Why establishing healthy habits are better than calorie counting, fad diets, and the latest “Weight Loss” supplement.

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If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off, establishing healthy habits is the best way to go.  Why? By establishing healthy habits you will begin to make better food choices that will help you lose those unwanted pounds and keep them off over time.

“Now wait a minute! Didn’t you blog about the importance of tracking not too long ago?”  Yes, I believe tracking is an important tool.  Unfortunately for most of us, that task eventually becomes tedious and we lose interest.  Tracking is vital in the beginning stages of weight loss because it provides a picture of the number of calories being consumed throughout the day. In my experience it is typical to underestimate how much we are actually eating.  Tracking helps to make decisions as to where changes or adjustments can be made with our food choices.

Fad diets tend to work in the short term but the results rarely last. All too often, people gain back more weight than they lost because the diet taught them to lose weight quickly with no healthy habits to maintain the results.  Weight loss supplements can also help around the margins but the “return on investment” is not that great.

Here are three healthy habits that I recommend:  First, eat 3 – 4 satisfying meals per day and NO SNACKING.  I only recommend the 4th meal if you eat a late dinner. Going from noon to 7:30PM at night with nothing to eat can be difficult for some people, however the NO SNACKING part is most important.  Unfortunately, we tend to consume a lot of extra calories throughout the day from grabbing a small bite here and there, especially late night snacking.

Second, start to pay attention to your hunger cues.  All too often, we grab something to eat out of habit and not due to actual hunger.  Once you get a hang of that, try to wait 30 minutes before you eat.  This will push your meals further apart which generally leads to eating less food.

Third, stop drinking liquid calories and start replacing processed and boxed foods with whole foods.  Add an extra serving of vegetables, prepare more home cooked meals, and cut back/substitute high calorie toppings, cooking oils, butter, etc.

By establishing these healthy habits and practicing them consistently, you will begin to see results both short term and long term.  It worked for me and I’m confident it will work for you.


Transform Your Body Using These 3 Simple Steps

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OK first I must admit that I put on a few extra pounds over the winter.  It’s not that I stopped working out, I just stopped paying attention to what I was eating and enjoyed beer, wine, and sweets a little too much.  Unfortunately, aside from packing on a few extra pounds I also irritated my lower back in was in pain for a few weeks.  I decided I needed to shape up so I set a goal to go on a strict 4 week diet after my 41st birthday. Unfortunately, my strict diet only lasted about 4 days but I stumbled onto 3 simple steps that have allowed me make steady progress over the last 3 months.  I am convinced that these steps will also work for just about anyone.  The 3 steps are:

Step 1: Track Your Food

Tracking what you eat is probably the most important steps you can begin doing.  Most people we coach are surprised at the amount of calories and fat they are eating.  To start, download a fitness app like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt!, enter your personal settings and it will give you a recommend calorie target.  Next, you’ll need to get a food scale and some measuring cups.  This takes out the guess work, accuracy is important.  It requires a little leg work upfront but after a while the app will remember your most common foods and make tracking a lot easier.

Step 2: Make Adjustments

Now that you’re armed with the information of your diet, it’s time to make healthier choices.  Here are some ideas that can help:

  • Began preparing batches of lean meat. What really seems to work is cooking 3 days of chicken in a crock pot and shredding it. It’s easy to prepare, easy to weigh and portion out, and you can use different spices for variety. 
  • Purchase meal prep containers. This just makes it easy for you to put lunches together so you can grab and go. Most people make poor food choices if they are hungry and healthy choices aren’t readily available.
  • Enter as many meals as possible into your fitness app each morning. Since your meals are already prepared in your meal prep containers, this should only take a few minutes.  Now you only need to track your last meals of the day.

Focus on your total calories and the grams of Protein, Carbs, and Fat you consume. For simplicity sake, I recommend mainly focusing on your total calories and keeping your protein intake to 35-40% of your total calories.   Also, keep your fat consumption low.

Step 3: Exercise

Try to exercise 180 minutes per week.  The best way to break this up is to do either 60 minutes 3 time per week or 45 minutes 4 times per week. Ideally you should have a good mix of weights and cardio but I’ve seen people get results doing just one or the other.  Bottom line, get your sweat on!

These are the 3 steps I took that gave me results.  I would like to add that I usually have about 3 cheat meals on the weekend, enjoy a few glasses of wine or pints of beer, and treat myself to some type of dessert once a week.  I’m sure my progress would be much further if I didn’t treat myself as much but I still want to enjoy things too.  I just do it in moderation.

If you are interested in making similar changes, schedule a free fitness consultation and see how we can help!

 Schedule Your Free Consultation

Abraham Gerving

How I Lost 5 Lbs in 2 Weeks

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At the beginning of the year I realized I had put on a few “holiday” pounds so I set a New Year’s resolution to drop some weight.  I wanted to keep it simple so it could be more of a lifestyle change and not just a short term diet.  Here are the three things I did (and continue to do):

First, I started tracking everything I ate.  Personally I used the phone app Lose It! but there are other good ones out there too like My Fitness Pal. This allowed me to get a good snapshot of what I was eating and how much.  Boy was I surprised!

Second, I made changes to my diet.  I try to have a macronutrient breakdown of 40% Protein/40% Carbs/20% Fat. Lose It! gave me a calorie target based on my personal information and stated goal. Here is what my nutrition targets are: 176 Grams Protein, 176 Grams Carbs, & 39 Grams Fat for a total of 1759 calories per day. Obviously it’s extremely difficult to hit each target exactly so I primarily focus on Protein and total calories.

Third, I increased my cardio.  What’s interesting is now that I’m eating healthier I tend to have more energy which makes it easier for me to do my workouts.  I shoot for 20 minutes after my weight lifting workouts.

While this formula is simple, it can be difficult sticking to it.  Sometimes we just need a little help getting started or being held accountable.  If that speaks to you and you would like help click HERE and fill out a request for a free fitness consultation.  It’s worked for me and I know it will work for you too.

Your’s in health!

Abraham Gerving

Decisions, Decisions

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Did you know we make over 200 food related decisions a day? Many of them are automatic and we just do not realize how these decisions can affect our weight. However, adding one to two pounds of extra weight a year can eventually lead to issues we have to deal with. So, what food decisions do you make?

There was a study conducted of a demographically-matched student sample of 133 Parisians and 145 Chicagoans to determine what cues people used to stop eating. In this study, the research showed those in Paris had three main reasons they were finished with their meals: 1) they wanted to save room for dessert, 2) the food no longer tasted good, and 3) the consumer started feeling full. Now go back and read those three cues again. Aside from sounding strange in our culture (I mean really, does the last bite really not taste as good as the first or are my taste buds just “well developed”) each of these cues are internal. These French eaters are relying on themselves to determine when they are finished, and even the last one, “started feeling full” is not “so stuffed I cannot sit down.” It is merely being satisfied, which may be why these eaters tend to weigh less than we, as Americans, do.

The three main cues found during this study that determined when the American eaters were finished were: 1) their TV show was over, 2) they’ve eaten the amount most think is normal (the plate is empty), and 3) they’ve run out of their beverage. I’ve also heard of an additional study where the eater is done eating when the people around them are finished. Each of these cues are external: something outside of themselves telling them when they are finished eating. For us, eating is a means to an end and the short length of time spent eating a meal, especially alone, is an indicator of that. But we eat with our eyes first, meaning we decide exactly how much we are going to eat by how much we dish onto our plates or into our bowls and even if there are internal cues telling us we are satisfied, if we took it, we tend to eat it.

According to Dr. Brian Wansink, Food Psychologist, Researcher and Author of Mindless Eating and Slim by Design, in our culture our stomach has three settings: starving, could eat more, and stuffed. So, how do we overcome the fact that we just haven’t really paid attention to those internal cues the French seem to innately notice? Let’s just deal with the external cues and how we can make better decisions:

  1. Make Mealtimes Special: No TV while eating. Maybe play some relaxing music instead. Make your living spaces a “No Food Zone” and eat at the table. This can help you to eat less food because the focus will be on the food and the people with whom you are eating.
  2. The Plate: First eat on a plate no larger than 10″. For me, a food segregationist (no food touching), that can be quite a task, but you definitely take less food. Second, dish 80% less than you think you would eat. Studies show your body doesn’t recognize the caloric deficit and over the course of a year, you could potentially lose up to 10 pounds doing just that.
  3. People: If you eat with a slow eater, pace with that eater. The slower you eat, the faster your brain catches up with the signals your stomach is sending saying “I’m satisfied.” If you eat with a fast eater, count how many times you chew your food. Perhaps 20 times per bite can pace your eating. An important piece is to never serve the food from the table. The fast eater will take more food because everybody else is still eating. The slow eater may take more because they saw others take more and are now justified.

We may not be able to stop ourselves with internal cues like “the food no longer tastes good” but we can do something about the cues we do use and begin to pay attention to those feelings of satisfaction.

Eating is only part of the equation. It is also important to round it out and exercise is a key factor in doing so.  If you would like help reaching your weight loss or fitness goals and want to see if one of our personal training programs is a good fit for you, please fill out the following form for a free fitness consultation.