“For things to change, you have to change”. From Jim Rohn

How about just picking one small thing you can commit to changing? It’s a huge step in the right direction! Take care of yourself one step at a time. How about adding some berries or a banana to what you eat each day? How about a multi-vitamin? An extra glass of water?

Your body (your temple) will thank you!

Weight Loss – Never Giver Up!

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving,’ Charlie Brown.” – A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, 1973

Keeping a Food Log = successful weight loss

food logYou are 80% more likely to be successful losing weight if you keep a record of what you eat.  Your food record gives you the ability to add up your calories throughout the day and the week, and see if you are under or over budget (see my previous post here regarding your calorie budget).

Your record allows you to see where the calories are coming from. It’s a real education when you see how many calories there are in the everyday foods we’re used to eating. An innocent tuna fish sandwich can have 700-800 calories.  If you have a 16 oz Grande Caffe Latte with non-fat milk at Starbucks every day, it’s 130 calories per day. Over the course of a month, that’s 3900 calories (130 X 30 days), or 1.1 lb. (3900/3500 = 1.1) You could lose a pound a month switching from a Latte to coffee or tea.

Most people don’t realize how the calories are adding up. We’re used to such an abundance of snacks, coffee drinks, sodas, sports drinks, and the classic burger and fries that is so available all the time.

At a well-loved burger chain I won’t mention (and it’s not McD’s or BK) the little Cheeseburger is 610 calories, a Regular Cheeseburger is 840 calories. Fries are 620, and a large Fries is 1464…..yikes! Most of the calories are coming from the fat content of the food, which is what contributes to weight gain…..just too many calories.

So try keeping a record of what you’re eating for a week or so. See where the calories are coming from, give yourself an education. You could have 15 cups of mixed vegetables for the little cheeseburger. Or you could have about 4 cups of a shrimp stir-fry. That’s a lot of food, tasty too.

There’s a whole world out there of lower calorie, great tasting food. Discover it! I’ll write some more ideas next time.

Weight Loss and How Many Calories Should I Have?

Every diet plan out there has some kind of a gimmick. Gimmick is defined as:



1.an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, esp. one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.

Whether it’s a focus on low-fat, low-carb, low-sugar, high-fat…the list goes on, it’s a gimmick that creates temporary behavior that does create weight loss (sometimes not really fat loss though). But gimmicks aren’t something people can live with long term, so we tend to drop the gimmick and go back to old behaviors.

Silva’s Life Steps has no gimmicks. The body runs on calories, so we count calories and figure out how many you can have before gaining weight. Multiply your weight times 10. This is a good round number for most people, based on lots of research. If you’re someone that doesn’t do very much exercise, this is the total calories you’re eating right now to stay the same weight. If you do exercise, say 200 calories a day, you’re eating your weight times 10, plus 200 calories a day to stay at the same weight.

For example: Sally weighs 180 lbs. She does normal activity, gets up, goes to work, does a little cooking and cleaning at night, does the same thing the next day. She eats about 1800 calories a day. (180 X 10 = 1800). This is what we call your daily calorie budget.

She would like to be 140 lbs.  When she loses 40 lbs., her new calorie budget will be 1400 calories a day to stay the same, assuming she doesn’t increase her exercise. (If she increases her exercise, she can eat more!)

In fact, if she starts today eating 1400 every day instead of 1800, she will get to her goal in 1 year. That’s how the numbers work. She would be eating 400 calories a day less than her body needs for 365 days (400 X 365 = 146,000 calories). The 146,000 calories would come from her stored fat for fuel.

146,000 divided by 3500 = 41.7 lbs lost by Sally.  (There are 3500 calories in 1 lb of fat)

Follow me? Weight loss is all about the numbers. No gimmicks. You will find that you can eat more volume of food if you eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins (protein with lower fat content, like fish, shellfish and chicken instead of beef). But how you manage your calories is up to you. The food choices you make are yours, not what a ‘diet’ is telling you you should eat.

People aren’t perfect, and sometimes they eat mac n’ cheese for dinner when they’re trying to lose weight. No need to feel like you’ve gone off your diet if you’re counting your calories. Work the mac n’ cheese into your budget; you’ll still lose weight.

So pick and choose your own calories and how you want to spend them! Food is like money, just like managing your paycheck.

Chocolate and Weight Loss

Chocolate is intertwined with weight loss. So many people love chocolate and feel they need to give it up in order to lose weight. That is an all-or-nothing diet mindset that Silva’s Life Steps doesn’t believe in. I tell my clients that chocolate is about 150 calories per ounce, so if you eat it be aware of how many calories you’re spending.  The chocolate most of us like is milk chocolate, the sweet, creamy chocolate.  In the form of truffles, gooey centers, or just plain, etc. Milk chocolate is really candy, because it’s made with more fat, sugar and milk. Count on it to be about 150 calories per ounce, with little or no nutritional value. The other downside of milk chocolate is that it usually triggers the desire to eat more of it because of the sugar content and consistency. It’s tough to eat just one piece.

Cacao bean

Cacao bean

On the other hand, dark chocolate does have nutritional value.  It has more cocoa powder and less sugar, fat, and no milk in it. The cacao bean, from which cocoa powder is derived (and chocolate is made from), has vitamins and a very high level of antioxidants. You’ve probably heard about how blueberries and acai berries, as well as other fruits, have high levels of antioxidants too.  Both Mesoamericans and Spaniard colonizers recognized the energy and nutrition-giving properties of cacao. They would drink a beverage made from the ground up cacao beans and water. It was bitter tasting, but a “warrior could walk all day just on this drink”.  This practice made it’s way to Europe in the 1600′s where it was also valued highly for it’s nutritional properties.  In the 1850′s a Swiss confectioner added sugar, milk and more cocoa butter, and the first solid chocolate (now candy) was born.

We have come full-circle now, knowing that dark chocolate has nutritional value and health promoting properties. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. The very high levels of antioxidants in chocolate fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the molecules running around our bodies that cause damage to other cells, laying the groundwork for disease. Free radical damage is associated with many diseases:

•Heart disease
•High cholesterol
•Autoimmune dysfunction
•Lung Disease
The other benefit of dark chocolate for people concerned with weight loss, is that it is much less likely to trigger eating more of it. It’s lower sugar content and consistency doesn’t trigger eating a whole lot of it. And when you’re watching your calories, and you want to incorporate it into your lifestyle because of it’s nutritional value, it works well. It’s kind of like having a potato chip that tastes great, is good for you, but you can eat it without wanting to eat the whole bag. Awesome!
So for those of you interested in adding chocolate to your healthy lifestyle, I recommend Xocai chocolate. They have a patented process for making dark chocolate without being cooked, so it has the highest levels of antioxidants in it. They also add blueberries and acai berries, and it tastes good, not bitter. It doesn’t have  a trigger taste like milk chocolate does.  Check it out, and if you’d like to get some, you can always let me know.
In the mean time, try to get your antioxidants wherever you can get them! They are so beneficial for fighting avoidable disease. To your Health!

Scheduled Maintenance

I went to a business meeting this morning and a car mechanic spoke about car insurance. He talked about how cars are really capable of lasting 200, 300 and even 400000 miles, but we’re conditioned to think we need a new car at 100K. The domestic companies never pushed scheduled maintenance like the imports, because they always want you to buy a new car at 100K. Imports push the scheduled maintenance, and the cars last and last.

Our bodies are the same way. When you do the scheduled maintenance, which would be physical activity, eating fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants,  and keeping a healthy weight so you can move around, your body is much more likely to last and last. It’s insurance against premature breakdown.

It’s much less expensive to perform the scheduled maintenance than pay the repair bill. If you change the fluids, rotate your tires, etc. it’s a minimal expense compared to a new transmission (yikes). When you eat the fruit and veg’s, enjoy some physical activity, etc., you’re much less likely to have the medical bills that come with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. The last I heard, a bypass can cost $30K.

I hope business owners out there everywhere are thinking of this, because helping your employees learn how to do the scheduled maintenance and get a tune-up could really save a lot of money in the long run!

More Thoughts on Obesity

OK, I don’t want you to think it’s society’s fault we have a health problem in this country. We are fortunate to live in a free, very innovative and creative society where you can create all kinds of products that sell and make money! Food happens to be one of them. We have lots of boxed and packaged food here (whether it’s off the shelf or through a drive-up window…), which is another contributing factor to health issues in America. Be careful about what you eat that comes in a box, check the ingredients for additives and chemicals, high sugar content, etc.

One simple way to take care of yourself is to eat less food that comes in boxes, and more fresh food.  I live in the Northeast, have you had the bing cherries lately? What a treat! The nectarines right now are so good you have to eat them over the sink. And soon we’ll have local corn and tomatoes.  What’s in season in your part of the country?

Thank your local farmers and support them!

Hello LifeSteppers!

Well I’m finally doing a blog! This will help me keep in touch with you all and let you share with each other too. Just think – pat meal recipes, tips, tricks, Health One concoctions -  the sky is the limit!

There’s a lot of news lately about the obesity problem in our country.  So much talk and not a lot of action. There’s so much advice but not a lot of support for kids and adults to wade through the information and confusion about why we have this problem. I think it’s pretty simple. We live in an affluent country where there is an abundance of food, especially high-calorie food. Lots of it is very inexpensive.  Get your 1200 calories at a fast food joint for $3.99. And that’s just lunch.  We live in a fast-paced culture that values quick and easy, we eat fast and like meals that don’t take a lot of time to prepare. This is an easy environment for eating lots of calories and gaining weight. A cup of coffee (well it really isn’t coffee anymore) is easily 200 calories these days.

So back to support. We don’t even support each other sometimes.  Many times our friends and family give us a hard time if we order a garden salad instead of a burger. If you watch TV, have you noticed there are food commercials on about every 7 minutes? Our grocery stores have so many choices it takes 6 minutes to walk from one end to the other. It’s frequently cheaper to buy in bulk. All of this is food for thought when you think about our environment and it’s impact on obesity in this country.

The good news is that once you are aware of the environmental influences around you, you can make more conscious choices.  Is it really cost beneficial to eat an inexpensive high-fat meal or snack? How much TV with commercials do I want to watch? It’s OK to think about these things and pick what’s right for you.

Till next time :)