Archive for June 29, 2016

Fast, Tasty, and full of Protein: Blender Protein Pancakes

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Fast, tasty, simple, budget-friendly and full of protein, Blender Protein Pancakes are one of my very favorite breakfasts…and snacks, too, if I’m being honest!

 

 

Here’s how to make a batch (or two–you know how I love double-batch cooking):

 

 

Ingredients

1 cup cottage cheese (check labels for additives, extra sodium or sugars)

1 cup old fashioned oats

6 egg whites OR 5 whole eggs (depends on your needs)

 

 

Directions

Put ingredients in blender; blend on low for 30 seconds. Turn speed up to medium and blend for approximately one minute until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

 

 

(If your blender is on the fritz, you can also easily use a hand mixer…which I had to do last year!)

 

 

Cook over medium-low heat, use cooking oil/fat of your choice (I often use a small teaspoon of coconut oil).

 

 

I also make a berry ‘syrup’ to go over the top by microwaving frozen berries (add some pure maple syrup, organic honey, or stevia if you want to sweeten it up), or top them with some apple butter or fresh fruit.

 

 

*You can add in cinnamon, vanilla extract, etc. to change up the flavor

 

 

Sweet or savory, these easy to grab-and-go pancakes can be a really helpful addition to your kitchen, too.

 

Enjoy the ‘planned-overs’ all week long!

{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!’