This time of year is when the resolution and goal setting motivation is at an all time high. This past year has given me a new perspective on health and what goals I should be striving for. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, HEALTH LOOKS DIFFERENT ON EVERYONE, and at all different stages of our lives. A fitness goal your best friend is working towards, may sound great, but quit comparing! Her goal may not be the best thing for you and your health. Sometimes our goals need to go against the grain, and that’s OK!
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For today's post, I'm bringing you a little collaboration with my friend and fellow Fitness loving Foodie, Chandler. She's the brains behind the go to food blog and instagram of Spokane, SpokaneEats. One major mutual belief - Life is too short for mediocre food!
As a fitness coach and personal trainer, a few of the common question I get asked are “what do you eat? How do you eat perfect all the time? What should I eat? How can I eat healthy if I don’t like to cook?” And on the flip side, some of the questions that Chandler gets are “how do you eat out all the time and stay in shape? How often do you work out to balance out all the good meals? What’s your secret to staying fit with a food blog??”
Well I’ve come up with 10 tips to help you out. Whether you’re a food lover, fitness lover, or both, there’s a way to have your cake and eat it too.
1) Decide on a healthy lifestyle.
This means leave the “Diet” mentality behind. Healthy eating is not something you start on Monday and end on Friday. It’s balance. It’s something that is easy to maintain if you’re doing it right. If you’re on a “Diet” that makes you miserable and you can’t wait until the 30 days are over so you can end it, then something’s not right. The advice I give my clients is to start where currently are and make baby steps towards a healthier you. Don’t jump into anything extreme that seems daunting. By taking smaller, manageable steps, you’ll create a healthy lifestyle overtime.
2) Prioritize what’s worth it
This is about learning to pass up on mediocre food just because it’s there and enjoying the whole experience when you do splurge on a meal out. For me, part of what makes a splurge worth it comes down to what I like to call a “foodie experience” (which my husband loves to tease me about). This includes the good company I’m with, the location we’re eating, if it is something unique on the menu, or that you can’t find anywhere else (like voodoo donuts in Oregon), if it’s a special occasion or holiday, and how satisfied I’ll feel after eating it. If I don’t find at least one of these factors, it is NOT WORTH IT, and I’ll move on. (Read more about prioritizing your plate here, and when to splurge here)
3) Learn to cook healthy from home
As fun and convenient as eating out is, part of eating out and staying fit is not eating out for every meal! If you’re passing up on mediocre, not worth it food, then you better learn some kitchen skills. Nowadays it’s so easy to cook quick, healthy meals from home. With things like riced-cauliflower and spriralized veggies, you’ll be well on your way! (If you need some more guidance in the area of meal planning, cooking, and prepping I got you covered. Check out my Meal Guide services here. Need some healthy recipe swaps? Find them here)
4) Eat extra healthy for Non-social meals
When you prioritize what’s worth it, and learn some basic skills in the kitchen, you’ll be able to enjoy the meals out and eat extra healthy when you’re on your own. This becomes a bit of a balancing skill. If you know you’re going out for a friend’s birthday Thursday night, and your favorite ice-cream shop is involved, keep the sugar content down for your other meals throughout the day. Try a two egg veggie scramble, or a green smoothie for breakfast. For lunch, lighten things up with a salad and leave out the big sandwich, and definitely limit the processed carbohydrates in your daily diet. I talk more on this subject in my “all you can eat” blog post here.
5) Schedule in your workout
You’ll feel awesome, and your body will respond to a few extra calories so much better if you’ve had a good sweat session in your day. It can be hard to make our way to the gym or get in any form of exercise if we haven’t actually planned it in as part of our day. I tell all my clients that the best way to make exercise a part of your life is to schedule it in, just like you would a hair appointment (but hopefully much more often than a hair appointment!) We all have time for at least 20 minutes of exercise each day, we just have to make it a priority and plan for it. (for more tips for sticking to a workout plan click here!)
6) Sharing is Caring
I would say 90% of the time I eat out, I have enough food for two. If I don’t split my meal with someone, I end up saying “wow, I’m stuffed, I totally could’ve shared that!” So I’ve learned to listen to that. Remember that you can always order more food, but the chances of you needing to are slim. Restaurants typically have large portions. Especially when ordering a dessert, usually a few bites will do the trick! You can also try going halfsies with someone on a splurge & something lighter like a salad. Splitting something like a burger or pizza with a salad is always a good choice. That way, you can try more things, but not over stuff yourself with the indulgent dish all to yourself.
7) Don’t forget you can customize your plate!
Usually when I eat out, I like to enjoy the dish the way the brilliant chef designed it to be. However, there are times when I don’t want chips or fries on the side, and I would rather splurge somewhere else. In those instances I always ask for a different side option and most restaurants are accommodating! You can always get some sort of vegetable or salad instead of the chips, French fries, or mashed potatoes. Don’t forget you have control when it comes to whether your meat is grilled, fried, breaded, etc. Opt for grilled when that is available. You can also ask for extra greens instead of a grain base if you’re feeling like really lightening it up. Go into the situation with a game plan, knowing you always have options to “healthify” your meal!
8) Walk more, sit less
This one may seem super simple, but I find it makes a big difference! As this directly ties in to eating out, try parking far away from the restaurant so that you get a little walk in before and after your meal. If there’s a wait at the restaurant, walk around while you wait rather than sitting on the waiting bench. If you have a lunch break at work, take a walk! These are just good healthy habits to incorporate into your daily life. Train yourself to walk more, stand more, and sit less, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you. (Get my tips for more daily activity here)
9) Cut out the Extra - Unnecessary Calories
When dining out, most of us will end up eating more calories than we anticipate. These sneaky calories come from the bread basket, the basket of chips, the bottomless fries, the extra sauce, the drink, the loaded dressing… the list goes on. Most of these “extras” aren’t going to make or break our eating out experience, but it’s just there so we eat it. Unless it’s a restaurant that’s known for its fresh, homemade bread, then I'm passing on the bread basket. The bottomless chips & salsa at Mexican restaurants is one of my down falls for sure. I try to drink lots of water and wait until my meal gets there at least before I go to town on the chips. When ordering a salad, always ask for your dressing on the side (they typically put double the dressing than I would ever put on my own). Also, avoid the tasteless liquid calories. One glass of lemonade has over 50 g of sugar!! By cutting out these unnecessary extras, you can focus on the good stuff and still leave feeling satisfied.
10) Learn to Live the Moderation Life
For me, the key to living a healthy lifestyle and staying fit while eating out comes down to moderation. I know this word may seem a bit overused, but just hear me out. I often have clients tell me that they are “all or nothing” and they could never just stop at 2 bites, but I’m not buying it. I believe you can train yourself to be a moderator. It may take some practice at first, training yourself to stop when you may want to mindlessly keep going. When we master moderation, we can enjoy a night out on occasion, we can have a few bites of dessert, we exercise a healthy amount, we have the desire to move more, and we don’t have to feel guilty or depressed after a little indulgence. (read more on my views about moderation here)
Food shouldn’t be feared, it should be enjoyed. It is fuel for our body to do all of the amazing things it’s capable of doing! The more we embrace this perspective, the easier it is to adapt to a life of healthy moderation.
5 Tips to avoid over eating when the sign says "All You Can Eat"
I’ve been thinking about what keeps us from reaching our goals. Part of my day to day job as a trainer that I love is taking a look into my clients lives and figuring out together how to better reach their goals & create a healthy lifestyle they can maintain. With lots of contemplating and discussing, I’ve decided that one of the biggest stumbling blocks are the unhealthy habits that have become a part of our lives that we may not even recognize as habits.
Let me shed some light on what I’m talking about. Maybe you always set your alarm for 30 minutes before you have to leave out the door, therefore leaving you with no time to eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. Maybe you always put the chips in the most convenient cupboard so you know exactly where to go when the salty craving hits. Or you always go with a friend to the gym who just wants to chat the whole time so you never really get the workout you want, haha gotta love those chatty friends! It could even be just going to the same grocery store you always go to, and walking the same route you always do, which conveniently leads you right to the ice-cream isle or the dang Oreo section! Then we buy them, and then we have to eat them.
The point is that these un-healthy habits are the things we do throughout our daily/weekly routines without even realizing we’re doing them. We’re probably looking beyond the mark with what we think we need to change to reach our health and fitness goals, when it could actually just be simple and right in front of us.
My suggestion for breaking through this road block is CHANGING THINGS UP. Shake up your routine. I’m going to give you 3 suggestions that I’ve given to my clients to help detach from those un-healthy habits keeping us from our goals.
Ok but first things first, let’s define a habit: it’s a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Dig deep and think of an un-healthy habit that is part of your life right now. If you think of how to get rid of a bad habit, doesn’t it make sense to change your routine! This brings us to my first suggestion.
Change up your daily routine. Shuffle things around. Get creative and go crazy with this. If late night snacking is your issue, change up your entire nightly routine. This could be saving your plate of dinner until after your kids are asleep so that you have it ready to eat instead of your snacking habit. By shuffling your routine a bit, you’ll have no time to snack on the bad stuff! If a good nights rest is your struggle, maybe try sleeping on the opposite side of your bed away from where your phone is plugged in so you get a better sleep. Totally guilty of this! Maybe it’s going to the grocery store in the morning instead of the end of the day when you’re tired and hungry. Or if those tempting drive throughs get ya, try even changing the route home you take so that you don’t have to pass all those luring signs. Small rituals we have may trigger bigger behaviors, so best to just mix it all up!
Out with the bad and in with the good. When you get rid of something in your life, it makes sense to replace it with something better right? This step is in hopes of avoiding the empty hole that can be left when we remove something that’s been a habit. Say you want to stop drinking soda. Well you’re still going to reach for that can of soda habitually unless you have something else to replace it with. Try a La Croix drink or some sort of sparkling water to get you that same fizzy goodness.
Learn to control what you can, and deal with the rest. There’s a sense of power that comes from being in control of our lives and decisions, rather than letting life just happen to you. Sometimes things our legitimately out of our hands, and the important thing is to do our best at bouncing back. However, I argue that In any situation we have some aspect that we can control. Even if it’s just our mindset, we have control over that. You may not be able to have control over your crazy Tuesday schedule of carpooling kids back and forth and them screaming in the back seat because they’re hungry after soccer practice, but you do have control over prepping some healthy snacks for you and the crew in the car to have amidst all the chaos. You may not have control over where your family chooses to go out to dinner, but you do have control over making an educated healthy choice off the menu (avoiding a sugary drink, getting your meat grilled, not eating the whole bread basket, etc.) Flexibility is key here as well. Don’t forget to live life. If a friend brings you her homemade banana bread, you say thank you and enjoy it. Then you just bounce right back into your healthy routine.
A final thought is to be patient with yourself. If you think about it, habits aren’t created overnight, good or bad. If you’ve been doing something a certain way for 15+ years, that behavior isn’t going to just change over night. These adjustments take time. All that matters is that you’re moving in the right direction. Even if you take 3 steps forward and a couple steps back, you’re still better than you were when you started!
Reaching your fitness goals 1 healthy habit at a time
The last few months, my husband and I have been doing a lot of financial research, getting our spending and saving in order, and setting long term financial goals. Working towards financial independence can be a long road, so the sooner you start the better, and consistency is key! So naturally my mind went directly to create a health and fitness metaphor, duh. I received the inspiration while listening to a podcast where compounding interest was mentioned. It had me thinking, it’s the little daily things that we do over a long period of time, for a life time, that lead to our healthiest selves. Just like compounding interest with money, small, daily, healthy habits will build up over time and result in big results, big change that we may not see through the process.
When it comes to health and fitness, a lot of the time we over complicate it, or think it has to be this big change, this big diet, extreme exercise program, a magic juice cleanse, and with this big change we want big results. Either that or we underestimate the power of consistency. To some of us, the big change or the extreme plan may seem easier. Ripping the bandaid off, rather than the slow and steady, daily persistence of small and simple healthy habits. If we don’t meet our goals in a certain amount of time than we become disappointed and quit (similar to not seeing your money grow, and pulling it out prematurely).
We live in a time of instant feedback, we want to see results now! But that’s not how compound interest works. We put in a little bit at a time, consistently, and over time that money grows. Not only does it grow, but it begins to grow at an increasing rate. Can you see the correlation here? Just like with saving money & being financially healthy, with our physical health, the sooner we start the better! And the trick is to never stop, just keep on chugging along. Where we start is different for all of us. Our goals need to be maintainable and realistic for us. As we start where we’re at, creating daily habits towards a healthier lifestyle, we will start to experience benefits to our health, and our fitness will improve. As with compound interest, the results may not be noticeable right away. This is where patience and consistency come in. Building a stable healthy habit foundation that we’re solid with will be key for the long term. Over time we build up our will-power, our cravings and pallets adjust, and we can become better in tune with determining hunger, satiety, and body awareness.
It’s easy to get a little distracted with all the “get rich quick” schemes out there, or in the health world all the fad diets and quick fixes. This is why I recommend baby steps with all of my clients! You wouldn’t dump every single penny you own into an investment account right? But a few dollars out of each pay check isn’t so bad. You catchin my drift?
So to put this into play, here’s a little continuum for healthy habits I came up with. Check it out and see where you’re at right now. From where you are, figure out the next little step towards a healthier you would be. Don’t think you have to be making all these crazy health concoctions you see posted on instagram if you’re still working on your water intake. You do you. Keep it simple. Before you know it, you’ll be living a long healthy life. A lifestyle that’s maintainable and that you love living!
First off, what is Carob? Carob comes from the pod of a tree that grows along the Mediterranean Sea. The pod contains a sweet, edible pulp. Once dried and roasted, the pulp is ground into a powder called carob flour (but more commonly referred to as "carob powder"). It's similar to cocoa powder in color and can be substituted one-for-one in recipes, but carob is unique with its own special flavor and texture. You may want to swap out your Cacao for Carob if you are sensitive to caffeine or theobromine. Carob does not contain either of these like chocolate does.
My whole purpose with this blog post is to help shift your mindset from viewing health & fitness as this extreme program - workout every day, meal prep every meal, avoiding all indulgences, and meditate for an hour each day in a rose garden with an ocean view - to a more realistic view that it's a lifestyle, and the fact is that life is not perfect. The other fact is that what's healthy and working for one person may not be the right path or plan for someone else. We all have our own busy schedules, our own family situations, and our bodies are very different. READ MORE, click on title :)
Welcome Back! So with the recent feedback from the Resolution Revival program I’ve been so proud of the participating clients and their progress and feedback. There were so many who started off with a goal of “losing some weight” or “having my clothes fit better”, etc. But through a little encouragement and time, I noticed a shift as they completed the weekly benchmark fitness tests. Their goals became focused on strength, and increasing their test results. Accomplishing a physical challenge became more important than the number on the scale, or the way they looked. Then naturally, those other goals followed as a side result! So I thought I’d put in a little plug for strength training this week for my Wednesday Wisdom, and setting strength goals for yourself. Here are my top 5 benefits from strength training that will add to your life and your awesomeness :)
- Confidence. One of the biggest benefits I see in my clients after strength training is the confidence they stand with. Especially as women, there’s something empowering about being able to lift heavy stuff, am I right?! Knowing that you can jump into any situation (most situations I guess ;) and feeling like you can handle yourself feels amazing. Also, the fact that you’ve pushed yourself through hard things without giving up (hard challenging work outs, not quitting when you feel the burn) gives you a confidence to be able to take on challenges that come into your life. You can do hard things!
- Functional strength. The tasks of daily living become easier! You can carry your kids up the stairs without feeling like you want to pass out. You can carry all of your groceries to your car without struggle. Being able to perform the functions of daily life helps you stay young! which leads to the next benefit.
- Live a longer, healthier life. There has been plenty of studies on aging and it’s well known that strength training can actually reverse aging symptoms!! Keeping your muscles from decreasing in size, and your bones dense and healthy. There are also plenty of neurological benefits as well, keeping our neurons firing to all areas of the body. Sounds good to me!
- Naturally burn more fat. Its a common goal to want to “lose body fat” or “tone up”, but most people go about this the wrong way. Doing more cardio and eating less is not always going to get you there. What you really want to do is strength train, put on some muscle, and then once you have muscle underneath that fat, your body will naturally burn more fat throughout the day, and slowly widdle away that layer and those muscles will start to show. Muscle is the best fat burner we can carry around with ourselves everyday. Muscle mass naturally bumps up our metabolism. If you’re looking for a toned, sculpted, lean look, you have to put in the work to build that muscle before its seen underneath the fat layer. Unfortunately we can’t choose where our body stores fat or gets rid of fat, its just a total body thing. Spot reduction doesn’t exist. But we can choose which muscles we build. Eating right is going to play a huge part as well. Proteins, healthy fats, and lots of veggies should do the trick! Trust the process.
- The psychological benefits of accomplishment. Think of the last really hard workout you put yourself through. Did you think to yourself after “I really wish I didn’t do that” or was it more along the lines of “that was hard, but I’m proud I pushed myself through it”. Most likely it was the latter. In a recent study I read, they found that strength training is associated with reductions in anxiety symptoms among healthy adults, reductions in pain intensity among patients with low back pain, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia; improvements in cognition among older adults; improvements in sleep quality among depressed older adults; reductions in symptoms of depression among patients with diagnosed depression and fibromyalgia; reductions in fatigue symptoms; and improvements in self-esteem.
Well if I haven’t convinced you yet, see for yourself! Grab some weight, take a break from the treadmill, and experience these benefits in your own life. Here’s some feedback from my clients who have taken on my 4 week challenge:
“The challenge really opened my eyes to how hard I'll need to work to make a change in my body.....20 minutes of cardio here and there isn't going to cut it anymore!”
“After 4 weeks my focus has change from losing weight to building muscle, strengthening, and toning. I am excited to start another 4 weeks!”
“Never before have I done anything like this, but it has been really motivating and fun. I wanted to increase my strength and these workouts have really helped.”
“Done!! What a great sense of accomplishment! Tricep dips are sooo hard! I have to do them on my knees, but I did all of them. Less sore than 1st 2 weeks for sure. Starting to build confidence in my strength.”
“Idecided not to step on the scale. What I am recognizing in myself is that it is challenging and exciting to meet the daily workout strength goals"
I love this feedback, and I am inspired by all of you strong women out there. Share this out with a friend you want to get strong with!
Something that I hear a lot of from clients is that they seem to hit a plateau on their weight loss journey. They’ve lost some weight but are now stuck and can’t seem to lose the last 10-15 pounds to reach their goal. Or someone that has always been overweight and it seems to be just a natural state for their body. There’s some truth to this. Our bodies, all unique, have a certain size and weight where our we seem to reach homeostasis, when levels in our body our at equilibrium. Our body feels comfortable here. This explains why some people can gain weight and without changing anything the weight gain just seems to stop or slow down. For others it may take a lot longer. Anyways, the focus for today is providing you with some tips that will help you get over that plateau, or that wall, when your weight loss momentum seems to come to a halt. Now, keep in mind that some of us just aren’t meant to be at a lower weight or body size, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change our body composition (adding lean muscle mass, and losing body fat). We have to figure that out over time. For me, I’ve found where a good healthy weight is for me, where I have energy, strength, and I don’t have to starve myself to stay there. It took a while. I’ve been heavier and smaller than I am and I’ve learned whats manageable. I don’t even touch the scale anymore. It’s one of those things you’ll have to play around with to see how your body maintains certain sizes, and what it takes with your diet and exercise to stay there. So lets get right into it. Remember that some of these may work for some of you, and not for others. Like I always say, health and fitness is such a individual process! Its not a one size fits all.
Tip #1: Get your Beauty Rest. So much of weight gain or the halting of weight loss can come from stress our body is going through. This includes mental, emotional, and physical stress. Some stress is good, but we want to avoid the over stress. A lot of this is how much sleep we’re getting. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night and if you can, 8 would be ideal! Make it priority. Put away electronics, and give yourself some quality sleep. Obviously if you’re in the trenches of raising little kids, especially newborns, you may not be able to manage this, but do your best. When we are in a sleep deficit our body releases stress hormones, such as cortisol, which aids in storing fat! Yikes, not exactly what we want! So get your beauty rest. Also, take a walk outside, get some fresh air, to eliminate stressors that come from the day to day grind.
Tip #2: Watch your sugar content. Hidden sugars can be the make or break for weight loss success. If we’re not aware, sugar can be in so many foods that we’re not aware of and can add up quickly. I tell all my clients to try to keep your sugar content below 35g per day if weight loss is your goal. (read my blog post on sneaky sugar culprits here, and high sugar vs low sugar fruits here) This includes natural sugars in fruit, honey, agave, etc. Avoid juices and flavored drinks which can be loaded with sugar. When you start to add it up, it doesn’t give you much room for extra processed junk. Stick to 1-2 pieces of fruit per day and you should be just fine!
Tip #3: Have a protein at every meal. Consuming protein throughout the day provides you with several opportunities to boost your metabolism through the thermic effect of food (TEF). It also helps promote lean muscle retention, which will naturally boost your metabolism throughout the day. Some options are chicken, tuna, quinoa, salmon, hemp seeds, nuts, beans, and lentils. Of course this has to be paired with regular exercise which leads me to tip number 4.
Tip #4: Change up your workout routine. Sometimes we get in a rut and our body adapts to the normal routine we put it through. Our bodies our smart. They work efficiently. When we throw something new in to our routine, our body has to work a little harder to figure it out. Also with increasing weight, or total volume of our workout, we will strengthen our muscles, making them better fat burners. So move away from the elliptical machine, and add some weights to your life! (if you need some ideas, check out my training programs here)
Tip #5: Eat your veggies at every meal! This is another tip I tell all of my clients no matter what. You can do it! Lots of ways to sneak them in. Why is this so important? Well I like this tip for several reasons. First of all you’ll be getting in more fiber, helping you feel fuller longer, and helping with digestion. Also, by challenging yourself for veggies at every meal, you are going to be replacing more empty calorie options (breads, pasta, sugar) with veggies, full of nutrients and goodness. Some of my favorites are Green smoothies, Zucchini noodles, Carrot noodles, a leafy green meal base (vs. Rice or pasta), the possibilities are endless! You just need to experiment a little and you’ll find it’s not that scary! If you need some awesome, veggie based meal ideas, let me meal plan for ya! (go here)
So there you have it, some simple tips you can try out to push you past that stubborn plateau in your weight loss pursuit! I know we could all work on at least one of these. Start with one step at a time. And don't let the scale be your only indicator of success!! That stupid number can have so much control over our happiness when it really doesn't say anything about strength, health, or body fat percentage, so keep it all in perspective!
I had a thought dawn on me this week. Why do I exercise? But more specifically, why do I exercise the way I exercise. Why do I lift weights? Do I have specific goals I’m training for? When I really dug deep I narrowed it down to the fact that I want to live a long, healthy, adventurous, functional life without health limitations. Secondly I want to feel STRONG and CONFIDENT in my own skin. I feel the most confident in my skin when I can see muscle definition, and when I only have a small amount to pinch on my love handles ;) That doesn’t mean I don’t love my body at all times, I just know what makes me feel the most confident. Everyone’s different. But what I want to focus on today is setting up your goals and training with a purpose behind them. To get the most quality out of your life, rather than just running everyday because that’s what you’ve been told to do, even though your body may hurt, and you may hate it.
I was listening to a podcast with Craig Ballantyne, the author of “the cardio myth” and “The perfect day formula” and many other great books, and it sparked these thoughts. You can listen to it here. He talks about how so many people over the last few decades have fallen into thinking they have to do a bunch of cardio to lose weight. Thinking if they miss a day of running, they are going to gain weight. Long cardio workouts are awesome if you’re training for an endurance sport, or if you just love it to clear your mind (my reason for running), but its not the magic path to weight loss for everyone. In fact, lots of people end up gaining weight while training for a marathon, or training on an endurance program because they think they can eat a lot more carbohydrates, or any calories because the calorie expenditure is typically way over calculated. When machines tell you how many calories you’re burning, the calculation is usually 40% higher than reality! But thats a bit of a tangent for another discussion. Back to purposeful goals.
Our goals should make us happy right? They should lead us to a rich & full life. With this in mind, I would advise you to step away from the goals that will not add to the quality of your life. This may take some thoughtful prioritizing. I’m talking about the goals some of us may have to be super ripped & have a six pack, but we’re miserable because we can’t ever enjoy food or going out with friends. We feel more trapped in this pursuit than it may be worth. When it comes to eating and nutrition, the goal should be to FEEL great and have energy. With that focus rather then dieting to lose weight, I guarantee your choices will start to transition towards the healthier direction without thinking too much about it.
Take a minute now with a pen and paper & write down the reason you exercise and your long term goal with it. Get to the root reason. For example, I work out because it puts me in a good mood (I’m really grumpy without it), boosts my confidence (I like the way I look from years of exercise), and I am so much more functionally strong in my day to day life (I love being able to participate in hikes, skiing, any activity without feeling like I could pass out). With all of this I can better do my part to bring goodness into the world. When I feel awesome, I can bring awesomeness. And as I said before, I want to live a long, healthy, adventurous, functional life without health limitations or confidence struggles.
Now the next layer is setting goals within our training that will lead to that overall long term goal. So if I want to be functional into old age, I’m going to train functionally. I’m going to incorporate functional strength movements into my workouts. Forget the muscle isolation machines where you sit down, put your arm in a crazy contraption & move some weight in one direction. I’m going to focus on free weights, barbell, TRX, and kettle bell exercises where I’m constantly using my core and stabilizers to move weight that could go in any direction. I’m going to foam roll and stretch to avoid injuries, or pain down the road.
The next layer is to get specific within those goals. What are your fitness goals for this year, that will eventually lead to your overall goal for a high quality life. Maybe you want to lose some body fat for a beach trip this summer. Your going to want to incorporate some cardio intervals into your training, and believe it or not, you’re going to want to LIFT WEIGHTS. The muscle you gain will help you burn more fat. If you don’t have the muscle underneath the fat layer than you’re never going to get that “lean/toned” look you’re going for. You’re going to want to work on your eating as well. Maybe you want to do your first Spartan Race this year. You need to be strong enough to pull yourself over a wall so you’re doing more strength based exercise, working with pull ups, or whatever it is you need increased strength for. And depending on the length of the race you will want some endurance training. Incorporating rep ranges above 15 will get you there. There’s lots of different ways to train, and beliefs behind certain rep ranges and their effectiveness, but having short term goals and your long term goals and your “why” in mind makes it so much easier to get motivated and plan out your training with purpose.
To wrap this up, I just want to encourage you to find your purpose with all this fitness stuff. It helps to keep in mind the long term picture of a quality, healthy life. That means walking more everyday, filling your body with nutritious foods, avoiding processed garbage food, maintaining a healthy body weight, and focusing on functional strength and mobility. Also don’t neglect the rest and recovery part! When our goals align with our long term desires, we’ll see results, and we’ll feel the difference!
Thanks for reading! Leave me any comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve been doing a lot of research on gut health and how important health from the inside out is. So much of our health stems from our gut! If you want beautiful skin, more energy, white teeth, less cellulite, etc., start with the gut. Today’s Wednesday Wisdom I’m sharing my findings from my recent gut health research, and my Morning ritual drink recipe (and why I’m loving Apple Cider Vinegar these days).
Starting off I just want to say that I am NOT a scientist by any means, and I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter. I’ve just been reading, and experiencing benefits on my own so I want to share what I’ve been learning with you all!
I want to focus on the ingredients of my morning drink and explain why they’re so beneficial. So here it is:
- Heat up 8 oz of water in a mug
- add about 1-2 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Add a wedge of lemon juice
- add a slice of fresh ginger
- add a couple drops of honey
- Stir all together and sip it down!
Whether you’ve heard of Apple Cider Vinegar or not, you may not know all the awesome health benefits. As I type this, I am feeling amazingly better after being sick for a week, and I just finished a glass of this concoction. This stuff works!
• Nutrient Delivery. So this drink is not full of Vitamins & Nutrients, like a green smoothie, but it can help your body put those vitamins and nutrients to good use. The acidic-ness of the lemon and the ACV actually help reduce harmful acid and inflammation in our bodies. It helps improve digestion and the absorption and delivery of vitamins and nutrients to the rest of your body and all the important functions that need to be taken care of. This speedy delivery will result in more energy and radiant skin :)
• Cleans up our insides. Apple Cider Vinegar is anti fungal, and breaks down the harmful bacteria in our bodies. Along with breaking down bacteria, it will break down plaque build up in arteries for a healthy heart, and mucus build up if you’re feeling congested. I have had a week long cold and lingering on with a cough and I felt a huge difference after consuming my drink! If you get seasonal allergies as well you’ll totally reap the benefits.
• Weight management. Some of the weight management benefits come from the fact that drinking this can suppress your appetite a bit. It does have a strong taste, and I would suggest starting with a small amount of the ACV and a bit more honey while your palette adjusts. It has also been shown to regulate your blood sugar levels. This is why I love to take it first think in the morning because I reap the benefits throughout the day. Part of weight management is avoiding extreme blood sugar spikes throughout the day. This drink will help your body regulate blood sugar levels. Some researchers believe the notion that acetic acid (the main make up of ACV) turns on genes that trigger enzymes to break down fat and prevent weight gain. SWEET! Now I’m not saying this is the magic pill, easy quick fix to losing weight. You will need to eat a healthy diet full of real food, lots of veggies, and exercise, but this drink can help in your efforts and help you feel great from the inside out.
• The Ginger Bonus. The ginger in this drink is optional but also has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is a natural way to treat Nausea and morning sickness for all you momma’s to be! Ginger is also effective in treating muscle soreness. I know a lot of you are working hard at the gym, and can benefit from these healing properties. Ginger also appears to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort. The list goes on and on with ginger, helping with brain function, heart health, fighting cancer, and more. So definitely not a bad thing to add to the diet!
Give it a try. Especially if you find yourself with an upset stomach or bloated often. There’s a lot of crap all around us so it’s important for us to counteract it from the inside out starting with our systems inside of our bodies.
How many of you have ever felt like your body wasn’t good enough for some reason or another? Not because you didn’t feel healthy enough, but because you felt you didn’t meet some expectation for a certain look. Today I want to recognize the ugly reality of this body shaming nonsense. Before I start I just want to add a disclaimer that I’m not trying to turn this into a pitty party of any kind, I just had some feelings and experiences lately I’m sure we can all relate to, and I want to help as many of you as I can to avoid this trap. If anything I’m just excited to have a conversation with you all because I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had these thoughts and feelings.
This last year I got down to the smallest weight I’d ever been since I don’t know, pre highschool?? It was this summer after living in Europe where my food was cut down and I walked EVERYWHERE. And then I ended on the note of dengue fever in Thailand so I was in the hospital for a week barely being able to stomach any food. I came home feeling pretty weak, and not my healthiest. I gained back a little strength quickly, and kept with my smaller portions. I felt great about my body, but my fitness level had definitely taken a hit. Adjusting back into life in the US, I’ve let happen what I was afraid of happening. I’m not walking nearly as much, and food is very much more abundant. I’ve definitely gained back some meat on my bones. I’ve been getting stronger which I’m really happy about, and I think being strong builds confidence and is a beautiful thing for women. Then why was I crying last night looking at pictures from a photo shoot I did recently? I prepped for the photo shoot, felt pretty confident, knew I wasn’t looking my best, but still felt good going into it. Why was I beating myself up over body image? I found myself picking apart every picture. I was so bugged my skin rolled over my spandex a little, and that my back fat was showing from my bra line. For the first time since I’ve been out of college and in the fitness industry, I had gained some weight rather than lost weight. This past summer I felt what it was like for all my clothes to be big on me, and people to comment on how small I was. Note that I still got the negative comments like “you’re way too skinny, put some meat on your bones!”. And now just being slightly bigger, but at a totally normal and healthy weight for my body type, I find myself being so critical of my physique. I’ve let the comments and opinions of others effect me in a negative way, as if they know what I “should” look like. Comments like “wow you look….. muscly” or “You’ve really put on some muscle” have caused me to feel like I’ve done something wrong, like I’m not the right body type for my audience or the people paying attention. This week I let these comments make me feel bad about being “too” strong or “too” muscly. The pressure of having the perfect “personal trainer” physique, or whatever the “perfect body” is in your eyes can sometimes get the best of us.
But I wanted to address this, because I know a lot of us struggle with body image. What’s not ok is thinking there’s a perfect body mold that we all have to fit into. I think its totally ok and healthy to have goals of “getting lean” or “shedding some extra thickness” that we may not love. But the point I want to stress is loving and accepting yourself where you’re at, and have your main goal be HEALTH. I’ve been having so much fun training at the gym the past five months since we’ve been back from Europe, and I’ve been loving feeling stronger and more confident with lifting. I will be the first to admit that I have been eating slightly bigger meals than I probably need to be, and haven’t been too disciplined on my treat consumption. Being in my profession, I know what it takes to shed a few pounds & lean out. But what bugs me about this situation is that I’ve let the opinions of others and comparison of myself to others effect my body image. It’s so easy to compare ourselves in the social media world. We see images of perfect bodies without the whole story behind it all. I know we’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to filtered instagram perfection, and I want you to snap back in to reality like I made myself do. Realize that you truly are beautiful! There is no perfect body size. Weight is just a number that can drive us crazy if we let it. When we love ourselves, we can better send love out into the world. Never tell anyone that they are too skinny, too muscly, or too much of anything as far as their body goes. We don’t know how these words can effect someone negatively, and who’s to say what’s too skinny or too muscly anyways?
I’ve found that as we strive to be HEALTHY, the great body will follow! The best body type is the one you feel your healthiest in and that allows you to live your life to the fullest. For some of us that may mean shedding a few pounds that crept up over the holidays thats making us feel a bit sluggish, or for others of us that may be putting on a few pounds of muscle so that we feel like we can take on more of what life throws at us. This past week, while I was feeling so down about the way I looked in these dumb pictures, it just made my heart go out to all the beautiful women who have ever felt anything negative about how their body looks. I want you to know that you are beautiful. One of the main reasons I do what I do is to build up confidence in women and I found myself a victim of body shaming myself. It happens. Lets turn it around, build each other up, and find beauty in strength and health. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the joy and confidence in my clients after they’ve been working out, feeding their body right with healthy food, and they feel strong and confident. It radiates! Fuel your body with whole foods and stay active and watch the results come. End of the story, I went back and looked through my pictures that I was so critical of earlier and they actually looked great to me! I saw them through a much less critical eye, and noticed my strengths, rather than my flaws. Sometimes thats all it takes! Happy Wednesday everybody!
Well I’m back with a Wednesday wisdom for you all, and I’m excited about the topic. Lately I’ve been full of so much I want to share that it’s been hard to pick! So you may be getting more than just Wednesday Wisdom this week :)
Anyways, on to the subject, I’m giving you 4 skills to master that will help you on your healthy eating journey. I’m calling them “non-diet” skills because they are skills that will help you create a healthy relationship with food, and are skills to use long term. I’m all about getting to the root of the problem, rather than shedding some quick water weight with a detox diet. Good things take time and effort! Don’t think you have to master all of these at once, but lets try 1 at a time, each week taking on a new skill to practice.
Skill #1: The PAUSE.
This may seem simple but it can have a huge effect! At your next meal, practice taking a moment to pause, evaluate your hunger. If you feel like you could eat more without reaching your max fullness, but remain at a comfortable state, then continue with a few more bites. If during that pause you feel at a comfortable spot, satisfied, and if you were to eat more your clothes would start feeling tighter, or you may start feeling overly stuffed and uncomfortable, then put down your fork and be done. This moment of pause is so important and we hardly ever stop during a meal to evaluate our hunger. This typically leads us to overeating and feeling stuffed. We want to fill satisfied and energized after we eat!
Skill #2: Healthy Swaps.
This skill is relative to where you are in your own healthy eating journey (yes we’re calling it a journey again). The idea is to see what ingredients you could swap for slightly healthier ones. For example, maybe right now you love sugary toasted nuts as a salad topper. Try swapping out the sugary roasted nuts for some plain toasted nuts. Or maybe you use a sugary dressing from the grocery store, try swapping that out with a simpler, homemade dressing with less sugar. Little baby steps towards healthy choices make a big difference in the long run. Check out some other healthy swaps with this free print out I put together.
Skill #3: Determining worth it vs. NOT worth it.
This skill comes with being honest with yourself. You may have to stop and ask yourself why you’re eating something. Are you eating that cookie because someone put it in front of you and you just reached for it out of habit, and it doesn’t even taste that great? Or is it because it’s your favorite homemade cookie that your grandma makes once a year and you enjoy every last crumb because its that good? Its making those occasional treats really worth it and delicious, and learning to pass on the stuff that we don’t love, and typically eat solely because it’s in front of us, or because we’re bored, or whatever the non logical reason is.
Skill #4: Finding your ‘Sanity Keeper’ indulgence.
So you’re trying to eat better, stay on track. But you’re finding that you can’t be perfect ALL the time, you’re human! Welcome to the club. My suggestion is to find you ‘sanity keeper’ indulgence, which is something you know will satisfy you with just one or two bites to take the edge off. It will give you a sense of satisfaction when you need a little somethin somethin, but you know you won’t go overboard on. For example, when I’m craving something sweet, and dreaming of desserts, I’ve found that if I have a little piece of dark chocolate this will do the trick for me! When its a good rich chocolate, one little square is all I need. It’s low in sugar, and doesn’t leave me craving more. Some nights I don’t crave anything, but when I do, I have some chocolate ready to go. Find what works for you.
So there you have it! Which skill are you going to work on this week? Let me know, lets chat, I want to hear all about your successes! And struggles, we all of them! Have a happy, healthy, awesome week!
WEDNESDAY WISDOM HERE! Hot topic, especially as we start off this new year. All of our social media feeds being flooded with New Years Resolutions, Cleanses, Detoxes, workout Trends, etc. How do we know what diet to choose? What's the secret?? Well I'm here with some words of wisdom. I'll tell you the secret....The best "diet" is the one we can maintain and helps us feel our best! That's it! Suprised? I'll teach you my simple guidelines later, but lets start with this No Diet Approach.
Let me explain.
You can have the most calculated, scientifically tested, measured out meal plan in the world, created by the smartest dietitians, but what good will it do you if it's too complicated to keep track of and stick with once reality sets in. The reason most diets fail is because people get sick of tracking stuff, its unrealistic with their lifestyle, and they quite. We want to go out with our friends and enjoy a meal without thinking of all the numbers throughout the night. We want to be able to make one meal for the family rather then individual orders for each member, leaving us feeling deprived in our corner as we eat our low-calorie diet food. We want to go to the grocery store without our heads almost exploding from reading all these labels, trying to remember what we should or shouldn't eat. This isn't to say you shouldn't even bother in trying to eat healthier, but my advice is to forget the diet rules and make one simple step towards a healthier YOU. Start where you're at, and small and simple changes in the right direction will end up making a huge difference over time!
The thing is, there's always a fad diet. Remember when the Atkins diet was the thing? or the Gluten Free Ban Wagon? Most popular now is the Paleo Diet, is this finally the answer we've been looking for?? In a recent article I read about the current hype on the Paleo diet, anthropologist Dr. William Leonard shared his research findings, “Our species was not designed to subsist on a single, optimal diet. What is remarkable about human beings is the extraordinary variety of what we eat. We have been able to thrive in almost every ecosystem on the Earth, consuming diets ranging from almost all animal foods among populations of the Arctic to primarily tubers and cereal grains among populations in the high Andes.” This to me, explains that we are all going to react differently to different foods, but as a whole, we are capable of utilizing a wide variety of foods. So when a diet plan calls to cut out whole food groups because we aren't supposed to be eating those foods in the first place, I don't fully agree (unless its processed junk your cutting out). Of course we should all listen to our bodies, and if we have a certain sensitivity that's totally different. For example, some people have a dairy or gluten sensitivity, but that doesn't necessarily mean these foods are harmful to everyone.
So want to hear my plan for the simplest diet ever?! Start where you're at and work towards the following:
- Eat whole foods, avoid labels
- If you do have a label, you want the shortest ingredient list as possible
- Have a vegetable (or more) at every meal
- Eat less sugar (especially processed sugar)
And there you have it! SIMPLICITY
So when I say start where you're at and work towards healthy, here's what it may look like for you.
- If you always eat out, try cooking two meals at home this week, and then work your way up to 3 meals, 4, 5, and then maybe you only go out to eat 1x per week!
- If you always have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, try a bowl of oats with fruit instead (fewer ingredients). And then maybe you add in some nuts or seeds to your oats, and some zucchini for your vegetable! Try throwing in spinach to your smoothies as well.
- If you love pasta for dinner, try swapping out your noodles one night for zucchini noodles, or adding vegetables to the sauce.
- If drink fruit juice, try having a whole piece of fruit in stead, you will consume about 1/3 of the sugar that way.
Don't try to be a perfect healthy eater all at once. By taking these baby steps, the habits will stick and you will transform your way of eating over time! If you try to do it all at once it will become frustrating and you'll be right back on the diet roller coaster.
I hope this helps and please let me know if you have ANY other questions at all. Feel free to comment below or send me an email! If you're interested in some healthy recipes to get you started you can check out some of my fitness & meal plans here. Also I'll be doing my 2nd annual Resolution Revival again this February. A 4 week challenge to keep the New Year momentum going, full of daily workouts and meal guide. This year I'm adding an exclusive video page that will have the full workouts you can follow along and do them with me!! Exciting stuff :)
In the mean time, here's a sneak peak recipe that will be on the guide that you can try out this week!
Happy Holidays! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and are enjoying this week with loved ones and some extra free time! Any one else feel all turned around during this week in between Christmas and New Years? Its been a little crazy but awesome! With it being the Wednesday before New Years I wanted to give some tips on starting the year off on a healthy foot. We all want to make New Years resolutions, but sometimes the New Years hype can get a little overwhelming. The problem is when we try to take on so much at once, a couple weeks into it we realize we can’t stick to all of these changes at once, and we quite.
I want you to Join me in making 1, yes only 1, resolution on January 1st. We’re going to focus on that 1 goal for that week, give it all our focus. By the end of that first week we will re-evaluate. If you feel you have the first goal somewhat under control, then we can add one more. If the first week was a big struggle, we’re going to re-commit to that 1 goal for the 2nd week. Baby steps here. You don’t have to commit to a whole life of that goal up front, but we’re just going to take 1 week at a time. Biting off as much as we can chew. Before you know it you’ll have several healthy habits created over that course of a few months!
Setting yourself up for success is key. Some of your goals may take a little prep work. If your goal is to go to the gym every day that week, you’ll need to make sure you have a gym pass, and that you have a time in your day carved out for that gym session. Also, eliminate the chance for error. Set reminders for yourself. That could be an alarm on your phone, or a sticky note on your mirror, whatever works for you!
The last step is to have a source of accountability. Tell someone about your goal! This is the vulnerable part. It takes some bravery to put yourself on the hook like that. By telling someone your goal, you add an extra layer of motivation. They will know if you’re following through or not. This can be scary but its so helpful!
I’ll give you mine as an example:
- My goal: Sugar detox. eliminate processed sugars from my diet for a week.
- Setting myself up: throw away any left over Christmas treats or junk in the house that will tempt me
- Reminder: My Screen Saver on my phone will say “New Years Cleanse”
- Accountability: I’m telling all of my followers and my husband about my goal.
So now its your turn.
- Pick your goal
- figure out what you need to do to set up for success
- Set a reminder for yourself
- Tell someone your goal! Put yourself on the hook
And remember, whatever damage you did this year, you get a fresh start! Time to move forward to a healthier you!
Well Merry Christmas ya'll. It’s Tuesday, and I’m on the plane right now flying back to Salt Lake City to be with friends and family for the holidays and I’m so excited! No place like home for the Holidays right? Well as I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you guys this week before Christmas, I’ve been having a common theme come up. The Christmas tradition that we may not like, but feel it every year. The feeling that lingers around us all at Christmas time is the feeling of a sugar overload, and food-coma. Who’s with me? Most of us enjoy a little extra intake of goodies this time of year and it usually leaves us with a nice cozy layer of fluff to start off the new year. While the extra layer may be nice for the warmth (if you’re always freezing like I am!) we probably don’t want it to stick around for too long. Well I’ve come up with 5 tips to help you bounce back from the Holidays and start the new year off right.
Have the best Christmas weekend and soak up the company of loved ones and the spirit that Christmas brings!
Here in Spokane Washington, I train at a gym called FitEdge. We work with our clients to obtain the 4 pillars of health. These are Mental, Physical, Fuel, and Regeneration. As part of our mental health, we aim to create a healthy relationship with yourself and food. To help with this, we started a little book club with our clients and I'd love for you to join in! Right now we are reading a book called 'The Rules of "Normal" Eating' by Karen R. Koenig. Each week we are discussing 1 or 2 chapters. I am loving this book so far! It's so real and relatable to all the things we deal with in our heads that we may think our normal, or we may not really know what "normal" eating is. This book will help you get on track with your core beliefs that effect your relationship with food and your success with maintaining a healthy weight. She breaks it down in such a great way. It's a quick and easy read to get you started off right approaching the new year! You can check out the Book Club blog Here. For now, I'll share this weeks post with you here at Body Design by Britt.
This week we get into some great stuff. Chapter 5 is called ‘Beliefs of “normal” eaters’. If you’ve felt like you don’t have any “normal” eating beliefs DON’T PANIC. We can change. In Chapter 4 we talked about reframing our thinking. How do we do this?
- Step one is to identify your irrational, unhealthy beliefs
- Step two is to rework them into rational, healthy ones
Think of your own irrational beliefs towards Food, Eating, Weight, and Body. Now try to transform them into rational beliefs. She gives us an example for each category in this chapter (pg 87). I like the example for Food: irrational - “There are lots of bad and forbidden foods I shouldn’t eat”. How many times have we heard this?! “Don’t eat this, but you can eat that”, or “Top 5 foods to NEVER eat”. Sound familiar? Lots of catchy fitness magazine titles may come to mind. Well she explains that a more rational belief would be “There is no such thing as a bad or forbidden food” or “Foods can be nutritious or not, but they don’t have good or bad qualities” or “No one can tell me what foods I should or shouldn’t eat”. Those sound better right?
The chapter goes on to list several beliefs of “normal” eaters, showing us the irrational belief and then how it changes to a rational belief. One of my favorites was “Feeling good or bad about myself depends on what I eat or don’t eat”. That is totally irrational but I’ve caught myself thinking that several times. The more rational thought would be, “How I feel about myself has nothing to do with what I eat or don’t eat”. This is so powerful. Our self worth and confidence is so much more than food & eating! We need to know that and believe it.
One of my favorite excerpts from the chapter is on page 98. “Normal eating is about listening to your body and making healthy decisions. It’s about pleasure, satisfaction, abundance, self-trust, good self-care, internal messages, and most of all, enjoying food. Disordered eating – whether compulsive/emotional or restrictive- is about fear, deprivation, rigidity, childish gratification, mistrusting oneself, poor self-care, external messages, self denial, and scary feelings. What is most striking about the comparison is that disordered thinking about eating has so little to do with actual put-it-on-your-plate-and-enjoy-it food!”
What are CORE beliefs?? In the book she defines them as "your most basic assumptions about yourself and the world, your take on life; they contain your bedrock values and most firmly held convictions about how things should work." This is where our beliefs about food, eating, weight, and body all stem from.
What are your core beliefs?
If you believe in yourself and that you have big dreams your going to accomplish, you are more likely to take care of your health and fuel your body the best you can to reach those dreams! In this chapter she helps us with tools for figuring out what our core beliefs are. Once you’ve discovered your list of core beliefs (about 10 or so) weed out the irrational ones and reframe them into rational beliefs following her example in the book. Some examples of other core beliefs might be -the glass is always half full, not half empty -We can achieve anything in life with hard work -We get what we deserve -Skinny people are happier -Rich people are happier -Money can't buy happiness -etc. (mantras that you live by)
An example that I found while looking into my core beliefs is the belief that “People may not like me if I’m not in shape or gain weight.” This is totally irrational! For this exercise I reframed this belief into “My weight or physical appearance will not effect how much the people I care about love me or how they feel towards me.” By changing this belief, I will change other irrational thoughts and fears that come along with it. This includes being scared to eat in front of certain people, or feeling pressured to look a certain way.
How do we connect our core beliefs to our thinking about food, eating, weight, and our body? Well she gives us a 3 step guide!
- Identify the eating- or body-related behavior you want to change
- Identify the irrational eating- or body-related belief underlying the behavior
- Identify the irrational core belief that underlies the food/weight/body- related belief
Easy enough? give it a try! Here is an example from the book:
- Behavior: Finishing all the food on my plate
- Belief: I am being wasteful if I don’t finish all the food on my plate.
- Core Belief: Being wasteful is an unforgivable sin
This totally describes me! This week I’ve been practicing being ok with leaving food on my plate if I’m not hungry for it. Being OK with scraping food left on my plate into the garbage if its not enough to save for tomorrow. I’ve made progress! Find a belief you have towards food/eating/or body that you want to change and practice this week.
Another example of this:
- Behavior: Weighing myself every day
- Belief: I need to weight myself to know what I should or shouldn’t eat
- Core Belief: I can’t trust my body to know what it needs
This is a great exercise to figure out where we can adjust our daily thoughts and behaviors that stem from our core beliefs. Remember, it may take a while to identify and change beliefs and behaviors, and that’s Ok! The more we sift through and work towards identifying these beliefs, the easier it will become.
What were your thoughts about chapter 5?
We’ve all been there, “well I already had a donut for breakfast, the rest of the day is shot. I’ll eat whatever crap I want for the rest of the day” or “I don’t have time to do my full workout today so I mine as well not even do anything” or “If I’m going to eat healthy I can’t have ANY sugar or ANY fatty foods for the entire month” or “I’ve already had one cookie, mine as well finish the whole bag!” Sound familiar??
Today I want to talk about a common state of mind that I see with clients, and have experienced myself. I’ve been reading about it in my book “the rules of Normal eating” as well. This is the trap of the “All or Nothing" mentality. The thought that there’s no middle ground with health. You’re either extremely healthy, chewing on organic kale, or extreme on the side of sweets and treats and couch sitting.
In the book I’m reading ‘The rules of “normal” Eating’ (you can follow along with my book club here) she talks about how changing our beliefs towards food will change our behavior with food. When changing our beliefs we want to take a look at which of our beliefs are irrational vs. rational, and get rid of those irrational beliefs. For example, the belief that eating 1 cookie is just as bad as eating the whole bag so you mine as well eat the whole bag, is totally irrational! A more rational thought would be, ok I allowed myself 1 cookie, I’ll feel much better if I stop there rather than eating the whole bag.
The problem with the “All or Nothing” mindset is that it becomes hard to maintain these extremes long term and we end up riding this up and down roller coaster. We’re either feeling pressure to be “perfectly healthy”, or feeling bad about ourselves for falling off the wagon. But the truth is we can be healthy in the middle! It's called MODERATION, and not viewing food as the enemy!
I think a big part of this for most people is over complicating it. We have so many voices around us saying “you have to count calories and macros” or “weighing your food is the way to go” and the chatter goes on and on. We think we have to do all this extra stuff if we want to be healthy and it becomes overwhelming and time consuming! What if I told you there’s a simpler way? I never teach calorie counting or macro counting to clients because I want to give you tools you will use for long term success. Who wants to be crunching numbers every time they eat for the rest of their lives? We’ll learn more about how to simplify below.
Alright, now that we’re more aware of what the “All or Nothing” mindset is, how can we avoid it?? Here are my 3 S’s for avoiding this mindset that I’ve had success with in my life and want to share with you.
- Simplify. Forget the measuring and counting, and use your built in portion control kit, your hands! This is an easy way to control your portions that I’ve adopted from Precision Nutrition. They’ve made this awesome infographic that I’ve attached to share with you.
- Have a “Sanity Keeper”. What is this you might ask? Well its a food that you love, and can’t see yourself every living without, that you allow yourself. It’s just enough to take the edge off when you get that naughty food craving. You know that you are never going to give this up. At times when you need to cut back on sugar, or lower your carb intake, you may need to avoid certain foods, but this Sanity Keeper food you’ve chosen can always be in your life. The key is to allow it in moderation. This will help you avoid feeling deprived which usually results in a binge. For me its chocolate. I know I can have a little square of dark chocolate if I’m craving dessert and it will take care of that craving for me. I feel satisfied without feeling guilty, it’s a win win!
- Just Start. the final S is for Start. You may feel overwhelmed thinking that you have to be this extreme healthy person and go on some crazy diet, so you never start. This will never get you to where you want to be. Just start with baby steps. You don’t have to change your life in 1 week. Start with going to the gym once that week. Then add in 2 days a week. Then maybe you start drinking more water and less soda, and then slowly these healthy habits will get easier and become natural to you!
Well there you have it, my quick and dirty guide on how to avoid the trap of the “All or Nothing” mindset. Remember the 3 S’s: Simplify, Sanity Keeper, and just Start. Leave your comments below on how these strategies have worked in your own life or what other brilliant ideas you’ve come up with on your own! I’d love to hear :)
And as always, your questions are welcome here anytime!
Feel free to share this post along to your friends and family who may be interested in the information. Thanks you guys rock
With Thanksgiving this week, I wanted to share some of my favorite healthy tips for enjoying this time of year, without feeling a massive food-coma-hangover come January. The focus of this post is on Thanksgiving, but you can use these tips throughout the Holiday Season, and throughout the year really! The truth of the matter is there are always going to be parties, get togethers, chances to eat out with friends, and that donut guy at work who always brings treats (sent to sabotage our efforts!), so until we change our mindset towards food there's never going to be that "perfect time" or convenient time to lose weight or reach certain fitness goals. These are things I've found to help me in overcoming overeating and maintaining a healthy body composition all year round.
1) First off, schedule in your sweat session. I'm not saying you can always just work off anything you eat. You don't want to get in the habit of always trying to burn off your previous meal. You'll get no where. But when we're in a healthy routine of exercise, our body manages the food better. We can handle some extra calories on occasion and its not going to be the end of the world. You will feel so much better eating that piece of pie knowing you got your workout in.
2) No need to deprive, Portion control is key! We all have our favorite traditional parts of the thanksgiving meal. I love my Mom's stuffing and her homemade rolls with homemade raspberry jam, the best!! A big part of that is because she only makes them at thanksgiving. So keep in mind that its only 1 time a year. You don't need to healthify your traditional favorites if you don't want to. Enjoy the real deal, but just watch your portions. Have a delicious, flaky, buttery roll, just don't have 5! Typically what happens when we cut ourselves short & make our Shape Magazine Healthified - Tofu Stuffing or whatever it is that we think will be a healthy alternative, we end thanksgiving feeling deprived, maybe full but not satisfied. Then we may end up eating more later on because we never got our full Satisfaction. Enjoy the good stuff, just watch your portions!
3) To help out with that portion control, remember not to overcrowd your plate. We often will just eat whats left on our plate whether we want it or not. So take small portions at first, you can always go back for more if you really want, but its harder to stop if it's on your plate already.
4) Slow Down! Most the time, over eating is just a result of eating too fast. Our bodies are pretty good at letting us know when we're full, we just have to give it time to relay the message. Practice setting down your fork after you've had a few bites, a few times throughout the meal. Enjoy the company of those around you, drink water, breathe. The food on your plate doesn't have a time limit, it will still be there! And before you get seconds, try to wait at least 10 minutes. That should give your body plenty of time to let you know if its really still hungry. Slow eating is mindful eating!
5) Don't beat yourself up over one meal! Moderation is healthy. Enjoy the holiday, and get back to your healthy routine the next day! Drink lots of water and don't miss your post holiday workout!
Well there you have it! 5 tips to help you stay on your road to healthy this Holiday Season! Have a great thanksgiving everyone! And I've got you covered with a workout! Download my Turkey Burn workout below and do it with the whole fam this weekend! It's a full body blast, guaranteed to make some room for Turkey Dinner ;)
Think of the last time you had a strong craving to eat something. Whether it was a tub of haagen daz, or a basket of french fries, you wanted it, and you wanted it bad. We all have cravings. Cravings aren’t always bad. Sometimes we crave what our bodies are truly in need of. For example, Chocolate Cravings are for real! Ok maybe not ALL the time, but there are several components in chocolate that the body may become deficient in, especially magnesium and antioxidants. We’re often told to avoid cravings, suppress our cravings, have will power! But what about the concept of satisfying a craving, in a healthy way, which will then allow us to avoid the deprivation and binge cycle that so many of us fall into. Interesting….
So today I want to talk about figuring out why we’re craving certain foods, checking in with our selves, and satisfying that craving in a healthy way. I’ve been trying to tune in to my own cravings and figure out what it is that I need emotionally or physically, rather than the tub of ice-cream or whatever it may be on my radar.
- First step: Decide what your mood is when you get the craving. For me I’m more of a happy eater than a depressed eater. In the past, I typically associate good times and happiness with eating treats & desserts. When I’m sad or down I don’t really feel like eating. This differs from person to person depending on experiences you’ve had. If you get home from a long day of work and all you want to do is pound a whole Pizza, thats most likely linked to emotions from work, rather then your body really needing that pizza, and chances are you won’t really feel better after eating the pizza.
- Second step: Find an alternative fix to satisfy the root of the craving. If you’re craving a Pizza binge when you get home from work, you’re probably feeling a little stressed out from the day. Try the healthy alternative of going for a quick run when you get home, or calling a good friend to talk or vent, or whatever you need to release that work load. Or sometimes for me, I’m with family & friends, and playing games, just having a great time, and I want to eat the whole bowl of peanut butter m&m’s in front of me because I’m just happy! Well if I’m aware of this, I can make sure I’m not putting a bowl of “happy” m&m’s in front of me and replacing that with a veggie tray or something along those lines. This step is basically just weeding out the emotional cravings from the physiological cravings.
- Third step: Find the healthiest option for what you’re craving and satisfy it. Sometimes it’s a taste, or a smell, or just a texture that we crave. Here’s a list of some that I’ve experienced and my recommended cures:
- Something Warm (Hot chocolate, Molten Cake, Cider) —> Herbal Tea! this has been my favorite lately. They have amazing holiday flavors right now that smell and taste delicious, and I don’t crave the sugar loaded hot chocolate anymore!
- Something Cold (icecream, shake, pudding, popsicle) —> Frozen Grapes or blueberries, Protein shake, Frozen Banana icecream, Homemade fruit popsicles
- Something Creamy (pudding, frosting, icecream, creamy soup) —> Avocado, spoon of natural nut butter, healthified mashed potatoes recipe)
- Something Salty (potato chips, french fries, crackers) —> Homemade baked french fries, dry roasted nuts (in moderate portion), stove popped popcorn
- Something Chocolatey —> a small square of rich dark chocolate
- Stressful eating —> Do 10 burpees and see how you feel!
- Eating out of Boredom —> Drink a large glass of water & Pick up a good book to start reading (its hard to eat when your hands are holding a book! or do 10 burpees and see how you feel :)
These are just a few tips I thought of and that have worked for me! There’s lots of healthy ways to satisfy cravings, so find what works for you, and I would love to hear your ideas! Remember, cravings aren't always bad. Determine the root, healthify your options, and honor your body!