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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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Get Pumped: 5 Major Benefits from Strength Training

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 :)

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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. 
  5. 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!

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5 Tips for Breaking through Your Weight Loss Plateau

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! 

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THE PURPOSE BEHIND YOUR GOALS

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. 

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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!

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What's the deal with Apple Cider Vinegar anyway??

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. 

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The Ugly Reality of Body Shaming

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! 

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MY "NON-DIET" SKILLS FOR HEALTHY EATING

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MY "NON-DIET" SKILLS FOR HEALTHY EATING

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!

 

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What's the best Diet???

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What's the best Diet???

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:

  1. Eat whole foods, avoid labels
  2. If you do have a label, you want the shortest ingredient list as possible
  3. Have a vegetable (or more) at every meal
  4. 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!

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: 4 Steps for Goal Setting Success

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. 

  1. Pick your goal
  2. figure out what you need to do to set up for success
  3. Set a reminder for yourself
  4. 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!

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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! 

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Book Club: The Rules of "Normal" Eating

 

WEDNESDAY WISDOM

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?

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Cracking the Craving Code

tea

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:
currently my favorite flavor! just in time for the holidays :) 

currently my favorite flavor! just in time for the holidays :) 

  1. 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!
  2. Something Cold (icecream, shake, pudding, popsicle) —>  Frozen Grapes or blueberries, Protein shake, Frozen Banana icecream, Homemade fruit popsicles
  3. Something Creamy (pudding, frosting, icecream, creamy soup) —> Avocado, spoon of natural nut butter, healthified mashed potatoes recipe) 
  4. Something Salty (potato chips, french fries, crackers) —> Homemade baked french fries, dry roasted nuts (in moderate portion), stove popped popcorn
  5. Something Chocolatey —> a small square of rich dark chocolate
  6. Stressful eating —> Do 10 burpees and see how you feel!
  7. 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!

 

 

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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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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Its Possible! 5 tips for Cooking QUICK & EASY

Alright we all know when it comes to eating healthy, prep is key! You’ve probably heard it a million times, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail! The reason so many of us eat crappy junk food in the first place is because it’s convenient! Whats more convenient than stopping at Little Caesars on your way home and picking up a $5 pizza? Hot and ready for the whole fam to stuff their faces with. Or a bag of chips you can just pop open and enjoy the salty greasy goodness ;)

Well I’m hear with some good news! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be an all day in the kitchen kind of thing. A lot of us work full time, or have mommy duties all day, I mean who has time to cook these days? Well you DO! Let me share a few of my tips for cooking healthy, quick, and efficiently. Don’t get caught up and overwhelmed with people posting about making exotic beautiful meals from scratch everyday, thats not reality, thats social media. 

First of all, you have to accept the fact that it’s never going to be quite as fast, cheap, and easy as Mcdonalds, those are just the facts. But with a tad more effort, you can have a healthy, filling meal, that won’t break the bank and taste AMAZING. It takes a bit of planning & effort, but everyone can do it! It takes commitment and deciding that you’re going to live a healthy lifestyle, feeding you and your family healthy meals. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to throw in a frozen lasagna occasionally, but just do your best! Here are my tips that should help:

 

Tip #1: Invest in a Crockpot.

If you don’t currently own a crockpot, I highly recommend you get one. This will save you time in all sorts of ways. I have so many recipes that I can just throw into the crockpot, turn it on, set the timer, and walk out the door, coming home to an amazing smelling house and dinner all ready to go. It gives you the convenience of going about your day without having to watch the oven or stove. Also, you’ll always have left overs, which will save you time throughout the week. Bonus, you’ll spend less time doing dishes! One pot meals are amazing. 

 

Tip #2: Plan Your Weeks Menu, with Strategy

Find 5-6 healthy dinner recipes you want on the menu for the week, allowing for a night out on the weekend (if you want help with this part reply to this post and I’ll hook you up with all sorts of good recipes). Plan so that the first couple of nights you make a crockpot meal, a soup, or something with lots of leftovers that you can utilize throughout the week for lunches or breakfast. For example, this week I made a big batch of Lentil Soup Monday night, and Tuesday night I made shredded pork in the crockpot. Both were large batches that I’ve been using for lunches, eliminating extra time in the kitchen for sure. 

 

Tip #3: Utilize half prepped ingredients

Thank goodness for Trader Joe’s and awesome ingredients! Ok Trader Joe’s isn’t the only place you can find pre-prepped ingredients, but I’ve just found a lot of my favorites here. Don’t think you have to do everything from scratch. Take advantage of swift time savers such as pre-riced cauliflower (its a mess to do it on your own!), sliced jicama, or pre-cubed and peeled butternut squash, or awesome low-sugar sauces (enchilada sauce & curry sauce from Trader Joe’s are awesome for crockpot meat recipes) that add flavor to any meal. I’ll be posting a lot of these products in my Friday Favorites post this Friday so stay tuned! Still go for whole, unprocessed ingredients, but take advantage of a little pre-prepped help. 

 

Tip #4: Always make extra

When you’re making a meal, always think about what you can do to save you time later on. If you’re making a salad, get out a few tupperware containers while you’re at it and just make multiple salads in one setting, packed and ready to enjoy that week. If you’re slicing vegetables for dinner, slice more and put them in baggies for a healthy snack while you’re at it. If you’re boiling water, get some eggs out and hard boil a few for the week. If you’re making rice or quinoa, double the batch and put what you don’t eat in the fridge. This will become second nature with experience and practice.

 

Tip #5: Multi-task your cooking

This tip is geared towards having success with a 20-30 minute meal. I start by getting all of my ingredients out that I will be using for the meal and figuring out what part of the meal is going to take the longest to cook or bake and I get that going first. So if I’m having sweet potatoes with my meal, I’ll get those in the oven first thing, then I prep everything else while those are baking. Or if I’m having fish, I’ll prep that, get it in the oven, then in those 15-20 minutes of bake time I make my salad or veggies, and then everything is done at once! 

 

Well there you have it, my 5 tips for being quick and efficient in the kitchen. It may seem overwhelming and daunting at first if you’re not used to cooking or if you don’t even like it. But trust me, practice makes perfect, and by cooking your own meals you will always know what you’re putting in your body, giving you control. You will also save money! Don’t get caught up with thinking it needs to be perfect or thinking every meal has to be fancy. Just keep it simple and try new flavors! Enjoy! leave a comment with any questions or recipe requests

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: when to CONTROL and when to LET GO

icecream bar in Balboa, totally worth it

icecream bar in Balboa, totally worth it

Today I want to address the subject of controlling what we can, and being ok with what we can’t. Applying this to the area of Health and Fitness, I get a lot of clients telling me “well I did great for about a week, and then I ate out with friends and totally blew it”, “This week I have 2 birthday parties, and a wedding, so I’ll start the plan next week” or “I’ll train the first of the week, but then we’re going on a vacation this weekend so I’m going to have to start all over!” And the frustrating comments continue. The fact is LIFE HAPPENS, and if we look for them, excuses are EVERYWHERE! My reply to these concerns is always to “do the best you can on your own, eat your veggies, plan your meals, eat according to your activity level, get your workout in - even if it's just 15 minutes, and then on those occasions when you’re celebrating, or a neighbor has you over for dinner and they feed you cake, its not the end of the world!” 

nutella crepe in Paris..... totally worth it

nutella crepe in Paris..... totally worth it

My point is this: When we’re in control, at our own house, doing the planning, in our day to day life, be on your best behavior, fuel your body the best you know how to. Turn these practices into healthy habits that just become a way of life. That way, when we are out with friends, or attending a party, it’s not the end of the world if we don’t have the best options available to us. Still do your best with your options, don't go on a complete sugar binge, but you don’t have to beat yourself up over someone cooking with canola oil instead of avocado oil, or having one of the cookies your friend brought to the party, or a piece of the wedding cake. That’s the beauty of living with moderation 365 days of the year. That 80/20 mentality. There’s always a holiday, there’s always going to be birthday parties, or social events, and these things should be enjoyed! The idea is to get in a healthy routine that works for you on the day to day, and then be ok with flexibility in moderation. Prioritize the splurges that are worth it to you

Puff Pastry in Italy.... yep, enjoyed every bite

Puff Pastry in Italy.... yep, enjoyed every bite

Enjoying a pumpkin donut at a cute little pumpkin patch to kick off October is totally worth it and should be enjoyed! Sitting on your coach and reaching your hand into the bottom of the bag of potato chips just because they’re there and you're bored is probably not worth it. You be the judge ;) 

Its shifting the perspective of the “diet” mindset into the mindset of a healthy lifestyle and fueling your body right to feel your best. It will soon become obvious to you that mentally and physically you perform better with a healthy, whole foods diet, and the sugary-junk-food binges don’t feel so good. 

Cookie Sandwhich at Manhattan Beach Creamery....... amazing and no regrets

Cookie Sandwhich at Manhattan Beach Creamery....... amazing and no regrets

Don’t make every little “unhealthy food choice” such a big deal in your mind. Nobody’s diet is perfect, nor should it be! I think a perfect diet allows for flexibility and enjoyment of foods you love. That's why I have a piece of Chocolate everyday! Its small, and its dark, but super rich and does the trick to cure my craving and make me smile! Now I’m not saying I have a full candy bar every day to cure my cravings, but if you practice moderation you allow yourself some wiggle room, and you learn to appreciate it more!

Chocolate in Switzerland...... The Best! It would be a crime to pass up

Chocolate in Switzerland...... The Best! It would be a crime to pass up

So take away message: If you know you have a halloween party this weekend and you want to enjoy a caramel apple, do your thang, eat clean this week leading up to the party, and a low sugar/low carb breakfast & lunch that day, get a workout in, and enjoy that party! Maybe don’t down the whole apple, but see how you feel after a couple slices. Learning to tune into your body is key! Life is meant to be enjoyed, not to be lived strapped down to our mind always thinking of what we can’t eat! HAPPY WEDNESDAY WISDOM! 

-Britt

German Chocolate Icecream Sundae for Date night.... Yes please, worth it

German Chocolate Icecream Sundae for Date night.... Yes please, worth it

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Get Foam Rolling in Your Life, the Right Way

Alright some of you may still be wondering what the hype about foam rolling is. Is it just a trend? Does it actually do anything? Why does it hurt so bad? Well hopefully I can answer some of your questions and influence you to try it out and enjoy it like I have.

First of all, what is foam rolling? It is more scientifically known as SMR, or Self-Myfascial Release. It is a soft tissue therapy (muscles, tendons, fascia, connective tissue) that you apply to yourself with the goal to release tightness and soreness, also referred to as trigger points.

Some of the Benefits of foam rolling include:

  • Increasing range of motion
  • Increasing long term flexibility
  • Decrease Muscle Soreness
  • Decrease Muscle Pain long term
  • Increase Neuromuscular efficiency
  • Maintain normal muscle length
  • Address muscle imbalances
  • Aid with Injury prevention

Think of it as a little Therapeutic massage to yourself. Ok maybe a little more painful at times, but the more you do it the less painful it will be! 

Alright first order of business, how to choose the right foam roller? You can order them for as cheap as $8 off amazon if you’d like. You want it firm. It needs to be hard enough so that it’s pressing into you, rather than you pressing into it. Personally, I like the firm, solid black classic.

Now lets talk Technique. You may have seen people just roll around up and down on these things. Thats not exactly right. You should roll around for about 30 seconds to break things up, but then start to feel where you have tension and target that spot to release that tension. You want to push through that spot, relax, and feel it release. You will feel pain, but try to stay on that point until it releases. Then move on to the next spot. This is a slower process that most people think. 

When should you foam roll? Ideally every day, but you can start out with a few days a week. Before and after your workout is perfect. You will notice that your muscle soreness will decrease, and it’s a nice warm up before you get started. 

What Muscles to target? Well most commonly tight on humans is our IT bands, or the outer thigh. Your IT band connects your hip down to the outside of your knee. Since so many of us sit, or bike, or run, we aren’t getting that lateral movement, so that naturally tightens up. This can cause a pull on your knee and you will feel pain. Roll through that IT band, break up that tightness. Other points that are my favorite to target are your quads, calves, glutes, and back. I find my glutes are often in knots, so I just sit on the foam roller and knead through the soreness. Along with the benefits above, you will start to notice a longer, leaner look to your muscles if combined with regular exercise and a healthy eating routine. 

A common mistake? Most people always want to stretch their hamstrings, it feels good, but I suggest you stay away from it unless you are foam rolling them as well. Here’s the deal, our hamstrings are usually over lengthened. Think about it, hips are tight & short (sitting the majority of the day), hamstrings are over lengthened & being stretched through the day. Foam rolling breaks up the muscles, helps reduce the length of the muscles back to normal, and then you will feel stronger and better when you stretch them.

So there you have it, my quick 101 crash course on foam rolling. Have other questions? Let me know, comment below. Think someone else could benefit from this information? Share this blog post and spread the word, and let me know how your next foam roll session goes :)

ALSO ON THE BLOG......

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Wednesday Wisdom: Got a case of Constipation?

After a summer of traveling, eating strange foods, and changing time zones, I thought I’d hit on the topic of constipation. Yes I know its not glamorous but its real life! There’s a lot of factors that go in to a healthy track system in our bodies and I wanted to share my findings. There are also a few misconceptions that are going around that I wanted to clear up. A regular schedule is a happy schedule ;) 

Here are my top tips to keep your insides running regular

 

1. fiber PLUS water: We’ve all heard that fiber helps us poop right? Which is true, but the second and very important part to this point is that if you are increasing your fiber intake, you need to increase your water intake as well. Fiber increases the bulk of your stool so it can move along on its merry way, but water is crucial for it to move. So remember, if your increasing fiber, make sure your getting enough water as well.

Suggested Fibrous foods:

    • prunes• green Veggies• ground flaxseed (can throw into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt,         etc)  • Low sugar Fruits with fiber (kiwi, apple, avocado)  • rolled oats

Suggested Water consumption:

    • Adult Males: 12-14 Cups/day

    • Adult Females: 8-10 Cups/day

 

2. Natural Laxatives (used the right way): You may have used over the counter laxatives in the past, but did you know that over time those products can cause more harm then good? They can inhibit your bodies natural process creating dependence on them. Here’s some healthy, natural laxatives:

    • Chia Seeds - soak them in a liquid before consuming. This creates a gel like coating         that can act as a lubricate in your system. (try my overnight oats recipe here)

    • Aloe Vera - Aloe vera latex also has anti-inflammatory components that reduce swelling     and and improve function of the digestive organs. It also actually helps increase the         water content in your intestines.

    • Probiotics - or “good bacteria” in your gut that makes your body able to balance various     types of “bad bacteria.” They help create a healthy environment in your gut. Probiotic         foods include things like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and probiotic yogurt. If you can, try to buy dairy products that are organic, as they are easier on digestion, such as goat milk products, organic kefir, raw dairy products or dairy that doesn’t contain A1 casein. It’s possible that low-quality pasteurized/homogenized dairy, or too much dairy in general (especially if someone has symptoms of lactose intolerance), can cause inflammation and contribute to digestive dysfunction.

 

3. Regular Exercise: Last but definitely not least, exercise helps get those muscles moving that push your waste through your body. Not to mention it helps with other causes of constipation such as relieving stress! If you’re feeling a little backed up, try going for a run, but don’t go too far ;)

Well there you have it! Here’s to healthy and regular bowel systems, Cheers!

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Getting the most out of a short workout!

Short on time? Want to know how to get the most bang for your buck with your workouts? Having worked a lot with young moms who are crazy busy juggling life, and being a busy woman myself, I’ve learned how to make the most out of precious workout time. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get results. Its all about Quality, not Quantity. Your eating plays a huge part as well, but thats a discussion for another day. Whether you’re traveling and don’t have much equipment, or you have 30 minutes in between carpool pick ups, these are the tips I’ve discovered to get the most out of a quick workout.

 

  1. More muscles = greater calorie burn. Think of your muscles as calorie burners. Exercises that incorporate more muscles at once will burn more calories than a single muscle isolation exercise. For example, a squat with a shoulder press is going to burn a lot more calories than just sitting at a shoulder press machine and isolating the shoulder muscle. Take away message: When you’re short on time, combine exercises to work multiple muscles at one time.
  2. The bigger muscle groups will burn more calories than smaller muscle groups. This may seem obvious, but I thought I’d point it out anyways. Similar to my last tip, if muscles are calorie burners, the bigger once will burn more right? So for example, your legs and back are bigger muscle groups than your arms or abs. When you want to burn more calories quickly, add in some explosive leg movements to the workout. Take away message: work bigger muscle groups for a bigger calorie burn. Stay clear from single muscle isolation exercises if you’re short on time.
  3. Minimize your rest time. When you only have 1/2 hour you want to be working through as much of that 1/2 hour as you can! this means shortening the rest time in between workouts. HIIT and Tabata are great styles for quick and effective workouts. With tabata you typically do 20-30 seconds full out intensity, with 10-15 seconds rest in between. Keep spiking your heart rate through the entire workout. Avoid resting over 30 seconds between exercises. This means getting rid of distractions and committing yourself for the time you have. Take away message: When you’re short on time, use it effectively, working more, resting less.

 

So there you have it! 3 easy tips to follow when creating an effective, time efficient workout. Now here’s a little circuit I put together using only your body weight, and maximizing calorie burn with multi-muscle exercises, and incorporating larger muscle groups. 

 

THE CIRCUIT: (do 45 seconds each, with 15 seconds rest in between)

  • Plank with cross knee crunch (alternating legs)
  • Forward and Back squat jacks
  • Push up - Pike toe taps
  • Surfer Get ups

(FULL VIDEO HERE.)

Rest 30-40 seconds after each round. Repeat circuit 3 rounds for a 15 minute workout. 

You can check out more of my Time Efficient, Body weight workouts in my online trainer programs at www.bodydesignbybrit.com/store

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WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Are some fruits better than others? Breaking down High Sugar VS. Low Sugar Fruits

Since its summer time, I thought I'd write a little bit about my favorite summer treat, FRUIT! So many good fruits are in season this time of year, I love it! But fruit definitely fits in the category of "moderation is key". Fruit is healthy, of course, but it contains sugar. Sugar is the main cause of weight gain, and by controlling our sugar intake, we can better reach goals of weight loss if that's what we're aiming towards. With my clients I suggest sticking around 35g or less of sugar per day for weight loss. This adds up quicker than you think! I typically recommend 1-2 pieces of fruit per day. Sugar from fruit is much better than reaching for a bag of skittles or a donut because you're getting the fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc, that comes with a piece of fruit. But I was curious, what fruits should I be more cautious about with my sugar intake?

Here's a list of 5 low sugar fruits to keep around this summer, and also my favorite way to eat them! I have also included the top 5 highest sugar fruit which you should try to limit in your diet. 

Hope you enjoy this Wednesday wisdom!

Lowest sugar fruit:

  1. Avocado: only 1 gram of sugar per avocado! Basically my favorite food ever, I can eat it any way! But I really love it in a smoothie or with cottage cheese and salt and pepper, simple and delicious!
  2. Raspberries: only 5 grams of sugar per cup. I love raspberries fresh like candy, or stirred into plain yogurt and made into a healthy Popsicle! 
  3. Blackberries: only 7 grams of sugar per cup. I love black berries stirred into some plain yogurt and granola for a light pre workout breakfast.
  4. Strawberries: only 7 grams of sugar per cup. I love strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate for a guilt free sweet treat to end the night. Or in my favorite summer salads {spinach, strawberries, avocado, red onion, slivered almonds, feta cheese, vinaigrette dressing}
  5. Casaba Melon: That bright yellow, round fruit about the size of a cantelope, with slightly wrinkly skin. It is the lowest sugar melon with 5 grams sugar for 1/2 cup. Try one sliced with cottage cheese, or sliced with a drizzle of lemon juice.

Highest Sugar Fruits

  1. Lychee: 29 grams of sugar per cup! Yikes! But loaded with calcium, so moderation is key. They take so long to peel open that you probably couldn't get to a full cup unless you have all day ;)
  2. Figs: 27 grams of sugar per cup. However, they are packed with healthy fiber, so maybe just don't eat a whole cup at once :)
  3. Mango: 23 grams of sugar per cup. Mangos are my favorite, so I had a hard time putting them on the list, buuuut I always split the mango with my husband, or put just a few frozen cubes in my smoothie, so it's never quite a full cup ;) For your next date night, instead of buying a tub of ice cream, split a mango! It's very romantic, and healthy!
  4. Cherries: 18 grams of sugar per cup. No wonder they taste like candy! If eating cherries, only grab a few, avoid sitting next to a bottomless bag.
  5. Grapes: with 15 grams of sugar per cup, be careful. a cup can go pretty quick with these convenient little poppers. If I eat grapes I have them as a frozen sweet treat when I'm craving a Popsicle. Simply stick a bundle of fresh grapes in your freezer for an hour or two. Great poolside summer snack, just watch your portions! 

Enjoy some fresh in season fruit this summer, try new recipes or keep it simple, just remember portion control. HAGS :)

-Britt

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

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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! 

 

 

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