Monthly Archives: July 2015

What I eat everyday


You know how when you read a magazine and it details what a certain celebrity, model or athlete eats everyday? I can’t ever remember reading what that person ate when they were out partying or at their friends birthday party or grabbing appetizers during happy hour. It is usually what they typically eat on their “ideal” day. Probably emphasized a little bit to impress you too!

So while I am giving you what I eat on a typical day, remember this is what I eat on a daily basis, and I will adjust accordingly for holidays, birthday parties and social gatherings.

One key factor. I like the way I eat. The foods I choose taste good to me. I don’t dread them and if I am having a chicken and vegetable aversion (which I do from time to time) I simply choose something else. But I find I tend to eat very similar foods on a day to day basis and change it up on days when those foods just are not my jam.

But first coffee. I love my everyday ritual of a cup of coffee with cinnamon and almond milk.

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Don’t be afraid to stick with what works, if you enjoy it. My breakfast is almost always the same. If it is not some sort of eggs/veggie scramble and toast or potatoes, it is oatmeal, egg whites, peanut butter and some sort of fruit.

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I do a lot of meals in a bowl. For my lunch, to take to work, I often have sweet potatoes and or rice, roasted brussels sprouts or some sort of vegetable and some type of protein (chicken, ground turkey, lean ground beef). Just mix, season, and enjoy.

 

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For dinner I usually make a big chopped salad with cabbage, spinach, onions, peppers, mushrooms, whatever I have on hand. Then I will add chicken, rice and avocado on top. Depending on the flavor I might add a smidgen of BBQ sauce and tortillas strips or a bit of cheese or slivered almonds. Just depends on the combo.


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I used to always skip or delay my post workout meal but I now realize that it is one of my most important meals of the day, if I workout. It help replenish my needs and recover my body. It is now a must!  I usually use some type of protein powder, almond milk,  spinach, frozen cherries and/or a banana, and cocoa powder.


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One of the biggest keys for me is to keep it convenient, food prep to  a minimum and have my food be enjoyable. Along with these pictures are most likely a few extra bites of food, perhaps a swig of juice, a piece of dark chocolate, maybe an additional piece of fruit and a few bites of my mans food. 🙂

 

5 ways to control hunger

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“My diet is going great! I am just starving all… the… time.”

Words from my client, in which we had a giggle over, and then following by a mini perspective session. Because I have been there before, but also learned you can only go around starving all the time before you finally give in and just say screw it.

You may know from my blogs that in college, during spring training for volleyball I might add, I did the Slim Fast mean plan. Shake for breakfast, shake for lunch and a sensible dinner.

Had to take a brief typing pause to put my hands over my face and shake my head. It’s okay because it was a true learning experience and one of the main reasons I lean toward a mindset based  philosophy in creating healthy habits over writing meal plans for people.

I had the same feelings as my client had. It wasn’t too bad. I liked the chocolatey shakes, I was just starving all… the… time! I couldn’t wait until dinner because the food tasted sooooo good! My willpower held up for a solid month until I had a panic one day.

Am I suppose to buy these shakes forever? What will I do when I don’t have them? Just like all meal plans or strict diets and guidelines I had a false sense of comfort. It felt good to be in control but I was left without the tools necessary to continue. Lesson learned.

Keep in mind there is a middle ground. You do not have too either be starving or indulge completely. You can keep your hunger in check in a way that leaves you feeling like you can trust yourself to make good food choices on any given day.

Here a few tips to help control your hunger so it doesn’t feel like it is controlling you.

Do less steady state cardio.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is doing steady state cardio for 30, 45, 60 minutes plus. Some are able to control their hunger, others struggle big time.

If you notice a pattern in wanting to eat more after longer cardio sessions I strongly encourage you to try a new way. Choose shorter, more intense cardio sessions, and strength training as they create a different hormonal response which will effect your hunger and craving in a more preferable fashion. Less hunger. Less cravings.

 Eat more protein.

While I do not encourage over consumption of protein, I am a big believer that protein should be included at most meals or snacks during the day as it is incredibly satisfying. I see people make the biggest mistakes at breakfast choosing cereal, muffins, or yogurt high in sugar.

This will cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels and a quick drop leaving you hungry and craving more. Adding protein will help slow the digestion and slow the spike in blood sugar levels.

Back off the artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners can sometimes cause you to crave more of the sweet stuff.  This is often the case with diet soda drinkers or low calorie drinks. Though you may feel full temporarily they trick your body into feeling full until your true hunger kicks, your body realizes it is missing calories and causes you to eat even more.

Balance your fat and carbohydrate intake.

As in make sure you have enough of both. This is one that will take a little bit of experimentation on your part. I have seem some people do really well on higher fat, lower carb diets and I have seem some people do better on slightly higher carb and lower fat diets.

The main point I want to emphasize is do not be scared of either. I personally do better when my carb intake is slightly higher. I went through a phase where I tried to limit my carbs at night, only to overeat before bed time because my body was craving for more.

Once I added in a small portion of carbs I was able to control my hunger and cravings better AND sleep more soundly. You must be the detective and investigate to see what works for you.

Eat less processed foods and more veggies.

Vegetables contain more water and fiber and will keep you fuller longer. Plus they are full of tons of vitamins and minerals that play a crucial part in your health.

Processed foods are designed to taste good. They are loaded with a combination of fats and sugars that our tastes buds just love and keep us coming back for more and more and more. Plus they are often high in fat or sugar, or both, and low in fiber and protein, therefore are not feeling and leave us feeling never satisfied. Ever try to eat a plate full of broccoli? But a bag of chips? Box of cookies. It is so much easier to overindulge.

Keep in mind that hunger is not inherently “bad” but you do not need to feel starving all the time to make progress.

Feeling starving all the time does not indicate success and feeling satisfied does not indicate failure. Keep on practicing and you will find what works for you.

In the mean time grab the free  Ideal body Cheat Sheet which I created to help you learn how to make progress without being stuck to rules and restrictions.

Additional resources here, here, and here.

Why the story you are telling yourself is keeping you from making progress (and how to change it)

Change your thoughts and change your outcomes. If you believe that your way of thinking does not influence your results then you may want to begin by changing that thought. I have spent so much time observing the connection between how we think and the results that come from our way of thinking, desirable or not. Fitness and health related or not.

For years this concept never crossed my mind. I mean, I always believed in positive thinking and believing in myself but somewhere along the way I realized that my thoughts did not match the direction of everything in my life. I was building up this great big story about why I was unable to do certain things.

It could sound something like this.

When I go on vacation, I always eat bad.

I am like this because of my parents.

I can’t stop snacking.

I am too busy.

I can’t stick to a plan.

I don’t trust anyone.

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This is a quote I love by Tony Robbins and I talk a lot with clients about justifying food and fitness choices and the stories each of us create around eating and exercise. However you could easily apply this to the way you think about yourself, your job and your relationships. The trouble is, these stories become our reality.  And when you argue for your struggles you get to keep on struggling. If you say you don’t trust anyone, you get to keep on not trusting anyone. If you say you eat bad on vacation, you get to keep eating bad on vacation.

They become the way you live your life and think about yourself. And if you are constantly thinking negative, focusing on what you don’t have or what you can’t do, or pushing the blame on to someone else, you are already sending yourself in a direction to be where you don’t want to be.

Have you ever though about changing your story?

Awareness is the first step.

Once you know what the true emotions are that drive your actions you will be able to practice them over and over and over.

You many not even realize how negative you thoughts may be until you start to focus on them. Put a rubber band on one wrist and for a day every time you think something negative, complain or try to keep replaying your sad story switch the band to the other wrist.

Focus on the why more than the what.

For example, when eating healthier it is not enough to simply change your food choices. We have all been there before. You start following a meal plan or eating on or off limit foods and any one can do that for awhile. But what happens when you are stressed, bored, lonely or don’t have access to your on plan food?  You have to change the why behind your choices. If you *practice* making different choices when you are stressed, you will come better at the choices you make. If you practice snacking endlessly when you are stressed, you will become better at snacking endlessly. 

Choose how you perceive your reality

Once you figure out the why behind your story you can make a conscious choice not to believe what you are telling yourself. Because you DO have a choice. You have a choice in your beliefs as hard as it may be.  We can easily believe we are amazing people as we are worthless, no good, unsuccessful, so why do we choose the latter? It takes the same amount of energy. You can believe things are happening to you or happening for you. You can believe good things are unavailable to you or not. You can believe you have potential or not. The choice is yours.

It takes practice.

Just like anything else, changing your thought process takes practice. It takes time. It takes trial and error. It takes a lot of failures a long the way. BUT that is where you do not quit. You do not give up. You keep practicing. Because the alternative is giving up and and not trying at all. If you choose that you are giving yourself 100% chance of not changing. Why not at least shoot for 50/50?  You will have moments where you are sad, in a funk, angry etc and that is totally ok! Just be aware of what is driving that emotion and move on as quickly as possible.

Start declaring, not where you are or what you feel you are, but where you want to be or what you believe is possible for yourself.  

I am strong and confident.

I will eat good on vacation.

I have trust in my relationships.

I will be able to stick to a workout plan.

Start focusing on the stories that you want to live out. Start believing that even when life gets tough there is goodness just around the corner.  Let your faith in your opportunities in life be greater than  you fear.  Because even if you change the way you think, put in the hard work and things don’t turn out the way you planned, you are still left with knowing you are awesome and amazing.

How to break your soda (or diet soda ) habit

What ever happen to the days of having a burger, soda and fries for dinner and just calling it a day? Is that so horrible? No it is not. But if you consider a soda in the 1950’s was 6.5 ounces you can easily see how we have double and tripled our servings in not only one sitting, but one day.

Think about it this way. 

A 20 oz soda has 15-18 teaspoons of sugar. Think about what it would be like to sit with a jar of sugar and a teaspoon and take 15 bites of sugar.

Now think about if you happen to get a 40 oz soda and taking 30 bites of sugar. Yikes! Would you ever do this? If not, why would you drink it. (This can apply to other sugary drinks like juices and lattes).

The over consumption of sugary drinks can lead to a host of conditions from diabetes to heart disease to harming the health of your bones. And if you are trying to lose weight or be healthier and have a high soda intake, this could be the one thing that could change your health around.

Now if you are a diet soda fanatic, don’t get to excited because diet soda is not all that much better.

The trouble with diet soda is it tricks us. As soon as the soda hits our lips our body is expecting that sugar rush, so it occupies us, temporarily. It makes us feel like we are full or satisfied but when the body realizes it did not get the intake it was expecting, it throws our cravings and energy levels out of whack making us crave more, eat more, etc. Some studies argue that diet soda is just as bad for your health as regular soda

Susie Swithers, a Purdue University professor commented, “One large study found that people who drank artificially sweetened soda were more likely to experience weight gain than those who drank non-diet soda. Others found those who drank diet soda had twice the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, often a precursor to cardiovascular disease, than those who abstained.”

It is not a question of what is better or worse for you, it comes down to if any soda is really good for anyone in the first place.

So you get it. Soda is not your best choice and you probably already know this, but you still struggle to make a change. I am all about helping YOU change your habits, because I will argue that it is not as much about WHAT we do, but why we do it and how to change it.

 My lightbulb moment.

In high school I developed a stress fracture in my lower leg and was required to sit out for three weeks. My doctor mentioned that it would be best to limit things like soda and encourage milk intake to keep calcium levels high to keep my bones healthy and be able to prevent things like this is the future.

I think this was pointed out to me at the time mostly because of my young age, but for whatever reason it snapped a lightbulb on in my head and I have not had a full soda in 15 years. Well, maybe one or two but it was most likely in a jack & coke. 😉

How to break your habit:

Go warm turkey.

Like instead of cold turkey? Cheesy joke aside, you don’t have to give up every sip of soda this very second (though that approach may work for some people). Could you just try having less?

If you have two sodas a day could you have one and a half and dump out the rest?  Could you have one soda at the time your crave it and replace your other soda with water? You would save hundreds of calories a week on sugar by making this small change alone.

Create a delay.

Often times reaching for a soda has just become a habit. We do it without even thinking about it. But ask yourself what are you really craving when you reach for a soda and why you claim that you have to have it. There is always an reason behind why we do things.

The next time you want a soda trying creating a pause. Wait 1 minute and ask yourself if you need it. If you do and decide to drink it that is fine. Next time try increasing that delay. Often it is more about having that something instantly than the soda itself.

Your lightbulb moment, your health!

This is what I did. I didn’t even have to think about it. It was my health and performance first and soda was getting in the way. This may or may not work for you but if you stop focusing on the feeling that you just can’t have it because it is bad for you and the reasons why it might be causing adverse health conditions it could change your habits and in turn improve your health.

 You can check out additional reading and resources here, here & here.

3 surprising reasons you are not burning fat

Are you doing everything “right” but not getting the results you are seeking? Or maybe you are seeing change but it feels really stressful and overwhelming.

Could it be possible that you are focusing on the wrong things or possibly too much of the right things?

I went through a phase where I was working out consistently, counting every calorie, saying no dessert and nothing was changing. It was frustrating and it felt a little unfair at the time. But, looking at it from the perceptive I have now, it was a great learning experience and a great source of information for what does and does not work for my body. Start paying attention to this for yourself and you too will be able to start to collect a plethora of information that will help you achieve the results you desire.

If you are looking to lose fat/lose weight and change your body in a specific way you need check out 3 surprising crucial factors you may be missing.

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You are skipping the weight training.

Weight training is crucial for fat loss. If you find yourself on long cardio expenditures, lots of group exercise classes or boasting your 900 calorie burn on the elliptical it’s time to change direction if you are not seeing results. When you add lean muscle mass to your body, your body becomes more efficient and your body composition improves ( more muscle, less body fat). Your goal is for your body to use fat as its fuel source, not muscle.

What to focus on: Instead of focusing on getting smaller, burning calories or losing weight, focus on building muscle ( this is not the same as increasing size). The rest will fall into place beautifully.

Without training or coaching you individually, the simplest way to get you started is to pick 4 exercises.

A push, a pull, a lower body and a single leg lower body exercise.

So let’s say DB Bench press, DB Row, Goblet Squat, and a DB step up are your exericses.

Perform each exercise for 10 repetitions. At 10 you should be able to only do 1 or 2 more. If you can do 5 more it is too light. Repeat each exercise for 2-3 more rounds. Now go practice. You won’t know until you try and you may find that you completely   mis judge the weight in the first set or the first workout. No worries, you can adjust set to set and workout to workout.

Your diet and exercise routine is either too strict or too lax and that is causing you stress!

Say what?!?! Sometime the more you do, the stricter you are, the more you restrict, the more your body fights back. If you are going to ramp up your workouts you need to eat enough to fuel your body to do so. The worst thing you can do is commit yourself to an intense 6 day a week training schedule and start restricting calories. Other than throwing your metabolism out of whack and sending your hunger, energy and cravings out of control you are also boosting your cortisol levels (stress hormones) by mentally stressing about food and physically stressing your body. This is a bad combo if fat/weight loss (and sanity) is the goal.

What to focus on: Realize your training does not have to be black and white. It can be gray! This is actually really, really exciting news. There can be a balance and you do not have to spend hours in the gym, while consuming egg whites, chicken and broccoli forever

If you have no idea where to start.

Step 1: Start by adding one workout to your current routine. If you are at 0 times a week, bump that up to one. If you are at 3-5 and feel you have a solid routine go to step 2.

Step 2: Reduce your calories just slightly.

Step 3: Evaluate by week by week in a couple different ways. Are you getting results? Does it feel like a routine you can do for ever?

You need more sleep.

Have you ever had that feeling where you feel really sick and as soon as you get a good nights sleep you feel so much better?  Sleep is crucial to our well being and this sole factor could prevent you from getting results even if you are doing everything right.  Lack of sleep can raise you cortisol levels as well as your appetite and hunger levels. All these things can obviously have a negative effect on your physique.

What to focus on:

If you can’t get to bed early or sleep in a little later try focusing on the quality of your sleep. Put your phone away before bed, create a relaxing night time ritual and if you are just plain exhausted in the morning choose sleep over exercise.

Keep in mind lasting change takes time. Going to extreme measures may produce quick results but it keeps in you in the dreaded diet cycle of losing and gaining weight. Be consistent, be conscious with your choices and have some compassion for yourself. That right there is the magic bullet.

For additional resources click here and here.