weight loss

A Simple Trick to Keep Weight Off: Weigh Yourself Regularly

weighing yourself

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know how hard it is. That’s why it’s so important to keep the excess weight from coming on in the first place. And one method for doing that is to weigh yourself regularly. I know there are lots of opinions on this with some experts saying to never weigh yourself but I think regular weigh-ins are helpful for keeping you on track.

You might think it’s better to just see how your clothes fit. If they’re getting snug, it’s time to cut back. But this doesn’t always work. Clothes stretch and people like to use the “it must have shrunk in the dryer” excuse when pants get too tight. A scale is more reliable.  And it seems to get people to take action more than the tight-clothing approach.

How often should you weigh in? Some people like to weigh themselves every day, but I think that’s a lot. And once a week weigh-ins can be misleading. For example, just one day of salty meals before a weigh-in could add on a couple pounds of excess water. So I tell people to weigh in 2-3 times a week. That way you can get an average for the week.

If you see your weight creeping up by a couple pounds, take action. Cut portions a little and bump up your activity level. These small changes can help get rid of those few extra pounds. And losing 1-2 pounds now is much easier than trying to lose 20-30 pounds later.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.


Peggy, Week #21: Diet Dangers on the Road

The Avagliano Family

This has been a long week emotional week that resulted in some diet slip-ups, but overall I think Peter and I did pretty well. We took a 2,700-mile road trip to drop off our oldest three children at college. The week of scheduled drop-offs coincided with Amanda’s band camp week, so Amanda would have to stay at home.

First stop, Michael at UNCSA in Winston-Salem, NC where he will be studying Design and Production (technical theater). Michael is a 17-year-old freshman. Michael’s move-in time was 8 a.m. on Tuesday. This meant that we had to leave NJ on Monday, and spend the night in Winston-Salem. We stayed at an Embassy Suites hotel, which had a nice breakfast buffet; the eggs were cooked to order. The school ran the move-in better than any other college we went to. We pulled up and unloaded our car, and the RAs moved the stuff to the hallway outside of the rooms! The dorms are definitely old-school, with residents in each hallway sharing only two showers and toilets!

We had the opportunity to meet Michael’s roommate and his parents while moving in. 
A parent orientation filled the day, and ended with a BBQ. We spent another night in North Carolina and checked in on Michael to insure that he had everything he needed.

Next stop, FSU in Tallahassee, where Katie is trying out for the Marching Chiefs. (In High School, she marched with the Marching Braves, so making the marching band in college would be a promotion.) Katie is a sophomore, but has spent the first year abroad, so it was her first year on campus, too. We did not have a lot of room in the car, so we had to buy most of the stuff for her room in Tallahassee.

Katie could not move in until Friday night, so we had all day on Thursday to shop for her dorm. Katie had to go to practice at 7:30 a.m., but her move-in time was scheduled for 8 p.m. Why would a college think this is a good move-in time? Christina, Peter and I spent the time exploring Tallahassee. We picked up Katie at 5:50 p.m., and discovered that we could move in a little early, at 7 p.m. So we ate dinner, and moved her in. We spent the night in Tallahassee, and left shortly after we dropped Katie at practice.

Our last stop was Ringling College in Sarasota, where my daughter, Christina is studying Motion Design. She left most of her stuff in storage, so we simply helped her to move in. It was her first apartment-style dorm, so we stopped at Walmart and picked up a few essentials–plates, glasses, etc.

Our 2,700-mile road trip from New Jersey should have been a good opportunity to stick to my diet. I loaded the car with fruit and celery on the first day, but I soon found myself purchasing a candy bars at the rest stop and eating a whole bagel for breakfast.

After a day of indulgence, I realized that I still want to feed my feelings, rather than simply feel them. Peter and I made an effort to try harder. We did manage to make some healthy choices: yogurt sundaes instead of ice-cream blizzards. Going to the gym at the hotels and even swimming one day in the pool. Not bad, right?

How do you stay away from tempting foods when you’re on the road? Post a comment and tell me here.


Tiffany, Week 19: Helping Your Kids Make Healthy Choices

tiffany and anna

What’s one of the best ways to help your kid lose weight? Slim down yourself. That’s what a study that came out earlier this year from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota showed. Of course changing what I buy at the grocery store, for example, would have an impact on my children. But what’s been so impressive is that even in situations where I’m not in control, my daughter is making healthy choices!

From the beginning of the Healthy Family Challenge, my daughter, Anna, was really looking forward to working out at a gym. Unfortunately, at 9 years old, she’s too young to be allowed on the gym floor. When I broke the news to her, she was bummed. But I told Lass, my trainer, this and he developed a routine for Anna.

She does body weight squats, jumping jacks, toe touches and overhead presses with hand weights. Lass told her to do four sets of twelve reps each. For this month’s challenge she increased to 4 sets at 15 reps. She easily modified her workout and even added more. (Go Anna!) Plus, every day, she and her friends at daycare dance make up routines to do. Anna also loves to ride her bike around our neighborhood with the kids in town. And, of course, she tries to keep up with Jack, which is a tough job. He is consistently on the go!

For this month’s challenge, Anna, like me, was focused on losing weight. According to our doctor, she was at the high end of normal, so she wanted to lose a few pounds. One day, she went on a field trip to a pizza buffet and arcade with her daycare center. Rather than have 2 or 3 slices of pizza, Anna made herself a salad and had one slice of pizza because she wanted to make good choices. Amazing, right? She now feels so much better and full of energy and she doesn’t even miss the bad foods.

How have you helped your kids make healthy choices? Post a comment and tell me!


Peggy, Week 18: 8 Smart, Satisfying Food Swaps

We’ve all been there. Minding our own business when chocolate starts calling our name. Or desperately trying to be good while those frozen French fries start pounding on the freezer door to be let out. To save major calories, I came up with more smart swaps to stay on track. They’ve helped me and hopefully will do the same for you.

When you want: Chocolate covered pretzels…
Try: Slices of apple drizzled with two tablespoons of chocolate. Or fresh fruit salad with yogurt covered raisins.

When you want: You want an ice cream sundae…
Try: Strawberry sorbet or frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.

When you want: Potato chip…
Try: Celery or baby carrots with ranch dressing or air-popped popcorn.

When you want: Chocolate chip cookies and milk…
Try: Making your favorite recipe using Splenda instead of sugar and skim milk instead of whole. Also, only bake 2 per person in the house. (You can always freeze the remaining cookie dough.) Or try one of the 100-calorie cookie packs.

When you want: A cheeseburger and French fries…
Try: A turkey burger and home made oven fries or grilled chicken with fruit salad and baked chips.

When you want: Sweet tea…
Try: Brewing it yourself and add fresh fruit, such as lemons, to taste.

When you want: Baked macaroni and cheese…
Try: Adding grilled veggies and a little less pasta and cheese.

When you want: Crème brulee…
Try: Sugar free pudding.

Tell us what you want, and what you’re willing to try instead below.


Tiffany, Week 17: The #1 Workout Lesson I’ve Learned

tiffany

You don’t need to kill yourself with cardio to lose fat and weight.

That’s the biggest message Lass, my trainer at Gold’s Gym, has taught me. I am lifting more weight today than I ever though I would. I’m amazed at each work out how much I can do. If you would have told me I’d be lifting heavy weights, flipping 100+ pound tractor tires and doing treadmill pushes (where I make the treadmill belt move vs. me programming it to move) I would have said your crazy!

With Lass, every workout involves strength and conditioning (Lass’ word for cardio). I leave the gym drenched in sweat and hardly able to walk due to muscle fatigue. And I love it! I went from all cardio—thinking I was really pushing myself—to really realizing what it meant to push myself and be pushed by using weights!

I’ve seen huge changes in my body (thanks to the workouts and a proper diet). There’s no way I’m going back to my all-cardio-all-the-time ways now!

Are you hesitant to try strength training? Post a comment and tell me why!