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balanced lifestyle

10 tips for eating out and staying fit

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10 tips for eating out and staying fit

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.

 

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Why Meal Plans fail & how to transform your diet the sustainable way!

Today I want to target the frustration some of you may have experience with, and that is why meal plans don’t work (at least for most of us). If you’ve done one of my online training programs you’ve probably noticed that I give you the healthy basics, and tools to create your own meals, lots of healthy recipes & meal prep ideas, and guidance for building a balanced meal, but its not directly laid out for you as far as: eat this much of this food at this time. I call it a meal guide rather than a meal plan. The reason for this is I want to help you without crippling you. Similar to the concept of “teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry” or whatever that saying is. Well the idea is that if you’re given the tools and knowledge to make healthy choices and you know the reasoning behind it and the effects it has on your body, you’re more likely to make those good choices on your own, for the right reasons, resulting in long lasting results. My meal guides focus on realistic goals and healthy habits, relative to your unique starting point and circumstances.

Birthday Dessert!

Birthday Dessert!

Here’s the deal, meal plans or diet plans aren’t the best solution for a few reasons. Let me break it down for you. First of all, they’re hard to stick to. I mean life happens. There’s always a weekend out with friends, always a holiday, always a party, and if you have kids they’re always going to need food as well. A common statement I hear is, “this week is my childs birthday party, and its a really busy week, so I’ll start my diet on Monday” or “Well it’s halloween, then its thanksgiving, then its christmas, so I’ll start the program after new years.” Well I don’t expect you to give up every party or holiday in your life so that you can stick to a strict meal plan. This may lead us to rebelling and feeling guilty, resulting in quitting all together. 

Second of all, meal plans are typically meant for a short term effect, maybe it’s really low carb for example, and when followed for too long can result in issues with metabolism, & hormone levels. Or a quick juice cleanse detox, resulting in water weight loss, but no energy. In other words, the meal plan can be a little too perfect. We need to fuel our body depending on our activity level, and if we aren’t getting enough fats, or carbs, or proteins for a long period of time, certain systems in our bodies will not function properly. We may feel overly tired, overly hungry, and have a bad taste in our mouth for healthy eating. This shifts us into that mindset of resenting “health food” and craving more of our favorite comfort or junk food. Viewing salads & vegetables as “diet food” when in reality this is real food. 

overnight oats in a peanut butter jar

overnight oats in a peanut butter jar

Third of all, most meal plans focus on nutrients (Proteins, Carbs, Fats), calories, or measurements (ounces, grams, etc.) instead of actual food. This can be so confusing. When you’re at a restaurant you don’t see the grams of nutrients next to the item, or how many ounces of potatoes are in the dish. With all these numbers and measurements it can be confusing and overwhelming what to focus on and trying to remember all the different recommendations. Was it 50g of Protein, or 60? Am I supposed to have 300 calories for lunch or 400? The point is this can all be nonsense and distraction if you’re missing the whole point of making healthy choices for the right reasons.

When I work with clients working towards fitness goals, I start where they’re at. I have them keep a 2-3 day food journal so I can see what an average day in their stomach looks like. Based on where they’re at, we can set goals, 1 week at a time, to make changes that will stick. We talk about real food, in real life situation, so that we can get real results that will last. I educate on why you’re making the choices and the benefits that will come. If you’re used to hot pockets and dino nuggets, you shouldn’t just immediately jump on the Kale band wagon. Pace yourself and just think, “how can I make this meal just a little bit healthier & better for me?” Maybe its adding a side salad to your hot pocket meal. Then maybe you create a healthier homemade dressing for your salad. Then replacing the hot pocket with a homemade recipe, and it continues until you’re at a level of health where you can feel & perform your best. You will LOVE the process and the positive changes in your body rather than RESENTING your diet or meal plan. Instead of thinking of a list of rules you have to stick to, or what you can and can’t eat, think of food on a spectrum. One end of the spectrum is completely healthy, unprocessed, Organic, grown in your back yard, homemade meal, and the other end is a deep friend twinkie dipped in chocolate. Think of how you can make your meals a little closer to that healthy side of the spectrum. You may find yourself in a situation where the options aren’t perfect, but you can always find the healthier choice. You may also find that the occasional “unhealthy” choice is ok, because its your grandma’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or your favorite flavor of ice cream for your birthday. Its recognizing the difference between splurges that are occasional and totally worth it, and mindlessly eating a box of cookies because they’re in front of you.

Part of my goal with each client is helping them figure out their relationship with food, their strengths, their struggles, and move forward with healthy goals at a healthy pace. Fitting HEALTHY into their lives, not trying to squeeze them into this unrealistic healthy box that we think is the only way to lose weight or get fit. 

So if you want help reaching your goals with weight loss & fitness, please send me an email or hit my up on instagram, I would love to get started! But if you’re looking for a calculated, strict, calorie counting meal plan you won’t find it here, sorry! Feel free to send this over to a friend you think would enjoy!

Happy Wednesday Wisdom ya’ll!

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Listen to your Body: Living an Intuitive lifestyle

Am I really hungry? or am I just eating this bowl of chips because it's in front of me and I'm at this boring party.... ? I think we've all asked ourselves similar questions. Intuitive eating is pulling in the reigns on situations like this and staying in control and in tune with our bodies, honoring its needs (but don't mistake this with giving into its desires - very different). If you've ever been on a low carb - restrictive diet you've seen the effects of depriving your body. By day 4 you want to stuff your face with any carb you can get your hands on. This is your body telling you "umm hello, I can't just live on kale chips and lemon water". Intuitive eating can be a tricky balance. Everyone is different, so tuning into your own bodies needs can be the hard part. Recognizing when your really hungry vs. a craving that is separate from nutritional needs. Finding that happy place between deprivation, and over indulgence is the key.

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