weight loss

Peggy, Week 17: 7 Roadblocks to Weight Loss (And How To Overcome Them)

peggy avagliano

Most of us desire to be a better version of ourselves. We sit on the couch watching infomercials claiming their DVD or book holds the secret we have been longing for. If we follow their simple plan, we will finally succeed in achieving our goals. We will have the body of an Olympic runner. We will have the money of Bill Gates. We will achieve a breakthrough in science or world peace to rival Albert Einstein and the Dali Lama.

The truth is that few of us really need a special video to tell us how to achieve our goals. We already have the answers. We know that we need to eat more whole foods and exercise if we want to lose weight. We know we need to get in front of our computer and start typing if we want to write that children’s book. The key to success is simple: You need to start the journey.

So, if we know what we need to do, why are we not all achieving our dreams?

What roadblocks do we have to overcome to being the person we believe we can be? Here are a few of the roadblocks I’ve noticed and the best answers I have found to overcome them:

1. Excuse: We are too old to achieve the goal.
Reality: “You will never again be as young as you are today.” – Kim Avagliano

2. Excuse: I do not have enough time.
Reality: Track how many minutes a day you watch TV, or engage in on-line activities; you will likely find a half hour a day you could be exercising.

3. Excuse: I can’t do it.
Reality: You will never succeed, if you do not start.

4. Excuse: My goal is too large.
Reality: Break it down into smaller bites. If you say you want to lose 100 pounds, it seems too much to even try. However, saying that you are going to lose 10 pounds in the next three months is a reasonable endeavor.

5. Excuse: I’m not sure how to start.
Reality: Google the question. Someone else has probably answered it. For weight loss, try Sparkpeople.com, a free site I am on (DOCPEGGYVAGS).

6. Excuse: It’s too late to start right now.
Reality: “A year from now, you may wish you started today.” – Karen Lamb

7. Excuse: I can’t achieve my goal alone.
Excuse: Don’t. Join a group. Seek out an adult kickball team or bowling league—some sport to which you can make a commitment.

All of these obstacles prevent us from being the person we want to be. But it only takes one step in the right direction to get closer to the person you’re destined to be.

What keeps you from achieving your goals? Add your excuses below, and then tell us how you plan to overcome it. 

Challenge #5: Get Fit!

healthy family challenge 2012

Game On! For Challenge #5, each member of the Lehman and Avagliano family received personalized goals from their trainers for cardio, strength and weight loss:

The Avaglianos
Peggy’s goals
• Go 2000 meters on rowing machine in 9 minutes and 30 seconds
• Do 5 sit-ups
• Lose 6 pounds

Peter’s goals
• Walk one mile in 15 minutes
• Do 10 push-ups with proper form
• Lose 6 pounds

Michael’ s goals
• Run a mile in 7 minutes and 30 seconds
• Leg press 800 lbs for three reps
• Lose 4 pounds

Amanda’s goals
• Go 2000 meters on rowing machine in 9 minutes and 30 seconds
• Do 3 pull-ups
• Lose 4 pounds

The Lehmans
Tiffany’s goals
•5-minute continuous treadmill push
• Squat, bench press and deadlift 120 lbs each
• Lose 4 lbs

Andy’s goals
• 15-minute continuous treadmill push
• Squat, bench press and deadlift a total of 500 lbs
• Lose 1″ from waist and 1.5% body fat

Anna’s goals
• Do 15 reps each of squats, jumping jacks, toe touches and overhead presses
• Lose 5 pounds

Will the Lehmans emerge victorious for the third challenge in a row? Check in each day for Tiffany and Peggy‘s updates, as well as advice from their nutritionists Stephanie and Elizabeth.

The Trouble With Food Journal Apps


Online diet logs and apps are everywhere and many of them are great tools for helping you track your food and exercise. But don’t rely on them too much. Every week Tiffany sends me her online food and fitness journal to review. And I’ve started to notice that the estimated calories calculated by the app are not always accurate.

One reason for this is that the online tool lacks enough data to completely personalize the information. For instance, Tiffany may do an hour-long circuit training class and the app gives her an estimated calorie burn of 500 calories. But a circuit training class could involve any numbers of exercises and be moderately intense or super intense. So 500 calories may be too low or too high. Even if you plug in your height and weight, there are still many other factors that affect how many calories you’ll burn in an exercise session.

I’ve also noticed that the app’s calorie estimates for food and drinks are often not correct. Even the serving sizes are off. For example, a small fast food soda was listed as 8 ounces. But I think the last time a fast food place served 8-ounce drinks was in the 1950s! A small is now at least 16 ounces. So the calories listed needed to be doubled (or more if you got a refill!).

Bottom line: If an app says you’re only eating 1000 calories a day and you’re still gaining weight (or not losing weight), the information you’re getting is probably not correct. Review your journal regularly to see if portion sizes are off and check calories against actual package information when possible. And as for exercise, use the app-generated calorie burn estimates as just that—estimates. Know that actual calorie burn could be much lower or higher.

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.

Tiffany, Week 7: Words of Wisdom that Transformed Me


Before I even entered my family into this Healthy Family Challenge, I claimed 2012 as my year in a personal blog. It’s the last year of my 30’s and I can’t wait to see what 40 and beyond have in store for my family and myself. But one thing that it won’t have in store: this weight. I will NOT go into my 40’s being morbidly obese.

One of my lifelong, best friends said something to me earlier this year that will forever be a part of my soul:

“I will not spend the last 40 years of my life making the same mistakes I made the first 40.”

HELLO, PROFOUND!!! I don’t care how old you are…15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60. You can change. You just have to do it. It isn’t easy. But it’s not hard.

Not so long ago, another person encouraged me to:

“Strive to be the best person you want to be.”

That’s a pretty big statement. Really who do I want to be? I want God to look down at me and say, “Well done. Well done, child.” I want to use my body to serve. I don’t know quite what that looks like but I do know that I’m going to need as much energy as I can get. That means the middle section has got to go. You’ve worn out your welcome and now you must say goodbye! I know that I want to be the best wife and mother I can be. My family deserves for me to be present at every moment and not tired because I’ve got too much weight to carry around. I want to be the best daughter, sister, friend and (possibly) mentor.

I know it’s so cliché but if I can do this, ANY ONE can do this. They say the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. How much is left of your elephant? What are you trying to tackle by leaps and bounds in life that you should be taking on little-by-little? Post a comment and let me know.

How Much Sugar Are You Drinking?


photo via flickr.com/rorowe

If you’re at a healthy weight and aren’t concerned about calories, do you really need to worry about sweetened beverages? Yes! A high intake of added sugars isn’t just linked with obesity, it’s also tied to high triglyceride levels—both factors that boost your risk of heart disease. And “sweetened” beverages can be very high in sugar, with some drinks containing more of the sweet stuff than you should consume in an entire day!

How much sugar is OK in a day? The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. You won’t find “added sugars” listed on labels, but you will find “sugars” which includes naturally occurring, as well as added ones. Most sugary beverages, such as soda, contain only added sugars so it’s easy to calculate how much you’re getting. On labels, you’ll see sugar listed in grams so to convert that to teaspoons, simply divide by 4 (since 4 grams sugar=1 teaspoon).

Some beverages, such as fruit juice, have calories and sugar but also contain vitamins. So is fruit juice a good beverage choice? That all depends. Get the answer at my blog, “Fruit juice: To drink or not to drink” 
to sip smarter.

How many glasses of fruit juice do you have in a day? Leave a note and tell me here.

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.