Weight Loss Obstacles

Common Obstacles You’ll Face When Trying to Lose Weight

Losing weight is a commitment to wanting to look and feel better about yourself, not only on the outside, but on the inside too. But in order to do it right, you need to create new habits that focus around eating healthy and being more active in your daily routine. This could include small daily changes such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator, committing yourself to a set number of minutes of exercise per day, or simply by cutting out sugar, depending on how much weight you need to lose.

Of course, this is easier said than done and, let’s face it, there will most likely be obstacles and challenges that will tempt you to give up. Overcoming these obstacles is all up to you, and it’s done by keeping yourself motivated and having a positive attitude. It also helps to be a little bit prepared, so here’s a list of obstacles you may need to face and how to move past them and never look back.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes are always hard, which is why I recommend small positive changes you can do on a daily basis. You need to find new ways of doing things and eating healthy so that your daily routine changes slightly. Drastic changes all at once are a recipe for disaster, so don’t just jump right in. Start by preparing your meals ahead of time, making sure you’re always hydrated, and adding a little more physical activity to your daily routine. That means that you don’t want to promise yourself that you’ll go running three times a week from the get-go, start small and set realistic goals while making gradual changes to your regular routine so that everything isn’t so overwhelming.

Your Outlook

If you want to lose 5 lbs or 50 lbs,  there is no quick permanent fix. Be reasonable with your goals and do not set an unobtainable and unrealistic goal for yourself, because if you fail you will be demotivated and you’ll want to give up and most you will likely beat yourself up about it. Set realistic expectations, like 2 lbs a week, for example. Set a monthly goal and weigh yourself once a week to keep yourself motivated. Reward yourself with a treat that is not food! Rewards could be buying yourself a new book or item of clothing, going to a show or movie, or well-deserved nap. Push yourself to do better, review your goals every month, and set the bar higher for yourself by exercising a few minutes more. Just make sure you are never setting unrealistic goals that are near impossible to achieve. As long as you obtain one small goal at a time, you’ll start seeing the results and will be motivated to keep going.

Exercise

Without exercise in your daily routine, you will struggle to lose weight. Losing weight isn’t all about extreme diets. You need to balance a healthy meal plan with an active routine. Not only will exercise help you lose weight, but it will also make you feel better both physically and emotionally. You will need to try and keep your workouts consistent and increase the length each week. Find something you’ll enjoy doing, whether it’s bike riding, aerobics, or just running.

Eating and Drinking Habits

Changing what and when you eat will be a challenge. Getting out of a routine of unhealthy snacking or skipping meals is vital but not something that is easily done in a day, or even a week. Making the change will be hard but it will also be beneficial in the long run. One thing you can do to avoid temptations and unhealthy snacks is to prepare your meals and drink plenty of water thoughout the day. This will ensure that you remain energized all day and you don’t have to waste time thinking about what to eat.

Work, Family and Functions

You cannot control the people around you. Just because you’re planning on losing weight and eating healthy, does not mean that everyone else is on board. Strong will power will help you make healthier choices at work, family gatherings, and when you’re out with friends. It’s a challenge, but always remember what your goal is, what you’re doing this for. Remember that if you give in, you’ll just feel bad about it later and it won’t be worth it. If you’re going to restaurant, order something that is in your meal plan, or as close as possible. When going to a bar, avoid alcohol and eat a healthy meal before going out so that you aren’t tempted to snack.

Getting Enough Sleep

Your body needs to get at 7- 9 hours of sleep to function at its best. Since every person is different, you need to learn the exact amount of sleep that is perfect for you. Without enough sleep your hormones will be thrown off and you will be tired and sluggish and this could add to your cravings and sluggish feeling. Inadequate sleep could prevent your weight loss. Do whatever you need to do to wind down and make sure you have your much needed rest.

Support

Having a spouse, family member, or friend join you on your body transformation journey will make things so much easier. It will help keep you motivated and encouraged, and will keep you accountable. If it isn’t possible to go through the journey with a friend, at least keep someone in the loop so that you have accountability to keep you on track. You can also try to find a gym buddy to make your workouts more fun and challenging.

If you live with family members who aren’t on the same journey as you, tell them what your goals are and how important it is for them to be supportive. That means encouraging you and keeping their snacks out of your sight when possible.

Don’t forget to download MakeMyPlate to your phone to help you get through your weight loss journey and reach your goals!

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Weight Loss Guide for Mexican Restaurants

According to the United States Healthful Food Counsel (USHFC) Americans spend half their food dollars eating out. This is no surprise when we come to think of the busy lifestyles many of us lead. At MakeMyPlate we are aware of the fact that many of our users eat out often and want to provide you with all the tools you need to stay on track when it comes to your weight loss diet plan both in and out of your home kitchen.

As part of this blog series, every week we will focus on a different restaurant type to make sure you have all the tips and facts for your optimal choices to achieve your weight loss plan. In most cases, restaurants are happy to accommodate your dietary needs, all you have to do is have a diet plan and ask. This week we are happy to share our expert’s weight loss tips in Mexican restaurants and food chains.

Usually, the first thing that arrives at the table is chips and salsa and we all know how hard they are to resist. Make it easier by telling you waiter that you would like to skip the chips as they are high in fat and loaded with empty calories. Another general rule of thumb for dishes you might want to steer clear of are those that consist of cheese e.g. cheese and spinach dip, nachos etc. These dishes for the most part are high in fat adding up to hundreds of calories.

Meet your needs when it comes to meat!
Meat can be found on the menu of almost every Mexican restaurant. Whether its beef or chicken, many times it is prepared with extra lard or oil in the skillet. As part of your efforts in creating a healthy meal, we recommend sticking to the grilled meat options, and don’t be shy to ask for no oil or as little as possible. Another great option is going with an alternative such as fish. Fish is a great source of protein, has heart healthy Omega 3, and goes wonderful with typical Mexican items such as rice, veggies, salsa, guacamole, etc. It is preferrable to ask for it grilled not fried.

Go with the Tacos
Generally, ordering a taco meal is smaller in size than your average entrée. When ordering a taco dish you can ask for the more caloric options such as sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon crisps, guacamole, etc., on the side, leaving you in control of portion sizes. Another tip of ours has to do with the tortilla itself. Generally, corn tortillas are lower in calories than wheat tortillas. Also, check with your waiter if it is possible to get the tortilla baked instead of fried.

Bowl it! Burrito style!
Try a burrito bowl. This way you get to enjoy all the delicious flavors of a burrito and save on the extra calories of the tortilla. Many restaurants offer brown rice instead of fried or white rice, which is a healthier choice. You can also ask to go light on the rice and double the veggies. Add your protein choice and choose healthier toppings such as salsa, pico de gallo, chili corn salsa or lime and cilantro dressing.

Bowl it! Salad style!
A salad always makes for a nice meal, and is widely available to include your needs of all major food groups of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. The smarter choice is to skip the fried bowl that is offered in many Mexican restaurants, and skip the tortilla chips that come on the side or in the salad. Next, we move on to the toppings. Make a healthier choice by asking for the sour cream, guacamole and shredded cheese on the side or skip it all together- don’t worry there are plenty of other options such as salsa or lime and cilantro instead of salsa dressing.

Fajita fiesta!
When ordering Fajitas, go lighter and healthier by ordering grilled chicken or beef and asking for grilled veggies. As with other dishes, request for the sour cream and cheese on the side in order to have better control of their consumption. Additionally, consider skipping the tortillas all together turning your fajitas into a nice hot Mexican stir-fry like dish.

If you haven’t tried our App yet, or are not familiar with our restaurant menu selections check it out to find out exactly which healthier meals you could be ordering in Mexican restaurants to help you in your weight loss process. Buen Provecho and enjoy!

 

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How to Survive Thanksgiving When on a Diet

It’s that time of year again and the holidays are right around the corner. When on a weight loss diet, this can be a time when we feel anxious about maintaining our eating habits and not gaining weight. Here are 5 big tips on how to enjoy a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving with family and friends instead of thinking about the numbers on the scale the next day:

Feel good and confident about your body
Whether you are hosting, or being hosted for the festive dinner, take time before the meal to feel good about yourself. Wear an outfit that you feel good and comfortable in, and look your best. Feeling good about your body will serve as a reminder of the hard work you put in to be as beautiful as you are and will help you stay in control of your plate.

 Stuff the turkey, not your face! by maintaining your daily eating routine
Many people “save the calories for later” when they know a large holiday meal such as Thanksgiving dinner is coming their way. However, starving yourself throughout the day while fantasizing about that delicious sweet potato dish is not your best bet. It is important to maintain your daily eating schedule and not to skip meals in order to prevent you from stuffing yourself and overeating at dinner.

The “I’m just tasting” syndrome while cooking
You might be surprised but those little nibbles throughout the cooking process can add up to a good deal of unnecessary calories that you don’t count on as being part of your weight loss diet on Thanksgiving. One of the problems with these calories is that we tend not to think of them as much because we don’t consider them as a full meal or snack. The solution is quite simple: Avoid cooking while hungry and take the time to eat a proper and healthy meal.

Set clear guidelines for yourself for that holiday dinner
Most of us do well when setting clear guidelines, rules, and know what to expect from certain situations. As the smell of that delicious turkey is being spread around your home, take a few moments to set guidelines for your holiday dinner. It is important that while doing this you keep in mind setting guidelines that don’t over-restrict you, but allow you to feel good about yourself and remain in control of yourself and your diet. One example is deciding you are only sticking to one serving of sweet potato mash while allowing yourself to eat as many servings of salad as you wish. Another example is waiting 15 minutes after you finish your plate to consider whether you are really hungry for seconds. The sky is the limit, and the more honest you are with yourself, the more successful this tool will be for you.

 Avoid the “What the heck” syndrome
One of the hardest parts when on a weight loss diet, and even when just eating mindfully is forgiving yourself when things get a bit out of control. Truth of the matter is it happens to most dieters. The trick is acknowledging that moment, forgiving yourself, and continuing with your diet plan in order to avoid a downward spiral. Holiday dinners are prone to become one of these moments when you say to yourself: “Oh, what the heck!” If you do end up eating more than you planned during Thanksgiving dinner, acknowledge your behavior, forgive yourself and remember you still have a chance to save the calories and avoid overeating leftovers the next day.

 You are all set! Keep the “Big-5” in mind and have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

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Survive Happy Hour With These 4 Tips!

It’s definitely 5 o’clock somewhere and as the cocktails are flowing and rich indulgent snacking foods are being passed around, you may be wondering how you’re suppose to stick to your diet without sabotaging a great evening. So, what can you do to make sure you can resist the temptation? Well for starters, don’t let the peer pressure force you to blow your diet. There are plenty of options on the drink and dining menu that are healthy and allow you to partake in the fun. Hey, we’ve got you covered for these kinds of occasions. Keep these guidelines in mind and come to happy hour prepared.

Ready?

  • Don’t arrive hungry. Eat a healthy light meal or snack before arriving so you feel full and won’t be tempted to make unhealthy decisions.
  • When it comes to drinking, stick to a glass of red or white wine. Red wine especially contains antioxidants and can help protect the heart from artery damage.
  • Want something salty? Eat edamame instead. They’re packed with protein and they taste delicious.
  • Go back and forth between water and your drink so you stay hydrated and won’t overindulge.
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Dropping Pounds With Pals – Accountability Helps Maximize Weight Loss

Do you have trouble staying motivated with your diet plan? Consider partnering up with an accountability pal to lose more weight! A study by the Journal of Social Sciences showed that people who engaged in social interactions during physical exercise are more motivated and work out harder than those who do it alone. Why?

Engaging with friends while dieting and exercising helps you work harder for longer periods of time. You will feel constantly encouraged and share the challenge with someone on a similar journey. Need a place to start? Check out one of our live online community forums on your MakeMyPlate app so you can seek advice and find accountability when you need it. Get support from a dietitian who can answer your nutritional questions and connect with others on the same diet plan for support and motivation.

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Workout At Work: 5 Exercises To Do At Your Desk

The average person sits at the desk 8 hours a day and spends more time commuting via car or public transportation and then watches TV to wind down. Where’s the time left to work out? Exercise eludes the working person and the most widely used excuse is that we have no time left in the day to devote to exercising.

Luckily there are some ways to squeeze in exercises and still remain productive at work. Most of them require just your body and a chair.

Leg Raises – Raise your leg at a 45 degree angle and hold for 2 seconds. This will help tone your legs and strengthen your lower-body.

Hamstring Stretch – Sit up straight and move your chair away from your desk. But your foot on the edge of your desk and extend your arms forward. Lean forward and keep your arms parallel with your leg. Hold for 10 seconds on each leg.

Arm Stretch – Relax your muscles and hold your right wrist over your head and use your other hand to pull, hold for 10 seconds. Switch arms and pull the other side.

Hip Flex – Tone your legs and abs by sitting straight in your chair and bring one knee towards your chest. Slowly bring the leg back and do 15 with each leg.

Ab Contractions – Tone your abs and improve your spine. Draw your belly button toward your spine and hold for 10 seconds.

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Healthy salad dressing made easy

With temperatures creeping up in the summer, cool meals like salads are a great way to prepare lunch or dinner in a jiffy while cooling your body down. Not a fan of high calorie dressing? Neither are we! The MakeMyPlate team has compiled a list of healthy suggestions to replace processed supermarket dressings typically loaded with salt, sugar, and preservatives.

Beat the heat and enjoy guilt free salad all summer long without breaking your diet!

Creamy Garlic Dressing
Great for salads that would normally call for ranch. This dressing even makes a great dip for vegetables. It’s a hit with kids!

Makes 1 cup

  • 1⁄2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1⁄4 cup low­fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Blend all ingredients in food processor until blended.

Southwest Cobb Dressing
Try it with cobb, taco, or southwest salad. It even tastes great with lettuce wraps and tacos.

Makes 1 cup

  • 1⁄2 cup low­fat sour cream
  •  1⁄4 large avocado (pulp only)
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in food processor until blended.

Raspberry Vinaigrette
Love an oil vinegar based dressing? Try this raspberry vinaigrette over mixed greens and fresh seasonal veggies.

  • 1⁄2 cup of raspberry puree
  • 1⁄4 cup vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine

 

 

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Make Staying Hydrated Sexy

We’ve been touted that water is essential for hydrating the body and makes up a whopping ⅔ of our body weight. It’s a no-brainer that replenishing your body with water frequently is important. It helps the body perform essential functions like dissolving fats and soluble fiber, helping carrying out waste and a bonus, helps skin glow naturally!

Feeling sluggish and low on fuel? Drink more water! “Mentally and physically, we’re better off being hydrated,” said Paula Burke, clinical dietitian at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island. With a plethora of energy drinks and soda machines at your fingertips, no wonder it’s easy to forget to drink 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re looking for a way to kick off these habits, add one of the following ingredients to zest up your water and you’ll think twice before reaching out for soda or caffeinated beverages.

Make water sexy by adding:

  • shredded ginger
  • strawberry and mint
  • slices of lemon
  • a splash of grapefruit juice
  • sparkling water with lime wedge
  • a teaspoon of cranberry juice (not cocktail)
  • slices of cucumber
  • green tea concentrate
  • sliced pineapple chunks
  • mashed blueberries, orange slices, and sparkling water
  • dried rose petals
  • blackberry and lime
  • a teaspoon of acai berry concentrate