Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pregnancy and Weight Loss

Even though having a baby is the most rewarding and uplifting experience a woman could ever go through, the after effect on her body can make it a depressing time as well. The average woman gains between 25-45 needed pounds during her pregnancy. Needless to say, the baby doesn't come out weighing that extra weight.

The best way to make sure you can lose the weight after pregnancy, is to START planning before and during the pregnancy. Although genetics plays a big part on how quickly a woman will lose weight, the way a woman is taking care of herself can also play a strong hand.

First of all, talk to your doctor to see what they recoommed you gain during your pregnancy. A woman who is already overweight is typically told they should LOSE weight during their pregnancy. The extra fatty tissue does not help the baby grow and develop, but a helathier you will! On the other hand a woman who is underweight will need to gain more than the typically recommended 25-35 pounds.

Just because we know we are expected to gain weight doesn't mean we should be reckless and eat whatever we want. Remember, you are carrying a living being who is also sharing in your diet. Of course a yummy snack here and there won't hurt...

The best ways to keep your body in tune:

1) Eat small meals, 4-6 times a day. The more often you eat the better for your digestive system and metabolism. Lavish on yogurt, fruits, veggies, lean meats and whole grain/fiber. Look for recipes that promote low fat, high fiber content.

2) Drink lot's of water. Sounds simple enough but you should drink about a gallon of water a day! If you are at all dehydrated, your body retains water making you bloated. If you over hydrate your body will flush itself and the fat with it.

3) Focus on cardio and large muscle groups. You don't need to be running 12 miles a day or spend hours at a gym to keep your body tone. Making slow controlled movement with light weights will build strength. When you build muscle you will burn more fat. For your lower body focus on walking, lunges and squats to encorporate your major muscle groups. For upper body focus on your back and shoulders. When you use your major muscle groups you automatically are using your minor muscle groups (triceps, biceps, abs, calves etc..).

If you follow these three things during and after pregnancy, you will automatically gear your body up to lose the weight quicker.

And another tip, breastfeeding not only promotes a healthy baby but burns additional calories for a healthier you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quick Healthy Recipes and Tips

Some yummy recipes to help you reach your weight loss goal:

Strawberry Smoothie
1/2 cup nonfat or 1 percent lowfat milk
1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt
1 cup frozen strawberries (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon honey
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth

Mac N Cheese
Cooking spray
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, pour the milk and cream of chicken soup into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, Jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.
Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Chicken Quesadillas
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces white mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked chopped skinless, boneless chicken breast (1 breast half)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups baby spinach leaves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas- use whole grain for added fiber
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushroom water is evaporated and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken, chili powder, garlic salt and oregano and stir until all spices are incorporated. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
Lay 1 tortilla on a flat work surface and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Spoon 1/2 chicken and vegetable mixture on top of cheese, then top with an additional 1/4 cup cheese. Top with another flour tortilla. Heat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat. Carefully place 1 quesadilla in pan and cook 3 minutes. Using a large spatula, gently flip quesadilla and cook an additional 3 minutes until lightly browned and cheese is melted. Repeat with second quesadilla. Slice each quesadilla into quarters. Place 2 quarters on a plate with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 2 tablespoons salsa.

Work fruits and vegetables into your daily routine, the goal should be of at least five servings a day. To do this, serve fruit or vegetables at every meal.

Eat lean meats such as fish, eggs, beans, and nuts

Choose whole-grain breads and cereals for a good source of fiber. You can also add flax-seed to just about anything to get your serving of fiber!

Are you ready?

We have all been there...

Whether your a male or a female you have on occassion had that special event that is looming over your shoulder and you think to yourself, "Will I be able to fit into that dress/suit"? Your next thought is "Nope! I need to lose weight and FAST"!

Ok, so there are diet pills, lowfat recipes, fasting techniques, hours of strenuous exercise routines etc...but none of these strategies will work if you don't want them to! So now your thinking, why wouldn't I WANT them to?

What most people don't do, is prepare themselves properly for the task. This I can tell you is probably the biggest reason people can't lose the weight they want. It's all MENTAL!

STEP 1: Take a look at yourself in the mirror...who are you losing weight for? Is it for this ONE special occasion? Are you doing it for that ONE special person? The only person you should be losing weight for is yourself!!

STEP 2: Have a plan! Ever hear the saying, "Fail to plan, plan to fail?" Think about how much weight you want to lose and how quickly is SAFE for you to lose it. Most likely you didn't gain that extra 30 lbs in a week, so don't expect that you could lose it in a week either.

Whether you decide to cut the carbs, run a marathon, hype up on diet pills or one of the many other options don't waste your time if you are not in the mind frame for the challenge.

The bottom line is, there are many avenues out there to guide and help you to lose weight. They all worked for someone or they wouldn't be trying to advertise to others. The big difference it worked for them and not you is because they were READY.

The only obstacle to reaching your goal, is YOU!