Tag Archives: protein choices

Protein…it does a body good

For everyone who has participated in one of my weight loss programs or taken on my 7 day slim down, 5 ½ day diet or had me prepare a nutrition plan for you, you know I am big on ensuring you eat healthy, lean protein.

Why do I love protein so much?

This is protein

Well for starters it has an impact on your blood sugar, glucagon, insulin, satiety, blood amino, nitrogen retention, glycemic load, muscle health, energy, negative caloric state and a whole lot of other really fun things.

Let me break it down for you.

  1. Taking in healthy Protein actually makes your body burn more calories just by consuming it because it takes energy to break it down into bite size pieces that your body uses.  Those are amino acids…they are good things
  2. Protein helps protect you from losing muscle.  If you are in an amino acid deficit, your body eats its own muscle.  That means less fat burning ability…that’s not good.
  3. Protein helps control insulin and blood sugar so your body produces the fat burning goodness that you want…that’s a good thing
  4. Protein takes longer to break down and digest than carbohydrates so your hunger is controlled longer…that’s a good thing.

All foods (carbs, protein, fat, micro and macro nutrients) have an effect on insulin and blood sugar. Carbohydrates jack blood glucose levels faster and more that the others.  Then your body makes insulin to suck out the sugar.  Then the sugar gets transported to your muscles and liver so that it can be used later.

That process also makes your body release a bunch of other hormones that help it store all that energy….aka, fat stores. Not really what most people who are looking to lose weight want.

What you want is your body to release fat, not store it.

So here are my recommendations for healthy protein choices. A serving size of meat is about 3-4oz or about the size of a deck of cards for 22-28 grams of protein.


This is an excellent source of protein because it is low in fat. Fish such as salmon is a little higher in fat, but it is the heart healthily kind: omega 3 fatty acids.

White Meat Poultry

Stay with the white meat. Dark Meat is a little higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat.


Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. Hard boiled eggs are a great option and portable!


A 1/2 cup of beans contains almost as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Beans are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full

Pork Tenderloin

The other / other white meat.  It’s 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.

For my Veggie friends–Soy is another source of protein, which is controversial, but I’ll save that for another post.

Lean Beef

Surprise, lean beef has only one more gram of saturated fat than a skin-less chicken breast. It is also an excellent source of iron, B12 and zinc

Cottage cheese serving size is roughly ½ cup for 15 grams of protein.

Egg whites have 3 grams of protein while the yolk has the same. So eat your eggs. You get a “complete” protein when using yolks and whites, so eat the yolks.

Protein powders are a great supplement / addition.  Most are 20-25 grams per scoop.

My recommendation?  Get a high quality Whey protein (such as our fabulous Boot Camp protein). It has the best amino acid profile and it’s been shown to elevate your body’s own antioxidant levels of glutathione…that’s a good thing.

To summarize…. eat PROTEIN…. with everything. 🙂

How are your resolutions going?

Well , we are one week from the end of January.  The first month of 2012 is almost gone and what have you got to show for it?

How are you doing on your goals for this year so far?  Did you set your goals for the year?  It doesn’t matter if we are talking about finances, family of fitness…you need to set goals.  It’s no just enough to say I want to lose 30 pounds or I want to be a size 6.

When do you want to lose 30 pounds? After you gain 20?  If you’re a size 12 you might just be a little discouraged right now if you wanted to be in the size 6-slinky dress for Valentines Day.

Just like it’s not enough to say (wish) what you want, you need to be realistic about the time line and you need to put a date on your goals.  Here’s what I mean.


I will lose 30 pounds by December 31st, 2012.

(I’m going to use that as an example for the rest of this post…feel free to put your own number in there)

That’s a great goal and its got a realistic date for achievement.  Now that you’ve got the goal and the date and you’ve written it down, committed to it and even shared it with someone to be accountable to, you have to take action.

Big surprise! All the wishing, wanting, writing and dreaming will NEVER get you where you want to be.  You HAVE to take action, and that action needs to also be set in stone.

How are you going to lose 30 pounds? Are you going to wait until November 1st to go into panic mode and try to take some drastic measure?

Bench Mark Goals

You need to set mini-goals on your way to the ultimate goal.  30 pounds by December 31st = 2.75 pounds per month.  So every month for the next 11 months you need to drop 2.75 pounds.  That works out to be .68 pounds per week.

I will tell you right now…that is very attainable.  BUT, you have to do it right.  Last week I praised Mayor Ford for making the decision to tackle his weight.  One week later, 10 pounds gone! He has a very aggressive goal of 50 pounds in 6 months and after only one week, 10 pounds!  Time for celebration?


It is not time for celebration and that is where so many people go off the rails in their plans.  “This is easy!”  “I deserve a treat.”  “I don’t have to work so hard”  I’ll take tonight off of boot camp.  I guarantee thinking like this is the key to so many people’s failures.

You have not reached your goal.  30 pounds by December 31st is your goal.  Don’t make the mistake of easing off or destroying your good efforts.


To reach your bench-mark goal (.68 pounds per week to attain 2.75 pounds per month) you need to set the objectives to meet and measure your plan.

  • I will lose .68 pounds this month by:
  • Eating 4 to 6 times per day
  • Each meal I eat will include a lean protein, a vegetable, a fibrous carb.
  • Each meal will not go beyond an intelligent portion
  • In between meals snacks will be small and intelligent
  • I will exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day
  • I will sleep at least seven hours per night
  • I will not eat after 8 pm.I will drink 3 litres of water per day (divide that as well: 1 cup (250 ml) every hour.
  • I will NOT drink alcohol

At the end of the week, before you get on the scale, look back at your daily journal.  What? You’re not keeping a food journal? You’re not checking off your accomplishments? OK, you need to journal what you are doing.  On the top of each page of your journal you need to write down your objectives (To Do List) and as you accomplish them, check them off.  You also need to write down what you eat…EVERYTHING!

I guarantee that if you look back at your week and your journal is not something you are proud of you will not be happy with your results.  In fact, if your journal isn’t good, don’t even get on the scale.

In fact, just stay away from the scale.  Look at yourself in the mirror and see if you have improved at all.  Think of how your clothes feel.  Yes, you will be able to tell after one simple week.


Meet your objectives? Reward yourself.  Meet your goals?  Then reward yourself.  Rewards don’t mean bingeing on crap. Don’t destroy your great accomplishments with bad rewards.  A facial, new book, a healthy dinner at a restaurant.  Mani / Pedi.  Find your hot button and use that as your reward.

Here is a great tip.  Include your family in your objectives and goal settings.  Make the journey for them as well.  Lets say your children know that if you hit your goals, there will be a family outing or movie night.  They’ll help remind you when you are about to do something that goes against your objective’s.

What happens when you find yourself ahead of schedule? Celebrate by changing your time line.  Move it from December 31st, 2012 to October 31st, 2012.  Don’t slow down your schedule or results by backing off.  That will lead to compromise and delay.  Let that happen long enough and complacency will set in and before you know it…you are right off track.

  1. Goal
  2. Benchmarks
  3. Objectives
  4. Measurement
  5. Reward

Stick to that, be honest to yourself and committed to your goal and you will win!

Then we can move onto to maintaining the new you forever!

Who loves ‘ya?

Avoid the “Last Supper” Mentality

Christmas festivities are in full swing and now the countdown or should I say chow down (bwahaha) to Christmas is on.

Last night at boot camp I was telling the group to eat responsibly.  It is not your last supper, so you don’t have to binge on all of these decadent holiday foods.
You have probably tasted these treats before so you know what they taste like and it is not like you will never be able to eat them again.

When I was overweight I use to eat like it was the last supper. It didn’t matter if it was Christmas or Tuesday.  I just overate…all the time.  In my mind, it was like I would not be able to eat again, so I better fill up.  I would eat so fast and shovel the food into my mouth I had no idea how the food actually tasted.  I still eat fast and have to really concentrate on slowing down the whole process.  I remember the first time I had a meal with my mother-in-law, she saw how fast I was piling the food into my face, she asked if I came from a big family because it looked like I was eating so no one would take it away from me.

Not only did I eat fast, I would stretch my stomach and  that’s when my portion distortion started.  Have you been doing this at the Christmas parties? Have you been eating so much because you have convinced yourself that you deserve the treat or you won’t have it again because it is the holiday season.  Well, both “reason’s” are completely lame.

Three issues that were hurting me (I bet you have experienced some of these):

  1. I ate out of boredom.  I was 225lbs,  I didn’t have much of a social life, so I ate because I was home and had nothing to do.  I got fatter, so I ate more…vicious cycle
  2. I was an emotional eater (I still struggle with that today). I ate because I was sad/miserable: ( I was sad and miserable because I was so overweight) I ate when I was happy. I ate when I was mad.  If there was an emotion I would turn to food. Food will never solve a problem or make you feel better.  I guarantee it will make you feel worse!  You know this already.
  3. I was skipping meals. I would never eat breakfast. Then I would eat like a lumberjack at lunch and then I would eat crappy snacks in the afternoon and binge on dinner.

A boot camper asked me last night if I crave chocolate or things like that.  I don’t anymore.  Yes, I have my days and yes if you put a cupcake in front of me,  I might start sweating but generally I have controlled my eating by eating real food and eating throughout the day. I won’t go longer than 3 hrs without eating. This is an easy fix for everyone.  Eat real food, it is that simple, stop making it complicated.

How did I overcome the “last supper” syndrome?


  • I started eating smaller meals throughout the day-making sure that I had protein with every meal.
  • I started drinking lots of water and boy oh boy did that help me feel better!
  • Exercise….need I say more? This is a deal breaker–without exercise you are going no where fast.
  • I started doing my food journals-that I nag you all to do. When you track and see what you actually eat in a day, it will wake you up fast. You will be able to catch any portion distortion or overeating when you see it on paper
  • Late night eating…this is a tough one still. I work odd hours so when I get home if I don’t have a post workout protein shake then it will lead to me opening the cupboards looking for food. The shake and having tea help me get through the hours before bed. I also cut off the eating 2 hrs before bed…the kitchen is closed!

For many of you, you know all of this and it is more often than not, a mental game. This is where you summon up that mental toughness.  It’s just food. Crappy food makes you feel like crap.  Sorry, there really is no way to church that statement up.

Recognize your triggers and be aware of how you can fix them.

If you actually want to change your body you need to change your mind and yes it wouldn’t be me without saying “get your head in the game” (shout out to High School Musical)

Will it keep you up at night because you didn’t have that extra Pina colada, Egg Nogg or  butter tart?  Heck no it won’t!  But I know you go off the rails, at some point you will ask yourself, “Did I really need to eat that entire box of chocolates?”

Jingle bells people not Jiggle Bellies!!!

BONUS – Yummy Smoothie
  Banana Split Smoothie

1 Scoop of Carrie’s Vanilla Protein
1 Frozen Banana
1/2 Cup of Frozen Pineapple Chunks
5 Frozen Strawberries
1 Teaspoon of Pure Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Cups of Cold Water

Blend and enjoy the no guilt treat!

The Power of Protein

Losing weight can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.  Literally, it is up to you to determine your own success!

There you go!  Think about that and discuss. Ok, time’s up, here is my take on it.  (You can go back to discussing later.)

You set yourself back every time you have that “treat” or little bite of this or that, which for some reason you feel you, “Need”…ackh!

Whatever your reason for wanting to lose weight, I congratulate you for taking the steps to be healthy.  I applaud you for making the decision.

Research shows that protein is a key factor in weight loss success.  The way that it does this is through the ‘thermic effect’ that it has on your body.

The definition of the ‘thermic effect’ of food is the increase in energy expenditure (calories burned) above your resting metabolic rate due to the cost of digesting your food for storage and use.

In easier terms, every time you consume food your body burns calories to digest that food.  Think about that one…you use energy to consume the energy that your body needs to use energy.

The interesting thing with this is your body does not require as many calories to digest carbohydrates and fat as it does protein.

For every 100 calories of carbohydrates or fat you consume your body only requires about 3-7 calories to digest those carbs and fat.  If you consumed 100 calories of protein your body requires around 24-28 calories to digest that protein. Hello protein!! 4 to 8 x more energy required to process protein.

Your body burns potentially up to 30% of the protein calories you consume just to digest that protein and only 3-7% of the carbs and fat you eat and digest.  Think about the net difference in what is left over.  That is a lot more energy that can be stored for a rainy day from eating too many carbs and fats…that is not what you want.

Need more science proof?  Studies report other benefits of protein:

  • Increased thermogenesis aka: faster metabolism thru the thermic effect of food
  • Fullness/satiety
  • Improved glycemic control aka: your body uses the sugars more for energy instead of storing them as fat

Increased protein intake also makes your brain turn on the production of the hormone glucagon.  Everyone knows what that is right?  That’s the one that keeps your insulin levels in check.  Less free sugar floating around in your body to get stored as fat.

One common problem to increasing your protein intake is the thought people have of trying to eat enough of it.  This is where a protein shake can really help.  Easy to prepare-cost effective and did I mention e-a-s-y; less than a minute to make a yummy shake!

Protein aids in lean muscle growth, increased metabolism, and accelerated fat loss. There are way too many choices of protein powders available, so let me narrow it down for you…make sure it is cold-processed. Like anything, when you add heat to it, changes occur.  With protein, heat changes to protein chain and you want it to be as pure as possible.  My protein powder is one of the good ones..ok, actually the best one, but I’m biased.

And don’t you dare confuse a smoothie for a protein supplement…did you know that Tim Horton’s Fruit Smoothies have a sugar content of between 30 and 50 grams with zero protein and they are pricey!

So, boost your protein intake with a protein shake.  Need a recipe? Here a few to get you started.

Berry Berry Good Shake

  • 1 scoop of Health & Fitness Systems Vanilla Protein
  • 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (half banana –  optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Blend and enjoy

Mocha Shake

  • 1 scoop of chocolate Health & Fitness Systems Protein
  • Instant coffee (I like Starbucks Via)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Morning Starter

  • 1 scoop of chocolate Health and Fitness Systems Protein
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 heaping tsp of natural pb

Blend and enjoy!

If Charlie Sheen is passing drug tests, his crack must be #SUGAR!

Does this sound familiar?  About two o’clock in the afternoon, you get this feeling that you need a little something.  A pick me up…an energy boost of some sort.

So you go looking around until you find what you are craving.  I’m wiling to bet that what ever it is you find to hit the spot and give you what you were looking for is nothing more than SUGAR.  Chocolate? Yup sugar.  Potato chips? Yup sugar.  Cake, sweets, treats…sugar, sugar, sugar.

So you break down, answer that craving so you can allow yourself to get over the mood swings, cravings, lack of concentration and help you get on with you day.

Almost immediately you feel better and you can get on with your day.

About 30-45 minutes after the sugar rush, you wind up with residual low blood sugar….your blood sugar levels hit bottom. You Crash!

So, you turn back to, “a little something more.”  It worked the first time…it’ll work again.  Pretty soon, you’re hooked.  You’re a sugar junkie.  You start hiding your problem.  Sugary candies in your purse.  A little treat in your desk.  Dessert every night after dinner.  What used to be a wholesome breakfast has turned into a cinnamon bun or toaster pastry.  You hide what you’re doing from your friends and family until the day comes that someone takes you by the are and says the magic words; “You have a problem.”

The roller coaster that started all this was the rapid drop in blood glucose levels that starve the brain of its primary fuel then the sudden boost you get from your ‘hit’. Your hormonal roller coaster comes with incredible highs and brutal lows.

Simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, alcohol…they all do this to you.

The only logical way to stop the cravings is to get off the ride!

There are a couple of reasons this is going on:

1. Sugar Cravings exist out of Habit – You must have satisfied this craving in the past – following a meal with something sweet. Then suddenly it becomes a part of your mindset. After every meal must come dessert. The good news is ALL Habits are learned, so this habit cam be unlearned as the result of practice and repetition.

2. Sugar Cravings exist because you EAT Sugar – What?  If you eat simple, refined carbohydrates or high sugar foods everyday, your body will remain in “crave” mode.

“It’s a vicious cycle. I eat because I’m unhappy and I’m unhappy because I’m fat.”  Sorry, favorite movie quote, I couldn’t resist.

Eating simple sugars causes a spike in your blood sugar for these foods are quickly absorbed into the blood stream.

This in turn gives you the temporary sugar high ~ it feels good…however, your body does not like this imbalance and a series of hormonal responses take place.

Science Time….

** Insulin Increases. Your body produces an increased amount of the Insulin  (a storage hormone). Insulin’s job is to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream and store it in the muscles and in the liver.

** Glucagon Goes Away. In order to facilitate this rush of insulin, glucagon – a release hormone…responsible for releasing More Fat…good right? NOT when you eat too much sugar. This helpful fat loss hormone is diminished.

Take away message here:

So you’re trying to lose weight but because of your craving, you effectively have shut off a hormone that is incredible at helping you lose that fat…..hello???!!!

There are a lot of ways to overcome sugar cravings, but the most effective way is to stop eating the crap, then to purge your system.  Best way to do that is to start your day right with a high protein breakfast and drink lots of water.

Examples of good protein choices for breakfast.

Hard-boiled eggs, Greek Yogurt, Protein shake (Yes, mine is the best), Turkey breast, Canadian bacon, Omelets.  (add some veggies like peppers, asparagus or tomato and you are starting your day in rockin’ way!)

Giving up the sugar will have you #winning and put you into a position to handle the #fastball.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.