Tag Archives: food journal

The 4 Keys to Real Fitness Start with Strength Training and Food Quantity, Says Trainer Pamela Hernandez

For those of you looking to get off the diet roller coaster, get back to the basics, and develop a balanced and sustainable lifestyle to get you feeling your best, health coach and personal trainer Pamela Hernandez has released an ebook just for you: The 4 Keys to Real Fitness.

Pamela Hernandez is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ACE Certified Health Coach (who is also a long-time partner of DietsInReview.com) with a thriving practice in Springfield, MO, where she is the owner of Thrive Personal Fitness. We spoke with her about her no-frills, easy-to-follow guidelines to a healthier, happier life, and how her personal life experiences support her clients.

pamela hernandez real fitness

“I’ve always wanted to help empower women,” says Hernandez. “Fitness gave me the strength and confidence to pursue my dreams. I want other women to feel strong and capable of doing anything they wish.”

No matter the age or experience level, Pamela has found four essential components to fitness success, which she describes in her new e-book. These elements aren’t groundbreaking, “but when they are applied with the right mindset they work every time.” (more…)

Heather Martinez Walked, Boxed and Kicked Off 185 Pounds

Heather Martinez spent many years adapting to her weight gain instead of addressing it. Heavy since elementary school, she remembers not being able to participate in sports or other activities. She admits she would eat her lunch and then eat what was left of her friend’s lunch too. After school she chose fattening snacks like cookies, chips and candy. Her weight struggle progressed through junior high and high school, eventually reaching 326 pounds.

heather martinez collage

Today, Heather is 185 thinner and has maintained the loss for several years. She wants her story to inspire others saying, “You can begin to live healthier at any point in your life. You have the power to change at any moment.”

More from Heather in her own words –

What habits specifically led you to gain weight? There were multiple factors that led me to gain weight: Eating the wrong foods, eating large quantities of food at one time, not eating vegetables and fruits and constant snacking on unhealthy options.

What caused you to realize you needed to change? I knew I needed to make a change when I began choking in my sleep. Another turning point was when I could no longer fit into a restaurant booth or a movie theater seat. The final straw came when I visited my favorite clothing store and realized I could not fit into the biggest size they offered.

How did you lose the weight? I started walking around my parent’s pool. I was so obese that I could only walk for 3 minutes and I would be out of breath. Other tactics I used included cutting out all fast food and sweets, keeping a food journal and scheduling workouts in a calendar.

What diet and exercise methods did you employ? I incorporated healthy options into my diet such as baked chicken and fish, protein shakes, nuts, avocados fruits and vegetables. At first, my exercise routine included walking and lifting weights, but as I began to lose more weight, I added boot camps, boxing, Turbo kick and body combat classes to my program.


Be a Portion Control Pro! 5 Ways to Divide While Conquering Your Meals

By Janis Jibrin, M.S. RD, Lead Nutritionist for TheBestLife.com

Having trouble getting your portions under control? Here are five tactics to help you rein them in.


Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re likely to feel hungrier because your body produces more appetite-spiking hormones and fewer “I’m full” signals. For instance, a German study found that after just four nights of sleeping seven, six, six and finally just four hours, women took in 20 percent more calories than they did after getting eight hours of sleep. For most people, seven to eight hours is ideal.

Don’t wait too long between meals. You know what happens when you do—you become ravenous and devour everything in sight! Make sure to carry a nut and seed bar or another 150- to 200-calorie snack for when you’re stuck in a meeting, on a plane, or in another situation where having a meal isn’t an option. (more…)

Colleen Fields Lost 124 Pounds by Food Journaling and Taking Control of Her Life

When most people start a diet, they focus on the numbers that appear on the scale, but Colleen Fields had a different sort of goal in mind, her dress size. In January 2010, Colleen weighed 304 pounds and wore a size 26 W. Her goal was to shed enough weight so that she could wear a size 12 by her 40th birthday. She knew she had just under two years to make it happen.

colleen fields before after

As a child, Colleen remembers being “chubby,” but says her real struggle with weight didn’t occur until after she had her second child. She gained 75 pounds with her son and never shed the extra weight. Then, a divorce and the demands of being a single parent caused her to gain even more.

Colleen explains, “I had a terrible marriage that left me with significant self-esteem issues. I left him shortly after my son was born and I poured myself into my kids (I also have a daughter, same father, who is three years older). I went back to school, I worked full-time, and I shuttled them to all of the normal kid activities – Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, gymnastics, baseball, soccer, dance, swimming, etc. I wanted to give them as much of a normal childhood as possible despite the fact that their father was not involved in their lives, and in the process I ignored myself. I would leave work, pick them up from day care, take them to their activities, grab fast food, get home and do homework, then put them to bed and I would do my own homework. There was no time for me and I didn’t make me a priority.”


Goalvator App Creator Jason Swenk Lost 50 Pounds By Photographing His Food

Call it tedious, but it worked. Jason Swenk, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia lost 50 pounds by doing nothing more than taking pictures of his food. The process started after Jason saw a considerable weight gain once graduating college and getting an office job.

Though he’d always exercised and stayed active, Jason admitted he was filling up on the wrong kinds of foods, relying on whatever was “fast and easy.” This led him to reach his highest weight of nearly 260 pounds.

But when he recognized his habits were causing a change in his energy levels, always leaving him feeling tired and moody, Jason knew it was time for a change. “I also wanted to make sure I could be active and live a long life with my kids,” he said.

To lose the weight, Jason started taking pictures of everything he ate and then recording how he felt hours later. The act of taking pictures of his food spurred an “ah-ha” moment that led Jason to approach dieting differently. “One night I went back to keep snacking and kept taking pictures of everything and it clicked,” he said. “I was eating so much food and from then on, it changed.” (more…)

Top 4 Reasons Diets Fail and What to Do About It

New Year’s resolutions are in full swing, most of which revolve around losing weight and getting in shape. If this describes you, how confident are you that this will be your year? New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived for many reasons.

healthy diet

According to Dr. Jessica Bartfield, a weight loss specialist from Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care, only 20 percent of those who plan on losing weight are successful. She gives her top four reasons so many dieters fail to lose weight. We’ll give you the remedies.

1. Underestimating Calories Consumed

Dr. Bartfield: “Most people (even experts!) underestimate the number of calories they eat per day.”

Our Suggestion: If you’re the type that prefers to wing it when it comes to eating, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not enough to want to lose weight. You have to prepare, plan and research what you’re going to eat.

Like Dr. Bartfield, we suggest writing down everything you eat. If you prefer an old-fashioned written food journal, that’s great. However, there many digital solutions that offer a more comprehensive experience with access to your favorite foods’ calorie count, weight tracking, and many other features. (more…)

Jennifer Fite Made Health Her New Year’s Resolution and Lost 95 Pounds

Jennifer Fite, 47, is a single mom and publicist living in Chicago, Illinois who kept good on her 2012 New Year’s resolution. This time last year Jen knew it was time for a change. At her heaviest weight of 283 pounds, she was unhealthy, unhappy and determined to take control of her health once and for all.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jen about her amazing weight loss journey, which left her 95 pounds lighter in just under one year. It all started when she joined a local gym called Downsize Fitness.


10 Ways to Solidify Your Fitness Routine

There seems to be a great chasm between those who workout and those who do not. But does anyone really know why that is?

Often surrounded by people who don’t love working out as much as I do (admittedly, I’m an enthusiast), I’ve asked myself this question many times but to no avail. It seems that the path to fitness is narrow and few find it, but I wish that wasn’t so as exercise is such an essential part of a long, healthy life. Not to mention it can be a blast once you find your groove!

Perhaps there are some insider secrets that ‘insiders’ wrongly assume ‘outsiders’ already know. This slideshow is my humble attempt to “crack the code” and unveil those tips, tricks and secrets so that everyone can find their way to fitness and establish a routine that truly sticks.

Keeping a Food Journal Helps Women Lose Weight, Study Finds

There may be one more reason to put pen to paper when it comes to tracking what you eat, especially if you’re a woman.

A new study from the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, found that women who keep food journals, skip fewer meals and eat out for lunch less frequently lose more weight than women who don’t.

To conduct the year-long study, researchers tracked the eating habits of 123 overweight or obese post-menopausal women who were following a weight loss regimen. At the end of the study, the women had lost an average of 19 pounds, or roughly 11 percent of their starting weight.

The majority of the women were advised to follow a 1,200 to 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, depending on their needs, and record everything they ate in a food journal.

Researchers speculate that the women successfully lost weight because writing down what you eat forces you to become more accountable and stick closely to your weight loss program. (more…)

Why Technology Does and Does Not Work for Weight Loss

Anyone can start a weight loss program. All it takes is a modicum of willpower and a loose plan. There are even mainstream services, such as Weight Watchers, that can provide a guide. The difficult part, and the part where most people fail, is following through. Willpower can take us only so far. We need something extra in order to stick with our plans for the long haul.

The intersection of two recent ideas can perhaps provide a solution. Both feedback loops and the quantified self involve recording data, and then viewing that data from multiple angles. It makes us aware of our behaviors and habits, and awareness is the first step to change.

Using technology to our advantage

Perhaps the biggest issue in creating feedback loops and achieving the quantified self is the actual recording of the data. After all, feedback loops only work if we can place our habits and behaviors in front of us. Thankfully, smartphones — devices we have with us at almost all times — can play a large role in data recording. There are apps specifically designed with feedback loops and the quantified self in mind for dieters. (more…)