Losing Weight the Second Time Around

For anyone who’s seen the numbers on the scale creep up after dropping a significant amount of weight, it can be very disheartening.  The feelings we encounter can take a psychological toll.  Regaining weight after weight loss can be discouraging mentally and it may seem harder to get rid of the excess weight again.  There are some hormonal changes with hunger regulating hormones that may promote weight gain and make weight loss harder.   I wholeheartedly believe that this difficulty isn’t meant to defeat you; it’s meant to promote you.

“Every setback is a setup for a comeback”

So what does one do when the scale is creeping up and you feel like you are spiraling out of control?

Meet Jane.  You may recognize her from previous transformation photo’s.  Jane had lost 80 pounds in a year on the FitPalz program and unfortunately she slowly let her old habits take over.  In an interview with Jane she indicated that she began snacking more then the two that she had learned to do during the program.  She also said “I also stopped weighing my food so my portions started getting larger. I was out of control but I didn’t know how to stop.  What really didn’t help was that I stopped tracking my food and I even stopped weighing myself.  I convinced myself that I wouldn’t gain much back.” 

Jane has recommitted to take back her health and lose the weight for good. When we think of eating healthy, most of us only focus on what types of foods we are consuming. We often forget that a major part of eating healthy starts with forming healthy eating habits. To eat more nutritious food, you may need to change some of your daily habits. Have you heard the term “mindful eating”? What does mindful eating mean and how can it help you lose the weight once and for all.

It may be easier to start by identifying what “mindless eating” is first. Have you ever sat down on the couch to watch some Netflix and then realized you accidentally ate an entire bag of chips in one sitting? That’s mindless eating. It’s a bad habit that a lot of us are guilty of.

Mindful eating is the polar opposite. Simply put, it’s the practice of eating with intention and paying attention while eating. It’s not a diet, nor does it require you to restrict certain foods. It’s about learning to pay attention while eating and enjoying the experience of eating. Mindful eating will keep you from overeating, teach you to recognize when you’re full, and make eating more satisfying.  For example, are you actually hungry or just bored?  Jane said “Most of my snacking was eating out of boredom or stress”.

Listening to your body will help you distinguish the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger (eating for comfort, boredom, or therapy).

  • Know your body’s hunger signals. Your body will let you know when it’s time to eat. You may feel sluggish, weak, dizzy, and have a growling stomach. These are the signs of physical hunger. The signs of emotional hunger can range but usually involve feeling stressed, sad, or even just bored.
  • Recognize when you’re full. It actually takes about 20 minutes for you brain to signal to your body that you are full. Give yourself time for the feeling of fullness to settle in before completing clearing your plate.

To learn more about mindful eating, join us on Saturday, May 20th at 10:00 am at 115 Kent Road.  Dr. Carol Penn, D.O., M.A. and I will be hosting a Mindful Eating Seminar.  Participants will have a highly engaging evidenced based journey through the 7 stages of mindful eating as we explore the relationships between mind, mood, and food and how this impacts patterns of weight loss, gut health, and emotional well being.  Myself and Dr. Carol Penn, D.O., M.A.  To register for the seminar please email me at myfitpalz@yahoo.com.  Cost for the seminar is $20.00.

Dr. Carol Penn, D.O., M.A. has medical practices and lead consultant in All ONE Consulting Group in NJ as well serving as Medical Correspondent for WURD Radio Station in Philadelphia, and is: Board Certified in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment; Ambassador and Scholar National Health Corps; Preceptor Faculty, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine; Faculty, Center for Mind Body Medicine; Certified Health, Wellness, and Fitness Coach and Founder/Artistic Director of Core Of Fire Interfaith Dance Ministry.

 

My Journey with Christen losing 45 Pounds!

If you were to ask me to describe my experience coaching and training Christen, I would choose the quote  “Will Power Beyond Belief!!!”

 

There is no “one size fits all” and no “one diet fits all” when it comes to successful weight loss.  My approach as a health coach/lifestyle educator/personal trainer is to obtain biometrics on each client as well as a thorough comprehensive health history.  Based on this information and several other factors, I work on creating a personal nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle plan.

My favorite quote is “weight loss is a journey not a destination”. In order to make lasting dietary and lifestyle changes, I work with each client on creating a positive mindset, as well as, creating smaller goals. So, rather than focusing on any negative actions or outcomes, such as succumbing to a craving, I work on education.  My clients will understand the science behind their weight loss, so they can meet their targets.

One of the things I pride myself on during my own weight loss journey is having the willpower to stay on plan, and not cheat for 8 months straight……..crazy, right!?  However, when you start to see results, your determination and willpower strengthens. My coaching sessions focus on positive reinforcement, education, tracking goals and achievements. Weekly, Christen and I focused on her successes, and how she would reach each goal.  I believe this helped Christen avoid any temptation and  empowered her to overcome any obstacles.

Christen’s Results

In 6 months Christen lost 45 pounds and a total of 25 inches!!  She reduced her BMI from an “obesity classification” to a “normal weight” classification, AND dropped her percentage of body fat by 11%!!!  Christen trained with me twice a week and also attended two to three Zumba classes per week.

Weight Loss Tips That Add Up

The following are some strategies and tips that Christen incorporated into her lifestyle.  If you adopt any of these into your lifestyle for 12 weeks, you can expect to get the following results:

  • Keeping a food diary – 12-24lbs

  • Trimming portion sizes of high calorie foods – 6-12lbs

  • Making yourself a healthy, calorie-counted snack box – 4-8lbs

  • Drinking plenty of water – 1-3lbs

  • Filling up on high fiber foods – 2-6lbs

  • Recognizing the difference between physical and emotional hunger – 6-12lbs

  • Being more active – 3-10lbs

  • Planning healthy work-day lunches – 3-10lbs

  • Controlling your alcohol consumption

  • Getting enough sleep – 1-2lbs

  • Weighing yourself frequently and keeping a record – 2-6lbs

Christen’s Testimony

I had the pleasure of meeting Jackie over 8 years ago when she was a Zumba instructor at Club Metro in Old Bridge. With the combination of her high energy, amazing dance moves, and contagious positive attitude…her Zumba classes were the perfect fit for me!!! Years had passed and I finally went back to the gym after having my 2nd child in 2013. I was put at the right place at the right time when the FitPalz program was being debuted !!! I jumped at the opportunity and was so grateful that I had an answer to my weight loss prayers !! Not only did Jackie welcome me wholeheartedly but she made me feel right at home ! I quickly lost the baby weight and felt like I had all the tools I needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle !!!

Years had passed and after having my 3rd child a few months ago, I felt like I was back at square one. Especially with this being my 3rd c-section it was very difficult for me to get back on my feet. Having nowhere to turn, I came back to the place where I felt most comfortable and where I knew I wouldn’t feel judged. Jackie once again came to my rescue !! With the knowledge of her incredible weight loss journey I knew she would be the inspiration I needed to make a difference in my life style once and for all!! The rest is history,  She has become such a positive role model in my life that I aspire to have half the amount of determination and strength that she exudes. I truly am beyond blessed that our paths crossed once again ! Those that have the pleasure of knowing Jackie really have something to feel lucky about !!

February is Heart Health Month – Know Your Numbers!

Wear RED on Saturday, February 4th

Did you know that Friday, February 3rd is National Wear Red Day!  National Wear Red Day supports the American Heart Association Go Red For Women movement to end heart disease and stroke in women.  Fortunately nearly 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. So on Saturday, February 4th, wear something red to class.  Show your commitment to reducing risk, improving health and saving lives!  Learn more about the American Heart Association Go Red for Women movement by visiting online at www.GoREDForWomen.org.  

What You Need to Know About Your Cholesterol

Too much cholesterol can cause heart disease.  Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the US.

heartWhat cholesterol does

Your body needs cholesterol.  It helps keep cells healthy.  It also helps make hormones, vitamin D and some acids that break down fat.  But you only need a little cholesterol.  Most people get too much.  The extra cholesterol goes into your blood and builds up inside your arteries.  (Arteries are tubes that carry blood through your body).  The buildup is called plaque.

The amount of cholesterol in  your blood depends on many things.  Some people’s bodies just make too much “bad” cholesterol and too little “good” cholesterol.  But exercise and what you eat make a difference, too.

What You Can Do

  • Know your cholesterol numbers – Schedule an appointment with your medical provider for blood work
  • See below for 6 ways to control your cholesterol and 6 foods to add to your diet.
  • Talk to your doctor – Your doctor may have ideas to help you.

cholesterol

Six Ways to Control Cholesterol

  1. Get moving – Exercise can raise HDL and lower LDL, especially if you are overweight.  Try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.  Walking is a great start.
  2. Eat just enough calories to reach or keep a healthy weight.  Calorie counts are listed on food labels.  visit www.myfitnesspal.com to learn how many calories you need each day.
  3. Eat less saturated fats and trans fats.  Saturated fats are in meat, butter, cheese, coconut oil.
  4. Use heart-healthy fats – See below for “Six Healthy Fats to Add to your Diet”.
  5. Eat more vegetables & fruits.
  6. Don’t smoke

Six Healthy Fats to Add to your Diet

Olive Oil

With one tablespoon of olive oil boasting 10 grams of healthy monounsaturated fat, it may be time to make this your go-to salad dressing. To lower saturated fat intake, use olive oil in place of butter for bread and pasta or to sauté vegetables and proteins. Ditch the store-bought salad dressings and try making your own simple vinaigrette using olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

Avocados

Did you know that avocados are the only fruit with healthy fats? That’s right, your favorite guac ingredient boasts 3 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.5 polyunsaturated grams fat per 1-ounce serving (or 1/5 of a medium avocado). That’s not the only reason to smash this food on your toast—avocados contribute fiber, antioxidants, and nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals.

Pistachio Nuts

Few things in life are more satisfying than noshing on crunchy foods. Pistachios are a great pick, as 90 percent of the fats in these nuts are the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones. Pistachios deliver the total nutrition package, too, as a good source of fiber and protein, helping you squash hunger and feel fuller longer.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are no longer just for Halloween. Eat these babies year-round for a dose of healthy fats—75 percent of the fat in pumpkin seeds is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. They also deliver a nutrient-packed crunch, providing fiber, protein, omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals.

Cooked Salmon

The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon at least twice a week, and for good reason: Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids—these are essential fatty acids that the body can’t produce on its own and must be obtained from your diet. Omega-3s have been extensively studied for their role in heart health and have been proven to help protect against heart disease, lower triglycerides, decrease risk of arrythmias, and lower blood pressure.

Flaxseed

Don’t be fooled by this seed’s tiny size—it packs a powerful punch. Flaxseed is loaded with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 that’s found in plant-based foods and that has been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol. Just two tablespoons of flaxseed will provide more ALA than the daily recommended amount, but be sure to opt for ground flaxseed for optimal nutrient absorption. Sprinkle ground flaxseed over salads, toast, oatmeal, and smoothies, or use it as an egg replacement in baked goods. Flax is also the perfect nutrient boost for these Peanut Butter and Flax Energy Bites or Banana Flax Muffin in a Mug.

Stick to your Goals & New Years Resolutions

You made it to week 3 of 2017, and whether you have been on track or have fell off, there is no time like the present for a fresh start.  Whether you want to lose weight, curb cravings for sweets, or just feel better, make this your year of personal bests with these tools and tricks to help you achieve your goal.

#1 – Take It Week By Week

When it comes to tackling your goals, it can be tempting to sprint right out of the gate. But if you’re looking to make lifelong changes, you can’t rush it. In the first week, you should make small, steady changes to progress toward your goal—nothing drastic.  Research shows that a quarter of weight-loss plans fall by the wayside within two weeks. On the other hand, stick it out for a month and your odds of success skyrocket. Doing something for 30 days ingrains and strengthens the brain’s neural pathways, so you’re likely to keep that behavior going on autopilot. START SMALL – Aim to make one tweak a day: Add an additional vegetable to your diet, skip your before-dinner cocktail, take a walk after lunch, do whatever you can to nudge your weight down. Once you adjust to these new habits, it will be easier to add more ambitious exercise and diet changes as the month goes on.
IMG_0668-e1438863985640-420x560

TIP – Set the alarm on your cell for when it’s time to head to the gym (some phones have a “remind me” feature that will send you a text message). Clock your meals too: Eat breakfast within 45 minutes of getting up, then program the alarm to go off every three hours to remind you to have a small meal or snack. Eating frequently helps steady your blood sugar levels, keeping energy up and appetite down.

 

 

#2 – Visualize What You Want

vision board

Whatever your goal is to get slimmer or stronger, become more zen, eat more fruits and veggies—it’ll help to be visually reminded of it every single day. Follow some inspirational accounts on Instagram that align with your goals, put together a Pinterest board, or craft a goal or vision board to remind you exactly what you’re working for and why.  “Seeing” your goals makes it harder to forget about them. It’s so easy to lose focus when you’re on track with your diet or training as hard as you possibly can.  An inspiration board featuring her goals and motivating quotes. I currently have my goal board in my bathroom, this way, I’m reminded of what I’m fighting for when I first wake up in the morning and right before I go to bed.

#3 – Don’t Expect Perfection

Yeah, you’re going to have off days. You’re going to overindulge over the weekend at that party or happy hour, eat too many slices of pizza, sleep through your alarm, and skip a workout or two. The trick is to learn from that “bad day” and then stop the behaviors in their tracks; don’t let one cheat meal turn into a weekend-long binge. One trick is to ask yourself after a slip-up: What am I going to do differently next time?  Once you’ve settled on your goal, figure out ways to break it down. Your brain can’t process big goals, because we’re not wired that way. Instead you have to craft a lot of little wins along the way to keep your brain’s reward center activated. Work backward from your milestone to map a route filled with smaller, reachable triumphs so you can continually see yourself progressing.

TIPS 

Embrace bad days – People have a tendency to quit on the bad days. Don’t! Make decisions on days where you’re in a much better place emotionally, and use difficult days as tools to move closer to your win. “It’s important when you fall down to say, okay, while I’m down here, what can I learn from this?” Ask yourself, What am I going to do differently next time?

Sign on support – Forget flying solo. You’ll most likely need a coach, a mentor, or an accountability partner. In my experience working as a health coach over the last 5 years, when my clients want to throw in the towel is when I light the fire and get them back on track.  When you face disappointment, failure or pain I can say I hear you, but do it again.  It’s hard to get yourself to do that.  Linking up with an accountability buddy can also help you learn some of their winning traits.

No number of planks, push-ups, and squats will magically transform you into someone else. That’s why this should be the year of making your resolution all about you. It’s time to strive for your personal best—whether that means getting your best body ever, making your best dinners, or logging your best sleep schedule.  Try the above tips to reach your personal best.

What tips have helped you stay on track with your new year’s goals for 2017?  Comment below.

What is Bulletproof Coffee and the Benefits

If you’re a fan of coffee you’ve probably heard of a growing alternative health practice: putting butter in your morning cup of joe. Yes, I just said butter. In a cup of coffee.

Sounds crazy right, but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. Keep an open mind and read on.

What is Bulletproof Coffee®?

Putting butter in coffee recently became trendy when Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey coined the term Bulletproof Coffee® after a trip to Tibet where he drank hot tea mixed with yak butter. The traditional Tibetan beverage rejuvenated him and ultimately inspired his own version using high-quality coffee, grass-fed butter and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, derived from coconut and palm kernel oil.

According to Dave, when you drink this concoction in the morning the healthy fats naturally energize you, make you feel satiated and jump start fat burning for the rest of the day.

Those claims are enough to make hundreds of thousands of folks jump on the bandwagon, hoping to reduce their appetite and shed pounds with little effort.

 

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Here’s the deal: it’s not a magic weight loss cure. You shouldn’t substitute this drink for breakfast just so you can lower your daily caloric intake. While healthy fats do make you more satiated, you need to eat them with other foods, especially those with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K & K2 so your body can properly absorb them.

No matter what food lifestyle you embrace–80/20, real food, primal, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto, etc.–it’s good practice to start your day with healthy foods and enough calories to properly fuel your body.

I understand that what constitutes a “healthy” breakfast is totally subjective; however, I don’t think many would disagree that we all need food of some sort!

What’s Brain Octane?

Sounds like something you would hear with brain surgery, right?  In his Bulletproof Coffee® recipe, Dave recommends using MCT oil, which is a supplement comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) sourced from coconut oil and palm kernel oil that are easily absorbed by the body. Compared to long chain fatty acids, MCFAs are easily and quickly digested, which is why they’re recommended by many as a source of healthy, sustained energy and a way to stimulate your metabolism.

However, if you find MCT Oil too expensive, you can easily attain the same dietary benefits from its source–organic, virgin coconut oil.

The Benefits of Putting Grass-Fed Butter & Coconut Oil In Your Coffee

In summary (in case you skimmed the previous sections), mixing high quality grass-fed butter and coconut oil (or MCT oil) into your morning coffee will increase your daily intake and absorption of healthy fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K & K2 and healthy fatty acids such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). In addition, this healthy fat combo has the potential to give you sustained energy for several hours afterward.

Oh, yeah and one other thing. It’s delicious! Yep. Grass-fed butter and organic, virgin coconut oil taste wonderful on their own, but when they’re whizzed together with hot coffee it creates a delicious, creamy latte-like beverage that goes down smoothly!

Trust me, this does not involve plopping the butter or coconut oil directly into the coffee. That will just create an oily top layer, which we want to avoid. It’s all about the blender, y’all.

And without further adieu, here’s my own simple version that’s easy to replicate at home.

  • Brew 1 cup (8-12 oz.) of coffee using filtered water, just off the boil, with 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons freshly ground Bulletproof Coffee®. (French Press is easiest.)
  • Add in 1-2 tablespoons of Brain Octane to the hot coffee (it’s STRONG – start with 1 tsp and work up over several days).
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee
  • Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy like a latte.

Replace Negative Thoughts With Positive Ones – Looking Ahead

Who starts off their year year thinking they are Jack and Rose standing at the bow of the ship feeling on top of the world…..happy, determined, exhilarated, elated—these are words that describe feeling on top of the world.  To me that feeling means that you have conquered an obstacle or achieved a goal.  It may mean that you have helped others do the same.  When you feel on top of the world, you are able to accomplish more than you anticipated, but staying in that feeling is difficult because outside forces can knock you down.  This year I have faced many personal unfortunates in my life, ranging from the scariest which was a health scare for my daughter, my sister’s surgery, family issues, the “Rutger’s nightmare”, a career change, and my beloved father in law passing away.

We all have experienced obstacles and will continue to experience grief, hardship or loss.  So how do we achieve that top of the world feeling when life knocks you down?  I can only tell you from my experience and the answer may seem short and simple……. I strive to see the positive in everything and focus on it.  Just because something happened in your life that takes you away from your goal, it doesn’t mean you can’t go back and pick up where you left off.

Only you can allow negativity to exist in your life.  Do you allow negative thinking to take over your life? The more you allow negative thoughts to occupy your mind, the more negative your life becomes, and in time, negativity becomes a habit.  So the question becomes how to focus on the positive and avoid the negative?

 

 

Be Grateful – The definition of grateful as per dictionary.com is “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful.  Evaluate your life and celebrate what you are grateful for. Too often we feel grateful, but then allow another event to wipe the feeling away. Hold tight onto the grateful feelings and keep expanding on them. Each morning I write a motivational quote on my Facebook group.  That starts my mindset with that motivation and as the day unfolds I try and let that expand.  I believe once we learn how to stay grateful and celebrate the small and the large moments alike, your attitude will change.  You will believe you are capable of greatness and will look for avenues to achieving your goals. When you look for them optimistically, opportunities appear.

Good Health – With good health you can achieve anything.  I can personally tell you, I don’t think I would be here writing this blog if I did not do something about my health after having Julia (my third daughter).  I always wonder if having a near death experience brought me to this stage of my life where my passion is helping others.  The time and effort you invest in your health will pay off in multiple ways. Start with a healthy diet; food is fuel when chosen wisely. When you eat food that nourishes you, you begin to think more clearly and realize what is acceptable or not in your life.  Include activity, spend time with positive people, sleep well, get age-appropriate medical tests, and start each day in a healthy way.  Contact me to help you get on the road to good health with a health history consultation.

Today’s Instagram Post: Improve yourself, but never change.  Be someone better, but remain yourself.  Forget who hurt you, but don’t forget who loves you everyday.  Forget the past that makes you cry and focus on the present that makes you smile.  I’m focusing on the positives in these last six days of 2016 and planning ahead.

What will you do to focus on the positive.  Join me and post a picture of your “positive” or happy moments of 2016 and tag @fitzonejackie on your instagram or post on the FitZone Facebook page and use a hashtag that makes you feel on top of the world.

No Sugar Please, I’m Sweet Enough

Lessons I Learned Trying to Give Up Sugar

First of all I should start this blog by saying “lessons I learned trying to give up desserts so I can try and give up sugar”.  Sugar is in everything! On December 1st, I committed to give up sweets in order to try and help me get through this plateau I have hit and here is how it went down:

 Day 1

Like most people I am addicted to sugar (And I really am like most people, or Americans at least. According to the American Heart Association, we consume an average of 20 teaspoons a day compared to the recommended 6 to 9 teaspoons.) And I’m not talking about natural sugars from fruits and veggies like pineapple, strawberries, carrots, and beets. No, I’m talking about the bad but oh-so-delicious refined stuff. The kind that’s in candy, ice cream, cookies, cake, ice cream cake, cookie cake, cupcakes, chocolate – the list is never ending. Did I say cake?

Yes, I know sugar is terrible for me; that it plays a greater role in heart disease than saturated fat; that it’s the number-one cause of obesity and related diseases; that it promotes and puts you at risk for pre-diabetes and diabetes; that it makes you age faster. Which is why for years I’ve been trying to put my love affair with sugar to an end.

Sugar is in everything.

 Day 2

When I say everything, I mean virtually everything. Unless you live under a rock, you will inadvertently consume sugar daily. Examples of foods you’d never think had sugar and were considered healthy: spinach wraps, almond butter, protein powder, and lots more. Day one was easy peasy. I was ready for a change and of course it’s day one and my brain hasn’t had a chance to register the effects.  But then you go through phases of withdrawal, driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that are used to a rush of serotonin and beta-endorphins from sugar, which once made you happy.

In order to hold myself accountable I committed to posting a pic on my Instagram account each day. I held strong my first week until baking happened last Friday night.  But let me explain what happened…..Amr and I and the girls decided we needed bonding time.  No phones, no tv, just some good ol’ time to catch up and do something we can all do together.  Needless to say bonding was a huge success and no sugar was not so successful……however, THE WIN – I couldn’t eat more than two cookies!!!  I immediately noticed my taste buds had changed. Eating those two cookies were not as pleasurable as I thought they would be not having any dessert in 5 whole days!!

There is now evidence showing if we go a few weeks cutting down on sugar and junk food our tastes start to change.  This is exactly what happened to me on Day 5.  My taste buds became more sensitive and the two cookies I ate felt like I had devoured an entire pint of ice cream (which I may have done once upon a time).

Join us for our NO SUGAR WEEK starting January 8th 2017 on my Facebook Group.  Everyday you will post a picture to keep yourself accountable.  All those that join will receive a 7 day meal plan.  All you need to do to receive the meal plan is post on the page “I commit to the 7 Day No Sugar Challenge”.

To see how a healthy diet can make you feel, contact me to schedule a health history consultation.

 

The Scale Is Not The Only Measure of Success

screenshot2011-12-19at8-19-59pmWho likes to weigh themselves daily (me, me, me)?  Yes, I know I focus on that number on my scale and it’s a habit I haven’t been able to kick.  However for me the scale is a daily reality check, and has helped hold me accountable so I NEVER see the number 378 lbs ever again.

With that being said, after 7 years on my weight loss journey and 3 years of coaching clients the scale is not the most important measure of success.  In fact, your weight may be the least important thing to keep track of.  It may seem counter intuitive, but the scale is better at helping you maintain your weight than it is at helping you lose it.  Why you may ask?  There are important changes  happening in your body that the scale can’t measure and that’s what I like to call non-scale victories.  So what’s a non-scale victory (NSV)?  The best way to explain it is to share with you my client Michele’s NSV success story:

michele👉🏻 Michele has tracked and logged her food for 475 consecutive days in the myfitnesspal app that I use to help my clients;

👉🏻Michele has completely transformed her lifestyle and has been working out a minimum of 3 days per week plus training a minimum of one day a week over the last 2 years;

👉🏻 Michele has changed her diet and has eliminated processed foods and sweets from her diet;

👉🏻 Michele is setting a good example for her son teaching him proper nutrition;

👉🏻 Michele has changed on the inside: You may not know (or care) about what’s happening inside your cells when you exercise, but what’s going on in there can actually help you lose weight. Exercise teaches your body how to release more fat-burning molecules. The fitter you are, the more fat you burn and that is something the scale can’t measure.

Your weight is just one aspect of your progress and, in many cases, it’s not even the most important one. It’s unfortunate but, for most of us, the number on a scale is the determining factor in whether we’ve succeeded or failed. I want you to look at all of Michelle’s progress and think twice before you use the scale as your only measure of success.

Yes, of course it is important to know your weight. I am just saying that if the number on the scale stresses you out start looking at other things going on. One other thing to consider is if you see that scale go up a pound of two…you could be gaining muscle!

The following are a few of my NSV’S:

HAVING MORE ENERGY
This is a big one. Believe it or not eating bad food sort of sucks the life out of you. When you fuel your body with healthy food you will have more energy. It will no longer be a short burst of energy that you get from a cup of coffee or sugar, it will be all day long all day strong energy.

I HAVE ENDURANCE
Seven years ago, I couldn’t go up a flight of stairs without feeling like I needed an oxygen mask. Now I can do a two hour Zumba masterclass and live to tell!! Just like Michele commit to a workout schedule than I want you to pay attention to how you are doing in your workouts. Is the workout that used to kick your butt getting easier? Are you using heavier weights? Are you going longer, harder? These are all signs that you are getting stronger.

SHOPPING FOR NEW CLOTHESfullsizerender-7
MY FAVORITE…..how rewarding is it to go shopping an get a size smaller? Well I will personally tell you that I couldn’t fit in the largest of plus sizes at my heaviest (insert sad face). To be able to shop in any store and look and feel good is a NSV life no other! If jeans that used to barely zip or button are going on without a problem you are doing something right. If a shirt that used to hug you a little to tight is now a little lose you are dong something right. If you need to tighten your belt an extra notch give yourself a pat on the back, you are making progress.

MY TASTE BUDS HAVE CHANGED
I know that sounds odd but this is a big one. Cravings are the worst, and fighting one is an epic battle. Heres the good news, when you start eating healthy food and rid your body of all the excess sugar and crap it will slowly stop craving it. It takes 21 days to break a habit so after a few weeks the craving for crap should be gone. That is a huge victory in my book. It takes a lot of mental energy to fight off a craving, that energy is better spent elsewhere, like on prepping your healthy meals for the week.

MY SKIN LOOKS BETTER
I know this wouldn’t be the first thing you think of paying attention to when it comes to working out and eating better but its an important one. When you workout you sweat, the sweat is releasing toxins from your body. Toxins that dull your skin and make it break out. When you eat healthy you are giving your body vital minerals and nutrients that help with cell repair, sun damage, aging, all things that affect your skin. Are bodies are over 60% water, when you hydrate properly it shows in your skin. This is a HUGE NON-SCALE victory. We all want to look younger.

MY MINDSET HAS CHANGED
I am happier, I feel more confident, I am proud of myself for sticking to my workouts and healthy eating plan (most of the time). Having a positive attitude in my life has reflected in my family’s life and overall happiness.

What’s your favorite non-scale victory? Please leave a comment and help inspire someone.

Welcome to the NEW & IMPROVED www.fitzonenj.com

Today is the day!!! I am very excited to launch a new and improved www.fitzonenj.com!!! New features on the site include user friendly tabs, navigation, class registration and features, my NEW Blog (please sign up), and online store with more products being added. If I can help you on your journey to better health please join me in some of the following services:

Health Coaching – I have helped dozens of people lose hundreds of pounds naturally through nutrition, fitness and support so please check out the Weight Loss Program tab.

Group & Personal Training Sessions

Fitness classes including Zumba, Zumba Toning, Strong by Zumba, Insanity, Build & Burn, PIYO and special events and masterclasses – Check out the Fitness Classes tab.

NEW Blog – I will begin writing things all things of interest weight loss, nutrition, fitness, recipes, etc.

Online Store – Gift Certificates & Cookbook- More products coming!

As you may notice, the name has changed back to FitZone. In order to have everything streamlined with the website, everything has been updated with our new name and existing logo.

To celebrate the launch of the new site I have extended the sale for the 10 Class Pass. Save $15 dollars by using promo code save15 (all lowercase). Click here to purchase now, sale ends on Sunday, December 4th.

Thank you all for your continued support on this journey!

~Jackie~

7 Best Foods for Fitness

If you don’t have enough to eat before you exercise, you may not have enough gas in the tank. You might burn fewer calories, too. Nutrition becomes an especially important part of your routine when you work out regularly. It not only fuels your increased physical activity but also provides the raw materials for building and repairing muscle fibers. Because these tissues are rich in protein, including enough of nutrients in your diet can help you reach your fitness goals. In addition, the timing of protein consumption can make a difference in building muscle and post-workout recovery.  Check out my favorites:

1. Grab a Banana

Don’t have much time before you head to the gym? Eat an apple or a banana 5 or 10 minutes before your workout for some quick, natural energy.

Your body easily digests these carbohydrates and turns them into the energy you need for exercise. Also, fruit is packed with helpful nutrients.  For those training for a race, bananas are perfect for raising potassium levels. which drop when you sweat a lot.

2. Eggs

What would we do without eggs? It's a dietary mainstay, not only for breakfast but pre and post workout it's a great quick go to. Tip: Boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week and keep refrigerated for a grab and go!

3. Energy Bar in the Afternoon

When you’re working out later in the day, have a small snack about an hour before you get started. A sports bar that has 200 calories or less is a good option.

Look for a bar with low-fiber content, ideally 3 grams or less. Too much fiber before a workout can upset your stomach.

On the ingredients list, keep an eye out for sugar alcohols, like sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, and mannitol. Too much of these ingredients can give you cramps or diarrhea.

4. Grilled Chicken at Mealtime

When you exercise regularly, you need more protein than people who don’t, especially after a workout. Your body uses it to repair muscles, to make blood cells, and for many other purposes. For lunch or dinner, serve a leaner source, like grilled chicken or turkey, instead of something like a cheeseburger.

5. A Bowl of Berries

After a workout, go for these instead of a bottle of juice. A lot of the fiber in whole fruits is lost as they become juice.

Blueberries, in particular, have been shown to reduce muscle soreness from strenuous exercise. Cherries are another good option. But any berry will likely help.

6. Veggies and Hummus

When you exercise regularly, it’s all too easy to overestimate how many calories you’ve burned. An intense, hour-long bike ride could burn 590 calories, but a more leisurely one might only use 290.

While you might feel like you’ve earned a cookie, it’s better to snack on fruits and vegetables. After you work out, pair your produce with protein to help you feel more full and replenish muscles. Try vegetables with hummus or fruit with Greek yogurt.

7. Water or a Sports Drink

Hydration is a must when you exercise. Often, water is all you need. But it depends on what you are doing. If your activity is less than 60 minutes, sip small amounts of water often to replace lost fluids. But when your workout is intense and lasts longer than an hour, a sports drink could help your hydration and your performance. Just keep an eye on the calories and sugar, like with any other drink, especially if you want to lose weight.