6 Low Calorie Snack Options

Fruits and Veggies
If you’re anything like me, it’s super hard not to snack between meals and even *whisper* late at night. I know what you’re thinking–late night snacking is a huge no-no, especially when you are trying to lose weight. But bare with me, because I have compiled an appetizing list of low calorie foods that are great to satisfy any craving when you absolutely
need to snack!

The best advice I can offer you is to always have a healthy snack readily available. If the only thing you have in your cabinets is swiss rolls and cheetos, that's most likely what you will grab when you're hungry. Β Of course, we all break down and want something down right bad for us occasionally. Well, I have a solution! Instead of chips and cookies, keep foods like ice cream or a small brownie mix around. I know what you're thinking; how are these any better for you? In all honesty, they aren't better for you, but I know when I want a snack, I'm also feeling a little lazy. So, preparing a bowl of ice cream sounds like a lot more work then eating a banana or some whole-grain crackers.

I promise, if you keep any or all of these healthy snacks in your cabinets, you'll definitely feel a lot healthier yourself!

1
My favorite go-to snack is raw veggies. A lot of people like different vegetables, but I prefer carrots and broccoli with light ranch. Mmm, my mouth waters just thinking about it. Although this is loads better than junk food, you still need to focus on not over-eating. Eating too much of anything can be bad for you! The established "serving size" for raw veggies is about one cup.

2
Another awesome and quick snack is whole-grain crackers or (even better!) sesame sticks. It's kind of like having a few chips, but it's way healthier! I know a lot of you probably haven't tried sesame sticks, but I definitely suggest picking up a bag. They may taste a little bland at first, but after four or five you're completely addicted. I know I buy mine at Walgreens, but they are more common than you think, so I would just check at a local grocery store!

3
And of course, how could we forget about some sweet, delicious fruit?! This is a healthy snack that can turn unhealthy really quick if you aren't careful. Most dips sold for fruits are really high in calories, so make sure to check that before you buy any! If you like apples, I recommend investing in an apple slicer! It's a much easier snack when you can cut it all with one slice! Now, the reason fruit can be tricky is because some people don't understand which fruits are healthy and which can be a little fattening. Check out this blog by Canadian Living.

4
Now, if you're someone (like me) who needs a little chocolate or any sweets every now and then, trail mix is a perfect balance between that naughty craving and a healthy snack! If you're savvy with your money, you can buy M&M's, unsalted nuts, dates or raisins, and anything else you like to put in your trail mix and make it yourself! For me, I don't have the self control to be in full possession of a bag of M&M's, so I buy it pre-made! ;)

5
Granola bars or 100 calorie snacks are perfect for on-the-go snacks! When you're in a rush to leave, odds are, at some point, you'll stop at a gas station or fast food place to grab a quick bite to eat. If you have these in the house, they are so easy to take with you. And, if you get the right kind, they are healthy and delicious! I like the 100 calorie oreo snacks and Fiber One granola bars!

6
If you don't mind doing a little prep work, and are wanting a snack that's a little more filling, there are options for you! Whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and maybe some sliced banana is so yummy and quite filling! You could also make some oatmeal or chop up some fresh fruit and put it in some low-fat yogurt. A small salad (fruit or veggie) could be a very filling snack, especially if you add just the tiniest amount of bacon bits, mmm!

There are tons of low calorie snack options available for everyone, no matter what you like. If you have any suggestions and would like to share what low calorie snacks you eat, please comment below!

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How to Get Motivated for a Workout!

As you know, I started my weight loss journey a little before the start of 2013. And as many people tend to do, I have totally fallen out of it. Many things came up -- I got my job in late December, I moved out of my parents house in April, and I started going back to school in June. Of course, there really is no excuse for not even doing a minute-long plank every day. Thus, I am so ready to get my mojo back!

Now, normally, at the beginning of your weight loss journey, you have a reason to do it. Whether you have a wedding coming up, it’s almost summer, or the plain and simple fact that you don’t like the way you look, you are definitely motivated for the first couple workouts!

I don’t know how people just get up at six in the morning and go for a 5-mile run before work, but I hope, one day, I could do that if I wished. That’s my motivation for working out (plus, in actuality, I look horrid in a two-piece). So, without further adieu, here is a list of my daily motivation go-to’s!

  1. The fastest way for me to get motivated is Pinterest. There are tons of different workouts, some sound so easy it’s almost impossible to say no. The biggest reason Pinterest motivates me is because when I’m looking through Health & Fitness pins, I see all the women who do workout and have amazingly toned body’s. After that, I look at myself and think: Do I seriously want to look like this? And if you hadn’t guessed, the A to that Q is a big fat no.
  2. Set goals. This might sound obvious, but many people just think about what they want to do and just “wing it” when it’s time to workout. You need to set a goal. I use a custom calendar and write my workout goal for the month in hours. Then I have a section each day to write if and how long I work out. If I make my goal at the end of the month, I treat myself to a new shirt or jeans (hopefully soon it will be a swimsuit!) If you need a little help getting started, I’ve posted my calendar at the bottom of this post. My only request if you use it is to write your goals in pen–no cheating!
  3. Another way to find motivation to workout is to publicly post your goals — I do that through my blog. If you don’t have a blog, post your goals on Facebook, Twitter, or even just tell all of your friends! Once you have publicly committed to losing weight, it will be easier for you to want to workout. Lets say you post a Facebook status saying, “Today I start my journey, I plan to lose 20 pounds in 4 months!” and then you fall out of your weight loss a month later. A couple weeks pass and your (more fit) friend asks how much you have lost in the last month. How hard is it going to be for you to tell her you quit?

Tinker Toned CalendarHow do you get motivated for your workout? Share your ideas and I’ll add some to the list! πŸ™‚

Foods You Shouldn’t Eat (And What to Replace Them With)

I’m tired of hearing “America is overweight.” That’s putting a huge number of people in the same category that shouldn’t be. About 30% of adult Americans are obese. And even then, some can’t control their weight due to health issues and whatnot. Now, about another 30% of American adults are classified as overweight. Let me clear something up: being overweight means you have a body mass index of 25 or more. Body builders would have an extremely high BMI and others may have one as low as 26 but are still a part of that statistic. Although these statistics might change the judgement on America, finding your BMI is a good way of starting a weight loss plan because let’s face it, you know whether you need or want to lose weight.

Now that I’m done with my rant, we can start on what you’re here for. I’m going to give you a compiled list of foods you should never eat. And I understand, never is a harsh word, but if you are serious about losing weight and becoming healthier, trying won’t hurt. At least cut back on these foods and slowly progress to the point you no longer keep them in your house.

White BreadNumber One: White Bread
White bread is left with almost none of breads original vitamins, minerals or fiber. The flour used in white bread has also been bleached with chlorine. That just does not sound healthy. There are so many other options when choosing bread. Some of the healthiest breads include: whole wheat, rye and pumpernickel (and they’re all delicious!) To find out which type would be healthiest for you check out this article.

Number Two: Corn-fed Beef
Grass-Fed CowsIf you can avoid it, do! Cattle are meant to eat grass, not grains! Originally, cows were fed grass and it took them 4-5 years before they were able to be slaughtered for meat. With grain-fed cows, they can be ready in 14 months. This is because of how fast the farmers are able to fatten them up. They even use growth hormones. It is a bit more expensive, but isn’t everything that’s good for you? If you’re like me and don’t want your arteries clogging, I believe the healthier choice is obvious here. More info: Corn-Fed Vs. Grass-Fed Beef

sad_potatoNumber Three: Non-Organic Potatoes
Pretty much self explanatory, don’t ya think? They absorb so many herbicides and pesticides while they are stuck in the ground. And even after they come out, they are sprayed with more gunk so they don’t sprout. In my opinion, it’s probably one of the worst non-organic foods out there. A lot of other fruits and vegetables should be bought organic. Here’s a list of foods that you should buy organic and foods that are normally clean.

Last, but not least: Fatty Foodsfatty foods
Unfortunately, this includes: fast food, sweets, frozen dinners, pizza, anything fried or greasy, and the list goes on. We all know we aren’t suppose to eat them, but then we have our excuses. “I didn’t have time for anything else,” “I won’t eat anything else today,” “It’s cheap.” While any or all of these may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re putting filth into your body.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I don’t even follow some of these rules I’ve just listed out for you. I have just recently started my health kick and I feel great about it, although I do have a fast food burger or chicken nuggets maybe once a week. I plan on stopping this. I have decreased my fatty food intake by about 70% and I will keep going. You have to set goals before you can reach them and nothing changes overnight. I know that if you want to–and I mean really want to, you can change your life completely.

A Stress Free Christmas

Christmas Stress‘Twas a week till Christmas, and all the presents are finally wrapped! Yep, you heard right, I’m done. After a long month, Josh and I finished buying our last few presents this afternoon and got them all wrapped tonight! Okay I lied a little bit… We still haven’t wrapped my little brothers present, but that’s because he’s been with us all night.

We went to good ole Walmart and got presents for his aunt, my grandpa and grandma, and his sister. Then we bought some wrapping paper and name tags. And we decided we are going to go get all the cards for everyone later this week, since we’re about out of money!

I don’t know how much I’ll be posting for this next week since I have so much going on, unfortunately. Tomorrow morning, I have an interview at a local office supply store (which I’m REALLY excited about). I’ve never had an actual steady job before now!

Christmas is going to drive me crazy! Until then, I have to help my Grandma finish painting her garden gnomes she’s giving as gifts. And when the time rolls around, Christmas Eve will be spent with my moms side of the family. After that, Christmas morning, we leave for his grandmothers house (over an hour away) for the day. And finally, after we finish gifts and whatnot, we will head over to my grandmas on my dads side to spend the evening.

On top of everything, this three day span will probably ruin my diet. No, it won’t. I won’t let it. I do not want to start over. Phew. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

Alright, back to the main reason you’re reading this–another one of my lists! πŸ™‚ I know you all love them. These are some ways to deal with the stress of the holidays, whether you’re traveling ten hours, or staying at home. I know what you’re thinking, this is a weight loss blog, why am I talking about Christmas? Well, for one, I love Christmas. Two, being stressed out can cause weight gain by itself; it can also cause you to eat more (and we know what happens then).

  1. BREATHE. This might seem like common sense, but a lot of people don’t give themselves time to sit down, relax, and have a cup of hot coco. Co-workers and friends won’t be upset if you can’t make it to every event they have over the holidays. It’s okay to say no and have some “you” time.Β And that also goes for the people you invite to gatherings–don’t get upset if they can’t join you.
  2. It might be a little late for some, but I know people who still have gifts to buy! So, if that’s you, check out my December Saving Tips I posted awhile ago. There are useful tips on buying presents, energy bills, and other helpful ways to save.
  3. Avoid arguements. I’m sure most people have someone in their family that they don’t always get along with. Don’t stress about seeing this person. Dodge touchy subjects with them. And if they start getting riled up, try calming them down with the “it’s no big deal” strategy. If you don’t say anything back, they’ll let it go.
  4. Take off work. Some people only have two days off during the holidays. Ask for a couple more days or maybe even a week! If you don’t ask, it won’t happen. So, what’s the harm in trying?
  5. Last, but not least, be realistic. We all think (well, want) this Christmas to be the best yet! We think it will be that way every year when the holiday season rolls around. Plan everything out. Get all your presents early. Send cards early. This is all included here. Don’t expect so much that you know you’ll be let down.

If you have any tips, please share below! πŸ™‚

Only Way to Lose Weight: Part 2

I was going to wait at leWeight Loss Workoutast another week before I posted again about my weight loss journey, but I’m too excited to wait any longer! If you didn’t read my first weight loss post, I started my diet and exercise on 12/10/12, which was four days ago. And also, if you haven’t read, I’m using an app called Lose It to track what I eat, when I exercise, and how much weight I’m losing. I’ve been wanting to lose weight for a couple years now and I’m finally doing it!

The reason I’m posting this a few days early is due to the fact that I set my weight loss goal at 2 lbs. per week so I could reach 130 lbs. by April 4, 2013. By eating only the amount of calories Lose It has recommend, and starting on this 20 day beginner workout (click the picture to the left), I’ve already lost 5 lbs! That might seem like a small amount to some of you, but I’m happier than ever!

By eating less and eating healthier, I have gained so much energy! I have been able to get up early in the mornings with no extra help (I used to sleep until noon if no one woke me). I get hungry less often. And since my calorie limit is 1,192 calories a day, I use them sparingly. By that, I mean I separate those calories into: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I’m lucky, I’ll have 100-200 calories left by the end of the day (which I normally don’t use), so there’s practically no room for sweets. Which also means, I’m craving them less!

Here are some quick, easy foods I’ve been eating:

Breakfast: Since I try to eat healthy, small breakfasts, my main go-to food is Honey Cluster Fiber One cereal. It’s delicious and super healthy! I eat about 1.5 cups of the cereal with 1 cup of Silk Soy Milk, which together, is Fiber One Honey Clustersonly about 350 calories! Although I haven’t strayed much from that, on a couple of days that I was out of milk I microwaved a packet of Instant Quaker Oatmeal (apples and cinnamon, mmm!). That’s only 200 calories when you make it with water!

Lunch: Now this is where I cheat a little. Most of the week I’ve stayed pretty healthy on this, but today and Tuesday I had ONE piece of pizza with a glass of water for lunch. Now, if you only eat ONE piece and nothing else, it doesn’t really mess up your calories for the day. But you have to keep in control. If there’s somewhere you can just buy one slice at a time, that’s what I would recommend. Also for lunch I’ve had: two plain scrambled eggs, a bowl of tomato soup, and a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread.

Dinner: For dinner Monday I had cooked broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. Since then, I’ve been eating: cooked chicken, green beans, and raw carrots. Thursday night, my boyfriend and I were in town running errands around dinner time so we stopped by Wendy’s. Like I mentioned before, I used an app for that! I used Fast Food Nutrition to see what was something I could eat that had low calories. I went with a five piece chicken nugget with lemonade. πŸ™‚

At this point, I haven’t got to try many recipes and whatnot since it was finals week. BUT here to save the day–my Pinterest page! I’ve started a “Health Kick” board with recipes, workout tips, and routines. Let me know what you think!

If you have any healthy recipes feel free to share them below!

Only Way to Lose Weight

Lose Weight

So, I’m overweight. Anyone with me? I’m only overweight by about three points, according to this BMI calculator, but all the weight is in the wrong places (belly, muffin top, back, etc)! As much as I’d like to blame my weight on my massive amounts of muscle….I don’t have any.

Everyone (mostly my mom) has always told me: “Jessica, if you want to lose weight you’ve got to eat right and exercise!” Not to mention, every single diet plan or weight loss program I’ve researched says the same thing. No matter what it is, it’s the same thing. Even fad diets and the really expensive eating plans say “with proper exercise” at the end of everything. It’s just great.

I’ve never exercised. I had always hated gym class in middle school and high school. Now I’m in college, I have someone I’m going to spend the rest of my life with, and I still can’t wear a bikini? No, I was not havin’ it. It was time for me to buckle down!

I just started my diet and exercise and I’m using the Lose It app to track how and when I eat or exercise. It’s really a fantastic app and it’s FREE. I started by entering my weight, height and age. Then, I entered my weight goal and how much I wanted to lose per week. I started at 163 pounds and my weight loss goal is 130 pounds. According to the app, by losing two pounds per week, I will have reached my goal by April 4, 2013. That’s less than four months away!

UPDATE 2/14/13: I’ve now switched to the My Fitness Pal app. I has more variety on foods and exercise.

Here are some other awesome apps that will help you achieve the same goals: Noom, Fooducate, CSPI

I’ll be tracking my weight loss on here: posting healthy meals and exercise plans I try out. If I’m feeling really brave, I might end up posting before and after pictures in a couple months, but we’ll see how it goes! Until then, here’s a very condensed list of healthy eating and workout tips!

  1. Only eat when you are hungry. This is what I struggle with the most. There were just so many times I would look in the fridge and see something so deliciously fattening, I had to eat it. If you ONLY eat when you’re hungry, it’s almost impossible to over eat!Stretch!
  2. If you do decide to work out, stretch, especially if you’re new to working out. Many times I tried and failed at losing weight, it was because I’d do a super hard workout without stretching or warming up at all. When I did that, my muscles were painfully sore — so much that I could barely sit down the next couple days, let alone work out.
  3. Instead of dessert, eat fruit! It is natures candy. Pears are my favorite because of how sweet they are. If you can, buy the freshest fruit possible, or maybe even grow your own! It tastes better off the tree and it’s loads healthier.
  4. Find out what is the easiest for YOU. We all know sit-ups, push-ups, and lunges are a good workout, and maybe it is for you. But for me, I find jumping jacks, planks, and walking to be much easier! Once I get used to doing those, I’ll probably level up to some more challenging routines.
  5. Last, but only last on this list — use apps! I know I say it a lot, but if you have access to these amazing tools, why not use them? I’m talking about apps that can find healthy items on the menu almost wherever you are! Check out this website for some examples, but don’t be afraid to research a couple on your own!

I hope you all gained something from reading this article, whether it be the tips, or just motivation to start getting in shape with me! Feel free to post some of your eating and exercise tips below! πŸ™‚