The SIN Group 7-Day Weight Loss Challenge – Part 1

In previous posts, I laid out the basic nuts and bolts of nutrition and calories. I furthermore suggested that making incremental lifestyle adjustments will lead to long-term success for people seeking to improve their health and fitness.

In keeping with this one-foot-in-front-of-the-other philosophy, I’m happy to announce the kick-off of our first-ever Strength in Numbers Weight Loss Challenge!  In general, I don’t get too excited about weight loss challenges but since I made this one up, I’m wildly enthusiastic about it.  Additionally, initiating this challenge gave me the opportunity to use the irresistibly sexy phrase ‘weight loss challenge’ in the title of my post …which is guaranteed to generate far more views than I usually expect.

What I am suggesting will indeed be a challenge…but may seem too simplistic to be effective.  I promise you, however, that it will be an eye opening experience that will ultimately lead to more healthful, more enjoyable eating.


The Strength In Numbers 7-Day Weight Loss Challenge

Day One – Today, prior to putting anything food or beverage in your mouth, acknowledge it. Say to yourself, “I am eating a handful of peanuts as I head to the car.” or “I am eating a bowl of chips as I watch TV.” or “I’m drinking a delightfully fruity sangria”. “I’m sitting down to a dinner of salad, lasagna. I’m eating a second helping of lasagna”.

Day Two –  Continue to acknowledge food and beverages. Additionally, you’re going to sit down, preferably at the kitchen table, before you eat or drink. That means you won’t be snagging a cookie to eat on the run. No standing in front of the open fridge eating out of a Tupperware container. Put down your phone, book, crossword puzzle. No driving, Facebooking or TV watching. (Socializing with the people with whom you are dining is allowed and encouraged) Just sit with your food. Notice and enjoy.

Day Three – Continue with the previous challenges while we ratchet up the degree of difficulty. Put down your fork/spoon/chopsticks between EVERY mouthful. Yes, while you are chewing, sit with your hands in your lap or on the table. Resist the urge to load up your eating utensil with the next bite. Enjoy what you’re CURRENTLY chewing.

Days Four-Seven – Repeat – Acknowledge what you’ll be sitting down to eat and enjoy it one bite at a time.

I’d love for you to give this a try. And I’d love to hear from you when you do!


Our last two posts have been laying the foundation for what we’ll dub the Eat For Success Program. We talked calories as well as macro and micro nutrients. And now we’re going to put that all that information together in a common sense, simple to follow eating plan. It goes like this:

  • Eat 45–65% of your daily calories from carbs, 20–35% from fats and 10–35% from protein.
  • Be sure you are getting adequate amounts (but not too much) of Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.
  • Be sure you are getting adequate amounts (but not too much) of Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Folate, Magnesium, Copper, Sodium and Zinc.
  • Choose the least processed foods possible. Eat lean meats, whole grains, green vegetables and low GI fruits.
  • Maintain energy balance (calories in vs. energy expended). Unless you want to lose body fat, in which case you should eat fewer calories than you expend.
  • Drink a half-gallon of water daily.
  • Strive to eliminate sugar, alcohol and trans-fats.

Additionally, you will want to implement the following Helpful, Healthful Habits:

  • Exercise 3-5 times per week, 30-60 minutes at a time. Include cardio conditioning, strength training, mobility training, balance training.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours per night.
  • Quit smoking. And vaping.
  • Avoid stress.


Can I get a fist bump as we prepare our Rambo-style attack?  Ready to start launching grenades and crashing headfirst into fitness and health with machine guns firing? Can you picture us – running in slow motion, spewing sweat, blood and profanities?! We’re tearing through the jungle, mud flying, screaming motivational mantras —  ‘AAAADRIANNNE!”  AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH, MOTHER F#&@ERS!!!

Later, battle scarred and weary we make it back to the chopper, mission accomplished! We’ll head home to celebrate today’s victory with a refreshing glass of water and kale salad. No dressing.

And then we’ll go to bed early so we can get up, early, and do it all again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Until we’re transformed. Or we give up.


…we could do this Strength in Numbers-style. In this scenario, we are going to take a leisurely, but well-planned, walk through the woods. On a nice paved trail. Wearing our sensible shoes. You can leave your machine gun at home, but someone should bring bug spray.

We will pick and choose which obstacle(s) we want to eliminate on this particular walk. And while it’s always fun to spew a little profanity, we’re going to set aside the rest of the drama so that we can think clearly. We’ll devise a plan to avoid today’s obstacles – now and in the future. And maybe we’ll pick up something new and interesting along the way…something we could start doing to positively impact our health journey.

We’ll meet back at the car and cap off the day with a celebratory dinner…Let’s start with water and a green salad. Please pass the dressing.



Everything You Need To Know About Nutrients

In a previous post, we established that a calorie is a unit of energy. Our bodies require energy in the form of food in order to carry out cellular functions.

Now that we’re clear that all calories are the same, we need to start becoming savvy as to whence the calories cometh.

Calories (energy) can come from fats, carbohydrates and proteins, a.k.a., MACRONUTRIENTS. 

Calories (energy) pal around with equally important little friends known as MICRONUTRIENTS

Before we go any further, I’m going to make a bold statement here…

It is my firm belief that the people who concern themselves mostly with nutrition and very little with calories, will find themselves, GRADUALLY AND WITH GREAT PLEASURE, eating for performance and maintaining a healthy body composition throughout their lives.


I think it would be swell if every one reading this would commit that little gem to memory. Write it in black permanent marker on your frontal lobe, folks, and refer back to it every time you find yourself in a restaurant or grocery store, seated at a dining room table, standing in your pantry , staring into the refrigerator or standing wherever you might be thinking to put food in your mouth.

The above statement pretty much summarizes my entire diet philosophy, so we’ll be revisiting it soon and often.

So let’s get comfy and start talking nutrition.

Disclaimer: What follows is extremely basic and simplistic on purpose. It covers just about everything most people in search of improved health and fitness will need to know.


Macronutrients…where calories call home…

Carbohydrates – Fruits, Vegetables, Pastas, Rice, Oats, Bread. All of them are broken down to basic sugars which are stored in your muscle, brain and liver cells to be used for exercise and brain function.

Proteins – Meat, eggs, dairy products, nuts, fish. Mostly utilized for cellular repair and maintenance and hormone regulation.

Fats – Oils, butter, lard. Fats are essential for nervous system function and development as well as vitamin absorption.

Here’s a visual of those macronutrients which includes overlapping to indicate that foods typically aren’t just one category. For example, meats (mostly proteins) also contain varying amounts of fat and even some carbohydrates.



Micronutrients…friends and associates of calories…

Vitamins – Organic substances, available to us in food, that are essential for normal bodily growth and function

Minerals – Non-organic substances, available to us in food, that are essential for normal bodily growth and function.

Helpful visual…


Look familiar?

And that’s all the further we’re going on this subject here at the award-winning Strength In Numbers website. In my life, I have found that the more time I spend gathering information beyond what will get the job done, the longer I put off getting down to business.



I’m not going to leave you hanging, however. Our next post will feature a friendly, easy-to-access discussion of energy and nutrition intake management.


Everything That You Need To Know About Calories

All calories are the same. EXACTLY the same.

Calories are delightfully definable and reliable little characters who wish to remain indistinguishable from their calorie counterparts.


Fortunately for us, a calorie is a simple thing to understand…A calorie is simply a unit of measure defined as:

 The amount of energy required to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree. 


Since our bodies aren’t in the business of boiling water, how is this information useful to us, the consumers of calories?

Well, for starters, the definition puts calories in perspective. Calories are a predictable unit of measure…completely neutral. They aren’t good, bad, friendly, unkind or anything in between.

Merely a simple unit of energy

Simply stated, the energy in the calories you consume is used to power a multitude of cellular functions. Unused calories are stored.

Isn’t that nice and straightforward?

It would be convenient if we could just be happy and healthy with that little bit of information. But here’s the thing…

Calories are neither discerning nor judgmental. As such, before you go putting them in your mouth, you’re going to want to know something about where those calories live and who they’re chumming around with.

And that’s what we’ll be looking at in the next exciting episode:

Everything You Need to Know About Nutrients!





How to make working out sound even less like fun than it already does.

During a recent annual physical, my doctor was gathering basic health information,

“Do you participate in at least 30 minutes of purposeful exercise 3-5 times a week?”

I admit that, as an almost-famous personal trainer/group instructor/nutrition coach,  I was a bit taken aback by this question. So, after a dramatic ‘psssshhhh!’, I looked her straight in the eyes, and said,
girl please
But, because I am well-mannered, I think my response sounded more like,

“Why, yes I do exercise regularly.”

Her query was reasonable but it  irritated me because of the qualifier that followed the question…

“Now, when I say ‘purposeful exercise’ I don’t mean cleaning, mowing the lawn, washing the car, grocery shopping or that kind of thing.”

Let me get clear on the definition of ‘purposeful’…

If I were to drive to the gym, purposely pick up 25 pound dumbbells then hike around the weight room for 60 seconds, I can count that as exercise.

But picking up a 50 pound bag of dog food from the pet section of Farm and Home, carrying it to the checkout, tossing it into my car, then, once home, hauling the bag up the stairs and dumping it into the officially sanctioned Kody Food Bin, isn’t exercise?

If I were to participate in an hour-long bootcamp 7 days a week, then spent the remaining 161 hours of the week slumped on my sofa binge watching Breaking Bad reruns, would I be healthy?

Conversely, if I never set foot in a gym but I worked construction, walked my dog daily, rode my bike on weekends and ate mostly unprocessed foods, would I be unhealthy?

Obviously, I understand my doctor’s need to encourage regular physical activity. But the tendency of health care professionals and fitness trainers to prescribe or sanction 150 minutes of purposeful exercise per week not only sounds dreadful, it absolutely misses the point, which is…

Purposeful exercise should be purposely focused on building strength, stamina and stability. So, when you leave the gym you’ll have the energy and ability to purposely carry out the many purposeful activities of your purpose-driven life.
After purposefully and regularly exercising for a few months, you’ll probably be feeling pretty confident about pursuing completely pointless activities like cycling, dancing, bowling, gardening, canoeing, sightseeing…
fun stuf