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muffintop-less:

My Tips for Eating Out at a Restaurant When Trying to Stick to Your Diet! (If this is your cheat meal, then obviously some of these things may not need apply).

  • Don’t go starving. You are less likely to choose the greasiest, most unhealthy thing on the menu if you don’t go to the restaurant ravenous. Have a small snack consisting of protein about an hour or so before you leave. 
  • Avoid the bread basket or chips and salsa. It’s easy to mindlessly fill up on the empty carbs before your meal even arrives. The chips and bread can add hundreds of calories to what could have been a low-calorie night out.
  • Skip the appetizer. As with the bread basket, it can add hundreds more calories and probably a lot more UNhealthy fats and simple carbs to what could be a healthy night out. If you do pick an appetizer, choose something that isn’t fried or packed with things like full fat cheeses.
  • If you order a salad before your meal, be aware that while most side salads ARE low in calories (if they aren’t littered with nuts, dried fruit, cheese or croutons)… most dressings are LOADED with sugar and fat. Avoid creamy dressings like ranch, blue cheese and thousand island. Choose vinaigrettes instead. While vinaigrettes can still be high in calories, fat and sugar, they are the “safer” choice.
  • The above-mentioned guideline about side salads applies to regular salads as well. A lot of people assume if they order a salad, they are choosing something healthy and relatively low in calories. Think again! Most salads can pack more calories, sugar and fats than a burger and fries combined! Things like dried fruit, nuts, full-fat cheeses, croutons and other toppings will make what was originally a low calorie, low fat, low sugar bowl of lettuce/spinach and turn it into a mound of calorie overload. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t order a salad, it just means you should be aware that you are not necessarily choosing something that will work with your daily macros/calorie intake.
  • Avoid ordering foods that have any of these words before them: breaded, battered, crispy, crunchy, crusted, buttered, cheesy, country-style, creamy, glazed, gooey, honey-dipped, melted, smothered or fried. These are all extremely good indicators of un-healthy, fat, carb and sugar-loaded junk!
  • Look instead for options that contain the following: baked, broiled, roasted, fresh, multi-grain, broth, seared, poached, grilled, sautéed, spiced, and steamed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the server for the nutrition facts menu. California is required to provide one I believe (I see them all over now!) That way you can make an even more specific choice! This way, you can also scope out substitutes for some of the ingredients and/or sides that your meal comes with!
  • Also, don’t be afraid to ask for things on the side! Dressings, marinades, high-calorie toppings and adders, syrups and other extras can be more easily controlled if you can put them on yourself! Don’t add salt! I can almost GUARANTEE whatever you wind up ordering will likely come loaded with salt.
  • Restaurants are notorious for WAY overdoing the portion sizes. Save half or more of your meal for later! That way you can get two or more meals out of it! You can ask the server to pack half of it up before it even gets to your table. (Or if you have the will-power, eat half and ask for a to go box after).
  • Also, consider ordering something to split with a friend, family member or significant other! That way you don’t have to worry about carry the leftovers home and you can both enjoy a lighter dinner!
  • Lastly, skip dessert. You’ll be glad you did. Some single slices of cheesecake and other goodies can pack more than 1,000 calories!!!

While you might be thinking “I don’t want to be annoying by asking for all kinds of ingredients on the side”… don’t. If the restaurant had been smart enough to provide healthier options, they wouldn’t have had to worry about people ordering substitutes and giving special instructions. In addition, remember that many people with severe food allergies also must ask the server to have the food prepared sans their allergen! Don’t be shy about speaking up! If it’s a first date or something, I might understand the hesitation… but even still… don’t be afraid to ask nicely for what you want!

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muffintop-less:

“Is lower weight and more reps good for toning?”

No.. tone comes from building muscle and lowering your body fat enough to see that firm muscle underneath giving you “tone”. You won’t get that from picking up something that weighs as much as a water bottle or your purse which you lift on a daily basis anyways! Your body doesn’t change from that… so why would it change from you lifting some little beauty bells an extra hundred times or so?  

Women do not have the levels of testosterone necessary to get “bulky” or manly from lifting weights (even if they are HEAVY!). It takes a lot more effort than most people think to gain muscle… especially for women. Those female bodybuilders you see? They take steroids and have been working HARD to gain that muscle over many years. Cardio and playing with light weights will not “tone up” your body. Heavy weight lifting WILL. Extreme muscle gains will not happen magically over night so don’t worry about it. Lift heavy weights and you will be shocked at how amazing the results are.
Remember, you have to CHALLENGE your body in order for it to change. Your body is quite “content” staying at the same size and shape… you have to give it a DARN GOOD reason to change. Don’t be afraid of hard work! It’s worth it in the end, I promise! =)

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muffintop-less:

A lot of you have asked me how to eat clean on a low budget. Believe me when I say, there are plenty of broke college students, and struggling fitness models and competitors who  are still able to eat well despite the odds! It just takes a little extra planning and perhaps some saving.. but making it a priority in your budget will help. After all, if your health isn’t a priority in your life.. what is!? =)

  • Stop eating out! Start making all of your own food at home and you will save considerably!
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it! Don’t buy things you don’t really need. 
  • Do NOT go to the market hungry.. you will wind up buying things on impulse, not because you truly need them!
  • Some products are smart to buy in bulk at places like Costco or Sam’s Club, because they can be frozen or stored for long periods of time and will not perish and they can be cheaper.
  • If you think you won’t be able to get through all of something like fruit, veggies or lean meats, buy them frozen.. (or if the meat is not previously frozen, you can freeze the fresh stuff and it will keep for quite some time).
  • Always purchase produce in season. When you start buying off-season produce, the price is MUCH higher.
  • Buy generic, not name brands. You might have to double check the labels though to be sure they are of the same quality.
  • Clip coupons and take advantage of sales. If something you eat frequently is on sale, buy more of it. Although the time it takes to clip the coupons and the immediate cost will be higher, in the long run you will save more!
  • Sales go for supplements as well. Sites like Bodybuilding.com offer discounts on supplements regularly. 
  • Sign up for newsletters about sales and deals at the stores you frequently shop at (including online and supplement stores).


There are plenty of ways to eat healthy on a low budget. Like I said before, you just have to make your health a priority! “What you feed your body can either be the BEST medicine or the SLOWEST form of POISON”. Feed your body right so it can function properly and perform well for you! It’s the only body you’ve got so treat it right! =)