Your Self-Guided Kitchen Raid

Our Pantry
Image by Incase. via Flickr
Your kitchen will make or break your weight loss results.

A kitchen stocked with the makings for healthy meals and snacks will keep you on track, even when late-night cravings strike. On the flip side, a kitchen filled with unhealthy munchies will derail your weight loss efforts every single time.

So what should your cupboards hold and what should be off limits? I’ve designed this self-guided kitchen raid to help you sort out the good from the bad.

Go ahead, grab a garbage bag, print out the list below, and then head to the kitchen.

The Refrigerator
Let’s start with the fridge, the heart of your kitchen. If you find something in your fridge that is on the “Dump this” list, then you know what you have to do. Get that garbage bag ready.

Dump this: Beverages with high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Drinking calories is one of the quickest ways to gain weight, so quickly rid your fridge of any beverage that lists HFCS or sugar on the ingredient list.

  • Replace with: Water. It is a well known fact that most people are partially dehydrated, a condition that is harmful to your health and wreaks havoc on your weight loss efforts. Keep plenty of cold water on hand for proper hydration.

Dump this: Rich dairy products. I know that cream cheese tastes amazing, but fat-filled dairy products are extremely high in calories and should not reside in your fridge. Eliminate high-fat cheese, milk and yogurt from your kitchen.

  • Replace with: Fresh Vegetables. The produce drawer in your fridge should be overflowing with colorful nutrient-rich veggies. In fact, your fridge should hold more veggies than the drawer can hold. Veggies are filled with fiber, vitamins and nutrients and are a vital part of a healthy well-rounded diet.

Dump this: Fatty meats. It is important that you be selective about the meats that you eat. I may tell you that chicken is a great source of protein, but if you take that as a license to eat fried chicken everyday then the benefit of the protein will be lost in all the extra fat calories.

  • Replace with: Lean meats. Skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, white fish – there are numerous choices when it comes to lean meats.

Dump this: Fruit-flavored yogurt. I hate to break this to you, but that cute individually packaged yogurt is going to do more harm to your waistline than you think. More than 50% of the calories in fruit-flavored yogurt come from sugar. Check out the ingredient list and you likely find both high fructose corn syrup AND sugar.

  • Replace with: Plain low-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, or low-fat cottage cheese. If you love yogurt, then get the low-fat plain version. You can even chop up some fresh fruit and stir it in. Another option is to have a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese with chopped fruit on top.

The Freezer
Next let’s take a look into your freezer. Anyone who has walked the freezer aisles at the store knows how plentiful frozen temptations are. How does your freezer measure up?

Dump this: Ice cream. We may as well get this one over with. Hiding a gallon or two (or even a pint) of your favorite ice cream “for a rainy day” is NOT a good idea. Save yourself from that temptation and don’t buy ice cream.

  • Replace with: Frozen fruit. When your sweet tooth starts acting up, throw an assortment of frozen fruit into the blender and whip up a healthy fiber-filled smoothie.

Dump this: Frozen Pizza. This is another one of those items that is just too tempting to keep around. Why would you bother to make a healthy dinner when a frozen pizza is calling your name? Ban frozen pizza from your home and watch as your waist starts to shrink.

  • Replace with: Turkey or Veggie Patties. For quick dinners keep your freezer filled with lean turkey patties and veggie patties. Serve on a bed of brown rice or on a whole grain bun.

Dump this: TV Dinners. I doubt that you need me to go into too much detail on this one. The next time that you are tempted to buy a pre-packaged frozen meal, please turn the package over and read the nutritional facts. You will be shocked by the staggering number of calories and less-than-healthy ingredients.

  • Replace with: Home-made Portioned Meals. Spend some time on the weekends to cook up healthy meals, and then freeze them in portioned containers. Then throughout the week you simply need to reheat and enjoy.

Dump this: Frozen Breakfast Food. French toast, waffles and pancakes are popular items in the freezer aisle. Don’t fall for the pretty photos and tasty-sounding names. These items are highly processed and contain loads of unnecessary sugar.

  • Replace with: Sprouted Whole Grain Bread and Muffins. It is just as easy to throw a slice of sprouted, whole grain bread into the toaster as it is a frozen waffle. Spread it with some natural peanut butter and pair it with a piece of fruit. Now that’s a much healthier breakfast.

The Pantry
Last, but not least, we come to your pantry. This may be the most painful part of your kitchen raid, since most junk food ends up here. So take a moment to give yourself a pep talk before grabbing that garbage bag and opening your pantry.

Dump this: Sugar-filled cereal. If sugar or high fructose corn syrup are listed as ingredients on your cereal box, it’s got to go. Sugar-filled cereal is basically another form of junk food, and will only add inches to your waist.

  • Replace with: Whole Grain Oatmeal. There is a huge difference between instant, sugar-filled oatmeal and whole grain oatmeal.

Dump this: Refined/White Bread/Rice/Pasta. These highly processed products promote weight gain and a plethora of other health problems. Do not buy “white” bread, rice or pasta – especially if you want to lose weight.

  • Replace with: Whole Grain Bread/Rice/Pasta. Whole grain is the best choice you can make. It is filled with healthy fiber, and is less likely to contain harmful, waist-expanding ingredients.

Dump this: Chips/Crackers. While refined chips and crackers are fun to munch on, the extra calories will quickly add up. Do yourself a favor by not allowing these into your pantry.

  • Replace with: Almonds. The key to making this snack a winner is to practice portion control. Place a handful of almonds into individual bags for pre-portioned snacks.

Dump this: Packaged Sweets. I don’t really have to explain this one, do I? Cookies and cakes and candies shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, so keep them out of your house. It’s one thing to enjoy a dessert once in a while, it is quite another to routinely eat processed sweets at home.

  • Replace with: Dried Fruit. When you want to munch on something sweet, turn to a bag of dried fruit. Make sure that you purchase dried fruit that does not contained added sugars.

That completes your self-guided kitchen raid. I encourage you to raid your kitchen every couple of months as a way of keeping yourself on track. Talk with your family members about the healthy changes that you’re making, and try to get everyone’s support.

You know that weight loss comes as a result of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts. Call or email today to get started on a fitness program that will get you on the fast-track to your best body ever.

Jan. 15 Newsletter

Your Fast-Track to a Flat Tummy & Tight Abs
The New Year is still young, and if you’ve decided to make this your year for losing the weight and tightening your abs, you’re in luck.

Getting a flat midsection really boils down to two things: 1) Getting rid of the fatty layer that is covering your abdominal muscles; and 2) Tightening and toning your abdominal muscles.

The following 7 Tight Abs Tips are your Fast-Track ticket to getting a flat, attractive midsection this year.

Tight Abs Tip #1: Perform challenging strength training abdominal exercises at least three times each week. Your abs are like any other muscle in your body—they need to be consistently challenged in order to become stronger and tighter.

Tight Abs Tip #2:
Stop eating junk. Processed foods, refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup do NOT belong in your diet if, especially if you want tight abs. Cutting these items from your diet will allow your body to maintain stable blood sugar levels, alleviating your body’s need to store excess sugar away in fat cells.

The fat stores created by excess sugar intake most often accumulate around your waist, covering up your abdominal muscles. Cut these items from your diet and replace them with real whole foods such as lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits.

Tight Abs Tip #3:
Stop doing long and slow cardio workouts. Instead, use HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for your cardio workouts. HIIT training uses intense bursts of cardio peppered throughout your workout. This is a sure-fire way to rev up your metabolism and to get your fat stores to shrink.

Tight Abs Tip #4: Use resistance with your abdominal exercises. Crunches are great, but your body quickly becomes accustomed to the motion, rendering it less effective. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell at your chest as you perform your crunches—this will force your abs to work harder, and will achieve better results.

Tight Abs Tip #5: Don’t be fooled. The market is flooded with ‘lose weight’ products and products that claim to flatten your stomach. Never waste your time or money on:

  1. So-called packaged health food that comes with weight loss claims. If it’s processed in a package with a bunch of chemical additives then it will not help you achieve flat abs.
  2. Abdominal exercise gimmicks as sold on late night infomercials – all you really need is your own body weight, an exercise ball and dumbbells or a medicine ball.
  3. So-called weight loss supplements. The magic pill for flat abs doesn’t exist, so you’d be wasting your health and money on a bogus product.

Tight Abs Tip #6: Target your lower abs. It’s easy to neglect the lower abs, but they are an important part of the equation. Incorporate the V-Up into your exercise routine:

Starting Position: Sit on the edge of an exercise bench; lean back to a 45 degree angle. Extend your legs out until they are level with the floor.

Movement:
Exhale and bring your knees and upper body close together, while contracting your abdominals. Inhale as you slowly release your legs, returning them to the starting position.

Tight Abs Tips #7: Challenge your core often. Don’t limit your abdominal exercise to the gym, incorporate core strengthening during daily life and throughout each workout. A strong core is the foundation for flat, tight abs.

There you have it! Seven tips that, when diligently applied, will help you shed the fat and tighten your abs.

But, keep in mind that your results will be seriously hindered if you do the same exercise routine over and over. Your abs need a progressive challenge in order to transform. This means new exercises, different resistance and increased challenge.

Call or email today to get started on a program that will challenge you, motivate you and transform your body.

Availability is limited — act now and achieve a slimmer you once and for all this year.

Instant Ab Flattener

How would you like to improve the look of your stomach in a matter of seconds? Simple. Don’t slouch. When you slouch, with shoulders rounded forward, your stomach pooches out. Instead, push your shoulders back, chest up, and pull your abdominals in. And just like that you look slimmer, and by keeping your abs pulled in you are strengthening your core.

Moroccan Stew

This stew is perfect for a cold winter day. It is packed with antioxidant-rich vegetables and fragrant spices. Serve this stew over a scoop of cooked quinoa or whole grain brown rice. Yield: 6 servings

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons water or vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 large size yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large size red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 2 medium size sweet potatoes or garnet or jewel yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15oz) chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons water in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, peppers and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. If the water begins to evaporate, add a little more.
  2. Stir in the agave nectar, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, ginger and saffron and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sweet potatoes, and stir to coat. Stir in tomatoes, remaining 1 1/2 cups water and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  3. Simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then serve over quinoa or brown rice.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 141 calories, 1g fat, 29g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 6g protein.

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