6 Tips to Overcome Snack Attacks

Do you struggle with afternoon or evening snacking?

These are common times where we might be more apt to reach for the sugary or salty foods. Sometimes it is such a habit that we sabotage that day’s hard work in one swift move. I know I’ve personally done it. It took a lot of hard work to reign it in until it wasn’t totally damaging, and then more hard work to get it under control… or at least as under control as it can be.

Today I would like to share with you some of the tips I have found to help me manage my afternoon and evening snacking.

#1: Go for the lower calorie snacky foods.

If you feel an uncontrollable urge to grab something and you just can’t summon the energy to fight for control, reach for lower calorie snack foods such as marshmallows, dry cereal that is low in sugar, crackers, etc.

#2: Cut up fruits and veggies ahead of time.

Another great idea is to cut up fruits and veggies ahead of time. If you have some small containers for dips, get those prepared with low fat dressings, nut butters, or other healthy dips to dip your fruit and veggies into. Then when the snack monster rears its ugly head, you have something prepared and easy to grab.

#3: Divvy up other snacks into baggies.

Measure out other types of snacks into baggies such as nuts, seeds, cheeses, low-sugar and high-protein cereals, dried fruit such as raisins/cranberries, popcorn (without a ton of butter), crackers, etc. Make sure to keep the portion sizes manageable and store the baggies in a place where you can see and grab them as needed. You might even consider using a permanent marker to write on the baggies how much is in there and how many calories it is so it’s easier to figure out which is best to grab at any given moment.

#4: Plan snacks ahead for the times you feel most snacky.

This one works really well if you like planning. In the early parts of the day, maybe when you have just eaten breakfast, think ahead to what you can have for your afternoon and evening snacks. Keep in mind things that are healthy and filling, that will leave you feeling satisfied and content. Pairing a fruit or veggie with a protein for your afternoon snack could really help your energy levels. Some fiber and/or protein in the evening can help you feel satisfied so that you’re not reaching for the less desirable foods.

#5: Keep your mind and hands busy.

Keeping yourself busy during the times of day you feel most drawn to snacking, especially when boredom eating is playing a part, can help a ton! Figure out some activities that keep your mind and hands/body busy such as taking a walk, going out in nature, reading, writing, cleaning or other housework, playing games, etc. Anything that keeps you busy enough to keep you away from snacking is a good idea.

#6: Drink your water.

Staying on top of your water intake is a great way to combat snacking as well. Sometimes when we feel hungry, we’re actually thirsty. Stay on top of how much water you’re drinking, and also finding the sweet spot of how much water you should be drinking each day, can turn out to be one of the best weapons in your arsenal against snacking.

What are your favorite ways to overcome your snack attacks?

 

~Bonnie~

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How to Help Your Kids Eat Healthy

Most parents and caregivers can agree that getting kids, especially young ones, to eat healthy can be a constant challenge. They don’t want to try new things and when they do, they can be put off by the texture or the taste, or even something else. Here are some tips that have worked for me or a family member:

Rule #1: Don’t force them to eat certain things! It doesn’t get you anywhere and may even backfire.

Rule #2: OFFER all foods by asking them if they want it and/or placing a small amount on their plate. The more the food is mentioned, the more likely they are to at least say yes at some point.

Rule #3: Make the food appealing or attractive in some way. Entice them. For example, with broccoli, I told my nephews that it looked like a little tree that they could eat. It still took a while for them to try it but the tree thing intrigued them and helped them get used to the idea.

Rule #4: If they really don’t like a certain food, don’t force them to eat it. They may learn to like it later on and you can certainly keep offering it to them, but if they’ve already tried it and say they don’t like it, don’t force them to eat it.

Some other ideas:

  • Hide the healthier foods in the less healthy food that they like. Go with this age-old idea of hiding it in their other food. You can mix small pieces of veggies and meat into scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese (or other pasta dishes), spaghetti or other kinds of sauces, breads/muffins that you make yourself, etc. The ideas are endless. Now, I realize that you’re not going to “fool” all kids this way but it’s an idea for some that are picky but not super picky.
  • Put it in front of them without saying anything. Serve their veggies on their plate along with their other food without offering it or mentioning it beforehand.
  • Tell them that they need to at least take a bite of it. This can go hand-in-hand with the previous idea. Say they need to try it before they make a decision about it. If they finish the rest of their food and want more of those, make a deal with them that if they eat their veggies, they can have seconds of the other dishes.

Children will learn to view it as their choice which makes them feel as if they have more control over what they are eating and is usually more constructive long-term as well. Sure, it may take longer for them to even try a food let alone actually eat it, but it gives them a much more positive view of healthy eating… particularly regarding vegetables.

I have used these tactics with my four-and three-year-old nephews for at least a couple years now and have much better results than when forcing them to eat certain fruits and vegetables. My mom also did this with my siblings and I when we were younger and I fully believe that it helped us enjoy healthy foods more. My sister and I especially like a variety of fruits and vegetables. My brother likes a few too, just not as much as us girls. I know for sure that what my mom did helped me and now I love all kinds of healthy foods that even she doesn’t particularly like.

My opinion is that the better a view of healthy eating that your kids have, the better it will serve them and your whole family. So teach them about healthy living and simply encourage them to live a healthier life. Most of the time it doesn’t have to be rocket science to teach our kids good habits!

What do you do with your own children to get them to eat healthier, drink more water, or exercise?

 

~Bonnie~

Winter Healthy Comfort Tips

This is Part 2 in my series of Winter Health and Fitness Tips!

(Here is Part 1: “Winter Fitness Tips” if you want to check it out!)

Here are some warm comfort foods that are healthy, or at least lower calorie:

  • Hot cocoa, add in some mini marshmallows which are low calorie and you’ve got yourself a treat!
  • Coffee, just be sure what you’re adding to it is low in calories and not high sugar/fat. Some ideas are nut milks, cinnamon, and honey.
  • Hot tea (same goes for what you add as above).
  • Warm milk
  • Oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • Toast or English muffin: as long as you don’t put a ton of butter or something else on your them, whole grain/wheat toast is a healthy warm food. English muffins are also somewhat lower in calories than some other breakfast foods and if you toast them can also make a nice comforting, warm food.
  • Soups (make sure to check the nutrition label for sodium though!)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches with whole grain/wheat bread and minimal butter.
  • Chili: ground turkey chili, chicken chili, meatless chili.
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Healthy lasagna (the opportunities are endless with this, look for some recipes).
  • Meatloaf made healthily, again there are many recipes for this online.
  • Crockpot meals: there are so many recipes out there for this as well.
  • Popcorn (yes, popcorn is a healthier snack choice than some snacks, just be careful of all the additives such as butter or salt).

It’s good to spend some time just chilling too: curling up with a good book and a hot cup of your choice beverage. That is an ultimate comfort for a lot of us. So cozy! Time spent putting your own wellbeing first is time well spent, and very healthy. You can also cuddle with pets, your kids, or other loved ones. I love snuggling with my nephews on a cold morning, it helps warm me warm up faster and also keeps them warm which is true of pets and other loved ones as well. It’s a mutually beneficial activity!

The more you move, the warmer you’ll feel. Of course this is only temporary, but at least you’re killing two birds with one stone: getting warmer and burning calories! Plus you also get things done as well, which means you’re multitasking, such as cleaning or other housework or even getting your exercise in!

Imagine popping in a good movie to watch, with a bowl of popcorn (portioned out so you know how much you’re eating)… maybe even some hot tea or coffee to drink… curled up with loved ones or even by yourself. So comfortable and cozy!

What is your favorite way to stay warm and feel cozy during the winter? Mine is curling up with a book and just letting the story take me away. It helps me to not think of the freezing weather outside!

 

~Bonnie~

P.S. If you want to make 2016 your best year yet, check out my New Year’s product: Best Year for the Best You 2016 Package. It’s up for pre-order right now for a limited time price of $259! It will be going up to full price once it’s released on December 17th, but if you order it now, you’re saving sixty dollars and you will receive the full package on the release date! If you purchase from this link, your card won’t be charged until the day it’s released!

How to Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet

If you’re seriously ready to make 2016 your best year yet, your year to lose weight and improve your health, then my Best Year for the Best You 2016 Package just might be perfect for you! I am including everything I feel you would need to do what I have done: to lose weight, get healthier, and to stick with it long-term! It’s on pre-order and will be delivered to you on December 17th by 6pm CST if you order it now!

Instead of just one tool, you are getting so many tools: 12 total tools in this package. All for the pre-order price of $259 until it’s released! So get it before it raises back up to full price!

See more details by clicking here: Best Year for the Best You 2016 Package.

You get one full year of support + motivation help! What it includes:

  • All inclusive goals + motivation (worth $69):
    • Organizing for Weight Loss 7 Day Startup
    • 30 Day Kickstart into the Year
    • 12 Monthly Goals booklet with ability to break down into weekly goals as well
    • 12 Monthly Calendars to record whatever you like: steps taken each day, calories in vs. calories out, water ounces or cups, type of exercise, etc.
    • 365 Days of Inspiration: Quotes + Words of Wisdom for each day of the year
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  • How to Make Lasting Changes eBook and Kit (worth $39):
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      • Here I will share all of the things I learned during my weight loss journey so far and teach you how to stick with it in your own weight loss journey!
    • Empowering Yourself Workbook
    • Exercise Handbook
  • One Year of Support (worth $199):
    • Monthly Group Coaching Conference lasting 2-3 hours and full of helpful information, tips, and support! Not to mention a Q+A at the end of each.
    • Monthly Digest: a mini magazine delivered directly to your email inbox on the first of each month for a whole year, full of motivational articles.
  • Forever Support (worth $12):
    • Facebook Private Group access, where you can meet others with similar goals and converse freely.
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  • Bonuses:
    • How to Survive Winter Guide
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All of this is worth $319! However, you get this whole package for a half-price Black Friday + Cyber Monday deal for $159 between now and 11:59pm CST tonight! Grab it while it’s at such a low and hot price!

The Black Friday + Cyber Monday deal is over now, but this package is selling for a special pre-order price of $259 which is 20% off of it’s full retail price. You’re saving sixty dollars if you buy it before then. Using the link below, you will not be charged until the package is released on December 17th!

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As the saying goes, sharing is caring! Do you know someone who might find this package useful? Share this post or gift the package to a friend you know will appreciate it! Help them improve their life too!

 

~Bonnie~

6 Tips for Thanksgiving Exercise

Holidays + Exercise = nightmare!

Do you find it hard enough to get exercise when there isn’t a holiday or some other big thing going on? So how does one handle healthy living on a holiday?

A couple days ago I shared tips with you regarding stress and eating tips: 8 Tips to Manage Thanksgiving Stress. So check that out if you would like tips on those topics.

Here are some tips for your holiday exercise plan this week:

  • If it works for you, plan your rest day for Thanksgiving instead of your usual day, and then just try to make the day as active as you can.
  • Plan your day ahead of time: making a rough schedule to fit your exercise in around cooking or interaction with others. We all know holidays can be so hectic that we lose track of time or forget to take care of ourselves as well as everyone else.
  • Fit your exercise in early in the day so that you aren’t totally exhausted when you try to do it later. You might prefer to get your exercise in before everyone else wakes up if you have company or small children, otherwise just get it done before all the cooking and festivities start.
  • Walk or dance in place while you cook… just be careful not to scald yourself!
  • Make exercise a family/group activity. Play sports or games outdoors if you can, or break out active games or videos to do indoors. Go for a walk with one or more family/friends. Basically anything that gets your family or group moving instead of sitting and lounging the whole time is a good idea!
  • If you need a breather from the holiday festivities, take your dog for a walk… or take your host’s dog for a walk if you don’t have one and your host does. It is a legitimate excuse to get away and fit some exercise in, while also allowing you a breather from everything else going on.

Most of all, just do your best to fit in your fitness and don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t for some reason. Eat moderately, indulge a little bit (after all it’s Thanksgiving!) and realize that it’s just one day. In the grand scheme of things this one day where you will likely go over your calorie allotment is okay.

What are your exercise plans for the holidays? Since I’m not doing anything the day of and my family doesn’t seem to be holding an actual Thanksgiving meal, I will likely just go about exercise as normal. Not to mention the fact that I will be babysitting my nephews all day that day anyway.

I hope you all have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING tomorrow! Be as healthy as possible, but also be flexible and enjoy the day!

Don’t forget to keep your eye out for a post on Thursday afternoon/evening for the 48-hour sale codes on my Be the Best You products!

~Bonnie~

8 Tips to Manage Thanksgiving Stress

Thanksgiving, well any holiday really, can just get so chaotic and crazy that we forget that we still need to take care of ourselves and keep ourselves as sane as possible. I have put together some tips that I have found helpful in times of chaos in my life and hope they help you during the holidays!

Some of these are geared towards weight loss and healthy living:

  1. Find time for yourself. Put yourself first, first, so that you are better equipped to handle the rest of the holiday. So get up early and decompress before the day even starts if you feel you might need to! Do it before you need it so badly that you end up exploding later.
  2. Run away. If at all possible, find a place to hide in the middle of the chaos. A quiet room, outside, even the bathroom might do the trick. Take the time to just take a deep breath and think, or just exist for a moment! We all need a breather once in a while.
  3. Pace yourself. Realize that you don’t have to do all or be all to have a good holiday. Just focus on doing your best.
  4. Plan ahead. Prepare food ahead of time if you can. Think ahead today and figure out what you can make the day or two before Thanksgiving so that you don’t have to cook it all at once. That way it isn’t as frantic when the time comes.
  5. While you’re at it, make a game plan for your meal. Stick with veggies or fruit for 1/3-1/2 of your plate. Then turkey or other meat 1/4-1/3 of your plate. Then a little bit of each of the foods you really want to have such as mashed potatoes, a roll, and/or a small piece of dessert.
  6. Estimate calories. Make educated guesses on anything you don’t know the exact calorie content of. Google how many calories in whatever Thanksgiving dish it is. Do your best to stick to that. This way you can plan the rest of your meals and snacks around it for that day.
  7. Don’t expect to be in your calorie range. You almost definitely won’t be in your calorie range… and that’s totally okay! Do your best to minimize the damage but just enjoy the holiday and time with family without worrying about it too much.
  8. Do not deprive yourself! I repeat, do not deprive yourself of your favorite Thanksgiving foods. That is almost a sure fire way to sabotage yourself. Pick the things you really want to eat, for example what Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without, and have a small helping of it!

If you’re not already, sign up for the weekly newsletter: Be the Best You: The Insider for more stress/emotional eating tips. Click here to subscribe: Be the Best You Newsletter. This time of year can be really hard. Why not arm yourself with action steps to use when you really need them! Subscribe to the newsletter and you will automatically be emailed download information for The Blast Emotional Eating Guide (#TheBEEGuide)! It’s completely free and lists nine great ways to combat stress and other emotions that may make you feel like you want to eat everything in sight!

~Bonnie~

Going Back to Basics

You know when you’re going along and things are smooth sailing, but then you hit a big bump in the road and everything goes haywire? Yeah, we all know how that goes!

Going back to basics

Sometimes it is completely necessary to take a step back and view the big picture again. We continuously need to reevaluate our goals in order to move forward. Sometimes it is also necessary to go back to the beginning, or another time when we were more successful before we hit a bump. Those times are when you try to pick up where you left off and move forward at the same rate but your body and mind fight you every step of the way. You’re not going to be successful if your mind is standing in your way or if you go too hard, too fast.

This is why we take a step back, start over, or simply go back to basics by employing the strategies and habits that helped us in the beginning. When were you the most successful with your weight loss, fitness, or healthy eating? What were you doing then? Take what you were doing and start doing it again now. You may have way more knowledge and abilities now, but if you take a step back it can help tremendously!

It kind of goes along with that saying, “Never forget where you came from.” We have to remember where we started when we’re losing weight and improving our health. Sometimes we just get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget. The struggle is so all-consuming that we have tunnel vision, or we’re so wrapped up in the results that we forget that we need to focus on the other important stuff as well.


Now I’m going to share with you a bit about my life lately, because I have come to the point where I need to heed this advice. It is a little disappointing but exciting at the same time because I know it worked for me in the past.

October was a bad month for me. Sure, it got off to a great start with my 27th birthday and an absolutely wonderful one at that, but it went downhill fast from there.

The night before my birthday I started feeling sick, like sneezy and congested sick. Still my birthday itself was awesome, I spoiled myself and let myself eat basically what I wanted, and I was also spoiled by others. I received quite a few gifts, more than I had on my birthday in a long time!

However, letting myself basically eat what I wanted on my birthday and being sick at the same time resulted in me having bad cravings for carbs in the following days. It took me quite a while to get back to normal. Then I kind of took a lax approach with my eating the week after that because I was still sick and stressed out, and I didn’t want worrying about my eating to add to my stress.

The following week, just when I was getting back on track and had 3 good days under my belt, my uncle died unexpectedly and that hit me really hard. I wasn’t super close but he had always been such a positive role model in my life and it hurt so bad that he was gone. I let myself eat more again because I still didn’t want to add to my stress. It took a good week as well as a visit with my therapist to return to some sort of normalcy, emotions wise.

Now it’s been about five days since I started feeling more positive again. I have had two days where I went over my calories, but not by much. I have had three days where I was within range. I’m doing my best to stay on track and refocus. I also need to baby step back into working out and building muscle consistently again… because due a whole month of no strength training, and not much cardio during that time either, I have lost a majority of the muscle I worked so hard to gain.

So my goals for November:

  • Go back to what worked for me in the beginning with my eating: When I first started out, I made it a goal to be in my calorie range 5 days a week minimum, with two days a week where I could go over my calories by 300-500. This time I will keep it to 300 or less over my calories on those two days but the principle is the same… if I have those days to look forward to, eating within my range the other five will be easier and less overwhelming. It worked well for me before so I know it will help me now.
  • Baby steps to exercise and build muscle again: My plan is to take it easy on the elliptical at the gym, start slow with my half marathon training plan that I set up for myself, and to continue walking or doing walking videos but taking it easy with those too.
  • Exercise sessions/time:
    • Strength training will be 2 times a week, with two rounds of each exercise. I am going back to 3lb dumbbells, which makes me feel like a wimp because I had been using 5lbs and doing well with those, but today’s strength training session made me sore even with the smallest dumbbells available at the gym so it’s definitely necessary!
    • Elliptical will be 20 minutes to start with and 3 times a week, focusing on changing the resistance levels and not pushing too hard because that has caused me bone/joint pain when I try. I will step back up to 30 minutes on the elliptical when I know my body is ready.
    • Half marathon training will be 2 times a week to start: 15 seconds maximum jogging at a time, walking to warm up a minimum of 1 mile before doing the first jogging interval because I feel that’s what my muscles and feet need to ease into this.
    • Walking/walking videos will be 2-3 times a week with a goal of 30-45 minutes outside maximum, or 30 minutes maximum indoors with videos.

So there you have it, I still need to go back to basics sometimes. This isn’t necessarily all “basics” for me but you get the idea!

What are your goals for November? It will be a busy month for a lot of us but we are strong and powerful, and we can stick to our goals!

~Bonnie~

Best Way to Cook Chicken

Okay so it’s not the best way to cook chicken per se, but it is my favorite way to cook it in a healthy way, which is simply to bake it in the oven. This way is so healthy, easy, and tasty at the same time!

Here’s what I do:

  1. First I preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Then I rinse the chicken and cut it up into whatever size piece works, unless I use tenderloins which don’t need to be cut.
  3. Place the pieces on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  4. Season the pieces with whatever I want to use, usually pepper, garlic, or Italian seasoning or a combination because that’s what we have on hand here.
  5. Throw it in the oven once I’m sure it has adequately preheated.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes, sometimes 20 minutes depending on the size but they are always ready by then!

They always come out juicy and tasty, without using any oil or marinade. This way won’t work for everyone and I don’t have fancy tastes, but it works for moments when things are crazy and we need a healthy home cooked meal!

juicy baked chicken

Now, here’s some of the dishes I love to eat with my chicken:

  • Chicken salad with whatever veggies we have: lettuce, cucumber, and tomato is my favorite. I use light ranch dressing because I prefer it over all else and it’s only 80 calories for two tablespoons.
  • Brown rice + baked chicken + veggies: I love putting cauliflower, broccoli, and/or corn in this dish! You could even stir fry it in a skillet.
  • Noodles + baked chicken + veggies: This I can use any veggie and it tastes good: green beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, etc. Preferably you would use whole grain/wheat noodles if you chose to do this, but sometimes when we don’t have that I’ve been known to cook half a package of Ramen noodles plain, no seasoning. Now I know they aren’t healthy at all but it works in a pinch. This could also be cooked as a stir fry with the right noodles!
  • White chicken chili: I need to find and share this recipe with you all because it is so tasty. You could do a search online and find one too but I will be posting this in a future post!

There are countless other dishes to mix the chicken with as well, like a ton of chicken casseroles or other recipes, but these are my favorites!

~Bonnie~

Celebrate Your Victories

It is so important to continuing our weight loss journeys to celebrate all of our victories.

celebrate your victories

Whether they be the big ones like weight loss milestones of 10 or 20 pounds, or running a whole mile… or the small ones such as eating three fruits or veggies in one day or completing a tough workout.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and spend money every time you experience a victory, but you should definitely give yourself a high-five or a pat on the back for a job well done!

Remember that every step you make in the right direction adds up as you go along. All of it is worth celebrating!

My personal philosophy is to focus mainly on non-scale victories because they are the ones we have most control over. However, it is fun to celebrate when you hit a new weight loss milestone.

Some victories to celebrate that have nothing to do with the scale:

  • Eating a certain amount of healthy foods each day.
  • Finishing a hard workout.
  • Eating within your calorie range for days at a time.
  • Starting a new exercise routine.
  • Pushing harder during a normal workout.
  • Trying a new healthy food.
  • Doing your workout when you don’t feel like it.
  • Drinking enough water for the day.
  • Simply feeling stronger or healthier!

I could go on and on, but you get the idea! Anything that is not related to the scale is a double victory, and the scale itself is a fun way to track trends in your weight and to celebrate when it goes the right way… but to take in stride and use as just a tool. You can only do your best and sometimes the scale may not reflect that, so that’s why it’s vital to depend on the other victories in your journey.

~Bonnie~

Virtual Weight Loss Support Group

virtual weight loss support group

I am taking a survey for a “service” I would like to provide to others on their weight loss journeys. Please leave me a comment or email answering the questions or simply stating if this would be of value to you. The online support group for weight loss would be either in video or chat form. I have to figure out where to host this service but already have two or three ideas, and will be keeping you up-to-date as I figure it out!

I would also provide healthy living tools and/or challenges each week to keep incentive and motivation as high as possible. Ideally I would provide at least two meeting times each week for this support group to meet up online, such as at least one morning and one evening time, but maybe even a weekend meeting.

All information will be used to best serve you! If you use the contact form below or the survey link, the information will also be kept completely confidential.

Here is the survey link: Weight Loss Support Group Survey. I tested it and it just takes a couple minutes with only six questions!

And here is the contact form if you want to email me directly!

Thank you in advance for any feedback! Here is my contact form so you can email me directly if you prefer that over leaving a comment with your answers.

~Bonnie~