Weight Loss

Do Spices Expire?

You might not have considered it before, but those special spices you may only use once or twice a year actually expire. Not all of them expire at the same time, nor do they all have the same results when expired. Let’s go back and start with what spices actual are, according to the FDA. Their defined as “aromatic vegetable substances, in the whole, broken, or ground form, whose significant function in food is seasoning rather than nutrition.” To make it easier, we’ll include both herbs and spices, rather than delve into the differences of the two.

What happens when spices and herbs expire.

Spices and herbs are aromatic and add flavor. They also have beneficial health properties. While they don’t go bad and create potential health issues, spices do lose their potency, flavor and sometimes color. It’s very unlikely that an expired spice will every make you sick, but you could be just adding bulk to your dish, rather than flavor. When that happens, there’s simply no purpose to having them on hand, so tossing the spice may be the best option.

How long is the shelf life of spices?

How the spice or herb is processed makes a difference. If the herb is dried, then crushed, ground, powdered or partially whole, it can last between 1 and three years. Examples include oregano, thyme, dill, cilantro, sage, basil, ground cinnamon, garlic powder, ground paprika, red pepper flakes or ground allspice. However, the spices and herbs that last the longest are ones that are whole. That means less surface area is exposed to air, light and moisture that can cause it to lose its flavor and oxidize. Whole peppercorns, fennel seeds, cloves and cinnamon sticks are examples.

Keep your herbs ready to use with a window garden.

You won’t have to worry about having fresh herbs or spices if you grow your own. Some of the easiest herbs to grow in a window box include, basil of all types, sage, rosemary, oregano, parsley, lemon balm, sweet marjoram, thyme and savory. If you have more space than just a window box for larger plants, consider fennel, bay, ginger root and turmeric. You’ll always have fresh herbs that add extra nutrients and flavor to every dish.

  • Salt is one of the exceptions when it comes to spoiling. It can last indefinitely without losing any flavor. However, it’s also does not come from a plant part.
  • The difference between herbs and spices is that herbs come from the leaf of the plant, while spices come from other parts of the plant, such as the bark, buds or roots.
  • Keep fresh cinnamon on hand if you have problems with your blood sugar levels. It’s a potent antioxidant that fights inflammation, lowers cholesterol, but also can lower resting blood sugar levels by 10 to 29%.
  • A wide variety of herbs and spices not only increase your nutrient intake without increasing calories, but also can help fight infection. Holy basil, for instance, is well-known for its ability to fight bacteria and fungi, while boosting your immune system.

For more information, contact us today at Pro Weight Loss

Health Benefits Of Salmon

Everyone seems to love the food on their menus from Pro Weight Loss in Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have questions about why some foods are on the list and others aren’t. The reason is based on what the ultimate goal of the client is, their food preferences and the health benefits of the food. One of the most nutritious foods included in meals is salmon. In fact, I get a lot of questions about its health benefits, so writing a blog seemed to be the easiest way to address all of them.

Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

People often freak out when they hear that fatty fish are good for them. Society has vilified fat so much, that people think fat free is the only healthy way to go. Nothing could be further from the truth. You need fat in your diet, but not just any fat. Trans fats, for instance, are extremely unhealthy. Fatty fish like salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s an essential fat that you have to get from food. It helps decrease inflammation, which when chronic, can cause serious conditions. It also helps reduce the risk of cancer, lowers blood pressure and improves the functioning of the cells that line the arteries.

Salmon contains many important nutrients.

There’s a wide variety of B vitamins in salmon. It has niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, folic acid, B12 and B6. B vitamins are responsible for aiding in many functions that range from DNA repair to improving brain and nervous system functioning. Salmon is also a good source of potassium, which helps to keep blood pressure lower to reduce the potential for a stroke. It also contains selenium, a trace mineral that supports bone health, boosts protection against cancer and improves the functioning of the thyroid.

Have you ever heard of astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that gives the salmon flesh its red color. It helps prevent the oxidation of the bad cholesterol, while boosting levels of the good cholesterol. While the research is varied, some indicate that astaxanthin reduce inflammation, lower oxidative stress and help prevent the build up of plaque in the arteries. Just like omega-3. It helps protect the brain. Other studies show it can improve your skin and help retain hydration and elasticity, so you’ll look younger, too.

  • All the nutritional benefits point to the fact that salmon is good for your heart. It also may be good for your mood, too. It helps balance omega-3 and omega-6 and studies show that can help prevent aggression and anger.
  • Salmon provides high quality protein. Protein is necessary for healing, bone health and the maintenance of muscle tissue. All parts of the body use protein.
  • Just like other sources of high quality protein, salmon may help you lose weight. It fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer. The omega-3 in salmon may boost your metabolism and help get rid of belly fat. It increases insulin sensitivity, too.
  • Stay smarter longer when you eat salmon. Not only does salmon help reduce anxiety and depression, it protects fetal brains when their mothers consume it. It also helps decrease memory problems related to aging.

For more information, contact us today at Pro Weight Loss

3 Simple Steps to Lose Weight

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It is common to gain weight during the winter months. Where it’s colder, and it gets darker earlier, we are typically less active in general. Additionally, with the pandemic, our habits have changed quite a bit, as we are spending more time at home. Excess weight and obesity are a major concern and can put one at risk for developing more severe cases of covid and other flus and illnesses.

Here are a few simple steps to get the weight loss process started:

  1. Cut back on sugars and starches When you do that your hunger level decreases and you end up eating much fewer calories.
  2. Eat protein, healthy fats and vegetables. Protein regulates your hunger, healthy fats boost your metabolism, and veggies fill you up plus give you all the nutrients you need!
  3. Exercise at least 3 times per week The best option is to workout 30-45 minutes 3-4 times a week.  Warm-up, combine cardio and weightlifting, stretch and cool down.

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Don’t Stop When You’re Tired – Stop When You’re Finished

It’s easy to quit a workout before you’re finished because you’re tired, but that’s when you should push a little harder and do one more repetition or set. That driving force to do one more will help set you on the road to success. It’s all about motivation and driving yourself to reach your goals. If that feeling of exhaustion comes before your workout, just start the workout anyway. You’ll be surprised at how much energy you’ll get when you get moving.

What motivates you to do one more?

Everyone has a different motivation. Sometimes, it’s just proving it to yourself that you can do it. If you’re at the point that you want to sit down and end your workout. Stay standing and take a deep breath. Then do one more exercise, one more set or one more repetition. Try to push yourself to get the last repetition done before you quit. It will make all the difference in not only your success, but how you feel about yourself and your ability to make a change.

Always track your progress and try adding one more repetition every few days.

If you’re doing three sets of 10, after a few days, try going for three sets of 11. Make sure you record your progress every day. Just seeing the progress and how you’re increasing your program will give you motivation to continue. If you’re tired and don’t feel good before you start and your workout isn’t making you feel better or invigorated, it might be better to take that time and get some rest as a precaution.

You know your body, listen to it.

Are you tired, but not exhausted? Then push yourself to do one more. You can do it and finish your workout program. However, if you’re overworking your body by doing long hours every day and working the same muscle groups, that’s another thing entirely. Don’t work the same muscle groups two days in a row. Give those muscles a time to rest, mend and build for a day or two. You can avoid overworking your muscles by exercising your upper body one day, lower body the next. Your body needs one or two days of rest each week.

  • Focus on what you want to achieve when you get tired. Is it a healthier body with better vitals? Is it more energy? Or is it just looking fabulous? There’s no wrong answer if it’s right for you.
  • Stick with a routing. Workout the same time every day. On your day away from working out, don’t just sit, take a leisurely walk and do active recovery.
  • Notice the small changes, especially at first. It will help you keep going when you want to stop. Small changes can include having more energy or simply feeling better. If you’ve had to rest when climbing the stairs, but now don’t have to, that’s progress.
  • Focus on the good things, the immediate motivators. Imagine how good you’ll feel when you’ve accomplished your whole workout. Studies show that people who focus on the immediate rewards are more successful.

For more information, contact us today at Pro Weight Loss

Drop The Fries And Move Those Thighs

In Massachusetts, we people come to us desperate to lose weight. We listen to their story and talk about the choices they make in diet and how much daily exercise they get. Many confess to being fast food junkies that seldom get off the couch. You can’t live that way and expect weight loss to happen. There’s no magic formula. You have to drop the fries and move those thighs to get the results you want.

A healthy diet is at the core of a weight loss program.

No matter how much you workout, if your diet is unhealthy and filled with sugar and highly processed foods, you simply won’t lose weight. A great body starts in the kitchen because you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Focus on making changes to your diet first. Our programs can help you with scientifically based diets designed specifically for you and your needs. You’ll be amazed at how good healthy food tastes and how good you feel after just a few weeks.

Combine that healthy eating with a program of exercise.

You will lose weight when you change your diet, but you also need to tone those muscles to look your best. You’ll be amazed at what a difference a half hour a day can make, not only in your appearance, but energy level and health. Exercise builds muscle tissue, to not only tone your body, but also boost your metabolism. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn even when you’re resting. That’s because it takes more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat.

Move your thighs even more than just an exercise session.

Get more active. If you’re streaming your favorite show, exercise during the commercials. In fact, if you have the commercial free version, you can even save money by opting for the streaming version that contains commercials, so you have time to exercise while watching. Take the stairs rather than the elevator, at least or several floors if you live or work in a high rise. Put a basket on your bike and ride to the grocery or ride to work. It all helps you get into shape and will change your life forever.

  • Don’t forget the healthy snacks. Our programs all contain snacks, but if you’re creating your own healthy diet, include them. They’re extremely important and can help you avoid grabbing a quick snack or gobbling down more than you need at supper.
  • Don’t starve yourself. Eating healthy isn’t dieting and doesn’t leave you feel deprived. It’s all about making smarter choices that are designed to boost your body’s health and energy, while providing all the nutrients you need.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and make sure it’s water. What you drink makes a difference. Even though the can says zero calories, that diet soda is still unhealthy. A recent study found that people who drank diet drinks had a larger waist circumference.
  • A healthy life means adequate sleep. Lack of sleep causes the body to produce less leptin—the hormone that makes you feel full, and more ghrelin—the hunger hormone. That’s counterproductive.

For more information, contact us today at Pro Weight Loss

Easy Yoga Stretches You Can Do Anywhere

Modern medicine has given us wonderful discoveries and products to help cure diseases. We use the discoveries to create the healthy, natural diets at Pro Weight Loss in Massachusetts. However, there are some things that have been known for centuries that can also help. One of those is the benefits of yoga and the relaxation it brings to muscles with certain poses. Here are some easy yoga stretches that can bring relief and relaxation. They’re easy to do and quite effective.

If you have a sore back or just want to relax, this combination of poses can help.

What’s the link between a cat and a cow? In yoga, it’s the starting position. The combination of the cat/cow stretches can help bring relief from back pain. You do them both on hands and knees, with palms flat against the floor and elbow straight. For the cat, you arch your back, lowering your head as you exhale. Hold that position and move to the cow position. To do that, you lift your head, looking straight ahead and drop your back, letting your belly dip toward the floor.

Back pain can be relieved with the child pose.

The child pose starts similar to the cat/cow, on all fours with legs from the knee down extended behind you. Push yourself to upright position, still bent at the hips, with your thighs on your calves and buttocks on your heels. Inhale as you do. Now exhale while you lay your upper body forward and put your body onto your thighs, touching your forehead to the floor. Extend your arms in front of you and hold. If you can’t go this low, don’t push yourself. The more you do it the easier it becomes. Use your hands to walk your upper body back to starting position.

You’ve probably heard of the downward dog, but may not have ever done it.

The downward dog can help relax the muscles in the spine and shoulders. It starts where the child pose ends, before you walk your upper body back to starting position. Your arms are outstretched, with your bottom resting on your heels or ankles and thighs resting on your calves. Instead of pushing up with your arms, you’ll tuck your toes and lift your hips as you press your hands into the ground, lifting your bottom high and leaving your head close to the floor. You may not be able to straighten your knees or leave your heels on the ground. Again, it’s not a problem, just do your best to lift your bottom and lengthen your spine.

  • Try a warrior pose. Lift your hands above your head and inhale. Take a large step to the right side as you exhale. Turn the right foot to the side and lunge in that direction until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push the arms out with your right arm pointing to the front and the left to the back.
  • Another exercise that helps the back is the supine knees to chest pose. Lay on your back, bring your knees together, bending them and bringing your thighs to your chest, wrapping your arms around your leg as you do. Pull them closer.
  • If you want to stretch your back muscles and make them stronger, do the phalakasana, also known as the forearm plank. You can create a variation by straightening your arms.
  • The tree pose is relaxing, but it does make you look like a stork. Lift one leg and place the sole of your foot on your inner thigh and press your palms together in front of you. If you’re standing a long time, it’s a relaxing change.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeightLoss

Best Pre-Workout Foods

There are great reasons to eat before you workout You need fuel for your body to sustain you and keep functioning at your highest when you exercise. In fact, studies show that the right pre-workout foods can help you burn more fat. A study of cyclists compared two groups. One group ate before their workout and the other didn’t. Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but the group that didn’t have a preworkout snack took ten percent of their calories from protein, which causes loss of muscle mass and is counterproductive.

Preworkout snacks should be a combination of carbs and protein.

You need the carbs to help fuel your body and keep you exercising at your peak. You also need a smaller amount of protein. Make a yogurt parfait with fruit, a banana, Greek yogurt and nuts. You can add the nuts for the extra protein if you use it for a post workout snack, but you don’t need them for a preworkout. I just like them. You can use frozen fruit or fresh to make your parfait. My favorite is to put a small layer of Greek yogurt in a cup, top it with frozen or fresh blueberries or black cherries or both. Slice in a half banana and a few walnuts then top with a thin layer of Greek yogurt with a few more walnuts.

Fresh fruit and some peanut butter is another good choice.

Slice an apple and put a bit of peanut butter on the slices. You can also use other types of nut butter, such as almond or cashew butter. Speaking of nuts, you can make your own trail mix, too. Raisins, craisins and other dried fruit can be added, also include coconut for more variety. While dates aren’t as popular as raisins, they’re also good. Slice down the side of a pitted date and put a teaspoon and a half of nut butter inside and close it. It’s a ready to go snack you can carry with you.

Don’t forget the veggies and dips.

You can make your own healthy hummus with chickpeas. If you want it smooth, make sure you soak it and remove the fibrous hulls before you process it. You can snack on the hummus with veggies or use whole wheat pita or crackers for the carbs. Cucumber hummus bites, which are slices of cucumbers with halved cherry tomatoes, olives and chopped parsley on top are another option. If you make your own hummus, you can flavor it to meet your taste, even making dark chocolate hummus to top a banana.

  • Make a fruit smoothie and drink it ½ hour or an hour before you go to the gym. Fruit smoothies are high in natural sugars to give your body the boost it needs. They also contain phytochemicals that are good for your health.
  • Oatmeal is a good preworkout snack. Top it with fruit to increase the energy producing carbs. You can even add a little honey to make it sweeter.
  • The protein is as important as the carbs. While the carbs provide the energy, the protein digests slower and provides energy throughout the workout. It helps prevent the body from breaking down muscle and boosts recovery.
  • Don’t eat a full meal too close to working out. The snack should be eating about a half hour to an hour before and be light. If you’re eating a full meal, try to keep it about four hours before working out.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeightLoss

Manage Your Holiday Cravings

It’s tough to stick to a healthy eating plan when those around you are indulging. These five tricks will help you stay on track without alienating the not-so-healthy eaters in your life.

  • 1. Create a diversion.
  • Can’t enjoy a bite without whetting your appetite for the whole cake? You needn’t explain why you’re skipping dessert—just divert attention from your pass. As the serving dish goes around, strike up an amusing conversation or excuse yourself to make a phone call. Better yet, bring along a bag of veggie snacks and say you’re craving a handful of those instead. Making a fuss over food restraint often intensifies cravings, which can lead to overeating.
  • 2. Serve yourself.
  • Fill your plate with fruit or vegetables and protein. If you can’t prepare your own plate, there’s nothing wrong with asking the server for smaller portions.
  • 3. Monitor your pace.
  • In group settings, it’s easy to get caught up in an eating frenzy, subconsciously matching others plate-for-plate. You can prevent gorging by filling up a little beforehand. Make sure you arrive hydrated and have a small healthy snack (See Support Portal for recipes), or an apple so you aren’t as hungry.
    Watch out for drinks, too. Cocktails can pack up to 500 calories a glass. Sip slowly, one of our cocktail recipes or drink seltzer water with a slice of fruit to fancy it up. If your friends catch you empty-handed while they’re drinking, they’ll likely order another round.
  • 4. Praise healthy dishes.
  • You might think you’re being a polite dinner guest by saying you wish you could have some of that creamy artichoke dip. But it’s better to leave diet sabotage out of the conversation. It can make the cook feel bad about preparing food his or her guests can’t eat. Instead, shift your focus to the fresh fruit or veggie salad.
  • 5. Schedule an activity.
  • Don’t let food be the centerpiece of a social gathering. Get-togethers are often focused on eating, and if you’re distracted, nervous, or simply basking in how much you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll probably get carried away. Bringing a board game or some photos to a dinner party. Going for a walk after the meal is another good way to shift the focus away from the table. And you might sidestep the dessert dilemma altogether.


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The Best And Worst Low Carb Foods

Not all carbs are equal. There are carbs in healthy foods, like vegetables and also carbs in unhealthy ones, such as candy bars and cake. The same is true for low carb foods. So how do you tell the difference between the ones that are good for you and ones that aren’t. What are the best and the worst low carb foods, so you can make sure you make the healthiest choices. Some low carb foods are packed with nutrients, while others aren’t.

Check out nuts to see a difference in carbs based on variety.

Nuts are good for you and often lower in carbs. There are always exceptions. While pecans, Brazil nuts and macadamia nuts have fewer carbs, pistachios and cashews have more. For instance, cashews contain 22 grams of carbs, while pecans only have 4 grams for the same serving size. Both are healthy and contain healthy fat and protein, but the low carb option of pecans seems a better choice.

What’s the worst type of low carb option?

Low carb candies might sound tempting, but you should really look the other way and choose a different option. Manufacturers replace the sugar with sugar alcohol, which can cause explosive diarrhea and gas. These options also contain ingredients that are inflammatory, such as highly refined vegetable oils, while also providing no nutritional value. Other highly processed low carb, unhealthy options are string cheese, processed meat, low carb bread and low carb tortillas. Frozen low carb meals and many keto approved fast foods are filled chemicals. Always read labels and look for natural options.

Healthier low carb options are easy to find.

All types of animal products like seafood, beef, chicken and eggs are low in carbs, but high in protein and healthy nutrients. While avoiding food with trans fats, butter is also a healthy option, especially if it’s from grass fed cows. Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, leafy greens, cabbage and peppers are on the list of the nutritious low carb foods. Vegetable alternatives to pasta, such as spaghetti squash and zoodles, are also good options.

  • Vegetables grown above ground are normally lower in carbs than those grown beneath the ground. Both have nutrients, but the ones grown above ground have fewer carbs to help you keep your weight in check. Bone broth and fermented foods are good options.
  • While fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy, go lightly on fresh fruit. They’re sweeter, so they contain more carbs. Stick with blackberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and strawberries, rather than bananas, grapes and apples.
  • Not only does what you eat make a difference, so does what you drink. Stick with healthy options like water, plain tea and coffee without sugar. Don’t fall for the diet drinks that add chemicals and have proven to add fat around the midsection.
  • Some healthy low carb alternatives include 70% cocoa dark chocolate sweetened with stevia, mushrooms, avocados, grilled shrimp and mango on a bed of couscous and lettuce.

For more information, contact us today at ProWeight Loss

DNA & Exercise

Live a Healthier Lifestyle by Understanding Your DNA

Interested in a customized workout program based on your genetic testing in order to manage your weight? Our DNA maintenance programs do just that and more! By having specific genetic information on what your body requires for both cardio-based workouts and strength training exercises, you can maintain or lose weight, while having a plan to follow for the rest of your life. We test a variety of genes to determine the best exercise program for you. We will assess your overall fitness level, by measuring certain indicators such as body mass index (BMI) to create your customized, detailed report, providing you with the physical fitness recommendations for your own personalized fitness plan. Incorporated with our DNA meal plans specific to your testing and macronutrient ratios, our APP will determine your optimal health based on your body type, goals, activity level and medical history.



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