Start sleeping. Start losing weight.

For as much flack as the traditional 9-to-5 job often gets, working any other shift that is not in sync with your body clock, Mother Nature and the overall rhythm of life just sucks, quite frankly.

I’ve learned the hard way that when you are on a non-normal schedule it is much more tough to get your eight or nine hours of shut-eye — especially if you have to sleep during daylight hours.

I know a good chunk of my readers work those shifts, are in school, work a couple of jobs, clock in at 11pm or 5am or 2pm… and I want you to know that it’s still essential that you get enough sleep within your 24-hour cycle.

Not getting enough Z’s has a long list of health effects — including weight gain.

It was not uncommon for many years (and sadly, sometimes still to this day) to get four or five hours and call it a full night’s worth.  We try and want to do so much in our daily lives.  We’re proud of the fact that we sleep so little and (think we) accomplish so much.  “I can sleep when I’m dead!”  Well, if you don’t get enough sleep, that could happen sooner rather than later.

But when we get such little sleep, our minds act differently.

Stanford researchers found that people most affected by a lack of sleep had their brains affected in the region responsible for distinguishing between short-term instantaneous gratification and long-term goals.

Now, think about that for a moment:

I have gotten up in the morning after a short sleep session and instantly wanted, craved and went & ate McDonalds.  But on the mornings when I’ve had 7-8 hours, I get up, wash my face, meditate and do some stretching, have some water or tea and then go in search of a nutritious & delicious breakfast.  There’s a difference.  A HUGE difference.

McDonalds = a short-term treat. We like it in the moment but afterward we feel as if the entire day is ruined, so LET’S SNOWBALL and keep stuffing our bellies with fats & sugars!

A better breakfast (I like that term as opposed to a healthy or nutritious breakfast because so many people see those words as unfulfilling) of a spinach omelette or oatmeal with fruit & nuts or a fruit & veggie smoothie gets you toward that long-term goal and maintaining it!

And there’s even more research to back that up.

In a recent report presented by the American Heart Association, researchers found people who were sleep deprived often ate more than 500 additional calories daily.  And we’re not talking spinach-wrap calories, here, sister. We’re talking muffins, cookies, cream-filled coffee drinks, fried foods, pizza, etc.

Now that you know all of this, you may be asking yourself, “How much sleep do I really need?” Because you CAN over-sleep which has negative effects on the opposite end of the health spectrum.

Here’s my answer: Trial and error. Test it out and see. I went through a test phase and found I need 9 hours of quality rest to have a great day. 9 hours! That’s a lot when you factor in a full-time job and a slew of other projects, on top of working out! But sleep is the beginning and end point.  It is pivotal.  A must. A necessity, not a luxury.  The general ballpark is 7-to-8 hours.

Finally — your body needs sufficient time to rest, recover, recoup and repair itself and to prepare for the challenges and triumphs that are still to come. Churning along a body that has not had much-needed R&R will only hinder the results you seek.  As one clinical director puts it, “If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.”

In one of my next posts, I will be talking about two things:
1. What to do in the final few hours before you hit the hay in order to maximize your sleep
2. The correlation between stress and eating, because often times that topic is brought up when I talk to clients about sleep and eating. Sleep, stress, eating — it’s all intertwined.

If you or someone you know wants a life-changing revolution, or are just looking for ways to be healthier, be more active, eat better and need some help or guidance, contact me.  I train, consult and work with people of all ages, with an emphasis on kids and families.

– J-Lo
(206) 678-4293
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“Ahh! I’m going on VACATION. My diet will be RUINED! I’m only packing sweatpants and big t-shirts. No point in even TRYING to be healthy…” Stop. Breathe. Don’t panic. It’s easier than you think.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Greetings and good morning from across the border! I’m currently on a two-week trek across the Pacific Northwest with my family. Oregon, check. Washington, check. Final stop: British Columbia.

I want to apologize to you, readers of my blog, for a lack of promised updates. I could use the old cliché of just being so busy and immersed with “life”… but let’s just say I haven’t been managing time as best as I could have. So let’s dive right in; I’ve been crafting this blog entry since our flight outta Texas and I know you’ll find plenty of good info today.

It’s mid-June and that means summer is just about here – 5 days away, in fact, from the time I am writing this blog! For many, that means the return of that glorious summer vacation.

But whether you’re just sneaking away for a weekend at a B&B or taking a two-week tour of a new city, you DON’T have to (nor do you want to) sabotage all of your valiant efforts of crafting and maintaining a better, leaner and healthier body. That’s what I want to talk with you about today.

I’m blessed to be a mentor/coach/speaker/jack-of-all-trades at a summer weight-loss “Biggest Loser”-type program at a hospital near where I live. We met a couple of weeks ago for a group discussion and the main topic and cause for concern for the participants was the fact that they were going to be headed on some type of summer vacation.

Summer vacation is a time for relaxation and enjoyment; the last thing I want you to do is worry ’round-the-clock about “Oh gosh, can I eat this big cookie from the bakery? Well, if we walk for 30 more minutes, maybe.” … or, “I’m not touching any sugar on this trip. None. At all.” … or my favorite, “No, y’all go ahead and order. I’m not going to eat anything.” and just drink water while your family dines. THAT’S NOT A VACATION.

HOWEVER… on that same note, a vacation is NOT a time to just open your mouth and serve as garbage disposal to any food item around you.
There must be a balance. And I’m certain that you know that. Recognize that: balance. Respect your body. It’s not a t-shirt or a toy; you can’t replace it.

So, coupling my vacation experiences with the questions and concerns many within the weight-loss group had, let’s address some points that may be of inner-contention during a vacation… and compare them with reality.

  • MYTH: I’m going to be away from home and away from my safe bubble. I won’t be in control of the situation, hence not in control of food choices.
    REALITY: Every week I make it a point to try a few new restaurants. Variety is, after all, the spice of life. This is where planning and preparation come into play.
    – If you’ve heard me speak about a life-changing revolution, you know those are two of the biggest factors in success – planning and preparation.
    Research restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, etc. BEFORE your trip. Just like you’re mapping out museums, lining up landmarks and penciling in places for the kids, do a little checking on where you all may like to dine. But be “light” about it (cheap pun intended).  Here’s what I mean by that:
    I tell my clients this all the time: Deep down, you know what food is good for you and your body and what will wreck, tear and fatten you up. Peruse menus. Look for key words that fit your diet life-changing revolution. If you normally do a nutritional calculator/counter, you’ve trained your mind and you know – generally speaking – what’s in what. There’s no way you’ll be able to keep up jotting down every percentage of saturated fat. But you have a good sense of which “foods” are over the top.
    You might think you are not in control of the food situation… but all you need is a little planning and preparation. Combined, they go a long, long way.
    – Did you know (this applies outside of vacation too, obviously) most restaurants will make accommodations for you if you just ask?!
    Example: I’m with my family during this trip. A couple of them were dead-set on stopping for lunch at this “wood-fired pizza” restaurant. Why yes, I DID feel the white-flour dough and greasy cheese sticking to my love handles upon hearing the news.   But before agreeing to their buffet, I *planned and prepared* by looking at their menu of customizable pizzas. I ended up having the team whip up for me this little number: A personal pizza rolled very flat, drizzled with olive oil in lieu of sauce, light on the feta cheese and then piled high with every veggie on the menu. Delish! And, quite frankly, probably something some gourmet pizza shop would sell for 3x the price.
    – Remember to keep up the important tips you would any time you’re dining out: A glass (8 oz. – which in many restaurants nowadays is like half-a-glass) of water before digging in.  Drinking some water during your meal.  Savoring, enjoying and experiencing your meal for at LEAST 20-minutes (It takes time for the “I’m full! Take it away!”-trigger to go from your stomach to your brain.)
    You are in control.  You are in charge.  Feels good, doesn’t it?
  • MYTH: “That airport food – there’s nothing good in there. My diet’s going to be shot within the first two hours.”  Or, “there’s nothing healthy along an Interstate. My diet’s down the drain the first time we stop.”
    REALITY:  This isn’t a diet!! Stop telling yourself that! You are taking part in a lifelong way of change. Once you reach your target goal, whatever that may be, you’re not going to revert to old habits, are you? I would hope not. To that extent, you must remember those two P words – planning and preparation. Road trip? If you’re going to be sitting in a car for a good amount of time, just sedentary, the last thing you want to do is eat big, fatty, sugary meals. All you’re doing is sitting while the fat molds to your worst possible places. Pack light, pack fresh, pack plenty of water. Fruit; crunchy vegetables; if you eat meat, lean turkey sandwiches; nuts, etc. Get out and stretch often. Reload at a grocery store if your trip is that long. No need to slobber-up to a 1,500-calorie diner death trap. Flying? Eat before your flight so you won’t eat the crap being dished out on planes. There are many acceptable eateries inside the terminals, from Asian fare serving monster veggie wraps to American establishments with seafood and sandwiches on wheat.
    – Did you know you can take whole, uneaten fruit in your carry-on bag if you’re flying? You can also pack many fresh foods to your heart’s content! Do a quick Google search of the latest TSA travel rules… I think you’ll be surprised.
  • MYTH: The motel’s free breakfast is there so I’m going to eat it.
    REALITY: The motel’s free breakfast is there so you are going to eat it.
    Yes. Do it. Listen, I’m a 23-year-old broke college kid. One of the first things we learn in the higher-educational womb is to (almost) never turn down a free meal. But remember, balance. There must be one for success. You know this. Now put it it into play.
    I’ve attached a photo of a breakfast at one of my motel stays.
    WP_20130612_004Why on earth would you gorge, gobble up and graze post-meal on sugar-fat-butter-fat-fat-fat muffins, danishes, mystery gravy from gallon-sized aluminum tubs (I saw this, personally, being hauled in from a deliverer), and cereal coated with phony colors and even phonier ingredients.
    – Instead, eat the most real, most natural food available.  I have stayed so far at a La Quinta and a Best Western. Both are modest motels with free breakfast. Both had unsweetened oatmeal (the latter hotel had it already made and in a crock pot!), fresh fruit (both had apples, oranges and bananas), scrambled eggs (sure, they were not from freshly-cracked eggs, but you take what you can get), yogurt (which I don’t recommend because 99% of flavored ones contain HFCS, but if you need your sweet tooth satisfied, this is 10x better than eating an entire muffin), skim milk, hot tea and delicious coffee. Boom! Right there, a full, filling, balanced breakfast of protein, fiber, grains, fruit. Best Western (shout-out: The Navigator Inn & Suites location in Everett, Wash. even had gluten-free granola as an offering, next to the Raisin Bran and Froot Loops!)
    If you’re tempted by the fake shit (really, there is no way else to describe the plastic-wrapped “food” that stays “good” for a year or more), remember to always drink a glass of water before starting your breakfast.  What typically works for me is reminiscing back to the last time I “indulged” on that crap and how bloated and inflamed I got… and just how awful I felt. (By the way, blog post on that soon).
  • MYTH: I won’t be able to get in any exercise, so why even try?
    REALITY: Have you ever realized how much walking is done during a vacation? Someone in my family tracked our trek walking throughout downtown Seattle and in just half-a-day, we walked 4+ miles! And we’re talking Seattle – hills, inclines, fast-paced street walking.
    – If you truly stop and think about the amount of time spent being active without a gym or a running trail, I’m confident you will feel more confident about staying active. For us, Portland was a walk-fest, as was Seattle… and our next stop Vancouver will be even more so, because our motel is in the heart of downtown. (P.S. If you walk in any downtown metro, you’ll be pushed [literally?] to walk faster to keep up with the pace of everyone else. And that’s a good thing.)
    – And if your destination isn’t immediately an active location, make it one! Planning. Preparation. Explore the old town square, park a mile from where you’ll be tourist’ing (this doubles as a frugal tip – the closer you get to parking lots of major destinations/sights, the pricier they are) and hoof it over there, etc.
    But as we say in the TV world, “But wait… there’s more!”
    – I will have stayed in three motels – not lavish hotels; motels – upon the completion of my trip and they either have small gyms or free passes to nearby, full-size gyms. At least a treadmill, elliptical, bicycle and weights.  Most motels and hotels do. I know an hour is asking a lot on a vacation, so dedicate just 30 minutes a day. Just 30! That’s it! 15 on the tread, 15 on the elliptical. Or 30 on one. Even better, get outside and go a little harder than walking. Portland had some of the most spectacular trails I’ve ever experienced. Again, a little planning and preparation go a very long way. Practically any travel guide (or hello, Google!) has a ‘recreational’ or ‘adventure’ section. Make it fun. Bring the family.

There may be a few more tips I’m forgetting, but this is what I jotted down after our group discussion and after nearly a week on my trip across the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  If you have wellness/health/fitness tips while traveling, SHARE them with us in the comments below or contact me!

Pitch time: If you or someone you know wants a life-changing revolution, or are just looking for ways to be healthier, be more active, eat better and need some help or guidance, contact me.  I train, consult and work with people of all ages.

– J-Lo
(832) 647-5142
Friend me on Facebook!
Follow me on Twitter!

Foods and Tricks to Keep You Full + Appetite Suppressants

Happy April!

Have you taken a moment to see, smell and hear the spring season?  It’s so beautiful.  My windows are open day and night, and I’m going shopping later today for some flowers to decorate my house and my desk at work.

Today I’m touching on a two-for-one question I get asked often: What foods will keep me full and supress my appetite?

There are many avenues and answers to cover, including when is the best time for you to eat, how you eat your food, where you eat your food, different foods for at home vs. at work, binge eating, stress/mood eating, dietary suppments, etc. – all of which I promise to cover with you in the coming weeks and months.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with this one topic; today, I want to focus on several foods and tricks that have helped me (and still are) in my life-changing revolution.

  1. Foods packed with protein and fiber.
    Protein maintains your body. Builds muscle. Fights off disease. Keeps you ENERGIZED.
    Fiber keeps you feeling full longer. Fiber protects against and prevents many health problems. Fiber keeps things moving (what goes into your body must come out).
    Some nuts. (almonds, pistachios, walnuts)
    Brown rice.
    Black beans. Lentils.
    Eggs (in moderation).
    Colorful vegetables. (broccoli, spinach, green beans, peas)
    Colorful fruits. (apples, bananas, carrots)
    *I stay as far away from processed, packaged foods that claim to be high in protein and high in fiber.  While the claims may be true, I have found many of these non-natural “foods” also carry with them loads of saturated fat and refined sugar (the bad sugar, as opposed to natural sugar from fruits).
    **Seafood aside, I don’t consume any animal products – meat, chicken, dairy. There’s not a “term” for what I am, although some call it being macrobiotic, some call it being a pescetarian-vegan and others call it a follower of the Mediterranean Diet.
  2. Small bits of food. Chopped food. Food that takes some effort to eat.
    Conduct an experiment with yourself this week for me.  Take a food you can chop.  An apple or even grilled chicken strips as opposed to a grilled chicken sandwich. Now, on day one, eat it as-is.  Day two, cut it up into small pieces and eat it. With your fingers or with a fork. Whatever. How much longer did it take you to eat those small pieces?  Eating small foods (with the same portion size) takes longer. The longer it takes, the better the chance your brain has of receiving a successful signal that, “Hey, I’ve been taking in a lot of food for a longer time. I’m full!”
    Other foods that are great are shelled nuts, like pistachios and pecans. They take as long to crack as they do to eat. Baby carrots are good, too, but chop them again to get them even smaller.
    Eventually you train yourself to eat more slowly.  I used to scarf down a triple-cheeseburger, extra-large fries, extra-large soda and two apple pies in 7 minutes.  Now, I slowly consume my meals over a 20-40 minute time span.
  3. Water
    No, water isn’t a food. And water is boring. I know.  But, you MUST (read: MUST) drink one glass of water before every meal. Before a snack.  Water does, indeed, fill you up. And it keeps you hydrated.  Odds are you’re not drinking enough anyway.
    Even better, add some lime, lemon or fruit slices for a delightful, refreshing twist.
  4. Lemon
    On the water note, lemon is a great appetite suppressant.  I urge you to slice one up and suck on it – eat it! It is amazing the wonders of natural, real foods. A little lemon goes a long way.  Too sour for ya? At the very least, squeeze one onto your seafood or pop one in a smoothie.
    (No lie: As I type this, I was itching to go out and pick up a foot-long sub sandwich. It’s Sunday night, when cravings creep up on many of us. I ate two lemons and feel great and satisfied!)
  5. Spices
    I LOVE Indian food! Some restaurants here do amazing things vegetable dishes, and I credit (chefs aside) the spices. Spices can make or break food and they can make or break the next 4-5 hours after you finish your plate. They’ve been noted in numerous medical studies and journals to boost your metabolism, energy levels, ability to fight off diseases, further weight loss and more. Ginseng, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, spicy mustard, JALAPENOS… Go explore that spice aisle at the grocery store!
  6. Gum
    Sugar-free sticks – pop two at a mere 10 calories and get back to work.
    Trick your brain by thinking it’s chewing and eating something.  Two sticks often keep me satisfied and take my mind off of food all afternoon while I’m at work.
    There are so many varieties of gum out there.  Pick something different at the groceries every week.
    *I opt for stick gum, as opposed to the increasingly-popular cubes, squares, etc.  My brain recognizes the smaller pieces and I’m always tempted to (and often do) have more gum than I really need.
  7. Coffee* With a good lesson about eating in general.
    *This is not for everyone.
    In dropping certain vices, you (naturally, perhaps?) pick up new ones. I consume coffee like there is no tomorrow. Drip. Pour-overs. Iced coffee (black, always unsweetened, sometimes with a splash of almond milk). Espresso shots, four – sometimes six at a time. You get the idea.
    Some view it as a suppressant. Try it.  Take time to try different coffees, coffees that are NOT packed with sugar.  (A frozen, blended drink ending in “-uccino” is NOT coffee. It’s diabetes. That includes getting it “light and with no whip”.)
    Maybe you aren’t as addicted as I am, but I think you can take a lesson from my consumption.
    I seek out great coffee. Coffee that makes me do those faces a la York Peppermint Pattie commercials. New coffee shops. Buying new beans. Having them shipped to my house (in some cases directly from different countries). Grinding and brewing. In doing so, I want to savor that taste. Savor the flavor. Savor the aroma. Savor each and every sip (or in your case, perhaps, each and every bite).  And in doing so, I don’t eat for a good time after finishing my cup (or cups) of coffee. Do that.
    When you eat, don’t eat the same thing. Explore new flavors. New, fresh flavors. New, fresh, healthy flavors. Savor the bite. Savor the flavor. Don’t scarf it down. Have a conversation while you eat. Eat outside. Try new recipes. Shake it up. Don’t get bored. Do something but the ordinary.

My next blog posts will talk about when (I believe) is the best time to eat these foods, and how you can maximize how you eat these foods, to feel most full and prevent overeating.  This is just a starting point for you and your health.

Now, go out and enjoy spring!  Get some sun.  Take a walk today.  Ride your bike.  Walk the dog.  Be active.  And be the change.

Photo below: My life-changing revolution continues.  Three weeks after my piece aired, showing how I had lost 200 pounds, the fat (thankfully) is still melting away! Another 14 pounds down!  From 430 lbs. to 216 lbs.!

If you or someone you know wants a life-changing revolution, or are just looking for ways to be healthier, be more active, eat better and need some help or guidance, contact me.  I’m training, consulting and working with people of all ages.

– J-Lo
(832) 647-5142
Friend me on Facebook!
Follow me on Twitter!

Down another 14 pounds.

Down another 14 pounds.

When is the best time to workout?

Happy Friday!

First off, thanks for bearing with me on my lack of posts. The fire at our television studios has left us shifting around, moving to-and-from and… well… you get the idea.

I am still working on getting a website up, but for now will be blogging several times a week with general advice, tips, tricks, recipes, etc.

So… let’s get to the first post! Today I tackle a question many of you have e-mailed me.

When is the best time to workout?

Off the top, I want to disprove a rumor that working out in the morning will help you burn the most calories throughout the day.  That is not trueLet me repeat: That is not true.

So, when is the best time?
There is no right or wrong answer.  You have to find what works best for you.

When I started my life-changing revolution, I awoke at 4:30am 3-4x/week to work out at 5am. But I also had a job in which I was working from 2pm-11pm.  You can see why this is not ideal. Sleep – sufficient sleep – is one of the biggest factors in successful weight loss.  My body needs 9 hours every night.  (Future blog post, by the way)

Now I workout 6 days/week.  Weekdays: after work, typically around 11pm.  Weekends: Midday.

Every body is different. Know your body. Test different methods. See what works.
In doing so, you will learn when you perform best.  You should also learn when that momentum will stay with you for the rest of your day.
What’s most important is that you carve out time – find time – and be active.  Establish the exercise habit.

Here’s what I have learned about my body:

– I perform my best workouts when I’ve eaten beforehand.

– On the days I jog, the workout is more of a stress-reliever and meditative. Because of that, it helps to end my day with exercise – after work. But you may workout most successfully in the morning, before work, because of time constraints, getting it out of the way, etc.

– Occasionally I shake things up and workout mid-morning, after breakfast.  However, I’ve noticed that if I exercise before I go into work (which is at 2pm), my mood is often affected – for the worse. I’m more grumpy, more agitated. I believe that’s because I’ve used up a lot of energy (to quote the cool kids) going HAM-style at the gym.  Shifting from such momentum to fluorescent lights and computer screens just tanks my body.

A few more helpful pieces of advice:

– Plan ahead!
Are you going out with the girls Friday night for dinner and drinks? Get a session in Friday morning. Have a round of your kids’ sports games all-day Saturday? Dress accordingly and take a walk or a jog during the games or in-between. It’s so easy. There are 24 hours in a day. You can spare some of that time for your health.

– Rest & Recoup!
I probably shouldn’t be telling you this if you’re already struggling to be active, but if you are dedicated to the cause, remember to take time to rest and recover.
I went through a phase of doing 1.5-2 hour workouts every day.  You will get drained very quickly.  Take a day (I take one day off a week, sometimes two) and let your body heal. Replenish. Refocus. After a day of rest, I often do one of my best runs of the week.

Any exercise is better than no exercise.  Be active.  Be the change.
P.S. – Take a look at the photo below.  Now down five shirt sizes and 10 pant sizes. From 5X to a Large. From a 56 waist to a 36 waist.  Yeah… I went a little spending-crazy at the mall today.

If you’re looking for a private trainer, coach and mentor to get your life-changing revolution going, contact me.  Tell your friends. 🙂

– J-Lo
(832) 647-5142
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Follow me on Twitter!


Hi! I’m Joseph, and I lost 200 pounds in 1 year.

I went from 430 lbs. to 230 lbs. from March 2011-March 2012, from age 22 to 23.
You might have seen my story on News 4 in San Antonio, or online at

Thanks for taking the time to visit my new blog. As you can see, it’s still in the works, but there are a few things that I will be focusing on with this website in the coming weeks.

1. Telling you how I lost so much weight in (what apparently is) such a short amount of time. How I started, when I changed things up, explaining my workout and diet routine, sharing recipes, showing how you can (and I did) eat out at restaurants for EVERY meal and still shed the fat, and much more.

2. Helping you do what I did and change your life.  If you have that weight to lose but you’re stuck and don’t know just how to start, let me help you.  It doesn’t take pills, pre-packaged meals, surgery; all you need is dedication, drive, determination and to believe in yourself.  It doesn’t have to be (and it’s not) boring and dreadful. I assure you of that.

So if you’re in a similar situation, I am starting to work with people of all ages – children and adults – in reaching their health and wellness goals and changing their lives.  Feel free to contact me if you want to get started; I would love to work with you.  E-Mail:

More soon,
Joseph “J-Lo” Lopez
(832) 647-5142

In one year!

In one year!