How to Shed the Pounds When They Won’t Seem to Budge

Cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream

Image via Wikipedia

Little Black Dress Personal Training is based out of New York by Anne Marie. Anne is a personal trainer who writes about practical ways to include fitness into our daily routine, staying motivated, and eating healthy. Follow Anne on Twitter or Facebook.

How to Shed the Pounds When They Won’t Seem to Budge

Sometimes you do all the right things and yet, you’re still not losing weight. It’s frustrating and annoying to say the least, and it causes a lot of people to mosey on down to the Golden Corral, pausing ever so slightly before opening the door to reconsider, and then pushing forward and diving head first into buffet bliss. I can’t blame you. Many times I’ve been equally frustrated and annoyed and drowned my sorrows in chocolate covered caramels and white chocolate truffles. (Shockingly those did nothing to make me feel better afterwards.)

If you feel you’re in a weight loss rut, there are a few things you can review about your lifestyle that maybe with a minor adjustment here and there can translate into newfound weight loss joy. With me, once I started keeping a food journal I found that I was able to shed a few of the stubborn pounds, plus I ate much better (because who wants to see buttered popcorn, chocolate chip cookies and three glasses of wine staring back at you in your own handwriting? It’s eye-opening when you begin to become accountable for what you ingest!)

So here’s another list (before starting this blog earlier this year, I was never a list person… and now I’m all about them, a rabid list maker if you will) on things you should take a look at to see if maybe a little adjustment is all you need to get your body burning those calories again!

1 – Are you getting enough sleep? Big important question here. I pretty much always get eight hours of sleep. I’m a sleeper, I love my bed and I love being in it. Now some people are five to six-hour sleepers and then set off for a marathon kind of day, shuttling kids off to school, attending all sorts of work meetings, then preparing dinner and helping with homework. Half way through the day they’re bleary eyed looking for their next caffeine fix. Your body needs rest and relief from the day’s activities. Some proper sleep just may be the ticket that will allow you to eat better and exercise more.

2 – You’re skipping meals. Going too long without eating sends messages to your brain that you’re in starvation mode and guess what? It’s the fat cells that bunker down and refuse to burn off in times like these. Instead your body starts looking at your lean mass as proper food and starts churning away at it. Not good. Don’t go too long without eating, it messes up your metabolism and your blood sugar levels. Eat every three hours so you never hear the rumbling of the belly beast…  besides, it leads to embarrassing moments and comments/smirks from others!

3 – You’re not exercising enough. Or at all! Please don’t be an “or at all” person, that just makes me sad. If you’re consuming calories on a daily basis, then you should be burning some of those same calories on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be anything major, just look at what Monday’s blog suggested (another list) and try to incorporate some of those fabulous ideas into your life. And for the casual exerciser, once a week ain’t gonna cut it if you’re looking for weight loss. It’s commitment time and your number is up. Make it a point to attend more classes or hire a personal trainer, they’ll help keep you honest and motivated. Exercise does a body good so make sure you’re getting in enough of it.

4 – You’re ODing on mocha frappucinos. Calories galore lurk in all sorts of creative drinks that specialty shops create in some ill-conceived effort to inject the population with sugar, causing them to all come back for more. (Sugary drinks = More money for the Man.) Just the other day a barista informed me before I ordered that they were out of the gingerbread flavor so he couldn’t make a gingerbread latte but he happily suggested a peppermint mocha latte with a shot of caramel and whipped cream on top or a creme brulee latte with the caramel and whipped cream additions, they’re both delicious he said. No kidding. A drink with a bucket of sugar thrown in would probably taste great and get my head and body spinning in all sorts of directions for the next hour. I declined both offers for an iced tea (but not after having to say no six times to the dude… he was very persistent that I consume a bucket of sugar. My guess is he was flying high from a caramel mocha creme brulee peppermint gingerbread—that’s where it must have all gone—latte himself.) Be careful what you drink, those calories count just the same as food calories.

5 – Your weekends are an orgy filled food fest. I used to be of the thinking that since I was so good all week-long that the weekends didn’t count, like the calories lifted magically off my body and into the vast black hole that was my weekend. Not the case. Dinner and drinks with friends on the weekend add up big time. Going out to dinner can easily lead to an extra days worth of calories being consumed and you don’t even realize it because, hey, it’s the weekend… I deserve a little fun. If your weekends are turning into diet pitfalls, you need to rethink your plan. Don’t ‘save’ your calories for when you’re out, that’s bogus and doesn’t work. Eat throughout the day and even right before you go out because a slightly filled belly won’t have you jumping into the bread basket when it rears it’s warm, soft and crusty head. You’ll have more control and will feel much better come Monday.

This post was originally published on December 7, 2010.

Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.

Homemade Gluten-Free Citrus Granola {Recipe}

Since I figured out that I am gluten intolerant, I’ve been on a constant search for delicious and affordable replacements. I discovered that most gluten-free packaged food is almost twice the price. Also, most of the ingredients in them are not natural or whole. I will actually discuss this topic in great depth in another post.

oats

Initially, one of the toughest things about practicing a gluten-free diet was finding good breakfast cereals. Like a typical American, I grew up eating corn flakes, pop tarts, and toast for breakfast. As I became smarter about my food choices, I stuck to more natural types of cereal which didn’t contain much added sugars and processed ingredients. All of the gluten-free cereals on the shelf just seemed exorbitantly priced or full of questionable ingredients. Eventually, I discovered gluten-free granola with minimally processed ingredients. It was almost love at first taste, but it was hard to swallow the extra sweet taste (after months of conditioning myself to have a less sweet palate) and price tag. Unfortunately, most gluten-free granola is really, really expensive. I mean really expensive. Also, prepackaged granola is loaded with sugar! Though, I kept eating store-bought granola because I thought it was more convenient than any other breakfast option.

maple syrupI also thought buying granola was more convenient than making my own. I had seen many recipes and heard about people making their own granola (it’s actually become a thing), but I just never got myself to do it. I made it out to be really complicated and time consuming in my head. I had even bought certified gluten-free oats but let them sit in my pantry for 6 months (they don’t spoil easily) before I said I am going to do it. Making my own granola turned out to be a lot simpler than I had envisioned. I have since come up with at least four unique recipes for my own granola and have started giving jars to friends as gifts.

Photo Mar 22, 5 51 45 PM

The thing about homemade granola is that it is highly customizable for YOU. You as the maker are in charge of the ratios. I like granola with more oats, and less dried fruit and nuts. You can choose the types of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, spices, sweeteners, and fats to add to the oats to make your own unique creation. Unlike baking a cake, the measurements of the ingredients mentioned above do not have to be precise. Just pay attention to the wet ingredients so the oat mixture is coated evenly, but not soggy.

I did post one granola recipe on this neat website/iOS app called Snapguide. You can get step-by-step visual instructions on many of my recipes there, particularly my Gluten-Free Citrus Granola recipe with video. The guide is actually being featured on the app/website right now. Please note that I use a whole lot less sugar than the granola you get at the grocery stores. I always use honey and maple syrup, not granulated white sugar or corn syrup, as a binder and sweetener for granola. I like granola to be less sweet and I can always add local honey or fresh fruit on top. I estimate my granola has about 1.5 teaspoons (6.3 grams) of sugar per 1/2 cup of granola. The sugar comes from the freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup and dried cranberries. I am working on trying to reduce the amount of added sugar even further. Most store bought granola has about ~4 teaspoons (14 grams) of sugar per 1/2 cup serving size and the sugar is usually from corn syrup, white sugar or barley malt (gluten).

Photo Mar 01, 11 29 24 AM

Please let me know in the comments about your favorite granola recipes, toppings, and cooking methods. How do you like to eat granola?