Weight Loss Plateau Culprits, Part 2

Weight loss is frustrating especially when you feel like you've tried everything!  However, there are numerous silent culprits that may be the cause of your weight loss plateau.  Earlier, you learned about how television and innocent snacking can stall your weight loss or even cause you to gain more pounds.  Below is another culprit that can keep you plateauing. Culprit #3 - Stress

Merriam-Webster defines stress as a state resulting from a stress; especially : one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.  There are three types of stress:

  1. Acute stress response - heart beats faster and there's an adrenalin rush.
  2. "Hurried Sickness” the persistent belief that there is never enough time.
  3. Chronic stress response – continued stress which leads to “wear & tear” on body.

The effects of stress on the body are incredible and  it can impact your body, feelings, and behavior!  If you have a stressful job or have a lot of stressful relationships, it's time to consider the toll it's taking on your health.  If you're not sure if you're stressed, begin a food journal and note the times that you feel stressed out.  Observe your cravings around that time and make a note to yourself.  Do you crave sugary or high-fat foods and if so what's the pattern that you tend to follow when you experience stressful situations?

Stress can be a good thing for you but too much of  it can be harmful, even toxic.  Excessive stress can lead to over-eating, under-eating, and even bingeing.  It's no wonder that folks under constant stress are often sick, lack energy, and may seek comfort foods to help them "de-stress."  If you're under a lot of stress, it's time to re-work your life and get some help.  Help can be as simple as getting some additional support during your high-stress hours of the day (e.g. relative, friend, mother's helper).

Get a handle on your stress so you can combat a weight loss plateau.  My next post next week will discuss another culprit that may surprise you.

July 2010: Shape-up Shoes are a Waste of Money!

I love shopping for fitness clothes and accessories so it's no wonderthat when the new shape-up shoes hit the stores, I was intrigued to say the least. But do they really work? I have the scoop for you in my "Ask Valerie" section.

I've talked with a number of folks who are struggling with the sweet cravings. I can understand especially with the parties, family gatherings, and vacations this summer. Below I'll give you some tips for how to conquer your sweet tooth and avoid the unwanted weight gain that happens during this time of year.

This month is all about accountability. I'm starting an accountability group on my Facebook page so if you want to check-in with me "real-time," upload some photos or just get some encouragement in your journey, be sure to login to plus get my fitness tip-of the-day on Twitter. Until next time, take care of yourself - your body's depending on you.

Peace and blessings,


Are You a Sugar-holic?

It's challenging to eat anything without sugar. In fact, if you read most labels there's sugar in the ingredient somewhere in the form of sucrose, lactose, or fructose. Our bodies aren't designed to avoid sugar altogether but they definitely aren't designed to consume too much of it. A recent study by the American Heart Association shows that the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That's the equivalent of just two sodas! So the next time you're at a mall, amusement park or party, beware! Eating sweets on a regular basis is detrimental to your health. In fact, no studies to date have shown the effectiveness of eating too much sugar - on the contrary - the impact on your teeth and the effect of over-indulging can cost you for years to come!

So what can you do you do to beat the sugar cravings? Tossing cookies, candies, and other tempting treats is the first step. Even if you just bought something yesterday, it won't do you a bit of good to keep it. Make it your goal to avoid buying sugary sweets, instead opt for healthier sweet treats like fruit. Fruit is naturally sweet and full of many cancer fighting properties. Fruit will give you that sweet fix and provide you with all the healthy benefits. Some other tips include:

  • Limit your sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of sugar a day and 9 teaspoons (37.5) grams for men.
  • Switch from regular soda to sugar free (eventually ditch the soda altogether).
  • Avoid sugary coffee drinks - they're loaded with sugar!
  • Use sugar alternatives such as Stevia, cinnamon, or purees.
  • Eat better-for-you ice cream such as Klondike 100 calorie sandwiches.

I know it can be tough to conquer the sugar cravings but you must do it! Trust me, an apple will do a lot more good on your teeth, waistline, and mood than a brownie.  Set out to conquer your kid's sugar addition today! Check out my post on helping your kids lose the sugar cravings.

Ask Valerie: Do Shape-up Shoes Work?

Buying Shape-up shoes is like setting money on fire! In a recent study by The American Council of Exercise, researchers found that there was absolutely no difference in muscle activiation, exercise intensity, or caloric expenditure between tone-up shoes and regular fitness shoes. It's a shame that through sleek marketing efforts, consumers have been caught up in erroneous claims and mis-leading results. The study also found that tone-up shoe effectiveness claims were supported by the manufacturers own studies; sounds a little biased to me.

So if you're trying to decide between some $100 tone-up (no such thing as toning but I'll address that later) shoes or quality fitness shoes, choose the the fitness shoes. In fact, with on-going summer sales, you'll find some great deals on fitness shoes and you may even be able to get a cute outfit too!

Fitwell Personal Boot Camp

Next session: September 8 - October 1, 2010

Fitwell Personal Boot Camp is not your ordinary boot camp - it's an experience! This boot camp provides you with all the boot camp drills customized to your fitness level. So if you don't like to run, you don't have to run. You can still participate in a cardiovascular program that will get your heart in shape and help you lose those stubborn pounds. Here's what you can expect from each boot camp session:

  • World-class training from Discovery Health Fitness Expert, Valerie Merriweather.
  • Weekly motivational tips and nutrition guidance.
  • Customized workouts that help you achieve your fitness goals, prevent injury. and perform better in everyday life.
  • On-going support and coaching from Valerie.
  • Additional nutritional services such as RMR (resting metabolic rate) at a reduced rate, just for being part of Fitwell Personal Boot Camp.

and much more....

Sign up today! Hurry, space is limited. Can't do all 8 sessions? No problem, just drop-in for only $30 a session.

Fitwell Training Solutions Goes Corporate!

Have you considered a wellness program in your organization but don't know where to start?  If so, Valerie has a solution for you with the launch of her Corporate Fit Challenge program.  Corporate wellness is a great way to invest in the health of your employees, increase productivity and improve company morale.  So what are you waiting for? Contact Valerie today at 301-476-4580 for more information on how Fitwell can help you reduce your healthcare costs.

The babyShape Show

Yes, you can lose weight while breastfeeding! Check out my interview with Pat Shelly, Director and founder of The Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. The babyShape Show airs every Wednesday at 2:30PM EST. I will share my secrets on maintaining fitness during pregnancy as well as all life stages we encounter. My goal is to inspire you to be in the best shape of your life!

babyShape Prenatal Workout DVD

As a busy mother of four, I know how difficult it can be to get to the gym, especially during pregnancy.  babyShape Prenatal Workout DVD is ideal for getting a workout in at home, whether you are in your first trimester or near delivery.

Strength training is critical for maintaining muscle necessary to burn fat during pregnancy and recovery.  This is the key for moms who are having trouble getting back into shape after delivery and great preparation for everyday moves required for lifting, moving and caring for baby.

babyShape Prenatal Workout DVD is a excellent resource for you and a great gift idea for an expecting mom. Get your copy today!