Friday, July 29, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Do a Hot Workout

WARNING: I've looked and looked and can't find any study to support what I'm going to say, but I know it works cause I've done it and can tell a huge difference.  Just be careful and know this could all be in my head lol.

The challenge is to workout without in a little hotter environment.  For a long time I thought that sweating meant you were burning more calories, but my search for something to prove that actually proved otherwise.  It's fairly understandable since various environmental factors, such as humidity, can play a roll in how much you sweat.

So what benefit does it have? It gets my heart rate up where it needs to be to burn fat effectively MUCH more quickly and with less effort.  Working out at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate has been shown to be the most effective zone for burning calories. (check out what WebMD has to say and see a formula for calculation your max HR here) In a time-crunched society, we need our workouts to be more efficient.  For me being turning off the air right before I work out gets my heart to the target zone faster and I don't have to kill myself in my workout to get there.

I'm not suggesting you go and workout in 100 degree weather.  That could be very dangerous.  Heat exhaustion and dehydration are a huge concern for working out hot.  We use window unit air conditioners in our house, so I just turn the one off in the bedroom just before my workout.  We generally keep that one at 65 degrees, anyway so it is by no means very hot in the room.

If you choose to try this challenge, then please take a few precautions.  First, make sure you've worked out and are beginning to get fit before attempting this.  I would not recommend it to anyone with heart problems or to people who don't sweat.  You do not want to overheat.  Second, take it slow.  Don't do like my hubby and workout with 3 layers of clothing in 90 degree weather right off the bat.  He's worked very hard to get there and is extremely fit.  The room I workout in probably gets to around 75-80 degrees, which is quite mild in this Houston climate.  Thirdly, stay hydrated.  Be sure to drink enough water.  Having enough water will help you recover faster and help keep you cool.  Drinking too much can make you water-logged, though so drink only just as much as you need.  If you start to feel like you're getting too hot or start getting nauseated just turn the AC back on.

So like I've said, this could all just be in my head, but I don't really think so.  I certainly notice a big difference in my workouts when I turn off the AC.  Like with anything on here, ask your doctor if you're healthy enough before trying this.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recipe: Fried Rice

I love this easy recipe.  I almost always serve it with the Hibachi Chicken recipe.  You can also cut chicken into thin strips, pound them even thinner, and cook before adding in the rice and eggs for a complete meal in one pan. All of the measurements are approximate you can add more or less of anything (except the oil) to your taste.  Try to use a low sodium soy sauce to help keep the sodium content down.   Since it is a carb be sure to measure it out carefully.

You may also want to "deconstruct" it for yourself. What I mean is to measure out your rice, and veggies to make sure it's 2 servings of rice and 1 cup of veggies.  On your own plate.  Otherwise, I wouldn't really count the veggies in this as a veggie serving since there's so much more rice than there are veggies.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Workout: Hot Legs Workout

This workout comes from Fitness Magazine's website.  It's a great power packed, challenging, 15 minute workout.  You can increase the number of sets you do if it isn't challenging enough for you. (All pictures comes from the workout website.  They are very unique exercises that will burn! Can you endure? :)

Targets: Abs, obliques, butt, quads, hamstrings, and calves

Lie faceup on floor with knees bent, feet flat, hands on floor by hips.

Lift hips off floor and tuck left foot under right thigh, left knee pointing left. 
Keeping hips lifted throughout, bring left knee out to left to untuck foot, then extend leg diagonally up to left.

Return left foot to tuck position. Do 20 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

Targets: Abs, obliquesbuttquads, and hamstrings

Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides.
  • Lunge to right with right leg, keeping toes pointed forward and bending right knee 90 degrees. Hinge forward from hips and touch left hand to floor.

Push off right foot to stand on left leg as you bend right knee to bring foot toward butt, reaching left hand behind you to tap right foot. Quickly return to side lunge.
Do 20 reps. Switch legs and repeat. Do 2 sets.

Targets: Butt, quads and hamstrings

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides. 

Bend knees and hinge forward from hips to touch hands to floor a few inches in front of feet.  Lift left foot behind you a few inches off floor and point left knee slightly to left.

Lift Bent Left leg diagonally behind you toward right.

Swing left knee back down toward left

Do 20 reps. switch legs and repeat.  Do 2 Sets.

Targets: abs, obliques, butt, inner thighs, quads, and hamstrings

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, elbows bent by sides, hands in front of chest

Lunge back with left leg, bringing left foot toward right and bending both knees 90 degrees into a curtsy [same as crossover lunge which are my FAVE!] Swing bent left arm forward, right arm back as [same as if walking]

Stand up on right leg, bringing bent left knee directly out to side at hip level and tapping left hand on left knee

Quickly return to curtsy lunge. Do 20 reps. Switch sides and repeat.  Do 2 Sets.

Target: abs, obliques, butt, inner thighs, and quads

Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, elbows bent with hands in front of you.

Lower into squat

Return to standing, balancing on left leg as you swing extended right leg diagonally across body to left lift right leg as high as you can)

Quickly return to squat.  Do 20 reps. switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

Don't forget to cool down with some water, and get some protein about 20 minutes after you're done! All the pictures and instructions are from the website!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Write it down

This weeks challenge is something I've tried to do off and on for the past while.  It amazes me how what you eat can add up.  Just the little journaling I have done has convinced me that it's impossible to follow any diet without planning ahead of time.

In the past when I've dieted, I've just kept track of my points, or calories, or carbs or whatever and end up running out of whatever I'm allotted by the afternoon and end up hungry by night time.  This challenge is for you to also see just what the food you're eating does.

Do a little research for yourself.  See how many calories you need to eat each day to lose weight.  OR count points with a plan like Weight Watchers.  Just be sure you're being reasonable.  You don't really want a diet, but a complete lifestyle change.

Journaling doesn't have to be done for a long period of time.  This challenge is just to commit for one week.  It will require you to measure everything so that you can be sure to have an accurate journal.  It's a great tool to use on when you're stuck at a weight and aren't sure where the problem might be.  Also at the end of the week, you'll have a better handle on what proper portion sizes look like.

Please comment below and let me know if you're going to participate! I expect a full report next friday! lol

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recipe: Hibachi Chicken

We LOVE eating this meal.  It's a staple on our menu rotation, especially since we've all started trying to eat healthier.  It's quick and easy and oh so healthy.  I haven't figured out how to get it "dry" like it is from a hibachi restaurant.  Maybe cooking the veggies separate from the chicken will help, but we don't mind the extra liquid.  You might also try cooking it on something like a smooth topped George Forman Grill--hey that's the closest thing I can think of to a hibachi grill lol.

Some nights I'll even whip up a little shrimp sauce to go with it, and I usually serve it with fried rice.  If you do the shrimp sauce, just be sure to measure your portion carefully.  Since the mayo is the fattier of the main ingredients I measure based on a serving of mayo.

Shrimp Sauce

1 cup Mayo. (as good as it is Dukes is too strong of a flavor)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder

Just mix all the ingredients together and let it sit while you're cooking everything else to let the flavors meld together.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Workout Wednesday: kettle bells for beginners

I got my kettle bells Saturday and just love them. They are such a great workout. I've been watching Marienne's workouts for several weeks to see if KBs are really for me. Here's one of her great beginners workouts. The first video is SUPER important! It's the one I was talking about on Monday that gives pointers on how to do the moves properly.

Please take the time to not only watch the videos here, but to like them on YouTube as well! Huge thanks to Marienne for working so hard to bring these to the public!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week 3: Results

I've been having such a hard time! It's amazing how just letting your determination slide even just a little can effect how everything goes.

Wasn't able to get to a pic today, but I am somewhat happy to announce that everything is pretty much the same as last weigh-in.  I was down to 192.6 lbs so I was down a little, but definitely not where I should be.  My waist was at 38", and everything else staid the same as well.  If I had followed everything the way I should I'd be down into the 180's.

Last week I worked out only 3 times. I was really down about my weigh-in on Tuesday that I began to self-sabotage, something I do way too often. I lost all motivation and just had no real desire to workout or eat right. On the plus side, I did complete the EA Sports Active cardio jump start!

We had a few drinks twice over the past week, and I swear that changes everything! My body has to work extra hard to detox from the alcohol and it just really sets me back! I'm going to have to keep myself to one drink on rare occasions.  I did do pretty good on Saturday with Sticking to vodka and cranberry for a good bit during the night.

I did have a few saving graces, though.  First off, I didn't have any junk in the house.  So while I didn't control my portions properly, what I was eating wasn't horrific.  When we ordered pizza, I chose one with lots of veggies on it.

This week I've rediscovered my motivation.  Sunday I sat down and re-worked my plan and made a detailed menu for the week!   It's already made a HUGE difference to know what I can eat and when to eat it.  The plan also forces me to get up earlier which helps me get more done throughout the day and sleep better at night.  I'm very curious to see what kind of difference getting a good nights sleep will make in my routine.  I'm also tracking everything I eat.  I have apps on my iPhone and iPad where I can put in what I eat.  That really helps a lot.

Help! Help!

I'll get my weigh in posted later today, but first I want to ask for your help.  Have you ever noticed the little grey icons on the bottom of each post? Those are there for you to help me get the word out about this little blog.

Scrolling over them you'll see there's one to email the post, link to the post on your Facebook Page, Google Plus, Twitter or Google Buzz.  PLEASE click those and let the world know you like my blog!  There's also a button on the left side tab to share the link for the whole blog--not just a single post--onto FB or Twitter!  You'll also see a Not Just a Little Fat logo with some funny looking text in a scrolling menu beneath it.  You can copy that text and add that Logo to your blog for your readers to see it!

You can also subscribe to the blog. You can either click one of the buttons on the left to subscribe via RSS feed.  Don't ask me about that one, though.  I haven't figured out RSS, yet.  Or you can subscribe via email.  This way, you'll get notified each time I add a new blog post.  AND you can share it when you get the updates :)

So please help me out and share with your friends!

Thanks in advance!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Product Review: Tone Fitness Kettle Bells Set of Three

I followed my own challenge and got my very first pair of kettle bells! I couldn't wait to get home and use them!

My journey for the perfect one lead me to Academy. I actually happened across this set way in the corner away from all the other KBs. It comes with three weights. 5 lb, 10 lb, and 15 lb. I think that's a great set for a beginner. The set was about $30. It also came with a DVD.
These are not a piece of metal dipped with some sort of coating to help grip it with like the more expensive ones are. They are a thick vinyl that has cement inside them that makes them weighted. They are definitely not the best quality, but I think they'll do for what I'll be using them for. If you're planning on using them to burn out or you're known to drop weights at the end of your reps, then I definitely don't recommend them. I find the grip to be pretty good on them. I haven't gotten in a super sweaty workout, but I never fealt like they were going to slip. If you ever do, then you might want to get some lifting gloves.

I had been watching workouts on YouTube, so I knew what kind of things to expect as far as a workout goes. I got home got my workout clothes on, then popped in the DVD ready to follow along for a workout. I was pretty disappointed to find it's not a workout so much as it is directions on how to do several of the more common KB exercises. Some of the exercises weren't even done with proper form. There were a few good tips, so it's worth the 20 minutes or so it takes to watch it. (check out Wednesday's workout for some instructions on the proper form!)

All in all I think this is a great set for beginners. They might not be the most durable but for someone that doesn't use them for every workout, and didnt even know if they would like KB workouts, they make a great starter set. I'd say if you're just getting curious about KBs and all they can do for you, then go ahead and get this set!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Menu

I thought this week I'd show you my weekly menu. I've been having a hard time sticking to the plan, just cause no matter what it is I have a hard time sticking to it and keeping motivated. So this is what I came up with for this week. I've also changed the plan a little bit to have 3 meals and 3 snacks all spread to be within 2-3 hours of each other.  Be sure to drink a full glass or bottle of water with each meal and one 30 minutes before and one after your workout.  That will help get the 8 glasses of water in.

I hope you can get a few meal ideas from this! And Please, PLEASE share yours! I love cooking new things!

*the number of exchanges for each meal are listed beside each one*

Breakfast: 1 carb, 1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 fat, 1 milk
  • Vanilla Protein Shake made with Milk, blended with banana. A slice of toast with Peanut Butter
  • English muffin with butter, 1 egg, cheese, 1 apple
  • Smoothie made with milk, vanilla protein powder, banana, peanut butter, and 1 tsp honey
  • Egg sandwich on English muffin with 1 T mayo, and yogurt mixed with strawberries
  • Yogurt with a peach and granola, handful of almonds
  • Yogurt with pumpkin, walnuts and granola
Snack 1: 1 carb, 1 vegetable
  • Baked tortilla chips, salsa
  • Rice and broccoli
  • bell pepper and corn
  • mix of corn and Tomatoes
  • Mix of black beans and bell peppers.
Lunch: 2 carbs, 2 meats, 1 veg, 1 fruit, 1 fat, 1 milk
  • Salad with croutons, chicken, ranch, tomatoes and cheese
  • salad with tuna, ranch, tomatoes, cheese, croutons
  • tuna salad sandwich (1 can tuna with 1 T mayo) Lettuce, celery; banana smoothie (1 c milk with 1 banana--or 1 serving of any other fruit)
  • French Onion Soup topped with a Toasted, cheesy English muffin. (spread english muffin with 1tsp butter and cheese place under broiler until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly, sprinkle with a little garlic salt); Banana
  • Turkey Sandwich with Mayo, mustard, lettuce; yogurt with peach
  • 2 tacos (with leftover fajita meat) with tomato, cheese, meat, lettuce and sour cream
Snack 2 (this is a hard one lol): 1 meat, 1 veg
  • Almonds and Broccoli Flourettes
  • Ham (lunch meat) and Cauliflower
  • peanut butter and celery
  • hummus and carrots (hummus also counts as a carb you'll have to pull from somewhere else--most likely dinner)
  • Slice of Turkey Sandwich meat, tomato
Dinner: 3 carbs, 2 meats, 2 veg, 1 fruit, 2 fats
  • White Chicken Chili (made from McCormick Seasoning mix, just follow recipe on package) with crackers (6), cheese, bell pepper and tomato
  • Hamburger helper with green beans, carrots and watermelon
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti with ground turkey, sauce, mushrooms, onions (cook the mushrooms and onions with the meat as you're browning it, add the sauce while the noodles are boiling). Strawberry shortcake.
  • Turkey Meatloaf with mac and cheese, green beans (I'll get the recipe posted soon. Veggies are cooked into it so I only added one). strawberry shortcake for dessert (slice of angel food cake, sugar free cool whip, strawberries)
  • Baked Fish, Mac and Cheese, sweet potato fries, cauliflower. Cantaloupe
  • Chicken Fajitas with onion, bell pepper, sour cream, beans and strawberries
  • Hibachi chicken, fried rice, watermelon
Snack 3: 1 milk, 1 fruit, 1 carb
  • Yogurt with granola and strawberries
  • Smoothie: 1 cup milk, 1 tsp honey, 1 fruit of any kind (Ice can be added if your blender can handle it)
  • Strawberries with slice of angel food cake and yogurt
  • Whole grain cereal (look for one not loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup and with no partially hydrogenated oils!), with milk, add fruit of your choice
  • Strawberry shortcake with REAL whipped cream, just measure carefully, go sugar free or sweeten with stevia. You'll have to take a fat from somewhere else that day
Alright, so that's it for the week! Who said you have to starve to eat healthy? Like I said before, please let me know what your meal ideas are! I'm so unoriginal when it comes to ideas lol. I'll get more recipes added to the recipes page for the ones not linked on here.

You can email me at if you'd like a copy of my grocery list.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This just plain sucks.

Maybe you checked in today wondering what my progress was. I'm sad to say my weight is up :(. I really just want to cry. All week I didn't eat the wayi should. But my workouts were spot on. It just goes to show you you can't out exercise a bad diet.

There were a few times where I ate too much of high calorie foods. For the most part, however, I just didn't eat enough or often enough. My body just chose to hold on to it.

Of course the eating high calorie foods happened over the weekend. So by the time Monday rolled around my weight was stagnant at 193 and my weight this morning was at 194. Now, there are a few things that have made me bloat, but there really should be a significant loss. Plus if I had been following the diet well, I would be much less likely to bloat. I was down to 192 on Sunday.

So learn from my wagon fall, and follow these few tips. Keep on keeping on even if you've fallen off the wagon, just get back up and start again. Of course not falling off is best, though. Keep the fridge stocked. As long as I have a steady flow of healthy snacks I was able to curb cravings, bloat, and keep my energy levels up.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Buy Workout Gear

I don't know about you, but I'm always ready to use something I've just bought.  Whenever I get home from shopping trips, the first thing I want to do is put on my new clothes.  Whenever I buy workout gear, I can't wait to get home and try it out.  So my challenge to you is to get some new gear!

You don't have to go out and spend a fortune.  Maybe you just spend 15 bucks on a new sports bra like the Danskin Now one I reviewed.  Or maybe you want to shell out some dough and get a treadmill.  I don't care what you go for, just get something that you want to use BAD.

I've been doing a lot of research on kettle bells.  I'm really wanting one.  It looks like such a great way to get a good cardio workout at the same time as using weights.  So, I'm getting one this weekend and I'm sure I'll want to rush home to use it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recipe: Chicken and Rice

This Chicken and Rice is very filling and tastes like its unhealthy.  I swear it tastes just like chicken and dumplings without all the fat of the dumplings.  The recipe is approximate measurements.  Be sure to check often, if it's looking too thick then add a little water to the mix.  I didn't have any stock or broth on hand when I made it, so I decided to just make my own by boiling the chicken and vegetables for a bit before adding the rice.  If you're short on time then buy a low sodium Chicken Broth and substitute for the water.  You can also add one cube of chicken bullion to the water instead of the salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  A Serving is about 1 cup.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Workout: Slim Down Strength Training Workout Routine

This routine looks awesome! I can't wait to try it out! Of course, it's from one of my new favorite fitness people Sarah from  You can also follow Sarah at her Facebook Page.  As always, make sure with your doctor that you're healthy enough for exercise.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Progress Report: Week 1

I'm so excited for this report! I was so nervous that I wouldn't make any progress this week, and would have to admit my failure.  I'm excited to say that I'm right on track for my goal!

Begining Stats This Week
  • Weight: 195.4
  • Waist: 39"
  • Bust: 43"
  • Arms: 12"
  • Hips: 44.5"
  • Thighs: 26.5"
  • Weight: 193.0
  • Waist:  38"
  • Bust:  41.5"
  • Arms: 12" 
  • Hips: 44"
  • Thighs:  26"
I'm so excited! That's 2.4 pounds down and 1 inch from my waist! I did cheat a little bit, and am very bummed I did.  I wonder what my stats would be if I didn't cheat! Oh, well, I'm back on track now!

Beginning Photos

 I also missed one day of working out.  I was kinda down on myself for doing that, but I know that mindset will just cause me to fail again.  Yesterday I did two of the EA Sports Active 2 workouts back to back.  I can feel my body getting stronger.  I can now complete 10 push-ups, do a lot of sit-ups at once.  I'm amazed at how fast my core is getting stronger! The workouts are getting easier too! I think after next week, I'll begin to run in the mornings!
Week 1: A little different from week 1!
I really need to work on getting enough sleep.  I should be waking up at 7:30 working out and eating by 9 am in order to get my metabolism on the right track, but I'm all backwards.  I've been going to bed at 2 and waking up at 11 am, yes L will sleep that late.

Please let me know what your stats are this week! I'd love to have support from others on this journey.

I almost forgot, how do you like the new look for the blog? I've been working for about a week straight getting it to look good.  There are tabs on the side and across the top to make navigation easier for you.  The tabs are pretty self explanatory and each page will tell you what days they will be updated.  Thanks for being on this journey with me!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Product Review: Danskin Now- Surplice Foam Sport Bra

One of the toughest problems I've had is finding a sports bra that will support me properly.  When I would workout and run, or jump my 38DD's would practically hit me in the face.  Not to mention how it hurt when they would "drop."  I did a little digging around to see what sports bras were out there that would actually keep the girls still and where they are supposed to be.  I found this great article that not only gives recommendations for good bras, but tells what to look for in a bra.

I would have loved to get one that she recommends, but I didn't want to shell out so much money for a sports bra when I'm losing weight and wouldn't be able to wear it in the future.  So with my info in hand, I decided to start where every redneck woman starts--Walmart.

I was thrilled to see that they had several great options there.  I quickly narrowed my choices down to just a few and headed to the fitting room.  You absolutely MUST try before you buy! There's no way to ensure a great fit if you don't!  While I was in there, I made sure to give a jumping test and running test.  Only 2 made the cut.  

I decided to go ahead and buy only one.  I chose the Danskin Now-Surplice Foam Sport Bra.  It's a great High-Impact bra.  (You can see a pic of me wearing it in the beginning progress shot.)  I went with the white one, but only because our store didn't have them in other colors.  I really wish I could get the red one in the picture.  

This bra continues to amaze me.  I got the 38D which is the largest one they had there.  I should have gotten the 40 D as I'm stuffed into it. I love the molded cups and the hook-eye closure. It's an extremely comfortable bra! There have been comments about my boobs bouncing while I'm wearing this, but I don't feel the "drop" like I used to.  And honestly, jiggle is going to jiggle.  I really don't feel any bounce at all in this.

The only cons are because of it being a size too small.  My boobs are stuffed in their like a sausage.  I don't like that it pushed my boobs together as much as it does.  I have been known to get a little rash in my cleavage from them being together like that.  A little more separation would go a long way.  I honestly don't know if a bigger size would fix that for someone as large-chested as me.  

All-in-all it's a great bra with a price you can't beat ($11 and change).  I Highly recommend it to anyone with a little bit extra bounce :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's never JUST a little fat!

Having extra weight on is so much MORE than just a little fat. It's not ever Really feeling attractive and feeling like no one else will think you are either. It causes a lot of extra toll on your body. But most of all I think it's an overwhelming feeling of failure.

It really sucks to feel like you've just completely failed at life. One of the basic human functions is to take care of yourself, right? It's extremely humbling to reslize I can't even do that right.

I'm not morbidly obese, or even extremely unhealthy. But there are many areas where I can tell the weight has worn on me. For one, I have stretch marks that are there just from gaining weight. I can't stand for extremely long times cause my feet hurt. Last summer I worked weighting tables. I was definitely way more sore At the end of a shift than I was when I was young. On nights my hubby and I go dancing, I feel I can barely make it through a few songs. I'd love to be able to dance the entire night!

Perhaps the most telling way is in not being able to play with L the way I want to. I can't go chase her through the yard without getting too winded. I can't do the cartwheels with her or even sit in the floor beside the bath for very long. I really hate not being the fun-loving mom I always thought I would be.

I really hate not feeling like I'm good enough fro my husband. I know he's not really attracted to someone who is obese. I don't like feeling like I need to constantly be pulling my shirt down in the bedroom, or having to make sure there's not even a glimmer of light. I would LOVE to be able to go completely naked and feel good about myself.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Grocery Overhaul!

Alright, here's the very first challenge! Each week I'll post new challenges to keep us all on the right track! I'll be posting these on Friday because of the grocery challenges.  I know most people do Grocery shopping on the weekend, so it just made sense :)

Challenge 1: Clear out the Crap

This one is perhaps the most important, and possibly hardest, part of any weight loss journey.  Get rid of everything in your pantry that is unhealthy.  No candy, ice cream, snack cakes, chips, fatty dips.  Nothing that will cause you to stumble!  Instead fill your pantry with fruits and Vegetables, low fat dips (I like to dip my veggies in low fat Ranch dressing), plain yogurt (to go on the fruit, nuts, etc.  There are healthier versions of nearly everything out on the market.  Instead of full fat chips, get baked chips, or better yet, organic, whole wheat pretzels! Switch out the fattening pre-made bean dip, for delicious hummus! 

Challenge 2: Make a Menu
This one is as important as clearing out the crap.  It will help your budget too!  Choosing a meal plan that works for you may seem like a daunting task, but it's key to loosing weight.  No matter if you choose low carb, low fat, counting your bites, or standing on your head for 3 hours a day to lose weight, not planning properly will sabotage your diet.  It doesn't have to be too in depth, either.  My menu plan looks like this (click to enlarge):

Challenge 3: Don't Buy White

Make all of your grains whole grains.  Exchange white rice for brown.  Get whole wheat bread and buy whole wheat pasta.  You'd be amazed at how much they have switched now days! At first, I was scared things would taste HORRIBLE if they were whole grain.  I was amazed that the whole wheat pastas didn't taste very differently, at all. I even think they are better! I absolutely LOVE brown rice, but hate white.  Some flavors and textures do take a little getting used to, but it's well worth the effort!

Challenge 4: Read the label

Read the labels on just about anything you buy.  Educate yourself about healthy amounts of things to consume.  (you can start here).  There are several things you need to try to avoid altogether.  Trans Fats, I'm not an expert so can't tell you why, but stay away! (I'm sure a simple google search will get you the answer ;)) High fructose corn syrup, this stuff is in everything you wouldn't think it would be in! It's just added, often completely unnecessary sugar.  It's processed and tends to indicate a lower quality product. Partially-hydrogenated oils, your recommended daily intake of these is 0.  So just stay away, far, far away.  

Challenge 5: Lean Protein
Choosing lean proteins will help you tremendously.  Consider replacing ground beef for ground venison, turkey or buffalo (yes, you can still buy buffalo).  Eat lots of fish.  Take the skin off of your chicken breast.  Go out on a limb and try some tofu.  Heck, eat beans and rice one day for dinner or for lunch.  Swap Greek yogurt for regular, it has 16g of protein! Nuts are also a great source of protein and they have heart-healthy fat!  I'm quite in love with blue diamond sea salt almonds :)

I know this is a lot for one week.  You can break it down into smaller tasks, but it really is best if you just do it all at once.  NOW is the time to get healthy.  Breaking it down will just prolong it, and in my experience, will make it harder for you to stay on the right track.  It will be harder if you have others in the house. They won't like the change, but it's great for EVERYONE.  We are going for a lifestyle change, not a diet.  Nothing makes me feel prouder than when L asks for a plate of veggies for lunch, or fruit salad for a snack.