Snack Your Way To A Healthy Weight And Lifestyle


Snack your way to a healthy weight

Your body needs food to function properly.  If it doesn’t get enough calories, your metabolism can actually slow down.  Most people get hungry between regular meals and need extra food throughout the day.  Including snacks in your daily diet helps to keep your metabolism working properly, avoid binging, and keep your mind alert.  It also gives you the energy you need for lifestyle activities and exercise.

Snacking Wisely

Studies continue to show us that counting calories is not very effective when it comes to weight loss and or weight management.  Not only does counting calories mess with you psychologically, constantly stressing about calories can cause you to focus more on numbers than what your body wants and needs.  Instead of counting calories, I recommend focusing on eating foods that will satisfy you.  Pairing a carbohydrate and a protein at snack time will give your body the short and long term fuel it needs to sustain you until your next meal.  For an extra bonus, I recommend including some fresh veggies at snack time as well.

Ten healthy snacks to help you Feel full

1)  Fruit.  Fruit can be a healthy and long lasting snack when paired with foods like cheese, nuts,  or peanut butter.  It’s always good by itself, however you will stay full longer if the fruit is paired with a protein source.

2)  Tortilla Chips and Salsa. Chips and salsa is one of my most favorite snacks.  For protein, add some yoghurt to your salsa.  Add some avocado for an extra twist.  🙂

3)  Cheese and crackers.  Sounds indulgent?  Not really.  Your body needs fat.  Pre-sliced cheese is a great snack for on the go..  Break it into pieces and eat it with whole grain crackers.  Add some of your favorite cold cuts for a little variety.  Uncured salami is a big hit at our house.  🙂

4)  Yogurt.  Yoghurt with fruit or a small amount of honey makes a great snack that tastes great.

5)  Whole grain toast and peanut butter or a piece of cheese.

6)  Leftovers.  A 1/2 serving of leftovers will tie you over until your next meal.

7)  Frozen Yoghurt.  Add some fruit and you are good to go.

8)  Shakes.  I don’t recommend a diet that includes meal replacement shakes because it  can be less satisfying than solid food and backfire like most diets do.  However, for people on the go, shakes and smoothies can be a great way to drink a well balanced snack.  I recommend testing out different recipes and stick to the ones that keep you feeling energized and full.

9)  Hummus.  Whole grain pita chips and hummus is another one of my go to snacks.  Hummus is great for satisfying hunger, and a good whole grain pita chip will give you the complex carbs you need for energy.  Try adding some slices of cucumber for more variety.

10)  Cottage Cheese.  Pair  1/2 cup cottage cheese with fruit or crackers.

Your body likes to be nourished.  When it’s fed properly, your metabolism can operate at a better pace and settle at it’s natural weight.

Here’s to a happy and healthy week!

Shared with love,



How To Start Something New And Succeed

How To Start Something New And Succeed

My husband and I are in the process of moving into our new home.   Moving can be very disruptive so I’m eager to get our house organized as quickly as possible.

At first, I was attempting to organize each item as I unpacked it.  However, in my attempt to “stream line” the process, I ended up a bit overwhelmed and paralyzed.  We have lived in this house less than two weeks.  It’s going to take some time to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Once I gave myself permission to arrange and rearrange for the next few months, I began unloading boxes and momentum began to occur.  This method turned out to be way more productive than trying to get everything “just right” the first time.

While I was unpacking mason jars and bath supplies, I began thinking about how much my moving experience applies to health and fitness.

I believe it’s important to plan and I am most definitely a planner.  However, too much planning or waiting until the timing is right can keep you from moving forward.  Years ago, a wise mentor gave me some really good advice regarding working toward a goal.  His advice was to just get started and figure out what works as you move forward.  He wasn’t advising me to be reckless, he was simply recommending I start with what I knew I could do right away rather than not start at all.

I firmly believe his advice applies to health, fitness, and every other area of your life.  If you start with one or two things you know you can do right away, then momentum is sure to follow.  That may be  ten minutes of exercise a day or signing up for a meal delivery service.  Or, you may be ready to start cooking most nights of the week and exercising thirty minutes per day.  Whatever your “getting started” looks like is personal and that’s OKAY.

Adding new things to your life like exercise, meal planning, and meal preparation usually require adjustments in your schedule and the best way to figure out what works for you is to just get started.   It may seem a bit messy and chaotic at first so I recommend you remain flexible.  It’s important that you give yourself permission to abandon things that are not working and stick to the things that DO work for you.  Some ideas you may scrap for good, but other goals can be revisited at a later time.

If you’ve been “waiting to have all of your ducks in a row” before you get started on something, I encourage you to take your first step.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, always be kind to yourself, and enjoy the journey.

Make it a great week!

Shared with love,




Straight Talk About The Fitness Industry

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I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 26 years.  Coaching people on how to stay fit and healthy is my passion and extremely rewarding.  I really love seeing people thrive in every area of their lives.  Can you tell that I love my job?  I hope so, because I do!

However, there is a very superficial and at times even judgmental side to the fitness industry that can frustrate me as a professional and often times cause more harm than good to the public.  Lofty unrealistic goals, low-calorie restrictive diets, before and after pictures, and peer pressure can result in physical and emotional injury.

The fitness industry has a tendency to base a healthy lifestyle on how your body looks on the outside. Oftentimes, they show you images of air-brushed professionals that workout for a living.  I’m not knocking their hard work and dedication, but how you look on the outside is only one piece of the puzzle.

When I was a size one and ripped, my body was completely broken down from over training and I went into a depressed state.  Fortunately, God used this time in my life to help me figure out what a healthy lifestyle was really all about, and I figured out it is VERY personal.  I’m now a size six and much healthier than I was back when I was a size one.  I’ve got more curves and I’ve learned to embrace them and enjoy my life to the fullest.

A happy and healthy lifestyle is SO much more than how you look on the outside. It’s a total package that includes things like having healthy relationships, working with purpose, exercising or participating in physical activity you enjoy, having enough energy, eating well and dining with the ones you love, having fun, loving yourself and the people around you, eliminating unnecessary stress and in some cases people in your life that may be causing it, getting good rest, drinking lots of water, getting good check ups at the doctor’s office, growing spiritually and emotionally, and having self-confidence in who you were designed to be.

Please understand there is plenty of good in the fitness world.  My hope for you is that you will pick and choose what’s right for you during each season of your life.  Just because your neighbor is getting strong and lean at the local bootcamp class doesn’t mean you are a slacker if you choose walking in the park with your dog to stay fit.  You could be raising four small children and she is an empty-nester that has a completely different schedule.

Avoid copying someone else’s life.  It’s like borrowing shoes that are too tight.  Figure out what works for you and stick to it.  Don’t allow the marketing of the fitness industry to steal your identity, push you into something you may not be ready for, or make you miserable.

I’m not saying you will love every minute of your exercise routine.  It’s okay to suck it up and do your abdominal exercises when you know spending those few minutes working hard will keep your back healthy.  That’s called pushing through your comfort zone to keep your body strong enough to do the things you are most interested in.

However, for the most part, a fit and healthy lifestyle needs to be sustainable and enjoyable.  Suffering is not natural.  You were designed to enjoy your life.  And that should include your exercise and meal plan!  When your fitness and health goals are obtainable and match the type of life you want to live, success will follow.

With love,
Jennifer Ledford

P.S.  Have a question or story you’d like to share?  Please leave a comment below.  I love to hear from you!