Five Simple Weight Loss Tips

Have you tried to lose weight in the past and failed?

You are not alone!

I have been a personal trainer in San Jose for over 30 years now.  By the time someone reaches out to me and my team at our personal training studio, they’re often desperate and tired of having so many failed attempts at weight loss.

Honestly, the physiology of weight loss is rather simple, but the process of putting the pieces of the puzzle together to make it happen and sustainable over time can be quite difficult for many of us.

A common theme I’ve seen that leads to failure in weight loss is trying to do too much too soon, and/or doing things that are unsustainable over the long term.

As I look back over 3+ decades of coaching people, I’ve come up with a list of 5 things I’ve seen work really well for people when they decide that losing some weight is something they need to do.

They are super simple. 

They are not drastic.

They are things that you can work into gradually over time — so you just try to do a little better with them each week.

If you’re struggling with weight loss, perhaps some of these tips will help you!


Here we go……..


1)  Log your food intake


If you don’t know what you’re eating, you don’t know what needs to be changed!  Do you need more protein?   Less fat?  Or perhaps you’re low on fiber?    Yes, it’s tedious to do, but you don’t have to do it forever.  Simply log for about 5 days in an online food journal like   in order to see not only the average calories you eat in a day, but also how those calories break down  as far as your protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake.  And — don’t forget to see how much added sugar you’re eating ;-).   This, right here, can be a game changer for many people and a great starting point for making healthy changes.


2) Pay attention to the calories you drink


Liquid calories don’t fill us up like solid food calories do.   Liquid calories are often the “forgotten” calories as well in that we don’t really add them into our mental notes on what we eat on a particular day. However,  those forgotten calories may end up on your waistline!  Journaling your food will help you see where and when  you’re getting liquid calories.  Are they adding too much to your daily intake?  Are they adding a bunch of sugar to your diet?  We’ve seen clients drop several pounds in a month simply by taking soda and juice out of their diet!


3) Increase your vegetable intake

Let’s face it — most of us don’t eat enough fresh produce — especially vegetables!  And, how many times have you had someone tell you to eat MORE of something when you’re trying to lose weight?!   Your friendly San Jose personal trainer is telling you to eat MORE — more veggies.  Make them a side dish with every dinner you eat at home.  Consider a big salad with lots of greens, fresh veggies and lean protein for several lunches each week.  Adding veggies to your diet is super easy — you just need to keep reminding yourself to eat veggies with every lunch and dinner.


4) Limit take-out and restaurant meals

I’m all for supporting small businesses and taking nights off from cooking — but if more than 40% of your meals are coming from commercial kitchens — you will likely have a hard time losing weight.  Commercially prepared foods simply have more saturated fats, added sugars and salt.
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be extremely time consuming.  Frozen pre-cooked proteins (sirloin patties, chicken breast, grilled fish fillets) paired with some steamed veggies (yes, even frozen veggies steamed in the bag!) makes a great, healthy, fast meals.  If you have time on day off — make a big pot of soup or chili and package up into individual containers.  Easy!  Bonus:  you’ll also save money on your food bill when you eat at home more.


5) Don’t Diet!

I know — you’re trying to lose weight.  You should “diet”, right?  Nope.  I define “diet” as something that is restrictive and unsustainable.  “Dieting” will eventually stop, and you’ll be back at square one.  But — if you follow one or more of the first 4 tips I’ve listed here, you may not ever have to diet again!

These tips are do-able for the long haul.  They’re not crazy,  wild things that are unsustainable.  Okay, the food journaling will get old done long term — but like I said — you don’t have to do it for very long to see your nutrition habits and make plans for changes.

In a nutshell — aim to make a few of your meals healthier each week.  More veggies.  Less sugar.  Be mindful of the calories you drink. You get the picture!


These tips, practiced over time, can yield great weight loss results!


Committed to your success,


Coach Becky

5 Weight Loss Plateau Tips

Weight_Loss_Plateau_TipsMany of us experience a weight loss plateau on our journey to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You know the story. When those unwanted pounds are dropping off… life is good. You’re motivated. You’re exercising. You’re creating life-long habits that make you feel great. Then you hit a bump and that downhill slide stops.  Life still good? Not so much.



Here are five tips that have helped my fitness clients bust through stubborn weight loss plateaus.

1. Write It Down

Studies have shown that people who write down what they eat lose more weight and shed it more consistently. In a study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers followed 1,685 overweight Americans aged 25 and older. Participants kept food diaries and were encouraged to eat healthy and exercise regularly. After six months the average weight loss was 13 pounds. So what was the major predictor? You guessed it… writing it down. Those who tracked what they ate every day lost more weight. Using a food journal helps in two ways: accountability and awareness. I suggest finding a system that you can stick with and write down what you eat before you eat it. If you have a smartphone, consider MyFitnessPal for easy tracking. If you use a FitBit, they have a tracking tool as well.

2. Water Anyone?

Most Americans are dehydrated. If you’re thirsty, your body is already depleted. Did you know that water is your body’s principal chemical component? It makes up about 60% of your body weight. If you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau, examine how much H2O you’re actually drinking every day.

According to The Institute of Medicine, they recommend these beverage totals:

  • 3 liters (about 13 cups) for men
  • 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) for women

These totals include all types of beverages like juice and coffee as well as water. Seems like a lot.  The point is we need to drink non-caffeinated beverages to replenish what we lose in our breath, perspiration, and in the restroom.

3. More Veggies, Please

Truth be told, we didn’t gain weight by eating too many veggies :-). Vegetables are typically lower in calories and fill you up with healthyEat_More_Veggies_To_Overcome_A_Weight_Loss_Plateau fiber. Check your food diary to see if you’re getting enough greens in your diet. To bust through that weight loss plateau, may be more broccoli and less brown rice will do the trick.

4. Get More Sleep

When we are chronically tired, we tend to reach for quick-energy foods or items that provide comfort. According to The Mayo Clinic guidelines, adults need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Of course, quality trumps quantity. Your weight loss plateau may just need a few more zzzzzs to loosen its hold.

5. Increase Physical Activity

What kind of fitness trainer would I be if I didn’t mention increasing physical activity! Varied workouts can keep things interesting… and weight loss friendly. If your exercise program has gotten too “routine”, change it and /or bump it up a notch. Sign up for a boot camp for a more intense calorie burn. Do some interval training so you boost your metabolism. When I work with my personal training and FitCamp clients, I mix things up to work different muscle groups to increase heart rate and stamina.


Remember……plateaus happen.  Never, ever EVER give up!  If you’ve recently loss weight, remember that even if you’re currently hitting a plateau, you’re better off than you were a few weeks or months back.  You don’t want to give up and backslide into old habits.  Keep moving toward your goals with some of the tricks I listed above.  Your plateau WILL pass.

Committed to your success,


Image Credits:

Lego Weight Lifter:

Fresh Veggies:

Weight Loss Tips When Eating Out

Just because you are watching what you eat and trying to drop unwanted pounds doesn’t mean you can’€™t enjoy eating out and socializing with friends and family on occasion. It actually may be getting a little easier to eat out while trying to eat cleaner, as some restaurants are adding special menu items that are lower in fat and salt, low calorie or lower in grain-based carbs.

It’s all about exhibiting some control on what you order and how fast you eat, as well as putting a few things into place before you even leave the house.  The following weight loss tips will help you stay on track when you’re out on the town!




Here are my nine weight loss tips for eating healthier when eating out:

  1. Don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach. Drink a couple glasses of water before going out to curb your hunger.
  2. Educate yourself on the menu prior to going. Pick your meal ahead of time so you’€™re not letting your hunger do the ordering at the table.
  3. Steer clear of sugary or alcoholic drinks. Stick to clean water and/or unsweetened tea. If you must– opt for a small glass of red wine which is high in antioxidants.
  4. Avoid appetizers. Many times appetizers are so filling and loaded in fat and calories, making you go over your calories for your meal without even getting to the main course yet. If you absolutely must have an appetizer, choose a salad with an oil and vinegar based dressing. Stay clear of the high fat and high calorie cream-based dressings.
  5. Get a dish based on lean meat. Avoid having meats fried in oil or butter and ask to get it grilled, which will remove excess fat. Good meats to look for would be chicken, fish, lean red meat (e.g. sirloin steak), turkey, venison, lean pork chops, and quail.
  6. Try to avoid eating breads, and opt for more vegetables (the greener the better). Vegetables will make you feel fuller due to their high water content, plus they are loaded with more vitamins and minerals. Keep clear of fried vegetables.
  7. Instead of french fries or chips, order a salad or steamed veggies.
  8. If you must have a dessert opt for a coffee with one scoop of ice cream, or share a dessert with your partner or friend.

Employing some of these tips will help you stay within the realms of healthy eating while you’re out at a restaurant.

The main thing to remember when eating out is to drink plenty of water, have fun, and talk a lot which can stop your focus on eating (plus it keeps your portions under control!). You don€’t have to miss out just because you’€™re trying to eat healthier. Just be smart!


Committed to your success,


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Budget Friendly Healthy Eating Tips

Budget_Friendly_VeggiesHealthy eating doesn’t have to break your budget.  You don’t have to resort to low-cost pre-packaged foods in order to save on your monthly food bill. Here are a few ideas to reduce your grocery bill and your waistline:

1. Make A List

Hey, it works for Santa! Make a list, and check it twice before going to the store. List out your favorite foods and design menu plans that incorporate them. You’ll find that enjoyment increases and you’ll actually eat those leftovers. Over time you’ll also notice when your favorites are on sale or when coupons are available.  Many grocery stores have eCoupon programs. For the “cost” of giving your email address, why not save on those staples items?

Once you’ve got a standard list, break it down by grocery aisle. Then, keep it in a Word document. That way you can print it out before you go to the store and jot down any other items you may need. Have a snack while you’re at it. Studies have shown that if you’re hungry when shopping you’re more likely to succumb to impulse buys.

Once you’re trolling the aisles, it just a matter of checking your list and putting them into your cart. A side benefit: splurge items don’t automatically migrate home with you; it takes a conscious effort for you to add them while shopping. Planning your meals and using a list will support your budget and healthy eating lifestyle.

Oh, and don’t forget your reusable and earth-friendly shopping bags. Some stores charge as cities have passed local laws in order to reduce landfill.Reuseable_grocery_bag

2. Nutritious Frozen Food?

Actually frozen food is full of vitamins as they are picked at their peak. They are less costly than their more perishable equivalent. Of course I’m talking about frozen fruits and veggies without sauces and additives. For those items where you still want fresh, look to locally grown and in-season produce as they are more economical than their imported counterpart.

3. Spice It Up

It’s amazing how spices and herbs can dress up a ho-hum meal. Trader Joe’s has a nice selection of low-cost spices. Experiment by adding them to your favorite dishes. Basil and mint plants are also on sale. Add them to salads or vegetable topping to freshen things up.

Considering planting them and harvest those sprigs at the end of the growing season. Make your own pesto and freeze in old-fashioned ice cube trays so you can pull them out in winter. I made pesto last month, froze it in ice cube trays and now enjoy pesto in my scrambled eggs once a week.  Yum!

4. Bargain Proteins

Fresh meat and fish can take a bite out of your dining-in expense. There are other value-priced protein sources like eggs, cheese, milk, tofu and legumes. There are tons of meatless recipes available online; they can be heart-friendly, filling as well as economical.  Who knows… tofu just might find its way into your family’s favorite meals.

Shopping_for_Healthy_Food5. Ditch Specialty Foods

A great way to run up a grocery bill is specialty foods or recipes with odd ingredients.  Have you noticed that unusual and rarely used items are expensive, and they tend to go stale and unused? When you stick to your favorites and keep your menu simple, you’ll find less waste and unexpected spikes to your bill.



If you’ve got some budget friendly and healthy eating tips that are working for you, please post them in the comments section so we can all benefit!

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Budget friendly veggies

Reusable shopping bag

Speed Shopping

Healthy Diet Changes: Little Changes Can Lead to Big Results

A Healthy Snack of Tomatoes and CheeseHave you noticed how hard it is to make healthy diet changes, especially lasting ones? Intellectually you know that if you cut out certain foods, you’ll see a difference the next time you step on a scale. You know that if you make healthier food choices, you can reduce your risk of  conditions like diabetes or heart disease. Yet when that candy bar calls to you from the office vending machine at 3 in the afternoon, sometimes your best intentions fly out the window.

The clients that I see succeed over the long term make small healthy diet changes to habits they already have. They focus on tweaking one habit at a time rather than making drastic changes. Here are a couple examples:

Half & Half to Low Fat Milk in Coffee. If you like this creamy additive in your morning java, you might try whole milk. If you use 2 tablespoons to eachCoffee_can_Be_part_of_a_healthy_diet cuppa joe, you’ll save about 20 calories as well as reduce fat grams. If you drink two mugs a day that adds up to 280 calories a week. That’s the equivalent of a Snickers bar. If you switch to 2% milk, you’ll save even more.

Instant oatmeal to unflavored oats. Those pre-packaged sleeves of oatmeal packs a sugar punch. The Maple & Brown sugar version has 9 grams of sugar, while its slow-cooked alternative has 1 gram. By adding fresh blueberries or ½ a banana, you’ll get the sweet without the same glycemic hit.  You’ll also increase your fiber intake by adding fresh fruit to your oatmeal :-).

Fatty cuts of beef to lean cuts of beef.  There is a lot of saturated fat in regular ground beef and several popular cuts of steak.  You can shave off lots of calories from fat (without losing much in iron or other nutrients in beef)  by switching to leaner steaks (such as flank steak or filet mignon) or to extra lean ground sirloin.


Where could you make small changes to your favorite foods in order to decrease your calories (or sodium, fat, sugar)? Don’t be surprised if it takes several months for your taste buds to change. But once they do, you’ll be amazed!  Your taste buds really do change— you’ll be more sensitive to the sugar, salt or fat content of your food once you’ve gotten used to eating foods with less.

My clients have commented that the old foods they used to eat and love just don’t taste as good now. Or, less of it satisfies them. That’s the trick to staying on track with a healthy diet.  Small changes over time reap BIG, long term dividends down the road!

What little changes have YOU made that are paying you big weight loss dividends now?

Share your successes in the comment section!


Committed to your success,





Image credit:

Coffee image


10 Reasons Why You May Not See a Weight Loss – Part 2

Eat 5 to 9 fruit and veggie servings a dayLast week we looked at 5 reasons you may not be losing weight (even though you may be trying!).

Here are 5 more reasons you might not be seeing the weight loss you desire.

6. Skipped Meals

When one of my bootcamp clients complains that they aren’t seeing weight loss results, I ask if they are skipping any meals. Why? Because chronically skipping meals actually slows your metabolism, causing your body to store calories rather than burn them. I also see that when a meal is skipped, a dieter will actually overeat at the next meal because they are hungrier than usual.

7. Sugar & Simple Carbs

Added sugars and lots of processed white flour-based products can sabotage your weight loss goal. There are literally hundreds of products that contain sugar with deceptive names like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Sugar and other simple carbohydrates turn off the hormones responsible for releasing body fat and turns on the hormones to store fat. Effective and healthy weight loss regimes have the opposite effect on the body.

8. Adult Beverages

Alcohol stimulates the appetite and slows down metabolism. While alcoholic drinks taste good, they are loaded with empty calories.  So reflect on the Cocktail imagenumber of drinks you have each week. Personally, I plan for (and then thoroughly enjoy) one or two glasses of wine a week. Limiting your alcohol consumption can help your weight loss efforts.

9. Five A Day

Are you having fruits and/or vegetables every time you eat? Most veggies are lower in calories and help fill you up. When you feel satisfied, you’re more likely to stick with your weight loss program.

10. Failing to Plan

The adage “fail to plan and you’re planning to fail” is true for weight loss as well. Are you planning and preparing your meals ahead of time? If not, you are more likely to get off track. By incorporating items you really enjoy in your meal plans, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Can you think of any other activities that throw your weight loss efforts off track?  Have you found solutions for them?

Share them here!

Committed to your success,




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Fat Loss Made Easy–Tips from lifeSport Fitness Boot Camp in San Jose

Tips for getting greater fat loss results in the next 12 weeks

Body fat measurement at San Jose boot campI recently held a free assessment day for members of our lifeSport Fitness boot camps in San Jose, Campbell and Los Gatos.  Because the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s important to track other measurements such as body fat and girth to really get a clear picture of what’s happening once you start to do boot camp workouts.  So, we offer free measurements for our members to keep them focused and on track.

At lifeSport Fitness, we work hard to make every boot camp workout extremely effective for fat loss:  We do LOTS of strength training. We do interval training to increase the calorie burn of the workout.  We make sure to train the whole body in a functional manner in every workout.

That said, my coaches and I can’t out-train a client’s poor diet 🙂.

If you don’t eat enough, you don’t fuel your workouts well and you might lose muscle over time.  If you eat too many calories, you won’t shed body fat.  And, if you eat about the right amount of food, but it’s nutritionally unbalanced or down right non-nutritious food–well– you’re probably not going to feel very good AND you probably won’t shed fat.

Bottom line, nutrition accounts for a LARGE margin of your results. You need to eat often and eat nutritiously to fuel an active body.  You also need to be aware of portions and quantity.

I gave a “tips” sheet to our members at our assessment day to give them ideas for getting to the next level of fat loss at their next assessment, and I’d like to share it with you.

If you want to be leaner in the next 8-12 weeks, you should:


LOG your food intakeJournaling your food helps your weight loss plan

If you (or I) don’t really know what you’re eating, you don’t know what needs to be changed, and I don’t know how to coach you on changes you should make.

Start a free account at  Your journal is only as “honest” as you are, but you’ll see your calories, protein, fat, etc all listed there. This particular website is “smart phone friendly”.  You can scan food packaging and it will automatically upload the food item to your journal.

Increase your vegetable intake by AT LEAST 50%

This will fill up your plate, decrease your calorie consumption and increase your overall nutrition by a HUGE margin!  The greater variety of colors on your plate, the better!


If you're trying to lose weight, don't drink your calories!Pay attention to the calories you drink

These are very often “forgotten” calories—but they may be the ones that are ending up on your waistline.  Big culprits here:  Blended coffee drinks, alcoholic beverages, juices and other sweetened drinks.



If you eat out more than 3 times a week, work on decreasing that number

Restaurant food is chock full of calories, fat and salt.  It’s really hard to lose fat if you’re eating large fatty, salty or sugary commercial meals on a regular basis.


Plan and schedule your workouts outside of camp

If you’re actively trying to shed fat, I suggest doing some form of cardio exercise (longer, lower intensity workouts, as well as shorter High Intensity Interval Training cardio workouts) 5 times a week.  Strength training should be done 2-3 times a week.  When pressed for time, do your strength/cardio together circuit style.


DON’T diet

This fails every single time.  Diets are temporary.  Your lifeSport Fitness boot camp coaches and I want  to teach you how to lose fat and keep it off by changing your food habits and your lifestyleIf you start on some sort of fat loss plan you can’t live with—you’re doomed to fail.  Deprivation just doesn’t work long term.


Make small changes over time. Focus on what TO eat, not what NOT to eat.  Have indulgences now and then.  THAT’s real life. Yes, the fat will come off more slowly this way, but it’s more likely that you’ll stick with the new habits.


Committed to your success,




Image credits:

Pen and journal

Blended coffee drink

Holiday Calorie Control Tip #2

Yesterday we discussed how crucial it is for you to have a PLAN to control your calorie intake during the holidays. Today’s tip is even more simple and expands on the premise.

Plan on staying control of your alcohol intake.

Look, a drink or two isn’t going to be the end of the world. But when two turns to three in a night…… or two every night for three nights straight….well…’s gonna hit you in the waistline.

I’m not getting on my soap box here. I’m just telling you something you already know:

Too much alcohol not only adds up to too many calories, it leads to bad decisions. And in this case, we’re talking about bad eating decisions.

When alcohol enters the equation even the best laid plans crumble. The extra calories from the cocktails is one thing. But really it’s the extra calories you chew that start to add up.

One piece of cake turns to two…

A handful of chips turns into a a bag…

The dip sitting in front of you mysteriously vanishes…into your belly…

You get the picture. 😉

Over-indulging in alcohol leads to disintegration of your resolve and control.

That said………..

Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Just be conscious of what alcohol does to your decision making. Stay in control.

Yours in health,


PS – Remember, Prograde Nutrition’s HUGE Holiday Savings ends TOMORROW night. You definitely want to get over to right NOW and place you order to save 15% on all their killer products. It’s my duty as a proud Prograde Partner to remind you ;-).  I’m going to stock up on EFA-Icon (fish oil) myself!