Sunday, April 20, 2014

WEEK 4--10 Weeks to a Slimmer Summer

by Rebecca J. Clark
NSCA & ISSA certified personal fitness trainer

Welcome back! If you've been following the steps, you should be feeling a bit lighter, and the scale should be showing a bit of a loss. If you're just joining us, be sure to read the previous weeks, starting with Week One.

This challenge is adapted from my new book, The Checklist Diet, available at most ebookstores now. 


This week, you’ll continue the steps from Weeks 1-3. Plus you’ll add this next step: 


Combine a protein and a “good” carb every time you eat.

You’ll want to eat a lean protein every time you eat, because this will help fuel your body efficiently, support muscle growth, boost your metabolism, keep your energy levels on an even keel, and keep those cravings at bay.
What is a protein? Here are some examples:

·         Eggs
·         Lean meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork)
·         Fish
·         Cottage cheese
·         Yogurt
·         Beans
·         Nuts & Seeds
·         Quinoa (a grain that’s also a complete protein)
·         Nut butter
·         Tofu or other soy products

Now, let’s talk about carbohydrates. 
Here is a good rule of thumb: when eating a starchy carb (like rice, pasta, grains, corn), keep your portion size no bigger than the size of your closed fist. And eat only one starchy carb per meal/snack. If you do those two things, it’ll be virtually impossible to overeat your starchy carbs.
If your starchy carb comes in a package (like rice or pasta or bread), you can also read the serving size on the label to figure out what one portion is.
This rule might sound complicated, but it’s not. A snack could be as simple as celery or apple with nut butter. Yogurt and berries. A hardboiled egg and a piece of fruit. Half of a tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread. The possibilities are endless.


EXERCISE 

You’re going to continue with the exercises from last week, but I’m going to make them a bit harder. Next week, we'll be using light dumbbells, so make sure you have some ready.  

CARDIO: Five days this week, choose one of the following cardio workouts. Feel free to mix and match, or do the same one each day: 

--Walk out your door. Walk for 15 minutes. Turn around and come back. For 5 of those minutes, pick up the pace until you’re a bit winded. 


--Get on a cardio machine of choice (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc). Go slow for two minutes. Pick up the pace a bit for 20 minutes. Cool down at a slow pace for 2 minutes. 


--Pick six of your favorite fast-paced songs (for a total of about 25 minutes). Crank the speakers. Dance around your house until the songs are over.


STRENGTH-TRAINING: Two days this week, do the following strength moves (can be done on the same day as the above workouts). 

20 Pushups (against a wall, counter, or on the floor)
20 Sit and Stands from a chair or bench 
10 Dips (slide your hips off a chair or bench, fingers curled around edge. Bend and straighten your arms.)
30 seconds of elbow planks (lie on the floor on your belly, propped on elbows. Lift your body up until you’re balancing on your elbows and toes. Hold.) 
15 Supermans (lie on your stomach, arms overhead like Superman. Lift and lower arms and legs at the same time) 
Repeat this series 3 times.

Have a great week. Let me know if you have any questions. If you are enjoying this program, please tell your friends!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop!




Welcome to my corner of the 
Authors in Bloom Blog Hop!

April 7 – April 16 
10 Days of Giveaways--Gardening Tips--Recipes
Plus a GRAND PRIZE of a Kindle Fire or Nook
Almost 80 authors are participating. We will all post our giveaway, gardening tip, recipe or both on our blogs, beginning April 7 and leaving our contests open through the 16th.  You will have 10 days to enter each individual author contest and then submit your entry for the grand prize!!  To win the grand prize, you must visit each and every author on the hop.  Each site will post the links of participating authors but please feel free to visit the FIRST or LAST  stops of the blog hop to find the author link list at any point in time. 
**Be sure to leave your email addy with your comment so we know how to contact you.

My blog's prize: $15 gift certificate to Gardener's Supply Company (http://www.gardeners.com/).

* * *


The theme of this blog hop is gardening and recipes, so we are supposed to give you a gardening tip and/or recipe. You do not want a gardening tip from me. Trust me. This is what my garden looks like right now.

Yes, it's Spring and I haven't worked in it yet, but I doubt it'll look much different come warmer weather.


To go along with the yummy (and healthy!!!) baked apple recipe I’ll share below, I thought I’d share an apple-related story written by my grandmother, Dorothy P. Hyland (1912-1993).

How about them apples?
After the apples were ripe, Mother would peel and slice the them by the bushel. We put clean sheets on the shed roofs and had to lay those slices of apple closely together to dry. As we didn’t have too much rain, but did have hot sunny days (hot days AND nights) [this was in Wisconsin], the sun was depended upon to dry the apple slices. 

Sunny days would lengthen into weeks before it rained. At night we covered the slices with cheesecloth. The cheesecloth came off in the morning and it was our job to see that no birds or flies bothered those apple slices during the day. After two days all those slices had to be turned over, and what a boring job that was! It took hours to finish that job. All in all, it took the best part of a week before the dried apple slices could be gathered and placed in a tight container to be used for apple pies during the winter. If the orchard produced a lot of apples, the same job had to be repeated for several weeks more. That really cut into my play time.

I made sure the neighbors had lots of ripe apples for their cooking and canning needs and I, personally, ate them by the peck just to get rid of them so we wouldn’t have too many to dry. Apples were my favorite fruit, and Mother always said that if she peeled a potato and called it an apple, I would like it and not know the difference.




Baked Apples
(thanks to Courtney Milan for the yummy recipe)

1. Take one apple. I like Gala apples. Cut it in half, and use a paring knife to take out the seeds and make a little divot in the center of the apple. You now have two apple halves.

2. Get a small bowl. Put rolled oats in the middle--not a lot, maybe about a tablespoon and a half. Add some crushed pecans or walnuts--about three pecan halves will do you.

3. Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil over this. 1 teaspoon is plenty. Mix. Now scoop the oat mixture into the hole in the middle of your apple. If you have too much oat stuff, it's my fault, I never get it right. Put these into some kind of a baking dish. You might want to put it on parchment paper because the apple is going to get messy.

4. This is the point where I remember that I SHOULD have preheated the oven to 375, but who remembers to preheat the oven? Not me. Turn the oven on to 375 and pop those suckers in.

5. How long do you cook it? I HAVE NO IDEA, really, I just put them in and then hope I don't forget them. The thing is, these are really forgiving, as long as you don't undercook them. 45 minutes? An hour? That sounds about right. Do that! I would say that you cannot overcook these, but you can. I will say that *I* have not overcooked them, and that's impressive because I can overcook anything. They should be super-soft to the fork when you take them out.

6. Let them cool. Or don't, because I don't, either, but don't blame me when you burn your mouth.

7. If you want to be extravagant, you can add ice cream or regular cream. I never do this, but I just want to point out that you can dress these up so that you have a heavier more dessert feeling dessert for those who want, and a lighter less dessert feeling dessert for those who don't. If you want to be mildly extravagant, a single half-ounce cut of sharp cheddar cheese makes an awesome pair. But you don't have to be extravagant at all because they're ridiculously sweet and delicious all by themselves.

--Thanks, Courtney!!!!

Be sure to visit all the other blogs, commenting as you go with your email addy, for a chance to win a Kindle Fire or Nook.

Week 3--10 Weeks to a Slimmer Summer

by Rebecca J. Clark
ISSA and NSCA certified personal trainer


Welcome back! How is it going so far? If you’ve been following the plan, your pants should be getting a bit looser around the waist and you should be feeling a bit more energetic in your day to day life.

This challenge is adapted from my new book, The Checklist Diet, available at most ebookstores now.


If you’re just joining us now, please refer back to Week 1 and Week 2.

This week, you’ll continue tracking everything you eat, and will keep eating a healthy breakfast within an hour of waking up. Plus you’ll add this next step:

After eating breakfast, 
eat only when you’re hungry


This is the hardest step for me. I want to eat when I’m bored, when it’s “time” to eat, or pretty much any reason other than being hungry. This step is where I differ from many of my fellow trainers. You’ve probably heard how you *should* eat every 2-3 hours. From a scientific standpoint, this makes sense, because every time you eat, you rev your metabolism. Eating every 2-3 hours give you steady energy, more even-tempered moods (no more low-blood sugar crashes) and could help you to avoid cravings.

But when I eat this way, I’m constantly watching the clock, counting down the minutes until I can eat again, whether I’m hungry or not. Our bodies are very smart. I don’t think we need to listen to someone else’s rules on when we *should* or *should not* eat. When we’re hungry, we eat. If we’re not hungry, we don’t eat. Pretty simple, eh?

Think of your hunger as a scale of 1-10.

10 — Thanksgiving stuffed

7 — You feel like you ate a bit too much and are slightly uncomfortable

5 — Comfortable

3 — You’re a little bit hungry, but you could wait

0 — Your stomach is empty and you need to eat right now

Eat when your stomach is at 0-3.


EXERCISE 

You’re going to continue with the exercises from last week, but I’m going to make them a bit harder and add one strength move.

CARDIO: Five days this week, choose one of the following cardio workouts. Feel free to mix and match, or do the same one each day:

--Walk out your door. Walk for 10 minutes. Turn around and come back. For 2 of those minutes, pick up the pace until you’re a bit winded.


--Get on a cardio machine of choice (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc). Go slow for two minutes. Pick up the pace a bit for 15 minutes. Cool down at a slow pace for 2 minutes.


--Pick five of your favorite fast-paced songs (for a total of about 20 minutes). Crank the speakers. Dance around your house until the songs are over.


STRENGTH-TRAINING: Two days this week, do the following strength moves (can be done on the same day as the above workouts).

20 Pushups (against a wall, counter, or on the floor)
20 Sit and Stands from a chair or bench
10 Dips (slide your hips off a chair or bench, fingers curled around edge. Bend and straighten your arms.)
30 seconds of elbow planks (lie on the floor on your belly, propped on elbows. Lift your body up until you’re balancing on your elbows and toes. Hold.)
15 Supermans (lie on your stomach, arms overhead like Superman. Lift and lower arms and legs at the same time)

Repeat those exercises

Have a great week. Let me know if you have any questions. If you are enjoying this program, please tell your friends!




Sunday, April 6, 2014

WEEK 2--10-Weeks to a Slimmer Summer


by Rebecca J. Clark
NSCA and ISSA certified personal fitness trainer


Welcome to the second week of my summer slimdown. If you’re just joining us now, be sure to read Week 1 first.

This challenge is adapted from my new book, The Checklist Diet, available at most ebookstores now.


This week, you’ll continue with the healthy eating habit you started last week (track your food) and add another step.

Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast within an hour of waking up.

When you’ve been fasting all night, your metabolism and digestion slow down so you can sleep. Think of a car engine that’s idling: it’s still on, but it’s not doing much. When you wake up, you want to fire up that engine as soon as you can in order to start burning more calories—you want to break the fast. The best way to do that is to eat breakfast.

You don’t like to eat breakfast because you’re starving a couple of hours later? Yay! That’s a good thing. Getting hungry again just means your metabolism is working as it should.

What constitutes a “healthy, balanced breakfast”?

Start with a lean protein (meat, dairy such as yogurt, soy product, or eggs) and add a fruit and/or starchy carb (like cereal or toast). If you love vegetables, breakfast time is a great place for them.

Here are some ideas:

· Whole grain cereal with milk*; half a sliced banana or berries on top

· Oatmeal with skim milk*, a tbsp chopped pecans, 3 chopped frozen cherries

· Whole grain toast with light peanut butter and an apple

· Scrambled eggs with salsa wrapped inside a whole grain tortilla

· Fruit & protein smoothie (1 cup milk, 1 cup of fruit, 1 scoop protein powder or 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt, squirt of honey)

· Poached egg on toast with just a smidge of butter; ½ cup of berries on the side



*When I say “milk”, I mean any milk-like product: dairy milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, etc.

If the thought of eating breakfast makes you sick to your stomach, then try having just a few bites of something. Like three slices of apple dipped in peanut butter. Half a piece of toast with light nut butter. Something other than just your morning coffee
After a few days of doing this, you’ll wake up hungry. I promise.

EXERCISE

You’re going to continue with the exercises from last week, but I’m going to make them a bit harder and add one strength move.

CARDIO: Five days this week, choose one of the following cardio workouts. Feel free to mix and match, or do the same one each day:

Walk out your door. Walk for 7 minutes. Turn around and come back. For 2 of those minutes, pick up the pace until you’re a bit winded.

Get on a cardio machine of choice (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc). Go slow for two minutes. Pick up the pace a bit for 10 minutes. Cool down at a slow pace for 2 minutes.

Pick four of your favorite fast-paced songs (for a total of about 15 minutes). Crank the speakers. Dance around your house until the songs are over.

STRENGTH-TRAINING: Two days this week, do the following strength moves (can be done on the same day as the above workouts)

15 Pushups (against a wall, counter, or on the floor)
15 Sit and stands from a chair or bench
20 seconds of elbow planks (lie on the floor on your belly, propped on elbows. Lift your body up until you’re balancing on your elbows and toes. Hold.)
10 Supermans (lie on your stomach, arms overhead like Superman. Lift and lower arms and legs at the same time)
Repeat those exercises 

Have a great week. Let me know if you have any questions. If you are enjoying this program, please tell your friends!


Monday, March 31, 2014

START HERE: 10 Weeks to a Slimmer Summer

by Rebecca J. Clark
NSCA & ISSA certified personal fitness trainer





In less than three months, it’ll be summer. Does that excite you? Or does the thought of wearing shorts and tank tops make you want to bury your head with the groundhog?

If yours is the latter reaction, maybe I can help. I have a 10-week plan to ease you into a better diet and more active lifestyle. If you’re looking for a quick fix or a way to drop a quick 30 pounds, then you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re looking for a lifestyle change, then keep reading.

As you can see from my blog, I am a romance author. But I’m also a personal trainer and have worked as one for more than 10 years. Recently, I published my first diet book, THE CHECKLIST DIET--10 simple steps to check off each day for a better diet.

I will be basing these next 10 weeks on that book. You don’t have to buy the book to do this plan with me but I’d sure not mind if you did. You can buy it for the Kindle here, and the Nook here; if you want the paperback copy that comes with a journal, buy it here. The book only deals with your eating. But in this 10-week series on my blog, we’ll talk about exercise, too.
 
Each week I will give you one step to add to your day, one lifestyle change to focus on. Each week builds on the last until the end of 10 weeks, when you’ll have completely overhauled your diet and activity levels.

Ready?





WEEK ONE
Step One from The Checklist Diet
Keep track of what you’re eating in a journal or online app

Starting from this moment on (no, you can’t wait until tomorrow, or next Monday or next whenever), you will keep track of everything you eat. Every meal, snack, bite, taste, sip. Track in whatever way is easiest for you. I like MyFitnessPal.com, LoseIt.com, and FitDay.com (all free). You can also do it the old-fashioned way and write it down in a notebook or journal. Or, if you want to spend the money, you can order my Checklist Diet & Companion Workbook here.

Why is this the first step? Well, it’s going to hold you accountable, for one. Sometimes, we don’t realize how much we are eating until the evidence is staring at us in black and white.

Several studies have shown that people who keep track of what they’re eating are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. Dieters who keep a food diary six days a week will lose about twice as much weight as those who track their food one day a week or less. I know that’s true for me. If I track my food, and write down EVERYTHING I eat, I will lose weight and/or maintain (depends on my goals); once I stop keeping track, even if I’m choosing healthy foods, I tend to eat more than I should.

At the end of each week, review your food diary. See if you can find any patterns — you can’t make a change if you don’t know the problem. For example, do you mindlessly reach for food at night before bed even though you’re not hungry? Do you reach for something sugary every day mid-afternoon? The first step to fixing a problem is identifying it.

That’s it for the diet this week. I'm not telling what you can and can't eat. Just write it down. How’s that for easy-peasy? All I ask is that you’re completely honest with yourself. No one else will see your food diary. But if you want, imagine I am staring over your shoulder to make sure you write everything down.

Now, for the fun part. EXERCISE.

What? You don’t think exercise is fun? Well, I may or may not be able to change your mind, but I can help ease you into it. This 10-week plan is geared toward those of you who aren’t exercising at all (or very little). If you are already working out regularly, good for you! Keep doing what you’re doing.

Week One Workouts:
Don't worry--you can do this. I'm assuming you either don't exercise now or aren't exercising much. 

Five days this week, choose one of the following cardio workouts. Feel free to mix and match, or do the same one each day:

Walk out your door. Walk for 5 minutes. Turn around and come back.

Get on a cardio machine of choice (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc). Go slow for two minutes. Pick up the pace a bit for 6 minutes. Cool down at a slow pace for 2 minutes.

Pick three of your favorite fast-paced songs. Crank the speakers. Dance around your house until the songs are over.

Two days this week, do the following strength moves (can be done on the same day as the above workouts)

10 Pushups (against a wall, counter, or on the floor)
10 Sit and stands from a chair or bench
10 seconds of elbow planks (lie on the floor on your belly, propped on elbows. Lift your body up until you’re balancing on your elbows and toes. Hold.)
Repeat those three exercises 


That’s it! See? I told you I would ease you into this. You can totally do this. You’re on your way to a slimmer, fitter body.

As we get started, I’d love for you to tell me your goals. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want more energy? Do you want to develop an exercise habit? Whatever your goal is, please let me know in the comments. Tell me where you are now, and where you’d like to be 10 weeks from now.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Soup's On!

Healthy Minestrone Soup
This is a great way to get your veggies.
 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees if warming up bread*

2 tsp olive oil
1/8 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups finely chopped vegetables of your choice (ie: zucchini, broccoli, carrots, green beans, cabbage, asparagus) Use at least 4 varieties.
4 cans beef or vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes, pureed (I like the Italian style tomatoes)
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup elbow macaroni noodles

2 tbsp. basil pesto
Wheat sourdough bread (*optional)

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add chopped vegetables, broth, beans and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add pasta. Cook until pasta is soft.  Put *bread in the oven to warm as pasta cooks.

Ladle into bowls and top with  1 tsp pesto. Use the *bread for dipping.

Enjoy!

If you want more healthy recipes and fitness tips, and to learn about my next book release, please sign up for my newsletter. Click HERE. To learn more about my books, check out my website.

Do you want to learn more about following a healthy diet? Then you might want to check out my new diet book (I'm a personal trainer of 10+ years as well as being a romance author).





Friday, January 10, 2014

FRIDAY FIRSTS with...The Checklist Diet

The First Few Sentences of... THE
CHECKLIST DIET
by Rebecca J. Clark

How many diet books have you read in your lifetime? Do you buy the newest book that promises fast and easy weight loss? Do you buy every magazine that announces the latest and greatest new diet on its cover? Are you always looking for the plan that will finally help you drop your excess weight and make you feel better in your own skin?

I wish I could tell you that this is the book — that finally your magic pill and the perfect plan are within your grasp.
I can’t tell you that. But I will tell you that my answers to those questions up above are probably the same as yours.


Available now!

* * * * *

Q & A

Q: No offense, Becky, but why is a romance author qualified to write a diet book?
A: No offense taken (since I asked the question LOL). When I'm not writing, I work as a personal trainer. So the advice I give in THE CHECKLIST DIET is the result of working for more than 10 years in the fitness industry and working with hundreds of clients. 

Q: Why is this book different from all the other ones out there?
A: In some ways it's not. The advice I give isn't unique or magical. You can find this information out there elsewhere. However, I put it together in a way that is easy to read and fun to do. I leave out all the boring stuff (ie: the stuff you skip, like all the research and studies). And I talk from my personal experience--I struggle with my weight and with eating right, so I can probably relate to my readers more than most of those "other" diet book authors. 

Another way this book is different is it's short--just 45 pages or so, AND it's just $2.99. It'll cost you less than a latte at Starbucks and you can read it in one sitting.

Rebecca J. Clark has been a nationally certified personal trainer for the past 10+ years. She is certified by NSCA and ISSA and has trained and worked with hundreds of clients during that time. She also teaches Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing and Fitball classes.