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Weight Loss Tips

   
realistic goals How to set SMART fitness goals
Making a commitment to get fit is the first step to a healthier life. Here are five "SMART" tips to help you reach your fitness goals
By Kathleen Trotter

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success
SUCCESS
Read what Vivian Morgan, member of the winning B4&After team said how the Lighten Up 4 Life Challenge helped her and her team members stay on track, be more accountable and lose all that weight!
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tammy Success Stories
Tammy Adell’s journey to a 105-pound weight loss began as a simple desire to “help out the team.”  With a starting weight of 262 pounds,
the idea of starting “a diet” wasn’t even on Tammy’s radar. She simply agreed to join an office team because they needed one more person. 
Read more…
   
journal Record Your Daily Meals
Recording what you eat and when you eat it will help you keep track of calories and eating patterns. Lighten Up 4 Life recommends that you record what you eat in a food record. Just by writing down what you eat, you take ownership that you ate it, good or bad food choices, and that can be a powerful motivator to eat more healthfully. Read more… 
   
man shopping Top Ten Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget
Check out these ideas and learn how healthy, great tasting foods can fit within your budget. by Susan Stuck

These days many families are trying to cut back on costs at home, including food. But there are things you can do to spend less while getting more nutritional bang for your buck. Check  out our money-saving tips here. Read more...

   
eating at beach Dieting Tips for a Healthier Vacation

What obstacles to maintaining your diet do you think you can encounter on vacation? Read more...

How to set SMART fitness goalsrealistic goals

Making a commitment to get fit is the first step to a healthier life.
Here are five "SMART" tips to help you reach your fitness goals
By Kathleen Trotter

 

Most of us have, at one time or anther, made a promise to achieve some kind of vague health or fitness-related goal. Statements such as "I will lose weight" or "I will get fit" are good examples. While it's important have these positive lifestyle intentions, we often fail at following through with them because the goal is simply too vague, unplanned and unrealistic.

Not following through on a goal can leave you feeling discouraged, which leads to the exact opposite result than the one you had intended. Feeling like a failure can in turn lead to an increase in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. But on the flip side, achieving a goal can make you feel strong and well-organized, which often leads to following through on more positive lifestyle changes.

So what makes the difference between success and failure? It all comes down to being "SMART." This five-step method of goal setting is a valuable tool when trying to set realistic and attainable goals, and will set you up for a successful outcome.

S is for "specific"
This means that every goal should be clearly defined. For example, saying "I want to lose weight" is too vague. Instead, try "I want to lose 20 pounds total, in increments of one to two pounds per week."

M is for "measurable"
This means that you should be able to clearly measure your progress. Saying "I want to get in shape" gives you no clear way to assess your progress. In order to re-frame the above goal so that it is measurable, start by measuring your fitness level. Then, determine a six-week goal based on the initial data. For example, if you start out by being able to run five kilometers in 34 minutes, a measurable—and realistic—six-week goal would be to run five kilometers, with no walking breaks, in under 30 minutes.

A is for "action-oriented"
This means you should outline specific steps that will enable you to successfully complete your goal. "I want to be able to run five kilometers" is a good starting place, but does not include any training details. Instead, you should say: "In six-weeks I want to be able to run five kilometers. I will achieve this goal by running four days per week. One run will be 45 minutes at a slower speed and three runs will be 30-35 minutes at a faster speed."

R is for "realistic"
When it comes to losing weight, we all tend to want the unrealistic—and typically unhealthy—quick fix. Don't let yourself fall into this trap by setting unattainable health goals such as, "I want to lose 10 pounds in 10 days." Instead, aim to lose half a pound to two pounds per week. Attempting to lose weight faster than this is unhealthy and will only set you up for disappointment.

T is for "timed"
This means you should set deadlines that will keep you on track. Don't say, "in one year I will go to my doctor, and she will be happy with my weight and blood pressure results." Instead, set a firm date for that appointment, and then establish mini-goal deadlines between now and your appointment so you have plenty of time to achieve your final goal. If you track your progress with mini-goals over the course of that year, you won't be scrambling to see results the week before your appointment.

Reward yourself for reaching goals
It can be helpful to set up both long term and short term goals. Plan to reward yourself with non-food treats each time you achieve a mini-goal. These rewards serve two purposes: First, having smaller, more achievable goals allows you to be—and feel—successful. The feeling of success can keep you motivated and on track. Second, non-food rewards help change behavioral patterns. Often in our society, we reward ourselves with fancy meals at a restaurant, a nice bottle of wine or an extra scoop of ice cream. Instead, try to reward yourself with all the other pleasures in life—a massage, a bubble bath, or that new yoga bag you've been eyeing.

Bottom line, remember that there are no quick fixes when it comes to fitness. Setting realistic goals, following the SMART program and making a genuine effort to attain your goal is a solid way to develop the healthy habits that will help you achieve long-term success.

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success

“Freddy, Peggy and I live in the same house and Teresa lives nearby.

We talk almost daily to encourage each other and check on our progress. Although Freddy and I maintained for the last 4 or 5 weeks, Teresa and Peggy were able to continue to lose through the holiday. 

We decided to have our favorite holiday foods, but we ate less of it and found ways to lower the fat and sugar in most of the menu items. We increased our fruit and vegetable intake often having fruit for dessert rather than something fat and sugary. As we are preparing for Christmas we decided to eat only one cookie and not the usual 4 or 5. We also ate only when hungry and stopped when we were satisfied in most cases.

We all checked the Lighten Up 4 Life website for recipes and exercise suggestions. We are all doing some type of exercise 4 to 5 days a week (or more). Teresa and I have stepped out of our comfort zone and tried exercise we had never tried before. Teresa is jogging and I am doing yoga in addition to weight lifting and walking. Peggy likes yoga and punching a boxing bag. Freddy walks. Teresa and I also joined an exercise group at our church.

Messages from Lighten Up 4 Life kept us motivated and gave us many helpful hints for losing weight and exercising”.


Success Stories
Tammy Adell’s journey to a 105-pound weight loss began as a tammy sophiesimple desire to “help out the team.”  With a starting weight of 262 pounds, the idea of starting “a diet” wasn’t even on Tammy’s radar. She simply agreed to join an office team because they needed one more person. 

That was three years ago, and today Tammy has gone from wearing a size 24 to a size 8.  Besides Tammy's dress size, losing weight changed her outlook on everything. She was able to stop taking all
of her medications. She became more positive and assertive person.

Now she smiles a lot!  She credits her phenomenal success to taking that first step in supporting her team mates in the Lighten Up 4 Life Challenge. “I incorporated what I had learned in Weight Watchers into an eating plan,” she said. “I began to eat “rounded” meals, including an item from each food group into every meal.” Because of her weight, Tammy’s initial physical activity was limited.  “It was an effort just to walk,” she said.  Tammy says when she seriously started to watch what she ate, things began to change.  In fact, her team took second place in the competition that first quarter. 

Tammy’s journey has been about much more than weight loss.  “I made a decision that I wanted to be around for my son, and hopefully grandkids someday,” she said. Tammy signed up with another LU4L team for the next quarter and enrolled the help of a nutritionist.  “I realized I didn’t really know the right way eat – or even how to read labels in the grocery store,” said Tammy.  Tammy, who suffers from diverticulitis, stopped eating all glutens and sugars at the advice of her nutritionist, and her health improved dramatically.  She also keeps a daily food log.  “I don’t cheat on my food log,” she laughed.  “If it goes in my mouth, I write it down.”

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Record Your Daily Meals journal
Recording what you eat and when you eat it will help you keep track of calories and eating patterns. Lighten Up 4 Life recommends that you record what you eat in a food record. Just by writing down what you eat, you take ownership that you ate it, good or bad food choices, and that can be a powerful motivator to eat more healthfully.

Here’s a tool to keep track of your daily food intake Lighten Up 4 Life Daily Meal Record and there’s My Fitness Pal  which gives you the ability to search calorie counts and nutritional information and to record your daily food intake. Free: Apple, Android

Create small weight-loss goals
Start with small goals. If you set your goals too high and fail to achieve them you will be discouraged. Instead set smaller goals; losing 4 pounds in a month and adding a little exercise at a time. This will allow you to achieve small victories along the way and build up to your larger goals.
 
Support each other 
Team work, it’s key to achieving your goals. Lighten Up 4 Life’s greatest weight –loss success stories come from participants who have had the support of a team. Their team mates helped to encourage them, share experiences, advice and of course pep talks when needed. Team members are invaluable to your success!

Establish Healthier Habits
Add healthier choices to your diet. Example: One week add more vegetables to your daily diet (3-5 vegetables is optimum). Then next week add high fiber breads/carbohydrates.  Adding healthier habits each week will help you change your eating behavior so that it will gradually become part of your improved lifestyle. 

Be consistent
Every day that you make healthier choices, eat within your calorie range and become more active will help you get closer to a better you! Stay at it, steady, healthy weight-loss wins the race.

Forgive your setbacks
Realize that you will have setbacks from time-to-time and the important thing is not too be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes.  When you stumble and eat too much or don’t exercise, forgive yourself and keep going. 

Most important, have fun!
You can have fun getting healthier, feeling better and being more active. How exciting will it be to walk your first 5K, get into those old jeans and celebrate your victory with your team? Enjoy the ride along the way to a healthier you!

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Top Ten Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budgetman shopping
Check out these ideas and learn how healthy, great tasting foods can fit within your budget.
by Susan Stuck

These days many families are trying to cut back on costs at home, including food. But thereare things you can do to spend less while getting more nutritional bang for your buck. Check out our money-saving tips below:

  1. Limit impulse buys.
    Last-minute purchases are generally less healthy and more expensive. Go to the supermarket with your healthy shopping list in hand — and stick to it! Click here for a healthy shopping list 
  2. Buy fruits and vegetables at their peak.
    Season still matters when it comes to fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are often less expensive and generally of higher quality. Ask your store's produce manager for advice on seasonality and good value.
  3. Try house brands.
    In today's competitive market, grocery retailers are expanding options in their private labels. This means you can often get natural and organic foods at lower prices. Some top private labels include: Target's Archer Farms, Safeway's O Organics, and Whole Foods' 365. Shop around!
  4. Start from scratch.
    Buy fewer prepared foods. A little extra time in the kitchen can save you big money in the long run. So shred your own lettuce, brew your own iced tea, even bake your own dinner rolls!
  5. Buy in bulk. 
    Most supermarkets have a self–serve bulk section where you can buy larger quantities of dried fruits, nuts, grains and other staple ingredients. You can choose the quantity you want and usually get better prices since you aren't paying for packaging.
  6. Beans aren't just for chili.
    Keep a few cans of your favorite variety of beans in the fridge to quickly turn a side dish salad into a main course. Try a Tuna and White Bean Salad tonight!
  7. Cook once, eat twice.
    Save time and money by preparing enough food at dinnertime so you can have enough leftovers for lunch. Turkey Meatloaf makes great sandwiches.
  8. Use your freezer.
    Scout the frozen foods aisle for nutritious gems at bargain prices. Berries, mangos, peaches, beans, greens, artichokes and more are all easy to defrost and prepare. Check out which Frozen Foods are All–stars.  
  9. Go meatless at least one night per week.
    Eating a meatless meal one or two nights a week is a simple way to cut down on saturated (animal) fat while cutting back on high grocery bills. Try veggie burgers one night and an easy, hearty Lentil Soup the next. Here’s a link to some great Meatless Meals.
  10. Become a patio farmer. 
    If you can grow geraniums, you can grow food. A good–sized pot or planter can be the summer home to a cherry tomato plant. The 'Sweet Million' and 'Sungold' varieties are virtual tomato–producing machines. Sow spinach, lettuce or arugula seeds in your planter to harvest in the cooler seasons.

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Dieting Tips for a Healthier Vacation eating at the beach

What obstacles to maintaining your diet do you think you can encounter on vacation?

Let’s see there’s eating out, sleeping later, lack of exercise and of course extra snacking. You don’t have to give in to all these tempatations and set your diet back a few pounds, instead make a plan, one that allows you a few special treats on your vacation.

Here are some ideas that will allow you to enjoy your vacation and come home without any regrets.

  • 1. Make it your own spa health vacation
    Exercise each day: Take a walk on the beach, take a yoga class, use the hotel treadmill or try a new sport like tennis or volleyball. Making sure that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. It will keep you feeling good about yourself.
  • 2. Pretend you’re a spa: Eat healthy fruits and vegetables every day, but on one or two days allow yourself a special treat.
  • 3. Buddy up: Ask a family member or friend to join you for exercise and make a pack to help each other to stay on track.

Most important thing to remember: Don’t let one or two bad days lead you to a bad week or to call it quits. We have all blown our diets from time-to-time, don’t beat yourself up, it’s important to forgive and forget and get back on track!

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