Category Archives: Motivation

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. ūüėȬ†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

Start your Week off right w/this Full Body Fat burning circuit

The weekend is coming to a close which means it’s Monday soon, ya’ll! One thing that helps make for a successful week is going into the upcoming week with a plan! This simple circuit is a full body fat burning workout that will surely have you sweating!¬†Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 6.34.20 PMTo increase the difficulty on this workout, up your speed with your sprints & increase your reps to 20 instead of 15. Happy Sweating!! xoxoxo Megs

The “You Don’t Need a Gym” Workout

I always love when people’s excuse for not working out is because they couldn’t make it to a gym. I can promise you, you don’t need a gym. You actually don’t need anything. munchercruncherworkout¬†This workout can be done just about anywhere…inside, outside, in a gym, on the beach, in your family room, in your hotel room…you get it. No more excuses.

The “You don’t need a gym” Workout ūüôā¬†

  • 3-5 min warm up (walking/jogging/jump roping)
  • 25 squats in place
  • 25 pushups
  • 25 squat jacks
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 25 plyometric lunges (R+L=1)
  • 25 burpees
  • 25 tricep dips (on ground/bench/chair)
  • 25 tuck jumps
  • REPEAT 4-6 times through
  • Cool down 3-5 mins

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. ūüėČ 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! ūüôā

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.

10 Reasons I love to Exercise That Have Nothing to do with Health

I talk to people about why exercise is great for health & weight loss all the day long, and the list of reasons I could give you as to why it is so good for you is quite lengthy. However, many of the reasons why I love to exercise have nothing to do with health.

  1. It challenges me. Growing up I was a dancer. I was always working towards achieving different things. Improving specific form, learning new techniques, increasing my skill level, and working toward competitions and performances were what I thrived on. Sadly, dancing isn’t something that I do much of anymore. However, I still love to move my body. I still love to be challenged. I like working toward different athletic goals, improving form, and pushing myself to reach higher levels of achievement.
  2. I get to watch all sorts of TV. I’m not really one to sit around and watch TV, and if I do, it is usually the background to me cooking, writing programs, answering emails, etc. When I do my cardio, however, I LOVE watching whatever happens to be catching my eye at the time. Some of my favorites…Parenthood, The Biggest Loser, Scandal, Suits, Gossip Girl, Project Runway…and whatever else has been suggested to me at the time. I don’t feel guilty about it at all because it is time well spent, zoned out, and very stress-relieving.
  3. I get to jam to my new music. As you know from my many workout playlists, I LOVE finding new music. It must be the dancer in me, but there are just some songs that get me going. It’s like a breath of energy that is almost inexplicable. For example…anytime I am running and I hear Eminem, Lose Yourself, I am instantly pumped. Tired or not, I feel empowered. Music has that effect on me, and I love it.
  4. Working out is social for me. I love doing my cardio on my own time. It is me time. However, I LOVE lifting with others. I spend a lot of time at the gym working out with friends, and it’s really fun to me. I love doing active things with other people like hiking, rollerblading (yep it’s 2015 & I still blade), going for a run, going for a bike ride, or even just a walk. It’s quality time spent together.¬†iloveit4
  5. It gives me energy. I know, this could fall under the category of “health,” but healthiness aside, when I don’t workout I feel sluggish. Exercise gets me going. Not exercising makes me want to take a nap. Sounds backwards, but for me it’s true.
  6. Exercising = Not stressing about food as much. Let it be said first. You CANNOT out exercise a bad diet. I fully, FULLY …F U L L Y….support eating healthy. I am a big fan of a clean, whole foods diet. However, I know that when I am eating well, and working out I don’t have to stress about every single calorie that I eat. Exercise allows for a little buffer/wiggle room. I fully support that.¬†iloveit1
  7. I get to wear workout clothes & shoes, which happen to be my favorite thing ever. This one speaks for itself.iloveit5
  8. It gives me an excuse to be outside. I love the sun. It warms my soul. I love being outside where I can enjoy the sun. Exercising outdoors gives me a reason to be outside, and I love that. I’m not even mad if I get tan while that is happening either. ūüôāiloveit2¬†¬†
  9. It gives me confidence. For the most part, we tend to be really hard on ourselves. It is extremely easy to get drawn into negative self talk about the way we think we look, the way we feel about ourselves, and the way we wish we thought/looked/felt. When I am regularly exercising, I feel better about myself. My confidence in the way I look and feel is increased. I don’t mean it in a prideful way at all. I just know that I feel better about myself when I exercise.
  10. It’s fun. I know like %80 of the people out there might not agree with me there, but I have grown to love it. It makes me happy. I love the way it makes me feel, (sometimes not until after, but still.) I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with checking a daily workout off my list. I like being active. I like trying new activities. I like the endorphins that come from exercise.¬†iloveit3

 

E is for Effort. What do you REALLY want?

You see, there is this thing about effort.

It takes effort to accomplish just about anything…which means it takes effort to accomplish goals.

Unfortunately, effort just so happens to be one of those things that people least want to give up when it really comes down to it. The thought of achieving lofty goals seems extremely wonderful until your alarm goes off at 6 AM in the morning, or until you are looking at glass case of doughnuts, or when you’re exhausted…out of healthy food options…and ¬†getting a greasy drive-thru meal sounds soooo much easier. The difference between the good choices and the poor ones? The willingness to put forth effort.¬†vacationIf there is ONE thing that I really try and engrain in the people that I work with, it is that I want them to work toward a change in lifestyle, not just a change in numbers on the scale or percent body fat. If you can change lifestyle habits, you will be far more likely to maintain the number on the scale that you want or that percent body fat. Healthy lifestyle changes are ones that you can stick to. These decisions will start to feel like less and less of an effort because they become habitual.

“But I hate vegetables…I’m never going to want to order them”

“But I don’t think exercise is ‘fun.’ I’ll never be one of those people.”

“But It’s hard.”

I know. I know. I know. I could go on. I’ve heard it all. Believe me. I’ve also seen it all. I’ve seen people who hated working out come to a place where they appreciate it enough to incorporate it daily. Maybe they don’t ever “love” it, but they love the benefits that comet rom it. I’ve seen people develop new palates, and learn to like foods they would never have dreamed of touching. Does this mean they don’t still LOVE the sugary, greasy, processed stuff…no. However, they learn moderation. They learn that binging on unhealthy foods doesn’t make them feel good, doesn’t help them accomplish their goals, and isn’t worth eating all the time. There is a time and a place for it, but just not every time & at every place.

It all really comes down to what you want. How much effort are you REALLY willing to put toward your goals and desires? If you aren’t actually willing to put the work in, you must not want it that badly. It takes action. It takes EFFORT. The truth of the matter is that you would be surprised at what you really can do. I’ve heard all the excuses, but I’ve also seen people overcome difficult scenarios that could be excuses many times. It’s possible. It all starts with some effort.

What is holding you back?

I am working on a capstone project for my Master’s program that deals with helping my clients overcome their obstacles. Speaking quite basically, I am trying to help eliminate excuses that are keeping my current clients (and potential clients)¬†from achieving the goals they want to achieve. This has really caused me to delve into what it is that holds people back.¬†yhike3Once thing I know is that it is not the same for everyone. It might be a lack of time, a lack of proper resources, a lack of knowledge as to what to do, a lack of desire to make dietary changes, or a lack of financial ability to invest in healthy practices. However, I have learned through my years in this field that every excuses can be combated. Don’t believe me? Try me.

It really all comes down to a matter of priority. I know, I’m sure you are the exception…you are the one who is too tired, has too many kids, too many pounds of weight to lose, too many hours of work, and too little time to eat healthy. To that I say, “Sorry. I don’t buy it.” I know it sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. It really comes down to what you are willing to do. It is a matter of how much you want results. It is a matter of letting go of the bad habits that you’ve grown to love so much, and an allowance of change. It is believing in yourself enough to try. It is keeping a consistency of effort for long enough to see a difference. It is a perseverance through obstacles, and¬†time where you could care less. Except, you have to care. That is what it is all about. Caring enough to achieve what you are one hundred percent capable of achieving.

I have seen people who didn’t think that weight loss or health improvement was possible for them make incredible strides and lose hundreds of pounds. I have seen absolute reversals of bad habits, changes in diets, and refinements of lifestyles that one might never have thought possible. I have seen people change their body shapes, but more importantly I have seen people change their lives. It is possible. You are capable.

So, what is it that is holding you back? What excuses are you still giving? My advice to you…stop. Own up to your potential, and live a life that feels good. Stop giving all the reasons why you can’t, and won’t, and aren’t. You can. IF you will.