Weighting It Out

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For most people, starting a weight loss plan also means starting a tumultuous relationship with the scale. When you’re down a pound or two for the week, the scale is your friend, maybe even your friend with benefits. But, when it reflects an uptick in poundage, you’re ready to call it quits and indulge in the post-break up ice cream binge. If it sounds like I’m speaking from experience, it’s because I am…just a really good writer.

A recent article in SELF magazine laid out some pretty solid guidelines for how often you should weigh yourself– daily if you’re trying to lose weight, and weekly if you’re trying to maintain. If you’re weighing in daily, focus on your weekly average as fluctuations are going to occur. A healthy weight loss goal is 1-2 pounds per week.

I think this is sound advice for most, but I know so many people who are absolutely tormented by the scale. If you’re trying to slender down but can’t handle the reality that your weight can seesaw up to a couple pounds depending on the day, then don’t step on the scale everyday. You’ll drive yourself crazy. Scale down to weighing in weekly, or get into the habit of measuring yourself instead. That way, you’re sure to account for the exchange of fat to muscle density. I try to measure my biceps, chest, waist, hips, thighs, and calves about every 2 weeks to make sure the changes in my body are really accounted for. Check out these tips before you whip out the tape measure!

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Pro(tein)/Con: Kashi Go Lean Crunchy!

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The past two weeks have been hectic to say the least. From moving into a new house, and then jumping right into work week and rush, I’ve barely had any time to sleep or shower, let alone prepare slender snacks for my inevitable post-lunch, pre-dinner hunger pangs. By some miracle, however, I had the foresight to invest in a giant variety pack box of Kashi Go Lean Crunchy bars from Costco. And, I’ve gotta say, the dent I’ve already made in my supply is pretty impressive.

Kashi Go Lean Crunchy! Chocolate Pretzel

Calories: 160 | Fat: 3 g (Sat Fat: 2.5 g) | Carbohydrate: 28 g | Fiber: 5 g| Protein: 8 g

where you can find it: I got enough of these to feed an army at Costco, but I’ve seen them at many standard grocery stores in more reasonable amounts.

- the good: First of all, this bar is huge. It’s like the size of my hand, which is admittedly small, but…still. My two favorite flavors are the chocolate peanut (red wrapper) and the chocolate pretzel (magenta wrapper). They’re both dense and chewy, which makes me slow down while I’m eating them. Speed eating is a big problem when it comes to handy snacks like these. Also, the nutrition is worth writing home (or a blog post) about. You’ll seldom find a bar this low in calories and fat with as much fiber and protein as is packed into this bar. That’s definitely something to get excited about, though I realize I might be one of the few people on the planet that gets revved up by things like this.

- the bad: Like I said, I love the chocolate peanut and pretzel flavors, but I don’t think the chocolate caramel (yellow wrapper) is up to snuff. It’s not as weighty and seems to always leave me hungry after I’ve inhaled it. There’s something about the sickly sweet caramel flavor just doesn’t do it for me. Since I’ve been picking around them in my variety pack, maybe I can pass them out on Halloween? No? Ok.

repeat: Definitely. Although next time I think I’ll downsize on the quantity, otherwise I’m going to have enough chocolate caramel bars leftover to build a Great Wall of Kashi.

Check out more protein bar reviews: one, two

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Out On The Town: Tex-Mex

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Alright, sit down and take a deep breath. Are you sitting? Good, because what I’m about to say is going to surprise you. K, brace yourself… I’m telling you it IS possible to stay slender while going out for Tex-Mex. You’re going to have to make some different and possibly difficult decisions, but you can do it, and I’ll be holding tu mano all the while.

 2 fajitas, each with: 1 corn tortilla, 2-3 strips of chicken, fajita veggies, salsa, and 1 T guacamole
- chicken tortilla soup without tortilla chips or strips; ask for cheese on the side so you can control the portion (I’d add 2 T or so)
– taco salad with no tortilla chips or strips, no sour cream, and guac, cheese & dressing on the side

- tortilla chips = 20-25 calories EACH
 queso = 135 calories per 1/4 C
– refried beans = 60 calories per 1/4 C
– sour cream = 25 calories per 1 T
– Mexican rice = 80 calories per 1/4 C
– flour tortilla = 150 calories per 8″ tortilla
– frozen margarita = 300 calories per 6 oz.

ask your waiter for a side of cilantro or a lime wedge to add flavor to your meal
– instead of avoiding eye contact with the tortilla chip basket to keep yourself from eating them, start with a cup of tortilla soup or a side salad to stay in check
–  stray from the sugary, calorie-laden frozen margaritas and see if your waiter can whip you up a lower calorie version with tequila, lime juice, club soda, and Splenda. Many restaurants now also serve pre-made low calorie margaritas, like the Skinny Girl brand.


The Slender Set: Abdominals

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As you may have noticed, there was no Lazy Sunday post to speak of yesterday. This may or may not have had something to do with being trapped in my sorority house until 4 in the morning. But, after a lazy Monday morning, The Slender Student is back with another addition to The Slender Set.

I’ve been a J. Timberlake fan since the *NSYNC days, and whenever I hear “Summer Love,” I try to forget that the “pretty little frame” he’s talking about belongs to Jessica Biel, not me. This new workout targets your abs in a major way, making it a perfect complement to the rest of The Slender Sets and your usual 15-30 minute cardio routine.

- Bicycle crunches are my favorite ab exercise to target your lower abs, upper abs, and obliques. Triple threat.
– The single leg stretch is a go to pilates move that you’ll feel throughout your core.
– By raising your legs during the vertical leg crunch, you’re engaging the muscles in your lower abs, meaning you can kiss your little tummy pooch goodbye.
– You might look a little uncoordinated when you first attempt a V up, but they’re difficulty is due to their effectiveness.

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Slender Sweet Nothings

Here’s another set of sweet little tips to keep your journey to slenderhood moving along.

1. Studies at the University of Texas (woo woo) show that women who eat according to their hunger cues as opposed to explicit calorie counts or other more concrete guidelines actually lose more weight. Remember to eat slow to allow your body and brain to actually process your hunger level during and after a meal!

2. The average bagel has about 350 calories and, unless it’s whole grain, there won’t be much filling fiber to speak of. For a less hefty breakfast bread, scoop out the center, switch to bagel thins (available at bagel shops like Einstein’s and the grocery), or check out Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat bagels.

3. If you like getting your cardio in on the elliptical, try taking your hands off the handles every few minutes. Keeping your balance will engage your core muscles. Hello, slender waist.

source: Self magazine, Women’s Health magazine

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