Monthly Archives: February 2015

Why you shouldn’t despise the way you eat

When it comes to eating, you actually have to like the way you eat. I have seen multiple posts in the new year, of people posting chicken and broccoli, plain salads, and odd looking green, brown juice concoctions, with comments of how they have to stick with it miserably, until a certain date or until they reach a certain goal.

Here is where the problem lies. If you do not enjoy the way you eat, you will not stick with it long term, and you will not get sustainable results. You may drop a few quick pounds short term, but long term they will come back on quickly, which turns into a constant yo-yo diet cycle, of on again, off again eating. How much you restrict yourself right now will determine how much you indulge in a few days, weeks, or months.

It IS possible to maintain lose fat or maintain your physique and like the way you eat. Now I like chicken and broccoli, but I also like chocolate and peanut butter too. I like pizza and ice cream as well. But I also know I can’t have everything all the time and maintain my weight. More so than what I eat, my mindset has shifted about how I think about food.
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I have developed a simple palate. Over the years I have experimented with different types of eating and did go through a phase where I did not want to put a sprinkle of salt or a hint of salad dressing on my food. Healthy? Not so much. But what I did learn during that time, is that I don’t need food to be as salty or as sweet as it is usually prepared. Steamed brown rice and veggies. Love ’em. Peppered chicken breast. Love that too. A starbucks with one pump of syrup. Perfect amount of sweetness. Uber salty and sweet food doesn’t taste good to me in large amounts. I love my sample bites, which you can read more about here, but I find that I feel better with less salt and sugar, and still really enjoy my food!

I don’t eat a cheat/treat meal unless I feel like it. And I don’t even call it a cheat/treat meal. I call it eating.  A friend told me that she had a treat meal, not because she craved it, but because she deserved it. I have even experienced this myself. I would eat perfect all week long and then get to eat a cookie on Sunday night because I had earned it. Even if I did not feel like it, I would still eat it.

One of the biggest misconceptions we have about food is the way we think about it. We think we earn food. We think we train so we can eat. No, we eat so we can train. We eat so we can move. We eat to be social. We eat to survive. Justifying our food choices is one of the biggest sabotages we can make, because no matter the situation we can always make it seem ok to overindulge, and ok to eat too little or too much. When you are justifying your choices, you can never be wrong. You never have to take responsibility You can get away with anything you claim to be right in your own head.

On your birthday do you deserve birthday cake? No, you make to choice to have it because you want it.

6-8 meals is not all that it is cracked up to be. Eating multiple times throughout the day CAN be good for the metabolism, if it works for you. But don’t automatically assume that it’s your key to success. Eating that often can be stressful. Prepping Tupperware can be stressful. Sometimes we eat, even if we are not hungry, just because we are “suppose” too. And what if you go out to dinner? Are you suppose to cut that meal into a 4th because it is too big to be a normal meal and you have already eaten 7 times today? I really try to eat when I am hungry, and always eat within a couple hours of waking. Sometimes I eat often throughout the day and other times I eat less. It often depends on how I am feeling that day.

I think that is the ultimate key to our success and that is why I can’t wait to share YOUR Meal Design (your, own, unique, rules) which is 30+ pages of strategies, recipes and information on how YOU can create your own meal design suited specifically for your needs.

Sign up here to get on the list so you are alerted when I release it! And in the meantime enjoy the way you eat. 😉

 

Loving Lulu: 10 reasons dogs make your life better

Happy 4th birthday Lulu!

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I can’t blog fitness, eating, health, relationships, and not dedicate at least a few to my precious fur baby Lulu.  She does get mentioned quite often as one of the cutest creatures you ever did see, and is infamous for making it difficult for me to leisure walk, as it is simply too exciting of adventures, not to check out everything in sight.

Lulu and I have had quite an adventure together and believe it or not we have lived in 4 different places in two years. She has happily accompanied me from place to place, always excited for the next adventure. I did not always like dogs, (I love last years birthday post you can check out here) but I have grown to love them and believe that they make your life better for so many reasons.

1. They take part in your joy and happiness.

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2. They like to get outside, be active, and move.

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3. The go with the flow.

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4. They are good company and companionship.

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5.They like to cuddle.

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6. They know when things are not going well.

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7. They want to help make it better. “Hey mom, if you could just let me on the bed, I can comfort you.”

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8. They believe in rest and recovery.

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9. They show unconditional love.

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10. Every day is the best day!

5 Kinds of Must Have, Multi-Purpose Cardio

There seems to be an anti-cardio movement going on in the fitness world and while I don’t believe cardio is a great tool to lose fat, I would never say that it is bad for you. However, I do think there is a misconception that the more you do, the better results you will get.

Longer duration cardio can keep our bodies in a chronically high cortisol (stress hormone )state and strip our bodies of lean muscle mass. Often this type of activity is either paired with eating less, in which our metabolic rate slows, or causes us to crave and eat more, resulting in excess fat/weight gain.

If you run long distance or like to spend an hour on the bike because you enjoy it, it releases those feel good endorphins, or you are training for a triathlon, then by all means go for it! But if your goal is to lose fat or build muscle, you are picking one of the least efficient forms of training.

Over the past few years I have figured out my own unique cardio formula, that has been most successful for my body and my mind.

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“Leisure walk” with my dog, Lulu.

 

Here are the 5 types of multi-purpose cardio that I enjoy and see results from.

 Leisure walking. The stress reducer.  Leisure walking is a great way to lower your cortisol levels. I walk 15-40 minutes 5 days a week with my dog, depending on how much time I have. She makes it a bit more stressful, as she likes to stop and smell everything or try to run ahead, but I take it as an opportunity to practice patience and enjoy my time outside.

Hiking/Swimming . The exercise that does not feel like exercise. When I go hiking or swimming, I don’t really think about it in a workout perspective. I think about it in a movement perspective. I don’t do it to burn calories, I do it because I love it and it is a great mood enhancer. I think it is important to have movement in our lives, that is not considered “exercise” to our brain.

 Sprinting – The athlete in me. Whenever I sprint it makes me feel like an athlete, which makes me feel powerful and confident. Sprinting is probably one of the forms of cardio I do least, but when I do it, it makes me feel strong. Sprinting is also a great workout to develop abs. Who knew? It works the waist from all angles and is one of the best exercises for fat burning.

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Post sprint workout.

 

Lift weights faster – The all-in-one cardio. This is the form I use most often to get my heart rate up. I like to pair most of my strength exercises in a pattern that allows me to keep moving, makes me breathe hard, and get the benefits of strength training at the same time.  This allows me to keep lean muscle mass and burn more calories at rest. (Sign up below to get a few examples).

Interval Training – More time efficient. I have no desire to sit on a bike, elliptical, or go for a run for more than 20 minutes, let alone 2 hours. If I can get solid benefits from 20 minutes of intervals working harder but for a shorter period of time, or add a quick 10 minutes in after my strength workout, I am all about it!

I created 10 types of multi purpose cardio workouts completely FREE for you to try. (Sign up  —-> here .) Ultimately, the best kind of cardio is the kind you can stick with ongoing. Find what you enjoy, or can at least tolerate the best, and you will find it is easier to stick with.

 Additional reading:

The Best Ab Exercise EVER That No One Does

Walking & Intense Training: Synergistic for Fat Loss

Cardio vs. weights: Which is really better for fat loss?

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.

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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.

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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.