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1. Identify the time of day you're most likely to make a bad choice. For me (Pam) it's between 3-4 p.m.-- a natural 'sinking spell' as my Grandmother used to say! I can (and sometimes do) make a cup of coffee, but that doesn't work for the majority without losing sleep that night! Depending on how I've timed my meals, either I eat an early dinner with protein and veggies, or I'll 'grab' a 1/2 c fat free cottage cheese (15g protein), or a plain protein shake (25g protein). Grabs come when your body has a shift in insulin and you think you're hungry. This can result from (a) hunger! (b) boredom (c) a change in food patterns, so craving old foods (sugar and carb laden) (d) not enough sleep the night before. But when you're ready to grab, most of us don't stop to ask, is it a, b, c, or d? lol We GRAB! Tip: Have fast HEALTHY, high protein grabs easily accessible so that IF/WHEN this hits at YOUR weak time of day, you have already considered your best option IN ADVANCE!!

2. Shop for your fruits and vegetables on Sunday and wash them Sunday afternoon or evening. Celery— wash, drain and cut it in 3" sticks. Asparagus (after you wash and trim the ends, stand in a glass of water. Drain any lettuce or spinach that needs washing and after it has dried, put in zip lock bags w/ paper towels to absorb any left over moisture. Peel carrots and place them in a small bowl w/ a little water. Berries. Wash only one container at a time (I keep a zip lock of blueberries and raspberries washed at all times). They don't need soaking, rather 'swishing' @ 30 seconds in a sink full of clean water. Then dry out separated on paper towels. Put in fresh zip lock w/ 1/2 paper towel to absorb leftover water. When you HAVE fruits and veggies easy to grab without having to clean, you're MUCH more likely to select them instead of changing your mind for something faster or more familiar.

3. Missing sweets? Endangered Species makes a super great dark chocolate. 70% or higher. My favorite (Pam and I think Angie too actually) is the one with almonds and cranberries in it (very light touch). ONE SQUARE!! Yep, 1. "1" ONE. Eat it in 5-6 bites and chew chew chew! lol Save it for the BEST time for YOU! 2-3 times a week is absolutely NO PROBLEM! Many studies actually laud its benefits (along with red wine).

4. Initially, weigh ever day. For the first three years of our accountability, Angie and I weighed EVERY day (first thing in the morning before water, after bathroom stop and without wet hair from a shower. Naked. LOWEST possible weight! lol) Track it. You will find some days you drop up to 3 lbs. (more in the beginning because of water and initial SHOCK to your body). Some days, you'll only drop a couple of ounces. Some days, after you have been perfectly CLEAN and exercised HARD, you'll GAIN! Yes, you will. For women especially, time of month (ovulation and a couple of days to a week before your period) your weight WILL increase. The challenge with THIS is that your appetite will also increase and if you're inclined to period-related cravings, you will have to overcome the 'emotional and habitual' way of handling that by MANAGING it differently! If you don't already track your cycle, DEFINITELY start doing this so you can anticipate or understand any craving or weight changes that take you off guard! Men… how lucky are you that this tip simply relates to you ONLY in WEIGH DAILY. ;-) Between the variables that will play into your "scale weight", you will also want to pay attention to what food/ food combinations/ Big 5 proportions give you your best drops and what foods/combinations do not. THIS is when your hard copy (vs. an AP) Tracking Journal becomes an invaluable tool--- you can literally RESEARCH your own choices and your body's response!

5. One of the first noticeable insights into the changes you are making is the VALUE of PREPARATION! Pencil in your PRE planned meals and snacks in your Tracking Journal for the next day before you go to bed tonight OR first thing at day's beginning---Pre-plan time of day AND Pre-plan meals and PRE calculate the Big 5 so that you know in advance what you're day is going to look like! If you just add them up at the end of the day, it's such a gamble and no different from having NO game plan at all! Over time, you'll have a lot of great go-to meals/snacks that you KNOW the #ers on and you can adjust pretty easily if your mood or schedule changes. But when you're just starting out, you're better off KNOWING before you munch!

6. It takes a reduction or energy burn of 3500 calories to lose 1 lb of fat. So, if you KNOW what # of calories you can MAINTAIN your current weight (this assumes you haven't been gradually gaining weight), reducing that by 500 calories a day gives you a ONE POUND loss per week. So some of you will lose rapidly initially because of the way you're NOW eating compared to the way you WERE eating!! (I won’t factor in exercise yet, because the benefits of exercise are more than heart health--- it includes burning more calories than if you were sedentary, which means that the more active you are, either the faster you can drop OR the more you can eat! lol)

7. NOT eating enough is NOT an option! Make sure you're not 'hungry'. If you need to eat as close as 2.5 hours apart, DO that! As you get your protein HIGHER (.8-1.5g per body weight) and your carbs LOWER (50-100g) and your fiber higher (20-35g) you won't be as hungry! AND you'll be feeding muscle and BURNING FAT! Your body has to BURN something for fuel. IT will either use AVAILABLE CARBS (if you're eating them) OR it will burn FAT as fuel. You choose by what you eat! (or don't). BUT if you eat TOO LITTLE, your body will start to burn MUSCLE for fuel because it will preserve FAT in case you are stranded on a desert island!! So, EAT within an hour of waking and every 2.5-4 hours (no longer than 4)! Be intentional about getting that protein up!

8. Exercise. Not even going to tell you WHAT to do. ;-) Besides, I imagine you are 'active' on some level. IF you're not, get moving. Even a 20 minute walk a day will make a difference. IF you're just starting out and you want a good cardio--- plan on 20 minutes. Walk 2 minutes to warm up. Then ONE MINUTE A PART, walk; walk fast; jog; run. Repeat 4 times (now you're up to 18 minutes). Walk 2 minutes to warm down. You can do this OUTSIDE (you'll need an athletic watch with a timer) or on the TREADMILL, but EVERYBODY has 20 minutes. If you push yourself on the jog/run, this workout will kick your bootie AND burn calories like crazy! I have (Pam) a pretty good set up in a workout room in my home. Dumbells from 2-80lbs, bands, incline bench, stationary bike, treadmill, and every imaginable DVD series! lol My son and I just finished P90X (all 90 days!) and have ordered P90X2 series. YES, that is hard core. Personally I did not like INSANITY. I 'might' like it in a gym with other people, but I doubt it! LOVE Chalean's Turbo Fire— a combo of fun longer cardio combined with HIIT workouts in lengths of 15, 20, 25, and 30 minutes. (Angie found that one first). Super great fat burners. And I love Chalean's Xtreme (similar to P90X but shorter workouts). General rule: Plan your workout a week in advance. Do not EVER work the same muscles 2 days in a row (when lifting). Don't do AB workouts 2 days in a row. Muscle confusion keeps the body changing and making progress towards leaner and more defined.

9. A super great snack is a turkey roll. Don't buy the packaged turkey with all the preservatives and high sodium. Go to the deli section and ask for oven roasted turkey, thin sliced for sandwiches but sliced to make 'rolls' out of it. Take a 3-4 oz slices, add mustard, use spinach or lettuce leaves, salt lightly and roll it up (you could add a mozzarella stick, low moisture/part skim). This is EASY to assemble, on the go, finger food, high quality protein, filling and ALWAYS right!

10. So what was the food you didn't throw away? It's still there 'just in case'? THROW IT AWAY! If its nutritional value is low, if its processed, if it has more 'bad' than good nutrients with more bad effects than beneficial, TOSS IT! I mean what really is the point? A constant thought, especially in the beginning of replacing any old habit with a new, better one has to be "What do I want MORE?" So, what do you want MORE--- the short term pleasure of the way that food tastes (followed by guilt, energy drop, feeling of failure) or the benefit of accumulated GOOD choices, the satisfaction of sustaining a new habit, and the victory over brief temptation? The RESULT? A healthier, leaner body! THAT is what you want more! Really, it is!

11. BIGGEST CHALLENGE— NOT enough protein! Low energy? Stalling out at a certain weight? GANG, a strong key is in the protein! I’m sharing one of my FAVORITE shakes that tastes like a chocolate/peanut butter MILK SHAKE!! If you had even ONE of these a day in addition to 3 great balanced meals w/ @ 25g protein each, you’d hit over 100g! If you had TWO of these, you’d be over 68g from just the shakes! Let’s figure it out!!

Pam’s BEST SHAKE- Chocolate/Peanut Butter

.: J Robb Whey (Chocolate and Vanilla— purchase at Vitamin Shoppe or Kroger)
.: 4 oz Soy Slender (chocolate and vanilla) Kroger
.: 4 oz filtered water
.: Shakeology (click here for shaker bottle) fiber 1 scoop
.: PB powder 1 T (a product that squeezes the fat out of peanuts and leaves the powder! A RICH FIND!)
.: 5 squirts sugar free choc and 5 squirts sugar free p. butter syrup
.: 1/2 c. crushed ice
.: Put all in one of our blender bottles (click here for shaker bottle)
.: 180 cal 2.5 fat 34 protein 9.6 carb 6.5 fiber

* Another variation for me is 4 oz vanilla soy/vanilla whey/ vanilla sugar free syrup/ 1/2 c frozen raspberries— DELICIOUS! Slightly different numbers— (lower but protein still at 29g)

12. For best results get a buddy and get a journal. Many have tried to do this by skipping the journal or foregoing the buddy, and they are still in the same place looking for the magic bullet. There is no magic bullet but success is available to you.

13. Get up early enough to do your workout and have a Quiet time that includes planning your day. You'll stay on track with a plan you follow!

14. Get up early enough to do your workout and have a Quiet time that includes planning your day. You'll stay on track with a plan you follow!

15. Don't skip breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day. Your body has just come off of a 7-9hour fast from sleep. Studies have shown that those that skip breakfast are 4.5 times more at risk for obesity than those that take time to eat. Make it a good choice.

16. Know your hungry time of the day and have a snack prepared in advance or you could make the dreaded GRAB mistake. Grabbing a snack when your starving = disaster if it is not planned in advance.

17. Educate yourself! You are getting an advanced degree in personal HEALTH and FITNESS. Start picking up health/fitness magazines and reading from experts.

18. If you fall off , GET BACK ON TRACK! Everyone has a SLIP or a BAD DAY but success is in GETTING BACK ON TRACK immediately . Don't allow one bad choice to cause a landslide.

19. Your goal each day should be to be to drink at least 64ozs of water. Water is important to flushing out toxins that are stored in our bodies and keep us properly hydrated. Water is essential for digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals. It keeps our skin moist and supple, and is a natural lubricant for our joints and internal organs. So, think of water as part of your daily health prescription!

20. Get a large garbage bag and Clean out your cabinets and fridge! Throw out (or donate to your local food pantry if anything non-perishable) the junk, over-processed, unhealthy food that is holding you hostage! If it is not there you won't be tempted to eat it.

21. Next time your mind gets stuck on a certain food, text/call your buddy and redirect your brain by asking how her day's going. Research shows that cravings only last about 5 minutes, so by the time you finish your conversation the urge to grab junk should be gone.

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