Category Archives: diet free

My secret strategy? A daily food budget.

I’m not on a diet!

But I spend my calories carefully.

I have a daily food budget!

It’s part of the lifestyle I have that really helps me eat healthy and keep the weight off.

One of the best things I learned from my time with Weight Watchers was the point system.

I was given 18 points that I could spend on food throughout my day.

I treated myself to a carrot muffin and medium coffee with double cream like I usually did.

Then I looked it up in my little book. It cost me 12 points! Not a good choice! I didn’t do that again!

I learned from Weight Watchers to make smart choices. I now have a food budget that I keep in mind. It’s something I have been working on for a few years.

When I stay within my budget I maintain my current weight.

Remember it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

We want to spend our food budget calories well! We want to make the best choices throughout our day.

We want to choose nutrient rich foods with a mix of low and high calories.

Here’s how my food budget gets spent throughout my day.

I’m really hungry at breakfast time so I spend more calories then. I have ½ cup each of blueberries and raspberries topped with ¼ cup of homemade granola, with milk or Greek yogurt. Then I also have ½ cup of Fibre 1 bran cereal that I like to eat dry. Weird I know. But it stays crunchy, and milk just turns it to mush. Blah.

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Doesn’t that look delicious?

Lunch is easy for me to have nutrient rich foods with lower calories. I have a full plate of fresh cut up veggies with hummus and crackers and cheese.

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The other thing I avoid that really helps…. I don’t drink high calorie beverages, like pop and sweetened coffee. It’s not worth it for me. I want to chew my calories.

I drink lots of water, which helps to fill me up and keeps me well hydrated.

I try to have fruit for my snacks.

Then I can eat a regular dinner with meat, veggies and potatoes or rice, but on the smaller luncheon plate. I usually have a small dessert after dinner with a cup of tea.

When I know I am going out for ice cream with the kids I cut back on my calorie-spending at dinner. I save some of my calories to spend on the ice cream.

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I will have a bigger salad and regular portion of protein and very little of the carbohydrate.

Every once in awhile I have a really high calorie-spending day, like when I go out to eat twice in one day. Or when we celebrate my birthday and my daughter’s, which are 2 days apart. Those days do happen. Remember it’s a lifestyle not a diet!

For the next 2 days I try to make lots of high nutrient and low calorie food choices, lots of vegetables, fruit and protein.

That’s how my food budget works.

So how can you create your own food budget?

For a few days write down everything you put in your mouth. Then check out the calories and the nutrients of the foods you regularly eat.

I suggest you check out some sites that list the calories and nutrients of the foods you may eat.

Some of these sites also give you an idea of how many calories you should eat based on your current weight.

I leave that up to you to decide. Use that number to help you understand how many calories you should spend but don’t get caught up in the diet mode again. It’s only to give you an idea of what your food budget should be.

Then look over your list and see which foods you should add or remove from your daily food budget. Trade some empty high calorie foods for nutrient rich low calorie foods. Like me, you will probably be surprised at how much some of your favorite treats cost.

TODAY’S little STEP: Give the food budget idea a try! It works for me.

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Strategies for summer struggles!

 I want you to know that I struggle too. I have reached some of my health goals but I have to continue to take these little steps to health.

I am still climbing the Mountain of Health and Well-being.

Writing this blog helps me stay accountable.  I find the summer especially hard because there is less routine and summer equals fun food!

Here’s how I stay on track and some strategies that work for me.

Veggies and hummus are a part of most of my lunches. I fill half my plate with the veggies first.

Then my plate looks really full when I add anything else.

Here’s a picture of what I might have for lunch.  I would add some crackers and cheese.

 

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When we have hamburgers I use a smaller bun or I cut the burger in half.

I spread salad dressing on the wrap before I assemble it so there is taste in each bite and I use much less. I fill my wrap with mostly vegetables and added white chicken meat.

If we have potato chips I include them as part of dinner. I don’t buy salt and vinegar ones, as those are my favorite and too hard to resist. A small portion of potato chips, a nice sandwich and fresh raw veggies is a fun supper on a super hot day.

We have cubed watermelon available or popsicles for dessert.

A small hand dipped ice cream cone is a treat we enjoy, just not every day. When we have them at home I can control the portion. Licking an ice cream cone slows down the eating process and every lick tastes so good!

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One of my best strategies is to not have foods that tempt me in my home. Then I won’t hear them calling: “Oh Dixie….this is the big container of delicious mixed nuts and candy calling you. Stop by for a yummy treat. You deserve it.” Can you relate?

My husband Don deserves a shout out because he is very supportive. He doesn’t like rich desserts and I’m so glad, because I would make them all the time.

He appreciates that we eat healthy.

When I do occasionally overeat at a meal – yes, I still overeat – my temptation is desserts.

I make sure the next meal is healthy and a little lower in calories.

I also try to make sure I get some exercise that day.

Every little step does make a difference!

Let’s claim our verse again! “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation.

TODAY’S little STEP: Keep taking little steps to be healthy. Use some of these strategies.  They work.  Every little step makes a difference.

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Rest much, talk often, and laugh regularly. Summer is too short!

WHY WE FAIL WITH WEIGHT LOSS & 4 EASY SOLUTIONS.

Why do we fail with our weight loss plans? Did you know there are scientific reasons why we fail?

But there’s hope and scientific strategies for success!

James Clear is a writer, teacher and keynote speaker.

His focus is behavioral psychology, habit formation and performance improvement.

Wow, that’s someone that knows the science behind our troubles. I’ve visited his site James Clear and give him the credit for the first three points. 

WHY DO WE FAIL?

We fail because we set unrealistic goals. We try to change too many things.

We give up all junk food; eat only fresh fruit and vegetables and chicken and fish.

Then one day there is fresh pizza at the office meeting and the temptation is too strong. We give in and eat a piece and then have a few more. We feel like a failure because we ate pizza, which is not the truth!

The new eating plan is thrown away with the empty pizza box. 

SOLUTION?

Behavioural scientists suggest we change only 3 habits at a time. Three small changes that are easy to do and that we can stick with.

Here at little steps to health we make small changes. We change just a few habits. We downsize the plate we use at each meal or snack. We exercise for 10 minutes. We say a healthy self-talk statement with prayer.

WHY DO WE FAIL?

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We fail because we are seeking a result, not a lifestyle.

My co-worker wanted to lose 30 pounds before her daughter’s wedding. She dieted and exercised for months.

She looked great that warm June day. She reached her goal!

Once she reached her goal and the wedding was over, she slowly went back to her old habits and behaviors.

When I saw her at the Christmas party I noticed she had gained back most of the weight. It wasn’t a lifestyle change.

SOLUTION?

Lifestyle changes are changes that result in better health! Some of the side effects are weight loss, increased stamina, vitality and self confidence.

The changes we make need to be easy to do and things we can continue doing.

Lifestyle changes continue because being healthy for life is the goal! 

WHY DO WE FAIL?

We fail because we assume small changes don’t add up. The assumption is that your goal has to be big to make a difference.

Every January we make a plan to go to the gym or start jogging everyday. That seems like the best way to burn calories and get in shape.

We think that if we’re not sweating and out of breath it’s not making a difference.

SOLUTION?

Believe that small changes make a difference! It may seem silly to make a goal to exercise for 10 minutes every day.

However, we know 10 minutes does make a difference to our health.

Further, the 10 minutes of exercise is something we can stick with even on a super busy day.

When 10 minutes everyday becomes a habit, and part of our lifestyle we can gradually add a few more minutes.

Find an  activity that’s fun  and get moving! 

WHY WE FAIL?

We fail because as followers of Jesus we don’t access His power.

SOLUTION?

We need to call out to Jesus in prayer. Remember we are His beloved daughters and He loves to hear from us. We can tell Him the depth of our struggles.

We need to use the power of scripture to help us in our daily battles with food.

 

TODAY’S little STEP: Believe little changes make a difference! Lifestyle changes bring health for life!

Remember every mountain is climbed one step at a time!

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I HATE RESOLUTIONS THEY SET ME UP TO FAIL

January is the month when we are supposed to make resolutions and set big goals for the year.

How are you doing with that?

They never seem to work for me. Resolutions usually require strict discipline and require lots of change too fast.

I can only do it for a few months and then I slowly go back to my old habits.

I don’t call them resolutions.

Instead I call them lifestyle changes.  

They work for me.

I make lifestyle changes in these 4 areas: nutrition, exercise, mental focus and spiritual development.

One little change in each area is all I do.

When that change becomes a habit I add one more little change.

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I want so much for you to have success.

That’s why I keep showing up every week.

I want you to give lifestyle changes a try, because they work!

I want you to win!

You can do it!

I want you to know you can stop that voice in your head. The voice that says nasty stuff like, ‘you always fail, don’t even try again.’

I want you to move your body in a fun way everyday.

I want you to choose healthy food.

I want you to know that God loves you and cares about your health. His power is available for the asking!

I want you to look in the mirror and love who you see!

Make 2017 the year you commit to lifestyle changes. Join me as we climb the Mountain of Health and Well-being!

If you have been on our climbing team before then find the Camp that is right for you.

If you are new I’m so excited that you are here. Check out Base Camp and get started.

I’m working on these future posts-how sleep affects our weight loss, quick healthy dinner choices, weight loss sabotages, real life fashion, ways to reduce stress and hopefully some guest posts too. I look forward to chatting with you, praying for you and hearing about your success!

TODAY’S little STEPS: Make lifestyle changes this year! Get started today!

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Feel fabulous in 2017, diet free!

Don’t start a new diet! By the end of January you will feel too deprived, too stressed and you’ll quit. Sorry but the truth hurts.

Instead make life style changes. Life style changes are small and easy to do. Small changes that you can continue for the rest of your life!

 

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Life style changes worked for me, I lost 20% of my body weight and have kept it off for over 5 years. Click (here) to read my story.

My friend Cecile has lost 141 pounds over the course of 7 years. She says, “No matter how slow the weight loss is, don’t give up! God will never give up on you!” click (here) to read her story.

Here’s an outline of the first 4 camps up the Mountain of Health and Well-being.

For those of you who have been part of our climbing team from the start take a look back and see how far you have come!

You’ve done a good job of climbing.

If you’ve had a few falls that’s O.K. There is no condemnation here.

Just pick the camp that is right for you and get climbing again.

If you are new to this blog…yahoo, so glad you are here! Start out at Base Camp today!

Click on the link and you’ll get the information for that little step!

BASE CAMP

Nutrition: Switch to a smaller plate or bowl at each meal or snack.

Exercise: 10 minutes of exercise a day. You can break it up into two 5 minute sessions.

Mental: Repeat this healthy self-talk statement-‘I am a beautiful beloved daughter of the King. I am making small changes to be healthy. Taking care of me is important’.

Spiritual: Learn a Bible verse like this one, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you”.” Isaiah 41:13

Stay at Base Camp for 4 weeks. Once these steps are habits then climb to Camp #2.

CAMP #2

Nutrition: Drink water in place of other beverages. Continue with the smaller plate or bowl.

Exercise: 15 minutes of exercise per day, break it into 5 minute periods if you need to

Mental: Become aware of your inner critic and negative self-talk. Repeat this healthy self-talk statement daily.  ‘I am a beautiful beloved daughter of the King!  I am making small changes to be healthy.  Taking care of me is important’.

Spiritual: Pray and share your concerns with Jesus.  Memorize a verse.  Here’s a good one.  “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths.  My hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4,5b

Stay for 4 weeks. Move back to Base Camp whenever you feel it is necessary.

Once these steps become habits move to Camp #3.

CAMP # 3

Nutrition: Add 1 serving of vegetables (½ cup cooked or 1 cup of leafy) to 1 meal. Continue using a smaller plate at each meal or snack. Drink water as your main beverage.

Exercise: Add 5 minutes of exercise for a total of 20 minutes per day. You can divide it into 2-10 minute sessions or even 4-5 minute sessions on a crazy day.

Mental: Recognize that you have an inner critic. Identify a lie and replace it with a truth statement.

Spiritual: Pray and access Jesus’ power. Choose a verse to memorize. Here is a good one. “Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power”. Ephesians 6:10

CAMP # 4

Nutrition: Add 1 serving of fruit – 1 small piece of fruit or ½ cup of cut fruit to 1 meal. Continue using a smaller plate. Drink water as your main beverage.

Exercise: Continue with 20 minutes of exercise daily. Add incidental exercise to your day. Examples are: take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, walk during commercials.

Mental: Identify 2 lies you say to yourself. Replace those lies with truth statements.

Spiritual: Pray and access Jesus’ power. Choose a verse to memorize. Here’s a good one.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

TODAY’S little STEP: Pick the camp that is right for you and join us in the climb up the Mountain of Health and Well-being! Get back on track if you are a regular reader or start today!

Every mountain is climbed one step at a time!

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10 Tips For Healthy Holiday Eating

Tis the season for eating!

Everywhere I go there will be tempting goodies. Then I’ll add some holiday stress and I’ll have the perfect combination for overeating.  My favorite foods – turkey, stuffing, gravy, pie, cookies, rich desserts and chocolates will be within my reach.

But this year is going to be different!

I have strategies to share!

10 Healthy tips to beat the holiday food frenzy.

1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Get your 20 minutes of exercise everyday. Break it up into two 10-minute sessions. On a day when you overeat, add extra minutes.

3. Eat until you are satisfied, only the turkey needs to feel stuffed! Savor your favorite holiday treats. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.

4. No mindless eating from the bowl of party snacks. Serve yourself on a small appetizer plate and physically move away from the food.

5. Leave a calorie allowance for dessert. If you love dessert and hate to miss out then make a point to cut back on the hors d’oeuvres or skip the bread. Or avoid the pasta and have mostly salad and veggies.

6. Put desserts on a small plate, or even better, on a napkin. It’s a simple trick: You can’t fit as much on a napkin, so you won’t eat as much. No trips back for seconds!

7. Just say ‘NO’! Don’t feel as though you have to say yes to everyone that offers you food. Don’t let yourself be bullied into eating something that you really don’t want.

8. Trim back on the trimmings. To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream. These additions don’t add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline.

9. Wear snug clothes. When you wear snug-fitting clothes chances are you’ll feel full faster. No elastic waist pants for us girlfriends!

10. Be a food snob. If it’s not a 10 then it’s not worth the calories! Scan the choices for foods you truly treasure and skip the everyday dishes.

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Here’s my healthy self-talk statement for the Holiday Season

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TODAY’S little STEP:  Incorporate these strategies and enjoy the Christmas season!  Celebrate the birth of our Saviour and King!

This is a repost from last year.  Good stuff is worth rereading!

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FOCUS ON THESE ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR A HEALTHY LIFE!

We think that for healthy eating and exercise to work they should be hard and require lots of restrictions and rules. Making small changes seems too easy.

But the good news is they do make a difference!

They make a difference because they become a lifestyle change! A lifestyle change that we can keep doing.

 

Here is some research to back up my statement!

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Lesley Lutes is an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University.

Here we are at Camp #4. We are ready for a few more small changes!

Camp #4

Nutrition: Add 1 serving of fruit – 1 small piece of fruit or ½ cup of cut fruit to 1 meal. Continue using a smaller plate. Drink water as your main beverage.

Exercise: Continue with 20 minutes of exercise daily. Add incidental exercise to your day. Examples are: take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, walk during commercials.

Mental: Identify 2 lies you say to yourself. Replace those lies with truth statements.

Spiritual: Pray and access Jesus’ power. Choose a verse to memorize. Here’s a good one.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

TODAY’S little STEP: Get started on Camp #4! You can do it!  Every little step makes a difference because every mountain is climbed one step at a time!

If you like what you have read, please take the time to sign up to receive new posts as a weekly email. The subscription button is located at the top of the page, to your right.

If you have found this helpful I would love it if you would share it with your friends on Facebook or Pinterest.