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Beware of These Weight Loss Stumbling Blocks

weight lossLosing weight can be very challenging, especially if you aren’t prepared for trials along the way. Since everyone experiences trials and failure on the road to success, the best way to conquer them is to be ready for them. Luckily, most people struggle with the same challenges. Here are 5 of the 10 common stumbling blocks I shared in an article for Click HERE to read all 10 at

1. Denial

You can’t fix a problem you haven’t admitted to. This is why admitting your problem is the first step in addiction groups. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can never overcome the problem you aren’t willing to admit you have.

2. Lack of support

If you had an alcohol problem, your loved ones wouldn’t keep alcohol around. However, people don’t think about having a weight problem as having a food problem. If you suffer from obesity, you likely have self-control issues with food and need more support. If you want success, share your concerns with your family and friends. Be honest with your loved ones about your weaknesses. Explain how much you need their support and protection against temptation. The more your family can understand your needs, the easier the process will be for you.

3. Laziness

With everyone’s crazy schedules, you shouldn’t be surprised when fatigue strikes. Instead, you should expect the temptation to skip your workout. As soon as that thought crosses your mind, remember how energized your body feels after a workout. The same way laziness breeds more laziness, staying moving helps you keep moving. The best way to get energized is to get moving.

4. Temptation

The easiest way to conquer temptation is to avoid it. It is difficult to eat junk food if there is no junk food around. Sadly, many people start a diet plan with all kinds of unhealthy foods still in the pantry. Even worse, many people continue restock the pantry with foods that aren’t on their diet. Even if your family is not overweight, junk food is unhealthy food and should be replaced with healthier options. Purge your kitchen of anything that would be a temptation for you. If it’s out of sight, it is easier for it to be out of mind.

5. Failure

People make mistakes. It’s easy to miscalculate calories, cheat on your diet and skip workouts from time to time. Regrettably, you can let one small slip keep you down if you aren’t careful. The best thing you can do is forgive yourself and plan your comeback. As the silent film actress, Mary Pickford, says “If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Failure is almost inevitable, so expect to fail along the way. Your weight loss success will be determined on how fast you recover from each fall….READ MORE

Dining on a Diet: 4 Easy Mistakes

Learn-from-mistakesOne of the things I like to do is share my stupid mistakes so YOU don’t REPEAT THEM! Yep, I am not afraid to tell you just how bad I blew it. I may be a fitness professional, and although I know a lot about nutrition, calories and weight management, I still make poor choices from time to time. The only reason I am not as big as a cow is because 1.) I look for mistakes (meaning, I hold myself accountable, I look up calories and I look for the truth (facts). 2.) I work my mistakes off. 3.) I learn from my mistakes. 4.) I apply what I learn (a lot of people learn a lot about improving their eating, but they don’t apply it).

The difference between my mistakes and other people making mistakes is I make them less often. Where I may totally blow it occasionally, some people are blowing it every week, or every other day. Those mistakes add up if going unnoticed, and that is when weight gain happens – or why people can’t lose weight despite all their work in the gym.

Dining on a DietSo, here’s the story. I had family in town last night so we all decided to go to Outback for dinner. I’m not dieting right now so I was already going in knowing I was going to treat myself – which means I plan on having that yummy salad they have and a baked potato instead of broccoli. Let me stop right here and tell you this: If I had looked up the calories ahead of time (like I tell EEEEEVERYONE else), I would have not chosen what I ordered. The damage way exceeded what I would have allowed myself if I had known in advance.

Mistake #1: I didn’t look up the calories BEFORE I ordered.

mistakesAs I’m looking at the menu, I had pretty much settled on getting just a small steak, baked potato and side salad. BUT, Steve (yes, I’m throwing him right under that big blame bus) said, “why don’t you get the Outback 4 Special, the 4-course meal for $15?“. Well, I almost felt stupid if I DIDN’T get that. What a deal right? WRONG! It was a baaaaad deal – and I have news for you! It cost WAY more than $15. It cost me $15 to eat it and it’s going to cost me plenty more in valuable time to burn it off!

Mistake #2: I let someone or something (tempting menu item or deals) to change my mind!

mistakeSo here’s what I ended up eating. NOTE: I never, NEVER, NEEEVER get dessert, BUT it came with the “package”. Thank you Outback for trying to fatten me up. You not only Biggie Sized my meal, you Biggie Sized ME! Yes, I have a choice and could have chosen better, but your “good deal” sucked me in and I took the ugly bate. Yep, you caught me, hook line, and sinker!

What I ordered:

  • Sparkling water with lime: 1 calories
  • White Bean & Sausage Soup: 162 calories
  • Blue Cheese & Pecan Chopped Salad: 559 calories (WHAT?! U HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?!!)
  • 6oz Steak: 254 calories
  • Baked Potato with Sour Cream & Butter: 313 calories
  • Carrot Cake: 320 calories


Mistake #3: By eating less, I talked myself into thinking I was doing OK. 

What I actually ate:

  • Sparkling Water with Lime: 0 Calories
  • I Ate ALL of My White Bean & Sausage Soup: 162 calories
  • I Ate ALL of My Blue Cheese & Pecan Chopped Salad: 559 calories (BIG mistake!)
  • 1/2 My 6oz Steak: 127 calories
  • 1/2 My Baked Potato with Sour Cream & Butter: 156 calories
  • 1/4 of My Carrot Cake: 80 calories

(I saved 800 calories, but STILL have to run 10 miles to erase the damage!!)

Mistake #4: I ordered something I really loved – and took it home.

Really? That doesn’t belong in my house. That’s what I call “planning to fail”. Why didn’t I just let everyone at the table taste it. Why? Because I freakin’ LOVE carrot cake.

Moral of the Story…

outback-special-sirloinListen, if I had been amazing with my diet lately, this whole catastrophe wouldn’t have mattered – but I haven’t been good with my diet. I’ve been “off” my diet for several weeks and this week was supposed to mark my start of getting my act together after my vacations and being sick.

So, this mistake set me back a few MORE days. In the big scheme of things, it really is not that big of a deal IF it only happens occasionally, but this is a perfect example of how many people are “try” to make good choices – and they wonder why they can’t lose weight.

Why Good Intentions Don’t Cut It:

The above is proof that good intentions aren’t enough even when someone:

  • Orders water instead of wine
  • Avoids the bread and butter
  • Chooses a vegetable based soup instead of a cream based soup
  • Chooses salad over blooming onions or other greasy appetizers
  • Orders grilled meat, instead of a saucy dish
  • Picks whole foods for sides, instead of casseroles or fried sides
  • Eats half the meal
  • Has only a few bites of dessert instead of eating the whole thing

Even after ALL THAT, they STILL are eating WAY too many calories. 

Next time you eat out, think of me, sitting at the computer the next morning, looking up calories from the night before and tallying the damage. Even though the food was good, I can honestly say it wasn’t worth what it will take to work it off. I see a lot of exercise in my future.



Dieters Beware: Fast Food Chains May Fool You

fast food chains mislead consumersWe’ve all been there before. That moment when you have to make a decision to either eat nothing, or eat fast food. I just recently had that dilema myself. I needed food – fast. Luckily, a Wendy’s was just around the corner. I knew, from previous calorie-counting experience, I could find a low-calorie option there, so off I went.

As I waited on the customers in front of me, I began to browse the menu (which, by the way is always a mistake). I hadn’t been to a Wendy’s in some time so there were many new items, and I decided to try something new.

Mistake #1

Fast food chains deceive consumersYou see, if you are on a diet, you should never even consider what you WANT to eat. That’s like window shopping with no money. A dieter needs to make a decision based on what they can afford to eat, not what they want to taste. So, with that said, it’s best not to look at every high-calorie tasty menu item. Stick to the plan Bonnie.

Too late, the first mistake was made. I went off plan and ordered the Baja Chicken Salad. I did, however, go on my handy dandy FastFoodCal app to check out the damage before I actually ordered it. Once I saw the half salad was only 280 calories, I made the order – BUT, several more mistakes were made without my knowledge.

Mistake #2, #3 & #4…

calories add upAfter I got home, I looked up the official Wendy’s nutritional information online to see if the calories included dressing. That would be a big fat NO. Not only did it not include the dressing, their PDF nutritional menu items did not include any toppings at all. So, I used their customizable calorie counter to add or remove toppings for an accurate calorie count. After I did the math, adding the 100 calorie dressing and the 80 calories in tortilla chips, I got the REAL total for the Baja Salad, as it was intended to be eaten. 470 calories, not 280. Big difference!

Granted, I didn’t eat the chips and I didn’t need the dressing since it had guacamole and pico de gallo, but how many other people would have taken the time to dig a little deeper to find the correct nutritional information about their meal? I was so upset at how difficult it was to figure this all out. All I could think of are all the newbie dieters who gobbled the whole 470 calories up, and put 280 on their log – and they wonder why they aren’t losing weight. They are TRYING their best, but these types of common mistakes sabotage their efforts, and restaurants aren’t helping.

Counting Calories Shouldn’t Be This Hard

dieting shouldn't be rocket science

Counting calories is already a pain but, if you really want to succeed, now you have to be a mathematician AND a private investigator – because many chains desquise calories and hide evidence. The way many chains create their nutritional graph is an irritating sneaky tactic to throw consumers off. Notice the very first number (circled below in red) is weight, not calories. They know good and well we look at that first number, expecting THAT number to refer to calories? It’s the first number on most labels, and it’s the most important number for a dieter, so why put it second? I’ll tell you why. They hope people look at that number instead, and mistake it for a lower calorie item. Believe me, I know better and I still almost got fooled.

fast food chain's nutritional deception tactic

The Truth May be Hard to Swallow, but It Leaves a Better Taste in Your Mouth

fast food chains leave a bad taste in dieters' mouthsRestaurants, you should list the calories as it was intended to be served, not list the lowest number based on what you think customers want to hear. Dishing out lies, and relying on people to be too lazy to figure out the truth, is so deceptive – and no one likes being deceived.

There will be plenty of unhealthy people who will continue to buy your greasy high-calorie food, but if you want to also capture the people who value their health more than your value meal, you need to start serving up the truth and giving us what we need to help us reach our goals while still eating on the go. The alternative is to avoid eating fast food altogether. So, do you want to help us or not? Or are you just doing the bare minimum so you can be in compliance and “appear” to be helping America fight obesity.

The fact of the matter is, no matter how tasty your food is, if you can’t be honest and more helpful to dieters, it will just leave us all with a bad taste in our mouth – and that’s something no amount of breath mints can cover up.

CLICK HERE to see 20 examples of how 1 ITEM from popular restaurants can erase 1 HOUR of hard work.

Learn more diet tips for the drive through window: Fast Food Diet Tips.

DIET: 7 Ways to Cheat Smart

Back in the day, when Steve used to go off his diet he would say he was “taking the gloves off” – meaning, no more rules. In sports like boxing and hockey, taking the gloves off means they are about to throw down. No rules, no ref, anything goes.

Well, that’s how Steve and I used to cheat – we’d take the gloves off. However, over the years our eating has changed drastically. Although we totally still cheat on our diet here and there, even cheating is done in moderation.

Vacation or Diet Vacation?
I think too many people “take the gloves off” like we used to – especially when on vacation. They go on vacation and they don’t even try to eat healthy. On the contrary, people often cram as much crappy stuff in their body while on vacation “just because they are on vacation” – as if they’d never get the chance to cheat again.

Sure, you should be able to have some yummy meals and treats on vacation – I’m not suggesting you have to “diet”. What I’m saying is you should still practice self-control and balance. Whether it’s trying to still maintain healthy portions or mixing in healthy meals with cheat meals, eating just to eat shouldn’t be an option.

Our Dumb Rules (AKA: Lame Excuses)
We humans make some of the dumbest diet rules. We have certain occasions we “allow” ourselves to “take the gloves off”.  We cheat when we celebrate. We cheat when we go out of town. We cheat when it’s a Holiday. We cheat on the weekends. We cheat when we’ve had a hard day. Honestly, sometimes we cheat our way through a whole week because of circumstances. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we continue to cheat after several days of cheating, because we’ve been so bad. Really? Is that an excuse? I’ll be bad today just because I was so bad yesterday? Yep, that’s how some of us think and act. How stupid is that?!

Going Over the Limit
We do the very same thing when with spending, especially on vacation. We buy things just to buy things. After blowing it one day, we often blow even more money (and debt) the next day – and many times it’s on stupid stuff. I mean, do you really think you’ll hang that ridiculous Mexican sombrero in your house? Probably not, but you sure will be paying for it, along with all the other junk “that you had to have”, for a lot longer than it took to buy ut. The same goes with diet. You may not be playing by they rules, but the rules still apply – and, believe me, you WILL pay.

7 Ways to Cheat Smart & Win the Fat Fight

You can splurge, taste, play and feel good to – IF you learn to cheat smart. Here are a few ways to enjoy great cuisine without losing your fight with fat.

1.) Only eat what you love. How many times have you eaten something just because it’s in front of you? How many times have you cleaned your plate and the meal wasn’t even that good? Save your cheat calories for only foods you absolutely love.

2.) Make good choices and healthy tradeoffs. Think about what you like the most. Do you want the appetizer more, or the dessert more? Instead of having every course offered, narrow down the choices to what’s most important to you.

3.) Divide your cheat meal up by cutting high-calorie foods in half. If you want to totally splurge on your favorite high calorie dish, don’t overeat too. You can enjoy that deep fried dish, or pasta swimming in alfredo, but save calories by not eating it all in one siting to avoid more calories stored as fat. The good news is you get to have your favorite meal twice!

4.) Choose one: over-eating or over-calorieing. I know, it’s not a word! What I mean is, if your idea of splurging is overeating, then eat healthy. If your idea is eating a high calorie cheat meal, then eat less of unhealthy meals.

5. Plan to cheat. One of the best things you can do is plan your cheat meals out. If you are jonesing for your favorite cheat meal for dinner, eat healthy during the day or do an extra cardio. Save calories on other snacks and meals to allow more room to cheat.

6. Eat for fuel. Remember, what you eat today is how you will feel tomorrow. So, if you’re planning to hit the beach and you want to look good in your bikini, or you want a ton of energy on vacation, you may want to eat how you want to feel – and plan your cheat meals around that. My sister learned this the hard way when we went to Busch Gardens after eating pancakes. Steve and I had a ton energy and she crashed after only 2 hours of being at the park. If you want to feel good, you may want to choose your biggest cheat day for the last day of your trip.

7. Cheating  can be depressing. I don’t know about you, but I want to be happy on vacation. Cheating can really mess with your head. You can mentally feel fat and ugly, causing bad mood swings and emotions. If you want to feel confident and comfortable, limiting crappy meals can make you a much happier camper.

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Photo of Bonnie Pfiester by Misty Lundeen

How Good is Your High-Cal Radar?

My favorite (not-so-favorite) thing to hear, when people are talking about needing to lose weight, is when they tell me how healthy they eat or how they know they aren’t eating any more than 1200 calories a day (which is practically impossible to do and NOT lose weight). The honest truth is, if you eat out AT ALL and aren’t looking up the nutritional information for the menu items, you have NO idea how many calories you are eating.

I’m in the fitness business myself and I know I make mistakes – and I’m “supposed to know better”. It’s very difficult to guess low calories foods, even for the pros. To test your High-Cal Radar, I did a little research today using popular foods (not just the stereotypical healthy foods) to offer a little (what my history teacher used to call a) ‘multiple guess’ test.

Choosing between different menu items, which food choice is LOWEST in calories:

A. 6″ Turkey & Ham Sub
B. Turkey & Ham Wrap

A. Fried Okra
B. French Fries

A. 20 BBQ Chicken Wings
B.  6 slices of pepperoni and cheese pizza

A. Cheeseburger Mini Sliders
B. Bacon Cheeseburger Burger Read the rest of this entry

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