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Book Club: The Rules of "Normal" Eating



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?

  1. Step one is to identify your irrational, unhealthy beliefs
  2. 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!

  1. Identify the eating- or body-related behavior you want to change
  2. Identify the irrational eating- or body-related belief underlying the behavior
  3. 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?





Its been a while since I've shared my Friday Favorites with ya'll so I thought I'd bring it back with some of my favorite Trader Joe's ingredients as of late. If you read my last post you learned that I'm all about efficiency in the kitchen. A healthy lifestyle means homemade & home prepped meals, but it doesn't have to be time consuming or boring. Check out some of my favs and why I love them!

This Thai Curry Sauce has been one of my best friends lately :) Throw it in the crock put over some pork or chicken, shred it up and serve with sautéed bell peppers, steamed broccoli, carrots, all the veggies! Easy Thai dinner. Can use This awesome Riced Cauliflower as well, amazing! Takes away the hassle of the food processor cauliflower mess, and gives you a quick and easy low carb base to your meal. 

another saucy time saver! This enchilada sauce is what I make my pulled pork/chicken mexican salads with. You put the roast in the crock pot, and pour this sauce over, cook on low for 5-6 hours and wala! Shred it up, serve over lettuce with beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, avocado, and salsa, so good!

This Risotta is a quick and easy side dish with any meal. I added about 2 cups of Quinoa I had already cooked to this mixture and there was plenty of flavor and it added bulk to take it further, we love leftovers here!

When I spend time on a main course meat, or something fancy, and I don't have time to make a salad or green I throw this bag of green beans in the microwave and it gets the job done. Always have some green on your plate is a great motto to live by and this microwavable bag helps sooo much! stir in a little butter and salt and pepper when they're done and in 3 minutes you have a complete meal. (picture is of the empty bag, the process was so fast I didn't even get a picture!)

Alright I'm a big fan of salsa and this is my new favorite! The tomatillo and the mangoes is a fabulous combo. I put a couple spoonfuls on my taco salad instead of dressing, or on my veggie scrambled eggs for breakfast. Adds amazing sweet and spicy flavor.

Individual Guac packs! The larger pouches always go brown before we can finish them off so these packs are perfect for 2. Spread it on your toast, on eggs, Taco salad, quesadilla, tuna salad, so many possibilities! 

Alright, last but no least, I was a little maxed out with hummus, so I tried this Tahini sauce instead. I have been thrilled with my choice! amazing flavor, tasted great with carrots, celery, cucumber, I even spread it on a piece of Dave's Killer Bread, put some turkey, tomatoes, spinach, and broiled cheese on top for an amazing turkey melt open-faced sandwhich. The Tahini sauce was the key ingredient. 

I'd love to hear your favorites! Leave me a comment with your quick and healthy go to ingredients!


EAT REAL FOOD: Nutrition Crash Course with Brit!


EAT REAL FOOD: Nutrition Crash Course with Brit!

Being a trainer I've learned more and more the importance of fueling your body right. You can't heal your body without the nutrition side of the equation. I've put together this Video Blog post to explain my view on nutrition and give a quick crash course to what my approach is and what you can learn and practice with being a client of mine! I've also provided my written script for the video if you rather read that watch my face haha totally understandable! hope you enjoy :)

"I wanted to do a quick overview and crash course of my whole philosophy and guidance on nutrition. This will be an intro to the approach I take and what you’ll learn with me as your trainer. We are constantly bombarded with different eating rules and diets that it can be so hard to sort through all the information and figure out whats right, what we should be listening to, and whats going to work for us and our goals.

Well being in the fitness industry world for a few years now I’ve done a lot of reading and testing what works best for me and my clients. I’m going to simplify the whole thing for you. “EAT REAL FOOD” (write it on a paper sign). As simple as this sounds, it can be a little tricky still. Over time, we have lost touch with what real food is and our relationship with food has been distorted.

First off I want to clear up the word “Diet”. When we hear the word “Diet” most of us cringe thinking - restrictive, calorie counting, hunger, guilt, broccoli, I don’t know, just all these things that are often associated with the word diet. Well when I refer to “Diet” I simply mean how we eat, what we put into our bodies. Along with that, I want you to forget about ideas of calorie counting, “fat free” diets, “gluten free”, Paleo, Macro counting, food timing, weighing your food, any of that stuff, forget about it. I'm not saying all these things are horrible, I’m just removing the labels that your mind may be associating with “diet” and simplifying it with “EAT REAL FOOD”. This means knowing whats in our food, and avoiding chemicals & fake ingredients. Basically you should either have no food labels (because you don’t need it - fruits, vegetables) or you should be able to pronounce all the ingredients & know what it is on the label. 

Lets talk about macros. First of all, what are macros or macronutrients? These are Fats, Proteins, and Carbs. 

I want to talk about FATS first, there’s a lot of clearing up to do here. Fats have had a bad rap for a while, especially saturated fats. The food industry had mass amounts of industrial crops so they decided to turn it into oil. This was a BAD idea. Back 60-70 years ago, these fake oils replaced real oils (such as butter) in many situations and homes, and this has led to a lot of the health issues today. This oil became so cheap and available that they put it in EVERYTHING, and these food industries made a lot of money! On most labels of processed foods you’ll see these crop based oils such as Soybean, Canola, peanut, corn. These are chemical filled fake oils. Stay away! We want natural oils, which include, real grass fed butter (thats right, you don’t need to be afraid of butter anymore), coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil. Some other great sources of fats are nuts & seeds, salmon, avocado, eggs. And just a note on eggs, Dietary cholesterol (or cholesterol that is in the food we eat) has no correlation with the cholesterol levels in our blood. So egg yolks are totally great, and meat. All animal products contain cholesterol, but it won’t cause high cholesterol in our bodies, just want to clear that up.

Next up is Protein. Protein is so important. It's responsible for our bodies maintaining and repairing tissues, especially muscle tissue in our bodies. If you want to maintain or add lean muscle mass, protein is essential. We want to get protein from the most natural sources we can. So choosing free range chickens for meat and eggs, grass fed beef, as close to the source as we can get with dairy products. What our food sources eat goes into our bodies as well, so if our animals are eating all of those industrial crop products with chemicals, those chemicals are going in our bodies as well. We'll talk about the problem with this in a later session about omega 3's and omega 6 balance. And I know it gets expensive to do this, so all I suggest is do your best. Maybe this week you try free range eggs, and then next week you get grass fed beef. Just do what you can. and its a lot cheaper than all the drugs and pills that you may need down the road prescribed by doctors! just sayin :)  Women should be eating about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and men could be consuming up to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Depending on goals this could be reduced a bit.

Third is Carbohydrates. There are a TON of misconceptions about carbohydrates. low-carb, high-carb, no-carb, sugar-free, what to do! So basically any carb source in its simplest form inside your body gets broken down into sugar, which are body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are an awesome source of energy and our bodies need carbs, but where we go wrong is with the amount. most of us do not need the amount of carbs we consume and it gets stored as fat in our bodies. Most of us aren’t running through the forest hunting dinner every night, or biking as our main source of transportation. We need to get back in tune with when our body needs the extra fuel from carbs, and when we don’t. Also get back in tune with cravings vs hunger. Sugar is addicting, and I claim that as a fact. So most of the time we want carbs or sugars, we're not really hungry, we're just listening to those addictive cravings. Carbs spike our blood sugar levels which effect our energy levels throughout the day. Thats why most of the people going to eat a sandwich & chips and a soda on their lunch break come back to work feeling that 2-3pm energy slump. Its an energy roller coaster when carbs are your main source. We can neutralize this with fats and proteins in our diet. By the way, Carbs come from lots of sources, most familiar is breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, sugar, but vegetables and fruits are carbs as well! And I don’t think we need to avoid grains and breads & sugar all together, but just be mindful of when your body needs it. So if we’re climbing a mountain tomorrow, ya I”m going to have a bowl of oats in the morning with some fruit, and I’m gonna stir some coconut oil in there as well for that fat source. I know i’m going to use that fuel on my hike. Or before a long run, I'll have a piece of toast with nut butter and banana for my fuel source. But avoid eating a big bowl of cereal or muffin before you go sit at your desk all day. So the idea is to shift our mindset and habits from this carb binge, fat fearing state of mind, to a balanced, real food, mindful eating approach, and fueling our body for what it needs. Using food as a fuel source rather than this horrible thing that makes us fat!

How do we make the shift? Our culture and mainstream grocery stores and food sources make carbs so prevalent and convenient and cheap!  Whats more convenient than a pack of easy cheese and pretzel sticks and a hot pocket? or a pop-tart? I mean seriously its like magic! Well in order to make this healthy eating a reality, we need to make the healthy options as convenient and second nature as we can. First of all, knowing in your mind what a healthy plate looks like is key. With this embedded into your brain you can build a healthy meal wherever you are! Sometimes you’ll have better options than other times, but just doing your best in whatever situation is key. So this is what the government food plate guideline is today (show picture). They have grains as big as vegetables, and then fruits and proteins a little smaller, and then dairy in your cup. Well one problem I see is that 3 out of the 4 sections are carbs, and 2nd problem is that their is no room for fats. So I’m gonna X this one and show you my plate guide. (show new picture) First off, you got your protein source here. Whether thats Turkey, Eggs, Tofu, a mix of Quinoa & meat, or cottage cheese. Then you have your Vegetables. Vegetables at every meal! yes even breakfast. There’s so many ways to sneak vegetables in. I always load my eggs with chopped veggies, you can buy a big bag of frozen veggies if thats more convenient for you (aim for organic if you’re doing frozen because they’re picked at the right time and no chemicals used), spinach or kale in your smoothies, there’s lots of options! But get veggies in every meal. and then you have your fat. This is key to help you feel full, to stabilize your blood sugar levels, curb your cravings, and perform your best. This is why so many diets fail and people get HANGRY because they aren’t eating enough fats. Fats are super important for our cognitive function as well, so we will be able to think and focus so much better. This fat on the plate can be avocado, Olive Oil with your veggies, butter on your sweet potato, Chopped nuts on your salad, there’s lots of options there too. And in the cup I just put water! So many of us aren’t drinking enough water. A lot of the times when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty, so I always tell my clients to carry a water bottle, and if they have a craving, take a drink first and see if the craving continues. 

So you can build this healthy plate in a lot of situations. At the salad bar, get your lettuce, topped with lots of veggies, a protein, and some nuts & dressing for your fat. A Burrito bowl with guacamole, etc. Along with knowing how to build your plate, meal prep is another key to success! You don't have to go crazy and measure out all your little tupperwares for the week, but just be smart and efficient with your time in the kitchen. ALWAYS make extra when your cooking and put it in a tupperware for tomorrows breakfast or lunch. Spend a couple hours one evening to do some crock pot meat, Chop up veggies for the week, and boil a bunch of eggs. You’ll be set. almost as convenient as a hot pocket ;)

My quick recap is remember to EAT REAL FOODS, • Fats are good (natural fats), • Avoid chemicals, if you can’t say it or know where it came from, you probably shouldn’t eat it, • and remember how to build your plate, Veggies, Protein, Fats, Water! 

So there you have it. Episode 1 of my Nutrition crash course. Next time I’ll be talking about Sugars & artificial sweeteners and supplements. :) and please comment with any questions you have at all. I’ll try to answer them best I can! and share this with any friends or family members you think may enjoy it! Thanks guys!



WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Increasing our Discomfort Tolerance (3 Strategies for Reaching Hard Goals!)


WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Increasing our Discomfort Tolerance (3 Strategies for Reaching Hard Goals!)

Any dream or goal we make that results in a positive change in ourselves requires a bit of discomfort. Most people quite or backdown from their goals because of this discomfort. If we're not used to feeling this, it can be scary, different, and usually we don't like it. Fitness goals are a great example of this because the discomforts are obvious and physical. Whether it's pushing through that final rep, feeling a little hunger from decreasing your portion sizes, resisting that cupcake, or getting a couple of inches deeper in your squat. Self imposed discomfort is a foreign feeling to many, but we can all improve. I've trained clients that had never felt the burning muscle sensation that comes with a tough workout, and their initial reaction was to stop. One of the benefits to having a personal trainer is so that you don't stop when it gets hard :)

Similarly, most of us our so used to food being so abundant, we eat mindlessly and have never really reached the point of true hunger. We just eat when we think we're supposed to eat, or when everyone else is eating. What would happen if we actually waited until our body told us it was hungry? 

I want to talk about some strategies we can use to increase our discomfort tolerance to reach those goals that may seem so far away or too hard in the moment. This takes desire and some mental toughness, which I know we all have! All of us are at different levels with this. Find your starting point and work from there. Here are 3 strategies for increasing your discomfort tolerance:


  1. Extend discomfort time. For example, say it's Friday, on your way home from work and you can't wait to dive right into that cookie dough you have sitting in your fridge after a long week. Well instead of having it right when you get home, tell yourself you'll wait an hour, and then you can have some. By doing this, you are training your body to live through a little discomfort and proving that you'll survive. In applying this to exercise, if you always run for 30 minutes on Tuesday morning, try running for 35 or 40 minutes, or run 4 miles instead of 3. Push yourself one bit at a time, further than yesterday, and you will be surprised with how far you've come!
  2. Remove the unhealthy conveniences. Back to the last example, if you always go straight to your fridge after work and there's cookie dough staring at you, that seems pretty convenient and hard to turn down. Or if you walk in your house and your big comfy couch and TV are sitting right there, it will be very convenient just to plop yourself down for the night and conveniently miss your gym time. Some ways to remove these unhealthy conveniences may be to take a new route so that you don't pass McDonald's tempting drive through on your way home. Or set a reminder on your phone to not go through the kitchen when you get home, or lay your gym clothes out on your couch instead of the remote control. Whatever your unhealthy habits are (we all have them) be realistic with yourself, acknowledge them, and set up healthy road blocks for yourself. 
  3. Create a contract with yourself. The most important documents in our lives usually require us to sign and date. Well why shouldn't we apply that standard of importance for helping us reach goals with our health? This is a strategy that I've been playing around with lately and it's actually very helpful and powerful. Lets say you know you should exercise, but everyday something more appealing shows up and takes priority and the exercise is postponed until tomorrow, and tomorrow, and the next day, etc. You may not have the discomfort tolerance built up yet. Well, what I suggest is to write up an official document for yourself, stating the thing you want to do, when you are to do it, and a consequence if you don't fulfill your end of the deal. It may look something like this: "I, Brittney Motzkus, hereby declare that this week (specific date) I will brush my teeth within 10 minutes of finishing my dinner at home so that I am not searching for dessert afterwards or late night snacking. If I fail to do so, I must eat a spoonful of Wasabi, with Husband as my witness... (Sign, and Dated)." As you can see, you can have fun with this! But there's something about an officially contract that holds us accountable. 


Typically, the more important things in life require more effort, more sweat, more tears, more determination, more mental toughness, but that's what makes the outcome that much more sweet! With these strategies, I hope you can find the courage and determination to set goals for yourself and reach them. Know that you can accomplish hard things, even if it's one little step at a time!