Monthly Archives: April 2015

Cameron Diaz said what?!?

IMG_1598Awhile back I saw Cameron Diaz being interviewed on Oprah. Gorgeous, glowing and ever so sweet and vibrant, she sat chatting about everything from movies to body image. Oprah asked her something along the lines of if she struggled with her body image at all? Did she ever even have a bad day?

“Of course I have bad days,” Cameron responded without even hesitating. “I have days where I look in the mirror I and don’t like what I see.”

This was an aha moment for me because it really opened up my eyes that I could have someone else’s body or physical qualities that I deemed “perfect” but still be unhappy or have bad days.

I completely acknowledge the value of wanting to feel confident in our skin and healthy in our own bodies but beyond looking a certain way, at its most basic element it is a choice. It is something we can make before reaching where we want to be whether that is improving our bodies or improving our jobs.

It takes a radical shift in our psychology and the way we think about ourselves.

Seeking out a certain look to just to feel validated or accepted really digs into our own insecurities and inadequacies of not being good enough. We think we we just just be leaner or just look a certain way we will be have all the joy, happiness, and good things in life we need.

In reality it is trap when we caught up in the “if, then” psychological mess of thinking that, “if” we looked a different way, “then” we would be happier. It is a comparison trap really.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

You have heard this before I am sure but have you ever thought about a day when you feel like you are rocking it and then you see someone else rocking it too and suddenly your achievements and “goodness” don’t quite measure up?

Remember the woman with the perfect body, she has struggles too. The effortlessly matched fashionista, may not view life as effortless. The successful business person may not enjoy the work like they are portraying. The parent who seems to have everything together, may just be trying to hold it all together.

We all feel inadequate in our own ways. And while we are all so different, this is an area where we are the same. The challenge is to not let our self proclaimed inadequacy rob our happiness and self love. We must realize that how our bodies are shaped, how our clothes look and whether our dinners look like they do on Pinterest do not define our value or worth. (I know you have had that Pinterest thought before). 

You are not only successful when you get to where you want to be but you have little successes along the way that should be celebrated each and everydayIt is possible to have ambition and feel blessed with the life you have at the same time. 

Learning to embrace the journey is what life really is all about. Once one goal is met, another is usually created because we are not usually most happy not when we achieve something, but when we are engaged in the process itself.

How do I shift my thoughts?

 

I want to give you simple question to ask yourself when you are struggling. It could be with body image or anything else in life, from relationships to your parenting or career.

In the book, Loving What Is by Byron Katie and she points out a valuable question that I have started to ask myself during moments of comparison, when I am having trouble in a relationship, or feeling stressed. 

What is one stress-free reason to believe that thought?

What is one stress free reason to believe someone is more attractive, more successful or “better” than you? What is one stress free reason to compare? You may find a stress free reason and if you do, that’s fine. If you cannot find one, release your feelings, release your thoughts.

Because at that point it is only your perception holding you back, keeping your from happiness and joy. It is only your thoughts controlling you. The beauty is, you can change those thoughts as difficult as it may be sometimes, you have the power.  Seriously? Yes seriously, and this is very exciting because it is all on you. But instead of being burdened with this personal responsibility, get excited. It is all on you, to change your thoughts, to change your way of living if it does not serve you currently! 

Focus less on what others are doing and more on what you are doing. Honor your own journey and all you have to offer to yourself, to your relationships and to the world around you. And remember that someone else’s success, beauty, and achievement does not diminish your own.

What my biggest failure in life taught me

I have always been my own worst critic. I am much harder on myself than I am on anyone else around me and I judge myself in ways that I would never judge other people. I have always tried to live my life doing the “right” thing because subconsciously, I have now realized, I thought that if I did everything right, everything would workout the way I wanted.

The cold hard truth is that is just not how life operates and though we try so hard to desperately control the outcomes, we can only control our actions, our thoughts and our behaviors. And this is scary and empowering all at the same time because it gives us the control to make decisions without ultimately knowing how things will turn out.

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The thing with failures is that they are a part of life and the term failing is often dictated by the people around us. Failures are viewed as negative only when we or others determine them to be that way. Each of us have bouts of unsuccess every single day or week, and some of us have huge events that are viewed with disapproving eyes as failure.  I have had the great learning experience of divorce before many of my friends have gotten married.

And while I at first viewed this as a HUGE failure, I now, with fresh eyes can view this as a tremendous period of learning and growth. I can read criticism written on other peoples faces without them even saying a word. And I reply my defenses in my head. I know marriage is suppose to be forever. I know you are suppose to make it work through the struggles and the challenges. I know it is not something to be taken lightly.

*BUT* I also know that you cannot go against your what your heart and soul truly believes it needs and wants in life.  Relationships are flipping hard and require tons of effort, dedication, and comprise but I do not believe the connection should be forced. You either work to fix it or find a new way.  I have learned so much about ME and how I am my ultimate enemy in relationships. I do not believe I would have gained the insights I have or be where I am today without all the challenges and struggles that preceded.

Over the past couple years I have practiced forgiving myself for my life not turning out exactly as predicted or as it “should.” I have allowed myself to follow my heart into the unknown while learning about myself and relationships along the way and realizing that I am the biggest barrier to my own happiness and joy.

Let someone love you as flawed as you feel you are. We are all immune to perfection. Don’t let your flaws become an excuse in relationships.

It is not others job to make you happy, it is your job to make you happy.  The more you rely on other people for happiness the more you will be disappointed.

People will do what they are going to do. You will not be able to change them, unless they want to change themselves. Trying to get someone to change can lead to resentment unless they are open to the change.

You are the secret to your own happiness. You can control your attitude on how you view situations, 100%.  It is okay to be sad, angry, and frustrated but ultimately you decide how much it controls you.

Everyone struggles with something. You and I probably share the same struggles on some level. If not, you share them with someone else.

Getting mad, angry and irrational towards someone else, is a direct reflection of how you view yourself. The next time you get so upset about something, think about why you are feeling that way. It probably has to do with more of your own insecurities and suffering than the actual situation. 

Shit happens, figure it out. Enough said.

Change is inevitable. Instead of fighting change, go with it. Change is one thing you can count on.

Trusting yourself is the ultimate form of self love. No matter the outcome, if you trust your self, you know you will be ok.

Perfectionism is a disguise for shame.  We try to be perfect to cover our insecurities, flaws and things we are self conscious about. 

The more out of control we feel the more we try to control things. The more we try to manipulate others and the events that take place each and every day is a direction reflection of how out of control we feel. 

The more we hold on to resentment, anger, shame, and regret the more we give ourselves permission to stay exactly where we are, take less responsibility and not give ourselves an opportunity to change. You either stay where you are or figure out a way to change it.

Heavy is beautiful

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Most people turn to some sort of cardio conditioning and diet restriction to lose fat/weight. Keep in mind this. No matter what the scale says, if you are not lifting weights you potentially will carry higher percentages of fat than you wish. The antidote? Resistance training and selecting exercises that create a demand on the body.

The suggestion that women should lift heavy is thrown around social media and the fitness world but I feel like people simply bypass the phrase without really consider what this means or automatically assume it is not for them.

Today I want to talk about how to implement lifting heavy weights into a routine and why it is beneficial, not just for body composition, but for your overall health.

You may have questions.

“How and why would I want to lift heavy?”

“Isn’t it dangerous?”

“How do I know what is heavy enough?”

“Does it really matter all that much?”

Strength training with heavier weights has a host of benefits that range from improved body composition, to an enhanced metabolism, improved strength and endurance, whether you are looking to  improve in a sport, the gym,  or activities of daily lifting. 

I have had many clients say how much stronger they are carrying their grandkids or groceries and, to me, that pretty much solidifies why we should all train with weights in one form or another.

And if bulk is your concern, read here.

A little bit of education.

You can skip this part if you are pretty savvy in the weight room but some people are left wondering what 3×12 or 3×3  means and how exactly do you lift heavier and why would you choose one over the other.  The first number being the number of  sets  you will complete and the second number how many repetitions you will do for each set.

For example, if you are trying to develop pure strength you would choose a heavy weight you could only perform for close to 3 repetitions. If you are just a beginner, or getting back into it, I wouldn’t even worry about it, but if you have been doing this awhile, are looking to get stronger and add muscle mass (not necessarily size) and have never experimented with this kind of training before I would highly considered it. The physique and strength benefits are amazing and leave you feeling you can take on anything.

Heavy is relative.

Heavy for one person could be completely different for someone else.  In college, I would struggle to get 165 pounds for 3 reps on a back squat while the girl next to be was struggling at 205. The point being that we were each challenging ourselves at our fullest capacity at that time.

 I am not saying that you ever have to get 100 pounds plus on your back to challenge yourself, but I am encouraging you to be more aware of how much you currently challenge yourself when lifting weights.

 

A lot of time lifting heavy gets a bad reputation that it is dangerous and potentially harmful, but I do not think it is any more dangerous than NOT training your body in a way that builds strength and mobility. Lifting heavy is not any more dangerous than being weak.

Exercise Selection.

I see women especially focus on isolation exercises whether they are using the ADuction/ABduction machine (inner/outer thighs), bicep curls, triceps presses and abdominal exercise in hopes that they will “burn” the fat right off that area and that is simply not the case.

Ultimately you cannot spot reduce in any noticeable way.  Choose multi joint exercises that work multiple muscle groups such as shoulder presses, push ups rows, squats, lunges, deadlifts etc.

These will give you the most bang for you buck and in the long run, help increase muscle, which will reduce fat allover more than your single joint exercises. Also do not omit training the upper or lower body in fear that you will get too bulky. The legs especially will give you a higher calorie burn because they are some of the biggest muscles in the body.

Why lifting LIGHT weights is a waste of time.  

If you do any exercise and rep out 20 repetitions without really feeling any type of challenge you are not giving the muscle enough stimulus to see any kind of change.

Whether you are looking to change your physique or be stronger, you are seeking some kind of benefit, and simply going through the motions on machine and hopping to the next is what  I would consider a waste of time. Challenge yourself.

How to lift heavy for beginners. 

Start by picking exercises that you feel comfortable doing and you know you have good form.

Select your usual weight and perform 12-15 repetitions and ask yourself if you could do 5 more? If the answer is yes, then bump of the weight.

Do this until you find a weight that is challenging for 12-15 repetitions. Once you have determined these weights for various exercises work out in this fashion for a couple weeks recording your numbers doing 2-3 sets of each exercise that feels challenging for 12-15 reps.

Then bump your weight up to one that feels challenging, with the same exercises for 10-12 reps.

A workout example to start would be performing each of the following exercises for 12-15 repetitions and then repeating the entire set 2 more times. Eventually move to the lower rep range.

3×12-15

DB Shoulder Press

Goblet Squat

Seated Row

Split squat

If you are looking to get the most out of your workouts and actually see changes in the body, you need to actually feel a challenge when you lift weights.

There are definitely some body weight exercises that can create a similar stimulus and effect without adding additional weight but the key point here is you need to be challenged. Start slow,  always practice good form, and listen to your body.

 

If you want more direction on how to get a stronger, leaner body I am opening up a wait list for a 10 week gym program I am launching May 10th, Super Simple Super Sets. It will give you 10 weeks of workouts, telling you exactly what to do and how to progress to challenge your body and continue to get results. Zero obligation to commit to the program but you will get tons of exercise education over the course of the next couple weeks, plus a free workout nutrition guide to get you started! Click below if you are interested!

Click Here to get your FREE guide!

6 ways to be a smarter crossfitter

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Exercise you love is exercise you will do. Period. I was a member of a CrossFit gym (just can’t bring myself to say box) for almost two years, attended and obtained my Level 1 Certification, where I was instructed by the oh so fabulous Christmas Abbott, and even have written posts about why I love CrossFit. So, to get this out of the way this is not a CrossFit bashing post but a PSA, if you will, on how to reconsider how you CrossFit.

Take some responsibility and scale your workouts like it is your freaking job.

Be super conscious of your weight selection.  Some workouts are meant to use heavier weight and some are meant to use lighter weight. A workout may call for a women to do 65 lb thrusters and you may think “Yes, I can totally do that weight!” But if the workout is meant to be a “lighter” workout that you should try to fly through, and you struggle to do just a few 65 lb thrusters, you need to adjust your weight according.  Heavier is not always better. 

Also check yourself if your form is sloppy. If your hand release push ups start to look like a sad version of upward facing dog in yoga, drop down to your knees. If you kipping pull up is sloppy in “Angie” then please choose a band or do a jumping pull ups, and  if your shoulder is jacked just skip the sumo deadlift to high pull all together. Have no shame in opting out or choosing different exercises.

Which leads me to my next point.

Just say no.

 I attended my first CF class after a two year break recently, and I might as well have just said “Hi, my name is Adele and I refuse to do kipping pull ups.” I didn’t introduce myself that way but I did say I do not do kipping pull ups. If your kip is on point and you have had no issues, do your thing, but if you struggle or your form is sloppy just say no. Like I said above, choose a difference variation. Work on that exercise outside of the WOD to be able to implement it in to your WOD.

I will also say no to workouts all together that just plain suck. There is no need for me to attempt to snatch a barbell over my head 90 times at progressingly increasing weights. Olympic lifts  are SUCH technical movements that people spend YEARS developing. I would suggest spending more time working on your Olympic lift technique than repping out high numbers.

Don’t let others peer pressure you into going hard all the time.

I get the benefits of working out in a CrossFit community, even working out with other people in any sense. It does push us to work harder and do more than we normally might do by ourselves and this is why I am a huge fan of CrossFit, personal training, accountability partners etc. It’s the best feeling when you just did what you did not believe you could because of the person or people next to you.

BUT you know your body best and pushing harder and doing more does not always result in a greater outcome. Take a quick scan of how your body feels that day. Are you fueled? Are you fighting a flu bug? Are you sleep deprived? These components play a huge factor in how you will perform. And on those days you want to show up but just do not have it, take it easy. If it does not catch up to you today, it will tomorrow.

Focus on rest and recovery as much as your workouts.

One of the biggest trends I see, is not an extreme injury that keeps people out for months, it is the go hard for three weeks, then go home for two weeks pattern. I know this from first hand experience. I would get 4 workouts in for a few weeks and then have to take a few weeks off from exhaustion, an aggravated shoulder, or soreness so extreme that I was in no shape to be working out. Gotta love your first workout with full rope climbs.

The 3 days on, 1 day off motto of CrossFit is just too much for some, and if that is you ( it sure is me) be ok with it. Just know the harder you push in your workouts the more you will need to rest and recover to come back in full form. The hard thing about this is it tends to catch up with us a couple weeks after we over do it. To keep your routine and motivation more consistent, schedule in rest days, pay attention to your body, and view recovery as the key to getting stronger, not just your workouts.

Rest is your friend and should be treated with respect in each and every workout and in each and every week.

Stop with the strict challenges already.

Ok please stop with the strict challenges, committing to 5 days a week of training while minimizing your food intake to way less than you expend. When you workout MORE and eat LESS, you are setting yourself up for perfect scenario to shoot your hunger and cravings through the roof and drop your energy levels to the ground. Even if you make it through the challenge you will not be able to sustain this kind of training and eating and you will jack up your hormones and your metabolism. If you are choosing to workout more, then please eat more to show your body some love and give it some support, for all the hard work it is giving you.

Results are ones that last, not come and go. Ask yourself if you can eat like that forever? If yes, keep at it. If no, remember that  you do not have to be super strict to sustain results. I want a diet that includes chocolate, an occasional adult beverage and indulging in rich food when I feel like it.  Why? Because I plan on doing those things forever.

Focus on the big picture.

Always keep in mind the prescribed weight CrossFit sets for men and women based on the most ELITE athletes in the world. Just as you don’t expect yourself to have the same training ability and skills as Lebron James do not expect yourself to have the same training ability and skills as Rich Froning.

Some of these points may be way obvious or some may be a fresh perspective but I want to encourage you to start thinking outside the box and take the structure that CrossFit gives you and adapt it to make it your own.

 

 

Protein Pumpkin Loaf and Candy Cane Coffee in April


IMG_7560You may see a trend that I am all about creating your, own, unique rules when it comes to eating and sometimes I think we get so stuck in the rules, that we never allow ourselves to step outside the box and follow, gasp, what our body is really asking for. What a novel concept! (Just a hint of sarcasm here).

I felt like pumpkin the other day and, with an oh so late Christmas exchange with one of my best girls,  the candy cane coffee I received was just enough motivation to feel a little holiday like in April.

Here is a healthier alternative to a pumpkin loaf that should be treated just like all other food. Everything in moderation. Meaning if you have been craving just “a little something”, eat it.  It will NOT derail your goals and could actually save you from binges later on in the week or month.

What you eat NOW will directly affect what you eat in the future. So if you are restricting yourself with an apple for breakfast, lettuce for lunch and picking at dinner, just know your hunger and cravings will catch up with you at some point and you will over consume in some shape or form.

Pumpkin Loaf

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 TBSP of vanilla

1 – 15 oz can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1/4 cup of honey

1 TBSP of pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

Sprinkle of salt

1/4 cup coconut flour

1- cup of almond flour

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

1 tsp pf baking powder.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mix together eggs, vanilla, pumpkin, oil and honey.

3. In a different bowl mix together all other ingredients.

4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Pour into a well greased pan or foil lined pan coated with cooking spray.

5. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a knife cuts it out clean.

6. Find some candy cane coffee and enjoy! 🙂

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16 Food and Fitness Rules to Live By


It’s so much more than just about what to eat and how to workout.

You hear me say this all the time and the more I write about it the more I even convince myself that the answers to our struggles have more to do with our thought process, behaviors, actions and reactions, choices and habits than whether we eat carbs for breakfast or not or decide to partake in CrossFit or Zumba.

It does not matter what type of  thoughts you have about what you should or should not eat, or how you should or should not workout, you can immediately put these “rules” into place.

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1. Forgive yourself and your choices. Positive phycology research is actually showing that forgiving ourselves when we make a mistake is a greater motivator than criticism. Instead of telling yourself you are such a failure and you skipped a workout and ate that bag of chips AGAIN, tell yourself that this is another challenge you are working to overcome.

2. If it is more stressful to think about not having the cupcake, have the cupcake. This has been so helpful to me because I have had times where I have stressed so much about NOT having something, that it was actually more stressful than simply having it. Is not feeling motivated to go to the gym stressing you out? Go to the gym!

3. Only eat food that makes you feel great physically and emotionally WHILE you are eating and AFTER. If you are going to stew in guilt and remorse over that gallon of ice cream, do eat it. Do you know that daily does not settle well with you? Do not eat it. Begin to pay attention to how foods make you feel mentally and how they affect your bodies energy, digestions, and mood.

4. Do not compare yourself to others. It does not matter if a friend is super successful on Paleo, Vegan, swimming, yoga, etc. If you do not enjoy eating or working out in a certain way, you will not do it. The best way to eat and workout is a way that you can enjoy, or at least tolerate, long term. Consistency beat perfection.

5. Decide if you would rather be right or happy. Bash any preconceived notions you have about what you should or should not do and find what works for you. Sometimes going against what has been ingrained in us for so long feels like a failure. ‘I must do cardio for an hour 6 days a week.’ But ask yourself. Is this way working? Am I seeing results? Am I doing this because I feel in my head this is”right” or because it makes me happy and is working.

6. Practice gratitude. Finding the bright spots and lessons in our challenges allows us to move past them.  It is easy to get caught up in a world wind of negative emotions or nit pick at ourselves for our imperfections and perceived failures, but ultimately gratitude puts everything in perspective.

7. Look at your strengths not your weaknesses.  Instead of constantly focusing on what you are doing wrong, ask yourself what you are doing well. Where are your successes? In everyday? In every week?

8. Take responsibility. I love this quote by Byron Katie.  “Placing the blame or judgment on someone  else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” When we play on excuses we give away our power to make changes.

9. View food with an abundance mindset. Food will always be available to you. Are you eating it because you truly want to or because you fear you will not be able to eat it again soon. Sometimes when we go on binges and we say “Screw today. I will start tomorrow,” we give ourselves permission to eat everything in site because tomorrow will be time to get strict again and not be able to enjoy your favorite treats. I am here to tell you….

10. It does not have to be all or nothing. You do not have to be on or off plan, strict or not strict, cheat day or not. You can absolutely build foods you love into your diet each and every week and still get results. When was the last time going super strict on a diet gave you results that you were able to maintain?

11. Do your best. Your best will be different each and everyday. Exhausted after a long day at work and too much wine? Stopped for fast food? Skipped dinner? You were simply doing your best on that day. Doing your best is not an excuse it is admission that you are human and while all decisions are not created equal, you can keep trying to learn and improve.

12. Manage stress & stress. It is a hard concept to understand that sleep and stress play such a significant role in your body composition and food and workout choices but they do. Find activities that help reduce stress and make sleep a priority.

13. Say good bye to guilt and join the land of imperfection. We will not always be perfect with our choices and that is ok. Feeling guilt and shame over them doesn’t really serve us in any positive way. Say yes to personal freedom by allowing yourself to be imperfect, by allowing yourself to be human. No guilt required.

14. Trust yourself. Trust that the choices you make today will add up in a huge cumulative effect and get you to where you want to be tomorrow, even if you cannot see the end right now.

15. Reinvent the wheel and do you. Be your own detective when it comes to what works for you. I don’t care if Suzy Sunshine lots 50 lbs on Atkins and yoga, if your body does better on carbs and you want to lift some weights do it! The best exercise and way of eating is the kind you love and the kind you love is the kind you will stick with.

16. Success is not final, failure is not fatal. I love this quote by Winston Churchill. Just because you achieve ultimate success today does not mean it will stay without the effort and just because you fail does not mean you have no chance at success. Don’t give in either way.

Using the oven for veggie lovin’


I am all about finding new and different ways to get veggies in my diet, because they CAN be tasty.  And I love using the oven because I do not have to attend to it constantly. I can pop a baking sheet full of veggies in and let them cook for their designated time while I do other things. Plus, I like the slight crisp they get from roasting.

I find that those who are not big fans of veggies are chomping on celery sticks, eating green beans out of can, or are eating plain salads of iceberg lettuce and cabbage with an oil dressing. Your right, those kinds of servings do not sound all that great to me either!

Check out my cauliflower cakes recipe and I have a PDF for you to check out more veggie recipes you can cook using just the oven!

Cauliflower Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small cauliflower head (trim off the core)
  • One egg
  • One egg white
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to season
  • Optional additional seasonings: garlic powder, cayenne, oregano
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The cauliflower chops up quickly in the blender.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place cauliflower pieces in a food processor or blender and blend for a few seconds until it is finely chopped.
  3. Add egg, egg white, cheese and seasonings. Blend for a few more seconds.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil and coated with a cooking spray.
  5. Take 1/4 cup and scoop mixture onto sheet and spread into small pancake shapes.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until firm.
  7. Remove from oven, carefully flip each cake and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  8. Let cool and serve as a side, top with avocado and eat as a snack, or use it to make an egg sandwich.
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This batch turned out a little crispy, just the way I like it!

 

How you can eat food that tastes amazing and still have the body you want

The other day on Facebook I posted some quick thoughts on retraining your taste buds. You may not guess it now but I vividly remember one summer in my college years where I had all these coupons to Taco Bell for a buy one, get one free Nachos Bell Grande. I would devour one and pick at the next. During that time I also loved grande, white chocolate mochas from Starbucks. It was like drinking liquid sugar! Well, it actually is but that is beside the point.

At the time these things tasted amazing to me but they sure did not make me feel all that great or do any thing to help me maintain my physique. But I was 20, and always had my volleyball training in the fall that would whip me back into shape with double day during hell week.

When my senior year was over, I had this moment where I realized that I would not have volleyball training to fall back on and I would have to make some adjustments. Plus working out to be able to eat more is not a game I like to play anyways. So I gradually started to eat healthier. More fruits and veggies. Less fast food. Less Starbucks. No more Taco Bell. Ha! I have pretty much trained my taste buds to where that kind of food is no longer appealing at all and I have a much simpler palate.  And when I have richer foods, I go for the good stuff and enjoy every bite of it.

Choose general healthy eating before you try paleo, gluten free, or any type of detox.

Remember being bloated and having unpleasant digestive issues is not the norm. I have clients who say they feel like they need to go paleo or detox because of this but when I look at what they are eating, it is eating out or at fast food, 5-8 meals a week!  I encourage you to try a general healthy eating plan first before doing any thing more extreme.

Eating whole, natural food, like meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs etc is almost like a detox in itself, especially if you are coming from a high processed, high sodium diet. These foods help balance blood sugar levels and provide a consistent flow of nutrients to the body that help manage energy, hunger and cravings.

Train your taste buds. More quality foods, more often.

Do I eat “processed” varieties of foods or food from packages. Why yes, yes I do. But for the most part I eat foods in their whole state. Eating is not about being perfect, it is about being consistent. And if you start by trying to be hardcore, strictly organic, never eating anything that comes in plastic or cardboard, you are going to drive yourself crazy.

The thing is once you develop a healthier way of eating, more consistently you started to crave healthier foods. And once you start to crave healthier food, the greasy, uber sweet food will not be as appetizing.

When I sit down to eat, I get as excited to eat my big ass salad as I do to eat a chocolate chip cookie. Food is not good or bad. Food is not all or nothing. Food is not cheat or no cheat. Food is information for our bodies that will help determine how we feel and how we perform each and everyday.

How to transition your taste buds.

  • Add a little yummy to your salads. Eating salads does not have to be ice berg lettuce with carrot strips and a drizzle of olive oil, bleh! Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, avocado, olives. I use the OXO salad chopper and will add spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, bell pepper and chop it up super fine restaurant style. I then add diced chicken, avocado and some feta cheese with a light dressing. It tastes amazing!!
  • Order your grande Starbucks mocha with 2 pumps of sweetener instead of 4! Yes, that is a start. It will not taste as sweet but I bet you will still enjoy it.
  • If you get one of those packets of taco seasoning, get the low sodium kind and only add half the packet.
  • Try changing one of your meals during the day.  Tell yourself that no matter what you are going to make sure you have at least one healthy meal a day and go from there. That doesn’t mean you have to let go at the other meals, but if all else fails you will have eating one healthy meal each day.
  • Change the way you prepare things. Eating vegetables does not have to be steamed broccoli and  raw celery if you do not enjoy it.   It does not have to be bland and unappetizing. The other day I baked asparagus fries that came out slightly crispy and delicious and put a small handful of spinach in my protein smoothie. Couldn’t even taste it!

These are little changes that will make a big difference. I promise you will feel so much better and you will start developing a palette for more natural foods. And then you will actually enjoy and crave a healthier way of eating.

 

 

 

The Worst Exercise For Fat Loss

First off I realize that this blog title is a not only a big dramatic generalization but also my own opinion.

Second, if you ever read anything I write and you do not agree because you have real life proof that works for you, then go for it. I am not here to argue what obviously works for someone. I am here to give you a different perspective.

Now let me get this out of the way. Running works for some people. Some people love to run and use it as their primary or secondary method of fitness. It has a host of positive benefits from being a fabulous mood booster, great for heart health, a high calorie burned and can be just plain enjoyable! 

It is quite ironic though, that running is often the go to exercise for weight loss (I use fat loss and weight loss interchangeably) and people think they need to run to get in shape, when really they need to get in shape to run. And by running I mean long, moderate intensity runs.

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Running is hard on the body.

I was at a fitness conference about 5 years back when a presenter compared running a mile to 2,000 plyometrics. Plyometrics being a form of jump training and 2,000 being the number of steps in a mile. If you are out of shape or have a lot of weight to lose, running is not only going to be hard on your endurance but hard on your joints. Jumping  or high impact activity is the last thing I would recommend. The constant pounding on the cement is, is in a sense, like jumping over and over and over again for however long it takes you to run a mile, or worse 3! This can put you at a higher risk for injury and/or make it harder for you to recover from your workouts.

The more you run to lose weight, the more you have to run to maintain it and keep if off.

It has been suggested that you will have to continue to add mileage to your runs to stay lean, especially as you age. If you run 15-20 miles a week in your 20’s you may have to increase that 20-25 miles in your 30’s and 25-30 miles in your 40’s to stay lean. That is not only a lot of time invested in your running but a lot of pounding on the pavement as well.

I am all about the least effective dose of exercise when it comes to maintaing weight. If you exercise 6 hours a week to maintain your weight, what happens when you only have the opportunity to workout 2 hours a week for a extended period of time. You will not be able to control that with exercise alone and will have to make sure you adjust your diet accordingly.

The body adapts well.

The body is a pretty smart cookie and adapts to your activity to become more efficient. When you run your first mile after not running in awhile, it is going to be at least a little challenging and your body is going to have to work harder to run that mile. But as you keep running that same mile your body will adapt and use less fuel and burn less calories to do so.  You will have to continue to run more to see results or maintain your results.

Running is a great way to stimulate your appetite. 

I am all for more exercise, but if you are failing to control your appetite at the same time, it is going to cancel the physique results you are seeking. Certain types of exercise can make you hungrier and typically moderate, longer duration type exercise will do so. Check out this great piece on appetite, hormones, and exercise by metabolic effect. Typically when people set themselves up to get back in shape, they start to eat less which makes them hungrier, while bumping up their workouts at the same time, which will, you guessed it, make them hungrier.

Sprinting is a great fat burner ONLY if you are in shape.

I do rave about high intensity exercise and sprinting on my social media posts but I encourage caution. Sprinting and plyometrics are great alternatives ONLY if you are in good enough shape to do them. Both these forms of activities are great fat burners, help maintain appetite, and are very time efficient but also require a great deal of technique. These types of activities are NOT good for beginners to use. Again you need to get in shape to sprint, not sprint to get into shape.

What to do instead:

  • Get the cardio effect without the impact. Set a timer for 15 minutes and perform 8 squats, 8 push ups and hold a 20 seconds kneeling or full plank. Repeat continuously, resting as needed.
  • Climb a set of stairs. Rest when needed and repeat.
  • Try a lower impact form of cardio like incline walking or swimming.
  • Use leisure walking to reduce stress, maintain appetite and move.
  • Find your own, unique, least effective dose of exercise.  Exercise is important but the less you have to do will help you stick to your routine.
  • Eat enough to support your activity level. Not more, not less.

 

32 books that will inspire you to live your best life


Last year for my 31st birthday I reflected on the previous years in my post that you can find here. I have seen people do it before and have all kinds of journals and note lying around my home with quotes, inspirations, and my own words of wisdom so it was really fun to put it together in an organized way to share with the world.

This year, as I turn 32, I wanted to share 32 amazing quotes from 32 amazing books I have read, most of them this past year. I love these quotes and use them when  my “irrational self” shows up the world.

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My irrational self being, the defensive one, the illogical one, the anxious one, the judgmental one, the sad one, the hopeless one. I know I don’t want to feel this way but it is quite difficult in the moment. We all have those moments and I do my best not to judge them, but not to stay in them too long either. Because you know what?

1. “I am just a bunny trying to work through my issues.”

I Am a Badass by Jen Sincero

And here are 31 other perspectives from books, that I remind myself of often. Some may strike a chord with you and some may seem so obvious, but one of my favorite parts of reading other than learning so much, is that when I read each and everyday I am reminded of all the blessings and opportunities I have surrounding me.

2.“We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.” The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown

3. “They’re working hard and persisting through difficulties because of their internal desire to control their lives, learn about their world, and accomplish something that endures.” Drive by Daniel Pink

4. “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of ones comfort zone.” The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen

5. “Personal importance or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.”” The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

6. “…Permission to think a thought reduces the likelihood of thinking it.” The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

7. “Eliminate the non essential.” The Power of Less by Leo Babuta

8. “Other than eating and breathing, sleeping is the most important source of recovery in our lives.” The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

9.“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

10. “The most important thing in life is learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

11. “Let it go already.” Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff in Love by Richard Carlson and Kristine Carlson

12. “One of the most important skills you can develop in human relations is the ability to see things from the other person’s point of view.” How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

13. “Struggles and hardships and challenges are a necessary component of an emotionally rich life; there are no easy shortcuts to happiness.”  Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar

14. “Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur.” Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

15. “Dogs realize when a previously treasured object is missing, but needn’t mull over possible stories for what happened to it. Instead they just start looking for it, or wait for it to show up. ” Inside of a Dog by Alexandria Horowitz

16. “You’ve got to exercise, not just for your heart and lungs, but to keep from stiffening up. It keeps you limber, and that’s important when you get older.”  The Book of Everyday Wisdom” by Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany

17. “May you see sunshine when others see shadows and opportunities when others see obstacles.” I Wish For You: Gentle Reminders to Follow Your Heart by Lance Wubbels

18. “Maintain social networks. They know how to listen, laugh, and appreciate what they have.” The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

19. “The universe is abundant. Let go of the fears of deprivation, of doing without…Having more and more will not solve your problem if what you need is to heal your fears. If you open your herat and look without fear, you may see that you have enough now.” Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie

20.“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

21.“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

22.“Be grateful for what you have now. As you begin to think about all the things in your life you are grateful for, you will be amazed at the never ending thoughts that come back to you of more things to be grateful for.” The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

23.“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle 

24. “A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering.” Loving What Is by Bryon Katie

25. “Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness, and vision/meaning.” Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

26. “What we fear doing most is usually what we need to do.” The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

27. “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook

28.“Holding anger is a poison…It eats you from inside…We think that by hating someone we hurt them…But hatred is a curved blade…and the harm we do to others…we also do to ourselves.” The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

29. “If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”  Desiderata: Words For Life by Madx Ehrmann

30. “Difficulties and obstacles, if properly understood and used, can often turn out to be an unexpected source of strength.” The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

31. “Done is better than perfect.” Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg 

32. “We are living a happy life when we derive pleasure and meaning while spending time with our loved ones, or learning something new, or engaging in a project a work. The more our days are filled with theses experiences, the happier we become. This is all there is to it.” Happier by Tal Ben – Shahar