Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Simple Tips to Deal with Food Cravings

When you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight loss, old habits can die hard and cravings can sometimes get the best of us.

Here are some tips that can help get you over the hump:

* Take a multivitamin/mineral daily. The number one cause of food cravings is vitamin and mineral deficiency. You simply cannot eat enough fresh, whole food to get your daily requirements.

* Drink plenty of water. We often confuse hunger for thirst. Try drinking 8-16 oz. of water the next time you have a craving and see if that doesn't do the trick! Active people need 64 to 96 oz. of water daily. For every 25 lbs. overweight you are you need an additional 8 oz.

* Eat plenty of protein. Seventy-five percent of the US population fall into the carbohydrate sensitive category. Which basically means you need to eat more protein than carbs in order to lose weight. Active people need 80 to 100 grams of protein per day.

* Eat more complex carbohydrates (i.e. whole grains, high fiber foods and fruits/vegetables). Complex carbs take longer to digest and fiber helps control blood sugar which, in turn, helps with cravings.

* Eat approximately 30% fat per day in your diet. Fat helps with satiety (as does protein fiber). If your diet is too low in fat you could be hungrier more often which might lead to a binge.

* Eat something every 3 to 4 hours. No exceptions! If you go long stretches throughout the day without eating you will be ravenous and less capable of making smart food choices.

* Don't keep unhealthy food that you can't resist in your house. If it's not around then you will be less likely to indulge.

* Wait. Yes, wait. Sounds boring I know. But, if you will wait about 20 minutes your craving should go away on it's on.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Food Review: Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers

Today for lunch I tried something new, a Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers microwaveable meal. The flavor I tried was Szechwan Beef with Asian Style Noodles.

I was quite surprised how good it was. And it's pretty darn healthy.

The food comes in a microwaveable plasic container. The lid is perforated with small holes and you remove a platic covering from the top of the lid before you prepare the food inside. The holes are to drain the water from the rice or noodles (depending on which flavor you choose) after cooking them in the microwave.

Then you microwave the meat, vegetables, sauce combination which is then combined with the noodles or rice and you have a meal. It only takes about 4 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

Nutritionally the Fresh Mixers are a good choice in the vast array of fast or frozen food choices. The Szechwan Beef flavor I tried has only 370 calories, 6g fat, 4g fiber and 14 g protein in a generous sized portion. Did I mention it tasted good?

I'm sure all the other flavors have similar nutritional values.

My only complaint is that it does not contain enough protein to carbohydrates ratio
(65g carbs to 14g fiber) and I was hungry within an hour. I suggest having a salad or vegetables as a side dish to this to round out your lunch (or dinner).

Try one and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Unless you are a single person who lives and works alone and never eats with other people, you will have plenty of hours in your life spent having meals with your family, husband or wife, co-workers or maybe even clients and roommates. When you are dieting those around you could purposely or unconsciously sabotage your efforts to eat healthy and lose weight.

Sabotage is one of the things I talk about in my weight loss classes. It seems like a big word for what may be perceived as an easy problem to deal with but I think it fits the bill perfectly.

If you are a heavy person living with one of those people who can eat whatever they want (and they do!) while you're trying to cut back on unhealthy choices, it's like an accident waiting to happen. If you know your skinny husband (or insert whoever you wish) has a half gallon of Dreyer's Double Fudge Brownie in the freezer and he is eating it in front of you daily, chances are you are going to have some too from temptation.

I have a newish client who needs to lose around 100 lbs. Her husband is a bigger guy and probably weighs as much as she does. She is really determined to reach her goals but he is the one who shops and cooks because he works at home. She mentioned to me the other day that her husband keeps bringing home cakes and pies from the store. And, of course, it's hard for her not to eat them because she's a sugar person.

Her husband is really supportive of her weight loss goals and he was the one who initially contacted me to work with his wife. He wants her to succeed and yet he is committing these acts of sabotage against his wife. I'm not sure he realizes that he is doing it. He definitely needs to drop at least 50 lbs. of body fat himself so it's not just his wife who needs the weight loss.

In this situation it's an overweight person doing the sabotaging, not a skinny person. The real problem is that there are two sugar addicts in the same house, one the dealer and one the customer.

So I told her that she needs to be very clear with her husband about what he is doing by bringing in cakes and pies, etc. to the house. It's impossible for her to say "no" when he's eating it and serving it to her.

I gave her some practical advice if she wasn't willing to have the conversation with him: to dump the offending foods in the garbage or disposal as soon as he brings it home from the store to prove a point. OR to have ONE PIECE and then immediately throw the rest away in the outside garbage can. She thought the latter was a great idea but I think the former is the better option.

Neither of them are ever going to reach their goals with how things are right now. If it keeps happening, then I will have a short but sweet conversation with the husband and tell him my concern. It's a sticky situation but I am determined to help my client.

They are addicts and they need to treat themselves like addicts. Which means they cannot have food like that in the least until they learn to keep their addiction under control.

If you are someone who has a saboteur in your life I hope my tips for my client are helpful for you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Food Review: Starbucks Vivanno

After my workout today I grabbed a piece of fruit and headed out the door to run a few errands. I really should have taken the time to eat a real lunch but I didn't.

I had heard of the new protein drink that Starbucks just introduced so I thought I'd give it a try. I wasn't expecting much. I mean, how good could it really be? If I want a really good protein shake I will make one at home or stop at Emerald City Smoothie and order a Chocolate Lean Out (small size - the regular size has 600 calories).

But I like to try things before I totally discount them, most of the time.

I ordered a Chocolate Banana Vivanno Nourishing Blend and it was good! Not great but suprisingly good. Not too sweet and really nice consistency. And it's good for you!

This would be a perfect snack, pre- or post-workout drink. The Banana Chocolate is made with a whole banana blended with a proprietary Protein & Fiber Powder, 2% milk, mocha sauce and ice. The Orange Mango Banana is made with a whole banana blended with all natural Naked® Juice made exclusively for Starbucks, a proprietary Protein & Fiber Powder, 2% milk and ice.

The banana chocolate drink has 270 calories, 5g fat, 21g protein and 6g fiber. The orange mango banana has 240 calories, 2g fat, 16g protein and 6g fiber. And you can add a shot of espresso to the banana chocolate drink!

I would recommend these to my clients or anyone looking for a good and good for you protein drink!

Sabrina Peterson
Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Coach

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weight Management Course Online

I taught weight loss/weight management classes for 5 years and it is something I really love to do. Support and encouragement are important for anyone wanting to lose weight or just eat a healthier diet.

I have a seven week course that I customized to my style of teaching and thinking about what it takes to lose weight that I want to make into an e-course. It's part coaching, part psychology, and part practical advice and tips.

Would having something like this available as a freebie on my website with a paid (say $10 to $20) monthly subscription to online weight management programs with several plans to choose to go along with the course be something worthwhile?

I'm new at this so I hope that those who have done e-courses or who have subscribed to e-courses can give me some usable advice!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The KEY to losing weight...

and keeping it off, is utilizing a food diary.

Research has shown that people who lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off for years (or indefinitely...I like to put myself in that category) are the ones who kept a food diary.

A food diary can be as simple as logging what you eat and the approximate or actual amounts of every single bite of food you put in your mouth in a little notebook or even in a word document on your computer. Or it can be as involved as an Excel spreadsheet.

Or you could use an online meal plan/food diary service such as mine. You can see my online personal training and weight management plans page here.

I prefer simple but you should choose whichever method that works best for you.

If you are serious about losing weight then you either need to follow a weight loss plan to the tee or you must follow one, making food substitutions where you want (i.e. chicken for pork, spinach for celery)and keeping track of it in some way. Most people do really well with the latter method.

Here is a good article about the science behind keeping a food journal.

And when you're ready to start on your weight loss journey, I'm here to help!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tips for a flatter abdomen!

Everyone wants flat abs and yet so few people know exactly how to go about that! For a great ab workout series check out my fitness tips blog.

What you eat can affect how your abs look.

If you will eliminate (or seriously restrict) three things in your diet you will see improvement.

1. Alcohol: alcohol is fattening, especially if you drink beer. It's called a "beer belly" for a reason!!

2. Carbonated drinks: i.e. soda. If you have a habit of drinking soda, or red bulls/energy drinks, ginger ale, etc. then the carbonation (bubbles) will build up in the top part of your stomach causing you to look bloated. Seriously cut back or stop drinking them altogether and the bubbles in your stomach will dissipate, though it can take a month or so.

3. Fried foods: now being a southern girl I am a fan of almost anything fried, but not nearly as much as I once was! Fried food is full of fat and usually salt as well. Although I believe fat doesn't make you fat, fried foods are not good for your waistline but you can have it occasionally.