Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Commerical Diet Programs... Do They Really Work?

Hey fitness peeps! Only 6 more days 'till Christmas! Can ya' believe it?!? Since I'm sure this will be my last post before then, I want to say a big MERRY CHRISTMAS to all those who celebrate! And no matter what holiday you celebrate during this time, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, ... etc., I want to wish you a HAPPY HOLIDAY! Hope yours is filled with friends, family, fun & love!

So let's get straight to the subject of the post, the question is: Commercial Diet Programs... do they really work? And my answer in one word would be: Yes. AHA! I bet you thought this was going to be a post bashing commercial diets, right? Well, think again! While you can, and I have, lost weight by simply eating heathy foods, counting calories and cutting back on portion sizes, there's nothing wrong with giving a commercial diet program a try if you choose to. As some of you may know, I lost my initial big chunk of weight (72 lbs to be exact) using NutriSystem, and earlier this year, after gaining some weight, I tried Weight Watchers Online and was able to lose the weight that I had gained, plus more!

The reason I write this post today is because I'm sure with the new year right around the corner, your tv and inboxes are probably already beginning to get bombarded by a number of ads for different weight loss programs... NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach Diet, Medifast... the list goes on and on. With so many to choose from, it kinda' makes you question whether any of them really work? My answer to that would be: ALL of them work if YOU do! You wanna' know the real reason why I had success with both NutriSystem and Weight Watchers? What was the common denominator? Me! It was my decision to truly stick to the program that made all the difference in the world! It's your dedication & commitment to the program that does the real work! Now don't get me wrong, there's a science behind all of the different programs - for example, NutriSystem follows a low glycemic diet plan, while Weight Watchers has developed their own Points Plus Plan based off monitoring protein, carb, fiber and fat intake - but if you stay faithful to either one of them, you're going to lose weight! They all work if you work! 

I don't want to leave you with the feeling that this blog has been one giant post promoting commercial diet programs. That's actually not the case at all. As I mentioned above, none of them are necessary, but I believe that they can be beneficial for those who either don't cook or want to cook, or for those who don't know yet how to develop a healthy diet of their own. I know this was the case for me with NutriSystem - I was at a point where I didn't know what to do, so I left all the guess work to them. And when I decided to try Weight Watchers, after maintaining my initial weight loss for years, I had gotten lazy; I had stopped counting calories and my portions had gotten bigger and bigger - I had lost control. Weight Watchers helped me get back on track. Jenny Craig, South Beach and others I'm sure help with those same areas. It's all about choosing what works for you and sticking with it, dedication is key!

I wrote this post for a variety of reasons. One being that I wanted to stress that no matter what, when comes to losing weight and developing a healthier lifestyle, dedication is key! Also, I feel that the subject of commercial diet programs and the decision to join one of them is often shunned in the fitness community, which I honestly don't think is fair. From my experience, they work if you do. My only fair warning would be that you take the time while you are on one to actually research healthy living & eating, and make a plan on how you are going to maintain your weight loss once out of the program. Unfortunately, repeat customers are how most of these diet programs survive (if everyone was a success story, there would be no need for the vast amount of them to exist, now would there?).

So to sum it all up...
  1. Commercial diet programs... do they really work? Yes. They work if you do.
  2. Are they necessary? No. 
  3. Are they convenient? At times. 
  4. Do I recommend them? Yes and No. If you have the extra money and are committed, I say, why not give it a try? If you're not going to be committed, they're a waste of money and time. 

Until next time, fitness friends! And once again, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What Inspires YOU? Giveaway

Hey fitness friends! As promised, as a thank you for the OVER 4,100 LIKES of my Succeed At Fitness Facebook page, I'm holding a giveaway! I truly appreciate all the love & support that has been shown in the short time (just 2 years) that the page has existed. As I've said before, I remember when the page only had one like: me! Facebook reaches a lot of people and I'm happy to be able to have the opportunity to spread encouragement & motivation about health & fitness to so many people! I want to thank all of you for making my vision of helping others on a large scale come true! And it's not over, the best is yet to come!

The Giveaway Prize
("What do I win?")

There will be 3 lucky winners! The prize is a FREE copy of my (PDF) eBook, "Confessions Of A Fit Girl... How I Lost Over 90 Pounds and Kept It Off!"  This book is filled with encouragement, motivation, fitness & nutrition tips... and more! This book does not disappoint!

Click the following link below to read reviews from others who have bought and enjoyed the book so far: Confessions Of A Fit Girl eBook Reviews
The Rules ("What do I have to do to win?")
  1. Make sure that you are a fan of the Facebook page - which means, if you're on Facebook and haven't "liked" the page yet, go ahead and push that like button.
  2. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me and others WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE? And if you're just starting your health/weight loss journey, let me know what inspires you to want to live a healthy lifestyle. It can be a person, place or thing, but I want to know what's your inspiration.

Please leave one comment only! The giveaway will last for one week - the last day to leave a comment will be December 17, 2012. After that, I will count all the comments and using, I will randomly select 3 comments. (If you're comment number is one of the numbers chosen, you win! It's that easy!)  I will contact the winners, asking for their email addresses, and I will email them the book. All I ask is that after reading the book, you contact me and let me know what you think of the book because I would love to use your reviews on the book's website page.

So... what are you waiting for? Leave a comment below letting me know...

Friday, November 30, 2012

How To Eat Healthy During The Holidays

Hey fit peeps! Happy Holidays! Can you believe that we only have 4 more weeks left until it's officially 2013?!? Crazy, right?!? This year has just flown by! So here are again, in the holiday season once again and you know what that means... food, food, and MORE FOOD! EVERYWHERE! What with the holiday parties at work and with the family, the abundance of food and drink never stops! What's a fit girl or guy to do?

Well, have no fear, Confessions a Fit Girl is here, giving you 10 tips on how to eat healthy during the holidays! Check 'em out!

  1. Skip the liquid calories - try drinking as much water as possible! Water is zero calories and zero bucks! Can't beat it!

  2. Load your plate with healthy options first. A good rule of thumb that I always follow, holiday season or not, is having the vegetables fill the biggest portion of the plate.

  3. Wait 15 minutes before going for seconds. Often if we wait awhile before immediately going back for another plate, we'll find that we were never really hungry at all. (A case of our eyes being bigger than our stomach as my mom likes to say.)

  4. Drink one sip of water between each bite. Water fills you up quick, the more water you drink with your meal, the smaller the meal you'll actually eat! Pretty neat trick, huh?

  5. Eat sloooooowly! I'll be the first to admit that I'm guilty of not following this rule, I'm naturally a fast eater. But eating slower allows you to have a better gauge of your hunger.

  6. Leave the table as soon as everyone is finished eating - removes any temptation.

  7. Don't forget to exercise! This should be a given. Exercise burns the calories from holiday cakes, pies... etc.

  8. PORTION CONTROL - have one bite, use a smaller plate, save food for leftovers.

  9. Limit extras like butter, mayonnaise, stuffing, and gravy. All those little extras add up! Save your calories for what you want most.

  10. DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF BEFORE! The hungrier you are, the less self control you'll have.

Finally, don't stress if you indulge a little! One day of overeating will NOT ruin months of hard work & progress. Happy Holidays! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Sale NOW through MONDAY!!!


As a thank you for your continued love & support, 
Confessions Of A Fit Girl... How I Lost Over 90 Pounds and Kept It Off! is $4 off now through Monday! This is one book that does not disappoint, so don't wait - BUY TODAY!
Format: PDF - Payment through Paypal ONLY.
Sale expires 11-27-2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Hey fit fam! 4th post of October! Whoo-hoo! I'm on a roll now! Lol! :) I have to give myself a small pat on the back because as you long time Confessions of a Fit Girl readers know, I'm not one of those bloggers who writes a blog everyday, or even every week for that matter, so this is an accomplishment.

So the topic of this post? METABOLISM. Question: Can you really boost it? Answer: In one word, YES. I was in a conversation the other day with two other people who were talking about about their metabolism changing since they hit 30, and how there's just nothing you can do about it. (One person just turned 30 this year and the other is in they're late 30s-almost 40.) I remained silent, not really wanting to give my opinion on the matter. But it did get me to thinking... are they wrong? Well... yes and no. Once you hit around the age of 30, on average, our metabolisms do tend to slow down. That's a fact that can't be disputed. But the rate of how much it slows down and/or how long it takes to slow down is completely up to you! I just turned 30 this year and my metabolism is faster now than it's ever been and if I continue on the current path that I'm on, it will only get faster! I predict I can keep the slowing metabolism monster for quite awhile, I'd say until around age 50 or 60. How you ask? Keep reading!

What is "Metabolism"? 

So before we begin, let's start out with a definition of what exactly "metabolism" is. Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself. Whether you are eating, drinking, sleeping, cleaning, ... etc., your body is constantly burning calories to keep you going.

After you chew and swallow food, it goes to the stomach. Digestion and
Absorption occur. After the nutrients are absorbed into the blood stream
and travel to all cells of the body METABOLISM occurs.

Metabolism is affected by your body composition. By body composition, I mean the amount of muscle you have versus the amount of fat. Muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat. People who are more muscular (and have a lower percentage of body fat) are said to have a higher metabolism than others that are less muscular. For example, let's say you have two people who are the exact same height and weight. One exercises on a regular basis with weights, in addition to aerobic exercise, and has a low percentage of body fat. The other never exercises and has a higher percentage of body fat. The first person who exercises will have a higher metabolism than the second person. What this basically means is that person #1's body will use more calories to sustain itself than person #2.

Genetics also plays a roll. Everyone has a different bone structure and body type. It's not realistic to think that everyone can look like the Baywatch beauties or like Arnold Schwartzenagger. However, given your body type and genetic make-up, you can exercise (with weights and aerobically) to look the best that YOU can.

After the age of 30, your body gradually begins to lose it's muscle. If your activity level stays the same and the amount of calories you eat stay the same, you will gain weight because your metabolism has slowed down (you don't have as much muscle as you did in your 20's). If you exercise with weights and do some type of aerobic activity on a regular basis, you probably won't notice much of a change in your metabolism as you age at all! That's right I said it - AT ALL!

So the big question is...

How Do I Increase My Metabolism?

I answered the question of whether boosting your metabolism was possible earlier and of course the answer is yes, but HOW? It's simple: EXERCISE and STOP DIETING!

You can increase your muscle mass by doing some type of resistance work (i.e. - lifting weights, using exercise tubes, stretch bands, hand weights, kettlebells... etc.). You can also decrease your level of body fat by doing some type of aerobic exercise at least 3 days a week for longer than 20 minutes. By aerobic exercise, I mean an activity, such as walking, jogging, step aerobics, hi/low aerobics, biking, swimming... etc., that will increase your heart rate into its' target zone and keep it there for the duration of the exercise session.

You need to eat! Don't diet! I always recommend counting your calories and maintaining proper portion control, but other than that, just watch the types of foods you eat. Try to eat a diet that is lower in fat (check the labels on the foods that you buy). I have followed my own advice and done the same this year, with a cleaner diet and more weight training than ever before and have gotten some amazing results! A clean diet of healthy, low-fat foods, aerobics & weight training, and I swear you'll be looking in the mirror in around 6 months not even recognizing the person staring back at you! (And for all those who don't like to weight train or have their doubts, I know this is especially true for a lot of the ladies, check out my last blog where I talked about the benefits of weight training, "Weight Training: Yay or Nay? And Why.")

6 Ways To Rev Up Your Metabolism

1. Exercise is No. 1!
As I said before, EXERCISE! Working out builds muscle. Muscle speeds metabolism. As the body works more efficiently, it processes food faster and your appetite increases, so don't be surprised when you start feeling the need to eat something every 3 - 4 hours. This is totally normal. And don't worry, like I said before, don't diet! Feel free to grab a light snack whenever you truly feel the need. Working out and especially weight training, burns A LOT of calories! Calories are your body's energy and you need to replace it build a strong, healthy you. Men, being the more muscular sex, generally burn more calories than a woman of the same weight. Lucky them! (Unfair, I know, lol.)

2. Don't skip meals Like I said, you're probably going to feel the need to eat every 3-4 hours, maybe even every 2 hours if you had a really heavy (weight) lift day. Generally try to space meals 3-4 hours apart. That way you have enough energy throughout the day and you'll be free of the headaches, hunger pangs or mood swings you get when you're famished. Eating erratically signals the body to burn slower and conserve fat. The way to lose more fat than muscle is to follow a balanced nutrition and exercise plan which promotes an average weight loss rate of 1-2 pounds per week.

3. Food affects mood What you eat influences your metabolism and mood, making you either sluggish or energetic. Foods high in sugar, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners and low in water and fiber will slow digestion, can cause weight gain and leave you feeling like a couch potato.
Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes, fresh herbs and spices provide the proteins, carbohydrates and fats that give you energy and even blood sugar levels. Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, fish-oils, seeds, nuts, soybeans) promote longer-lasting, stable energy levels. Lean proteins (fish, soy foods, white meat poultry, lean meats and low-fat dairy) offer essential proteins for better digestion and muscle building. By drinking 8 glasses of water each day, you will have better digestion (better emptying of the stomach and intestines, less gas, bloating, constipation... etc.), and staying hydrated also reduces headaches and fights fatigue. 

You should also get pleasure from eating. Even if adding a piece of dark chocolate is your wish, go for it, one square at a time, as it aids in happy brain chemistry and adds a natural bitter which aids digestion. Improving digestion this way also strengthens the liver, kidneys and lungs, all which facilitate a healthier metabolism.
As your metabolism increases, you'll feel more energetic, lighter — and hungrier. But don't worry. As digestion improves, the stomach empties more regularly and you feel thinner in the waistline and less full in the chest. People who have a faster metabolism have fewer food cravings and feel more in control of their eating.

4. Stay cool
Colder weather increases metabolism in order to keep the body warm. By keeping indoor temperatures cooler and exercising outdoors, you can also burn more calories. Now I'm not usually one for outdoor exercising, especially in the winter, but you can always keep your house a little cooler in the winter months as you exercise indoors. Helps with the metabolism and also lightens the heat bill! ;)

5. Don't get stuck in a rut
Some dieters get stuck at a certain weight. To keep your weight from plateauing, you must make small changes to keep your body from adapting to a routine of eating the same amount of calories. 
If you can't lose those last five pounds, try adding  a couple hundred calories more a day for two weeks and then return to a lesser amount. Sounds kinda' crazy, I know, to say to a dieter, eat more, but this has been show to work! Over time this strategy will allow you to increase the amount of calories you can eat and continue to lose weight. (Pretty sweet, huh?)
6. Be patient The key is to be persistent, have confidence and be PATIENT. It may take you some time to increase your metabolism — three months is a reasonable timeframe to expect to see changes. It took around that time for me, and as you continue to progress, your metabolism will follow suit, so hang in there! If you are having a hard time losing weight, you might consider having your metabolism tested by a professional nutritionist.

Soon you will feel healthier and stronger, and in time you will see the results of a toned, healthier body. Best of all, you will have a clearer understanding of what makes your body feel and work better, so you will be able to more effectively control your weight for years to come.

Sources: and "What is Metabolism and Why Is It Important?" by Lisa Balbach

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weight Training: Yay Or Nay? And Why.

Hey fitness fanatics! It's me again! 3rd post of October! Can you believe it's mid-October already?!? I don't know about you, but for me, this year has just flown by! We've only got 2 more weeks until November and it will be Thanksgiving before you know it! Then Christmas, and then the new year... crazy, huh?
I hope all my posts this year have helped to motivate and encourage everyone to stay on the right track. I understand there are often bumps in the road (I'm not immune, check out my recent set back earlier this year), but the important thing is to realize that you're falling off course and get right back on the path of healthy living (i.e - exercising and eating healthy).

So, let's get straight to the topic of this post: Weight Training: Yay or Nay? Well, unless this is your very first Confessions of a Fit Girl post, you should already know my answer to that one: YAY OF COURSE! I'm definitely a fan of weight training and used it throughout my weight loss journey to help tone & lose inches as well as pounds. While in my heavy weight loss phase, I did more cardio than weight/strength training (which is what I recommend) but I always added in at least 2 days of weight/strength training. Now that I am maintaining I do around 3 days of heavy weight training a week, but often do workouts on my cardio days that incorporate weights as well.

See the muscle definition? ;) Lookin' fit & strong! Still got a long way to go!

So why weight training?
Well, to be honest, I never fully understood the true benefits of weight training until recently - and when I say recently I mean this year. Like I said before, I always added weight/strength training into my exercise routine, I knew the power it had to tone and help lose inches, but this year I've been doing more weight training than ever, using heavier weights than ever before, and I have had some amazing results! I can see true muscle definition! And at 126 lbs and a size 4, I've literally shrunk into a smaller version of myself than I ever thought possible! But what I am loving is that even at this small size, I still look lean and strong! And I owe it all to weight training! Now don't get me wrong, I've also been eating cleaner than ever before as well, and that has a lot to do with it. As I've often said before, losing weight - and inches - is 80% diet, 20% exercise. When you get both of them working together, you can achieve great things!

The Benefits
Yes, strength training will add definition to your muscles and give men and women alike more fit and toned bodies, but working out with weights does so much more.  

Take a look at 6 reasons to add weight training to your workout plan:

  1. Weight training protects bone health and muscle mass. After puberty, whether you are a man or a woman, you begin to lose about 1 percent of your bone and muscle strength every year. One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add weight training to your workouts.

  2. Weight training makes you stronger and fitter. Weight training is also called resistance training because it involves strengthening and toning your muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. There are two types of resistance training: 
  • Isometric resistance involves contracting your muscles against a non-moving object, such as against the floor in a push-up. 
  • Isotonic strength training involves contracting your muscles through a range of motion as in weight lifting.

    Both make you stronger and can get you into better shape. Remember that with weight training your muscles need time to recover, so it should only be done on alternate days. Always take some time to warm up and cool down after strength training. 
  1. Weight training helps you develop better body mechanics. Weight training has benefits that go well beyond the appearance of nicely toned muscles. Your balance and coordination will improve, as will your posture. More importantly, if you have poor flexibility and balance, weight training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent, a crucial benefit, especially as you get older.

  2. Weight training plays a role in disease prevention. Studies have documented the many wellness benefits of weight/strength training. If you have arthritis, weight training can be as effective as medication in decreasing arthritis pain.Weight training can help post-menopausal women increase their bone density and reduce the risk of bone fractures. And for the 14 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, weight training along with other healthy lifestyle changes can help improve glucose control.

  3. Weight training boosts energy levels and improves your mood. Weight training will elevate your level of endorphins, which will make you feel great. As if that isn’t enough to convince you, weight training has also been shown to be a great antidepressant, to help you sleep better, and to improve your overall quality of life.

  4. Weight training translates to more calories burned. You burn calories during weight training, and your body continues to burn calories after weight training, a process called "physiologic homework." More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat, and in fact weight training can boost your metabolism by 15% — that can really jumpstart a weight loss plan.

Weight Training: How Much Is Enough?
You don't have to be in the weight room for 90 minutes a day to see results. For most people, short weight training sessions several times a week are more practical than are extended daily workouts. You can see significant improvement in your strength with just two or three 20- or 30-minute weight training sessions a week. That frequency also meets activity recommendations for healthy adults, which call for strength training at least twice a week — in addition to at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity.

Popular Weight Lifting Myths
If you've spent some time in a gym or if you told people you were into weight lifting, you've most likely received a lot advice on what you should and shouldn't do. But how much truth is there behind all those things they tell you?  

Here are the top 10 weight lifting myths debunked:

MYTH #1: Weight Lifting is Dangerous.
FACT: Machines have the reputation to be safer than free weights. But studies tell a different story.
  • Weight lifting does not produce more injuries compared to machines.
  • Weight lifting injury rates are lower than in any other sport.
Weight lifting is used for (p)rehabilitation because it can prevent and fix injuries. The only way you can injure yourself, is if you use bad technique or don't control your ego. Learn the proper technique from a trained professional, use your head and you'll be safe.

MYTH #2:Weight Lifting is Bad For Your Joints.

FACT: Weight lifting is less stressful on your joints than running: it involves controlled, non-impact movements. Weight lifting will increase the health of your joints by strengthening the muscles & ligaments that hold them together.
  • Squatters have healthier knees than non Squatters. Studies performed on top powerlifters confirm that their knees are in better health than those of the general population.
  • Several readers recovering from ACL injuries or who had persistent knee problems for years, reported that their knee pain went away forever after 2-3 months of doing squats.

MYTH #3: Weight Lifting Causes High Blood Pressure.

FACT: Your blood pressure increases when you lift heavy weights, but it returns to normal after finishing your set. That's how lifting improves your cardiovascular fitness. People who lift weights with the focus on strength training have lower blood pressures than people who don't exercise. Studies show that regular weight lifting lowers your systolic & diastolic blood pressure.

MYTH #4: Weight Lifting Makes You Bulky. 

FACT: Muscle is denser than fat. You'll look slimmer at the same body-weight if you increase your muscle mass. The huge guys in muscle magazines are usually supplementing. Many skinny guys train 6x/week but struggle to gain weight. Why? Because they aren't eating enough. Getting bulky means gaining weight. And to gain weight, you must eat more. Training hard only won't do the job.

MYTH #5: Weight Lifting Makes Women Bulky.

Example of a woman who has built
FACT:  Those extremely muscular women you can find in muscle magazines had to use steroids to get to that point. As a woman you can build muscle, get stronger and improve your physique, but you'll never build as much muscle mass as men can because you have lower testosterone levels. You'll always stay feminine unless you use steroids.

MYTH #6: Weight Lifting Stunts Growth. 

FACT: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Dave Draper, FACT: Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Michael Vick, etc. They all started lifting weights in their early teens and are +6′ /1m82 tall.
The only way weight lifting can stunt your growth is if you damage your growth plate by letting the bar fall on you. But if you use proper technique, you'll be safer than with Rugby or Soccer where collisions are common.

Myth #7: Weight Lifting Decreases Flexibility.

FACT: One of the realizations people who get into weight lifting have is how inflexible they are. Years of sedentary lifestyle may have tighten your hips, preventing you to squat correctly. Weight lifting will make you regain your flexibility and maintain it. Especially the squat will give your hip muscles a full stretch. But increasing your muscle mass or strength won't reduce your flexibility at all.

Myth #8: Muscle Turns to Fat If You Stop Weight Lifting. 

FACT: Muscle NEVER turns to fat. They're different tissues.

Myth #9: Weight Lifting Increases Waist Size.

FACT: This myth comes from looking at some power lifters in the heaviest classes. Their waist is big because they're fat. And they're fat is because they only care about getting stronger - not about nutrition.
Check power lifters in the lighter classes: they all have a small waist. Squats & deadlifts work your abs hard. Everyone who does these exercises for a couple of weeks reports losing several inches waist size.

Myth #10: Weight Lifting is Boring. 

FACT: It is if you go the gym without a plan, don't pay attention to what you do when lifting and don't get results. But it won't be boring if you have a plan, get results and focus on how your body moves during a lift.
Weight lifting is a technical & intellectual sport. You shouldn't have time to get bored since you have so many things to pay attention to during the lift. And the constant challenge to add weight is anything but boring!
The real fun though is when you start getting results! :) Hard work paying off is what will get you addicted.

So have I convinced you to start weight training, yet? Start out small and work your way up. For me, I started out only being able to squat with 10lb weights, now I'm up to 25 lbs! (That's 50 lbs in total, people!) I never thought I'd be able to lift that much, but with time and patience I advanced to a whole new level! And I ain't done, yet! So watch out! ;)


Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Confessions Of A Fit Girl... " eBook IS HERE!!!

IT'S HERE!!! Confessions Of A Fit Girl... How I Lost Over 90 Pounds and Kept It Off! is officially available on Succeed At! Check it out on Succeed At Fitness' new store page! Thanks and enjoy! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Genetics and Weight Loss...

Hey fitness friends! ONLY 3 MORE DAYS UNTIL MY BOOK, CONFESSIONS OF A FIT GIRL... HOW I LOST OVER 90 POUNDS AND KEPT IT OFF! IS AVAILABLE!!!! Shameless plug, I know, but I had to get it out there! Lol! I'm super excited!!! And the buzz it's been getting so far has been great so I'm hoping & praying for success! :)

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's get straight to the subject of this post: genetics and weight loss... How much do genetics play a part in your overall weight loss success? Are they really a factor? This is something that has been on my mind for awhile now so I decided to write a blog post about my thoughts on the matter. So without reading any further, what are your thoughts? What's your opinion on the subject?

Genetics DO determine your body shape.
My opinion? While genetics play a minor role in your weight loss, they're never a deciding factor on how much weight you can or cannot lose. I'll give you an example, take myself for instance, I'm genetically a curvy woman, meaning I've always had more of an hourglass shape. No matter what size I've been or what number was on the scale, this has always been the case for me; my basic shape has remained the same. This is what you call genetics. Most of the women in my father's side of the family, whom I take after, who are also built this way, are very overweight. Since I was also heading down that road before I decided to take control and lose the weight, I always thought there was no way that I could ever be as small as I am now. This is the thinking that I think a lot of women (and men too!) fall into. But my opinion, unless you have some type of genetic disease or disorder that causes you to lose or gain substantial amounts of weight, genetics play no part on the amount of weight we gain or lose. That's right, you heard me. Now I know there are those who disagree with me, but let me explain.

While genetics may make it easier (i.e - someone with a very high metabolism who can eat almost anything, in large quantities even, and never gain weight) or harder (i.e - someone who comes from a bigger framed family; short & stout, curvy, pair shaped... etc.), genetics have no baring on your weight loss success or failure. It really all depends on you and how hard you're willing to work. The word "genetics" is not your free pass to explain why you're overweight. If I'm talking to you, please hear me when I say you've got to get that way of thinking out of your head! If you don't, whenever you come to a stumbling block in your weight loss journey, genetics will be your excuse, justifying in your mind a reason to just throw in the towel and give up.

My advice? Exercise, eat healthy, work hard and then see where you end up before pulling the genetics card out and throwing it on the table.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Confessions of a Fit Girl...
How I Lost Over 90 Pounds and Kept It Off!

will be available for sale October 4, 2012!

SALE DATE: Thursday, October 4, 2012

- NEW STORE PAGE coming 10/4/12!

$8.99 USD, Format: PDF 

When people find out that I’ve lost over 90 pounds and have been able to keep it off going on 4 years now, they can’t believe it! They wanna’ know how I did it and how I continue to maintain my weight loss. Well, it wasn’t easy, but it’s totally doable! All you need is the motivation to start, the encouragement to continue, and the the proper know how to succeed, and that’s exactly what I’m giving you in my new book, Confessions of a Fit Girl... How I Lost Over 90 Pounds and Kept It Off!

Composed from the best, most informational and inspirational posts from my Confessions of a Fit Girl blog, with new and updated information added, this book is one I truly feel you will come back to again and again! Filled with encouragement, motivation, fitness & nutrition tips and more, this book does not disappoint!

Until October 4th, check out the promotional page:


I thank you in advance for your support! 
- Jonelle

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My new eBook Confessions of a Fit Girl... How I Lost Over 90 Pounds and Kept It Off! is

An official date will be announced next week! 

F.Y.I - There will be a new eNewsletter sign up added to the Succeed At Fitness site once it's updated with the launch of my new book, but if you would like to be added to the email list now, please go to my site, hit the contact button, and send me a message saying that you want to be added to the email list! It's that easy! This way, you will be one of the first people to know when the book is available! I already have over 20 names so far! Thanks guys!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gastric Bypass Is NOT The Answer. Prevent Obesity BEFORE It Happens.

Hey people, how's it going? Me? I'm feeling kinda' out of sorts today... the truth is, my niece died last night. She was my niece but was actually only a year younger than me, which means she was only 29 years old. Hadn't even made it to 30 yet... left behind are her husband and two kids, a daughter who was around 5 or 6 years old and son who was only 4 months... he'll never even know her. And how does this relate to fitness or health? She died from complications from a gastric bypass surgery she had done around 4 years ago. Crazy, huh? She had always been overweight for as long as I can remember, even when we were kids, and of course, as most overweight kids do, she gained more and more weight over the years, but to be honest, I don't think her weight was ever to the point where she couldn't afford to take the time to try losing weight the natural way (through diet and exercise) instead of going for the gastric bypass.

Gastric bypasses, lap bands... all these surgical, man made ways of helping us deal with obesity, they just aren't the answer. If you're thinking about it, I'm pleading with you, don't do it! It's not worth the risks! And it's not necessary. I've seen stories of people who have weighed over 500 pounds and now weigh a normal weight, all done through diet and exercise. It may have taken them longer, but THERE IS NO QUICK FIX. Unless you are so obese that time is now a factor and it's actually more dangerous for you to wait and try to lose the weight naturally than to get a bypass surgery done, PLEASE DON'T OPT FOR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERIES!

Now I know what some of you may be questoning... did my niece take care of herself after the surgery? Was she eating healthy? Exercising? The answer to all of those questions would be YES. She was exercising, had started eating healthy, and had even influenced some of her family to do the same. But due to complications with her bypass surgery, her insides had started dying without her even knowing it. The doctors say it's a miracle that her baby wasn't harmed because this had actually started happening in her body while she was pregnant the second time with her baby who is now 4 months old!

I know that when it's your time, it's your time, and I gotta' believe this is all in God's plan. As a Christian, I do believe there's a reason for everything and my own personal belief is that even if a situation occurs that was not in God's original plan for you, He'll never let anything be in vain, a lesson can always be learned.
I'm hoping that by telling you all this story that a lesson will be revealed, and that lesson would be to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY NOW! Don't wait until it's too late or comes to a point where gastric bypass surgery (or any other weight loss surgery) is even a consideration! Eat healthy, exercise! Prevent obesity BEFORE it happens. We only have 1 body, 1 life! My niece was only 29 years old! That's a life gone too soon! She left behind a husband and 2 kids! None of this is her fault but a part of me feels like it all could have been prevented.

My niece's story, and the stories of countless others like her, are prime examples of why I'm so passionate about promoting fitness and healthy living! I hope if you are someone out there reading this that is thinking about getting gastric bypass surgery that this will change your mind. Sometimes TV and the rest of the media make these type of surgeries out to be no big deal but they really are life risking surgeries. And it doesn't have to happen right away! Everyone thought my niece was fine, but 4 years later, she died. I don't mean to scare anyone who truly needs a weight loss surgery, but if all possible, DO IT NATURALLY. 

Apparently there was a mix up in communication - my niece and her family live in California so our family is hearing all of this all second hand. MY NIECE IS ALIVE! She is still having some MAJOR complications due to her old bypass surgery, the doctors had to take ALL of her intestines out! Apparently you can do a bowl  transplant surgery which if she pulls through (she's barely conscious), the doctors will have to perform! THANK GOD! Please pray that she makes it through! Thanks! :) 

Friday, August 31, 2012

We Fall Down, But We Get Up!

Hey fitness freaks! IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!! The weekend is here! :) FINALLY! I don't know about you, but for me this week feels like it's been dragging! Maybe I'm just pumped up for the holiday. Here in the United States we're about to celebrate Labor Day, the last Summer holiday, putting Summer officially to an end. But I'm actually ready for the Fall. Cooler weather, autumn leaves, pumpkins, Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday)... it's all good!:)

"We Fall Down, But We Get Up"...  you may be thinking, what that's all about? Confession time... I'm not perfect. Of course you already knew that because no one is, but what I mean is, I've had my ups and downs during my weight loss journey, too, just like everyone else.

Actually, around 7 months ago I got a big reality check when I went to the doctor early last February and the scale read 161lbs! How could this be?!? I was doing good, maintaining my weight of 135lbs! (Or so I thought.) I eat healthy, I exercise like crazy... what was going on?!? Well, little did I know it, but I had been slowing gaining weight over the months. You know how they say it "creeps up on you"? That's a lie. Weight never just "creeps up" on you. Don't get me wrong, while my new weight caught me by surprise, I knew something was going on, but I justified and made excuses for it in my head. For example, my clothes were fitting tighter, but I was still fitting in my size 6 jeans & pants, and still a size small in shirts... maybe my pants were just shrinking from the washing machine... yeah, that must be it! Sure, my face looked a little fuller when I looked in the mirror, but I blew that off, thinking that it must just be my imagination... yeah, it had to be all in my head. Sure, I felt a little heavier when I walked and my butt was bigger than I remembered, but hey, bodies are weird... right? WRONG! There are always signs of weight gain that most times we just choose to ignore, which is exactly what I had been doing for months.

Weight never just "creeps up" on you, see my face shape change with my weight? That's a subtle sign.

I knew I had to do something, I had gained 26 pounds and not even realized it. First, I needed to evaluate my situation and figure out where I went wrong. Like I said, I was eating healthy, still exercising everyday, what was I doing that had caused the weight gain? Remember when I wrote that blog post about portion control? And how that had always been my downfall in the past. Well, surprise, surprise, when I went back and thought about my eating routine, I quickly realized that it wasn't the food that I was eating, it was the amounts that I was eating. I don't care how healthy you eat, if you're eating too much, you're going to gain weight! Plain and simple. And that's what happened to me. I had also stopped counting calories. (Remember my blog post on calorie counting? I wasn't kidding, it is important!) I foolishly thought that as long as I was eating healthy foods and exercising, that everything would balance itself out. Boy, was I wrong! You know that saying, "80% diet, 20% exercise"? That's completely the case for me, as well the majority of the population. Everyone's body is different and if you're someone who naturally has a very high metabolism, you're one of the lucky people who can eat whatever you want, however much you want, and still maintain your weight. I don't happen to be one of those lucky people. My body has never, and will never, work like that. I fell into believing the hype that exercise conquers all. While I love to exercise and I do feel it's essential to your overall health, if your diet isn't in check, you can forget it! And for me, since I have no problem with eating healthy, it's all about the portion control.

How was I going to lose the weight? I may be a health & fitness nut, but I don't know everything and I am never afraid to look to outside sources to get help. I had done Nutrisystem in the past, but didn't want to go down that road again for just 26lbs, but I knew that I needed some help, besides myself, to get back on the right path again. My solution? Weight Watchers. Never, ever, thought I'd do it. The whole reason that I chose Nutrisystem over Weight Watchers before was because I didn't want to count points. I had stopped counting calories and the whole idea of counting "points" was annoying to me, but I considered the cost, which was fairly cheap, and decided to sign up with Weight Watchers Online. Turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made! :) I found out that I actually like counting points, better than calories. Now for all you calorie counters out there, please don't stop! It's essentially the same thing, I count points, you count calories, no real difference, I just find that I like the "points" idea better. Who would have ever thought that? :) Certainly not me! I started tracking my points everyday and  keeping an online food journal. (Remember my post about food journaling? Is it all clicking now? I'm still learning, right along with you guys.) Fast forward 7 months later to August 31, 2012, and I've not only made my goal of getting back to 135, but surpassed it! Now weighing 128lbs and officially a size 4! 33lbs down since that doctor's office visit gave me a jolt of reality. I feel great!

Now please don't take all of this as a ringing endorsement for Weight Watchers, while I love the program and will continue to stay on it to maintain my weight, I'm not getting paid, and I'm really not even officially recommending them, that's not what this post is about. The whole point of this post is to say that we all make mistakes during this journey. We fall down from time to time, but the important thing is, WE GET BACK UP! I'm proud about the fact that when I realized I needed to lose weight again, instead of feeling sorry for myself & wallowing in self-pity, I chose to do something about it. That's what separates the strong from the weak. It's not that strong people don't make bad decisions, because we do, everyone does, but strong people are willing to do what it takes to turn those bad decisions into victories!

One of my favorite sayings that I've said here before on this blog is "don't talk about it, be about it", and I've proven, more than once, that I AM ABOUT IT! And YOU CAN BE, TOO! Don't let minor set backs take you all the way back to where you started. And no matter how big they may seem at the time, they really are minor. You can get past them. You WILL get past them! As my mother likes to say, "this too shall pass." :)

Don't give up and don't give in! WE FALL DOWN, BUT WE GET UP!

Your friend,
Jonelle "Fit Girl" Boyd

EXCITING NEWS!!! An F.Y.I for all of you out there who may not follow me on Facebook, I'm writing my first eBook! It's called "Confessions of a Fit Girl... How I Lost Over 90 Pounds and Kept It Off!" Filled with encouragement, motivation, fitness & nutrition tips... and more! I know you'll like it and I hope you will support! I'm still working on the finishing touches but it should be for sale sometime next month. I'll keep you guys posted!

Oh, and if you're not currently following me on FB, what are you waiting for? Lol! ;) Connect me on my personal page and like my Succeed At Fitness page, please! :) Thanks!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The REAL TRUTH of the Effects of Weight Loss

Hey fitness friends! I'M BACK!!! It's been almost 3 weeks since my last post but I'm finally writing again! Sorry for the delay but I've been one busy woman! You know that last post I wrote, Do More? Well, that's just what I've been doing! Doing more to shape my future into one where I can do even more of what I love, which is inspiring, encouraging, and motivating others! :) The plan to become a certified personal trainer has been in full effect! Just yesterday I got First Aid, CPR and AED certified! That's a requirement of the personal trainer certification and also just something that I had been wanting to do for a while now. Knowing that you can save someone's life if the situation calls for it is an awesome feeling! I've also been contacting local personal trainers in my area and talking with other fitness professionals, getting a clearer idea of just what I'm getting into. I've got a lot to learn but I feel like I'm definitely on the right track. This is my calling and going after it! Oh, and your girl has also been on the radio!!! :) A big thank you to Carol Dunlap of Optimum Body Sculpting for having me on her Fit 4 Life Blog Talk Radio station last week! On the show I talked about my journey to weight loss success, going from 229lbs to 135. Check it out! (Blog Talk Radio reads 227lbs, but I actually started out, as I stated in the interview, at 229lbs.)

Listen to internet radio with Fit4Life Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Sometimes in cases of massive weight
loss, people have folds of extra skin
left over from their heavier days.
So...  I've been a busy chick! :) But I'm back and ready to talk about the real truth of the effects of weight loss. Now you may be asking yourself, "The 'real truth'... what's that all about?" Well, I want to talk about the part of losing weight that no one ever likes to talk about, it's not all "pretty" and a lot of us who have lost large amounts of weight know exactly what I'm talking about. When you watch those weight loss shows or see the after pictures of people who have lost 50 or more pounds, you're really only seeing part of story. The other part is what you don't see, what's underneath the clothes. Let me keep it 100% real with you guys. I started out 229lbs, as of today I weight 129lbs, so we're talking a total weight lost of 100 pounds. Now with all of that weight gone from my frame, do you think I have stretch marks? You betcha! Extra skin? Yes. That's just a reality of losing so much weight. No one talks about the physical effects left on your body that no special diet or no amount of exercise can get rid of. A lot of those "after" pictures you see forget to mention the tummy tuck and skin removal surgeries the people in them have had in order for them to look great in that bikini or have those flat abs. Now don't get me wrong, not everyone you see who has lost a large amount of weight has had or needs surgery. Everyone's body is different and reacts in different ways. Now thankfully I am young and I exercise using weights, bands and other strengthening equipment to tone my body as well as shrink it, so the aftermath of my battle of the bulge isn't bad, but this is a war, and more than likely you're gonna' have some battle scars!

Rapid growth or weight gain can outpace collagen
production in the skin, causing areas to overstretch.
This can lead to striations called stretch marks.
You've heard me say it before and I'm sure you'll hear me say it again, NO ONE IS PERFECT. And what is "perfect" anyway? Fact is, "perfect" just doesn't exist. Would I rather have my fat back instead of stretch marks & extra skin? NO WAY! I may not be "perfect" but I'M HEALTHY. I'd rather have my stretch marks & extra skin than possibly developing Type 2 Diabetes or dying of a heart attack. I understand that it can be frustrating to work so hard to lose the weight and be left with physical scars, but losing weight is so much more than what you see on the outside. The effects my weight loss has had on me on the INSIDE, far outweigh anything I see on the outside! The old me would have never been confident enough to write a blog! "Who wants to hear what I have to say?" would be my thought. But when I think about how many people I've helped through this blog, not to mention my site, and Facebook page... all things I would have never had the confidence to start before, I know that my minor "imperfections" are definitely worth it!

I don't fault anyone who decides that the effects left on their body from their weight loss are extreme enough in their eyes to look towards surgery. That's a personal decision that you have every right to make. (In some cases it's actually necessary.) I just want you to know that regardless of your particular situation or what you decide, whether to live with it or opt for surgery, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE NOT A MINORITY. The truth is, YOU'RE THE MAJORITY.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Hey fitness friends! How's it going? Last day of July! Can you believe it?!? Seems like we just started this year a few months ago but we're actually going on 8 months in! I'm starting to understand what my parents and other older adults meant when they told me that once you're out of school, the time flies by! Before you know it, you're 40 years old and you wake up one morning, thinking you're late for school, but haven't been in school for almost 20 years! Lol! Haven't gotten to that age or experienced that yet, but each year just seems to get faster and faster... I have no problem with that, though, because I truly believe you're as young as you feel. And the healthier you are, the better you feel, so believe me, I'm good! :)

Camp Do More 2012
My Team: The Dallas Cowboys
But anyway, getting to the subject of the matter... DO MORE! Now those two words have a couple of different meanings to me. The first thing that pops to my mind, since it was so recent, is Camp Do More, the 4 day event that Chalene Johnson (fitness instructor and the creator of Turbo Fire, Turbo Jam, and more) holds every summer at The Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, California. I just got back last week and let me tell you, it was AMAZING!!! It's all about fun, fitness, self-empowerment, and meeting people who are just as crazy about health & fitness as you are! It's jam packed with exercise sessions, lectures, there's a fashion show, a dance party, and a team competition where each team creates & performs a Turbo routine. It's only around 2 minutes long and no one really wins, it's all for fun. The whole theme of the camp is to do more, hence the name. I came from it totally motivated and empowered to do more to make my life and the life of others better! One of the things stressed about this whole concept of "doing more" is that it's never all about you, it's about helping others as well.

So come on! Join the "do more" band wagon! Do more for others! Decide to help another person in need! Sometimes all it takes is being a friend or a shoulder to lean on. Do more for yourself! Set out to accomplish that dream that you pushed aside! I've come to decision that I'm going to go after my dream of having a full time fitness career and I'm starting that by becoming a certified personal trainer! :) I've contacted a couple of online organizations (ISSA and ACE to name a couple) and I've also signed up for a CPR class through my local Red Cross (a CPR certification is necessary in order to take the personal trainer certification exam). I know it will take time and a lot of hard work, but I'm making moves and determined to DO MORE! Will you do it? Will you do more? Hey, why not? You've only got one life to live, you might as well make it the best one possible! Sometimes we get stuck in our same day to day rut, we get bored, uninspired, unmotivated, and lazy. I know because I've been there. I think we've ALL been there from time to time, but we don't have to stay there. That never has to be the "norm". Fire yourself up! Take the time to really think about your goals and what you want out of life and make some decisions to DO MORE!


 Camp Do More 2012 Pictures...

The Dance Party:
Me, my friend, Wendy, and Chalene Johnson

Brian Tracy lecture - He was PHENOMENAL!

Right before the fashion show

The Dance Party:
Me and one of my team captains, Mindy Lawhorne

To see even more Camp Do More pics, please like the Succeed At Fitness Facebook page and check out the picture album titled "Camp Do More 2012".

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Hey fit friends! New post for July! Thought I'd better get 'em in while I can since I'll be kinda' MIA after the 19th. Two reasons why, the first one being: I'M GOING TO CAMP DO MORE 2012!!! :) If you have no idea what I'm talking about it's a 4 day event that Chalene Johnson (fitness instructor and the creator of Turbo Fire, Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick, ChaLEAN Extreme... and more) holds every summer at The Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, California. I went once before in 2010 and was able to meet and take a photo with the Turbo queen herself. It's all about fun, fitness, self-empowerment, and meeting people who are just as crazy about health & fitness as you are! It's jam packed with exercise sessions, lectures, there's a fashion show, a dance party, and a team competition... it's AMAZING! Don't worry, I'll take plenty of picturess and I plan on writing a blog post about it soon after I get back. So that's reason number one for me being missing in action, number two is: I'm moving. Nothing major there. When you're renting you move often, but this time I'll be renting a town house, no neighbors above or beneath me so that should be cool. Between the vacation and the move right after I'll have very little access to the Internet (if any) for awhile so I've been trying to squeeze in as many blog posts and updates to the SAF (Succeed At Fitness) website and Facebook page as possible.

So... what should this blog post be about... hmm...I think this post is going to be about self-esteem. I basically just want to send out the message that the only one you should ever be competing with is yourself. Meaning, it doesn't help you, mentally or physically, to compare yourself to the next person. BE THE BEST YOU! And don't worry about anyone else! This just doesn't apply to physical fitness, but to everything in life. So your house isn't as "fancy" as hers, he can afford a new car and you can't, they're married and your single, she's skinny and you're struggling to drop a pound, he's popular and can make friends with anyone... why can't I? Any of that sound familiar? If so, don't feel bad, those feelings are called BEING HUMAN. We've all felt it before, the feeling of wishing/wanting what we don't have and the envy that comes along with seeing others have what we want. But don't let those feelings control your life or turn you into that person you don't want to be. You know the person I'm talking about, the catty, self-absorbed, jealous person that no one can stand being around because all they do is talk about other people. Don't let this be you! It can creep up on you quicker than you think! And if this sounds like you now, check yourself and make a change!

I can honestly say that there have only been a few times in my life that I've ever actually been jealous or envious of anyone. You know why? I was taught from a young age that anyone can have anything that the next person has, you just have to be willing to work for it. It doesn't pay to envy anyone because you have no idea what that person you're so jealous of is going through to achieve what to you may appear to come so naturally. And another thing, truth be told, sometimes what the next person has just isn't for you. I know that's never a popular school of thought but sometimes work as hard as you can, it's just not gonna' happen. We all have to learn to recognize these situations and accept them.
For example, let's take it back to fitness for a moment, you want a slamming Beyonce type body. Okay, you start eating right, hitting the gym, you may even hire a personal trainer. You start losing weight, getting slim, but wait! "Why don't I have the hour glass figure? Why isn't my butt that big? My body is more narrow. I wanna' look just like her!" Well, guess what? You remember that thing called "genetics"? Genetics says, unless you have plastic surgery, it's just not happening. And guess what? THAT'S OKAY! BE THE BEST YOU! And love yourself just the way you are! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm just like you, I'm not immune to feeling "imperfect" sometimes, but I try to remember that there is no such thing as "perfection". I'm learning to accept myself for who and what I am, improving upon myself where possible. That's the best I can do and my best is never "not good enough". I encourage you to do and feel the same.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

LIQUID CALORIES - The Biggest Source of Empty Calories

Hey fitness friends! First post of July!!! Whoo-hoo!!! Can you believe it? It's July already! Crazy, right?!? Feels like the year just started but we're actually 7 months in... time flies! Independence Day is tomorrow and I'm sure lots of you will be gathering with family &  friends to celebrate. Have a happy 4th of July with lots of fun!

Now I could make this into a "how to stay healthy during the summer holidays" type of post, but I won't. Today I want to talk about something that affects us all year round that I think a lot of people dismiss when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. You exercise, you eat healthy, you're watching your portions, but still can't seem to get the weight off... sound familiar? So what's the deal? Why isn't the scale moving? Why can't you lose those last couple of inches off your waistline? LIQUID CALORIES. That's right, liquid calories, as in soda/pop, juice... etc. People tend to guzzle their calories and it can really add up! I don't care how much you exercise, if you're drinking soda/pop, juice, lattes, smoothies, alcohol... etc., and not counting those calories, don't expect to lose that much weight, if any at all. For example, that can of soda you drink each morning is about 150 calories. A smoothie can run up to an extra 500 to 1,000 calories, despite all the good stuff added in. A 16-ounce latte with whole milk packs 260 calories. And the average margarita has more than 500 calories! You're killing your progress and don't even know it! Let's get into it...

More Calories, Less Satisfaction

Beverages are probably the biggest hidden source of empty calories in our diets. Even those that are supposedly "super-healthy", like grapefruit juice and orange juice, can pack 100 calories in 8 ounces. What's worse is that the average person never drinks only 8 ounces. A typical serving is usually 16 ounces. That's 200 calories for one drink!

And then there's soda, which contributes few useful nutrients but plenty of calories in the form of sweeteners. A 20-ounce soda, for example, has the equivalent of 18 teaspoons of sugar. Soda is without a question among the many sources of excess calories contributing to the obesity epidemic in America. A standard 12-ounce (non-diet) soda has roughly 150 calories. Drink two or three of those a day and that's enough calories to gain a pound a week! And just think what a supersized (44-ounce) drink can do -- just one a day can lead to an extra pound per week.
Now I already know what some of you may be thinking, "If I count my calories, soda included, no problem, right?" Well, I wouldn't be so sure... The fact of the matter is, sodas provide no nutrient value at all, while the foods you eliminate may. Furthermore, the calories we drink are likely to be added to, rather than replaced by the calories we eat.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2000 supports this. Fifteen healthy men and women consumed an extra 450 calories, in the form of either jellybeans or soda, every day for four weeks. After four weeks, the soda drinkers switched to jelly beans and vice versa. When eating the jellybeans, all 15 people in the study reduced the number of calories they took in from other sources to compensate; at the end of the study, they had gained only a small amount of weight. Those drinking the soda, however, made no such changes in the calories they consumed. No surprise here: The soda drinkers gained a lot of weight!
The take-away message? Liquid calories don't tend to fill you up and satisfy your hunger as well as those from solid foods. Soft drinks quench your thirst -- and add calories -- but do little to fill your belly.

Soda isn't the only beverage to beware. Tea and coffee by themselves have no calories, but the add-ons can make them come into a real calorie-fest! For example, a large Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino with whipped cream adds a whopping 710 calories and 26 grams of fat. Even a tablespoon or two of cream in your morning coffee, along with a packet of sugar, adds up.
(An occasional cappucino, latte, or coffee is fine if you need that Starbucks fix, but ask for skim milk. The blended coffee drinks are a big no-no, especially the ones with whipped cream toppings!)

And what about alcoholic drinks? Personally, I don't drink alcohol so this isn't a problem for me, but if you do, it's best to proceed with caution. The average calorie count of a glass of wine or bottle of beer is 100-150 calories, and how often do most people stop at one? Even worse, alcoholic beverages can lower your inhibitions and make you more likely to overeat -- especially those salty snacks that are often served with drinks.

Diet sodas are virtually calorie free, yet they contain a list of non-nutritious ingredients including artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are approved by the FDA, but moderation is the best approach. It's best to limit your intake of diet sodas to a few servings a day.

Skim and low-fat milk and no-sugar-added juices certainly have their place in a healthy diet. These beverages contain a wealth of nutrients needed for health and should be incorporated into your eating plan. But if you're trying to lose weight, don't fall into the trap of sipping them throughout the day. To quench your thirst, stick to water (perhaps dressed up with a bit of juice or citrus) and other no-calorie or very low-calorie beverages.

Low-Calorie Refreshers

So now you're probably thinking to yourself, "No soda, no alcohol, no juice... what can I drink?" Personally my liquids consist of 98% water. Most people don't drink enough water and the benefits you receive from water are many! If plain water doesn't do it for you, add slices of lemon, lime, or orange for flavor without calories. Or try adding a low drink mix, such as Crystal Light, to your water. Like I said before, I'm not an alcohol drinker, I don't like coffee so lattes aren't a problem, I gave up soda 5 years ago, and I try to limit my juice intake, so it's water all day, everyday for me. But everybody isn't like me and giving up the drinks you love isn't always the best solution for everyone. Moderation and taking the calories into account is definitely key! And how about taking advantage of low-calorie refreshers? 

Here are some suggestions:
  • Green tea
  • Seltzer water with just a splash of juice. Orange, grapefruit, cranberry are good choices, but mango, guava, and other tropical juices all add color and just enough sweetness to keep you from reaching for a can of soda.
  • Herbal teas.
  • Flavored (lemon, grapefruit, raspberry, mandarin orange, etc.) seltzers and soda waters.
  • Homemade lemonade -- try lemon, water, and a few drops of stevia, a natural artificial sweetener.

So in conclusion, watch your liquid calories! It's as simple as that. Don't think that the soda, juice or beer you drank with last night's healthy didn't count. Liquids count too! And they make a bigger difference than you would ever imagine!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Being Fat... It Happens

Hey healthy people! It's been awhile, I know, but I'm finally back with a new blog post. :) So let's get straight to it! The subject of this post is an important one that I think should be discussed.

I, and other health conscious people, talk a lot about exercising, eating healthy and being fit, but I think sometimes the average person might get the impression that I, and others like me, think it's wrong or shameful to be "fat". (I use that word "fat" in quotes because I don't mean to offend anyone with my use of the word but this is the word we, as a society, use to describe very overweight or obese people.) And I know that for some people who still consider themselves to be "fat", this can be discouraging. Well, I'm here to tell you that being fat happens. And it's nothing to be ashamed of. It happened to me, it's happened to countless of other people, and it may be happening to you right now! The most important thing is that I didn't stay fat and you don't have to either! I made the decision to change, and I'm assuming you, since you're reading this right now, have made the decision to change as well. And whether you've already met your goal or still making moves to achieve it, YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not proud that I allowed myself to get so out of control that I got up to 229 lbs. Yes, I said it, I was once 229 lbs! But I am proud that I made the decision to change my life and I am most definitely proud of all that I've accomplished. And if you're not there yet, you will get there, so don't get discouraged and don't give up! Like I said before, being fat happens. Living in a society where there are more sit down jobs and fast food places than ever, and just an overall abundance of food, being fat at one point in our lives is kinda' inevitable. Don't feel bad if things have gotten out of control. All you need to do is first come to the realization, that yes, I am overweight, secondly, decide that I really do want to change this, and finally, START MAKING CHANGES. Don't just talk about it, BE ABOUT IT!

Being fat happens, it's nothing to feel bad about it, the most important thing is not staying fat forever.

Hope this encourages someone! Stay strong guys!
- Jonelle -

Thursday, June 7, 2012


"If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready."

Okay, peeps, this post is going to be short & sweet, so let me get straight to the point. This is gonna' be a little tough love for some of you, but hey, sometimes you need to hear things that you don't necessarily want to hear, so here goes!

You wanna' know what's a pet peeve of mine when it comes to some people and their attitude about health & fitness? Most people refuse to accept the fact that in order to lose weight and/or stay fit, you have to make a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. That's right, I said it, a lifestyle change, not a "diet". The word "diet" is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "a : food and drink regularly provided or consumed, b : habitual nourishment, c : the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason, d : a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight." Notice that nowhere in any of those definitions does it mention the word "temporary", but most people have come to believe that a "diet" is a temporary thing and treat it as such. So once their weight loss or fitness goal is met, they go right back to eating and behaving as they did before. 2 or 3 months down the line, all of the weight that they lost has come back, plus more. Does the following sound familiar? A special event comes up, say a friend's wedding, you decide you gotta' lose 10 lbs for that, you lose the weight, off the "diet" you go... you gain 20lbs... it's now June, gotta get beach ready so time to lose the weight again... and the cycle just goes on and on, with you gaining & losing, losing & gaining... it's a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting with no real end.

My response to all of that foolishness? A saying I heard a few years ago that totally applies: "IF YOU STAY READY, YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET READY." As I said before, this is a lifestyle change. If you make eating healthy and exercising your way of life, you won't have to worry about losing weight for a particular event or time of year, you'll always be ready! Do you know how much pressure & stress that would take off you? I don't mean to sound "holier than thou" because I am in no means not guilty of the "diet" way of thinking at an earlier time in my life, but I now know better, and once you know better you should do better, right? So if you are reading this right now, it's time for you to do better, too! STAY READY!