Alert: Be Careful of The “Less Strict” Eating Philosophy


You may have seen posts or read articles about fitness enthusiasts or  professionals who follow eating strategies such as IIFYM (if it fits your macros), where it matters less about what you eat and more about meeting your exact number of macronutrients of carbs, fats, and protein.  Cupcakes post workout? No problem!

Or you may notice a trend of those who just follow a less strict, more moderate eating philosophy where they drink wine, have fries, and eat dessert on a regular basis. You may have even seen me post about my daily love for chocolate and how I manage to get in my piece of dark chocolate, chocolate protein shake, and healthy chocolate pudding all in the same day. You may have also seen me throw around phrases “like don’t eat less and exercise more.”

However, I do want to throw in a few words of caution, when it comes to these philosophies. We usually all have a very strategic, well thought out plan behind them. And if it is effortless to, it is because we have put a lot of practice into it and have a developed healthy habits around it. Here are a few things to consider.

IMG_0972

You still need to incorporate healthy, whole foods. Typically foods that are labeled as bad for us, are not as nutrient dense or have as much benefit to our health as things like animal proteins, certain starches, fruits and vegetables. Butter and sugar combined? You are not going to get the health benefits, or satiety, as  you would as if you some type of animal protein and vegetables, and perhaps some potatoes too. You can get more nutrients and feel more satisfied from eating healthier foods more often, than you can from eating pop tarts and granola bars all day long. There is always room for treats but it is all about balance.

You still need self control. This type of flexible, moderate eating may seem like people are just eating anything and everything they want, but that is definitely not the case. No matter what kind of diet you follow, even if it is one you created for yourself, you still must give and take a little. A few glasses of wine at dinner? Maybe that means you leave out the bread. A whole dinner of indulgence? Back on track tomorrow. Chocolate after dinner. It is probably just one piece.

Eat less, exercise more clarified. Essentially, yes, there needs to be a caloric deficit to lose/maintain weight/fat. But..there also needs to be hormonal balance. And hormonal chaos is created when we go to extremes of eat less and exercise more. Think about a time when you may have decided to amp up your workouts to 5 days a week for 1-2 hours a day.

What happens? Exercise makes you hungrier. At the same time you decided to start eating very strictly lowering your caloric intake. What happens when you eat less? You become hungrier. Your hunger jumps up along with your cravings  and your energy drops. And the problem beyond that is that this is not sustainable. You will not be able to maintain this way of eating and that is one of the key ingredients to fat loss/maintenance! Sustainability.

Finding a balance between what you eat and how you workout is so crucial. If you are working out a lot more, eat enough (not more than) to meet your needs. If you are working out less, don’t eat quite as much because your body is not demanding as much from you.

A little self control can go along ways and build a lot of confidence within ourselves. I am a fan of the less strict philosophy, but it does come with some work and a plan.

 

Why your willpower is failing you.

Willpower is kinda attractive isn’t it?  It supposedly helps us:

  • have better relationships
  • reach our health and fitness goals
  • be more successful in our careers
  • look better
  • feel better
  • and it just helps us get shit done!!

“If only I had more willpower, I would make better decisions.”

Ahh classic willpower. We think that we have to white knuckle our way through the entire day, resisting all of our favorite foods to be successful. But willpower is actually not that strong of a tool, when ignored.

We make hundreds of decisions a day, regarding food (227 decisions on average), and even more when you add in whether or not to workout, what you should or shouldn’t say, decisions at work, decisions about what street to take, etc. By the end of our day, our willpower is exhausted! Yet we are on relying on it to keep us on track.

It is no wonder that many people claim their number one struggle is eating late at night. While we like to blame willpower, the truth is, depending on what habits you have in place will determine what takes over when willpower fails.

Habits are easy. They take no energy, or thought and they just become automatic. That is the stress of habits, but the beauty of them too! When have habits that are in line with your goals, it is easy and automatic too! I think we are a bit misinformed when it comes to willpower, habits and how we think about and respond to temptations.

IMG_5581

Here are 8 thing we are doing wrong and 8 ways to improve your habits by adopting a new willpower mindset. 

We try not to think about what we are resisting. The more you think about what you can’t have, the more you want it. Don’t think about a green apple! What are you thinking about now? Are you trying to resist late night snacking, but you keep thinking about food, food, food?! Feel what you need to feel, but don’t believe everything your mind tells you.

We are too strict during the day.  Have you ever been so strict during the day, only to wind up eating everything in sight at night. Allowing yourself strategic indulgences throughout the day, can help lead to higher satisfaction. And when your satisfaction is high you are less likely to indulge.

We punish ourselves with guilt and remorse when we can not stay on track. Science actually shows that forgiveness and self compassion are greater motivators when it comes to staying on track with health and fitness. You mess up? Acknowledge, accept and move on. Being self critical and negative is less of a motivator.

We are stressed out of our minds.  Stress is the enemy of willpower. It makes you more impulsive and less likely to resist temptation. Try meditating  a few minutes a day. Meditation helps develop self control which translates to other areas in your life.

We fail to make a plan. What happens when you are tempted with your favorite treat? What happens when you do not feel like working out? Prepare for when you know you will want to give in.

We skimp out on sleep. Sleep is our reset on many things, including willpower.  When we do not get enough, we experience low energy, high cravings, high stress, and are more likely to make poor choices. Choices that are not inline with our goals. When bedtime rolls around put away your phones, turn off t.v.s, and create a night time ritual to help you relax.

We try to go at it alone. The more connection we feel, the more willpower we have. Working toward a common goals with someone is great for support, accountability, and improving self control.

We want everything instantly. Is it we want something or is it more that we want something NOW. When a temptation arises, try waiting 10 minutes. Typically the desire for that want, will decrease because it is less about what it is, and more about having it instantly.

 

8 of my favorite things right now


Here are a few of my favorite things that I am loving right now! I think it is important to the love little things about the life around us. Take inventory and think of what pretty things, rituals, habits, or focuses you have right now that bring you joy and make you smile.  Many of the little things I cannot represent in picture, but here a few……

IMG_4704

OXO Salad Chopper. Chicken, veggies, and condiments all shredded, restaurant salad style.

 

IMG_5352

My Rayban folding sunnies!

 

IMG_5145

Individual salami and cheese from Trader Joes. Perfect combo!

 

IMG_5257

Positive Psychology. I am all about learning how to train the brain to live in the present, practice gratitude, and choose happiness.

 

IMG_5100

Glass water bottle. I am trying to move away from constantly having a plastic water bottle. Plus this is super cute too!

 

IMG_5295

Lulu. Obsessed with her every…single…day. And collar bows and flowers too!

 

IMG_4909

Puffy vest. In socal we wear puffy vests as jackets!

 

IMG_4986

Zoodles. Zucchini Noodles. I use the spiralizer to create these impostor noodles for a pasta like feel. I am not low carb or anything, it’s just fun!

Why you are doing everything right and not getting results

From experience, I will say that I know what it feels like to “feel” like you are doing everything right but not getting the results you want. Many times I have had to own it, take responsibility and dig deep to find what was in the way of my goals. Here are a few things that seem “right” but can hinder results.

Exercising too much. The trouble with too much exercise is the more you do, the more you need to do to maintain and get results.  I am all about the least effective does when it comes to exercise. What do I need to do to get results with the least work/time possible? Can I condense more work into less time rather than exercising for hours on end? I can! Exercising TOO much, with eating TOO little also sets us up for hormonal imbalance. When was the last time you decided to get strict, exercise more, eat less and it actually worked and lasted? I train in the weight room 3-4 days a week with a short metabolic bout at the end (6 minutes or less). Everything else I do is “fun” for me. Yoga, pilates, swim or hike to name a few. I find these activities to be more relaxing and restorative than consider exercise.

Overdoing healthy foods.  For me foods like peanut butter, eggs, turkey chili and sweet potatoes are all great choices but eating them in high consumption will not help me reach my goals just because they are healthy. Do I eat these things often? Absolutely! This fabulous egg and bacon dish below is fine in moderation but probably not best to eat the whole thing. Also foods like gluten free cookies, low fat yogurt, and paleo bars all give us a sense of being healthy but can negatively affect the results you are seeking.

IMG_4425

Feeling successful if you are starving. I heard this comment from 3 clients over the course of a week awhile back and just said. “You what?” (Like rachel from friends. 2:10  in to the clip here , or watch the whole thing for a good laugh). Anyways, I have learned that people associate feeling really hungry/starving with being successful in weight/fat loss mode. A couple things here. This can set you up for binging later, increase your stress levels (if you experience chronic stress in life this is especially NOT a good idea) and can potentially slow your metabolism depending on certain factors. I am not a huge advocate against skipping meals…if it works for you. If you have fat to lose and goals to reach and skip meals on a regular basis, the proof is there that is does not work for you. If you skip means, have high energy and have great results, go for it. But if you are really hungry or starving, you body is truly requesting fuel. Please eat.

Justifying your choices. This is referred to as the health halo. For some reason we feel better when we justify our food choices. You ate a salad for dinner so it is ok you had dessert. You didn’t eat all day so it is ok that you had 4 drinks at dinner. You worked out so you deserve that burger. Now there is nothing wrong with dessert, drinks or burgers. It is the association we put with them. So lets rephrase them. You are eating dessert because you want it, you had 4 drinks because you decide to, and you didn’t earn that burger you are just eating it.

 You are too impatient. But I want it now! ( You can look up that Willy Wonka video on your own. Phrases just keep coming to me to day as I want it to sound as you are reading it). Doing a quick detox or super strict diet gives us results sooner, it does. The problem is, it doesn’t last and most of us want lasting results. Envision yourself in 3 months, knowing that you stressed out for 21 days to lose weight  and you did and now you gained it all back. I would rather look back over the course of the year with results instead of a glimpse of them coming and going. A year is really not that long when you compare it to a lifetime.

You do not trust the process. You dont trust your workouts will get you to wear you want to be because you do not see results now. You do not think a month of eating healthy and moderately and a 3 lb weight loss will eventually lead to a 20 lb weight loss. Think of weight loss like a child learning to walk. They don’t go from laying on their back to running around the house in a matter of weeks, though it may seem like that. It is a slow, consistent, deliberate process filled with trial and error. Do kids never not learn how to walk? Rare cases I am sure, but they use their limitless mindset, to keep going and keep trying until they get to where they want to be.

The point being that small, consistent habits, day in, day out, with a little bit of failing, learning and sticking with it, go along way!

Can you learn to trust the process?

Can you implement patience?

Are you justifying food in certain situations?

Are you using food as reward or punishment?

Can you find ways to exercises less but more intensely?

These are great questions to ask yourself! Take an inventory about what is and isn’t working for you and please eat when you are hungry! 🙂

How to be around difficult people and not be miserable

I know you read the title of this post and automatically had at least one person come to mind. We all have difficult people we deal with on a regular basis. The 1.0 version is to simply stay away or reduce the amount of time you spend with that person. That probably sounds like a great idea for some of you, but for others, you know there is no way that is an option as you either work with that person, it is a family member, or it is someone who truly love, care about and want to have a better relationship with in your life.  They are just so damn difficult sometimes!

Enter version 2.0. If you are not going to be able to avoid them, you need to find a way to keep yourself sane and take the stress off yourself and others involved.  Because lets be honest, relationships can be flippin hard, even when the person is easier to spend time with. And when they are difficult, it can absolutely be stressful, frustrating and take a toll on your mind and body.

Here are my 2.0 methods for facing difficult people. As a reminder, it is often a work in progress.

Own it. Instead of playing the victim role with difficult people, find the light in the situation.  By playing the victim role we make it all about us. “This negative person in my life is making me miserable, draining my energy and ruining x,y, & z.” Instead of putting the focus on yourself, make the focus about bettering the relationship or situation. Think about what you can do to on your end to bring positivity and learn from it. This is NOT a cop out, but does take responsibility for your own actions and reactions.  It is actually way harder and if you can even entertain this idea, you are half way there.

Don’t try to change people. It is so tempting to want to change a persons difficult behavior, but people will only change when they want to change. And the more we try to change someone, the more they will subconsciously (or consciously) resist.  So in the meantime shift your focus and find some workarounds and tools to help deal deal with the person and more importantly, to help change the way they make you feel.  Don’t let difficult or negative people bring you down. They want you to be on the angry train with them because misery loves company! So jump on your own train and make it a happy one!

If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit

Do not take things personally (even when it is). Difficult people can be quite critical, rude and negative at times, or all of the above. Realize that their actions and comments have more to do with how they view themselves, and less with how they view you. Maybe the situation IS personal but if you act on it with negativity and anger, the person will quickly learn they can depend on you for a reaction. And that is exactly what they want. A reaction to prove they have gotten their point across. Say what you feel and mean what you say but when you can temper your emotional response, it keeps you on the high road, it keeps you working to make the situation better, and keeps the tone rational.

Use the benefit of the doubt. Everyone is simply doing their best even though you have to dig very deep and be completely open with this concept. It may not translate to your best but that person is showing up authentically in any given situation. Is your co-worker snappy with you? Maybe they have something going on at home. Is your parent nagging you? Perhaps that is their way of showing love and concern. Your spouse throws something back in your face, maybe that is his or her own insecurities coming out in blame and anger. We all handle situations differently, and everyone is just doing their best in that very moment based on the way their lives have been shaped and the perceptions they have.

IMG_5362

Do not assume all thing to be true.The ironic thing is, we are doing the same thing. If someone is short or abrupt with me I automatically think I did something wrong and tend to take things personally. If someone is being passive aggressive with me or makes an off hand comment about the way I act or do things, I assume the worst of the worst about myself and make the situation all about me (victim role). When we make assumptions we are acting out of our own insecurities. We do not know the actual facts and are creating stories in our heads of what may be happening. Do you see the pattern? They are acting difficult because of their own insecurities and I am taking it in a certain way because of mine. We are all the essentially the same.

Have compassion. Brene Brown talks about this in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and refers to it as recognizing common humanity. Feelings of not being enough and suffering are common to us all. People act the way they do because they feel unworthy. But that is ok we have all been there too, feeling unworthy in our own ways. When you can view it from this perspective there is no need for judgement. They are acting not good enough in their own way, as we are actually not good enough in our own way. When you view a difficult person with compassion, it changes the whole perception.

Let go of resentment. When we are upset about others actions or harsh words we often hold onto that anger and rage, and while it burns inside of us and can negatively affect us, it really doesn’t hurt the other person as much as it hurts ourselves. Let go for your own sake, not theirs.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. ~Carl Jung

3 types of populations who should avoid crunches

The traditional sit up, curl up, or crunch has been a staple in the fitness industry for years.  Some fitness experts advocate to never, ever use these exercises to train the core, while some feel it is ok to add in occasionally. Regardless of the controversy, there are 3 populations that will absolutely not benefit from the standard sit up or crunch.

People with Osteoporosis.

Bending and twisting movements such as sit-ups and crunches, are two movements that should be avoided if you have osteoporosis. Some yoga poses and sports like tennis and golf, which are very dynamic in their rotation and flexion, should be used with caution.  These movements can increase the risk of compression fractures in your spine. Also use caution with daily activities such as bending over to pick up object.

Alternatives:

1. Side Bridge

2. Birddog 

Pre and post natal women.

Pregnancy puts so much pressure on the belly that it can sometimes lead to a condition called Diastasis Recti, which is the separation of the rectus abdominal muslces. This can affect both prenatal and postnatal women depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy and the quality of your tummy tissue post pregnancy. You will want to refrain from any movements that put pressure on that area, such as crunches and sit ups, ( and eventually push ups, front planks and, down dogs).

1. Pelvic Floor Engagement.

2. Deadbug

The desk jockey.

Think about the position you are in when you are sitting at a computer for an extended period of time. Your hips are bent at 90 degrees, your spine is flexed forward and your shoulders are rounded. What does this position resemble? Perhaps a sit ups or crunch?  This position (especially when repeated over and over again) could potentially lead to pain and perhaps bulging discs. When we sit so often, it makes no sense to continue to train this way.

Alternatives:

1.Plank walkout

2. Stir the pot or ball rollout

Happy Training!

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: I am not doctor or registered dietician. The information provided on this site is based on my own experiences, and should NOT be taken as medical advice. Prior to starting any new exercise or nutrition program consult with your physician or other healthcare professional to determine if it is right for your needs.

It is 21/365: Do you know where you resolution is?

IMG_9446

 

It is the 21st day of the new year and though it may seem soon, this is the week where new year’s fitness resolutions start to fall off. Despite best intentions, lots of anticipation and motivation in the beginning and even a game plan, sometimes they just don’t stick. But that is ok. Why? Because it is simply a learning process.

Whatever resolution you had in mind, did not stick for reason and usually with fitness resolutions people try to do too much, too soon.  The beauty is, you learned what did not work and you can now adjust your resolution to make it work for you. I always recommend starting with habits that are so small, there is no way you can not succeed.

Habits are created with hope, but also hard work and action. Hope is what keeps us going and taking action is what builds our confidence and actually gets us to our goal. Small action day in, day out with a bit of optimistic pessimism.

Optimistic Pessimism 

One of my very first personal training clients,has always had a mindset about training that has kept her consistently attending classes for 8 years. What is her secret? Don’t get too excited. She would always tell me to watch the clients who came in sooo excited only to taper off a few months later. And while that method might not work for everyone I get that she was keeping her expectations realistic, taking action and just being consistent.

When deciding to change we often fantasize how life will be different when we change, how life will be better. It fills us with hope and makes us feel good in the moment creating a sense of instant gratification that initially motivates us. It is kind of sweet that we believe in our future self so much that we think we will workout 5 times  a week, even when we don’t now. We think we won’t have dessert at all even if we eat it every night. Whatever we tempted with now, we feel someday we will be able to give it up simply because we want to.

When we realize we have to practice all kinds of self control to get to that point, it is not nearly as fun or motivating. Instead of implementing a consistent habit to make a change, we would rather start, stop, start over, again, again and again, because that is much more fun and interesting.

So why not look into the future and predict how and and when you may break your resolution. If you know you struggle at breakfast, make prepping that a priority. If you know you struggle getting your workouts in, find the time and day you are most likely to be motivated to do it. Ask yourself what excuses you will try to make and how you will convince yourself that the change is important to you?

I am all about optimism and positivity but if we can’t meet these expectations we set for ourselves, we are often left with feelings of guilt and self doubt. And that is usually when people drop their resolutions altogether, until they are motivated by the promise of change once more and the cycle begins again.Change is more than just about feelings, it is about activity changing our behaviors and habits.

 

Happy Birthday Fit Life! And healthier blueberry cobbler crisp to celebrate!

Exactly one year ago this month I launched my website and blog, The Fit Life with Adele, knowing one thing for sure! I wanted to share my knowledge and love of health and fitness with others and help people along the way.  Coming off one of the most emotional years of my life, I intended many of my posts to be fitness related only, but couldn’t help but share my personal struggles and challenges as well. The strength in independence, importance of self acceptance and lessons in trusting the timing of my life were equally as important as my beloved squats and simple recipes. Hence the mindset focus of many of my posts. 🙂

With all my blogs this year, I do not think I created one saying exactly what The Fit Life means to me! And exactly what I want to convey to my readers about my philosophy of food, fitness and life. And at the end of all this I promise, I do have my Healthier, Blueberry, Cobbler, Crisp recipe for you!

IMG_2161

Why do I encourage training with heavier weights?

It is pure empowerment in life.

I believe in being strong. And I believe physical strength begets mental strength. It builds confidence. It increases motivation. It creates freedom in your life now and in years to come. There is really no way to describe leaving a challenging workout, feeling you are on top of the world and can conquer anything. We NEED that kind of limitless feeling in our everyday lives to help us realize our full potential. I truly believe that fitness and wellness lead to empowerment, self actualization and each person has their own unique formula to achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle.

What is this eat simply business all about?

IMG_3715

It is my eating philosophy. It is kind of boring and it may or may not have grabbed your attention. It is not as enticing or interesting as Paleo, IIFYM, gluten free, whole foods only, and in the past couple years I even threw my clean eating title out the window.

I don’t eat strictly organic or only whole foods (though I believe they should be eaten more often). The thing is I really truly love veggies, fruits, omelets, chicken, peanut butter, coffee and chocolate. I do use artificial sweeteners on occasion,  I like to chew gum, and have protein shakes and bars weekly. I am not a sugar or salt fanatic and have acquired a taste for foods that are more on the bland side. Don’t get me wrong, when I have a piece of pizza or chow down on some ice cream it is ah-ma-zing, but I love plain brown rice and steamed vegetables more often and it makes me feel better too.

I turn down dessert and drinks when I don’t feel like it and say yes when I do. I don’t fast or do detoxes or juice cleanses, but I have found a way of eating that I enjoy, and while sometimes I struggle with food, I never feel deprived! Fitness and food does not have to be complicated. It should enhance your life, not be a burden on your life.

What up with all this mindset stuff floating around on your posts and blogs?

IMG_8419

Because honestly, its not really about food and fitness. Everyday I find myself in conversation with someone who is not enough.   I often experience not feeling enough. Yet in this world we all strive for love, purpose and belonging. How do we achieve these things without a full sense of self?

Brene Brown says it best. “If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.” When we worry less about what other people think we can focus more on our own worthiness, our own process and be content right in this very moment, not when we have achieved some lofty goal. Not when we have more money, are more successful, own a home, lose weight or go on vacation. When we can have compassion for ourselves and find gratitude in every situation, we realize that we have enough and more! Compassion and gratitude are underrated. It is not something we automatically achieve either, it is something you have to be intentional about every single day.

Where is my blueberry cobbler crisp you promised me?

IMG_5162

Okay here it is! 🙂

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of frozen blueberries (or fresh)
  • 1/2 heaping tsp of cinnamon
  • 6 packets of truvia
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 2 tsp of constarch

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup of gluten free flour (regular flour can be used too)
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of butter melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2.Mix all the dry toppings together in a large bowl. Drizzle the melted butter in and rub the mixture together until the butter is evenly dispersed.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the cinnamon, cornstarch, blueberries, lemon zest and truvia and toss until the berries are coated.

4.Spray a 9×9 dish with cooking spray and pour the blueberry mixture in the dish. Sprinkle the topping evening over.

5. Bake for 40 minutes.

6. Remove and cool.

7. Ice cream is a great pair, or if you are a health nut like me you can eat it as a snack with greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

The leftovers were just as good, if not better!

Thank you for being a part of my journey! Here is to 2015!

 

 

 

3 ways to beat cravings

IMG_5156

Chocolate cravings are not to be taken lightly!

Cravings. We all have them! Salty, sweet, crunchy, chocolatey.  They are hard to resist and we tend to turn the blame to our lack of willpower. But when cravings are in full force, willpower is the last thing we want to turn too.  When sleep deprived, stressed, or you just do not care, willpower is tired as well and not going to kick in to help you resist your cravings. In fact, resisting your cravings actually make you want whatever you are craving MORE. No wonder so many people on diets fail.

Let’s face it, when cravings arise we want immediate gratification now and are willing to focus on our health later. We make decisions that are not in line with our goals because we know we will start on Monday. We believe that our future self will be able to resist temptations, even when are current self does not. We justify our indulgences because somehow it makes us feel better, that because we worked out for an hour we now deserve to eat that cheeseburger. We convince ourselves that all our good behavior cancels out our bad behavior.  Could we entertain the idea that dieting is a better way to GAIN weight, then to lose weight?

It may actually surprise you, what I am about to share, on how you can handle your cravings.

Build in indulgences.

I have chocolate bars that sit in my freezer on a regular basis and I have eaten a piece or two every single day for the last 6 months. When Halloween rolled around last year, I could care less about any piece of candy I had encountered because I had been eating it everyday. And I did not notice a single negative change in my body.

Sometimes for breakfast I eat whole eggs, sometimes with bacon AND toast.

At dinner I leave cheese on my salads and I take bites of my boyfriends fries, double bacon cheese burgers and carne asada burritos.

I have been know to dip my daily chocolate in a jar of peanut butter.

If I did ALL these things at every meal, in large quantities, every single day I probably would not be able to maintain my physique in the way I want. BUT I do at least one or two of these things, in small quantities, every single day!!

Mainstream thinking avoids these kinds of foods when dieting, but science is actually showing that by restricting food like this, we are actually increases our cravings for it.  Recognize your temptation but do not dwell on it. Focus on the foods you can eat and practice building small indulgences in to your routine most days during the week and see how you do.

The 10 minute rule.

There is something about instant gratification that we thrive off of, thrive in a sense that it makes us feel good temporarily. The bag of chips may make us feel good in the moment, but not after. The entire pizza may feel comforting temporarily, but create a whole range of discomfort from anxiety and guilt to bloating and physical discomfort.

Usually it is less about the food, and more about having something instantly. Studies actually show that the longer you wait for something, the less important it is to you. The longer you wait for something the easier it is to say no. This is called delaying gratification.

So, here is how I would like you to implement this with your eating. The next time you are tempted by late night snacking, dessert, fast food, or going back for seconds when you are stuffed, I want you to do this: Wait 10 minutes. Tell yourself that if in 10 minutes you still want that particular food, you can have it. When food becomes less about the immediate gratification it makes it easier to say no. Give this a try and see how it works for you.

The Peanut Butter Effect – Face Your Fear

Now for this last piece of advice, you have to give yourself a little bit of love, trust and benefit of the doubt.  Remember the more  you resist something, the more you want it.  The more you try to avoid a certain food, the more you desire it.

If you love ice cream and often feel tempted by it, it is much easier to keep it out of the house.  This does help. When you do not have it around you won’t eat it. And that may be a good idea to start but what happens when you go to a birthday party, your friend orders ice cream after dinner or the whole family stops by Coldstone? How will you handle it when faced with what you fear the most? How can you indulge without overindulging?

I had to face my love/fear of peanut butter by buying individual peanut butter packets for 6 months or so. I went through a phase where peanut butter fingers were my favorite snacks. Friends reference anyone?  Anyways, you can rack up 500 calories and 50 grams of fat without even thinking about it!

So I spent way too much money buying individual serving sized peanut butter packs for awhile to help control my intake. Once I realized that I could have one serving and be ok, I introduced the jar back into my home and the relationship improved greatly. You could use my daily chocolate indulging as an example as well. When having these things often, in moderation of course, I don’t crave them or feel the need to HAVE  to have them.

The other day it was 9 pm and I realized I hadn’t had my daily chocolate. I expected myself to run to the fridge to get it, but I just shrugged my shoulders and felt like I could take it or leave it.

When we can develop this kind of relationship with food,  it is less mentally consuming and draining and we can put more energy and time into others things. And isn’t that what we want? To live in a way where we feel freedom from food and the stress that comes with it.

Why You Don’t Need to Plank For 2 Minutes

Let me be the first person to say….I am not a big fan of planking challenges or any routine that asks to hold a plank for anything longer than 45 seconds.

A couple reasons being:

1) You can benefit greatly from holding a plank for less time with more intensity.

2) It is boring. There are too many great variations of planks to challenge you in different ways to simply just work on holding a plank for minutes on end.

If you are holding a plank for more than 45 seconds and feel like you could hang out forever in that position, notice if you are putting more pressure on your shoulder joints, elbows, toes, and taking less focus off the core (the abdomen, low back, glutes).  Training in a neutral spine (aka plank)  is one of the safest ways to increase core stability,   where you are neither flexing, extending or rotating the spine you are just working to resist movement .

However I think you can bump up the intensity with the following tips, and plank in a much more efficient and effective way.

IMG_3858

Right now, get on the floor and hold the plank shown in the picture for 15 seconds. If for any reason it hurts do not do it. Then rest.

Now try it again and think of the following.

Plank tips:

—-> Don’t move at all in your plank but think of your elbows and toes pulling toward one another. Keep a neutral spine. If you feel a little shaking, you are doing it right.

—->Pull your shoulder blades back and down slightly. This often helps take tension out of the neck and shoulders.

—>Think of your core “bracing.” Bracing as if someone is punching you in the stomach and it automatically tightens.  You are neither pulling the belly button in nor coming out of neutral alignment.

—->Engage your butt. Squeeze those butt cheeks. This will help take pressure off the low back.

Try incorporating these tips and holding a plank for 15 seconds and resting for 15 seconds for 2 minutes. Once you build your endurance (which is usually fairly quickly) you can progress to 30 seconds.

How to challenge yourself more?

Instead of holding your plank longer, reduce your base of support as shown below.

IMG_3861

3-point plank. Try lifting one foot off the mat for 10 seconds and then switch sides. Refer back to plank tips to keep proper form. Once this feels easy, you can try lifting the opposite arm up and hold a 2-point plank.

IMG_6020

Side plank. You can start by keeping the bottom knee down on the ground. Once you process to holding a full plank for 30 seconds, you can lift the leg as shown in the picture.

These are just a couple options you can use to increase the challenge of a plank without holding it longer.  Always choose good form over how long you can hold a plank.