10 Steps to Achieve your Weight Loss Goals Once and For All

Achieve Weight Loss Goals Once and For All

If I had a dollar for every person who has expressed to me their desire to lose weight, I’d be financially set. However, their desire to lose weight rarely translates to successful, long term weight loss.  Not having a detailed plan is a big reason they fall short of their weight loss goals. Today I will share with you 10 steps to achieve your weight loss goals once and for all.  Along with determination, you need to be committed to follow through with your goals despite what life may throw at you.  If you are truly ready for change, then the following 10 steps to achieve your weight loss goals will finally get you across that finish line.

10 Steps to Achieve your Weight Loss Goals Once and For All

1.  Decide what you want.

What exactly do you want to accomplish?  Make it specific so that it is meaningful to you instead of sounding generic.  So instead of “I want to lose weight” specifically state “I want to lose 30 pounds and gain energy so that I no longer have to rely on caffeine to get me through each day”.  By making your goal specific to you, it makes it more personable so that you may stick to it.

2.  Write it down and be specific.

Don’t merely say you want to lose weight: be specific, add detail. Write down what it is you want.  Name the what and the why.  By writing it down, you have it embedded not only in your head but you now have a visual reminder that you can read and gain motivation from each and every day.

3.  Read your goals everyday, preferably once in the morning and again at night.

Treat your goal as an affirmation and read it out loud to yourself every day — first thing when you wake up and right before you go to sleep.  With life’s many demands, it is easy to get unfocused and push weight loss goals to the side.  However, each time you read your goals out loud, you are recommitting to yourself and reigniting your drive to accomplish your goals.  Very powerful tool.

4.  Set a date.

If you set a date, you are least likely to procrastinate.  Set a realistic date of when you want to accomplish your goal.  From there, set mini goal dates in-between to keep you going in your journey.  For instance, if your ultimate goal is to lose 30 pounds in 6 months, set a goal for each 2-4 week period in between.  For instance, bringing your lunch to work everyday for a week can be a goal.  Walking 30 minutes after dinner 3x per week can be another goal.  Try not to weigh yourself daily or weekly.  In fact, one weigh-in per month is great to track progress without building up an obsession with the number on the scale.

5.  Think of it often.

Take time daily to think and ask yourself, “what else can I incorporate to achieve my goals?”  Make sure your actions and mindset are aligned with your goals i.e. taking the stairs when it’s an option, working out regularly, removing processed foods from the home, etc.  When you keep your goals on your mind, it becomes easier to stay on track and not allow distractions to sabotage your efforts.

6.  Dream and Imagine.

Use the power of visualization.  See yourself enjoying it.  Print out that picture of a real woman who, to you, exemplifies strength and health.  Post it on the refrigerator or on your phone wallpaper and use it as a source of motivation to keep you going strong day after day.

7.  Develop a plan of action.

Plan your work then work your plan.  How exactly do you plan to lose 30 pounds in 6 months?  What workouts will you do?  How often? What foods will you include? Which will you remove? These are all things you need to think about and plan out BEFORE getting started.  If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

8.  Do three things daily towards your goal.

Three things done consistently are better than ten things done inconsistently. When we get into the mindset of transformation, our minds tend to over-promise what our bodies can actually commit to action.  Trying to do too much in such a short time is not maintainable in the long run and eventually will leave you running out of steam.  So start with 3 reasonable things to implement and commit to doing each one.  Examples include taking a 15 minute walk during the lunch break at work, hitting up the Saturday Farmer’s Market each week to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking a liter of water during your work shift, etc.

9.  Stay Positive.

Start your day with something positive.  Make self-motivation as routine as bathing.  Reading your goals out loud is a great self-motivating tool.  Remember, what we think in our heads comes to fruition in reality.  So stay positive, be patient, and take it slowly.  If you are committed daily and make the right choice each time, you will accomplish your goals eventually.  Enjoy the process.

10.  Act like you have already achieved it.

Act your way into a new way of thinking, and think your way into a new way of acting.  “Fake it till you make it.” Studies show that if we act in a way that we want to become, we eventually will some that in which we act.  Watch Amy Cuddy’s inspiring TEDx talk about how body language shapes who you are.  So a shy person initiating a conversation with one person every day can eventually shed the “shy” label with newly found confidence.

BONUS step #11:  Work with professionals who have experience helping others achieve their weight loss goals. A Certified Nutrition Consultant and Personal Trainer make a living off of getting people healthy and fit; they know the steps and the set-backs that past clients experience.  By working with a Nutrition Coach, you can achieve your goals faster and maintain results long term.  The investment in your health and longevity is truly a priceless act.

What do you think about implementing these 10 steps to achieve your weight loss goals?  Any advice you can add to help others? Share below!

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7 Practices For Faster Weight Loss

fast weight loss_012513Losing weight takes commitment and hard work.  You know the importance of cleaning up the diet and getting regular exercise.  Once you’ve got these basics down, its only natural to want to hasten  weight loss efforts.  When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady generally makes for longer-term, lifestyle focused changes in contrast to quick-fix diets.   By adding the following practices to your long term weight loss goals, you can achieve your sexy in record time.

1. Refrain from drinking calories.

Sodas and juices are full of sugar that makes it difficult for the body to release fat.  The biggest antagonist to burning fat is sugar consumption because it stimulates the secretion of insulin — a fat-promoting hormone. Diet drinks are not the smart alternative to caloric drinks.  Although diet drinks have zero calories, they cause addiction and contain chemicals that can do more harm than good to your body.  Stick to water which is refreshing, energizing and flushes out waste and toxins from the body which can contribute to fatigue and fat storage.  Herbal and green tea are also great options.

2. Eat real food — only!

As much as you want to believe otherwise, processed low-calorie frozen meals, skinny lattes, 100 calorie packs, and detox drinks will NOT help you keep the weight off.  You may see a little bit of results but trust me, these results will not last.  To lose fat and keep it off, you must feed your body nutrient-dense real foods — not chemical loaded, man-made Frankenstein food.  Real foods include wild fish; leafy greens; eggs; beef; chicken; and red, purple, and other colorful fruits and vegetables.  To ensure you are truly eating a whole foods rich diet, shop the perimeter of your supermarket, or better yet, do most, if not all, of your grocery shopping at the Farmer’s Market.  For optimal nutrition and to reduce toxic load, choose organic, pastured, and grass-fed options whenever possible.

3. Drink green tea to boost metabolism.

Research demonstrates that one can experience an increase in metabolism by regularly consuming green tea.  Green tea leaves are not fermented and contain more catechins than other teas. These important polyphenols, coupled with the natural caffeine present in green tea, is likely the reason that regular green tea consumption can boost metabolism, increase fat burning and promote weight loss. Drink green tea as a regular part of your day morning, noon and evening.

4. Eat protein at every meal.

Want to stay fuller longer in-between meals?  Eat protein.  Research shows higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and daily calorie intake. Therefore make sure to eat protein with every meal and snack.  A protein-rich diet coupled with a low to low-moderate carbohydrate intake should melt away fat in record time while boosting energy and clearing away brain fog. Protein causes the brain to receive lower levels of appetite-stimulating hormones such as insulin. Fewer insulin spikes lead to less fluctuation of sugar cravings – and therefore fewer cravings.  For dinner, try this lemon pepper crusted salmon for an excellent source of protein and fat-loss promoting omega-3 fats.

5. Fat is your weight loss friend.

Contrary to the hype, in order to lose fat, you must eat fat.  I’m talking good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, real butter, ghee, fish and animal fats rich in healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats.  Nix the bad fats:  polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as soybean oil, margarine, corn oil, canola oil, and safflower oil — these fats are composed mostly of inflammatory omega-6 properties.  What makes a fat “bad” or “good” is its ability to stay in its natural chemical structure when heated and/or exposed to light.  Polyunsaturated vegetable fats have a very weak chemical structure which can easily cause rancidity and oxidation; to avoid damaging the structure  you definitely should not cook with these fats.  When rancid fats are consumed, it can promote health ailments such as heart disease, fat accumulation, digestive unrest, thyroid hormone imbalance, sluggish energy, and low libido, among other issues.   Good quality saturated fats keep their structure when heated therefore promotes balanced hormones, brain health, increased metabolism and optimal cell function.  The subject of fats is a weighty topic so I’ll dedicate a future blog post to explain more: the good, the bad, the ugly. For now, just remember: quality good fats come from pastured, organic, and grass-fed sources.

6. Get adequate, quality sleep.

More and more studies are linking weight gain to inadequate, low quality sleep. Indeed, fat loss factors on more than the simple mantra of “eat less, move more”.   Lack of sleep increases the stimulus to consume more food and increases appetite-regulating hormones.  Lack of sleep reduces willpower to eat healthy.  When is the last time you chose a vegetable-protein option as opposed to a sugar-filled carbohydrate loaded treat after 10pm at night?  At night, the brain’s serotonin levels are at their lowest.  Serotonin is a feel-good neurotransmitter which contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.  When the brain’s serotonin levels are low, the body compensates by increasing cravings for carbohydrates.  Now you see why staying up late is the perfect way to sabotage weight loss efforts.  Get to bed by 10pm and aim for 7-9 hours of restful, quality sleep in a pitch-black, temperature cool bedroom.

7. Work with a Nutrition Coach.

Hiring a certified nutrition coach will help you achieve your weight loss goals faster by taking the guess work and stress (due to lack of success) out of the equation. A Nutrition coach will customize a food & lifestyle plan specific to your needs therefore exponentially increasing your adherence thus producing faster results.  Not to mention, accountability plays a huge part in you staying dedicated and plowing through stressful times.  Contact me today for your free 15 minute consultation.

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New Year, New You – 23 Ways to Jumpstart your Health Goals

new year new youThe New Year is a time to reset, reprogram and re-shift our focus and put priorities first. For many, that simply means getting healthy. Eating better, getting active, sleeping more, and surrounding yourself with positive individuals are all ways in which one can improve health & longevity.  The benefits of getting healthy is almost endless. From thinking clearer to losing weight and increasing libido,  getting healthy is a valuable investment at any age.  Below are 23 things you can do to improve your health, increase happiness and add years to your life.  Along with this list of 35 ways to be the best you, incorporate these into your life one at a time with the ultimate goal of making each a lifestlye change in your new healthy life.  Cheers to a new year, new you!

1.  Be active at least ten minutes everyday.

Whether you walk during the lunch break or hit the gym before work, it is important to include regular activity in your daily routine.  Not only will your waistline thank you, but your brain will benefit in the form of more focus and clearer thought process.  Physical activity also improves sleep.

2.  Eat a vegetable at every meal.

If you can’t remember the last time you ate something green, then shame.  I’m not talking about green skittles either.  Vegetables are chock full of antioxidants that keep your skin looking young and your immune system functioning.  Make it a goal to eat vegetables at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Spinach is versatile enough to incorporate in scrambled eggs or be included as the base of a raw salad.  Kale & cauliflower are some of my favorites.

3.  Turn off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime.

The blue light found in many electronics keeps you focused when you are working during the day.  The problem is at night:  the blue light keeps you up longer than you intend thus effecting quality and duration of sleep.  Do yourself a favor and stay off the electronics at least one hour prior to sleep.  Fill your time with reading or taking an epsom salt bath.  You will notice the more fulfilling sleep sessions almost immediately.

4.  Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Getting quality sleep will increase your productivity the next day.  Not only will your thinking improve, you will have a more optimistic outlook and will be a better team player in the office.  Everyone wins.

5.  Replace sugary drinks with water or tea. 

The blood sugar crash caused by consuming sugary drinks is not worth it in the long run.  Sugary drinks contain empty calories and only leaves you craving more sugar.  There was once a man who gave up soda for 40 days and 40 nights and lost 40 pounds instantly.  Give it a try will ya.

6.  Refrain from reaching for the bread basket.

When at a restaurant, forego the bread basket.  In fact, tell the waiter not to bring out the bread basket to keep temptation away.  This way you will save yourself the empty calories and carbohydrates and will savor your entree that much more.

7.  Prepare lunch from home and bring to work.

I once had a co-worker who spent at least $15 per day on lunch and coffee.  $75 saved per week can buy a single person enough groceries for 2-3 weeks!  Part of getting healthy is making  sure you have your financial house in order.   The savings produced from not eating out can go towards your retirement fund or emergency savings.

8.  Say no to dessert on weekdays, unless its fruit.

If having dessert after dinner is something you are accustomed to daily, then just adjust your plans:  weekday desserts are fruit (berries & cream, anyone?) while you save the more decadent options for a weekend date night.

9.  Have protein at every meal.

Best way to stay satiated, increase energy, and combat sweets cravings is to eat protein.  Case in point, a breakfast of eggs and bacon can ward off hunger well past lunchtime but choosing a pastry with a side of fruit can leave one ravenous within 1-2 hours. Last I heard, eating less frequently naturally because of nutrient-dense, protein-rich meals is a great tool for fighting fat.

10.  Walk or bike your errands on the weekend. 

If you live in a town where your grocery store, post office, or drugstore is conveniently located within walking distance, then challenge yourself to walk your errands on the weekends.  There’s nothing like taking a morning walk to the local post office to mail a letter then hitting up the local eatery for brunch with friends.  BONUS:  walking back home aids in the digestion process.

11. Get a library card & use it often. 

How many of us have a library card but haven’t used it in years?  This year, take advantage of the wonderful free resources offered by your local library.  Rent books, magazines, DVDs, then take them back and rent more!  Knowledge is power.

12.  Try a new workout. 

Trying out a new workout is a great way to add variety to your routine.  If the treadmill is the only piece of cardio equipment you use, then how about trying the evening Zumba class for a good sweat session? You never know, you may discover a new passion.

13.  Cut back on watching Television.

If you regularly watch 5 hours of television each evening, challenge yourself to cut back to just 3 hours.  Slowly reduce the amount of time being sedentary watching television and instead fill that time with reading, exercising, or catching up with loved ones on the phone or video chat.  Personally, I do not have a television and its the best gift I could give myself both health-wise and financially.

14.  Put a budget together & follow it.

Often times we get so used to spending money because we have it.  $5 here for coffee, $80 there for a pair of new shoes.  Yes it is great to be able to treat yourself to the simple indulgencies life has to offer, but what if you were able to save an extra $100 each week?  In a year’s time you would have enough to treat yourself to an international vacation.  Cut expenses where you can and save for something better. Here is a useful budget guide. 

15.  Enjoy the outdoors more. 

We as humans tend to feel better after spending time outside in the sun.  Not only for emotional benefits, but the outdoors re-energizes us and gives us that boost we need to accomplish tasks.  At the office eat your lunch outdoors, take strolls with co-workers, and enjoy picnics and BBQs with the family.

16.  Cook dinners starting from fresh. 

Canned and frozen foods offers flexibility and convenience.  But often times  these options pale in taste and nutrient content compared to their fresh counterparts.  Fresh fruits & vegetables from the farmer’s market is the best choice you can make in terms of nutrition and from an ethical standpoint.  As soon as you buy your produce, wash and cut them up, then refrigerate so that they are ready to use when needed.  Prepping your produce ahead of time is a smart way to reduce the occurrence of a notorious, money-wasting phenomenon I like to call rotting-by-expiration.

17.  Eat seafood 2-3 times per week. 

Fish is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Omega-3s has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, fight joint pain, beautify skin, hair & nails, reduce PMS and cramping as well as improve post-exercise muscle recovery and reduce soreness.  Eat seafood 2-3 times per week and/or supplement with quality fish oil to reap the benefits.

18.  Replace sugary snacks with fruit and protein. 

Like any drug addiction, the best way to fight sugar addiction is to remove sugar from the diet.  Otherwise, even a small taste of sweet can trigger a binge.  This year, overcome your reliance on sugar by removing sugary snacks and replacing them with fruit and protein.  The combination offers a nutrient-dense, fiber rich sweet option paired with the satiating powers of protein to ward off cravings.

19.  Choose non-sugary alcoholic drinks. 

Those expensive cocktails with the pretty names can prove ugly to your waistline.  In the name of health, the best alcoholic beverage options include red & white wine, and clear spirits mixed in with a dash of soda water (tonic) & lemon or lime.  This way you can enjoy a beverage or two with friends without sabotaging your health goals.

20.  Supplement with vitamin D. 

Over 80% of Americans are vitamin D deficient and don’t even know it.  That number is higher within the African-American community.  I was baffled to learn that I had exceptionally low levels of vitamin D considering that I eat well, take a multi-vitamin and absorb California sun almost daily.  However, being dark skinned can block the vitamin-D filled UV rays from penetrating the skin.  Vitamin D in foods are so minimal that it is close to impossible to optimize vitamin D levels without supplementation.  The best supplement type is the liquid drops D3 variety which gets absorbed and utilized better than D2.

21.  Enjoy life – smile at the good times & learn from the bad.  

What’s the joy of life if you always complain about things that happen to you?  True, bad things  happen to all of us.  The key to overcoming it is how you react to such misfortune.  Stay optimistic and find the lesson in each life event.  Happier days often equals a longer, more fulfilling life.

22.  Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you.

Who you socialize with reflects a piece of who you are.  If your friends are pessimistic and have no drive to grow and excel, then subconsciously that behavior will rub off on you.  Slowly, you will find yourself making excuses not to take care of business and do the things that are important for your success.  Make sure the people you hang around with share your passion and drive towards success and self-improvement.

23.  Hire a Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer 

Hiring a certified health professional can help you achieve your goals faster by taking the guess work and stress due to lack of success out of the equation. Not to mention, the accountability factor plays a huge part in you staying dedicated and plowing through stressful times.  After all, you ARE worth the investment right?

Change the Way You View Diet, Lose the Weight Once and For All: The New Food Rules – What Matters Most

Create Your Own Food Rules

Create Your Own Food Rules

Diets exist to confuse and cause grief and anxiety.  Diets are a temporary eating protocol designed to help one lose weight and get healthy.  In this sense, I am using the word diet to mean restricting oneself to small amounts of food or to eat special types of food in order to reduce body fat — to lose weight, if you will.  Easy definition but good luck in sticking to it.  From my personal experience back in college, any diet I underwent failed me miserably.  Of course while adhering to the diet, good results happened:  I lost weight.  However, restriction only left me ravenous, angry, and anxious — not to mention hungry.  I could stay on the diet for 2 weeks or sometimes 2 months.  Inevitably, like clock work, once off the diet, the weight came back with a vengeance.   I went through the weight loss/weight gain roller coaster for years. Thankfully I have found the solution. Listen up folks.

The way to succeed in this weight loss game is to rethink the definition of diet and act accordingly.  Most people may know that diet can also be defined as the way one eats.  Vegan, Carnivore, Paleo, Vegetarian — these are all types of diets.  Of course, this definition of diet is a bit more complex than just slapping a label on it.  For instance, within the world of veganism one can choose to eat only organic sources of vegetables and fruit.  Or one can choose to not eat much produce and instead eat almost exclusively just nuts and grains. Both are still vegan but vary considerably in terms of nutrient content and the affect such foods may have on weight and overall health.

With that said, I challenge you to define your own diet; define your food rules. What is your way of eating? What are your food rules? Creating food rules shades in the grey making it easier for you to comply long term because of better control and management of what goes into your mouth; hence fully incorporating a lifestyle change — not a temporary diet.  Let’s use the example of driving.  As drivers, we stop at red lights regardless of if we see the police. We can be the only car at the red light at 3am in the morning, but we stop and wait for the light to turn green — then we proceed.  There is no question as to why we stop at red and go at green — these are simply the rules in which we follow; it is ingrained within our minds. Even a 5 year old knows about red-light/green-light.  Imagine applying this simplistic “follow the rules” approach to the way you eat. My my my, just think of the break-thru that may follow:  no more guilt when offered a cookie in the office; no more anxiety about trying to lose 5 lbs before a wedding; reduced stressed which equates to potentially less body fat accumulating around your mid-section.  Win, win, win!

I want to share with YOU a few of the “food rules” in which I abide by and strive to follow because I want YOU to succeed in your journey to excel in your health goals.  Author Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual was my inspiration in adopting this model.  Being the type A personality that I am, having food rules allows me to focus on the bigger things in life.  No longer do I go on diets.  I just eat in ways that fit within the realm of my “food rules” – I eat wholesome foods.  To some, my rules may seem a bit restrictive.  But it works FOR ME.  Make/modify these rules in a way that will work for you and give it time so that you may get accustomed.    If it adds stress to your life, then tweak the rules as needed.  Working with a Nutrition Coach will provide you support as you adopt a healthier way of eating.

My Food Rules

1. Eat food, real food

2. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food

3. Avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients

4. Get out of the supermarket whenever you can. Choose farmers markets instead

5. Limit your snacks to unprocessed plant foods. i.e. fruits, vegetables, nuts

6. Serve a proper portion and don’t go back for seconds

7. Treat treats as treats

8. Pay more, eat less. “Quality over quantity”

9. Eat animals that have themselves eaten well

10. Cook

11. Break the rules once in a while.  Obsessing over food rules is bad for your happiness and health

Change the game

Food rules = the new-age way of viewing diet.  In fact, throw the word diet out of your vocabulary and go ahead and adopt the food rules mentality.  Of course you must first create your own set of food rules and follow them unapologetically — the same way you mindlessly stop at red and go at green.

Automate the way you eat, change the way you look. 

What are the food rules you have adopted into your life?  Share in the comments.