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.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


About a week ago I picked up something at the grocery store I had never seen. I bet you've never seen it either!

It's not only amazing, but an idea that is long long long overdue:

Organic Batter Blaster Original Pancake and Waffle a spray can, like whipped cream.

I know. I know. I have just rocked your world!

Sit down. Take a few deep breaths! Now run out to your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe's and get some!!!

But before you do...

Who actually thought of this?? Really, is whipping up a batch of pancake or waffle batter that hard? Seriously, Bisquick, some milk, a few eggs, stir a few times and VOILA! pancake/waffle batter. It's not labor intensive or even tedious.

And the pancake batter in a can seems very un-green and un-organic to me. The can says to recycle but I don't know where to recycle steel. I'm sure I'd have to drive to wherever that is done. Steel is not part of the recycling reportoire here in the building where I live. It's not on the list of approved recyclables that I have on my fridge for my reference.

But it's a novelty and I just had to try it. I heated up the skillet and sprayed ("blasted") the batter into the pan...and it was a flop. Why is the very first pancake a flop? Or is it just me? I mean every time I make pancakes the first one is a total dud. Does this happen to cooks at restaurants? Does it happen to you?

Anwyay...first pancake ended up in the garbage. All the rest were beautiful. I was really looking forward to having them.

What a disappointment, they were chewy and not very flavorful. They were bland and not fluffy.

The good thing about the spray pancake batter in a can is that all the ingredients are orgnanic and each pancake had two grams of fiber.

Other people might enjoy this more than I did. Organic spray pancake batter in a can is not for me. No amount of syrup or butter could have improved them enough for my liking. Give me good ol' Bisquick pancakes any day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fondue coma

Monday night I went to the Melting Pot, which is a chain of fondue restaurants. Fondue is obviously neither low fat nor low calorie, which is part of the reason I love it. The two coctails I had were full of sugar too.

So you're probably asking yourself, why is she talking about the high fat, high sugar, high calorie dinner she had? Because if you've read anything I have written you know that I believe that you can indulge every now and then and still lose weight or maintain your weight loss.

You absolutely cannot indulge daily. If you do then you will not get the results you want.

I enjoyed every single mouthful I ate and every sip of my drinks. I don't feel the least bit guilty for all the fat, calories and sugar I ate. It was delicious!

I also experienced a sugar and fat crash after eating all that fondue. (Plus the caramel apple martini I had was LETHAL!!) When I got home I literally crashed and fell asleep immediately. It was because all the fat in the cheese fondue slowed my circulation. Also the sugar in the drinks and chocolate fondue caused a sugar rush and subsequent crash.

My sytem was overloaded. I overdid it. And my body reacted by shutting down. When I was morbidly obese I pretty much ate like that every day. Hmmm, no wonder I weighed 291 lbs!!!

I like to eat. Always have. Always will. I don't understand people who don't eat (like 1 or 2 tiny meals a day or who live on diet coke and cigaraettes). I'm a southern girl so I adore stuff that is battered and fried and covered in gravy.

I eat how I want, when I want...occasionally. On a daily basis, though, I eat a variety of vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, and fruits. I eat 5to 6 small meals daily. Oh and 96 oz. of water and some coffee. I also workout faithfully (most weeks) 5 days a week for approximately 1 hour.

And that's why I can indulge when I choose to. My Inner Circle friends can vouch for what I ate in Philly and almost none of it was health food!! But when I got home after the weekend I was back on track eating a healthy diet.

Picking and choosing when you indulge will help you stay on your diet as long as you keep it to a minimum (no more than one meal/snack per week)! I guarantee it!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lose weight or live longer?

A few years ago, women were polled and asked the question:

Would you rather lose weight or live to be 100? And 51% said they would rather lose weight.

I'm saddened by that.

I also hate the saying, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels."

I've been both very morbidly obese and quite thin (growing up I was all arms and legs and long hair and skinny as a rail) and now, a healthy weight and body fat.

Thin isn't everything. Skeletal isn't attractive. I would suggest that you ladies (and some of you gentlemen) stop dieting and start learning to eat healthy. Yes, there is a difference.

I know this person, who a few years ago looked quite good. Slender but not too skinny. She shared with me that she had been taking diet pills for the past year (and I know she wasn't exercising). Her diet pretty much consists of alcohol and cigarettes. Two years later she looks horrible: emaciated, ashen skin, no life in the eyes...but you know, she thinks she looks great because she is so very thin.

I'm sad for her. She had an attractive body before and now she has no breasts and no ass. I can only imagine the internal struggle she has been dealing with for years that would cause her to go from healthy looking to a walking skeleton. She has succumbed to the American idea that being super thin makes you more attractive.

She isn't the only person I know who would give anything to be thin, severely thin. I just don't get it. Ok, I sorta get it. Every actress or model you see is so thin they have to jump around in the shower to get wet. And as women we compare ourselves.

So women feel pressured to be thin at any cost. Why do you think the diet pill industry is a multi-billion dollar per year industry? Why do you think that every January gyms see a 200% (or more) increase in new memberships?

Bulimia and anorexia aren't going to stop being a problem anytime soon.

Men, too, feel the pressure to look like Brad Pitt (not my idea of an ideal man BTW). Though the numbers are drastically lower for men, there are still plenty who abuse diet pills and are anorexic or bulemic.

I beg you to stop trying so desperately to be thin and instead strive to be healthy. Do not base your self worth on what number the scale registers or what size your clothes are. You will have a much longer and and more fulfilling life if you will.

And frankly how many grandmas and grandpas have you ever heard reminsce, in the twilight of their lives, they the thing they are most proud of is that they were skinny?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Do you plan on losing more weight?

So I'm on the phone with Kevin Hogan and we're discussing me doing videos and DVDs to sell for my website. I'm not opposed to it but I'm just not photogenic and on video I look worse. And Kevin asks, "Are you planning on losing more weight?" Which to me implies that he thinks I'm fat.

Granted I'm not a size 4 or even a 6. I'm sure plenty of people would look at me and think I'm a little too large for my profession. I notice the surprised looks when I tell people that I'm a personal trainer.

Ok, I get it. Most people expect a female personal trainer to look like a fitness pageant contestant or body builder, and I certainly don't fit into either of those categories.

I have not been a gym bunny all my life. Heck I'm not even a gym bunny now. I don't workout hours a day. I'm just not that vain. And frankly that is part of what makes me so good at my job. I can relate to the average person who is trying to get in shape and lose weight.

I used to look like this:

In that picture (age 31,and yes, that really is me) I weighed 291 lbs. In Texas the proper term is "big as the side of the house".

So I think I look a great deal better now. And no, I don't plan on losing more weight...not much is going to change on my body until I have it surgically altered with a tummy tuck, or a body lift (same thing as a tummy tuck, though more skin is removed).

True, most people do a double take when I tell them what I do for a living and so many have suggested that I just do more abdominal exercise. I know they mean well but they are just uneducated. You cannot exercise away skin. And I guarantee my abs are way better than yours! Wanna see my 2-pack?

I try not to be offended when people ask me if I plan on losing more weight. I know they aren't intentionally trying to be rude...though it makes me wonder how bad I look for them to ask that question.

We girls are judged so critically on our appearance.

Regardless, I love what I do and I am very good at it and I help people every day and that's what matters to me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Motivating Dieters

Successful dieting is not just about what to eat and how to exercise, but from the effort it takes to achieve it.

I have been teaching a weight management class for the past 4 years. My classes, in general, have been highly successful. On average my students, which range from 5 to 15 women per session (7 weeks), lose around 125 to 200 lbs. as a group. The average body fat percentage lost as a group is around 22 to 25%.

I like to think that my students' success is because I'm such an inspiring and amazing teacher. I do think part of that is true. I think part of it is my success story motivates my students to become an after' as well.

The real reason for my students' success is that they start to believe that they will be successful. No matter how much I stress positive thinking and positive self-talk there is almost always at least one lady (sometimes two or three) I just can't seem to help. I have to step back and let everyone make the decision to believe in themselves on their own, my only job is to love and support them to the point they can takeover where I leave off. I also like to tell my students that they should inspire and help each other along the way.

My current weight management class of 7 women lost an amazing 30.5 lbs. and 7.2% (or ~ 21 lbs.) of body fat in just the first week! Everyone lost weight and body fat. They have started realizing that what I'm teaching them works if they will just follow the plan. I am extremely proud of them.

So many times my students will tell me and anyone who will listen that I'm the reason they were successful. And that's just not the truth. I wasn't the one feeding them, or preparing their meals and snacks, or working out for them. They were the ones who did it. I just gave them the tools, motivation and support.

It's nice to hear my ladies praising me but their praise is misdirected. They should be praising themselves that they took initiative to become healthier and followed it through to success. It is humbling for anyone to say that I'm responsible for their success but I refuse to take credit. It was their individual effort that made them successful, I just stood back and cheered and answered some questions now and then.

If you have succeeded at becoming more fit you probably tell everyone who wants to know exactly what program, workout, book, trainer, or diet you followed. There is so much information out there to help anyone succeed and it's great when others are inspired by someone's (yours maybe?) story.

However, you and I both know that it was your own inner resolve, determination and working at it day by day that is the real reason for your success.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What I learned at Boot Camp

I just returned from Las Vegas. I went to Kevin Hogan's Influence Boot Camp .

I got to rub shoulders with giants in the field of persuasion, influence and sales. So many up and coming stars as well.

I think I managed to annoy everyone enough that they won't forget me!

In the three days I was able to attend, these are the things I learned:

1. Write a blog

2. Write a book

3. Create a persona

4. Be authentic

5. Be consistent

6. Create a VIP experienc for your clients

Wait 'til you hear the rest!