Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Straight Talk about Weight Loss + Evaluation Tool Download

In January many are going to be looking to lose holiday weight. I know the feeling. At one time I had lost over 10 lbs on a weight loss program. I was excited about my progress until the holidays hit. The weight gain started with Thanksgiving, continued with various Christmas parties and Christmas day events; it continued with New Year's celebrations and then my birthday. Before I knew it, I had gained back my 10 lbs and then some. I was deflated and frustrated with myself. I was ready to quit.

Of course, weight loss companies, fitness trainers and supplement companies know that there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people who feel the way I did after the holidays and they are ready for you. Honestly, my company, Achieve Weight Loss, is also in that mix of those who are anticipating the new year.

As you evaluate what to do to help you lose the holiday weight, let me give you a few questions to use to help you determine what is best for you.

1. Can I Sustain this Way of Life?
There are plenty of weight loss programs from which you can choose from and be successful in doing. Every weight loss program, product, fitness trainer, etc. has corresponding success stories and Achieve Weight Loss is no different.

The question you must ask yourself is: Can I live on this product, supplement, program, routine, etc. for the rest of my life? Yes, all those various options will result in weight loss-some will produce rapid weight loss, others will produce slower weight loss, but at the end of the day, you have determine if this is a way you can live for the rest of your life.

2. Is this Healthy?
Many diets deprive you of a macro nutrient in order to produce rapid weight loss. You will lose weight (often quickly on these programs) but at the expense of your long-term health. In many cases you will experience significant muscle loss as part of your weight loss. When it comes to programs based on a product, you need to evaluate the side effects of these products. Note also, that weight loss supplements and dietary products are not required to seek FDA approved. With that in mind, be sure to check out the background of the companies which manufacture these products. Some are legitimate while others are not. Click Here to read more.

3. Is this Affordable?
The price range for weight loss programs varies. Programs with pre-packaged foods, supplements, etc. cost several hundreds of dollars a month. In addition, you have to make additional purchases to supplement the pre-packaged foods. Supplement based programs also cost several hundreds of dollars and they too also require additional purchases as part of their diet. 

You will lose weight on these programs! Ask yourself this question: Can I afford to do this long-term. Realistic, sustainable and healthy weight loss is about 10 lbs a month. So if you want to lost 40 lbs you may be on the program for 3-4 months. Look at the program long term. For example: How much will losing that 40 lbs cost you on _________ program? 

4. Is this Educating Me?
Education is power! You will lose weight on whatever weight loss program or fitness regiment you choose. The questions you must ask are: 

  1. Am I learning anything?
  2. Is what I am learning applicable in the real world?
  3. Am I being equipped to make my own choices outside of this program? 
Whichever program you choose is up to you, but make sure it is a program that educates you about food in your grocery store and not just about their products. 

5. Does these People Care about Me?
Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar business. Unfortunately, many companies are driven by one thing: profit. To be honest, companies have to make a profit to stay in business: Achieve Weight Loss has to make a profit to stay in business; we have to pay bills and eat too! 

Businesses have to make a profit! So, how do you determine if profit is the main motivator or simply the result of the company's motivation. Here are a few questions to ask in making that determination: 

  1. Is the company's weight loss program built only on a product?
  2. Does the company provide value beyond their product or program?
  3. Is the company willing to work with you (e.g., are their flexible?)
  4. Does the company offer a refund policy?
  5. What are others saying about the company?
  6. Is the company constantly pushing you to purchase their product?
  7. Is this program endorsed by medical professionals and, if it is, are these local medical professionals who have experienced the program or are these paid endorsements?
  8. Does the company set you up for success beyond their program or product? 
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some effective ways to make informed decisions. Whichever route you choose is up to you. To help you guide you in your decision, I have included a free Evaluation Tool you can print off. Use this cheat sheet as you are researching various programs for losing weight. 

I want you to succeed in your weight loss! So, I have included links at the bottom of this article to some of most popular weight loss programs in the country. Use your Evaluation Tool as you go through their website to determine which program is right for you. 

Weight Watchers
HMR Diet
Biggest Loser Diet
Jenny Craig
Dash Diet
TLC Diet
Ornish Diet

Have a Healthy Day!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

5 Reasons Most People Fail at Losing Weight and How You Can Succeed

Since you are reading this blog, you may be one of the millions of individuals who has resolved to lose weight this year. Congratulations! If you will follow through on your New Year's resolution you can likely expect the following benefits:
  • Weight Loss
  • Reduced or elimination of medications
  • Greater mobility
  • More energy
  • Improved self-esteem/confidence
  • ...and the list goes on!

Notice I said "If you will follow through on your New Year's resolution" to lose weight you can expect these things. The sad reality is that most people will quit within a day or week of making the resolution. Here are a few reasons I think most will quit and what you can do to be success

Reason #1: I can exercise myself into weight loss

I used to think that way. I enrolled in martial arts classes and eventually received two black belts--but I was still 35 pounds overweight! I was in shape, but overweight! It wasn't until I changed my nutrition that the weight came off. Exercise is great and I highly recommend it, but it is the worst way to try to lose weight! It is for that reason that most people quit within a few days or weeks of the New Year.

Solution: Exercise but focus primarily on your nutrition.

CLICK HERE & Download the 5 Weight Loss Rookie Mistakes!

Reason #2: I have to deprive myself of good tasting food

The first three letters of the word "Diet" is "DIE"! Many people think that to lose weight they have to eat food with names they cannot pronounce, that tastes like cardboard or is boring. Who wants to live that way?! I haven't lived this lifestyle for almost 5 years eating exotic, bland or boring food! You can still eat eclairs as part of your lifestyle and lose weight!

Solution: Educate yourself about the tons of food options which will satisfy your cravings without causing you to store fat!

Reason #3: Sustainable Weight Loss is not possible

Have you had the experience of losing your weight and then regaining it? I have. Why does that happen. First, many people lose weight on an unsustainable diet plan. Once they get off the plan, they gain back the weight. Second, many people lose weight without understand how their program worked. They start making assumptions and the weight starts coming back because they were never educated about real food. Third, they never developed a weight loss lifestyle mindset. They may have learned nutritional information, but they never dealt with their mindset about food. 

 Solution: Develop a weight loss mindset coupled with knowledge about food. 

Reason #4: I live a fast-paced life

Who doesn't? Most of us live a fast-paced lifestyle complete with travel, kids, jobs, etc. People think that they cannot make fast food work for them, but they can! People think that they cannot eat health on the go, but they can!

Solution: Educate yourself about fast food options!

CLICK HERE to Download Your McDonald's Cheat Sheet

Reason #5: I have to cook for too many people

I hear this one a lot. Yet, the reality is that your meals are going to have a protein and it is most likely going to be in one of the three protein categories we teach. You are going to have some sort of vegetable and/or fruit and they are going to be in one of the three carbohydrate categories. Yes, you may not be able to eat everything you fix for the kids, but you can eat the majority of it and still lose weight. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to Make McDonald's Work for You

You know the drill: you are running from place to place and you don't have time to go home and fix something to eat. As you drive down the road, you see the "Golden Arches" of McDonald's gleaming in the sunlight. Your children suddenly start complaining they are hungry and want to go to McDonald's. (I am sure that their Happy Meal with its prizes is also a factor in your kid's decision!)

You let out a sigh of resignation as you see your "diet" plan once again put on hiatus.

Don't be discouraged! A trip to McDonald's need not derail you! Believe it or not, there are plenty of options which you can eat at McDonald's that will not move you away from your weight loss goal! However, there are a few landmines you need to know about before you venture into the Golden Arches.

At Achieve Weight Loss we stress that knowledge is power, so let me arm you with some knowledge about what to avoid, what you can eat, and some simple tricks you can use to keep you in a fat-burning mode. Let's start with what you need to avoid.

#1: Avoid the Bun!
The typical bun at McDonald's contains 150 calories! In addition, the bun has only 1 gram of fiber, a whopping 5 grams of sugar, and about 23 grams of starches. This bun will immediately cause your body to go into a fat storage mode! Who wants to eat a hamburger without the bun? No me! In our free download, we give you a trick to get around this dilemma (and no, it is not wrapping the meat in lettuce-that's still not a hamburger!)

#2: Avoid the Fries!
Even a small serving of McDonald's fries contains over 220 calories! They also contain 23 grams of starches which will convert to blood sugar upon digestion once again triggering fat storage. You would have to walk for over an hour just to burn off the small McDonald's fries!

#3: Avoid the Regular Soft Drinks
This should be a no-brainer! These Diet Demon Delights are loaded with enough sugar to cause insulin to run out your nose! You trigger fat storage every time you consume these gut-busters!

#4: Be Careful with the Salad Dressing
Say after me: "Salads are not automatically healthy!" Salad dressings can be loaded with fat and sugar and can destroy the health benefits of the vegetables in the salad (Okay, so you will get some vitamins and minerals out of it, but you are still storing fat with your salad!). Be of good courage, there are some salad dressings at McDonald's which you can enjoy without destroying your salad. We list those in the download.

#5: Avoid Super Sizing
Portions have grown over the years. What used to be standard in 1955 is now the small size today and even the small sizes today are slightly bigger than the standard size fifty years ago! The temptation to upgrade for a few cents more is tempting, but the weight gain (and the feeling that comes with it) is not worth it.

Can you eat at McDonald's and still burn fat? Yes! You don't have to avoid an occasional trip to McDonald's! (In the interest of full-disclosure, I occasionally eat at McDonald's because I do like the taste of their hamburgers.)

Recently, at Achieve Weight Loss we taught a class about our best menu picks of 4 fast food restaurants. I have put together a quick-reference sheet with menu choices at McDonald's that you can enjoy and still stay in fat-burn mode. I have also included some tricks that can help you make your food work for you at McDonald's (including hamburgers!).

Have a Healthy Day!

Founder of Achieve Weight Loss

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Avoiding the Thanksgiving Hangover

Several years ago I was losing weight on a diet program and I was so excited. I was having fun making meals out of their cookbook and I was seeing success...until Thanksgiving. The pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, chicken and noodles, etc. got the best of me, but it didn't stop there. A few days later the Christmas parties and events started. With only a few days between Christmas and New Year's day I just continued to eat like before the diet. My birthday is only a few days after New Year's day, so I continued in my old habits.

By the time the holiday season was over, I had regained my weight back-and then some. I was depressed and defeated. I didn't have the drive or the excitement I had before the holidays and so I didn't go back to my "diet" plan.

You don't have to be derailed by the holidays! You can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas parties, Christmas dinner and New Year's celebration just like everyone else and not get derailed on your weight loss! I know because since losing my weight 4 1/2 years I haven't been derailed!

The following are some strategies to help you keep from being derailed:

1. Drink plenty of water on Thanksgiving Day
  • Water keeps you feeling fuller making you less likely to overeat. If you drink a glass of water before your Thanksgiving dinner you will get fuller much quicker!
  • Water is a natural lubricant so your food will easily move through your system.
2. Don’t "junk" every meal
  • Eat a simple, light breakfast of an egg whites, veggies, and whole wheat bread (Better yet, eat Achieve Weight Loss approved "Broccoli Bread.")
  • Eat a light supper following the big Thanksgiving meal. 
3. Don’t skip breakfast on Thanksgiving. You will be less likely to overdo it at the Thanksgiving meal.

4. Wear tight fitting clothes. The uncomfortable feeling will be a good reminder of why you need to limit your portions.

5. Skip the fillers like nuts and bread. 

6. Watch your portions. At Achieve Weight Loss we recommend that you use a 6-8" inch plate. Try using a salad plate instead of one of those gargantuan plates!

We cover many more ideas in our "Preparing for the Holidays" lifestyle class; however, I know that these six ideas can help keep you from getting derailed on Thanksgiving. If you want to know how you turn you Thanksgiving leftovers into fat-burning meals, download our PDF of meal ideas utilizing your Thanksgiving Day leftovers.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Why These Subway Choices Work PLUS Free Pocket Cheat Sheet

I spend a lot of nights teaching weight loss classes in churches, schools, businesses as well as my own training center. Many of those nights I am traveling back home in the late evening. I am hungry and tired.

It is at those moments many people stop at a fast food restaurant and make choices that send their bodies into fat-storing machines. However, it doesn't have to be that way!

With few exceptions, you can eat at any fast food restaurant and still burn fat. (Hint: you don't have to eat only the salads!) One of the easiest restaurant options is Subway.

I stop at Subway a lot when traveling back home after a long day of teaching people how to make food from their local grocery store work for them.

  CLICK HERE for your Subway Pocket Guide

In the FREE download, I am offering you several options at Subway which you can enjoy and still be in a fat-burning mode. Of course, these are not magical weight loss meals, but when they are eaten in the context of a "Healthy Day" they can keep the Fat Truck parked and your body in a fat-burning mode. Here are some reasons why they work:

1. They don't contain excessive calories. Calories are nothing more than a measurement of energy. Your body only needs so much energy. These foods supply you with enough energy to make it to your next meal. After all, that is all the energy you need-enough to get to the next meal.

2. They don't cause the Fat Truck to run. These meals and options will not cause your body to go into a fat storage mode. You can walk out of the Subway with plenty of energy from your food without causing your body to start the fat storage process.

 3. They supply your body with adequate intake of macronutrients
The macronutrients are: Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates. By having an adequate intake of these nutrients you will maintain muscle mass, have energy and enjoy health.

For your convenience, I have created a small, pocket-sized, fold-over sheet you can keep in your purse or wallet to help remind you of great, fat-burning options at your local Subway. If you make this a part of a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy losing weight and-just as importantly-keeping it off.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

5 Food Tips for a Fast Paced Life PLUS Free Download

At a recent health fair, I talked to a young mother. She lamented that she knew what she needed to do, but she just didn’t have the time to cook and eat healthy.

Are you struggling to find time to eat healthy? Are you constantly stopping at fast food restaurants, grabbing a quick snack at the convenience store, devouring your meals because you have to be somewhere quickly? Let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world. Our days are filled with running from place to place.

When you live a fast-paced life losing weight seems to be impossibility, but it is not. Here are a few tips that will help you.

There a several “safe” options at restaurants which you can enjoy without fear of packing on the weight. To help you succeed in your weight loss in our highly mobile society, we have created a PDF download of “safe” options in 3 national fast food chains.

When you are on-the-go, it is easy to grab a sugar-filled soft drink. After all, the sugar provides you with an energy bump. However, the sugar also throws your body into a fat storage mode. Sitting in your car, sipping a sugary drink coupled with little activity is a recipe for disaster.

Just like the sugar soft drinks, the candy bars will give you a brief energy boost, but put you into a fat storage state. Plus, you will find yourself craving more food within a short period of time. Included in your download is a list of 3 snack bars found in many grocery stores and gas stations which will not hurt you in your quest to lost weight.

Although I want you to cook your own meals, the reality is that you need to have a few items you can grab out of the freezer, cook in the microwave and eat on-the-go. Since breakfast is a difficult time for most of us, we have included 3 quick breakfast options you can quickly heat up and eat before you run out the door.

Recently, I was in a fast food restaurant and I ordered their grilled chicken salad. When I asked for the salad dressing options, I found out that they did not have any good options. (Word of warning: low fat does not mean always mean weight loss.) Fortunately, I had some salad dressing packets in my car which I could use that would not derail me. We have included an easy portable option in the download.

Admittedly, it can be difficult to lose weight in this fast-paced word, but it is not impossible! You can do it and these tips and tools can start you in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

“Broccoli” Breads and More

Is being overweight the fault of eating bread? Do you have to stop enjoying tortillas, muffins, breads and flats if you are going to lose weight?

Personally, I could not have lost my weight over four-and-a-half years ago if I was told I could not eat breads, tortillas, muffins and flats. For most, a lifestyle void of these items is not sustainable. Who doesn’t enjoy a sandwich or a wrap? I want my toast with my omelet! 

How can you find the best breads? The following are some starting points to consider when shopping for breads; however, to keep you from being overwhelmed, I have included a free PDF download which lists a few of my top breads, tortillas, flats, muffins and more. 

1. Ingredients

At the minimum, the best breads should be wheat bread; however, whole wheat or whole grain is the best option. Your body takes longer to break down whole grain breads resulting in feeling fuller longer. It is true that these breads will cause a slow rise in blood sugar levels which will put you into a fat storage mode so don’t eat these breads alone.

2. Calories per slice

Many breads - including whole wheat/grain breads - can be loaded with more calories than you need. For example, two slices of some whole grain/wheat breads contain over 100 calories per slice. Although these breads are not necessarily off limits, there are other lower calorie whole wheat/grain breads on the market that are a better option for making sandwiches.

3. Fiber

Fiber slows down your digestion making you feel fuller longer. Fiber also adds bulk to your stools making food move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination. Look for breads with a high ratio of fiber to calories.

4. Protein

Protein is the most difficult macro-nutrient (fat, carbohydrates and protein) for your body to digest. As a result, you feel fuller longer with high protein foods. Although most grocery store breads are not real high in protein, bread products with a good amount of protein will help you control your blood sugar levels and help keep you satiated.

I have compiled a list of a few of my top breads, tortillas, flats, muffins and more that we included in the Achieve Weight Loss lifestyle. I ate these products during my weight loss mode and I continue to sustain my weight loss by enjoying these products today. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

7 Keys to Winning the Weight Loss Battle

For years I struggled with my increasing weight. Everyone Monday I started a diet and by the next day I was off my diet. It wasn’t until I had a compelling reason to change that I decided to start eating differently. Less than twenty-four hours after I started my weight loss journey I was confronted with the challenge of eating out in a different city. In the past, I gave into the challenges, but this time I successfully defeated the Diet Demon and left the restaurant full and victorious! You can do it too!

Since weight loss begins in the mind, I want to share with you seven ways to win the weight loss battle. In addition, I want to send you a free download that will help assess if you ready to start your weight loss journey.

1. No More Magical Thinking
Face the reality that there is no magic pill, wrap, or product that is going to provide you with permanent lasting results. While these products may enable you to have rapid weight loss, they are temporary (and often expensive!).  Sustainable weight loss begins and continues with educated and empowered choices.

2. Stop Being Anxious
Too often we put unrealistic time restraints on weight loss. You did not gain fifty pounds overnight; therefore, accept the fact that you cannot lose fifty pounds in thirty days. Also, don’t feel like you have to know everything about every food option. Learning a sustainable way to eat takes time. Start simple and get fancy later.

3. Be Confident in yourself
You have the power to say “no”! As our Achieve Weight Loss t-shirts say, “I refuse to take orders from a cookie.” You do not have to be a slave to your food or your circumstances.

4. Focus on What You Can Eat, Not What You Can’t Eat
Don’t live in the world of “I can’t eat that”! Live in the world of “I can eat and enjoy that”! In the Achieve Weight Loss lifestyle you learn about hundreds of foods and products in your grocery store that enable you to live a sustainable and enjoyable weight loss lifestyle. Plus, we tell you about great substitutes for your favorite foods. There is no reason to be focused on a few items which you need to avoid a majority of the time. Remember, you can eat the junk food-just not every day.

5. Focus on more than the scales
Focus on how your clothes are starting to get loose. Focus on the return of your energy. Focus on and bask in the comments you are starting to receive. Focus on how far you have come on your weight loss journey. Focus on your victories!

6. Root out the Root
Weight loss followed by weight gain may be your way of coping with past trauma. Due to a past trauma, you feel you are unworthy to lose weight so you self-sabotage. Due to feelings of guilt or shame from the past, you may have convinced yourself that you cannot make a few simple changes to your lifestyle. Due to the past, you feel unworthy to be successful. If this describes you, pray and ask God to reveal to you the pain that is driving you to abuse yourself. Also, seek counsel from a pastor or counselor to help uncover the reason.

7. Love Yourself Unconditionally
If the God of the universe –who knows all about you-can unconditionally love you, then you have no reason not to love yourself!

Although we do teach you about food in your grocery store, at Achieve Weight Loss we also focus on the mind because weight loss begins in the mind. So, before you start any weight loss program make sure your decision to start is driven by a compelling reason.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Is it Really Too Expensive to Eat Healthy?

In the second week of Achieve Weight Loss classes we ask people what are the negative effects of their weight. Invariably, someone will complain that "Eating healthy costs too much." Is that true? If it is, is it worth it to spend a few more dollars to eat healthy?

According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, it costs about $1.50 more per day to eat healthier foods (e.g., fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts). However, before you decide it is too expensive to eat better, you need to consider the following:

  1. You will eat less healthier food than the junk food. Healthier food keeps you feeling fuller longer. Even though junk food is often cheaper you will buy more of it because you will eat more of it. So, in the long run, it is not more expensive to eat healthier foods.
  2. Healthier food may initially cost more, but a steady diet of cheaper junk food leads to a host of medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. These medical conditions result in costs for medications. Once you factor in how much money you are paying for medications which can be often reduced or eliminated by fueling your body consistently with healthier food, you are actually saving money with the healthier food!
  3. Healthier food may initially cost more, but it is cheaper than a heart attack, stroke, and other diet-related (and often causing) medical conditions.
  4. Healthier food may initially cost more, but a diet of the cheaper food leads to larger clothes-which cost more money.
  5. Healthier food may initially cost more, but a diet of the cheaper food leads to less productivity. If you don't feel good, you don't get as much done. Lower productivity may result in lower income. 
We could go on with more examples, but the reality is that in the long run, cheaper food costs more. It really depends on whether you are thinking long or thinking short. If all you focus on is the cost at the check out line, you will keep buying the cheaper, junk food. But, as the old saying goes "Pay now or pay later."

At Achieve Weight Loss we educate and empower you so you can make the correct food choices so you can fuel your body with food that will result in a healthier body. A healthier body results in benefits such as:

  1. Reduced or elimination of many weight-induced medications
  2. More energy
  3. Greater productivity
  4. Less joint and back pain
  5. Greater self-esteem
I think those benefits (and more) are worth a few extra bucks a month.