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How am I going to maintain my weight loss for the long haul?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How am I going to maintain my weight loss? I seem to ask myself this question almost daily. You see, there's still a real fear that I won't be able to maintain my new weight for the long haul. For long term. I know I have to keep using the same tools that I have used to lose the weight. I know I have to remind myself each and every day why I am doing this. That how I feel is so worth any and all effort. I still seek out and read articles on how to maintain my weight for any tips and reassurance they can provide. Today I read a good, short article by I'd like to share it with you, too. It's good to know that alot of these strategies are in my SparkPeople Tool Box and that I have been using them already!

Successful weight-maintenance strategies:

Once you've lost the weight, you can't stop your efforts. Weight maintenance requires daily exercise, a healthy menu, a long-term commitment and constant vigilance. The following habits are essential to weight maintenance:

•Continue your exercise program. One of the most important things you can do for weight maintenance is to continue a vigorous exercise program. Studies suggest that it takes 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity daily to maintain weight loss. Moderately intense physical activities include fast walking and swimming.

•Enjoy healthy meals and snacks. Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Keep saturated fat low and limit sweets and alcohol. Remember that no one food offers all the nutrients you need. Choose a variety of foods throughout the day. It's not out of the question to eat and enjoy small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods on occasion. But the main thing is that you choose foods that promote weight maintenance and good health more often than you choose foods that don't.

•Know and avoid your food traps that cause you to eat. Know which situations can trigger out-of-control eating for you. The best way to identify food traps and emotionally triggered eating is to keep a journal. For as long as you find it helpful, write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling and how hungry you are. After a while, you should see some patterns emerge. Once you know these patterns and triggers, you can plan ahead and develop a strategy for how you'll handle these types of situations. This will help you understand and stay in control of your eating behaviors.

•Monitor your weight regularly. People who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping off the pounds. Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working and can help you detect small weight gains before they become larger.

•Be consistent. Sticking to your healthy-weight plan during the week, on the weekends, and amidst vacation and holidays increases your chances of long-term success.

•Create a support network. Getting support for your efforts, whether through a friend, family member, trained professional or group of fellow travelers on the same path, can ultimately mean the difference between success and failure.

The best-laid plan ~

If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, the best approach is to focus on lifestyle changes and develop an eating plan that's enjoyable, yet healthy and low in calories. This approach results in weight loss that you can live with — that is, that you can maintain over a long period of time.

The good news is that weight maintenance gets easier over time. After two to five years, the odds of keeping the weight off increase greatly. Achieving and staying at a healthy weight does take planning and effort, but the rewards are great.

Yes, a healthy and happy life is worth daily effort! I need to continue to do this for me! I am worth it! You are worth it!

Have a wonderful day, friends!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 9/26/2011 4:05PM

    Good luck on your endeavors Maria! I know you're gonna do well in maintenance cause you've done so well thus far! All that healthy cooking you're doing! You're gonna be just fine!

emoticon emoticon

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SMILEYBEE 9/25/2011 11:38PM

    Good evening Maria! I believe you have truly incorporated your SparkPeople tools into your lifestyle and I am confident you will maintain your weight loss. Keep up the great choices that at now second nature to you! WooHoo!

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ARTPRINTER 9/25/2011 8:46PM

    Great advice, Maria! Thanks for posting the article. I know that you're going to be great at maintenance. You've been so good about doing the research and know what you need to do to make your new lifestyle permanent. I've learned so much from you over the past four months. Thank you so much for your inspiration and friendship.

emoticon Terry

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1BEACHWALKER 9/22/2011 11:35AM

    So happy for you at what you have achieved thus far and I know you will make it a successful lifestyle & maintaining the weight loss! I have had so many plateaus lately emoticonthat I am getting really good at seeing what I need to do to stay at a certain weight and what not to do! Good article there! emoticon

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NPDSLEUTH 9/21/2011 10:55PM

    You will keep it off -- I have no doubt about that because you made this a true lifestyle change. I feel like you do though-- I need to think about food every day and make sure I stay on track. It is hard but we can do this!

Wearing lovely clothes, feeling healthy, lack of pain -- those are some of the reasons I know we can do it! Hang in there girlfriend! I'm so proud of you for realizing gain could be an issue -- proactive steps are key!

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THINRONNA 9/21/2011 5:38AM

    Thanks for the reminder Maria! You will do it...sometimes it can be a struggle but it really is worth it!

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LITTLEBJANET 9/20/2011 11:44PM

    I also find it easier to lose weight than to keep it off. I've made it to life-time membership in Weight Watchers four times! Each time I got there, I quit logging my food and quit going to the meetings. Each time I gained, I added more on top of my previous all-time high. When it got over 200 pounds--I decided ENOUGH! I am so enjoying reading people's blogs that highlight their struggles and successes. Constant vigilance! Thanks for sharing.

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SMARGED 9/20/2011 9:10PM

    I love this article, Maria! I just copied it and saved it on my computer. I KNOW I'm going to need to reread it many times!!!

Thanks so much for sharing!

emoticon Marge

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MARTHAWILL 9/20/2011 8:19PM

    I can identify with your blog. Right now I am finding it easy but I have learned from the past and know I must always be vigilant. Previously SparkPeople didn't exist for me and I feel it makes a world of difference to stay connected. We can do this and we will do this. I have no intention of going back "there".

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CHALLENGER15 9/20/2011 6:52PM

    I have a dear friend who lost weight about 15 years ago and has maintained her loss. Everything that you shared is something that she does. She has been my inspiration, and as I have become closer to goal weight, I have looked to her and how she has maintained.

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HOT4FITNESS 9/20/2011 6:03PM

    Yes we are worth it!! Thanks for sharing the tidbit of advice. They say maintaining is harder than losing and I am sure finding that out!! Keep up the good work!!

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Tips for Baking Healthier Cookies

Thursday, September 15, 2011

After baking cookies on Tuesday that I thought were 'healthier,' I came across an article yesterday in the October issue of Midwest Living titled "Sneaky-healthy cookies."

I wanted to share a few tips from that article with you today.

Tips for Healthier Cookies

1. Sub whole wheat -You can sub up to half of a recipe's all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

2. Use canola oil - Replacing one-fourth of a recipe's butter with canola oil lowers fat without changing texture.

3. Stir in whole grain - You can add wheat germ, ground flaxseed or regular oats with the flour. Recommended amount is 2 to 4 Tablespoons.

4. Reduce sugar - Cutting back to one-fourth of what's called for in the recipe usually won't change texture or flavor.

5. Go nuts - Stir in chopped almonds and walnuts to add omega-3s and more. Ditto for dried fruit, which boosts antioxidants and vitamins.

Here are 2 recipes that I have made since joining Spark People that follow some of these tips. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies & Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies.

My husband really likes the ones with dried cranberries in them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 9/21/2011 5:40AM

    These are great tips! I do many of these things at home too!

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1BEACHWALKER 9/19/2011 2:50AM

    Good tips! emoticon

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CYNTHIA726 9/16/2011 11:45AM

    Thank you for sharing! I'm going to try one of your recipes this weekend!

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CARRENK 9/15/2011 2:14PM

    I look forward to trying out these tips next time I bake. The two recipes sound yummy!

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SMARGED 9/15/2011 11:41AM

    Thanks, Maria, for these tips! I don't do a lot of baking, but I do like to make cookies for the family occasionally, and this will help to make them healthier.

Thanks again! emoticon Marge

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Thank you, Spark Friends!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For voting for me as a Spark Motivator!

I just got an email and SparkGoodie from my friend GRACEISENUF7 telling me that I was just named a Spark Motivator. Then I got the official email from SparkPeople. I was so shocked! I can't believe it!

It's ALL of YOU that motivate ME, each and everyday!

Thank you, all for your support and encouragement! It means the world to me!

~ Maria

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRENK 9/15/2011 2:13PM

    Absolutely deserved - so happy to see your love and encouragement to all of us acknowleged!

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THINRONNA 9/14/2011 5:59AM

    You completely derseve it Maria.

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GRACEISENUF 9/13/2011 8:26PM

    I truly can't think of anyone that deserves it more...CONGRATS again.


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SMARGED 9/13/2011 8:05PM

    Congratulations, Maria!! emoticon

You really deserve this! I am so happy for you! You are always so positive, always supporting and encouraging others! I am glad you are my friend!

emoticon Marge

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COOKWITHME65 9/13/2011 5:03PM

    Congratulations Maria. You so deserve this. emoticon

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ROSEWCI 9/13/2011 5:02PM

    WELL deserved!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 9/13/2011 4:22PM

    You deserve it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Just wanted to share a helpful Website with you...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In a recent search for information on healhy living, I came across a website that is very interesting.

It's called ""

It says it's "A trusted non-profit resource."
"Take Charge of Your Life by Making Healthy Choices."

It has many healthy living sections. I just looked at the "Diet & Nutrition" section & a section titled: "Emotional Skills Toolkit." It's about bringing one's life into balance. And since my focus word for 2011 has been "BALANCE," I am drawn to read this section:

Have a healthy and happy day friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEATTLE58 9/26/2011 11:56AM

    Thanks! I'll have to check it out! emoticon

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COOKWITHME65 9/13/2011 5:04PM

    Thanks for the link Maria!

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ROSEWCI 9/13/2011 5:01PM

    emoticon for the link & info! I will check it out!

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SUCCESS68 9/13/2011 3:39PM

    Thank you. I'm going to see what I can find. I need all the help I can get. emoticon

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PATTY54151 9/13/2011 2:35PM

    Thanks i will check it out!

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Recipe: Homemade Mocha Cappuccino/Coffee Shake

Monday, September 12, 2011

Homemade Mocha Cappuccino/Coffee Shake

I was in the mood today for a Mocha Cappuccino. I had a bottled one from a convenience store over the weekend and paid $2.00 for it. There must be a way to make one at home. I found a basic recipe and made my usual changes to it to suite my personal tastes and calorie needs.

Here’s the basic recipe:

Coffee Shake

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
¾ to 1 cup low fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar or to taste
6 ice cubes
2 teaspoons chocolate syrup (can use sugar free chocolate syrup)

Combine the instant coffee, milk, vanilla extract, sugar, ice and chocolate syrup in a blender; blend until smooth.

Here’s what I did:

I took a tall mug and mixed the instant coffee granules with 2 teaspoons of sugar (32 calories). I then added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of sugar free chocolate syrup (15 calories) and 1 cup of 1% milk (110 calories). I stirred it well and didn’t add ice.

I didn’t want to pull out my smoothie maker just to make 1 cup.
My blender died earlier this year...need to replace it.

Adjust the ingredients to fit your personal taste.

Approximately 157 Calories for 1 serving made my way.
I just logged the individual ingredients into my food tracker.

* The bottled coffee I had over the weekend was 180 calories - so I did save some calories and I did use a whole serving of dairy in my version.

** You could make it non-dairy using soy milk.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 9/13/2011 5:01PM

    Yummy! Thanks!!! emoticon

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THINRONNA 9/13/2011 4:55AM

    This sounds really good! It seems like I used to make something like that back when I was in culinary school and I also added a banana...I used a blender and probably made more than one cup but I remember it being really yummy. Thanks for the reminder!

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1BEACHWALKER 9/13/2011 12:32AM

    You always are so inventive with recipes! I do not like coffee, but Bob sure would like this. We love to go to Starbucks on occasion and wow do they make the best coffee and tea --anything on their menu is great! They have a new coffee that has coconut in it and Bob wants to try that next! emoticon emoticon

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SMARGED 9/12/2011 2:48PM

    Thanks for this recipe, María! Sounds delicious and I love mocha cappuccino coffee - and even though I don't really cook, this is something I can make. I may even try it this afternoon as my snack!

emoticon Marge

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