Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Supermarket Diet Friendly Tips

Hey peeps! I'm holding off my next post until I get back from vacation (I'll be gone for 4 days of fun and relaxation in sunny Orange County, California) but here's a list of Supermarket Diet Friendly Tips to hold you until my next post. See ya'! 

Here are a few ways you can guarantee your visit to the Supermarket will be friendly to your diet:

1. Always make a shopping list before you go and do not buy anything that is not on your list. This helps me a lot! Not only with keeping a healthy diet but with my grocery budget, too!

2. Make sure you always read the label of the foods you plan on buying; per serving calorie-count, fat, sugar and sodium content and watch closely for hidden trans fats. This is a must for anyone who is trying to eat healthier! A lot of foods now a days advertise the "healthy" benefits, like high in fiber, "only 100 calories", "only 1 gram of fat" - stuff like that, betting that you'll be too impressed by those facts to take a look at the nutrition panel and see the high amount of sugar or sodium that is in the product.

3.Take your water bottle shopping with you. When you are tempted, gulp some water. Water keeps you full, hydrated and busy. Keeping that water bottle close by also reminds you of the Journey you are on, to a healthy new you!

4. Visit the produce department first. Fresh vegetables and fruit are the foundation of your healthy lifestyle. They are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates and a lot of times they are high in bulk and low calorie-density foods. Fresh vegetables and fruit make great snacks. They bring beautiful color to your table. Have you ever noticed how brightly colored and inviting the produce department is? Fresh and pristine! Don't leave without trying something new.

5. Never shop on an empty stomach. You are guaranteed a dismal visit to the Supermarket when your tummy is growling. Shopping on an empty stomach takes the control away from you. An empty stomach will guide you to impulsive shopping of all the wrong foods. Try eating a healthy snack before you go shopping or better yet, shop after you eat a meal.

6. Don't use a coupon for something you wouldn't ordinarily buy. The coupon is making the decision for you concerning what you are going to buy; and more times than not, it's not a good buy. Your pocketbook may appreciate the savings but your hips will not! Fruits and vegetables may go on sale but are hardly ever advertised and I've never seen a coupon, just a little something to think about.

7. Bulk - think hard before you buy. Yes, you will usually save a lot of money by buying foods in bulk but will you save in the calorie department? How many times have you bought something in bulk and over-indulged knowing that you had plenty more around? I know I have. Again, a few dollars are saved but in the long run the price was too high.

8. Don't always grab food that is just below your eye-level. This is a marketing gimmick and the foods placed here are ones with the highest markups. If you look closely at the cereal aisle you will notice that the most expensive and least nutritious cereals are always at a kid's-eye level.

9. Spend very little time in the center aisles. They are crammed full of processed food. Stay away from all the promotional displays of sale items that you neither want nor need. They are only a bargain for the store—not one for you necessarily.

10. Never buy those pre-packaged lunch "kits" with crackers, meat and cheese, i.e - "Lunchables." They are always high-priced (pocketbook and hips) and high in fat. Try making your own "lunch kit" with cut-up veggies, fat-free lunch meat and cheese and some whole-wheat cracker options. You can make these up ahead of time for the week.

11. In the frozen aisle, stick to veggies and unsweetened fruits. Most frozen foods are high in sodium and not very filling.

12. Stick to your list when heading to the dairy department. Did you ever notice that the dairy department is usually the farthest from the entrance at most of the Supermarkets? This is done on purpose so those just going into the supermarket to grab some milk will be tempted to purchase other foods "on the way" to the dairy department. It's called "marketing" and works well. Stick to your list.

13. Buy NOTHING at the checkouts! By the time you get to the checkout line you need to be done with shopping. You can lose control very fast during the checkout process. Supermarkets like to put all that candy, chips and other tempting goodies right in front of you as you are checking out. Pick up a magazine and browse through it while you are waiting for your turn to checkout, strike up a conversation with the people around you, do anything to distract you from buying food here! (Another good reason why you should never go to the supermarket hungry.)

14. Get in and out of the Supermarket as fast as possible. It's a proven fact that the longer you linger in the Supermarket the more you buy. Take your list, get your groceries and get out!

The main thing to remember when you are going to the Supermarket is that you need to stay in control. Using the tips above will help you achieve that goal, thus turning your Supermarket experience into a positive one that will indeed help you with your weight loss/fitness goals. The Supermarket doesn't care about you personally; bottom line is all they care about is sales. So, in that aspect, you need to be well informed and prepared to meet your Supermarket's marketing strategies, hopefully these tips will help you out! Happy shopping! :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It Takes Courage To Do This Thing

Courage - the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery
I can honestly say that my weight loss journey has been one of the most courageous experiences of my life. People don't realize until after they begin this journey just how much guts it takes! The everyday battles of resisting food temptation, exercising even when your body doesn't want to, dealing with people's unwanted comments and opinions, all of this takes courage! And these are just a few examples of some of the struggles you go through while on this journey.

Food Temptation
I am in no means perfect and although I am much happier with my new healthy lifestyle including healthier foods, I do still get tempted! I've never been a "sweets" type of person, I've never been big on desserts and I'm one of the few people who doesn't like chocolate (I can eat some, but for the most part I'm not a chocolate lover at all) so me not eating cookies, cake, ice-cream and other sweets like that doesn't really bother me. I have low calorie options that I eat from time to time but eating the real thing is not a temptation. I am a meat and potatoes type of girl. I love REAL FOOD! Steak, potatoes, french fries, onion rings, macaroni, bread, fried fish, fried chicken, and any type of PASTA! :) That's the type of stuff that got me in trouble and that's the type of food that I am tempted by. Everyone has their temptations and I don't think the answer is to eliminate those foods from your diet completely but find healthier options of the same thing. For example, when I want to eat steak, I get the healthiest type of steaks I can find, thin sliced and heart healthy. Instead of french fries, I'll have a baked potato or baked fries (I cut the potato up in fry like strips, put a little extra olive oil on them, season and bake the strips instead of frying them - my own version of french fries), baked chicken and fish instead of fried, whole wheat, half and half and low carb pasta... there are tons of options you just have to put in the effort to find them.

There's also one saying that I live by when it comes to food temptation that I've found works for me, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Some people don't like hearing that, they counter that with, "I'd rather die happy and fat than thin and miserable". Well once you start eating healthier you actually do crave healthy food and there's only so much unhealthy food that you can even eat (your body just can't take it) so actually, I would be "miserable" eating unhealthy foods at this point. I've been on both sides of the fence, I spent years being overweight and I've been what people consider thin for 1, almost two years, so I can tell you, in my opinion, this side is MUCH BETTER! I can buy any clothes that I want from any store I want! I'M HEALTHY!!! My body is in the best shape of my life! I can basically do anything physically that I want to. My confidence is much better than it was when I was overweight! I had never been a person with low self-esteem but after losing the weight I realized that I did have a somewhat negative view of myself, but all that is gone now. So I can honestly say that for me, nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.

Diet + Exercise = Results
Getting your diet in check is only half of the battle, if you don't exercise it really isn't going to work. You may lose some weight but your body needs to move, you've gotta' burn more calories than you take in and the only way to do that is to exercise. You gotta' exercise! Even on those days when you just don't feel like it, you gotta' suck it up and do it anyway. This journey isn't for the weak! You gotta' sum up the courage to put in that exercise dvd into the player, step on that treadmill, get in the car and drive to that gym, walk into that exercise class and get it moving!

And it really does take courage no matter what your method of exercise is. If you're exercising at home you may not think that you really can accomplish anything on your own but oh how untrue that way of thinking is. Like I said before, I never set foot in a gym and lost dozens of pounds. Work up the courage to push play and step out on faith knowing that YOU CAN DO IT!

It takes a lot courage to workout at a gym. I admire any overweight person who can walk into a gym full of already fit people and have the confidence to work out anyway. You would think that the majority of people who workout in a gym would be overweight because those are the people that gym commercials and advertisements are targeting, right? Wrong! Well, you would be right about the marketing strategy, most advertisements are targeting the overweight, but most people are too ashamed to go to the gym while overweight - this wasn't the case for me, I started out at home because I didn't have the money for a gym membership and now that I do I've found that I'm just not a gym person, you've gotta' find what works for you.

No matter what becomes your thing, whether it be working out at home, working out at a gym, joining an exercise group class, it's all about summoning up the courage to do it. Some people wouldn't think that starting an exercise program is such a big deal but it is. Everyone is starting out coming from a different place mentally. This may be the 100th time you've started a program, never succeeding, but it's having the courage to start this one last time and making a commitment that this will be the last time, this time you're going to stay committed and you are going to see results! Or you may have never started a workout program before, this may be your very first time exercising, ever! That can be discouraging, but be brave and give it a try! Everyone was a beginner at some point and that only lasts for a short time. Courage is the word.

Your Opinion Is Neither Desired Nor Required But Thanks Anyway
When you first tell some people of your desire to lose weight and get healthy you might hear, "I don't think you should lose weight, you look fine just the way you are." Well, thank you and this may be true but I don't like the way I'm looking right about now and most importantly, I'm not healthy at the weight I am right now and that's what really counts.

Once you start changing your eating habits and eating healthier foods, don't be surprised when you hear comments like  "What are you eating?!? That looks disgusting!" or "How can you eat that?!?" Well, I was actually enjoying my food until your comments, but thanks. It's amazing how some people can be so rude. To give them the benefit of the doubt, some of the people who will make these types of comments don't even realize how rude and thoughtless their comments are, but it still doesn't make you hearing them feel any better.

After you really start going with your weight loss you will inevitably hear, "You've lost enough weight. You don't need to lose anymore." or "You're already thin, if you lose anymore weight you're going to blow away." I honestly don't know what to make of these types of comments. It's kinda' like a back-handed compliment. How do you even respond to that? Most overweight people are a little insecure to begin with (I know I was) and as you lose weight your confidence builds and you're sense of security grows as well, but comments like that can slide you right back where you started if you let them, suddenly you start thinking, "Am I too thin? Maybe I shouldn't lose anymore weight... I don't want to look weird."  People just don't realize the effects of their comments - you can't take back your words people, so choose them wisely. I've heard all of these comments and more. It's been a learning experience to realize that losing weight is not only courageous but can be a test in patience as well because trying to be the bigger, better person and ignoring these types of comments is not so easy for some of us to do.

You Will Be Victorious!
Whoever said losing weight was easy is a liar. It's not easy, mentally or physically. It's a long road! But it's so worth it in the end and the end is never that far away. Stay strong and keep good courage because the victory will ultimately be yours!

My Definition of Courage:
Committed - A person who has courage is committed to do what he/she has to in order to achieve their goals.
Obedient - A person who has courage is obedient in doing what it takes to succeed.
Unwilling to Give Up - Try, try, and try again! Nothing beats a failure but a try and a person who has courage realizes this. 
Resilient - A person who has courage is able to recoil or spring back after being mentally and/or physically tested.
Ambitious - A person who has courage is an ambitious person, they want the best for themselves.
Giving - A person who has courage is willing to give what it takes to achieve their goals.
Expactant - Expect a change! A person who has courage claims their victory and expects it to come true!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So... Who Are You Again?

Hi and welcome to my blog! My name is Jonelle Boyd and this is my first post on my brand new nutrition & fitness blog, "Confessions Of A Fit Girl". I figure I better introduce myself because some of you know me and some of you don't, you may have ran across a link to my blog on Facebook, Twitter or some other site and decided to check me out, but you really don't know who I am or what I'm all about. Let's start with the simple facts, like I said before, my name is Jonelle (pronounced "John-nelle" - I know that trips some people up, but it's simple, I was named after my father whose name is John, so John-nelle, only spelled without the "h" - sorry to go on and on about that but it kills me that people never pronounce it right, but anyway...), I'm 28 years old, I'm a web designer residing in St. Louis, MO and in the last few years I have developed a passion for fitness and nutrition!


The Before

I started trying to seriously lose weight 3 years ago. I had been overweight since my teens but I’ll never forget that day in January 2007 when I stepped on the scale and the numbers “229” were staring back at me. I was in shock! Now don’t get me wrong, I knew I was overweight, I was wearing a tight size 18 heading towards a size 20 but 229 pounds?!? I made a decision right then and there that the scale would never have a chance to read 230. I started exercising and watching what I ate, cutting my portions down and committing to a low carb diet. By the end of the year I had lost 22 pounds. While I felt good about my weight loss, I knew that the process wasn’t going as fast as I would like, and at 5ft.4 with occasional heart palpitations, not as fast as I needed health wise. I was still 207 pounds.

So how was I going to lose the weight faster? I thought I had been doing everything right, I was exercising regularly and I was trying to control what I ate. I had always been a fan of the NutriSystem commercials and programs that I’d seen on TV and said that I would one day like to try it. Now was the perfect time! Right before Christmas I made a new year’s resolution for 2008 that I would join NutriSystem and continue my weight lost journey. So on December 23, 2007 I went online and joined NutriSystem. My goal was to get down to 150 pounds and fit into a size 10. This was a kind of now or never decision, and either this was going to work or I was going to give up, that's how frustrated I was.

Once I started NutriSystem I quickly found out why there were so many success stories. That first week I lost 5 pounds! That was all it took for me to become a believer. After that first week, staying faithful to the program and adding exercise, I lost 1 – 3 lbs each week for the next 8 months, losing 50 lbs. I hit a 2 month plateau but after that broke, I finally reached my goal! Losing a total of 57 lbs in 10 months, weighing 150 lbs and wearing a size 10!

What I Learned

Now don't get me wrong, this isn't an ad for NutriSystem, I'm not getting paid and this blog won't really even about NutriSystem, while it worked for me and I definitely recommend it, everything's not for everybody. NutriSystem was great for me because it not only helped me lose a lot of weight in a relatively short amount of time by cutting my calories to 1200 a day, but the biggest blessing was what I learned from the experience. I learned A LOT about food & nutrition along the way! Cutting my portion sizes, good carbs vs. bad carbs, the importance of a fiber rich diet,... etc., stuff that I plan on sharing with the readers of this blog. I also became a total fitness junkie in the process! Becoming a self-proclaimed "exercise video queen". One amazing part of this story that I neglected to mention is, my weight loss achieved was done without ever setting foot in a gym! Exercise videos really work, people! All you gotta' do is stay committed and do 'em! I plan on giving you some insight on programs that I've used and/or using that I think really were an essential part of my weight loss as well.

The After

So now off NS for going on two years and I've not only maintained my weight loss but I’ve continued to lose weight, now weighing in at 135 and wearing a size 6! I’ve exceeded my original goal! It's possible people! Diet and exercise is the key!

So I say all this not to brag or boast but to encourage you that it is so possible to achieve what a lot of us perceive as the impossible, and that's losing weight. It can't be done in one day, it takes time and it's no easy road, there are lots of twists and turns and even some u-turns along the way, but as long as you stay dedicated and hopeful YOU WILL MAKE IT TO THE FINISH LINE!

Stay tuned to my blog for encouragement, tips & tricks, reviews and more! The best thing you can ever do for yourself is get healthy. A healthy mind and body is essential to achieving total fitness. Let's succeed at fitness together!

Your friend,