Most people gain 1-3 pounds of fat every year at Thanksgiving. And guess what? Most of those folks make it a permanent weight gain. Thanksgiving used to be a meal with friends and family, but now it's a overstuffing of the body with unhealthy sides, mains, and desserts.
This year, we challenge you to go against this American tradition of Thursday football and 3500-6500 calorie meals. What should you do instead? Have a Fitsgiving!
A Fitsgiving is an active way to celebrate Thanksgiving. You can still have your roasted turkey, potatoes, salad, and pumpkin pie, but we invite you to take an adventure this year and have it to-go. Make your dinner table around a campfire. Yep! You heard us -- turning your Thanksgiving into a backpacking trip. Since you get Thursday (and for some of you Friday) off, you could make a hell-of-a-trip out of four days. You could fly to a hike that you've been dying to do, or hike something near home that you've been meaning to complete.
Let's get something straight, the food pyramids created by the USDA for Americans, whether meat-eating or vegetarians (or vegans) suck. They are funded by big agriculture and recommend that you eat large amounts of the food that they want to sell. Plain and simple.
I know this because I worked for the USDA for a brief time (but left because I couldn't handle the fact that they allowed their pockets and politics to influence the information they provided to us). I watched as the dairy or beef or wheat guys would totally influence how the pyramid was designed. That consumers were told to eat more grains or dairy because it was important to them to boost those economies...it had nothing to do with your health.
This is something that has been sitting on me for a long time and part of my mission to get you from skinny to strong is to make you the most informed on nutrition as possible. I aim to provide honest, no-agenda nutrition information that doesn't appeal to fads or policy. It just appeals to the human body and your physical (and sometimes emotional) needs.
To start, I have created a food pyramid that is the center of our nutrition program. And because many of you are meat eaters or are vegan, I made sure to create this pyramid to accommodate your dietary choices. Of course, you will not find dairy on this pyramid because it is not a legitimate food group for humans. We are not going to talk about this here, but let's just remember that another animal's milk isn't created for other species...we don't see baby cows being fed human milk, do we? No, it doesn't make any sense and it is purely a commercial product.
Protein: 3-4 servings per day
Fats: 1-3 servings per day
Fruits: 1-3 servings a day
Vegetables: 5+ servings per day
Grains: 0-3 servings per day
The average American drives 33 miles per day. They get in the car to go down the street to the grocery store. They whiz through the drive-through for their 500-calorie lattes. They drive to pick their kids up from school. They drive to work. For the most part, Americans drive everywhere.
On the other hand, Americans usually walk less than 3 miles per day. That's less than 5,000 steps per day. Our team thinks that is backwards; many of us have sold our cars or only use them for long-distance trips because the human body was built to walk long distances. It was built to carry a backpack on its back and a 30-lb kid on its hips. The body is stronger than most people realize.
For the sake of ease, let's say that walking one mile burns around 60 calories, more if you weigh over 140 pounds. If you walk five miles a day just getting to the places that you have to be, then you burn 300 calories. This presumes a 2.5 MPH pace. Move faster and you will burn more. If you are piggybacking a kid or carrying a heavy backpack, burn even more. These are the miles that it takes to get places...work, home, school, store...it doesn't count your weight lifting or circuit training and it doesn't take into account the walking you may do at work or elsewhere. It's an extra 5 miles of physical movement added to your day.
Now you may think that this is impossible, but it isn't. One of our nutritionists has been without a car for SEVEN years. She walks with her now 6-year-old everywhere. The nearest grocery store is 2 miles from her house. She only uses the public bus when it's more than 5 miles from her house. And guess what? She's got a six pack. She has minimal body fat. And even better, she doesn't run or do extensive chronic cardio.
We bet that if you tried this method of living, you'd lose unwanted fat, build muscle and get closer to a "zen" happiness. After all, that's what we're all about here. Give it a try. Just a week.
Building muscle and burning fat is easy once you get the hang of it, but there are things that you can do to accelerate your progress or even shed a few pounds of body fat (you know the ones we're talking about!).
There are also tons of things that you can do to maintain your weight once you've reached a good place.
According to several surveys, Americans are pretty passive when they aren't at work. The most popular hobbies are watching TV, reading, playing video games, going to the movies, renting movies (seriously...the media consumption is through the roof), fishing, computering, shopping, sewing, board games, golf, crafts, etc...
Obviously these are not all of the hobbies in America, but these are the ones that are hogging the upper ranks. Active activities such as walking, hunting, hiking, sports, and skiing were barely holding onto the bottom of the survey.
And while all of those these listed are fine to do here and there, they should be done in moderation especially if you want to lead an active lifestyle. If you are new to the active lifestyle, you may be wondering what types of hobbies are available to you. And if you are a seasoned pro, perhaps you are looking for a new "thing". Let's look at nine hobbies that fit into an active lifestyle.
Fancy people like to call trampolines rebounders, but we are regular folks here at Skinny2Strong, so we will just say trampoline! As kids, we all loved jumping on trampolines and were super jealous of the neighbor who had one in the backyard.
It turns out that trampolines aren't just super fun; trampolines offer a wealth of health benefits. From weight loss to improved balance, working out on a trampoline can change your fitness life. After reading this post on trampolines, you just might throw out your tennis shoes and buy a trampoline for your living room.
There comes a time in every one of our lives that forces us to eat out. And that can be dangerous to your health or your progress because most fast food joints serve up "meals" that are overflowing with sodium, saturated fats, sugar, and simple carbohydrates.
But you don't have to gine in to those nasty things when you eat out. Plenty of healthy, low-sodium, low saturated fat options are on the market. You just have to be smart and diligent with your orders. Here are the best fast food options for when you can't get home:
Panda Express is a healthy diet nightmare with most foods high in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. The first rule for eating at Panda Express is to swap the rice/noodles for steamed veggies and then choose a wok smart protein or the grilled chicken breast.
Your best option is a Panda Bowl with steamed vegetable and teriyaki chicken without the sauce. This adds up to about 400 calories with over 35 grams of fat.
Burritos are really delicious, but at Chipotle, it can cost you about 800-1200 calories! WTF? So don't go doing that.
Instead, you should order the Chicken Burrito Bowl without cheese or sour cream. Ask for brown rice (optional) and pinto beans. You can load up on grilled veggies, lettuce, and two salsas.. This will run you about 600 calories with 45 grams of protein, 4 grams saturated fat, and 1300 mg of sodium. If you don't get the rice, then it drops it down to 400 calories and 41 grams protein.
For vegetarians, don't get the meat, get the sofritas. Without the rice, this is around 360 calories with 17 grams protein and 1400 mg sodium.
A subway sandwich or salad is a great option for when you are on the road. A 6-inch turkey sandwich without cheese and on whole-grain bread is around 300 calories. Top it with mustard, spinach, onions, tomatoes, pickles, bell peppers, and cucumbers. If you must have cheese, it will add 100-200 additional calories, primarly from fat.
Gotta have a burger on the road? Better make it count then and hit up the In'n'Out Burger (sorry folks who don't live on the best coast!). Ask for a protein burger.
The protein style burger swaps out the bun for lettuce, saving you a lot of unnecessary calories. The protein style burger with onion is around 240 calories and has about 13 grams of protein. Skip the fries. Ask for water.
Face it-- you're not Arnold or some rich celebrity that can afford to workout for hours a day (or afford it!), but you are capable of living an active lifestyle. Those who change from a sedentary to an active lifestyle see wonderful changes, both physically and mentally. Why? Well, the body is working properly. The body is doing what it was meant to do: move and work.
But maybe you aren't fully committed to trading your potato chips and Netflix for Nike shoes and day hikes just yet. I'm not saying that the chips and TV are acceptable, but I'm not here to force you into a lifestyle. But, I am hopeful that you can start thinking about making a change; after all, you are reading posts about health and nutrition...that right there is a positive step toward a healthier lifestyle.
So how can you go about making the transformation from skinny to strong? One day at a time with small steps toward a total change. This is a process and it begins with making smart food choices and incorporating fitness into your routine. From here on out, I will post a new change to this site every few days that I want you to try and add into your day. Simple. And every time you come on here and read about the change, I want you to make a comment to the post saying that you are making the change...if one thing I know to be true, it is that accountability leads to success. You need to be held accountable and you need to publicize your decision to change.
Are you ready for a change? Let's take a look at step one:
Hi All! Our team is offering several new packages. One of our packages is a customized meal plan that features an individualized meal plan tailored to your wants and needs by our in-house nutritionist. The package includes a one-on-one consultation via Skype or phone.
Because we really want to try out our new package, we are offering it for $19.99 instead of the standard $25 rate until November 12. We are super motivated to help you all out if you are looking for a new meal plan that can be used again and again. Give it a try! Our team is waiting for you.
Main Nutrition Facts
How to Include Pumpkin Seeds into Your Diet
We've had a lot of emails about going gluten-free as of late and I wanted to address the topic. You can totally go gluten-free without feeling deprived. Gluten-free simply means removing items that have gluten from your diet. The most common one is wheat.
But just because you've eliminated gluten, doesn't mean you can't have burritos or lasagna ever again. Plenty of companies are making gluten-free pasta and tortillas for those nights you just gotta dig into a taco.
Of course, when you go gluten-free, you may find that you want to cut out any processed baked goods (pastas, breads, etc..). If you do that, you may lose a little weight. Don't be alarmed, this is normal. Just make sure you are eating enough (for women no less than 1250 calories per day; for men, no less than 1500 calories per day).
Once you've made the gluten-free commitment, you may find yourself asking, "What can I eat?'
Well, that's simple. Just follow this list of foods you can eat, and you will see that living a gluten-free lifestyle is easy as pie:
We are all about promoting fitness and healthy eating habits at Skinny to Strong, but what we aren't into are fads. Fads set people up for failure. As of late, a new fad, the 21-Day Fix is taking the internet by storm.
The 21-Day Fix** is a product by Beach Body. Every blogger and their blog-mothers are delivering diets that fit the 21-Day Fix. What is the 21-Day Fix? Well, it's a portion-controlled eating system that claims NOT to be a diet. But it is. Anything that restricts eating is a diet (again, we are not talking about the word DIET in terms of nutrition, which simply what you eat). Autumn, the poster girl of The 21-Day Fix says, "This is not a diet..." She is lying to you.
The 21-Day Fix has rainbow-colored boxes to shove your food into and you can mark off how many you eat each day. It also comes with a workout plan. Okay. We've had enough of that.
Why are we soooo against the 21-Day Fix? For one, it is a diet, and while we agree that some people do need to start eating less and working out more to lose weight, we also think that eating the right foods when you feel hungry and maintaining an active lifestyle is even more important than rainbow-colored boxes. If you really like rainbow-colored boxes, Amazon offers a range of them for much cheaper.
We also disagree that learning about portions (Link to Mayo Clinic slideshow) should be something we need to forget and/or rely on a box to do for us. If you don't know about portions, then a few weeks of practice should get you into shape and then you don't have to think about it...you'll know about portions and won't be lost in the event that you've forgotten your rainbow-colored Tupperware at home.
And the final reason we are against the 21-Day Fix is that they blew up the internet to get everybody on board. Why do you think all of these bloggers and pinterest boards are lighting up with info on the 21-Day Fix? It wasn't a coincidence. All of these people were selected to review and/or write about the product...they either received compensation or the product for free in exchange for a review. And just like that, every first world country knew a thing or two about the portion-control diet.
So, what should you do if you need to lose weight and don't know where to start. Well, you've landed on a great site. Skinny to Strong is still new, but we are in the process of developing a nutrition guide and fitness plan that you can easily integrate into your life. No diet, just eating when you are hungry, and not eating when you're full. It's all about eating healthy, wholesome food and moving the body. Sometimes that means that you workout and sometimes that means you aim to walk five miles per day. We'd love for you to comment, bookmark our site, or subscribe to our newsletter, so you can stay in the loop. We offer a ton of free downloads too. Nutrition and fitness is a community effort--it's not all money hungry....thanks for listening.
**Note: We've only linked over to the diet so you can see for yourself that is indeed a diet, not a lifestyle as they would like to have you think.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is all the rage these days isn't it. I don't really get it, but intellectually I can understand it...from a species POV. After all, humans weren't designed to eat all day long. Evolution tells us that humans ate when they found food and they ate a ton of it. Which is why the modern human is fatter than the pre-Industrial Revolution human...supermarkets and fast food everywhere make eating how we were meant to eat nearly impossible.
Unless you are me. Or other folks living in rural areas. I live three miles from the nearest grocery store and I don't own a car. I walk there once a week to pick up groceries for the week. Walking forces me to shop smart because I can only carry what I need on my back. I haven't owned a car in seven years and it's the best decision I ever made.
We've had a few emails requesting a weekly meal plan that helps men and women lose weight without feeling hungry. After thinking about it, we decided to build a manageable 1,600 calorie meal plan designed for men or women looking to lose weight, or just maintain current weight.
Before we outline the meal plan, let's talk about calories. The FDA cites that the average woman needs 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight. Men need something like 2,400. Okay. Those numbers are based on the average woman weighing 135 pounds and working out three times per week.
Let's just say that most of us aren't this woman. I know that if I were to eat 2,000 calories, I wouldn't fare so well because I am a petite gal. Even though I am muscular, my body doesn't demand that many calories, but for some women 2,000 calories make sense.
For the sake of everybody's sanity, let's presume that you are eating 2,000 calories everyday. And if you want to know how many you "should" be eating daily, check out this calorie calculator. If you are looking to lose some weight, dropping to a 1,600 calorie meal plan with the inclusion of exercise can help you lose about a pound per week.
And if you are more petite like I am, a 1,600 calorie day will probably be a solid number for weight maintenance. But really, you should do some personal investigating of your own eating habits. How? Food journal baby. Track your food intake for two weeks in a food journal. Analyze it using MyFitnessPal and you can determine how much you are eating, and if you are in the appropriate range for your weight/body image desires.
The meal plan that I have prepared for you hits between 1,500-1,650 calories per day. You can swap fruits and or veggies depending on the season. The plan does contain wheat, fish, and animal products, but you can do some substitution if needed.
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See the pictures above? That's me at 40 weeks pregnant. Now, I am not a fan of posting these sorts of half-naked, look-at-me pictures, but there is a point to this picture.
I am an average woman and I do not have superpowers.
I didn't lift and lift and lift while pregnant. I didn't even go running. Throughout my pregnancy, I walked everyday (5-8 miles), lifted my six year old, gave her piggyback rides, took the stairs instead of elevators or escalators (15 flights in my building!), did resistance training twice a week, used my body weight, and ate right.
Some weeks went by where I certainly didn't lift weights and that's okay because I maintained an active lifestyle. Hell, for the first twelve weeks, I was so sick with nausea that I couldn't bend over without feeling like I was going to spit up my smoothie! Certainly no lifting happened there...but I always kept moving. I kept working and I kept up everything else that I was doing prior to becoming pregnant (finishing up grad school, homeschooling my daughter, working from home, blah blah blah).
The point is that I want every woman out there, pregnant or not to know that you can stay strong and healthy during your pregnancy. You don't have to give into the societal stereotypes of pregnancy. Our culture is obsessed with binges, diets, trends, and still telling women that they should "sit down and put their feet up" while growing a baby.
Physical Activity Isn't a Chore
You do not, and I would say that you should not "put your feet up" the entire time you are pregnant. In fact, I would say to do the opposite. Yes, there are women who suffer from terrible prenatal complications, but this isn't about them. This is about the pregnant woman who has nothing in her way to prevent her from maintaining an active lifestyle while pregnant. Walking is a great way to stay fit throughout your pregnancy.
If you were a runner before you were pregnant and you want to keep running, go for it. But also, don't feel as if you have to keep running. It would be fine to switch to long walks. And if you weren't a runner before being pregnant, it's okay to add running into your week despite what others may tell you. And if running sounds awful, then walk.
Walking for an hour or two every single day can help you burn calories, build muscle and decrease stress. The government claims that you should fit in 150 minutes of cardio per week, but I say that is too low...how about 150 minutes of physical activity per day. Fit five miles of walking into your day and I bet you will come out of the other side of pregnancy feeling really great!
Here are some other physical activities you can do to stay strong:
Maintaining an active lifestyle during pregnancy is not only beneficial for you, it is beneficial for your baby. In the December 2013 issue of Pediatric Obesity, a study demonstrated that there is a positive relationship between maternal fitness and infant birth weight. What's that mean? Healthier babies are born to healthier mothers.
Stop Gaining So Much Weight
You do not need to gain 25-35 pounds to sustain a healthy pregnancy. You can definitely gain 25 pounds during pregnancy and be healthy, but let's face it, most women are not gaining within that range. Did you know that 50% of women overgain during pregnancy. And usually these women begin gaining too much weight within the first trimester.
Be prepared for some shocking information. I gained 10 pounds during my last pregnancy. My starting weight was 122 and my weight on the morning that I delivered was 132. I kept a log of my pregnancy pre/post-pregnancy weight this go around because I knew that I'd be writing this post.
I know what you must be thinking. This woman starved herself. Her baby must have been a premie. This woman is an asshole. The first two aren't true, but I am sure that somebody out there will say that I am definitely the third one.
I ate a regular diet of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins. I didn't eat out very often and I didn't subscribe to that craving b.s. still floating around in the air. There wasn't any pickles and ice cream. There was ice cream a few times, but that's just because I love ice cream...not because somebody somewhere told me that pregnant women crave ice cream. For the most part, I ate when I was hungry and drank lots of water. I didn't count calories and I didn't follow any specific meal plan outside of eating wholesome food not from a box.
Just one day before my due date, I delivered a healthy 7.6 pound baby girl measuring at 22 inches. I delivered an average-sized baby who is exceptionally long (now I know what I was hurting near my ribs!).
Most men and women workout and then eat all of those calories back afterwards. Why? Well, we overestimate how many calories our bodies burn off and underestimate how much food we actually consume.
Nobody needs an after-workout snack, but if you just have to have something to eat, try one of these nutritious snacks to make you feel better. As I said that you don't actually need a snack, perhaps you should schedule your workouts before one of your main meals instead, and then use on of these "snacks" as the starting point for your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Combine 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and a sliced apple.
If you are allergic or avoiding peanut butter (yes, I am looking at you weird Paleo folks), then use cashew or almond or sunflower seed butter.
Choose 1/4 cup trail mix, preferably one without chocolate. And preferably one that is full of seeds. Seeds are loaded with magnesium, a mineral that you might be deficient in...and something you need to maintain energy!
Eat a vegetable omelet. Load two eggs with chopped bell pepper, avocado, asparagus, spinach and a sprinkle of cheddar.
Let's face it, thousands of blogs out there tell you that we need certain vitamins to stay healthy. And we agree with them, but what we want to convey here is not only the essential vitamins that you need to get fit, to stay fit, and to be happy, but how to do it without taking supplements.
And yes, while we do promote the occasional scoop of protein powder, we definitely want to make it clear to our community that vitamins can be consumed through healthy, whole food options. Of course, times exist when a supplement is easier, or necessary, but today is not the day for that conversation.
Today, we are going to cover five vitamins that are essential to good health. For this post, we included vitamins A,C, and D.
Sites We Love
The Baker Chick
The Candida Diet
Super Healthy Kids
Wake Up World
No Meat Athlete
American Nutrition Assoc.
Lean it Up
Muscle and Fitness