Category Archives: weight loss tips

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! 🙂

CREAMY GREEN CHILE CHICKEN SOUP

I have always been a lover of all things Mexican food…There is just something about the flavors that call to me, I guess. I would say that prior to switching over to a Keto way of eating, I was probably eating some sort of Mexican food like 4-6 times a week, and that might be an underestimation. I realized the other day that I miss those flavors! I have enjoyed the new palate that I’ve been eating these past few months. However, I was in the mood for something Mexican…SO, between that thought process, & the mounds of snow piling up outside my window…I decided to come up with a new soup recipe. I was pumped with how this turned out. (I will also say that I fed this to my friends, and there wasn’t a drop left…so keto or not, I think everyone was on board.)  CREAMY GREEN CHILE CHICKEN SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  • two 4 oz cans of Hatch’s green chiles (I used mild, but if you like spicy food you could use medium)
  • one 12 oz bottle of Victoria Green Taco Sauce (again I used mild here)
  • two 12.5 oz cans of Kirkland brand chicken breast (you could use a rotisserie chicken or cook/dice your own chicken if you would rather)
  • 8-12 oz chicken broth (depending on how thick you want your soup to be)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 2-4 tbs heavy cream (again depending on how thick you want it to be)

Combine all of these ingredients into a crock pot & cook on high for 1-2 hours. All of the ingredients are cooked, so it’s just a matter of everything combining, & the flavor coming together. If you were needing to leave this to cook while you are doing other things, you could put it on low for longer.

Top this with shredded cheese, avocado slices, sour cream, or whatever else you might like!

For those who are trying to keep this meal ketogenic, check the chiles and taco sauce you are using. Some brands sneak some sugar in there. You want yours to only have 1-2 carbs. Enjoy!

 

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.

MC FIT Monday Max Out Full Body Circuit

Are you getting ready for a week of awesome workouts ahead? Planning out what you are going to do for the week before the week comes is one way to ensure awesome success! It is far more likely that you will get your workouts in if you create a plan, acknowledging your busy days & planning accordingly before those busy times come!

This full body circuit is a quick & effective workout that will have you sweating up a storm, & torching those calories. This combination of resistance exercises & plyometric exercises is the best way to burn fat, and lose weight.
Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 2.59.12 PMPut this workout on your schedule for the week, & get after it! Make this week a successful one! 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 🙂 

  • 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. 😉 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! 🙂

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.

Why You Should Get More Protein in Your Breakfast

I recommend that all of my clients aim to get 30 grams of protein for breakfast as soon as they wake up in the morning. This can be difficult because most, “breakfast foods” that people naturally go to are higher in carbohydrates, and not as high in protein…cereal, toast, bagels, fruit, even oatmeal…all fall into this category.

Foods that are higher in carbohydrates tend to spike your blood sugar. Raised blood sugar levels are then followed by a release of insulin, which functions to bring the blood sugar levels back down. Insulin is also known as a storage hormone. It drives sugar into our cells which will either be used or stored. The sugar in cells, is what is used for energy in our exercise and our daily movement in general. However, if enough calories aren’t burned throughout the day (if that sugar isn’t used up), it is what ends up contributing to the storage of fat….and weight gain.proteinbreakfast

Because this surge of insulin follows after a raise in your blood sugar occurs, it’s likely that after eating a meal that is high in carbohydrates you may find yourself craving sugar again shortly after to raise your blood sugar levels back up again.

Protein on the other hand, has a very different effect on the body. Protein doesn’t change your blood sugar and insulin levels, causing raises and crashes through the day. Protein requires more energy from your body to be digested. It is beneficial to your cells because it is what your cells are made up of. Protein is more satiating, and will keep you full, longer. It is beneficial for muscle repair, and helps to build lean muscle. Is is also beneficial for brain function due to the neurotransmitters it contains, meaning a high protein breakfast will improve your brain function throughout the day.

So what are some great ways to get your protein in ASAP in the morning? ……all forms of eggs, veggie omelets, jerky, lean meats, leftover chicken, lunch meat, protein bars (I like Questbars because they are the cleanest option w/the least amount of sugar) &, protein shakes.  A lot of the time, the hardest part is switching up your old habits to some new ones!