10 Secrets to Skinny

10 Secrets to Skinny

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Seems to be that no matter what time of year it is people are on the quest for tips on healthy eating, fitness, how to feel energetic and wide awake. It is all about creating positive habits that work for you. And really making them habits. Happy habits

Be nice. I grabbed someone in my class at Telluride Yoga and had them take that photo of me. For you yogis out there I know this is not the perfect pose which is supposed to be extended side angle. This blog post is not about perfection it is about taking steps in the right direction.

I am stepping out on a limb with this post but here goes….The first thing you need to know is there are no secrets to thin. There are mindful actions you can take that will help you on your quest to be fit. Besides if you feel fit then you will ROCK those skinny jeans.

I speak from experience. Real. Life. Experience. I have eaten too much & too little. I have under exercised and over exercised. With two little kids, a very demanding job and a busy life I finally have things figured out and I want to share them with you. These tips are not as tricky as you might think…

Fresh cherry tomatoes and pomegranate seeds

Please note these are in no particular order of importance as they all hold hands with one another.

EAT REAL FOOD

That’s right. The less processed junk that goes in your body will not only give you boundless energy but your body can effectively use the nutrients when food is real. Choose whole foods that are closest to the source as possible. Fake foods with too much salt, refined ingredients and garbage make you feel like…yuck.

Eat real fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, cheese, eggs. If you are vegan, have allergies are gluten free do what you need to do for your body. You get my point? Foods that are packaged as “diet” are usually just a bunch of over processed stuff thrown together to make you feel like you are doing something right. It is most likely wrong.

Organic is important too. When you can, be sure to purchase sustainable organic ingredients. Who wants a side of hormones, pesticides and such on their burger or fresh veggies? Not me.

Kitchen and postal shipping scalesPurchase a Kitchen Scale

This little investment (which hardly costs anything at all) starts at about $17.00 and from there the sky is the limit. My kitchen scale is the least expensive one and it has held up for years. I bring it back and forth with me when we travel to Telluride and Grand Cayman. Not only does it keep me on track, but it is a no brainer to use.

It is also awesome for baking. Much more convenient than using measuring cups. Plus there is less to clean.

Vegan gluten free, sugar free pear sauce with carrots yogurt parfait

Portion Control

Controlling your portion sizes goes hand in hand with owning a kitchen scale. Get to know what a true serving size is. Read labels on packages. What is a portion of cheese, butter, oil, meat, etc?? You might be surprised. The good news is if you eat smaller more mindful meals throughout the day then these smaller portions won’t bug you at all. At the beginning it might be tricky, but after a while you will get the hang of it.

Put your portions in pretty little bowls or cups like I did with my Chai Carrot Pear Sauce Parfaits above. Those little mason jars are the perfect portion size.

San Juan mountains in the fall with snow

Mindful Eating

See those splendid Rocky Mountains…they remind me to be mindful of everything around me.

Take the time to sit down and enjoy your meal. Eating over the kitchen sink or while standing at the fridge will only encourage over eating. Sit down at the table, take the time to chew your food and embrace the moment. Enjoy meals with your family, friends and loved ones. Talk about your day and the meal you are having.

That’s a recent article in Parenting magazine with a recipe by yours truly…my Mexican Roasted Vegetable Orzo is in the October issue. A great meal to enjoy with your family or pack in everyone’s lunch boxes.

Marla Meridith featured in October 2011 Parenting magazineSeek Professional Help When Needed

If you feel you cannot get a grip on your weight whether it is too high or too low seek out the help of a registered dietician or someone who specializes in nutrition. They will teach you about how many calories your body needs and help you chart calories in and out. For specific questions about your health seek the help of your doctor.

Speaking of calories, I am not a calorie counter. Just sayin’

Many local gyms and health care centers offer this sort of service. You might find that you only need a few visits to get on track. Some health insurances might even cover this. I am not sure, you will need to check with your provider. The small investment is worth it though. Heck, those skinny jeans probably cost more!

Man with children on summer hike in Telluride, CO

Exercise

How often do you exercise? I do about 45 minutes to one hour each and every day…even when I travel. Yes it is time consuming, but so very worth it for the mind and body. It helps me keep focus throughout the day & it gives me lots of energy. Besides, I love to eat so exercise is one of the ways I can fit in in my Lululemon.

As a teen I hardly exercised, in college a bit and in my late 20’s I started a more rigorous workout routine. In my early 30’s I ran 3 marathons and had 2 kids. I exercised throughout both pregnancies and bounced back into shape quickly.

Skiing is my favorite exercise of all time. I also like my coffee breaks…

Marla Meridith in Telluride with hot coffee
Understand that your exercise habits might change over time. Running no longer works for me. Yoga and light weight lifting do. I am also outside as much as possible. I love hiking, skiing and occasionally surfing. Walking is great too. Never underestimate a great walk.

exercise bands and 3 pund dumbellsTo squeeze a little more into a jaunt outside I sometimes bring an exercise band or light weights for upper body. While you walk you can do bicep curls, shoulder raises, triceps, chest presses and more.

Jack-o-lantern Halloween, Thanksgiving Pumpkin Tart recipe

Cook at Home

Of course we are all going to enjoy restaurant meals from time to time. It is a blast to go out with friends, family and on your own. I love trying new food and having someone else cook for me for a change.

When you can cook meals at home. Most take-out is loaded with sodium and ingredients that are engineered to taste good. That brings us back to EAT REAL FOOD. “Engineered” equals processed not real food. We tend to over eat this stuff because of the over sized portions and addictive refined ingredients.

Small roasted potatoes recipe with herbs and seasonings.

When you cook at home you will be more than likely to choose wise ingredients plus you have that handy dandy kitchen scale close by for portion control. The photos above are my Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Tart and Everyone’s Favorite Teeny Tiny Potatoes.

Healthy turkey sandwich, fresh fruit and frittata.

Mini Meals and Snacks

Have you noticed how it is way too easy to grab the wrong foods when you are starving? Don’t let yourself get too hungry. I eat 6 meals per day. Every day. 3 larger ones and 3 smaller. Works for me and might work for you too. You are more likely to stay on track when you have just the right amount of fuel in the tank at all times. Eating smaller amounts throughout the day is fun, you always have a meal to look forward too.

While on the topic of having small meals throughout the day. Pack a lunch box if you work away from home. We have been having great success with Project Lunch Box over here and would love if you joined us too.

Little girl on monkey bars in Telluride Colorado

Don’t Get Too Full

This is obvious but I thought I had to state it. If you feel too full then chances are you ate too much. I have not felt too full in a few years and that is a happy thing. Nothing feels worse than a bloated belly, lethargy and like you never want to eat again!

Besides you can’t hang upside down on the monkey bars of you are too full.

Homemade Coconut Banana Raspberry Chocolate popsicles recipe

Remember We are ALL Different

What works for your best buddy, your mom, your sister, your pet probably won’t work for you. We all have different metabolism and we need to embrace that. My body runs really well on a low carb diet. I feast on lean proteins, veggies and a good amount of fat. I go lighter on fruits and for me there are no refined flours and sugars. My kids are super young with rapid metabolism and they can eat more of what I can’t.

Lucky them!

Do you have any health, food or fitness tips that you would like to share? Please do!

Helpful Links

Please visit these pages here at MarlaMeridith.com to help get you started…you can learn a little about me too.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I simply share information that works for me and my family. If you have medical related issues please discuss them with your physician.

123 Responses to 10 Secrets to Skinny

  1. We just returned from Telluride and I just blogged about the beautiful fall leaves there! How blessed you are to see those incredible views often, WOW!

    THANK YOU for this post! This is a current project and quest I am on. I eat a lot of refined foods and I have been trying to change. This was SO motivating to read! I appreciate your wisdom.

    • Hi Lisa! AWESOME that you were in Telluride. Was it your first time there? Addictive place to spend time huh! Glad I could motivate you with this post…best of luck on making some of those changes. You will feel so good if you do :)

  2. I love this post! You’re so right, it’s usually a lot simpler than everyone tries to make it, but what makes it hard is that it’s different for everyone! Love all the tips, especially the one about eating real food. You can’t go wrong with real wholesome food :)

  3. Hi Marla!!

    These are great tips!!! I think the only thing that I would add is that if people are looking to lose weight they should pay a visit to their physician first and have a full physical done!! Knowing your “numbers” (cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure) is critical. Working with an RD or a DTR (thats a Dietetic Technician, Registered) is an excellent way to get reliable information and guidance!

  4. I agree with you 100%, Marla. I do the same things, and they have worked for me for some time now. I would also like to add that it IS okay to indulge sometimes. If you don’t, you will go crazy. Also, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t eat perfectly. I think that can put you into a bad mind-set, and can send you on a downward spiral of more bad eating.

    • Melissa, everything you say here is so true. We need to know our limitations and not be afraid to have fun. For me there are no more cheat days as I don’t feel I need them. But when other things don’t go as I have planned then those words of wisdom “don’t beat yourself up” sure do apply. Also when we make mistakes or slips we can pick right up where we left off.

  5. Great tips; especially eat real food! I’ve eaten diet foods in the past to lose weight, and never felt very good doing it. Plus, it was even harder to transition back to eating real food after the diet was “over,” leading to some additional weight gain. My motto is, everything in moderation!

    • Tracy, that is a wonderful motto and one that more folks should be comfortable with. Interesting what you said about transitioning back to real food after the diet stuff.

  6. Marla this is a great post and it’s real, honest, and I love that you shared a personal side of what works for you and what helps you stay on track. You’re right, we are all different but the common sense tips are great and the way you presented it all is really down to earth and I love it.

    Congrats on your Parenting mag feature! I am subscribed to all those mags (happened when I was pregnant and I’ve never been taken off their mailing lists…not sure how that works) but I’ve always been impressed that every now and then they do have great meal/snack ideas and recipes. And now I know why…people like you write in :)

    And your yoga looks beautiful to me!

    • Averie, your comment about my yoga just made my day. I know it is all about looking within but coming from a yoga teacher & guru like you means so much!! xxoo

  7. Hey Marla, what a fantastic post. I love your thoughts here. I never had a hard time staying fit until I hit my mid-thirties and now it’s something I have to be much more mindful about. Changing my workout routine has been one of the most beneficial things I could have ever done. Your body simply gets used to whatever it is you’ve been doing. I now do ultra-hard (make me want to puke) short workouts everyday instead of longer cardio sessions. It’s effective–I just have to tell myself, it’s a few minutes a day that will benefit me for hours. 😉

  8. I can relate a lot to “I have eaten too much & too little. I have under exercised and over exercised.” It took me a long time to find a balance with my own health as well. I think so many of us can relate to that and I find it’s an on-going effort every single day.

    Congrats on your feature in Parenting Magazine! That is huge!!

    • Angela, it is an ongoing battle to face everyday. Speaking openly and honestly about this subject is very helpful though. That is one of the many things I love about you girl. Your real, honest take on life :) xxoo

  9. I never forget when you took the stairs and we were all on the escalator at Food Blogger Camp – now I park as far away from the Supermarket door as poss and I will always take the stairs given the choice – it’s the little things right? Thanks for sharing x

  10. Great post! Thanks for sharing! I am really working on changing the way my family eats. We are also trying to move more. Could you give an example of your 3 small meals for some ideas?

    • Nisrine, portion control is very hard. Like anything it takes lots and lots of practice to get it right. Once you have it down it is a relatively easy habit to keep up.

  11. Great tips! that is exactly how I function, although I don’t eat as many meals as you and exercise less (something I have to change)…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  12. These are all such fantastic tips, Marla. Yes, they are common sense, but we all need to be reminded of them every now and then (okay, or daily). Over the past few months, I have really made the effort to eat more mindfully and ramp up my exercise, and I am seeing the results both in my waistline and energy level. It’s a great feeling!

    • Dara, it is a daily challenge to stay on track. There is temptation everywhere we turn to set us off balance. When you realize your emotions & how great you feel when your eating & exercise is on track it really helps out. Alternatively when you think about how you feel when you let the good stuff go it makes you swing in the right direction. I have been enjoying your posts about how active you guys are in beautiful Utah!

  13. Such amazing information in such real life terms. You are so good to want everyone to be healthy and happy Marla… I keep telling ya, You are making the world a better place! :)

  14. Thanks for sharing all your tips for healthy eating and fitness. Everyone is different, so I do believe that once you figure out what exercise you enjoy and what works for you, as well as instill healthy eating habits, it all comes together. There are so many “healthy” processed foods on supermarket shelves that can distract us from truly eating healthily. The simpler the better, homemade is the surest way to know what we put into our body.

  15. I loved this post and congrats on being published! I pretty much do everything you wrote about. I rarely buy/eat processed foods, exercise regularly, cook at home, portion control, etc. I too have two kids and exercised during both pregnancies and was able to quickly get back into shape. I wish more people would see the value of eating healthy and the effect it can have in your life. It’s great you have this blog to share that. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you Rachel! It is wonderful to be backed up on this hot topic. This lifestyle is not too tricky huh? The rewards are well worth it!
      By the way: if more people saw the benefits then our medical system would be a lot less inundated 😉

  16. Not being able to exercise right now is KILLING me (although I am going to an abs class at my gym today…that can’t be too bad for a stress fracture, right?) but it means I have to be really cautious about what I eat so I’m so happy for these tips! I’ve really been watching portion control…I love putting meals on smaller plates because if it looks like the plate is full, I can totally be tricked into thinking I’m eating more! Also, adding veggies to EVERYTHING is key!

    • Joanne, I feel your pain girl. When I cannot exercise I go batty. Back in my running days it was brutal to miss a scheduled run. Both of my pregnancies taught me how to embrace the changes that I had to face with exercise. I ran until 6 months with my daughter and 5 with my son. Looking back I am not sure that was the best choice, but it felt great at the time. When I realized that running was taking its toll on my hips I decided it was time to stop completely. These days I don’t really miss it but exercise is essential. I always find something to do even when certain body parts are in recovery. I am wondering if you can do some yoga or more weight lifting (upper body) and of course abs during your recovery??

    • Katrina, it sounds people are always on one side of the fence with this issue. Controlling ones weight can be a very delicate balance. An issue that changes throughout our lives.

  17. Fantastic information! Thank you for sharing! Being a mom of 1 1/2 year old twins I want to teach them good eating habits. I believe portion control and exercise are key! I read Parenting magazine and LOVED your article! Thank you for the inspiration to keep on the right track! :)

  18. How very true this post is, well done. Once we are back on track in France and not trying to run two homes, I hope to get back to cycling which is my favourite form of exercise and seeing the country. Living from our own vegetable garden is always a bonus. Diane

  19. Very interesting… I was born and grew up in Paris, France. I live now between Paris and London, UK. I’ve travelled many times in USA. I have my family there. In Europe, we are all skinny but my relatives overseas seem to have bad habits… because of the American way of life : you work too much and people don’t take time to eat well, to cook, to exercise etc… When I was a little girl, I was surprise that my cousin could eat when he wanted, then his father and when the mother got home. They didn’t eat together. I think that people are too stressed (is it the good word?), they live too fast, they want money to buy things but not to take care of themselves and their families. That’s why I admire you. In Paris, the market is near my house. I usually go there with my toddler to buy fruits, vegetables, fish and my mother has a garden with strawberries/tomatoes/potatoes etc and my todd loves to pick up some and see me cooking them! It’s important that kids see their parents cooking and learning them real food. I love going to the park every afternoon and play soccer, running with my baby boy! I’m lucky, I live between two beautiful cities! (sorry for my English… I’m good at speaking but not at writing lol)

    • Sparkle, thanks so much for this well thought out comment. You are an awesome mom! It is so true….when our kids help us shop for healthy foods they are more inclined to eat them. They love to feel part of the whole process. It is so important that our kids see us cooking & that we get them to help periodically.
      By the way, what a wonderful thing that you have the opportunity to spend time in two of the most amazing cities!

  20. Such a great post, Marla! And I LOVE how eating real food is at the top of the list…it’s so important! All the rest will kind-of fall in place once your body starts craving real, whole foods.

  21. Great post Marla! It sure is easy as a recipe developer and food blogger to add a few extra pounds…..but like you said, working out makes tasting the treats a little easier. Thanks for keeping us in check! You are an inspiration.

    xoxo
    Heather

  22. Thank you for this post! This “diet” movement continues to push us away from real foods, for fear of fat. Let’s get back to nature! Appreciate your thoughtfulness!

      • I think it’s lovely that you reply to the many people who love your blog and find creative inspiration from it! If you have not read Real Food by Nina Planck, I think you would find it delightful. Completely changed my world. Cheers!

  23. This is a great post! You pretty much just wrote out exactly what I think about eating healthy and losing weight. There is no easy way out, it’s about changing habits and making a choice to be healthy and living your life that way!

    Also, those lunchboxes with all the compartments are adorable!! : )

    • Lindsay….would you really like to see more of this? Are we talking healthy lifestyle tips? Let me know my goal is to get you guys content that you want most :) xxoo

  24. What a great post! I have way over indulged this weekend and gained a pound! Starting today I am eating healthy, no more sugar or processed foods! The break between Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming up fast and with holiday parties, cookies and everything else, there is no better time then to eat healthy and clean. It’s so easy to fall off track, but it’s even harder to get back on track!! I noticed the more crap you eat the more you crave it! I used to crave fruits and now I crave desserts, not good, I need to re-train my body and thought process! After my weekend of bad food, I decided yesterday on my way home from Tahoe, that I need to get back on track and feel better about myself!! Thanks for the post Marla!

    • Jennifer, you are soooo welcome. I truly believe that the more honest we are with ourselves and others the more equipped we are to deal with our health and eating habits. Accountability and mindful behaviors is what it is all about. Feel free to check in with me on your progress to “back on track” Glad to hear you had fun in Tahoe :)

  25. Wow, Marla.thanks so much, looking forward to it! :) On another note, great tips! (I ate so much this weekend that I had to sigh at the ‘don’t get too full etc’ tip. Lethargy is in full force!)

    • Bree, thanks so much for sharing this post with me. I TOTALLY agree with you here. I would so much rather chew my calories….so many folks don’t realize how many calories their sips have. xxoo

  26. Great post, Marla! Finding the right balance is the hardest thing. It took me years to find out just how much exercise I needed to feel healthy and fit. And the same goes for eating habits and food, while still splurging from time to time. Congrats on the article! Fabulous!

  27. Thank you so much for this post, it’s good to see a commonsense perspective on healthy eating. I’m with your 100% on this. It’s all about portion control, eating real food and regular exercise.

    For myself, personally I find the best way to lose weight is to stick to three strict meals a day and toonly allow one serving of whatever I’m eating. This may mean I serve up a massive portion of something and then find I can’t finish it, but so be it. ‘No seconds’ saves me every time, as does listening to my body. This may mean sometimes I have lunch at 11:30am, that’s ok too.

    If I’m trying to lose weight and I must snack, I try to have fruit, rice cakes or raw nuts, maybe some yogurt. I feel so much better about myself when I eat like this, but it can be hard to stick to!

  28. This is was a great read Marla. I’m constantly becoming more aware of what I eat, how I eat, how much I eat and the more I notice, I learned new things about my body. I certainly found that low carb works great for me and yoga makes me happy!

    • Kulsum, amazing what we learn over time huh! It is all about being aware of what makes us feel good, what we think makes us feel god and what makes us feel awful. Sounds like we are both on a similar plan with the low carb and yoga :)

  29. really great tips Marla and yes, being healthy isn’t rocket science but what it REALLY means is to be mindful, to be present, to think about and plan for not only what you eat but the question i try to ask myself every day is, ‘how am i going to move myself today? treadmill? yoga? pilates? a walk outside? sweep my deck? cleaning my house?’ it’s ALL those things and the days when i don’t take care of ME are the days i find i’ve not planned very well. good post!

    • Debra you are very right. So much of this stuff is in the planning. Each night before I go to be I visualize the next day. I always carve out a niche (sometimes very small) to fit in some physical exercise. 99% of the time I hit that plan up exactly. Years of practice I guess 😉 I think this tip needs to go in the next skinny post!

  30. Great tips my friend and you are rocking each and every one of those pics (BTW). Love the article in parenting mag- I remember actually reading it while at my baby doc appointment last week and meant to tweet or fb or tell you congrats! So awesome

  31. Really great post! Such awesome advice! Sooo true, there are no secrets to thin, there are mindful actions to take. What a great quote. I will use that, tell people it is your quote and then direct them to your site. great thinking! xoxo, Andrea

    ps- bummer the vb trip didn’t work out, i am missing you! It is also the same weekend that i am having a surprise 40th bday party for brent (nov 4). would have been fun!

    • Thanks Andrea! I know that trip to bb would have been a blast. I hope Brent’s surprise b’day party is a great success. Hopefully he doesn’t read my comments 😉 xxoo

  32. what fantastic tips thank you! Its so refreshing reading posts like this when normally people are posting unhealthy recipes full of butter and sugar and you forget that sometimes you need to balance naughty foods out with exercise

  33. Your tips are wonderful. I gained 40 pounds many years ago from a thyroid condition. Once I started taking the proper medicine, I felt better, but I still had to do the hard work of losing the weight. I tried and tried, but I just couldn’t do it on my own so I joined Weight Watchers, which encourages members to do the things you recommend: using a scale, eating wholesome unprocessed foods, exercising, mindful eating, portion control, eating only until you’re satisfied, customizing your meals to fit your needs, etc. If you have some readers who are struggling to do this on their own, they might find it helpful to be part of a group like WW. It took me more than 6 months to lose the weight, but I’ve kept it off, and now have worked for WW for 5 years.

    • Laurie, thanks so much for sharing your story here. To be accountable to a group of like minded people is so helpful. Congrats to you for loosing all of that weight and keeping it off. That is a big challenge. I bet you feel awesome. Weight Watchers is a great program that benefits so many people. My mom did it too and had great results!

  34. All great tips, Marla. I’d say listening to your hunger/fullness cues is a huge one. Once I stopped breastfeeding my 3rd kiddo, my metabolism slowed down, despite a lot of running. But it took me a while to catch on that I couldn’t eat as much as before! Once I realized I was feeling too full a lot of the time, I cut back, ate more slowly to enjoy my food and dropped the 6 lbs I’d gained over last winter.

  35. Fabulous post, Marla! And your extended side angle looks darn good!! Love my yoga as well and try to get an hour of exercise in 6 days a week. You look fabulous!

    • Bianca, enough sleep and rest is essential. Our cravings and poor food choices happen so much more readily with physical exhaustion and mental fatigue. When we are tired our bodies crave quick bursts of energy and it is harder to resist those over sweet and “energy robber” foods.

      • so true, Marla ..I suffer from insomnia and I crave more sugar and ‘junk’ when I can’t sleep. I have to say though since I’ve started working out more, 6x a week instead of 3x I am finally sleeping better, and my cravings are so much more mnageable..

  36. Marla~
    I have so many responses to all that you shared.
    We can chat it over when you come to Seattle this summer! 😉
    For now…let me say:
    *It made my heart beam to see you in that yoga pose.
    *I’m ordering that food scale.
    *You TOTALLY need to be a model for Lululemon!
    Hugs and love. xo

    • Teresa, really? I would love that. If you are serious then we can plan that….let me know what you think. If we had some real time together I could help get you on a great plan that you could easily maintain.

  37. Hey! I found this off of pinterest and found it very inspiring. I have been trying to eat healthier and am doing fairly well. However I’m only 18 and I’m a coffee drinker/ caffeine addict. I probably have less that 140 mg per day but still! i usually drink it in the form of a mocha frapp light or homemade. I also am a salt eater I toss it all over my dinners and eggs and meats. Yeahhh haha. So a) Do you think I would feel better if I got off caffeine? and b) does salt actually affect the way you FEEL?

  38. Your site is wonderful!!! It is definitely making me think twice before wanting to eat out and buy lousy food. Thank you for explaining about mindful eating. Never understood that term. Thanks! :)

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