New Year, New You: {Questions from Yous}

(Yes, that says 'Yous'. Apparently I'm from Jersey today.)

Wow. Just wow.

Can I just say how thrilled I am that the New Year, New You series has taken off the way it has? I've gotten a ton of emails from you ladies with questions about various fitness/diet topics, so I felt the best way to address them might be on here!

Remember, if you DO have any questions that aren't addressed here, don't hesitate to email me at askblondeambition{at}gmail{dot}com and I'll get an answer for you!

What are Stephen's thoughts on cleanses and fasts?
In his own words, "Don't do 'em. Unless it's for a spiritual reason or you're preparing for a surgery the next day, there is no reason not to eat. Often times, people turn to these for a quick fix, but end up losing only water weight. Then they're discouraged when they gain all of it (plus 10 pounds) back the next week.

Cleanses and fasts are not only dangerous, but they are terrible for your metabolism. When the body is deprived of solid food, it goes into "starvation mode". It will then conserve and store every calorie it takes in after the fast....ergo, you end up heavier and hungrier in the long run."

via Shape Magazine

How do you beat, um, monthly bloat? I tend to gain about 5-10 pounds each month at that time, no lie! Help!
Since Stephen doesn't have monthly bloat, (HA!), I thought I'd share my tips. I used to get really awful bloat around that time of the month, but have discovered a few things that work for me. I try to cut out carbonated beverages the days before Aunt Flow comes to town. I also try to drink 2 cups of green tea per day during the week of. Green tea is a great diuretic, which helps to alleviate water weight gain, (which is what PMS weight really is - water.)

I also stick to my regular work-out routine and steer clear of super salty food. Bottom line: I still get PMS pudge, too. But these tricks have helped me look and feel better during that wonderful week of the month : )

Also, not to give TMI, but my doctor put me on a lower estrogen birth control last year which has helped immensely with alleviating PMS symptoms like weight gain. Email me if you want more info!

Is there a cut-off time for eating each night? I've heard never to eat after 7:30 (on Oprah, I think) but others have said it doesn't matter. Thoughts?
It's true. The earlier in the evening you eat, the better. This gives your body time to metabolize the calories consumed during dinner before you sleep. However, it's better to eat late than to skip a meal altogether. So yes, eat earlier in the evening if you can, but don't skip dinner. I have a personal cut-off time of 8:00 p.m. - it just works for me. If I can't eat by 8, I'll eat a light dinner as soon as I can and resume my normal routine the next night.

via Pinterest

Is there an optimal time to work out each day? Is day or evening better for a sweat session?
Not really. I'm a better exerciser if I work out in the afternoon/evening. But if morning is the only free time you have, by all means exercise then. Calories burned are calories burned, regardless of the time of day. Just make sure that you exercise at a time you can stick with long term. Most people cannot stick to a 5:30 a.m. workout for longer than a couple of weeks, so tread carefully when committing to a super-early workout.

I'm terrified of weights, but know they are crucial for tone and definition. How do I use weights without bulking up?
Most women are genetically incapable of getting a bodybuilder-like physique. Without the use of 'roids or massive amounts of protein and creatine, it's not possible. Most girls are terrified of looking like Chyna the Wrestler, I know I used to be! The key is to use light weights (5 to 10 lbs. for arm weights, less than 50 lbs. on leg machines) but with high reps.

Also, throw in yoga or pilates workouts in between weight days. These will lengthen your muscles and give you that ballerina-type body and keep you bulk-free.

What kind of scale do you recommend?
I've had the same black Health-o-meter brand, digital scale for about 5 years. I weigh myself about once a week, always in the morning before I've had food or drink. The numbers will let you know if you need to cut back the calories or exercise a little longer that week.

I also believe that clothes are a great "scale". If I notice my favorite skinny jeans are getting too snug, I know that I'm indulging a bit too much. Clothes are a great indicator of your dieting progress.

Have you ever used a trainer? I want to hire a trainer, but have no clue what kinds of qualifications I should be looking for. What makes a great trainer?
Ask yourself these questions:

1) Would I want to look like my trainer? (If not, then find a trainer who's physique you admire.)
2) Would I feel more comfortable with a female or male trainer?
3) Are they certified? (Chances are, if they work in a gym, then they are.)
4) Can they provide references? (If yes, CALL those references. Get some client feedback before you hire!)
5) Will I be required to join a gym for them to train me?

Also, ask if you can have a trial session. Often times, you'll know immediately if they are the right trainer for you, kind of like a date : ) If they make you feel uncomfortable or make derogatory comments about your current fitness level, move on! You're there to gain confidence and feel better - not the other way around!

via The Glitter Guide

When it comes to alcoholic beverages, which are the best to indulge in when you're dieting? I want to be able to partake at cocktail parties every once in a while, but am afraid of how many calories they contain. Tips?
I'll be honest - I rarely drink. Not a moral reason or a health reason at all, I've just never been much of a drinker. Stephen isn't either, so we typically don't even keep it in the house, except for cooking. When I do imbibe, I stick to a glass or two of red wine, like Chianti (my fav!) or Pinot Noir. Both are low cal and you'll reap the benefits of the antioxidants and *resveratrol (a compound that promotes brain and heart health.) Champagne (also yummy!) is also fairly low calorie!

I don't really drink liquor (hate the taste), but if you aren't a wino and prefer a stronger drink, stick to "skinny" cocktails, like this Fizzy Fruit Cocktail Punch from HungryGirl.com or one of the Skinny Girl Margaritas. Both are low in sugar and calories.

There you go, ladies! Our answers to your questions!

Until next week...

*All information presented in this post is from my husband Stephen (a certified personal trainer), as well as Web MD, Shape Magazine online and HungryGirl.com.

Be blessed, lovelies-


  1. Thanks Leslie for your helpful hints and tips! I also was unaware that your hubby was a personal trainer! You guys must keep each other motivated. That's awesome!

  2. Great Great tips Leslie, thanks for starting this series. I plan to use it as a good reference for my 2012 goals.

    Hope you have a great week!


  3. Good tips!! I have to try the skinny girl line.. i heard it was amazing!

  4. My trainer told me that a great food to eat when you are bloating is asparagus & eating 3 brazil nuts a day while PMSing will help with mood fluctuations. I tried both and noticed a difference!

  5. Target has scales 15% off this week!

  6. I knew those cleanses couldnt be healthy!
    One time, even from just taking too strong of antibiotics (had my wisdom teeth out), it flushed out all the bacteria, even the good stuff out of me, and I had to stay in the hospital for a week! Those hollywood juice cleanse people are nuts!

  7. Thank you so much for all the info!! I'm doing this with my sisters and also doing "biggest loser" at work!! I am determined....rather hungry...but determined!! My hardest time is when I'm home watching TV...I need to find a better past time!! Thanks again!!

  8. Leslie - I read your post about your migraines and then your later post about the low estrogen bc pills. I had switched to the low version and within 1 month I was experiencing bad migraines. I had one for 2 weeks straight. I first went to my family doctor who sent me to a neurologist. He did brain scans and all kinds of tests to find nothing wrong. He concluded that the switch to the low estrogen was causing my migraines. I thought this was something maybe you could suggest when you make your appointment before you are ordered to get MRI's and other scary tests. Good Luck!

  9. Thanks for the tips, Leslie! I'll definitely be using them! I really want to start working out this year so I can tone. I never work out, so I need to start making a habit of it. And I want to start eating healthier.


  10. I am definitely in agreement on the drinking! I rarely drink but when I do, it's red wine or a little champagne. A mimosa never hurt anyone....:)

  11. These are amazing tips per the usual!! You two are just a wealth of fitness knowledge!! Come live with me and teach me your ways.

  12. Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  13. Love this series, Leslie!! Long story, but I'm starting my New Year, New You on Saturday. Wish me luck! Thanks for all the great advice. :)


  14. great tips..except the one about light weights and more reps..women like you said wont naturally bulk up..they dont have to be afraid of lifing heavy weight..they will get more toned and burn more calories..and its much more effective than light weight and lots of reps..


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