Archive for Lifestyle

{TTT} Save yourself some meal-time stress: cook in double batches!

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It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

Today’s Tip: Cook in double batches.

 

 

 

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This is one of my favorite time-saving, headache-avoiding, eat-better, and eat-more-simply strategies.

 

 

Especially when we use the grill or the oven, cooking a double batch of something takes just about the same time as a single batch.

 

 

 

This can make a huge difference in the amount of time, labor and decision-making you have to put into creating your meals or snacks all week long!

 

 

 

Now that it’s grill season, anytime we use the grill I double whatever we’re making: veggies, meats, whatever.

 

 

 

Lately asparagus has been on sale, so I’ve been grabbing 2 bundles and cooking them all at once as a side for dinner, then using the leftovers as either a side for other meals or as a toss-in ingredient for quinoa variations, pastas, and scrambles, too.

 

 

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Same goes for chicken breast, turkey breast streaks, fish, beef, pork, zucchini, aubergines, bell peppers, mushrooms….

 

 

 

When my fridge is stocked with already-cooked whole ingredients, it makes meal creation SO much easier, especially on-the-fly meal creation for hectic evenings.

 

 

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And I don’t spend any extra time doing it, so I’m gaining time and losing stress on the other says with almost no extra effort.

 

 

Eating better and stressing less consistently each week? WINNING!

 

#bigbatchcooking

#nomoredietstress

Scale got you down?

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{On weight, scales, and progress}

 

 

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There comes a point at which the scale may not be a good measure of success.

 

 

 

In talking with some other ladies after my class, it came up that after a certain point, the scale can’t truly measure progress–or even maintenance for that matter.

 

 

–The scale can’t show you the shift your body makes from body fat to building lean muscle tissue;

 

–it can’t show you the strength you’ve cultivated with consistent work;

 

 

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–it can’t reveal the small but significant developments in your musculature–those cool lines, dips, swells and divets that develop from years of effort;

 

 

 

–it can’t measure your endurance, or your grit and heart, or your ability to do and withstand hard things;

 

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–it can’t measure your confidence or reflect the way you carry yourself taller now, knowing what you’ve done, what you can do, what you dream might be possible.

 

 

 

It just can’t.

 

 

 

So, at a certain point, the scale really does become a useless tool for measuring progress. All it can show you is the effect gravity has on your body mass in that given moment.

 

 

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And you are SO much more than that.

 

#nonscalevictories

So there I was, eating a salad….

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So there I was, sitting in the Ansbach Altstadt, enjoying a salad while my kids and dad enjoyed their cake.

 

 

 

The funny part is that I voluntarily chose the salad over the cake—really! No, I’m not crazy…and it wasn’t out of guilt or the need to ‘be good,’ either.

 

 

 

I just really wanted a salad, and I really needed some protein. I worked out at 7 am, then taught at 9:30, and just hadn’t had much to eat all morning, so the thought of something sugary and fatty wasn’t the least bit appealing.

 

 

 

Weird, right?!? I have this perfect chance to eat any slice of cake I want, and I choose a salad???

 

 

 

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Once upon a time, I would have had a major case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)—as in, “If I don’t eat it now I won’t have the chance again for who knows how long,” but these days, thanks to my my *learned* approach to eating sustainably, it’s a normal kind of choice.

 

 

 

A few years ago, I got sick of feeling that inner struggle every time we went to the bakery—the usual “Should I? Or shouldn’t I?” inner argument over whether I should buy a pastry or slice of cake, and if I’d ‘earned it’ with my exercise that day or week, or if having that treat would knock me ‘off-plan.’ I also got tired of the compulsive “I’m at a birthday party, I’d better eat cake now or I’ll have to wait until the next one” behavior that had become a kind of norm.

 

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So rather than continue to have this struggle several days a week, I decided that I’d make one day a week my ‘treat day,’ and my practice of Planned Indulgences was born.

 

 

 

The gist is that once a week, I gave myself permission to walk into the bakery and choose any treat I wanted—absolutely guilt-free. Best strategy ever.

 

Designating one day a week (Fridays at the time) for a planned indulgence has taken all the ‘do I/don’t I’ struggle away from eating treats, I was completely in charge of my eating and choices, and I got to savor something REALLY tasty on the regular without wringing my hands over it or feeling guilty.

 

 

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Over time, Planned Indulgences (PI) has evolved a bit along with some other strategies/practices into what has become my current approach to sustainable eating.

 

 

 

My approach, which I call ‘Real Life Eating,’ includes using strategies and practices that make it easier for me to listen to my body, eat well, enjoy the treats I want while staying ‘in the middle,’ aka: a sustainable size and body composition.

 

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My current (June 2016) physique–all while on my own Livable Diet

Real Life Eating (RLE) is also the approach I use with clients—especially those who have yo-yo dieted over the years, who aren’t sure how or where to start, and often have lost confidence in their abilities to make good choices around food.

 

 

 

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you each of the main steps in my RLE (aka: Livable Diet) approach, one step at a time, so that you can start implementing these tools in your real life, too!

 

 

 

Because life is too short to always struggle with food and eating choices, and diets and deprivation don’t work—we need solid and actionable strategies that meet the needs of our own unique bodies and real lives to be long-term successful.

 

 

You can get these actionable tips, plus cheat sheets, here:  http://bit.ly/LivableDiet10Steps

 

 

Over the next 10 weeks, I’ll be sharing my 10 steps for ditching the diet mentality for good and creating your own flexible, adaptable and permanently effective ‘Livable Diet.’

 

 

Each Thursday, I’ll be sending out a single step in the process, with actionable tips and even a cheat sheet to help you start on the path to diet freedom and creating your own adaptable, sustainable, effective Livable Diet.

 

 

FYI: there is ZERO obligation to do anything or purchase anything—it’s purely for educational purposes and I just wanted to make sure you had to opportunity to take part and start tuning up your diet and eating habits RIGHT NOW.

 

 

Sign up here to get my ’10 Steps to a Livable Diet’ email series delivered to you:

http://bit.ly/LivableDiet10Steps

 

 

#TheLivableDiet

#TheNourishedMind

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTT: Not sure how to build a solid nutrition plan? Start with your DBRs.

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Is your diet random or regular?

 

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What are your Dietary Big Rocks—those things you are committed to doing every single day that are in line with your desired health and fitness outcomes?

 

 

If it’s not a question you can answer easily, then chances are you don’t have them yet…which likely means your daily nutritional choices are a bit random…which means in turn that you’re likely struggling.

 

 

 

So how do we move from struggling, and maybe not being able to see the forest for the trees to eating with intention, purpose and getting better results—without stress or another regimented diet plan?

 

 

 

By identifying the Big Rocks in our diets—the 3 things that have the MOST impact overall on our health, wellness, weight, body fat percentage, or athletic performance.

 

 

 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I’m discovered that I’d gotten away from mine throughout the month of May!

 

 

 

Life’s pace picked up, my dad came for a month-long visit (so grateful), the kids both had birthdays and celebrations, I went on 2 short road trips (again, grateful)….Long story short, my diet became more random and haphazard than I’d like or feel comfortable living with.

 

 

 

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One of those indulgent travel meals.

 

 

So I’m taking this opportunity to redefine my own DBRs. But this also means that I need to clearly define just what the desired outcome of my nutrition really is.

 

 

 

I’ve been listening to several podcasts all about fat loss lately, because that seems to be what most people I talk to seek help with.

 

 

 

I found myself trying to change my own eating patterns to comply with those fat loss guidelines over the past few weeks as well, because the advice given was sounds and seemed effective…Except I was starting to get more off-track with my own diet by complying with rules that didn’t fit MY needs.

 

 

 

I didn’t even realize what I was doing (trying to override my body’s signals and needs in order to do ‘the right thing’) until about a week or so ago when it hit me over the head: I’m not eating for fat loss—that’s not MY goal!

 

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I want to be eating for hormone balance (learning as a I go!), maintaining or even creating more lean muscle tissue, and getting stronger/improving my athletic performance. Which, in my personal diet, looks very different than when I’m eating for fat loss!

 

 

 

LOL/SMH….

 

So my updated DBRs with MY current goals in mind, are:

 

*Prioritizing Protein: eating 5-6 servings of roughly 20 grams per day

 

*Getting AT LEAST 5 servings of veggies daily, and more is always better

 

*Including healthy fats (Omega 3s) for their anti-inflammatory properties and because they add taste and fullness to my meals

 

 

 

Then, once I defined my DNC’s then I got to work on putting them into daily actions!

 

 

 

Here’s how I did it:

  • baked a big batch of salmon filets which I ate for lunch with a salad many days
  • added veggies and protein at breakfast via a variety of scrambles
  • made half my plate veggies in the evenings
  • had Quest bars for a snack most days
  • baked a bunch of chicken breasts and boiled eggs for easy to grab protein
  • cooked using olive oil and coconut oil
  • used avocado and cheese as condiments in many of my meals (esp. scrambles, salads and wraps)
  • got bagged salad a couple of times in the week, too, because the convenience is well worth the cost these days
  • had my kids cut veggies in the evenings
  • stocked tuna and beans in my pantry, and whole wheat tortillas in the fridge, so we could have wraps of some kind OR black bean burritos—always a filling and tasty 30-minutes or less meal.
  • **Cooked everything in double batches to save me time making meals later in the week. This is KEY to my success—or lack thereof some weeks!**

 

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A double-batch of grilled asparagus–worth the time and the gas!

 

Once I’ve got the basic structure for my diet, and the ingredients for the next couple of days ready to go, it’s ‘plug and chug’ time.

 

 

Like I’ve said before, I don’t count macros or calories, I count PORTIONS. If it seems like I’m not getting in my DNC’s, then I ‘double-down’ in the afternoon and evening (like having a #BAS—big-ass salad, for example).

 

 

I find it WAY more effective and WAY less stress to focus on what I’m putting IN to my daily diet, rather than what I’m taking (or leaving) out.

 

 

I continue to plan in my indulgences, too, because deprivation and restriction are NOT part of my sustainable eating plan.

 

 

 

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The Spanish Verdejo I’m currently infatuated with.

 

 

 

After I have my DBRs worked in, then I also add in carbs as sides when I wanted them (sweet potatoes, a slice of toast, some noodles—whatever was available/sounded good), and I make sure the foods I eat taste good while I meet my DBRs.

 

 

 

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One of last week’s big batch/DBR-based dinners.

 

 

Every meal was satisfying, had a little variety most days, felt SO much better and so much less bloated after 4 days of consistency. Phew!

 

 

So what changes or goals are you working on in your daily diet right now?

 

 

Whether our goals are to lose weight, lean out a bit or decrease body fat, create more shapely muscles, develop increased muscular strength, speed and endurance or simply to maintain a stable level of health and wellness, our DBRs matter.

 

 

Our success or continued frustration hinge on the daily nutritional choices we make.

 

 

And this is why defining our DBRs matters—they help us:

  1. focus on the DO’s in our diets
  2. focus on Including foods in our diets, not Excluding them,
  3. keep focused on taking positive and proactive steps towards eating and feeling better instead of having us all hung up on avoiding foods or resisting urges or cravings.

 

So I’ll ask you again:

–> Is your diet random or regular?

 

–> What are your Dietary Big Rocks—those things you are committed to doing every single day that are in line with your desired health and fitness outcomes?

 

 

If you’re still not sure, then it’s time to start by defining your goal(s).

 

After you have your goal(s) defined, then it’s time to consider:

 

  1. a) what your biggest challenges are—the things that might be interfering with your goals, and

 

  1. b) what things might be the MOST helpful in getting your eating more aligned with your desired outcome(s)!

 

Wherever you are in the process, look for the lessons you can learn from your mindset about food and your daily behaviors, make sure to celebrate your small wins, and look for the places where you can make the most impact in your diet without making yourself crazy.

 

 

And on that topic, I’m beginning a 10-week email series called ’10 Steps to a Livable Diet,’ which is a condensed version of the coaching I’ve done in my Get REAL Fit lifestyle coaching group AND my ‘Nourished Mind’ program.

 

The Livable Diet email cover

 

 

If you’re ready to stop chasing your tail and beating your head against yet another diet wall, then maybe you’re ready to try creating a ‘Liveable Diet’ of your own.

 

 

Over the next 10 weeks, I’ll be sharing my 10 steps for ditching the diet mentality for good and creating your own flexible, adaptable and permanently effective ‘Livable Diet.’

 

Sign up here to get my ’10 Steps to a Livable Diet’ email series delivered to you:

http://bit.ly/LivableDiet10Steps

 

 

Each Thursday, I’ll be sending out a single step in the process, with actionable tips and even a cheat sheet to help you start on the path to diet freedom and creating your own adaptable, sustainable, effective Livable Diet.

 

 

FYI: there is ZERO obligation to do anything or purchase anything—it’s purely for educational purposes and I just wanted to make sure you had to opportunity to take part and start tuning up your diet and eating habits RIGHT NOW.

 

#TheLivableDiet

#TheNourishedMind

 

Trainer Tip Tuesday: Not sure where to start? Try at the beginning

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Today’s Tip: When you need to make changes, but don’t know where to start, start at the beginning–of your day, that is!

 

 

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Many of the challenges and pitfalls we encounter later in the day with willpower, nutrition, positive thinking/frustration, or exercise can be alleviated–and sometimes totally avoided–by tweaking one behavior, action or procedure you have in the mornings.

 

 

Recently, I was talking with one of my clients about how we can start to tune up her diet by making one impactful change at a time, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater and implementing a totally new eating plan (aka: making her follow an arbitrary diet).

 

 

We talked about when in the day she feels her willpower and judgment fade the most, and it was in the evenings after working all day and going to the gym right afterwards.

 

 

By the time she got home, it was game on/insert food here QUICK!!

 

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Which made total sense after we took a look at her food journals from the week before! See, they come in pretty handy 🙂 

 

 

 

It turned out, she was eating very little for breakfast, surviving on coffee until 1 pm, then having whatever she could easily grab for lunch, then white-knuckling through the rest of the afternoon, her class and the drive home.

 

 

So we started at the beginning! Instead of trying to address late-day willpower and cravings issues, we decided to implement one change–to eat a nourishing breakfast.

 

 

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After she did this for a week, the afternoon issues basically solved themselves AND she felt so much better all morning long and started investing in a more nutritious, but easy to grab, lunch, too.

 

 

One simple change at the beginning of the day impacted the next 10-12 hours.

 

 

So if you need to make changes, but don’t know where to start, look at the beginning of your day for possible solutions.

 

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Look at your morning patterns, and think about what’s helpful or unhelpful about your actions.

 

 

Keep your changes simple, test drive them for 7-14 days, and see how making those adjustments works for you!

 

 

Start small, stay consistent, stay tenacious.

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Never underestimate the power of consistent, incremental change.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

 

#TheNourishedMind
#smallwinsaddup

Log it to lose it! How food journaling gets you to your goals faster.

scheduling for the win!

Second only to scheduling and prioritizing—or where we are spending our ‘life capital,’ our nutrition is one of THE MOST influential aspects of our overall health and fitness.

 

 

 

What we eat determines how we feel:  how much energy we have, how well we perform when we exercise, and often how we feel about our bodies and ourselves.

 

 

Based on my own personal experiences, and my experiences as a personal trainer and health coach, the absolute best place to start is to a) get really honest with yourself about your current eating habits/patterns, then start making informed choices and changes.

 

 

We also have to accept a few truths to make forward progress with our weight, quality of nutrition and eating habits:

 

  • There is NO magic nutrition silver bullet solution.
  • There are no miracle fat loss or weight loss superfoods.
  • There are no magical macronutrient formulas.
  • Just because ‘X’ approach worked for our friend, sister, mother, cousin does not mean it will work for us (and who knows if it will work long-term for them).
  • Chances are, we really don’t have a very accurate idea of how much/how many calories we are consuming each day.

 

 

 

In order to get the results we want, we have to be willing to put in the effort of figuring out what our food intake really is at the moment.

 

 

We must have the patience and persistence to implement a variety of small changes, over time, to see what work for us and feels right for our bodies and lifestyles.

 

 

Truly, it’s this approach and process that’s helped me stay in maintenance mode for the past several years with low effort. High awareness, yes, but low overall effort.

 

 

So, how are YOU feeling these days?

  • Are you happy with where your fitness, diet and health are at?
  • Do you have good energy most days, or are you feeling not as great as you’d like?
  • Are your pants feeling snug?
  • Are you not seeing the results you’d expect to be seeing from the exercise/hard work you’re putting in?

 

 

If you’re feeling like you’d like your results to show up more, your waistline to tighten up, to have more energy and stamina throughout the day, then it’s time to (re)evaluate your food intake.

 

One of the best, most straightforward ways I know to (re)evaluate our current food intake/eating patterns is by using some kind of food journal or tracking tool. If you’re a fan of using techie tools/apps to track things, then you’ll want to check out MyFitnessPal’s tracker and/or LoseIt!’s tools.

 

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I’m partial to old-school handwritten tracking, and I’m especially fond of my own Favorite Food Journal (you can grab a downloadable copy with this link RLF Daily Food Journal 2016). I like that it’s easy to carry with you, jot down notes in the moment and really SEE the whole scope of each day’s intake easily (without scrolling, etc.)

 

 

 

Plus, most of us stare at screens enough throughout the day, and there’s something to be said about the act of writing that ‘sticks’ with our brains a bit more than simply scrolling and clicking 😉

 

Like I said, I’m a little bit old-school 😉

 

 

No, it’s not slick or sexy, and I’m not going to show you a 6-pack abs shot to entice you to use it, BUT using this food intake/eating patterns tracking tool is VERY effective.

 

WHY?

 

 

 

Because tracking your food/food journaling, especially in a way that also tracks your emotions, challenges and locations, reveals:

 

  • Scheduling deficiencies—the times of the day(s) when we have problems or issues.

 

  • Low willpower times of the day(s)—the times in the day(s) when we are most likely to make poorer decisions about what to eat or just eat too much of something.

 

  • If we are underfeeding ourselves—letting our blood sugar drop too far so that we feel poorly and/or make less helpful decisions about what to eat.

 

  • Imbalances in macronutrients or food groups–We might think we’re getting enough vegetables, or protein or not eating that many starchy carbs or sugary treats, but when we write things down we see the absolute evidence/data of what we are really consuming each day/week

 

  • Low meal satisfaction/unmet needs—those times when we ate something that seemed like it was healthy and/or should be filling, but it wasn’t and we went back sooner than is ideal to eat more or eat something else.

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When we review our data from our journaling, we can see ‘where the wheels come off,’ so to speak.

 

 

It becomes so much easier to objectively identify the patterns, triggers and tendencies that tend trip us up the most, and/or where we can make impactful improvements in our eating choices and patterns.

 

The ladies in The Nourished Mind program have gotten a ton of quality information from using their food journals (the same one as I’ve given you here RLF Daily Food Journal 2016).

 

 

The information they recorded has helped them see, without guilt or judgment, where they were most likely to make poorer decisions AND to be able to relate those decisions to a distinct cause. This in turn gave them the information they needed to come up with a strategy for dealing with those moments/triggers.

 

 

Honestly, most of the time a little more planning and scheduling gave them an easy solution for avoiding those pitfalls.

 

 

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BUT they wouldn’t have been able to identify what needed to be done to help themselves out if they hadn’t recorded several days in a row to objectively see what was really going on in their lives!

 

 

So while it’s a little tedious, food journaling can be one of your biggest allies in creating a healthier lifestyle, getting closer to your body composition or performance goals, and just generally feeling like you are more in charge of your circumstances and less blown about by life.

 

 

Food journaling puts you back in the driver’s seat!

 

 

Now, some people have a tough time using food journals because, well, they don’t like what they see, or are embarrassed about what they’re really eating or doing. It’s often pretty easy, especially for women, to attach feelings of shame and guilt to food and our eating habits.

 

 

Here’s what I have to say on the subject:

I can’t emphasize enough that all of the food journaling you do and behavior change exercises related to your food intake and eating habits is 100% Shame-Free.

 

Recently, I read a great quote from Josh Hillis in his book, Fat Loss Happens on Mondays, which can help shift an embarrassed-to-write-it-down mindset into a more pragmatic one:

 

“If you’re judging you food journal, you need to grow up.

 

Beating yourself up is the opposite of taking responsibility.

 

Taking responsibility with food is looking without emotion at actions that work or don’t work for your goals.”

 

 

What I encourage you to do, this week and from here on forward, is to approach food and your eating habits more objectively—like they are facts or pieces in the puzzle of your fitness, not ‘good or bad’ things.

 

 

Stay mindful about your attitude towards food—it could be the perspective shift that allows you to move forward more at peace with your nutrition habits and any needed changes.

 

The big picture goal in using your food journals in the weeks to come is this: to look at which actions are working for your goals and which ones aren’t.

 

 

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So if you haven’t started, or you’ve been feeling resistant to using the food journal, I hope this blog post has given you some reasons to reconsider and maybe a little motivation to start journaling tomorrow!

 

 

And…

 

 

**For the next 8 weeks, I’ll be sharing practical and actionable steps and strategies to get your diet back on track and start creating a more ‘Livable Diet’–learning to eat in a way that meets your needs and your wants without actually dieting.**

 

If you’re not already on my email newsletter list, you can sign up here:

 

==> http://bit.ly/RLFWeeklyFitTips

Don’t miss out on the real-life, reasonable, realistic steps you can take, too, to create your very own ‘Livable Diet!’

 

 

The small things ARE the big things.

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Occasions like Memorial Day always get me thinking about the topics of meaning and purpose—as in, I begin to ask myself, does what I’m doing right now have meaning?

 

 

Does it serve a greater purpose?

Am I living with gratitude for the gifts I have in this life?

Are my choices, words and behaviors in line with my big WHY?

 

 

 

In our sometimes messy, busy worlds of day-to-day living, it can seem like the small things take over our existence and the large things seem too far off to grasp or achieve.

 

 

 

But the small things are the large things–just in smaller doses.

 

 

 

What we do in the short run (as in each day) creates how we live, think, feel and experience things in the long run.

 

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That’s why little habits, small positive changes, paying attention to the details of how we eat, move and talk to ourselves (which truly shapes our actions) matter.

 

 

 

Because, over time, the small stuff turns into the big stuff.

 

 

Look for little improvements every day.

 

 

Choose well with the small stuff and the big stuff turns out better.

Never doubt the power of small, incremental changes over time.

 

 

“Add up the short runs, though, and you’re left with the long run. It’s going to be the long run a lot longer than the short run will last.”

~Seth Godin

 

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2016/05/28/the-short-run-and-the-long-run/

{Trainer Tip Tuesday} Full Disclosure: My Very Own, Time-Tested Personal Eating Strategies

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It’s Trainer Tip Tuesday!

 

 

Today’s Tip is more like a few tips rolled into an approach to eating.

 

 

I got this question from a reader recently:

 

“I am writing because I was wondering if you could tell me an example of what you eat in a day and timing of eating. I am like all of the examples you write…My body is not budging from being 5-10 lbs more than I want to be. I am trying the less is more (b/c I overeat with too much cardio) with strength and interval training, but I think it’s my food that is the issue. So…wondering what u eat when wanting to lose weight just to get a idea.”

 

 

 

It made me think about the fact that I talk about eating habits alot, and different approaches to eating, but I guess I haven’t said exactly how I eat most days–so I’m sharing the guidelines I use on a daily and weekly basis with you today.

 

 

 

AND I’ll be sharing how I tweak my eating when I want to lean out a bit.

 

 

FYI, I pretty much ignore the scale because it doesn’t give me much feedback about my body composition (muscle and fat percentages) and I rely on how my pants fit–especially around the waist as that’s where I see changes happen first, in either direction!

 

 

**Spoiler Alert: I don’t count calories. I don’t count macros. And I’m not perfect eater, by any means. BUT the way I approach eating is definitely sustainable, and I’ll share why 🙂

 

I try to eat a serving of some kind of protein at each meal/most snacks.

What that protein ends up being really depends on the day, what I’m in the mood for, how quickly I need it to digest (I avoid heavy stuff before workouts), and what we have available!

 

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Here are a few ways you can get more protein in your life, too:  http://reallifefitbykate.com/wordpress/?p=601

 

 

I really, really focus on veggies each day.

 

I don’t count many things in my daily diet, but I DO track the servings of veggies each day. I try to add them earlier in the day to get more of them, but if I haven’t had many by dinner, I tend to double down on my servings or eat a #BAS (big ass salad).

 

 

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My drinks are all low- or no-cal.

 

 

I put whole milk in my coffee, drink lots of water or ‘cold brew’ flavored teas, and maybe a glass of (dry) wine in the evening (on Fridays might be more than one, lol….)

 

I tend to save my starchy carbs (bread, pasta, rice, crackers) for around my workouts.

 

 

Currently I tend to work out in the evenings, so that means I have more carbs either for snack in the afternoon or at dinner. BUT I’ll also have oatmeal for breakfast sometimes–I just make sure it’s paired with some protein so it digests more slowly.

 

 

I plan in weekly indulgences.

 

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Knowing I can have a couple (2-3) treats per week keeps me from obsessing or overdoing it.

 

It’s funny how food can lose its power over us when we stop idolizing or demonizing it.

Here’s what I mean and how I do it: http://reallifefitbykate.com/wordpress/?p=499

 

 

I often eat a square or two of dark chocolate in the afternoon.

 

I know that two squares hits the spot, but won’t trigger a binge, so it’s a healthy practice for me. Balance and moderation, right?!?

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I pay attention to portion sizes and use my dishes to help guide my portions (more on that below).

 

I listen to my body carefully.

Sometimes it needs more, sometimes less, of food in general or of certain macronutrients. I stay flexible with my needs because every day is a little bit different!

 

 

AND here’s what I do when I want to lean out (usually after a vacation or holidays):

 

 

**Track my food intake using my favorite hard-copy food journal.

It helps me identify any unhelpful trends that might have crept into my diet, which in turn helps me know which one or two changes (tweaks) I can make to get the most impact.

 

 

You can grab a copy for yourself here:  RLF Daily Food Journal 2016

 

**Use smaller dishes–bowls and plates, in particular. There’s a very natural tendency to fill a dish to its limit, and often this limit is actually more than we really need to be satisfied.

 

 

I LOVE this little trick/tweak–no diet changes needed and it’s a very low-stress way to make a big impact on our intake.

 

 

 

**Pay extra attention to my starchy/processed carb intake–treats, breads, crackers, pasta, chocolate, potatoes, desserts, and even wine.

 

This goes back to tracking, too–sometimes we just don’t realize exactly how much we’ve been eating of these things and a little hard data can help us make small but impactful changes.

 

 

**Pay LOTS of attention to my stress level and my quality of sleep.

 

 

These can be pretty big triggers for wanting to eat more–especially starchy carbs/sweet things. It’s much easier to listen to my body’s true needs and make better food choices when I’m more well-rested.

 

 

And when I’m NOT well-rested, I’m at least aware that being less rested triggers certain cravings and I’m less likely to give in mindlessly. This is when my SNAP method comes in handy (you can read about it here: http://reallifefitbykate.com/wordpress/?p=1300)

 

 

 

The way I approach eating is in a very flexible, sustainable and customized manner that is guided by listening to my body’s (ever-changing) needs, eating things that are satisfying in both flavor and nutrition, and not getting too hung up on numbers, macros, or anyone else’s rules.

 

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No one knows our bodies better than we do, and when we spend the time listening to our bodies and finding out what we REALLY need we often come up with the best, most practical and sustainable eating patterns—ones no other diet’s rules can ever achieve.

 

 

 

And that’s powerful, life-changing stuff!

 

 

 

If you’re curious how you can get started creating your own sustainable diet, shoot me an email and we can chat about it in a complementary coaching call (on the phone, Skype, FaceTime or Google hangouts—whatever’s best for you).

 

 

You can reach me here: kate@reallifefitbykate.com

Looking forward to chatting with you, and don’t be afraid to go against the grain and make your own rules!

{Trainer Tip Tuesday} Make leisure walks a priority in your life.

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This week’s tip:  Make leisure walks a priority in your life.

 

Sounds weird, right? Aren’t we supposed to crank up the volume in our workouts, go harder, not do less–especially something so…gentle?!?

 

 

Intensity and hard effort definitely have their place in our weekly fitness regimens, but just not ALL the time. Which I found out kind of by accident!

 

 

Last year, I struggled with hormone issues–although I didn’t realize that’s what was going on until late August/early September–and kept it to myself because I didn’t really understand what was up with my body.

 

 

(If you want more details, you can read about it here: “The truth my ta-ta’s told me“)

 

 

Then I managed to get bronchitis on the way home from my first-ever business trip, and landed on my back for roughly 21 days. Walking was about all I could manage.

 

 

 

Shortly after I recovered, I overdid it in the gym and put a couple of ribs out of alignment, sending a chain-reaction through most of my paraspinal muscles. FYI–super tight, knotted paraspinal, and intercostal (between the ribs) muscles will stop you dead in your tracks.

 

 

Again, healing took a number of weeks, during which time all I could manage was walking and a massive amount of core work.

 

 

 

I worried a little about getting out of shape, but my hunger followed my exercise level (less exercise, less intense urge to eat), and I found that by December I had shed about 6 pounds and felt more my normal level of lean again.

 

 

 

All I had done was walk, core work, and occasional (intense!) air bike sprints each week. No magic diet, no crazy workout regimen.

 

 

 

Just…walking with my best girl, who was on the mend, too.

 

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My best girl, Daisy

 

Leisure walking gives our bodies the opportunity to repair. It also give our parasympathetic system a chance to do its thing–which is to promote relaxation and hormonal balance.

 

 

 

(The sympathetic nervous system is the one responsible for fight-or-flight, and the one that releases cortisol–which is a good thing in the right doses, but not so good to have constantly high amounts of in the body.  You can read more about it here: http://www.metaboliceffect.com/can-your-chosen-surroundings-help-you-burn-more-fat/)

 

 

So as crazy as it sounds, sometimes less really IS more–and leisure walking doesn’t just give us the chance to catch our breaths, it gives us the opportunity to establish better hormonal balance.

 

 

 

More hormonal balance means an easier time ‘staying in the middle’ physically and emotionally, and an easier time losing body fat while we’re at it.

 

 

 

Give a couple of shorter (10 minutes if that’s all you’ve got!) walks each day a try, and see if you start feeling better–inside and out–within a couple of weeks 🙂

 

PS–Here’s a link to an article that gives 10 MORE ways walking is so good for us!  I love #3 and #8, especially 🙂

http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/10-amazing-benefits-walking/

 

Leisure walking for the win!

 

 

How I lost the babyweight after #2

walk 18 weeks

Sitting in my father’s basement TV room while visiting home, 6 months postpartum, with a gorgeous and healthy baby, I was also feeling trapped–10 pounds heavier than my pre-baby weight, wearing a bigger pant size, and A LOT more squishy than I’d been before getting pregnant.”

 

 

That was in late 2005, when I just had zero idea how to help myself at the time, and I tried The FIRM system at home after my daughter turned 6 months old.  Following their exercise plan for beginners (but completely disregarding their meal plan—I was still of the mindset I could ‘exercise off’ what I ate), I improved my fitness over the next 12 weeks and my stamina and self-confidence improved, but my physique didn’t change much.

 

 

Of course, the heaviest weights I used for any of their workouts were 8 lbs….those were the heaviest ones.  I had lighter ones, too!

 

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Baby #2 with my 5# dumbbells

 

 

I giggle when I think about that now.

 

 

I didn’t’ end up losing the weight and gaining more muscle until I started a little bit of interval training on the elliptical and treadmill as well as lifting weights and working with a personal trainer in late 2006.  My interval work was pretty gentle, though, because I was rehabbing my low back/pelvic injury from horse riding accident, so sprint efforts weren’t on the table.  45 minute gentle interval sessions were.

 

 

 

But I was pretty determined not to have the same weight loss/fat loss issues after baby #2, so when I got pregnant the second time, I stayed active, kept lifting weights and doing interval workouts.

 

 

 

Why intervals?

 

 

Two reasons, namely:  I needed to catch my breath and stay oxygenated while working out (didn’t want to starve the baby of it’s O2!), and doing any other kind of workout on a piece of cardio equipment was BORING.  I never was one of those women who could spend an hour straight on the stairmaster—or any other piece of equipment for that matter!

 

 

 

Doing intervals was the ONLY way I could keep myself on those machines—and I was convinced I needed to in order to lose weight, or at least not gain too much with baby #2.

 

 

 

When I was cleared to start really exercising again after baby #2 arrived, I started with walk-jog intervals to rebuild, well, everything, and when the evening daylight faded, I started going to the gym again.  But with a husband in flight school and a baby and a three year-old, I couldn’t spend an hour or more working out!

 

With #2 when he was 4 weeks old

 

So I researched some faster-moving/results-producing super-set strength training plans and went back to my cardio machine intervals.

 

 

Even though my interval training wasn’t too intense, the combination of lifting progressively heavier weights (the 8# days were long gone) and my regular interval training sessions gave me results very quickly.

 

 

By the time baby #2 was 9 months old, I had flat abs and was a size smaller than I’d ever been before.  It kind of shocked me HOW effective what I was doing was for my body.

 

 

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10 months after baby #2 arrived

A strength training devotee was born!

A few months later, I started doing more reading about the effectiveness of HIIT workouts, and played around with different interval training plans (most of which I’ve shared with you over the past 4 weeks!), and had even more success with high intensity interval training on the elliptical and the treadmill.

Since 2010, some kind of interval training has been a regular part of my own weekly training routines.  Truly, HIIT workouts have been my go-to anytime I needed or wanted to lean out a bit or get back in shape—and there have been more than a few times when it’s been necessary!

There’s nothing like a couple of Tabata sprint sessions a week to boost the metabolism quickly—as in noticeably less fat around the midsection in just a couple of weeks.  Plus, it’s hard to be bored when you’re tracking your 20 second sprint/10 second rest intervals in those Tabata workouts.

The thing is, getting fit and staying fit aren’t a simple linear progression—life happens, and between 2010 and now, I’ve broken my big toe, had a bone infection in my foot, had surgery on a knee, injured my shoulder, gone on a few different vacations, and, well, overeaten through a few holiday seasons (but not this past year!).

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Gettin’ around with the help of a knee brace pre-surgery in 2011

HIIT workouts and circuit training with weights have been my recovery tools each time.

But figuring out which HIIT or interval workouts to do took time and research—pouring through Oxygen magazines at first, then scouring the internet in later years for ideas, comparing workouts, figuring out the structure for my weekly and monthly plans….

I SO wish there’d been a program like TreadLIFT available way back in 2006-2010!  I would have saved me SO much time and effort and brain sweat—plus, I would have gotten great results that much sooner.

At least all my time, effort, research and personal testing made it possible for me to recognize an outstanding and effective program when I see one!

And TreadLIFT is definitely that—well structured, super entertaining (you just can’t get bored when you’re sprinting and hill climbing through your workout), and designed to give you a massive amount of bang for your workout buck.

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This is why I’m so confident in this program that I’m sharing it with you—because it’s the kind of program that can help get you real results without spending hours in the gym.  It’s designed for real people who have real lives and can’t mess around with programs that take hours out of their schedules each week or that are tedious and boring.

Life’s too short for that mess!

To give you a little more idea about the kinds of workouts you can expect to get in TreadLIFT, I did the BUILD Legs #1 workout and made a quick video to share with you!  You can check it out here:  https://youtu.be/Un7Em3FcAhM

I love that the programs are done-for-you, that there’s a workout calendar for easy planning and execution, and that the workouts can be easily tweaked to meet your needs.

TreadLIFT’s workouts are all 30 minutes or less, uncomplicated and require minimal equipment–which means they are perfect for busy women, SAHMs, and on-the-go/located all over the globe mil spouses.  All my favorite kinds of people, really!

You can check out all the details here:  http://bit.ly/rlfbykate_treadLIFT

FYI–the program will be open for for registration only through this Friday May 6th at midnight PST ONLY, so don’t wait too long to check it out!

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