Step It Up! Join Our 4-Week Walking Challenge

Step It Up! Join Our 4-Week Walking Challenge

Whether you’re an experienced exerciser or a fitness newbie, walking is a fun, easy and low impact exercise that can fit into almost anyone’s routine. Here at Nutrisystem, walking is one of our favorite exercises because it helps many of our members stay fit and healthy –;even with a busy schedule. It provides many health benefits, requires no special equipment and can even help you lose weight. Plus, you can do it virtually anywhere! Add more walks to your calendar by joining in on our Step It Up Walking Challenge.

On July 13th, our registered dietitian, Mandi, is going LIVE on our Facebook page to kick off our four-week Step It Up Walking Challenge. She will continue to go live every Monday at 5:30 PM EST to check in, provide a little motivation and some helpful tips to keep you stepping.

The challenges will get a bit more difficult week to week so that you can ease into a regular walking routine. Despite your current experience, you can join in and adjust the length and pace of your walks to match your skill level. At the end of the fourth week, we will be randomly selecting two lucky winners, who will each receive a $100 gift card.

In order to participate and be entered for a chance win, you must download and log each task into our FREE online tracking app, NuMi! To be eligible, make sure to opt-in to the challenge by tapping on the in-app message or News Feed card within the NuMi app to join in.

NuMi is our easy-to-use online food journal that provides a great place to stay organized and keep track of your daily exercise. You can find it on Google Play or the App Store. If you don”;t have an iPhone or Android, you can still access NuMi by visiting numi.com.

New to NuMi? Follow these simple instructions for logging activity:

Open the NuMi app on your phone.
Click on the plus sign in the orange circle at the bottom of your screen.
Select “;Activity.”;
You can then click on “;Walking”; and enter your information.
Tap “Log it.”
If you”;re using a desktop, you”;ll find the “Activity” section to the right of your Journal.

Ready to get moving? Check out the four-week schedule below for each Facebook live date and weekly task. Then give us a follow on Facebook to tune in! >

Step It Up Walking Challenge Schedule:

July 13th: Walk 3 times this week.

July 20th: Walk 4 times this week.

July 27th: Walk 5 times this week.

August 3rd: Walk 6 times this week.

Join our Nutrisystem community and improve your health this month with the power of walking! Before you get started, make sure to check out the link below for some must-follow safety rules for walking. Then head on over to our Facebook page for more fun and fresh content! > We’re always coming up with new fun challenges and live events to help you become the healthiest and happiest version of you.

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The post Step It Up! Join Our 4-Week Walking Challenge appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

7 Sneaky Ingredients to Avoid for Weight Loss

7 Sneaky Ingredients to Avoid for Weight Loss

Sometimes, it can feel like you”;re doing everything right on your weight loss plan–;you’re eating your four servings of non-starchy vegetables each day, calming junk food cravings the right way and practicing your weekly meal prep and planning. However, you still aren”;t seeing the scale budge! You”;re eating foods you think are healthy but you”;re not getting the diet results you want. It’s possible that some of those “;healthy”; foods could be not so healthy after all–;either because you”;re preparing larger portions of them than you think you are, or there”;s a secret, sneaky, calorie-heavy component hiding inside. Either way, the result is the same: Your weight loss is sabotaged!

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Don”;t let sneaky foods fool you any longer! Watch out for these seven ingredients that could be adding unwanted calories to your day:
1. Nuts and Nut Butters

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

Adding more nuts to your diet can help your heart and reduce belly fat, according to research, conducted by Penn State University. They”;re part of the “;Mediterranean Diet,”; and scientists have found that the healthy fats in this diet can help you slim down and live longer. (Click here to learn more about the potential health benefits of nuts! >) Despite having healthy qualities, both nuts and nut butters can sneak up on you if you eyeball your portion sizes instead of measuring. By guessing, you run the risk of overestimating the portions you are having and adding sneaky calories to your snack or meal.

The solution: First, count out your nut servings: For example, you can eat 25 pistachios in a single PowerFuel serving. For nut butters, you can”;t exactly count but you can use your thumb: A one tablespoon serving of nut butters–;the amount equal to one PowerFuel–;is about as big as your thumb or a poker chip. Keep the portions in check to keep these creamy, chunky, smooth or crunchy friends from becoming sneaky diet-detonating ingredients! Click here to learn how many nuts are in a PowerFuel serving. >

2. Avocado

avocado

Here”;s another “;healthy”; food that we love that can add up quick: One cup of avocado has polyunsaturated fats that your body needs, but it also packs in 384 calories–;almost 20 percent of what many Americans need in their daily diets, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you smear that much on a slice of toast, you”;re getting nutrients you need but it”;s also a “;healthy”; snack that”;s turned into a meal. Too much of a good thing is possible, especially when it comes to avocado! Even if the source is a healthy whole food, every calorie you eat is one your body has to burn or store.

The solution: Use your kitchen”;s ultimate tool for weight loss: A measuring spoon! One tablespoon of mashed avocado is equal to one Extra–;Nutrisystem members are limited to three Extras per day. Don”;t let extra Extras sneak up on you and sabotage your progress! Click here to learn more about harnessing the power and perks of avocados without losing control of portion sizes!

3. Coffee “;Pumps”;

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

According to Reuters.com, Americans have been drinking less soda over the last decade. However, we”;re still consuming almost half of our daily added sugars from beverages, says Health.gov. Some dietitians blame our sweet morning pick-me-ups: One pump of flavored syrup from a popular chain coffee shop can add about five grams of sugar and 20 calories to your day. That might not seem like much, but do this everyday for a whole year and you”;ve added 7,300 sneaky calories to your annual intake.

The solution: If your pumps are a must-have, track them! Using the NuMi app can make sure this sneaky ingredient doesn”;t sneak up on you. If you”;d rather save those 7,300 calories for the year, try using powdered stevia, a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey kick or some cinnamon for a warming flavor. Be sure to check out these helpful diet tips from our experts at The Leaf and keep your calories on track when you visit your local coffee shop!

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4. Salad Toppers and Dressings

salad

It doesn”;t get more healthy-sounding than a salad. It also doesn”;t get much fancier than crowning that heaping bowl of veggies with some tasty toppers: Slivered almonds, dried cranberries, crunchy chia seeds and glops of creamy dressing.

What harm can some dried fruit and almonds do? We”;ve already seen how quickly nuts add up. However, those dried cranberries aren”;t just cranberries–;they”;re pumped up with added sugar! A quarter-cup of dried cranberries from a popular brand contains almost 30 grams of sugar, adding about 130 calories to your salad. Chia seeds also add up quickly: According to the USDA, an eighth of a cup will add 90 calories to your veggies. Creamy salad dressings can present a problem, too: Forget to measure your favorite ranch dressing and an extra two tablespoons will top your salad with 120 extra calories, says the USDA.

The solution: As with almost all the ingredients on this list, measuring and serving size control makes a major impact–;just sprinkle a spoonful of those crunchy seeds instead of pouring from the bag. But there”;s more you can do: Try swapping store-bought dressing for one of these simple, homemade versions that you”;ll love. Use fresh berries instead of dried: According to the USDA, a half-cup of fresh blueberries has just 35 calories, compared to 260 for the dried kind.

5. “;Nectar”; and “;Syrup”;

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

Added sugars are literally killing us: According to research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, study subjects who consumed 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar experienced a 38% increase in risk of death from heart disease. This was in comparison to participants who consumed about eight percent of calories from added sugar. And with added sugar in more than 75 percent of packaged foods, it”;s not hard to top that killer number, says the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In 2021, nutrition labels will be required by law to list “;Added Sugars”; on their own line. But until then, these ingredients and their extra calories can sneak into our diets… because they aren”;t just called “;sugar”; on the label. They”;re all those words ending in “;ose”;–;glucose, dextrose, sucrose–;but also sneakier, healthier-sounding ingredients like “;nectars”; and “;syrups.”; An ingredient like “;agave nectar”; might sound natural and healthy, but make no mistake: It”;s just sugar trying to sneak its way into your waistline.

The solution: Flip your food over. Words like “;natural”; and “;healthy”; on the front of a label are unregulated terms–;they”;re meaningless marketing! Check the ingredients list for nectars and syrups. They could be adding sneaky calories to your foods that you don”;t need. Choose unsweetened products and add your own sweetness with a little stevia or monk fruit.

Take a peek at these four ingredients you should never eat again! >

6. Mayonnaise

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

This sandwich recipe staple is easy enough to measure and still enjoy on your healthy diet. But when adding mayonnaise to chicken, potato, egg or tuna salads, things can easily get out of hand. If you”;re like most people, you forget about measuring and keep adding mayo until you”;ve achieved the consistency you like. Going overboard by just two tablespoons can add 180 extra sneaky calories to that bowl. But if you don”;t add enough, the salad won”;t be creamy enough!

The solution: Supplement with Greek yogurt. One teaspoon of mayo is equal to one Extra on Nutrisystem. Use up your three Extras in your favorite chicken or tuna salad recipe, then fill in the rest with high-protein, nonfat Greek yogurt. It won”;t change the flavor but will add filling protein that your body needs. Plus, it”;s a PowerFuel, not an Extra–;so you can stay on track with your daily meal prep and weight loss goals while enjoying a sandwich or salad that”;s as creamy as you want.

7. Shredded Cheese

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

Since you”;re just sprinkling some on the top of a taco or a bowl of salad, measuring out your shredded cheese is probably the last thing on your mind–;it”;s finally time to chow down! But an over-serve on the cheesy goodness is all-too-easy, and can turn your portion-controlled taco into a sneaky weight loss saboteur. An extra eighth-cup of shredded cheese from a popular brand–;basically an extra heavy sprinkle–;can add over 50 calories to your dish if you’re not careful. Repeat that heavy hand a few times and the sneaky calories can really add up.

The solution: First, start with reduced fat versions of your favorite shredded cheese –; they”;re also lower in calories. Then, think of other low calorie ways to give your tacos and meals what you”;re getting from the cheese: Maybe you can accomplish some of the creaminess with a dollop of light sour cream, instead. At just 20 calories per tablespoon, according to the USDA, it”;s a calorie-saving miracle addition to your next burrito bowl.

Take your pick at an unlimited list of healthy recipes with nutritious and wellness-promoting ingredients! Visit our recipe portal on The Leaf here! >

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The post 7 Sneaky Ingredients to Avoid for Weight Loss appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today

Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today

Walking is one of the easiest ways to achieve your 30 minutes of daily activity. Hiking might as well be called “;next level”; walking–;it”;s more enjoyable, more engaging and a bit more challenging (but still not too hard). That”;s probably why hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, with more than 47 million Americans reporting that they hiked at least once in 2018, says Statista.com. If you haven’t added hiking to your weight loss exercise routine, we”;re here to tell you why you should start today.

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Get outside and take a hike! Here are 10 reasons to start hiking today:
1. Hiking is easy.

easy workout

You don”;t need to learn special skills, be super fit or have any prior experience. Hiking is simply walking on an outdoor trail. Even the challenges, such as going up and down hills or navigating uneven terrain, are manageable for beginners. If you can walk, you can most likely hike.

2. It burns more calories than walking.

burn calories

At a brisk walking pace of 17 minutes per mile, a 155-pound person burns about 149 calories in 30 minutes, says Harvard Health Publishing. Add a few hills on a hike and the calories burned jumps to 223 calories in 30 minutes–;that”;s about 50 percent more calories burned in the same amount of time.

3. It lifts your mood.

hiking

According to Stanford News, walking in natural areas rather than in man-made environments reduces “activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.” The 2015 study was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Other research has found that spending time in nature may help to reduce stress, says Harvard Health Publishing.

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4. Hiking strengthens your heart.

stress

Stress is said to be contributor to heart disease and hypertension (high blood pressure), so reducing stress might also lower your risk of suffering from these cardiac conditions, says Harvard Health Publishing. Hiking also gives your heart–;a powerful muscle–;a steady workout, helping it to grow strong and pump more efficiently even when you”;re at rest. “Like brisk walking, hiking is a good way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, particularly if your route includes some hills, which will force your heart to work harder,” explains Harvard Health Publishing.

5. Hiking flattens your belly.

flat belly

Going up and down inclines and traversing uneven terrain engages your core muscles–;the big muscles between your rib cage and knees, says Harvard Health Publishing. These include your abdominals, glutes (backside) and thighs. Hiking helps strengthen and tone those muscles as you shed excess pounds, so you become visibly leaner and firmer. Don’t forget to bring some flat belly snacks along on your hike! Check out these four easy ideas. >

6. It improves your balance.

hiking

Our sense of balance is essential to many everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of the shower or reaching up to high shelves. According to Time Magazine, the uneven terrain experienced while hiking can help to build up muscles that you don’t normally use. “Pumping up those oft-neglected muscles may improve your balance and stability, which helps protect you from falls,” they explain. For most people, the sense of balance deteriorates with age. Hiking keeps it working effectively.

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7. It expands your mind.

hiking

Most of us spend our time looking at lit screens and the same views day in and day out. When we get out in nature, we get better at focusing our attention, solving problems and developing creative ideas, according to the scientific journal, PLoS One. So, get outside, take a hike and get inspired!

8. Hiking is inexpensive.

easy workout

Unlike nearly every other fitness activity, hiking costs you almost nothing. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes with a good tread. Yes, you can buy hiking shoes that will make your hikes easier and more comfortable. However, feel free to start out wearing ordinary sneakers before committing to purchasing footwear designed for this purpose.

9. Hiking happens anywhere.

hiking

Every state in the U.S. has national parks, historic trails and protected wilderness areas that you can visit. The National Park Service website allows you to search by state to find those closest to you. Many state and county parks also feature marked trails with signs that tell you how long and how challenging the trails are. With a little observation and investigation, you can often find unofficial trails to hike and undeveloped areas around your home. (Just be sure you”;re not trespassing on private property.) For more trail ideas, check out the American Trails Website.

10. Hiking is for everyone.

hiking

Wherever you are on your weight loss journey, you can enjoy the pleasures of hiking. You don”;t need to train, set goals or measure results. You can just take a walk in nature and feel good while you”;re doing it and for hours after you”;re back.

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New to hiking? Check out these four helpful tips for beginners:
1. Start slow.

hiking

For your first few hikes, choose routes that are shorter than you would normally walk–;hiking is more challenging than walking and you don”;t want to overdo it and find yourself sore or too exhausted when you are finished.

2. Bring water.

drink water

This will ensure you don”;t dehydrate along the way. Adequate water helps you stay alert and energized and keeps your metabolism working. Looking for the perfect water bottle to take on your hiking adventures? Click here for our water bottle shopping tips! >

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3. Go with a buddy.

hiking

Almost everything is more fun when you do it together. Hiking with a partner also ensures that in the unlikely event something goes wrong–;whether you get lost or twist an ankle–;help is right by your side. If you do choose to go on your own for a little solitude, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

4. Keep your eyes and ears open.

hiking

We”;re accustomed to listening to our inner dialogues all day long. Take time while you”;re hiking to tune in to the sights and sounds around you. There are so many delights in nature, from birds chirping and flowers blooming to the rustle of tree leaves in a gentle breeze. Focusing on them can chase away your everyday cares and worries for a little while and make your life feel a little bit better, no matter what else is happening in the world.

Looking for a healthy meal delivery service to pair with your fitness routine? Learn more about Nutrisystem! >

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The post Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com