10 Surprising Fat Traps to Avoid (specially on weekend)

I told myself I was going to be “good”, when I got to the restaurant, that I was not going to have bread or dessert. But I arrived starving and the bread basket was right there. Before I knew it, it’s like my body was on auto pilot and I ended up eating the bread basket, my full entree and ordering dessert!

What is wrong with me? Argh! I was just so hungry and now I’m mad at myself because I feel sick and am too full and ruined my diet.

I hear this scenario often. Women say they are not going to do the very thing they end up doing.

Weight loss is something you want, so why do you get in your own way?

The downfall that I see often when people are trying to lose weight is not having a plan. As I say all the time, “fail to plan, plan to fail”. However, we can have a great plan in place and life still get’s in the way with “Fat Traps” that keep the scale from budging and keep us from feeling and looking our best.

Unfortunately, the average woman spends 31 years of her life dieting, leaving a huge gap in your ability to trust your choices and your body, which causes “fat traps” to exist everywhere.

Many times, it can feel like a giant feat to not succumb to chocolate cake or chips at a party or buy that pint of Haagen-Dazs on sale.

Here are 10 simple steps you can make to not only avoid fat traps but lose weight in the process! 

  • Fat Trap – Skipping Breakfast: Think of your body like a car, it can’t start burning gas until you turn on the engine. If you are getting up, working out and then waiting until 10am or 11am to eat breakfast you are doing your body a disservice and shutting down your metabolism, causing your body to eat lean muscle and store fat. You have just fasted for 8 hours, your body needs water and protein within 30 minutes to an hour upon waking for it to function at its optimal level.

The Fix:  Aim for 20 grams of protein at breakfast to keep you fuller longer, stave off cravings, build lean muscle and burn calories. 20 grams of protein looks like 1 egg and 3 egg whites, 1 plain greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of cottage cheese or 1 scoop of protein powder. Make sure to add one of these protein options to your morning breakfast to avoid fat traps and benefit from weight loss.

  • Fat Trap – Office Weight Gain: Between office parties with cookies, cakes and candy jars, sitting all day and the procrastination hour of 4pm, that leads to coffee trips with pastries and over-indulging. The workplace is #1 for weight gain. Many people also skip lunch or eat seated at their desk, and then realize how hungry they are or they are frustrated with their workload and want to escape and food is instant gratification and a social release.

The Fix: Stash your desk and office with healthy treats such as herbal teas like mint, green and cinnamon teas to curb cravings, fresh fruit like apples and berries, raw nuts, kind bars, hummus and crudite for dipping, apples and nut butter, string cheese, brown rice cakes, greek yogurt, avocado and jicama and make sure to have a 1 liter bottle of water to refill so you can assess your hunger. These are great go-to snacks that will leave you satisfied. Also, if you are eating from stress, the crunch is what you are after. Instead of having junk food, get your fix from these tasty snacks. Stay hydrated and move your body. Get a standing desk and order ankle weights or a balance disc to stand on to engage your core and burn more calories while at work.

  • Fat Trap – Coffee: Coffee drinks are laden with calories and sugar, leaving you jittery and craving carbs. People usually drink coffee first thing before waking, which puts acid on top of acid in your belly. Leaving you not only highly stimulated but will also have you craving carbs shortly after… hence cops in a donut shop. The calories in one coffee drink are the equivalent to a full snack or meal anywhere from 250-680 calories or more. They are filled with sugar which not only causes cravings but gets stored as fat if not burned as energy.

The Fix: upon waking have warm water with lemon. This will flush the body of toxins, cleanse your liver, cause a morning elimination and help to stave off cravings while enhancing your mood. If you are a coffee feign, then wait until midday to get the most bang for your buck in terms of energy. Also, see how much you love coffee by trying it black. If you don’t like it black, chances are you like the sugar and cream from your fixings not the coffee itself. Pick local coffee drinks, skip the caramel, whipped cream, syrups and flavored coffees that have added sugar in them.

  • Fat Trap – Eating Out: Many times when we go out to eat we have no idea how things are being prepared, dishes are super sized and we are receiving 2 portions instead of one and meals are laden with heavy creams, butter and sauces all of which are loaded with sugar.

The Fix: Be a “High Maintenance Orderer”, this is something I teach my clients. Don’t feel bad asking for dishes to be prepared the way you want them or asking for substitutions. Always order sauces on the side, dressings on the side and make sure to ask for your protein to be either grilled, dry sautéed, baked, broiled, roasted or poached. I also like to ask for half portions and tell them to box the other half and bring it out with the check. That way I have my lunch for tomorrow and I’m not left to be in the “clean plates” club.

  • Fat Trap – Fats: Too much fat, is too much, even if it’s good fat. Yes, some fats are very good for you, and yes you should have them in your diet, but it’s confusing to know how much to have and which ones. Fat is still fat and not a calorie-free food. When eating out, there are usually anywhere from 3-4 sources of fat in each dish, causing for a highly caloric meal. This is also extremely prevalent in salads, vegetarian options, as well as over consumption of dips and spreads such as all nut butters, dipping bread in olive oil, hummus and guacamole.

The Fix: Know your portions. General rule of thumb is using your thumb to measure your fats. Use your hand to measure portions. Your full thumb is the proper portion of fat to have at each meal. Often times with hummus and guacamole we categorize them as healthy and keep dipping without knowing our full portions. Dish out your amount which should be 2 tablespoons.

  • Fat Trap – Egg Omelet: You might think you are ordering a healthy option, an egg omelet with veggies and a little cheese. But the truth is an egg omelet, when you order an omelet out, are made with 2-3 eggs, heavy whipping cream and butter. The vegetables are usually sautéed in bacon fat as well.

The Fix: Order an egg white veggie omelet topped with avocado or an egg on one side of an english muffin.

  • Fat Trap – Gluten Free does not mean “Guilt Free”: Gluten free does not mean it’s healthier. This is a common misconception when in fact most gluten free meals and snacks are higher in calories and fat. Gluten Free Desserts for example are often made with added extra sugar or fat to offset the lack of taste or texture. They also often contain nut flours rather than grain flours, which are much higher in calories – e.g. almond flour has 50 calories more per 1/4 cup than wheat flour.

The Fix: If you don’t have a gluten allergy, then why are you gluten free? If it’s for weight loss, the reason people lose weight when gluten free is because they cut junk food, sugar and grains which make up for much of their caloric intake. It’s the reduction of calories not the gluten that has shifted for them. Instead of going gluten free aim for whole goods, that are unprocessed. This will not only help you cut calories but keep your cravings at bay and keep you more satisfied in the process. This is a concept called “Clean Eating”.

  • Fat Trap – Smoothie Shops: I love smoothies and I love juices, but I make my own and when I don’t, I customize what I want to ensure the right nutrients are present. Smoothies are great meal replacements, snacks are great for pre, post workouts to get a dose of fruit and veggies, but they can also hide an unhealthy amount of sugar — sometimes, upwards of 70 or more grams. That much sugar, even when it comes from fruit, is a huge load on your body and ends up being stored as fat. Usually, they use fruit-juice in recipes along with 3-4 types of fruit or sometimes frozen yogurt and sherbets are added. Some smoothie shops have a “light” menu with lower-sugar options — but make sure it’s not loaded with artificial sweeteners, which again can cause weight gain and cravings.

The Fix: Always look at the nutrition facts before ordering, and stick to smoothies that use whole fruits and vegetables, aim for 1-2 sources of fruit and fat per smoothie. Protein smoothies often have a good dose of healthy fat from nut butters and a bit less sugar than other options, but again watch your fats. These smoothies are also super sized, so pay attention, and don’t forget the kids’ menu, the smaller size can help satisfy your smoothie craving without breaking your calorie limit.

  • Fat Trap – Weekend Free For All: The structure of the week and routine, makes it much easier to eat right for many people. So when the weekend rolls around, it can feel like a food free-for-all. Saturday night drinks, dinners out, late night snacks, Sunday brunch—it’s so easy to pretend calories don’t count or justify your treats after a healthy and stress-filled week. You can easily cancel out all your hard work with an indulgent couple of days and feel bloated and blue come Monday.

The Fix: Think of the weekend as part of your healthy week instead of separate. Create a weekend plan and schedule your workouts but also give yourself a break from being so regimented so you don’t go cra-cra. Treat yourself to one decadent meal or dessert, but then aim for your normal menu the rest of the weekend. Looking forward to something special will not only make it taste even better, but will motivate you to eat well so you can indulge without the guilt.  More than likely, when you are really in tune with your body it doesn’t feel good when you overeat or have decadent meals.

  • Fat Trap – The Reward: “I deserve this”…this is the common “fat trap” mentality that I refer to as self-sabotage. Where food is your reward for a long, hard and stressful day or week. I mean you worked out this morning so of course you can eat whatever you want and you’ve been “good” all week, you deserve this. Even though you know the calories you burned, they definitely do not equal that massive piece of cake in front of you.

The fix: This is not about you needing food, this is about you needing to have another release outside of food to help you avoid this fat trap. This has become a patterned behavior and food is your release and instant gratification. The key here is recognizing when this happens for you and why. Ask yourself, am I really hungry right now? Is food going to solve the problem? What can I do instead? By doing this you can stop yourself before the damage is done and start to create a new pattern, one that is healthy, even if you are still eating, choose healthier options. Some things that work well for my clients are moving their body, journaling, choosing a healthier option, connecting with other people, getting out of the situation all together. When we need a reward we really need comfort, a release, a way to de-stress and need some fun. Go get a massage, go shopping, but it’s key to choose something healthy and balanced. 

Action Step: This week, put into action 1-3 of the tips from above. See how empowering it feels to know you’re in control of your weight, your food choices and enjoy eating out and having fun in the process!

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and tag. Most of all, comment below, this helps me to know what you need and what you enjoy receiving from me. Once I know, I can give you more!

My desire is to educate you on things you may not know that are sabotaging your hard work so you can stay motivated and get results.

I’m here on a mission to get women off dieting, to love themselves deeply, lose the weight for good and have a kick-ass life they love to match!

That’s you!

** This post is a courtesy of was written by Melissa Kathryn**

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How To Avoid These 5 Common Food Traps

There are countless challenges and temptations out there just waiting to steer you off the right path and deep into a box of cookies. So what’s a dieter with the greatest intentions and an even greater sweet tooth to do? Take a bite out of these common food traps and the tips to stay on track.

The weekend free-for-all
For some reason, the structure of the week makes it so much easier to eat right. But when the weekend rolls around, it can feel like a food free-for-all. Saturday night drinks, late night snacks, Sunday brunch—it’s so easy to pretend calories don’t count or justify tons of treats after a healthy week. You can easily cancel out all your hard work with an indulgent couple of days and feel too bloated for your long run.

The fix: Treat yourself to one decadent meal or dessert, but go for healthy choices fir the rest of the weekend. Looking forward to something special will not only make it taste even better, but will motivate you to eat well otherwise so you can indulge without the bulge (or guilt).

The everyday celebration
Doesn’t it seem like there’s an excuse to eat junk food every day, such as the cake for a colleague’s birthday or the bake sale at your kid’s school. It’s easy to justify a bite of something bad when it’s for something good. But those daily celebrations add up quickly and can leave you too sluggish to work out.

The fix: Choose just one celebration each week to indulge. Go with the one you’re most looking forward to or the one you know will be the hardest to resist (I’m looking at you, office cupcakes). Knowing ahead of time that you have a splurge coming will make it a little easier to say no to the others.

The reward
Why is it that you always feel like you deserve an entire pizza after a good week of eating healthy?  The post-weekdays hunger and the virtuous feeling from working out can make you feel like you can eat whatever you want, even though you know the calories most definitely don’t equal out and the junk won’t properly refuel you.

The fix: First of all, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of a weekend sweet snack; it’s important to refuel, but it’s key to choose something healthy and balanced like an apple and peanut butter. If you still crave a reward for a tough week, make it something other than food, like a massage, pedicure or new workout tank.

The group outing
Who hasn’t been in this situation: you’re out to dinner with friends, all set to order the fish and steamed veggies, but your pal orders the burger, and someone else orders the lasagna. All of a sudden your will power is gone and you’re ordering deep-fried everything.

The fix: When the waiter arrives, don’t be afraid to speak up and order first. If you hear decadent orders, you may be more tempted into picking something unhealthy. If you find yourself feeling weak just looking at all the choices, review the menu online ahead of time and commit to a healthy entrée before you even arrive.

The fleeting treat
How many times have you bought the Ben and Jerry’s because it was on sale? Or ordered the creamy, cheesy pasta because it was the special at the restaurant? It’s so easy to eat like crap when it feels like it’s a one-time-only opportunity – who wants to miss out?

The fix: This one requires a bit of a mental pep talk. You’ll need some kind of mantra to remind yourself that the world won’t end if you don’t taste the latest limited-edition Oreos; try “not this time,” “I’d rather have my health,” or “this doesn’t fit my goals.” Whatever it takes to trigger your brain to remember your healthy eating goals and just say no to temptation.

**This post was edited by MakeMyPlate‘s content team. The original post was written by Alison Barsalona and was published at**

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.


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.


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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Easy Food Swaps for a Healthier Diet

By: Hila Aran MSc., RDN

One of my favorite things about cooking is that there are endless opportunities to be creative. Depending on how creative you allow yourself to be, you can create many variations of one simple dish. I started experimenting with foods not only to make a wider selection of foods, but have also been wanting to make healthier versions of foods. Here are some secret food swaps you can make in your kitchen to enjoy healthier dishes:

Brown rice in, heavy cream out

Heavy cream is often used as a base stock or finish, and acts as a thickener adding not just silky-smooth richness and texture, but a good bit of unhealthy calories. For a healthier food choice, consider swapping with brown rice. In order to do so, cook the rice in broth and puree with low-fat milk. The rice will become a rich, nutty cream that not only acts as a thickener but also provides vitamins, minerals and fiber. A perfect food swap for dishes such as broccoli cheese soup, tomato-basil soup or clam chowder.

Egg whites in, Whole egg out

Most of the calories in an egg are found in the yolk. Consider swapping two egg whites for one large whole egg in your cooking or baking process or even at your next breakfast.

Fruit puree in, oil out

This swap is one of my favorites and most commonly used food swaps! A great way to cut back on calories from fat, all you have to so is swap ½ cup baby food or fruit puree + half cup oil for every one cup of oil. I find this swap especially helpful when baking muffins and breads.

Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal in, bread crumbs out

Most American don’t meet their daily need for fiber. With this easy substitute you can add fiber to your diet easily. I use this swap option especially when making soft and fluffy meatballs. You just can’t tell the difference!

Beans in, flour out

Swapping out flour for a can of drained, rinsed black beans in baked goods such as brownies is a great way to cut out gluten (if you are looking to do so) as well as squeeze in an extra dose of protein. Swap one cup of flour for one cup of black bean puree.

Avocado puree in, butter out

This is a perfect swap, especially when making sweets. Although they’re both fats and have nearly the same consistency at room temperature, they are very different kinds of fat. Avocado is a smarter choice of fat as it is an unsaturated fat. Another healthy option is to use ripe banana mash. Bananas act the same as avocado in terms of replacing fat in baking recipes and are a good source of nutrients such as potassium and fiber. In order to swap, use one cup of avocado puree or banana mash as a replacement for a cup of butter or oil that is called for in a recipe.

Vegetables in, Pasta out

This swap is perfect if you are trying to keep your carbohydrate intake low. I will admit it, it may take a few bites to get used to it, but with the right sauce is a delicious and nutritious food option. Swap thin strips of sautéed zucchini or oven baked spaghetti squash for pasta. This swap will save you calories and help you fulfill your daily needs for fruits and vegetables.

Greek yogurt in, Mayonnaise out

Such an easy swap and always turns out great. Substitute Mayo for Greek yogurt when making tuna or chicken salad. This swap will not only save you calories and fat, but will provide you with more protein provide. All you have to do is add some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.


Swap away! Eat healthier and Enjoy!



snack bar

Energy Bars As A Snack: The Good, The Bad And Everything In-Between…

Energy bars, granola bars, health bars, power bars, and the list goes on and on.
A variety of companies make such bars, and each one is called something different. Confused? We don’t blame you. This blog is intended to put a stop to the confusion and guide you to make a healthy snack choice, especially when it comes to snack bars.

Having an organized meal routine throughout the day is important for both children and adults. Balancing healthy and nutritious snacks not only helps us consume the recommended daily values of important nutrients, but also keeps us from becoming hungry to the point at which we may become vulnerable to overeat during our next meal. The key is to carefully and thoughtfully include snacks as part of our daily intake. I like to think of a “smart” snack as one that includes more than one food group. For example, a combination of protein and grains such as a yogurt with granola, or a vegetable with protein such as baby carrots dipped in Hummus. One of the difficulties I encounter with clients when it comes to snacks is the claim that they require advance planning and preparation. This makes choosing energy bars as a snack an “easy” alternative on hectic days. Every now and then, it is perfectly fine to choose an energy bar for a snack, but here is how to do it wisely:

Look for a type of bar that fits your needs:
This is especially important if you have a food allergy restriction, food intolerance, or a medical condition. Some bars may contain certain ingredients you may need to keep away from, and some are loaded with specific nutrients such as protein or carbohydrates to provide extra calories.

Read the label and understand the serving size:
Energy bars are often very caloric. The range of calories differs largely based on the manufacturer and on the intention of the product: a diet product or for example, one that is intended for an athlete. Calories can range anywhere from 60 calories to a few hundred calories in a single bar! In addition, some packages include two bars per package and some are single bars. If you read the label wrong you might end up consuming twice the amount of calories you intended.

Beware of the list of ingredients:
Often times, I find myself discussing the ingredients of prepared foods with clients and we come to the conclusion that one has to make the choice of which guidelines are important to follow. I jokingly say; “if we choose to avoid eating everything we will end up eating lettuce and lettuce only”. Try to choose an item with a list of ingredients as short as possible. Choose those that are natural, and you are familiar with. I often try to stick with the “10 ingredients or less” rule and find it very helpful.

It’s a world of snack bars choices out there. Follow these guidelines to make a healthier snack choice starting today, and don’t forget to pay attention to your needs when it comes to a snack. Ask yourself “What is it that I am need of right now?”, “What will satisfy me?” If here and there it’s a snack bar, then so be it.
Make the smart choice for you and enjoy!