Try this Watermelon and Tomato Salsa Recipe While You Lose Weight!

My personal training clients are always looking for new weight loss recipes.  You can never go wrong by choosing ingredients that are fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and legumes.  Finding a tasty combination to keep you on your track to weight loss and looking fabulous is the tough part, though. 

I recommend googling the terms "fast recipes" and begin experimenting to see what you like.  Cooking is a science after all!  The NY Times recently posted a quick and delicious recipe for Watermelon and Tomato Salsa.  This is a great refreshing summer recipe that won't upset your personal trainer and will keep the waistline tight! 

What are easy strategies for weight loss in Chicago?

While meeting with your Chicago personal trainer, there are a number strategies that you will employ in and outside of the fitness gym to lose weight.   While you may feel overwhelmed  with these new fitness and dietary strategies at first, they will collectively aid you in your path to a new you.

As a personal trainer in Chicago, I especially know the challenges for this change.  After all, the core of most functions and events include eating and drinking in the Midwestern culture.

The Dietary Guidelines offer several great suggestions for your initial step for weight loss:

- Choose smaller portion sizes (contributes to weight loss).

- People who eat at fast food or quick restaurants more than once per week are at high risk for weight gain and obesity.   Reduce your frequency.

 - Increase your intake of vegetables and fruit (especially high fiber choices) for a lower body weight.

- Decrease your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Adapt these easy weight loss strategies to heighten your personal training experience in Chicago today!

Personal Training Nutrition: Is There a Magical Weight Loss Pill?

During my personal training sessions in Chicago, clients often ask about magical weight loss pills.  Usually the statement begins with "I recently saw on Dr. Oz....".  I'll admit that I don't know the positive effects of every dietary supplement out there.  In fact, as a Chicago personal trainer, I will admit that I don't know much about most dietary supplements.  

And I'm not alone.  The federal government doesn't either.  Surprisingly, supplements aren't regulated under the FDA and their claims on effectiveness is usually based on privately funded studies.  Is this right considering the harmful risks of this massive industry?

Even Dr. Oz-the self-proclaimed medical expert on TV-has fallen prey to the unregulated hype.  Check out the youtube video of  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:  Dr. Oz and Weight Loss Supplements for surprising commentary on this topic.

Calorie restriction when meeting with a personal trainer?

Most weight loss begins with calorie reduction.  Depending on your body, you may demand different amounts of calories.  An athlete will demand more calories than the sedentary office worker.  The average person should keep their calorie range between 1300-2000 when losing weight (your starting point and health needs may dictate more calories though).   Over the last 9 years of personal training in Chicago, my clients have successfully lost weight in the 1300-1500 range.

Keep in mind that we find that many people lose weight in the 1300 calorie range but can’t sustain this diet long term.  Anything below this mark could have a reverse effect on your weight.   We want your body to work most efficiently.  If you deprive the body, you may slow its metabolism (to limit calorie expenditure) and reevaluate its hormonal and blood sugar balance.  It’s no surprise that some people either maintain the same weight or gain weight on a drastic reduction such as this.

Either way, if you’ve maintained the same weight for a considerable amount of time, a reduction is needed.  Sometimes cutting 100-500 calories in your diet daily is enough to lose weight.   While meeting with you Chicago personal trainer, always consult with a doctor before following any nutritional advice.

How Do I Read a Food Label? Start Here!

Trying to lose weight during your Chicago personal training experience?   How do you know what’s most important on your food labels?  Grocery shopping is an overwhelming experience and it doesn’t need to turn into a 4 hour trip as you perform an analysis on every product.  Try to look for the following stats on your packaged food:

       *Saturated fat: Products with red meat, dairy, or any animal fat, will most likely have higher amounts of saturated fat and are correlated with an elevated risk of obesity and heart disease.  Mayo clinic suggests that your saturated fat intake should be less than 7% of your caloric intake.  As a safe measure, I suggest limiting your saturated fat to 1 gram for every 100 calories.  In a 300-400 restricted calorie meal, you will average 3-4 grams of saturated fat.  This is a fair amount that won’t limit the food you love too much and will minimize the total bad fat in your diet.  No matter the amount, determine the number best for you based on your dietary needs and health condition.

       *Calories: Your body demands different amounts of calories based on your activity level and other factors.  Generally speaking, 300-400 calories is a great goal for weight loss during each meal.  Will the number of calories in a given product sufficiently meet your nutritional needs and satiety?  You may reconsider a product that costs you 300 calories but is only a small portion of your meal.

       *Sugars.  Refrain from buying a product with sugar listed as one of the top three ingredients.  These products tend to bear higher amounts of sugar content (This is important if you’re trying to lower the amount in your diet).  If sugar is desired, lean towards natural fruit sugar instead of sweeteners or cane sugar.

   * Sodium (400mg or less).  A high sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure (which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke) and water retention.  Mayo clinic suggests 1500-2300 milligrams per day.  Based on this amount, you want to aim for 300-400 mg per meal (Many frozen dinners are 800 mg or more!).  When considering a product, take into account other foods you might also eat during the meal.  The total may exceed the goal for each meal.

Despite the suggestions above, it is most important to study your body’s reaction to food during your weight loss.  If you can’t lose weight, it may be as simple as cutting out 100 calories per day or a reaction towards a food.  These suggestions are my standard and different body types deviate from them.  Check with your physician before starting any nutritional plan and listen to your body.   Finally, run away from your personal trainer in Chicago if he suggests supplements.  Whole foods are always your best options.