I said I was going to wait until the end of the month, but my husband bought some digital scales and I wanted to see. The scales that I had been using were manual and much more likely to be wrong.

So, maybe I haven’t put on weight. Maybe it’s the fact that the scales were wrong. But it’s not nice to feel like I’ve lost only to find out I’ve gained half a stone! I’m well over the 13st mark now and I just need to make some changes. On a positive note, my husband—and I trust him when he says this—thinks that I look like I’ve lost. Maybe I’m just changing my shape rather than actually losing weight. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I can’t really tell by the size of clothes over here, though. Clothes sizes are different. I think I have to go down a couple of sizes, but many clothes are simple Small, Medium, Large, etc. I’ve actually decided not to even think about the size I was in the UK as it isn’t a true representation of what I am now. I’ll just have to start from the beginning.

So the clothes shopping today has been the starting point for clothes sizes. The next time I go shopping—whenever that may be, since I hate it—will be a good indication size wise over whether I’m losing weight or not.

With the weather closing in and the decision not to do tae kwon do after all, we’re looking for the 30 Day Shred on YouTube. Right now I’m waiting for my right shoulder blade to heal (don’t know what I did, but I woke up yesterday in agony with it) and will then get on with the challenge to start getting of the weight. It’s about time it went!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

4 Tips for Curbing Late Night Snacking

Late night snacking is a pain when it comes to weight loss. We always reach for the bad stuff, thinking we need to eat more or just because we’re bored.

When I looked at emotional eating the other day, I mentioned that boredom was my issue. To be honest, it was the boredom at night which always led to late night snacking. I needed to curb this if I wanted to lose weight and keep it off.

I put a plan together and made sure I lost the weight. The best thing about the Weight Watchers diet was that I could find a way to still snack without resorting to the bad stuff. You can do it on diets like the paleo, keto, Atkins, Slimming World and so many more.

Here are my tips for curbing late night snacking so you can lose weight and keep it off.

  1. Recognize you’re doing it: This has to be the first step. If you don’t realize that you’re snacking, then you’re going to struggle to curb it in the first place. Food diaries are great—but you do have to make sure you track every little bit down that you eat!
  2. Find lower calories/pointed alternatives: I had to focus on the lower pointed alternatives on the Weight Watchers diet. With others you may look at the carb intake or the calories you eat. Look for snacks that are better for you. You’re not cutting out late night snacking completely but changing the type of foods that you have.
  3. Get rid of the bad: But that chocolate and those packets of chips are still in the cupboard, right? Well, it’s time to get rid of them. This is the best thing that has happened to me since moving out of the country and stopping as a Weight Watchers leader! There’s no temptation in the house.
  4. Find something to do with your hands: Boredom was my problem, so I had to find a way to stop that from happening. I’ve already said that you need to find something else to do. I like writing, so I type or jot down notes. Some people knit or crochet. Do something that keeps you entertained.

Now it’s your turn to curb late night snacking and focus on your weight loss. Remember your weight loss goals and your reasons for this journey. By curbing late night snacking you’ll be back on track to reaching your end destination.

Friday, 23 September 2016

How I Beat My Sugar Cravings

There are still days that I have sugar cravings. I don’t think they will ever completely go. But I have beat the majority of them. I don’t get them on a daily basis anymore and when I do get sugar cravings I find it much easier to push them to one side.

How did I beat my sugar cravings? It wasn’t too hard actually. Well, it wasn’t as hard as I expected. I did have to put some effort into it, but I didn’t feel as sad or annoyed that I was giving something up.

I’ve not switched to sweetener either. In fact, I prefer drinking full fat pop over diet forms (except Coke because I hate the furry feeling I get in my mouth from full fat Coke!) when I do decide to have them.

Making the decision to beat my sugar cravings was the first step. I needed to be proactive and committed to it. I made sure my husband knew that the diet change was coming and why. It helped that the Weight Watchers diet made a move to SmartPoints. I wanted to conserve my points and that meant not having the sugar on a daily basis.

At first I did find it hard. I went through some sugar withdrawals, which included headaches and serious cravings. But they only lasted for a couple of days. Once I got to the other side of the withdrawal symptoms, beating the sugar cravings was much easier.

I just had to really focus on the benefits of no—or little—sugar during the withdrawal periods. Cutting something out completely is not something I ever do. Instead, I allowed myself one Weight Watchers bar. It was up to me when I had it, but I could definitely only have one. I’d try to leave the bar to the end of the night.

But I didn’t completely beat my sugar cravings until I quit my job as a Weight Watchers leader. I didn’t have the chocolate bars in my store cupboard all the time. The chocolate wasn’t calling to me, so I found it much easier to say no.

By saying I was allowed one sugary treat a day, I managed to curb the cravings. My body knew that it was going to get it eventually. I’d also find ways to take my mind off the sugar calling, and opt for healthier snacks or a glass of water.

Now we don’t even have sweet stuff in the house, except fruit! If I want something sweet, I will usually go through the process of looking through the cupboards, realizing there is nothing, and then opting for a piece of fruit because it’s the only thing there. Oh, I tell a lie—there is also hot chocolate and I’ll sometimes opt for that at the end of the night. BUT I’ve found green tea is a great substitute. It’s something warm, refreshing, and unwinding all at the same time.

I know you can beat your sugar cravings, too. If you want to do it to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s time to take these steps:

  1. Make a commitment to beating your sugar cravings
  2. Make a plan of attack
  3. List the benefits of no sugar (or at least reducing sugar)
  4. Set your rule for the amount of sugar you’re allowed in a day
  5. Get rid of the sugar from your house as much as possible
  6. Find substitutes for your usual sugar fixes
  7. Have someone to support you through this

Are you ready to beat your sugar cravings? If you need support, remember I’m on Facebook.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Are You an Emotional Eater? I’m Here to Help You Stop Emotional Eating Right Now!

If you’re an emotional eater, then welcome to the club. My emotions have controlled so much of my life. I eat because I’m bored or because I’m sad. If I’m stressed, I’ll not eat food but I’ll get empty calories from alcohol or pop.

The good news is that I managed to stop emotional eating. This was essential to help me lose weight and keep it off after my first daughter. It’s been key to help me maintain my weight and now lose it over the last few months.

I don’t have any secret tips or advice for you. Everything I’m about to tell you, you’ve probably heard in the past. But I’m hoping that by letting you see how it’s worked for me will help you stop emotional eating too.

I Find Something Else to Do

This is the most important part of no longer being an emotional eater. My main problem has always been that I eat because I’m bored. So I’ll try to find something that keeps my hands busy.

For me, it’s writing. If I’m typing away then I can’t pick up food to eat it! Other people find sewing or knitting a great way to keep their hands busy.

What you do doesn’t need to keep you rooted in the spot, either. You could get out for a walk, take up photography, or even take up a new sport. Just find something to do that keeps you busy and stops the emotions taking over.

I used to be a stress eater a long time ago. When I was in university, I could that running helped to ease the stress instead—and it was so much better for me! I stopped running for various reasons, and that’s led to the drinking instead (not good for me, but I do have two kids that need watching all the time) but I’m making a conscious effort to drink less and run more again.

Figure Out Your Triggers

We don’t all have the same triggers for emotional eating. Most people attribute stress to their eating, but any emotion can cause it.

You need to work out your reason for eating. Which emotion is it that makes you reach for the stuff that just isn’t so good for you? Be honest with yourself about this.

Once you know the emotion that causes you to eat, you can tackle it when you start feeling it. You know it’s coming, so you can make sure there are other ways of dealing with it. And make a conscious effort to find other ways to deal with your emotions.

Have Healthier Snacks Around

Okay, so the last thing we want is a piece of fruit when we’re an emotional eater. I know I didn’t, but there are healthier snacks than the chocolate and chips.

I like trail mixes. They’re not going to be super low in points on the Weight Watchers diet, I think they will have syns on Slimming World, and depending on what you put in them they won’t be suitable for the likes of Atkins or the paleo diet, but they are better alternatives to the big bags of chips.

Have a mixture of nuts and seeds with some dried fruit. Just pout into a small tub and enjoy them while you deal with the emotions. I like these for watching TV when I’m not writing to keep my hands busy.

You can stop emotional eating. Okay, you can at least keep it under control. I’m not perfect, but I have managed to control my bad habits to help me lose weight. These tips have been gold for me, so why don’t you follow them?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Paleo Diet Downsides: The Reasons I’m Can’t Follow the Diet Full-Time

I mentioned yesterday that I wouldn’t be following the paleo diet in full. While I went over some of my reasons, I have to admit that the paleo diet downsides and risks are part of the reason why I’ve decided to focus on it but not making it a full-time lifestyle.

As I do the research into the diet, I wanted to share with you the downsides that I’ve found. I’m not saying the diet doesn’t have its benefits but I want you to be fully informed to help you make a decision for your health.

The Paleolithic People Didn’t Live That Long

There was a comment yesterday that point out the good point that the people of the Paleolithic times didn’t live that long. That is certainly the case. Over the centuries, our lifespan has increased to the point where people now live into their 90s and even to 100+!

But the diet wasn’t the only reason for early death. This was a time with little knowledge about food. They would become prey to larger animals and have to deal with no knowledge about medicine. There was also the problem of being limited in the way food could be cooked and the truth behind poisonous fruits!

The diet isn’t completely to blame, but it may have contributed in some way.

We’ve come a long way since then and now have methods of cooking and creating food. Our bodies have adapted over the centuries and we’ve come to accept some of the food that wasn’t possible in the Paleolithic period.

We are not the same people our ancestors were.

There Are No Detailed Records of Our Ancestors

Unlike now where medical problems are documented and researched, this didn’t happen in the Paleolithic period. There are many people who believe that the legumes, cereal grains, and other similar types of agricultural foods are the reason for chronic issues and obesity.

The truth is that we don’t really know. Sure, we now see these chronic diseases, but were they definitely not around during the Paleolithic period. There isn’t the evidence to definitely say no.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I’m a big believer in everything in moderation. I don’t think in small amounts that cereal grains are the big issue they’re made out to be. I actually think that some of these problems were noticed in the past, but it was a time of kill or be killed. You either pushed through pain and problems or you were left to die. It was as simple as that, but we’ve moved on from that.

I also believe that some medication causes issues that we notice on a regular basis. After all, we just have to look at some of the ingredients and see the side effects to know that they can cause problems. It’s not just our diets but our overall lifestyle that causes some of these chronic problems.

That’s not really a downside of the paleo diet, but it’s a look at why I’m not going to follow it full-time.

It Cuts Out Dairy

I’ve actually found that some dairy can be added to the diet. I suppose this depends on the strictness of the paleo diet that you follow, but I’ve read a few sites that say grass-fed dairy is okay, which would include milk and yoghurts.

Why are there so many paleo diets? Well, it’s because the diet would have depended on where people lived. People relied on the food that they could get in their local area. For some it would have been mostly animal meat, but for others it would have been mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

But if you were going to follow the paleo diet completely then you would need to cut this out. This just isn’t something I can do. I’m telling myself that I definitely can’t have something and that causes me to go off track. I’m not very good at being told no…

We’re Cutting Out Many Carbohydrates

While the paleo diet gives us plenty of protein and fiber, it’s missing out one very important food group: carbs.

Yes, our body needs some carbs. It just needs the right type of them! This is why so many health experts will recommend that you get some whole grains in your diet. These include brown rice and pasta or some potatoes. The carbs are starchy and complex. They break down in the body slowly, so there isn’t the same insulin response as with the simple carbs.

But grains are banned on the paleo diet.

Unless you suffer from celiac disease or you have found that grains are causing stomach upsets and chronic diseases, they still need to be added to the diet in a small amount. Carbs help to give us energy to burn.

The Paleolithic people lived in a very different world. Sure the diet has some benefits and I’m not trying to tell you not to follow it. I just want you to be aware of both sides, which I’ve researched over the last few days. I like to be as informed as possible to make sure I’m doing the best for my health.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Decision on the Paleo Diet: I’ll Sort of Do It

Over the last few days, my husband and I have seriously considered the paleo diet. We know all the benefits and can see that it is something we could follow.

But we have to be honest with ourselves and I have to be honest with you. I’m not going to follow it perfectly for the rest of my life. There are just certain foods that I wouldn’t be able to give up for life, especially dairy foods. This isn’t because of health—I know the nutritional benefits of dairy can be gained from the leafy greens—but because I know that if I say a definite no to something then I won’t want to follow the diet. I’ll crave and crave the foods.

And these aren’t foods that are inherently bad for you that I’m worried about completely giving up! It’s milk and cheese: two excellent sources calcium, vitamin D and some fats (some of them good). We will always have them in the house too, since my daughters both need them. So for me to say no to them completely would be extremely hard.

I know my limits. And following the paleo diet completely would push me past those limits.

BUT that doesn’t mean I won’t follow it at all. I’m going to keep it in mind and I’m going to make a very conscious effort to follow it throughout the week. On the weekends (from Friday night to Sunday night) I’ll add in the milk, cheese and some whole gains and potatoes.

I’ve said it before and my mind hasn’t changed at all, even with all this research. I believe in everything in moderation. So does my husband.

But I’m also a great believer in following a healthy diet and focusing on food that is beneficial for us. That’s why when we go shopping we mostly buy fruits and vegetables. In fact, half of our shopping budget is spent on fruit and vegetables. The rest on mostly meats, dairy and eggs. We very rarely buy other processed foods or anything with refined sugar now.

So, while I know this will disappoint some of you who expected me to start following the paleo diet, I hope that it encourages others to take a look at the diet. The only time I get annoyed at people dieting is when they follow faddy diets that don’t give them the calories or nutrition that their bodies need (like Juice Plus). I would never knock someone for trying a medically studied and beneficial diet.

While I’m not going to follow the paleo diet completely, I do want you to know that I will be here to help you if you decide to. I’m still going to look into paleo recipes, because I know they will be good for us. So, you can still come here looking for tips on how to stay on track with your chosen diet and find recipes.

In fact, when I write recipes, I’ll keep the paleo diet in mind and look for variations if there is something you would like but can’t have because of a certain food. The most problematic would be anything with pasta—at least, out of the type of meals I’m likely to make—and I know the quickest ways around this.
So, this is the plan moving forward. Throughout the week, I’ll focus as much as I can to follow the paleo diet. But I like some freedom, so at the weekends I won’t be following it as strictly.

What have you decided with your diet plan? Will you follow to help you lose weight and keep it off?

Monday, 19 September 2016

Following the Paleo Diet for Weight Loss: How the Paleo Diet Can Help

As I mentioned on Saturday, I’m looking into the Paleo diet for weight loss. There are many positive reviews about it and it does look like a healthy, long-term option.

The long-term benefits are important to me. I want a lifestyle and not a diet.

So, with all the research I wanted to share what I’ve found out about how the Paleo diet can help with weight loss. If you’ve found other ways, then I’d love to read about them in the comments below.

It Keeps Your Full

The first thing I’ve found is that the paleo diet works because you feel fuller for longer. This is a diet that’s full of protein and fiber—two extremely important food groups for the body.

That doesn’t mean carbohydrates and fats are avoided, but that protein and fiber are the main focuses. These two food groups break down in the body slowly, which makes us feel fuller for longer. We’re less likely to snack, and we find eating fewer calories in the day much easier.

This really does work. I found when following the Weight Watchers plan and focusing on much more protein and fiber that I felt fuller for longer. The No Count option with Weight Watchers is very similar to the Paleo diet, and I barely felt hungry. I just needed to learn some portion control!

There’s Always Something New

One thing that I hate about some diets is that they get boring. I’m eating the same things over and over again and I just don’t enjoy them.

When I get bored, I go off the rails. I snack on food that I shouldn’t and I have lots of cheat days throughout the week!

The paleo diet doesn’t look like it will give me that problem. There’s always something new to try; some new recipe or exercise. Because it’s also a diet that I’ve never done before, there’s always going to be something new to learn. This will all keep it interesting for me to help follow the paleo diet for weight loss and be successful.

You’ll Get Enough Calories to Move More

There is a focus in the diet to move more—get more activity some way. This is essential for weight loss. 20% of your weight loss efforts are from exercise alone.

So, the paleo diet will help. Not just that, but you’ll also get enough calories to move more. There are just far too many diets out there that restrict the calories so much that you feel tired and lethargic.

It helps that this diet is full of protein. Not only will that give me the calories I’ll need, but also the amino acids my muscles will need to build back up again after a training session. I should find it easier to tone up, as well as lose weight.

Right now, it’s looking more and more like I’ll follow the paleo diet for weight loss. There are lots of other considerations I want to take right now. One of those is how it will affect our shopping and food that we eat in the house. I don’t want to give my daughters a complex on their weight, which is one of the reasons I don’t want to follow a very strict diet anymore.

Do you follow the paleo diet for weight loss? Have you tried it in the past? Feel free to share in the comments below how it has helped/it helps you. If you found it didn’t help, please do let me know. I want to be fully informed.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Do You Need to Look Back Over Your Weight Loss Goals?

It’s the middle of the month. This is the point where people start to fall off the wagon. They forget about their weight loss goals or may find that their goals are no longer relevant.

I’m a great believer that goals are the key to success. You may have found they haven’t helped in the past, but be honest with yourself. Have they not helped because you didn’t think they were worthwhile reaching or because you started making excuses?

If you don’t make goals, how do you know you’ve achieved something? How do you know when you’ve reached the end of your weight loss journey?

The truth is you don’t! You’re more likely to not even bother because you don’t have goals in the first place. But what about when those weight loss goals are no longer relevant? What about when your life takes a different direction?

Back in January, my weight loss goals involved the Weight Watchers diet. I wanted to get back to my pre-baby weight. Eight months later I have completely different goals. In fact, I have different goals than I did just a month or two ago!

Sometimes you need to look back over your goals. Make sure they’re relevant for your life now. If not, it just means you need to make a few changes. What are your reasons for losing weight now? What do you want to achieve from your efforts? How long are you going to give yourself?

I regularly review my weight loss goals. Right now the ones that I had at the start of the month are still relevant. I may change them at the start of October, depending on how I’ve done by the end of the month. I’m also thinking of more long-term goals—something to take me to Christmas/New Year.

Is it time to revisit your weight loss goals and make some changes?

Saturday, 17 September 2016

What Is the Paleo Diet? Should You Follow It?

Over the last week or so, my husband and I have considered the paleo diet. We don’t like faddy diets, but this doesn’t look like on.

In fact, it looks extremely healthy and would fit in with the majority of food that we eat right now. I want to share the research I’ve done into the paleo diet and why I think it might be for us. It could be for you too!

It’s the Caveman Diet

You may have heard of the paleo diet referred to as the caveman diet. It’s gets the name because of the lifestyle this diet is based on.

In simple terms, you would eat anything a hunter-gatherer would have eaten. That means a lot of protein and fiber, but still some healthy fats and carbohydrates.

When I first read about the paleo diet a few years ago I pushed it to one side. It wasn’t for me. I could say that looking back it was a mistake, but my head wasn’t in the right zone.

The problem is I have a strong belief in everything in moderation. I love chocolate and cookies, and believe that in moderation they’re not going to do that much harm. Unfortunately, we don’t always have that ability to tell ourselves to stop! To stick to moderation!

When I first heard about the paleo diet I loved my cookies, cakes and chocolate too much to even consider cutting back a lot. It was at a time that Weight Watchers followed the propoints/points plus plan (depending on where you lived), where chocolate could be eaten in a day without meaning I’d lose too many points.

My opinions and mindset have changed considerably since the release of the smartpoints plan. I’ve started looking more at cutting back on cookies and chocolate.

In fact, since making a move across the other side of the Atlantic, I’ve found cutting out chocolate, crisps and cookies so much easier! Yes, I was surprised, too considering the obesity crisis there is over here. But we’re focused on buying healthy food and I have no chocolate or sweet stuff in the house tempting me. Being a Weight Watchers leader made it so difficult to say not to the sweets.

Could the Paleo Diet Work?

There are plenty of people who say the paleo diet is good for them. I’m certain that they’re not lying, considering the focus on protein and fiber.

I’ve found The Paleo Diet website and will be following it over the next few weeks. I want to do a lot more research before we make a complete overhaul on our diet. Being completely informed is so important to me.

The Paleo Diet does has a simple page for what you can and can’t eat while following it. This is a great starting point.

The Busy Women’s Guide to Paleo also has some great reviews and is affordable. It’s available on the Kindle only, but you can download free Kindle apps to your smartphone to read it. I have a Kindle app, where I regularly have books. I’ve downloaded this one now and will be checking it out in full.

What do you think? Could the Paleo diet be for you? Maybe you already follow it and want to share it. Feel free to share in the comments below.

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Dangers of Liquid Diets

There are a lot of people who look for those quick fixes when it comes to weight loss. I’ve tried them and I did lose weight with some of them.

Then I gained all that weight back…and more!

There’s a reason why the title of this blog is “Lose Weight and Keep It Off.” I want to not just help you lose your weight, but keep it off forever. It’s something I know is possible (as long as you don’t get pregnant…) but it means that I need to share the bad faddy diets to help you avoid them.

Liquid diets are one of those fad diets that I see a lot of people following. And there are so many more cropping up each day!

I’m not talking about the cleanses that you use for a couple of days to give you a kickstart. Some of them can be good for you, although the jury is still out on the long term benefits/side effects. Right now I’m talking about the liquid diets for weight loss. Those diets that you follow to lose tens of pounds within a few weeks.

You may hear of them as juice diets (Juice Plus, anyone?) or cleansing diets that are designed for long term use. Whatever name they have, they’re all the same.

There are dangers of liquid diets that you need to be aware of, especially if you follow them for too long.

You Miss Out on Food Groups

Most of the liquid diets tend to be fruits and vegetables purified. You get plenty of vitamins and minerals, but what about the proteins? In some cases, you’re juicing the fruits instead of blending them, so you also get rid of the fiber.

Your body needs everything. You need to make sure you get all your food groups—and at the recommended amounts.

Protein is the building block for your muscles, tendons, skin, and other parts of the body. You need to strengthen your base to work your way up.

You Could Cut Down Calories Too Much

Think about the amount of calories you get from these juice diets. Do they not tell you? Well, they should and if they don’t then it’s a red flag.

Many of the liquid diets reduce your calories considerably. While you want to create a calorie deficit, you don’t want to create a large one for too long. The odd day isn’t going to do you much harm and kickstarting your weight loss for a couple of days with a cleanse won’t hinder your efforts. The problem comes when you stick to a small number of calories.

You need to work out how many calories your body actually burns. Mine is actually around the 1,700 mark. From there, I know I need to eat fewer than 1,700 to lose weight.

But to lose a healthy amount of weight, there’s no need to cut down the daily calorie intake by more than 500. So, I need to eat around 1,200 calories a day. This is a recommended level, because it ensures your body gets enough to work through a day. And this amount should help me lose up to 2lbs a week.

Cutting down lower than this will make me tired, make it harder to exercise, will slow my metabolism down (when done on a long-term basis), and will lead to me losing muscle mass and not just fat.

You’re More Likely to Give Up

Be honest with yourself. When you hear about those strict liquid diets, do you really want to follow them?

Of course not!

They’re regimented and cut out all your favorite things. All you start thinking about is when the diet will be over and when you can have a cheat day. In fact, even celebrities that say they follow these liquid diets struggle and give into cheat days. They just tend to have people in their ear telling them to stick with it more than we do.

We’re more likely to give up a diet if it’s too strict and regimented. And then we go on a binge and start to gain all the weight back!

You Won’t Learn Maintenance

These liquid diets are for losing the weight. They do nothing to help you keep it off in the long run.

This leads to a lot of yo-yo dieting, which is bad for your mind and your body. Constantly gaining weight, losing it, and gaining it again will just lead to your metabolism struggling. Your body doesn’t know what you’re going to do next.

The juice diets don’t teach you what to do after them. You’re likely to go straight back into your old habits, so you gain the weight and more. There are studies that show the metabolism slows down because of them, so when they go back to eating what they used to, they are consuming far too many calories compared to what the body needs now. They gain a lot more weight than they originally lost.

One thing that I now ask is that people follow a healthy eating plan. It took time to gain the weight, so it is going to take time to lose it too. It will come off, but slowly is so much better and healthier for you.

How I’m Doing With the Current Weight Loss Efforts

It’s half way through the month, so I thought this would be a great time to give an update. This is a little unconventional compared to other weight loss journeys I’ve been on, since I haven’t been tracking my weight on the scales.

I’m going to split this into three sections, how I’ve done with:
  • Food
  • Exercise
  • Emotions

Sticking to a Diet

Mostly, I’ve stuck to the plans that I’ve made regarding food. I’m not one for making daily plans for the meals we’ll have, but I do make loose ones based on the food we take out of the freezer and what we’ll have for lunch.

We’ve been eating a lot of salads lately, especially for lunch. Salads are quick and easy, but also mean that I get excellent portions of fruit and vegetables.

We’ve eaten out or had takeout just five times over the last two weeks. That’s down from almost every day or every other day over the previous months. The only reason we ate out on one occasion was because it was a school BBQ, and I only have one small hotdog rather than going for seconds when they were offered. This BBQ was known about in advance and planned around.

It’s been much easier to cut back on the junk we eat. I have no more than a glass of wine on a night and I’ve only had a litre of pop. All the rest of the time I’ve had either coffee or water—and the coffee is just a cup a day on a morning to kick me awake!

Not Quite Exercising

I’ve not been doing the running or the tae kwon do that I’d hoped to do. In fact, we decided for me and Monkey not to do tae kwon do—partially due to finances and partially because right now Monkey isn’t quite focused enough to do it. We’re going to wait a year for it to give her a chance to get used to school and settle in a little more.

I have walked every day, though. Each morning I take Monkey to school and it is always on foot. My husband picks her up—again, always on foot.

Once things get a little more settled with work—I lost a client, so have had to make some changes very quickly—I will get into the bodyweight exercises more. I going to do a HIIT workout—and most likely the 30 Day Shred since we now get access to it all easily on the TV, so I can do it on our workout mat.

Feeling Better and Fitting in Clothes

Despite not getting in all the exercise that I want, I am feeling better in myself. There are days that I feel exhausted, but I think that’s more due to lack of sleep than anything else. What parent doesn’t suffer from a lack of sleep?

I’m starting to fit into clothes again. There are some that seem to be getting tighter, but they’re also getting shorter! I think they’re being shrunk in the wash!

I need to buy some clothes ready for the fall and winter, so will find out if this current plan has made any changes to my body shape and size.

I may not have lost any actual weight, but I feel great. That’s good enough for me right now as I reach the halfway mark of the 30 day challenge.

How are you doing with your weight loss goals? Share in the comments below good and bad and let me support you.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

5 Awesome Weight Loss Blogs to Follow

Lots of people blog about weight loss. Some blogs are worth following more than others, and there are certain men and women that I love to keep track of.

I want to share some of my favorite weight loss blogs to follow in today’s posts. They offer some great tips and recipe ideas.

Ben Does Life

Ben DoesLife isn’t updated regularly—every couple of months or so—but that doesn’t take away from the invaluable information from it. Ben is currently on a walk across America, which doesn’t help with the updating of a blog. He’s been doing a lot of writing and videos for this walk—and there are a lot of tips you can pick up along the way.

Fit This, Girl

Mary is a personal trainer, but doesn’t just offer tips on exercise. She shares her tips on healthy and clean eating. The best thing is that a lot of her tips are based on experience with weight loss and getting fit herself. She’s gone on to be a motivational speaker as well as personal trainer, so Fit This, Girl is certainly a blog to check out.

The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl

When I first saw the title of this blog, The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl, I was pulled in. I spotted this last year, and was instantly hooked on Shauna Reid’s journey. This Australian living in Scotland updates on a regular basis—every two weeks or so—and now shares updates in her general life, as well as tips on weight loss. She’s grown a community with the blog and has written books to help you with your weight loss journey.

Survival Guide by the Working Mom

Okay, so this blog isn’t quite a weight loss blog. It’s a general life one, with lots of tips for the working mom. However, the Survival Guide by the Working Mom does touch a lot on healthy eating, fitness, and weight loss. After all, these are things we all struggle with as working moms—and even stay at home moms don’t finds weight loss and fitness easy! There’s a specific section if you just want to focus on your weight loss, but there’s also one for Disney, which I personally adore.

Runs for Cookies

Katie didn’t actually start her blog until she had lost 125 pounds. That hasn’t stopped her being great for motivation when it comes to exercise. I also just love the name Runs for Cookies (mine would be cake or wine). The best thing about Katie is that she doesn’t lie about how hard work losing weight is.

I hope these blogs are as great for you as they are for me. I still check in now and then to see what they’re up to—and some I’m on the email lists for so I can get updates right to my emails (I get so many that I have to be really picky about the ones that I do join).

Do you have a weight loss blog? Share tips on exercise, healthy living and more? Please feel free to share your blog in the comments because I’d love to check it out. Maybe you could make my next countdown list of weight loss blogs to follow!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Cardio or Strength Training: Which Type of Exercise Is Better for Weight Loss?

You’ve heard that you need to move more to lose weight. That’s great, but now you’ve found out there are two types of exercise: cardio and strength training. Just which type of exercise is better for weight loss?

I wish I could give you one simple answer. The truth is I can’t. Well, I can but it’s not going to be one that you like: both are great for weight loss. Neither is better than the other because they both do different jobs. Here’s a look at the two to help you understand why you should make both part of your weight loss plan.

Cardio for Calorie Burning

The benefit of cardio is that you get out there and burn the calories off right there and then. You don’t burn as many as you would think—so a 30 minute run doesn’t make up for the pizza the night before—but it is still good for weight loss.

Cardio involves any type of aerobic exercise, where you get your heart going and your lungs working. There are different intensities that you can work at depending on your experience, current fitness levels and time that you’re exercising for.

This does burn calories, but once you’re finished with the exercise you’re pretty much finished with calorie burning. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, because it will help you lose fat, build muscle and boost the metabolism.

Strength Training for Toning

You’ll have heard that all the situps in the world won’t help you lose the weight from your stomach.

There is some truth in this statement, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any strength training at all. Once you lose the weight, you’ll have well-toned muscles, because you’ve been working on them under the layers of fat.

Plus, strength training does make you sweat. It can raise the heart rate and you will burn calories while you do it.

The benefit of this type of exercise is that you burn the calories afterwards, too. Your muscles will tear while working out. This is completely natural and it’s the period between workouts that builds them up stronger. They use up calories as they mend and get ready for the next training session.

Use Them Both Together

Really, the best type of exercise for weight loss is joining them both together. Find a plan that will work in some cardio and strength training at the same time.

The 7-minuteworkout challenge is a great way to combine the two exercises. It uses high interval intensity training (HIIT), which has been shown to be extremely effective for losing weight. You can get it as an app from Amazon for around a dollar, and it certainly has some excellent reviews.

Which type of exercise is better for weight loss? I really wish I could tell you that it was one or the other. When it comes to cardio or strength training, you really need to find a plan that combines both.