Category Archives: Health Tips

Low Carb Chocolate PB Waffle Stack

I was seriously craving some waffles today, so I went to a trusty low carb waffle recipe, & tweaked it a bit. This recipe is floating around all over the internets, & the great thing about it is that you can use it as a great base for ANY type of macro plan (high fat/low carb/high protein) etc. I’d just add to it in whatever way you need, and voila! I wanted a chocolate + PB combo, so I used my Ideal Lean Chocolate Brownie protein powder as my base.
MUNCHER CRUNCHER CHOCLATE PB WAFFLE STACK

MIX TOGETHER:
1 scoop of Ideallean chocolate brownie protein powder 
1 tsp of baking powder
1 egg
a couple of splashes of water (to make the consistency how you like it.

If you are eating #keto, I’d add some heavy cream here instead)
a dash or two of cinnamon
Pour into your waffle iron (make sure that it’s greased or sprayed so it won’t stick.) BE CAREFUL HOW MUCH YOU ADD! The baking powder REALLY makes this “grow” once it starts baking. My waffle iron is small, so i split my batter into two waffles & then stack em up.
I also would recommend you make sure they are kinda crispy. I think it makes the texture better. Top them however you’d like!! I topped mine with some Kroger Natural PB (It’s the lowest in net carbs) & some low carb syrup, & then I enjoyed every bite! 😊  For just the base of this recipe it’s 152 calories 4.8 F | .6 C (.4 net carbs) | 26.3 P

 

Eat Fat to Lose Fat? Ketogenic Eating Part 2

It’s been about 4 months since I started down this ketogenic path; well…4 weeks & 10 days to be exact. I’ve eaten this way through my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I tell you this not to brag, (by any means) but to let you know I’m still alive…and still sticking with it…and still quite happy with the process. 🙂

I’ve had a LOT of you who have questions regarding this method of eating, and quite a few of you who’ve decided to take the keto plunge yourself. If you haven’t read my first post on WHY I decided to start eating in a ketogenic way, and the method behind the madness read HERE first. It will help give you a proper introduction into this post. I hope that through my past few months of experience, trial & error, & researching, I can give some support, information, and answers to those who might be seeking it.

What I’ve learned thus far in the process…

  1. I personally, am prone to NOT eat enough fat. As far as my macronutrient percentages, I shoot for 80% fat in my diet. For someone who is used to eating high protein, (and who doesn’t naturally have an affinity for things like cheese…) I find myself still reaching for those lean options. It’s a total mindset change for me to be sure to get fat in first with regards to meal prep. It makes a HUGE difference. It is key to get enough fat. It is THE key.
  2. It is VERY beneficial to properly test your ketones. Without testing, you don’t have a way to know if you’re eating correctly. I would recommend testing with a blood glucose testing meter like THIS ONE. If your ketones are low, you know you need to switch something up in your diet. There are other methods of ketone testing (breath & urine strips) However, they tend to be less accurate.
  3. It is FAR better to stick to REAL healthy food options, even though there might be a barrage of “low carb” no calorie, artificially sweetened options. I see a lot of people get really excited about how easy eating Keto is going to be because they see a lot of options for “low carb” treats. Yes, they can be a great OCCASIONAL way to curb the sweet tooth, but the less artificial sweeteners the better. It’s better to just stick to real food, and not try so hard to fit in all the extra “treats.” Those are the foods that tend to lead to what is called “carb creep..” a few carbs here a few there, and before you know it, you’re not in ketosis. Things are called “treats” because they should be a treat…not an every day occurrence. Even things like gum or sugar free candies might surprise you with how the carb count adds up.
  4. This process has allowed me to decrease my body fat, and lose weight. So, yes…I’ve been eating fat in order to lose fat. As I explained in my first post, despite the fact that I am cutting out carbs to a high degree, it’s necessary to have fuel still. I’m just trading where my fuel source is coming from. Instead of using glucose to fuel my body, i’m using fat. I’m trying to re-train my body to become fat adapted…and it’s working. I won’t give you my exact number of lbs, mainly because it will be different for everyone according to what you have to lose.
  5. There are SO many different methods of eating this way when you search info on ketogenic eating on the internet. I would highly recommend working with someone who knows what they are doing to make sure you are doing it correctly. It can save time and misspent effort. I offer meal plans to those who are interested.
  6. Salt replacement is ABSOLUTELY KEY. This is especially true for those who are working out. With cutting out processed foods, salt intake is cut down dramatically. Insulin signals salt retention in the kidneys. When insulin levels aren’t elevated, the body doesn’t retain that salt, it actually excretes it. That being said, your body NEEDS salt to function. So, you must replace it. Drinking broth is a great way to do this. Those who start out eating this way might experience what is called the “keto flu” initially as the body is becoming depleted of it’s glucose stores, and the best way to combat this is through salt replacement.

The questions that I get on a regular basis…

  1. So..what’s the next step? Are you going to eat like this forever? My answer…I’m honestly still not sure. I’m over 4 months in, and i’m really taking this process a week at a time. Each week I test my ketones, reevaluate what needs to be shifted, and keep moving forward. I’m not where I want to be yet, goal-wise, so I’m still focusing on getting there. However, I’ve been studying a lot on ketogenic carb cycling for the future, and that might be a route I take if I feel like it might be beneficial to me. I guess I don’t fully have an answer there, but in the mean time I’m enjoying the processes I am in. I’m hoping to correct some health issues, and get my body working properly again.
  2. But, I thought eating fat was bad for your cholesterol…heart…insides…etc. Turns out a LOT of the information that we’ve had through the years telling us to fear fat may be a bit off. The more I study this information, the more I realize that it is the combination of excess calories & sugar (coming from actual sugar as well as carbohydrates) WITH the large amounts of fat that people are eating that are causing most of the problems. I’m eating a low carb, high fat diet, and my health stats are great. In addition to that my weight is decreasing, as well as my body fat.
  3. Are you still able to go out to eat?? Absolutely. I have simply had to figure out ways to ditch the carb heavy options for other low carb substitutions. For example…I’ll order chicken fettuccine alfredo, but instead of noodles I’ll have them sub broccoli or brussel sprouts. I’ll check w/the location on their salad dressing stats, and if it doesn’t contain sugar i’ll get a cobb or cesar salad. Those who like beef could order a steak w/a side of veggies topped with melted butter. Fajitas are a great options with the meat, cheese, veggies, guacamole, & sour cream…just ditch the tortillas. You get it. I will say that I have found myself cooking at home a lot more because I like to know exactly what is going into what i’m eating. I’ve found a ton of awesome recipes on pinterest, and pinned them on my Ketogenic board HERE.
  4. What do you eat all the time? My day typically goes like this
    • 8 oz heated up chicken broth + 2 tbs heavy cream in the morning (This tides me over until lunch, & helps with the intermittent fasting, which drives the ketones up)
    • Lunch: Low carb chocolate protein shake with added fats (heavy cream & MCT oil)
    • Snacks: (if hungry, a lot of the time i’m not) string cheese, veggies dipped in low carb ranch, cheese wisps, hard boiled egg, fat bombs, pickles, 1/2 a questbar if i’m really in a pinch.
    • Dinner: some combo of a hearty amount of fat + protein … Chicken Alfredo over zoodles, chicken broccoli & cheese bake, green chile chicken soup, cauliflower crust pizza, etc.
  5. Do I think this way of living is maintainable. I actually do. Does it require some effort, and some mind set changes in some areas…absolutely. However, Once you get into a routine it’s really not that difficult to maintain. HOWEVER…and this is a big however…It’s not something I think you should do for a couple days and then ditch on the weekends. In order for your body to actually enter into nutritional ketosis, you need to eat this way consistently. You need to decide to make it a lifestyle change, and not just a day to day decision.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on the topic in the future. This is still a learning process for me as well. I’m just happy to share with you as I go along, and hopefully help some along the way as I do! 🙂

Insulin Resistance & Ketosis…Part One

Well. As promised…I’ve finally collected some of my thoughts on this process I’ve been going through. I hope it answers some of your questions. Chances are it will raise some new ones for some of you, which I hope to be able to answer. Here goes nothing. 😉 muncher_cruncher

I’ve taken my time writing this post for a variety of reasons. One, I wanted to be sure I had a firm grasp on the process that I’ve been going through for the past 9 weeks. Two, I wanted to understand the science behind it. I hate fad diets. In fact, I actually HATE the word, “diet.” I believe in lifestyle changes; in sustainability. If a crazy attempt at weight loss isn’t sustainable. I won’t endorse it. End of story. Lastly, I wanted to wait and see how my body responded to this process before I gave you the full rundown. I can tell you honestly, I feel like this lifestyle might be the answer to many problems, weight loss issues, & overall health concerns for a lot of you. I’m still in the thick of it, no question, but I want to share at least this first part of my journey.

Let’s fast forward to about ten weeks ago. I made an appointment to see my doctor, which is unusual in and of itself. I rarely go to the doctor. I have been lucky to stay healthy enough that I haven’t had to go in often. However, I was about at my tipping point. Having been in the health and fitness field for over ten years, I feel like I’ve been forced to get to know my body very well. It has always been stubborn. I’ve never been one of those people who could eat whatever they wanted, & “get away with it.” While some might not believe it, I’m actually naturally drawn to healthy foods. I have always really loved fruits and vegetables. I was the weird kid that asked my mom if I could bring cut up veggies, & salads in my packed lunch. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all sorts of sugary junk food too…I have a sweet tooth like you wouldn’t believe, but for the most part, a lot of my favorite foods are naturally healthy ones. I have also been through ups and downs with my weight, and in coming to know my body I have found what feels comfortable for me…at my height, and with my build.

SO, back to 10 weeks ago…prior to my making my appointment I’d seen some drastic changes in my body over the past year. Things that had changed for me…my weight increased, my body fat increased, I was feeling exhausted, I wasn’t sleeping well, I felt like I was extremely snacky, and I had some weird dizzy/almost blacking out spells. A lot of it I brushed under the rug because…I get up early…being tired is kind of part of that. Not sleeping well tends to run in my family…etc It’s easy to try and push those types of things away. However, the weight gain I was not ok with. I workout pretty hard as it is, and I was eating very clean. The fact of the matter is that my caloric intake hadn’t increased, my sugar intake hadn’t increased, and my exercise hadn’t decreased. Scientifically, the math just wasn’t adding up. In fact, I started to add in MORE exercise and tracked & restricted my calories more, desperately trying to make my body do what it SHOULD have been doing. Turns out I’m in the fitness industry, and there is a lot of pressure on me to look a certain way. Like I said, I knew my body was stubborn prior, but this was different. Not only were things not responding positively, they were responding negatively. Which might makes sense as to why I was at a bit of tipping point…

I had done a lot of research on what the problem could be, and decided that I should at least get my blood work done to eliminate some possibilities. So, it was to the doctor I went. I had a full check up…blood work and everything. The results came back to show that all my hormone levels were normal. No signs of thyroid issues. However, my blood glucose levels were abnormally high. My doctor went on the tell me that my results were showing that I had somehow become insulin resistant, and that he wanted me to go and work with a specific dietician who he thought could help me reverse this issue.

At this point I will be honest. I was one hundred percent skeptical. I have studied a LOT about food and dietary intake. While I’m not a registered dietitian. I have put a lot of time into learning about how the food we eat affects us. I was actually quite curious as to what this dietician might have to say that I hadn’t heard before. Turns out I had a fastball coming at me.

I sat down and learned that I wasn’t alone in my current state. It’s actually thought that about half of the United States is insulin resistant, due in LARGE part to our common diet. The program that was introduced to me was completely based around controlling my insulin levels, similar to the ketogenic diet, the goal was to retrain my body to become insulin sensitive again…and in doing so to re-train it to utilize fat as the main source of energy.

I instantly began studying the topic. What I was hearing made sense. However, for me, making any health or lifestyle change has to be backed by reason and understanding…and for the record, “So and so just lost 10 lbs in 5 days,” is not what I’d call a reason. I need to know the science.

So… here is a snippet of what I learned..Insulin resistance means the body has stopped responding to the hormone insulin. Insulin’s role in the body is that of storage of glucose and fat. It also helps our cells function as they should. If there is too much insulin in the body (commonly a result of the food we eat) the body starts to become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance very likely means inefficiency in how the cells of the body are working & excess fat storage. Sugars & carbohydrates are the foods that will spike insulin.

Let me try & break it down simply…We eat food. The food that we eat raises our blood sugar to a certain extent (depending on the sugar/carbohydrate content) The pancreas responds to raised blood sugar by releasing insulin. Insulin tells the muscle, liver, & fat cells to take up the blood sugar and remove it from the blood. If this process happens excessively, the muscle and the fat cells stop listening to the pancreas…and all gets sent to fat storage. This is insulin resistance. The longer this goes on, the “louder” the pancreas tries to get the point across…releasing more & more insulin. This makes the body extremely inefficient. Anytime the blood sugar is raised, the pancreas will give an exaggerated insulin response. Elevated insulin levels stop the body from utilizing fat as a fuel. IN SHORT: insulin keeps fat in the fat cells, where they are NOT utilized as fuel. This isn’t good…in fact it is the gateway to a HANDFUL of other chronic & deadly diseases, but that is another post for another day.

So, I was told, that in order to reverse this spiking, I needed to maintain a consistent diet of foods that don’t increase insulin levels, (namely fats). This was to the be the start of reversing my insulin resistance issues.

What did this look like for me?

Well…this is where the curveball came at me. I was told that I needed to base my diet primarily around fat. I needed to focus on eating in a low carbohydrate, high fat way. In doing so, I would stop my body from eliciting an insulin response. This would put my body in a state of ketosis.

Many people stress at hearing that word because they confuse it with ketoacidosis. Nutritional based ketosis is controlling the body’s insulin response, resulting in a the generation of fatty acids, known as ketones. This means the body is in a state of burning fat. Diabetic & alcoholic ketoacidosis is a metabolic state of toxicity. It occurs when the body fails to regulate ketone production and those ketones become out of control. The blood becomes acidic, and can be deadly. A nutritional state of ketosis will not default into ketoacidosis because the body has regulatory feedback loops that will prevent it from doing so.

When eating in a nutritional, ketogenic way, ketones are measured. A high amount of ketones denotes a low amount of insulin. this is what is desired with this process. So, is eating this way safe & healthy? Yes.

Whoa…that’s a lot of sciency talk…I just want to try and give the background explanation as to why this process made sense to me. I wanted you to understand why I felt like this was a process I wanted to pursue.

Now on to what you really want to know? How is going..

I’m happy to say that I have really enjoyed eating the way that I am, and it’s been a very positive experience for me. The first couple weeks were definitely an adjustment. It’s common for people to feel what is considered a “keto flu,” lethargic/tired/low energy/etc…which I did. It makes sense. You are basically starving the body of carbohydrates for a few days, which it is NOT used to. I had to allow for time for my body to make the shift to relying on fat stores for fuel.

I had to re-set my habits. I had to build my meals around fat. This was a change for me, mostly because I’m not a lover of high fat foods like cheese & butter that many people are MORE THAN HAPPY to eat. However, I’m adapting…and I’ve come up with some BOMB recipes.

My energy levels have returned, which means my body is working toward utilizing fat as fuel. I have become more of an intuitive eater, and less of a snacker. This actually is the most insane part to me. I never thought that this would be the case. Fat is a satiating food. So, eating mostly fat, means that I don’t feel hungry as often. I feel satisfied when I eat. In turn, I’m learning to listen to my body more. The people I have been working with challenged me to stop tracking my food, and to listen to my body. (From someone who could give you a record of my tracked macronutrients for the past…i don’t know…10 years…this seemed unbelievable.) I have actually let go of my journaling…it’s been so incredibly freeing. I don’t feel bloated like I used to on occasion. I am sleeping better…and I’ve dropped weight and body fat, which THRILLS me. I’m starting to feel like myself again, and I almost didn’t believe that was possible.

I’m still in this process, still learning, and still working to be where I want to be. However, I will absolutely say that I’m loving the path I’ve gone down so far. I’m excited to continue to learn more, and I hope that this will be something that I can utilize to help my clients, readers, & followers in the future! xoxoxo Megs

Post Review: Beets BLU Bluetooth Scale with Smartphone Tracking

While I don’t love weighing myself…I don’t think anyone does…I do think that it is important when you are trying to reach a weight loss goal. For my clients that are wanting to lose weight, I have them weigh in on a weekly basis. I usually choose Wednesday as their “weigh day,” because it keeps them accountable w/both bookends of the weekend. I have used a LOT of different scales in my day, & there have been a lot of things that I’ve come to like & dislike about all of them. I was excited to try out this new bluetooth scale from Beets BLU.

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I love the design of the scale. It’s really sleek, thin, & lightweight. It is also really easy to use. You can change the settings from LB to KG, depending on what you prefer. I like that it gives you more information than just your weight, offering BMI measurements to help you to know if you are getting closer to reaching your goals.

One of the really cool features of this scale is the fact that it syncs with your smartphone, helping to record & track your progress each time you weigh. I used my IPhone 6 with this device, but I know it is compatible with many other smartphone models. You must have the app downloaded and open on your phone in order to record your stats, which some might consider a nuisance. However, I find it to be super beneficial. This device allows for multiple profiles as well, so more than one person can use it to their benefit. I found the app to be a bit outdated, but as I know this is a new product, I feel like this will likely be improved in the future. It is available on Amazon HERE.

Muncher Cruncher Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Balls

Whenever I’m really trying to be good with my eating, the hardest thing for me is always the snacky moments, those times in-between meals when all I want to do is walk in the pantry & eat all the things I see. These protein balls are a great way to help with those “I need a snack,” moments. Clean, full of good stuff, & delicious.

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Muncher Cruncher Protein Balls: (makes 20 servings)

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats (can use gluten free if needed)
  •  1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 2 TBS sugar free maple syrup (could use agave/honey/real maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup carob chips

Mix all ingredients together until combined completely. Use 1 TBS to scoop up balls. Place in fridge if you plan on eating them right away, or in freezer if you want them to last a bit longer.

Nutrition Facts: (per 1 ball) 82 cals, 4.7 g fat, 7.7 g carb, 1.5 g fiber, 2.1 g sugar, 3.2 g protein

Make Your San Francisco Trip an Active & Healthy One!

When we ventured to San Francisco last weekend, I had NO idea how much I would fall in Love with this city. It is so incredible. We started out with a “to do” list, and I didn’t really know what we would actually get to see. However, we crushed our list..and then some. I have had several people ask me for the details of my trip, so I wanted to share what we did for those who are interested!

I really, really, really wanted to go to Alcatraz, and unfortunately, because we were going to be in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend, the tour tickets that were just to Alcatraz were sold out. HOWEVER, upon doing some research we figured out how to get tickets to Alcatraz when it’s sold out. There are quite a few 2nd party tours that will offer a tour of San Francisco, including Alcatraz in their entire package. We were hesitant to do one of these tours because…let’s get real…tours of any kind are usually a little bit cheesy. Let me just tell you I’ve completely changed my tune here. If you are looking to see a lot of the “touristy” San Francisco sites, DO THE TOUR, and do it the first day…and I’ll tell you why.

Parking in SF is nearly impossible, and it’s expensive. Our tour hit SO many awesome places that we wanted to see, and we didn’t have to find parking EVER. It was simply a matter of being dropped off and picked up. It was awesome. The tour we did is THIS ONE if you are interested in our exact plan, but there are quite a few. Here is how our itinerary went down for the weekend…

DAY 1:

  • San Francisco Day tour – We got to walk down Lombard Street, Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetvisit the cable car museum, FullSizeRenderwalk through China Town,
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    visit the Fortune Cookie Factory, Visit the Painted Ladies (Full House home), FullSizeRender 6Drive past the Mrs. Doubtfire house, Stop at the Grace Cathedral,FullSizeRender 2 drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, Stop on the other side for a picturesque view of the bridge, FullSizeRender 3stopped in Sausalito for lunch (We ate at a Mexican place called Copita that I would HIGHLY recommend.)  I ordered the Chicken Tinga. I’d eat it all over again right now if I could.FullSizeRender 2 copy

  • At this point our tour took a ferry ride back across the bay, which was so fun.FullSizeRender 5
  • We stopped at a frozen yogurt place in the Ferry Building called Humphry Slocombe which was BOMB.IMG_2906
  • We then walked to another Ferry to head to Alcatraz. GO TO ALCATRAZ. It was so fascinating. I absolutely loved it. We were there for a few hours. FullSizeRender 4You have the option of doing the audio tour that is included. Do it. It is so cool to hear all of the facts. We then took a ferry back.
  • We walked down to Fisherman’s wharf & saw the sea lions, which was super fun. We walked all around the shops, & had dinner at Boudin. We then walked back to catch our BART back to where we were staying. All in all we walked about 10 miles day 1.

DAY 2:

  • I woke up and ran along Ocean Beach. There is an AMAZING trail that runs right along the ocean.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIf you are a runner, or if you have any interest in an awesome view while you’re running, this is an AWESOME place to go. It’s a straight trail w/very few lights.
  • We then went and rented bikes to ride around the Bay.Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetTHIS IS A MUST. We got off our BART at Embarcadero, right by the ferry building and there was a bike rental place right there. Their info is HERE. They were super nice & easy to work with.
  • We biked from right by the ferry building all the way to Chrissy Field,Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetwhere we stopped and bought some waters & took some pictures. It is an AWESOME view of the bridge. We then continued across the bridge. At this point you can actually go down into Sausalito, & then take the ferry back if you’d like. However, since we’d already done that, we decided to turn around and bike back & have lunch in San Francisco. I’ll be honest there are some HILLS along this little adventure. It was a pretty good workout. We ended up biking around 16 miles. I loved it! 🙂
  • We ate lunch at a little cafe right by Ghirardelli Square called The Black Point Cafe. I really liked it!Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI got their “seasonal” salad w/chicken. We then biked back to the Embarcadero station, & returned our bikes.
  • Next we headed to Oakland to go to an A’s game which was so fun!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe weather was perfect, and they had a fireworks show after the game, so everyone was able to go down on the field to watch it. Worth it.

DAY 3:

  • We trekked out to Muir Woods to start the day off. It was awesome. The parking here is a little crazy, but it’s worth it!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIt is a great stop because you could go for 20/30 minutes and walk around and be done if you’d like, or you can take your time, enjoy some of the hikes, and make a day of it. We were there for a few hours because we chose to go on some of the hiking trails. There are trails for those who want a flat, less strenuous adventure, as well as the hiking trails that are more hilly.
  • We headed back toward San Fran after our adventure in the Muir Woods & Stopped in Sausalito at Cafe Tutti’s for lunch. I’ll be honest, this place wasn’t my favorite. Their ice cream actually looked decent, but  I would have rather gone back to Copita’s, or across the street to Lapperts, and just had some ice cream for lunch. 🙂
  • I knew what was coming next though, so I just waited until we got to the Bi-Rite Creamery. YES PLEASE. We waited about 30 minutes in line here for our ice cream, and it was SO worth it. It was seriously delicious. IMG_3207I went with a scoop of mint chocolate chip, and a scoop of cookies & cream. The cookies & cream was by far my favorite. I LOVED it! Everyone was really happy with this stop.
  • Next we went to another hot spot we had been told was a must stop, Bob’s Donuts. I am not much of a donut lover, but everyone that got some said they were delicious. They are open 24 hours, so this is an easy one to fit into your itinerary at any time. 🙂
  • I had a friend send me a post on the Seward Street Slides, and I was bound and determined to find them. These long cement slides are so much fun!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

    We found out after that people bring card board to slide down on to make them go faster, which is brilliant. These slides have weird hours, and close at sunset. I think they are also closed on Sunday & Monday if I remember correctly, but well worth a quick stop!

  • We went to find an incredible view of the bridge above Baker Beach next. This is another spot that is worth the stop if you are looking for a great view. There is a parking lot you can pull right into & go explore. IMG_3249It was gorgeous. Totally worth it.
  • We ended our last night watching the sun set on Baker Beach. IMG_3274It was the perfect end to a perfect trip. I LOVE San Francisco. I can’t wait to go back!

Get the Summer Body You Meant to Get in April…of 2014…

I know that so many people have goals for their, “summer bodies.” It always makes me laugh a little because, while I realize you want to look awesome in your swimsuit, I always wonder why you don’t want to look and feel great all year round. I don’t know about you, but I find it a LOT harder to keep up the motivation in October-December when it’s cold & dark, & pumpkin flavored everything sugary seems to be raining from the sky. Maybe the goal shouldn’t just be to look great for 3 months out of the year, but to get that Christmas Body, one that can translate easily into your Valentines Body, your St. Patricks Day Body, that will roll nicely into your Easter Body…and will more than likely have you feeling fantastic when your 4th of July Body is on display. 😉 iloveit5

I guess what I’m saying is maybe it’s a better goal to strive to have a healthy attitude & healthy habits year round, that will translate nicely into helping you to look AND FEEL the way you want ALL YEAR ROUND. The following are some tips that will help to make this possible, because it is!

1. Make some LASTING dietary changes. Instead of going as strict as can be for 21 days…or 30 days…or whatever amount of days seems to be the magic number of the diet of the moment, make some changes in your life that will be lasting. For example: Decide to make a meal plan for the week, and structure your meals around healthy options, do some meal prep to make those meals happen. Choose to quick buying the vast amounts of processed foods/treats that always sounds like a good idea at the time. Include more fresh produce in your diet. Cut out the sugar.

2. Which brings me to #2….cut out the sugar. If there is ONE thing that I preach/and will continue to preach until i’m blue in the face, it’s to CUT OUT THE SUGAR. Excess sugar usually means excess caloric intake, which means excess fat storage, and more than likely means excess body weight. If you cut your sugar intake down, you will be doing yourself a BIG favor.

3. Increase your water intake. If you are drinking full-sugar drinks, stop. Drinking your calories is a terrible idea because it will not fill you up in any way, and it will increase your sugar intake a GREAT deal. Replace that sugary stuff with water. There are so many benefits of drinking water, one of which is assistance in weight loss. Try to drink 100 oz per day. I dare you.

4. Make exercise a regular habit, no questions asked. I know it’s not always fun, and I’m sure there are a long long list of reasons why you’d rather not…but the benefits that you’ll receive from a regular exercise routine are exponential. There are SO many different things you can do to be active. Find one that works for you. Find something that you will stick to. Find something that you can make a long lasting habit, not that you will be able to “handle” for two weeks.

5. Decide to make your LIFE healthier. Quite often when people are only trying to achieve a certain “look” it’s very short lived. It is far more likely that you’ll be able to create a routine you will stick to if you seek to really change your habits.

6. Stop lying to yourself. This might be the most important thing, harsh as it may seam. Stop sneaking bites, eating crappy food, having too many desserts, giving %50 to your workouts, skipping your workouts altogether….and pretending like it’s not going to effect you. I HATE to break it to you, but you can’t think yourself into a different way of life….without putting in the effort. Actually I don’t hate to break it to you. YOU CANNOT THINK YOURSELF INTO A DIFFERENT WAY OF LIFE WITHOUT PUTTING IN THE EFFORT!! I wish I could scream that from the roof tops. I work with a lot of people that want results without putting in the CORRECT amount of work/effort. It is just not going to happen. Period. The end. Stop skipping from one fad diet to the next, wanting an easy out. If it sounds too easy/too good to be true/too effortless…IT IS. If it was SOOOOO easy, do you think we would have such an unreal problem with obesity? Just some food for thought.

 

8 Ways to Make Vacation Workouts Possible

I LOVE to travel. It is one of my favorite things to do. I love a weekend road trip. I love a tropical vacation. Heck, I love a day trip. It’s always so fun to explore new places with the people that I love! For a lot of people, “vacation mode” of life instantly comes with going on any sort of vacation. I’m all for relaxing every now and again, but I tend to feel better when I move…even on vacation. Actually, especially on vacation. My eating tends to be far from my, “norm” when I travel, so I always feel better if I can get some sort of a workout in. Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetBeing active has become a way of life for me, no matter where I am. The following are some ways to get some exercise in while you are on vacation, no matter where you are!

  1. Explore on foot or on bike. If possible, rent bikes to ride around your new territory, or choose to walk from one place to the next instead of driving or taking public transportation. Even if you can’t fit in the time for an actual workout, you can get a LOT of exercise by simply walking! Sight seeing or traveling on foot can allow you to really take things in.
  2. Get up early & get it done. If you really want to get your workout in before you get your vacation on, make time for it. It’s as simple as that. Chances are as the day goes on, you will get busy & it won’t be as likely to happen.
  3. Find new trails or hikes. With the amazing technology we have in our day, it’s SO easy to google awesome trails, hikes, parks, and other sights where you can get a great workout. Find a set of stairs you can run up and down, or a city hill you can run up and down, and what could be better than walking or running beachside? It’s as easy as that.
  4. Get your body weight exercise on. If you aren’t wanting to brave the unknown, you can easily get your workout on in your room. A workout of pushups, burpees, high knees, lunges, squat jumps, sit-ups, & planks takes very little room & can be very effective.
  5. Bring some DVD’s. There are a lot of at home workout programs that you can bring with you that are perfect to do right in the comfort of your tiny hotel room.
  6. Explore hotel or local gyms. I always think it’s fun and adventurous to seek out new workout spots. Try out the hotel gym, or look up local gyms that have great reviews!
  7. Find a stair well. I have done this on several occasions in a hotel. Plug in your headphones and run up and down the stairwell, pausing at the top or bottom to do some jump squats, pushups, lunges, planks, or tricep dips. Stairs are an awesome workout!
  8.  Go shopping. You might laugh, but doing laps around a mall or shopping center can get a lot of steps in!

Don’t let a change in your location or your schedule throw off your workout routine! You can be active & get a GREAT workout in, no matter where you go! 🙂

The Truth: No, I did not just wake up like this. My thoughts on motivation.

I have had a lot of people ask about what keeps me motivated, consistently making healthy choices, and on the track of health that I’ve made my lifestyle…so, I thought I’d address the topic. muncher_cruncher

My favorite (insert a GREAT deal of sarcasm here) things that people say to me are similar to the following…

  • “You are so lucky to be born with legs like that.”
  • “I wish I just only liked healthy food like you do. It’s not fair that you don’t crave unhealthy stuff. That must be SO much easier for you.”
  • “You are so lucky to have all the time in the world to work out. I bet if I had all the time you did, I’d be healthy too.”
  • And one of my personal favorites…”If only I was naturally fit like you are. You are really lucky to have those genetics.”

And on and on…you get the point. Now, let me just clear some things up real fast: I’m not writing this post to pat myself on the back, nor to say that I’ve reached some picture of fitness that is to be strived for. I still have LOTS of room for improvement & I have goals that I’m continually working for. I’m writing this post because I want to clear up some misconceptions about, “being fit,” and living a healthy lifestyle in general.

No, I was not just “born with legs like that,” I don’t “only like health food,” I certainly don’t have, “all the time in the world to workout,” & I am not just blessed with “fit” genetics. All of these things couldn’t be further from the truth actually.

Making exercise a habit is a choice. I hate to break it to you people, but most people are busy. Everyone could come up with some excuse or another as to why they don’t have time to workout on one day or another. Just to put things in perspective; I work full time most mornings I start 6 AM. When i’m not doing private training sessions with clients, running boot camp classes, and working with distance clients…I am writing programs, creating meal plans, answering an influx of questions, researching, and working on new healthy recipes. I’m telling you this so you understand that despite my schedule, I CHOOSE to work out 6 days a week. Some days I LOVE my workouts. It’s therapeutic, it feels awesome, and I feel accomplished.  Other days. I feel tired, it sounds hard, and I’m not as thrilled about it. HOWEVER, I have made it a habit. I have learned something. Exercise is like medicine for me. I need the daily movement. I think most people are the same way, or would be if they would get into the habit. I’m not saying you have to be %100 hard core all day, every day. I am saying that making time and effort for exercise is an absolute choice, and one that is worth making.

If you want results, you have to put in the time. I laugh at those shirts I see that say, “I just woke up like this,” because I think some people think that about those who are in shape. No. Actually, I didn’t just wake up like this…it’s not genetics. Unfortunately, society has allowed this notion that “genetics” is to blame for their weight gain, or their lack of muscle tone, etc. This is a misconception. Science actually will tell you that while your genetics will determine WHERE you gain weight, or where your body fat is distributed…but every choice YOU make for good or for bad is what is determining how you look/how healthy you are. Your decision to get up and work out or to skip your workout for some TV determines that. Your decision to eat an unhealthy meal vs your decision to eat a healthy meal determines that. I really try to teach my clients to take control of their decisions, own up to the truth and reality of their situation, and move forward making positive decisions…realizing that THEY are in complete control of how they look and feel. Or at least they can be. It is a choice. The truth, is that you are not just going to wake up like that. You have to wake up, and CHOOSE to be that way. eating4

Eating healthy is also a choice. I get asked all the time about if I ever just binge on crappy food. There are definitely occasions where I will eat things that I don’t consider, “healthy.” If you know me, you know how much I LOVE candy. I love sugar. I love cereal. I love ice cream. I love all sorts of foods that taste delicious. I’m a human after all. However, I really do choose to limit the intake of crap. The truth is, I’ve learned that eating whatever I want doesn’t bode well for me. I CHOOSE to eat healthy regularly. Truthfully, I also genuinely really do like vegetables, salads, grilled chicken, and other healthy options. I was the weird kid in elementary school that brought bagged veggies & salads for lunch. Weird, I know. However, just because I like healthy foods, doesn’t mean I don’t like the unhealthy stuff. I actually like it quite a bit.

So, how do I stay motivated? How do I consistently make healthy choices? I don’t have some healthy super power. Wouldn’t that be awesome though? Creating a healthy lifestyle really is a possibility for everyone if you really want it. The following tips may be helpful if you are wanting to create that healthy lifestyle for yourself.

  1. Start small. You might not be able to change everything all at once, but you can certainly start with one thing. Pick something to focus on: cut out the sugar, increase your veggie intake, stop eating out at unhealthy restaurants, drink more water, set a goal to workout for 30 mins every day, etc. Once you’ve mastered one thing, add in another positive habit. Establish habits, not just blips at attempts to change.
  2. Be consistent. One week of making good decisions is awesome, but most likely won’t show a ton of results right away. You have to be consistent for a while in order to see changes. Unfortunately, being consistent during the week can even be blown by three days of unhealthy habits on the weekends. Consistent…means consistent all the time.
  3. Find support. Get a workout buddy, enlist a significant other in a challenge, get your family on board, join a gym, find a group fitness class that you love….having a positive support group can be life changing when it comes to sticking with something.
  4. Make eating healthy taste good. You don’t have to dread all of your meals because they are “healthy” foods. Find ways to flavor & prepare foods that taste good to you. Don’t be afraid to try new options.
  5. Realize that eating out & eating healthy actually can be in the same sentence. It’s all in what you choose.
  6. Stop thinking that your current state is “just the way you are.” Change is always possible. It just depends on how willing you are to work at something.
  7. Make healthy a habit. One thing that has helped me consistently make positive choices is the fact that the changes that I have made are a lifestyle, not a 30 day program I’m gritting my teeth through…which will be followed by a lot of binging. Choose to live your life a different way. You may surprise yourself at how well you adapt.
  8. Do something to move every day. Even if it’s small. Your body will appreciate you for it.
  9. Realize that you aren’t just going to wake up like that…and that’s ok. However, you can wake up and choose to be “like that,” whatever that means. Fit people choose to be fit. They work at it. It’s also important to understand that “Fit,” isn’t a size, or a weight, or a certain shape…it’s an effort and a lifestyle. It’s a possibility for everyone.
  10. Consistency allows for more freedom. I realize that consistency sounds restrictive, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Because I am as consistent as possible the majority of the time, my body allows for treats every now and then, days off when I need them, and it doesn’t send me flying of course. I feel like this is the level of fitness that most people want to reach, a level where you feel great, where you are fueling your body well, where exercise is a habit, but where there is also a little wiggle room….where you can still live!

So, no…you probably won’t ever just, “wake up like that,” with no effort, but you surely can wake up and CHOOSE to be whoever you want to be! You have to find the place where your motivation comes from consistently making healthy choices.

10 EASY Ways to Clean Up Your Diet RIGHT NOW

I always laugh w/my clients/friends/family about how we always tend to gravitate toward starting over at the beginning of a week, a month, or a year. “I’ll start eating good again on Monday.” You’ve said it, you know you have. I think we all have. While it may be the beginning of a new week, and a great time to start getting things back into gear, these are a few things you can do at ANY time to clean up your diet RIGHT NOW.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

  1. Start your day with a high quality breakfast. Don’t skip breakfast. Don’t eat cookies for breakfast. Start your day off right. It sets the tone for your whole day. I highly suggest a high protein meal, and you can read why HERE.
  2. Ditch your full sugar soda. I recommend you stop drinking your calories all together. It doesn’t fill you up. It adds in a TON of sugar, which is a big contributor to weight gain, and it’s usually just additional empty calories. I recommend to all my clients that they should drink 100 oz of water per day. You can read why I recommend this HERE.
  3.  Watch your portions. I believe in intuitive eating, I do. Not everyone should have to measure out every single bite they eat. It’s good to eat when your hungry, & eat enough so that you feel full. However, with the super sized portions, bulk packaged bags, & wide availability of convenience foods…portion control has gone out the window. Think about it, how many times have you found yourself reaching endlessly into a bag of food for one handful after another, until you don’t know if you’ve had 1 serving or 11. It happens. When you are conscious of your portions this will be far less likely to happen.
  4. Try not eating candy. I’m not saying you have to get rid of it forever for the rest of your life, but I dare you to try and eliminate it for a bit. You may be surprised at the things you end up skipping over that you normally would have eaten in minutes.
  5. Get your dressing/condiments/”extras” on the side. The “extras” add up really quick. Try getting your dressing on the side, and dip your fork. Get your condiments on the side, and YOU will be able to control how much you use. Take a look at what you eat regularly…are you topping everything with cheese? mayo? dressings? tortilla strips? croutons? These add up real quick!
  6. Get rid of some of your “processed” options. Processed foods tend to be higher in unhealthy fats and sugars. When you get rid of some of these and focus your meals around whole foods, fresh produce, & lean meats you will be way better off!
  7. Skip Dessert. GASP. I dare you. Have some fresh berries, fruit, or nothing at all instead.
  8. Cook at home more. Now, I’m a huge believer that it is VERY possible to eat out and eat healthy. However, I know that I am always more in control when I eat at home. I know exactly what is going in my food. It’s clean, portion controlled, & there aren’t any hidden additives I might not be aware of.
  9. Use salsas, spices, & seasonings instead of dressing. Flavor is the key to healthy cooking. Healthy food SHOULD taste good. It’s all in the way you prepare it. Get creative. Put a little thought and effort into it. One of my favorite ways to spice things up is with fresh salsas. They are so low in calories, & they are packed with taste!
  10. THROW OUT THE CRAP. This is the biggest one right here. If you have a pantry full of oreos, a freezer full of ice cream, & a candy jar stocked with your favorite treats. You will most likely end up eating oreos, ice cream, & candy. If it’s not there, it’s far more likely that you won’t be eating it. Set yourself up for success, not for failure. Fill your fridge & pantry full of fresh produce & healthy food items that you can grab when you need healthy options.