Controlling your Results w/ food

Good Morning Everyone!

Hope everyone is having a great week!  So today I’d like to talk a little bit about fat loss.  Now whether you are working towards a weight loss goal, or a goal to eat healthier, or even focusing on your diet to burn fat and build more muscle, there are several key components to your program that you need to keep in mind.

So, we all know that if we eat less we lose weight.  But did you know that studies show that nearly 65% of people that diet to lose weight gain in back within only a few years?  Why is that?  The body adapts to the stress that is placed upon it.  So if you cut down your diet, your metabolism slows down to accommodate.  Now if you cut foods completely out of your diet, say for example, cutting carbohydrates, you expose yourself to greater health risks, but also your body goes into a sort of starvation mode and begins storing more to conserve fuel for energy you’ll need later.  Diet accounts for roughly 70% of success within a program.   The best approach for lasting results is eating small meals frequently to keep your insulin levels balanced throughout the day.  By preventing sugar spikes/drops in your day, your metabolism is forced to work throughout the day, and the body remains balanced.  You will have more energy, you won’t find yourself hungry (because you’ll be eating periodically throughout the day) and you’ll get lasting results. Remember it’s not a diet really, but rather a lifestyle change.  This can be difficult at first, but within a few weeks you won’t even need to really think about it because it will become routine.

A great place to start is known as the 1,2,3 approach.  This is the concept that breaks down each meal into 1 part fats, 2 parts protein, and 3 parts carbohydrates.  For the average individual this is a great place to start.

So, let’s say for example Jane needs 1800 calories a day for her diet.  Now if we divide the 1800 calories by 6, we get 300 calories.  So that means Jane’s daily diet should be as follows:

300 calories from fat or roughly 33g of fat (300/9kcal per gram of fat)

600 calories from protein or roughly 150g of protein (600/4kcal per gram of protein)

900 calories from carbohydrates or roughly 225g of carbohydrates (900/4kcal per gram of carbohydrates)

There are a lot of tools that you can utilize to get you going on your balanced diet.  I have put some websites below:

https://www.myfitnesspal.com/

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/supertracker-tools/supertracker.html

Lose It! App for your smart phone is another great one!

http://fyiliving.com/diet/special-diets/diabetes-diet/controlling-obesity-and-diabetes-as-easy-as-1-2-3/

Now remember, to weigh less, you really need to eat more!  You want to burn off fat, not lean muscle mass.

Sick of Salad? Try these!

So I have been experimenting with some low carb alternatives, because salads have just gotten boring. They taste great, and I still love them, but it’s nice to have some options! Here are three great recipes I tried recently that I would recommend.

Chicken & Avocado Salad w/ Cilantro & Lime

-This recipe is great. Very little Mayo, but still super moist because of the avocado. The only thing I feel like it needed was more flavor. Maybe more lime or some additional spices to pull the flavor of the lime and cilantro together with the avocado and chicken. But overall a great recipe!

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2012/05/recipe-for-chicken-and-avocado-salad.html

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

-Super easy, full of flavor! You can have this as a meal, a snack or even serve it as an appetizer. Took all of 10 minutes to make!

http://www.ellaclaireinspired.com/buffalo-chicken-lettuce-wraps/

Paleo Stuffed Peppers

-Amazing. I always wanted to try and make stuffed peppers. These are full of flavor, you can make them spicy or mild and were great for dinner, and an easy reheat for lunch!

http://www.ourpaleolife.com/2013/09/paleo-stuffed-peppers/

Spring is Here!

Finally, we are getting some Spring weather here! 🙂 With this recent wave of 60-70 degree weather, I am totally craving BBQ Food! The key is to find ways to make those BBQ Favorites Healthy! Recently I tried Jamie Eason’s Italian Turkey Burgers! The recipe is fantastic, and I even cut out the bun for low carb days so I could have some oven-baked sweet potato fries with it instead!

Check out this great recipe and others at the link below:
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jamie-easons-livefit-recipes-italian-turkey-burgers.html

turkey burger

There is something about Cinnamon Toast :)

When I was a little girl, we lived with my Grandmother. She passed away when I was 6, but one of my fondest memories of her was how we used to always have breakfast together. She used to make me toast, spread with warm, melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and we would sit together and have breakfast. As we grow up, we take memories with us. Memories we can associate with feelings, and cinnamon toast for me is like a comfort food! First off… It’s bread! Second, it’s the perfect combination of sweetness and spice. And lastly, it reminds me of Grandma.

At this stage in my life, I don’t typically eat a lot of bread. I do occasionally find the time to make homemade bread (which I can eat). But on the specific diet plan I am currently on, I can eat Ezekiel Bread! And let me tell you their 7 Sprouted Grains Bread is Delicious! I don’t often use butter either… But I like Peanut Butters, and Almond Butter. And sometimes I just want cinnamon and sugar on my toast! So regardless of what type of toast, or butter I use (which today was the 7 Sprouted Grain Ezekiel w/ Nature’s Place Almond Butter) sometimes I just sprinkle a little cinnamon & sugar on my toast and it takes me back to Grandma’s.  What’s your comfort food?

IMG_20150324_090541

Never let go of the memories of loved ones. They can carry you, and shape who you are, and who you become.

Hope everyone has a great day! 🙂

Homemade Granola Bars

Truth be told… I love to snack! Who doesn’t, right? Lol 😉 Well, A few years ago, I decided to ditch the over processed boxed granola bars and start making my own! 🙂 Not only can I control how much sugar is being put into the bars, but I can also add things like protein powder, flax seed, etc. They taste great, I know what I am eating, and they freeze well! 🙂

Here are some great recipes that I have tried:

Granola Bars:

Chewy Granola Bars

The basis for most of the granola bars I make starts here! I use this recipe, but often alter it, changing up the almond butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar- substituting other things like cookie butter, peanut butter, honey, etc. I find that the original recipe is pretty sweet, so I personally reduce the brown sugar and maple syrup. I also often switch up the fruit and nuts I add. Sometimes we make chocolate peanut butter, sometimes we do a white chocolate cranberry almond, etc. But yeah, so this recipe is simple, and quick and you can change it up. Have fun with it! 🙂

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/chewy-granola-bars/

Alton Brown’s Granola Bars:

This is another great recipe that you can use for a base starting point and alter to make a variety of different granola bars.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/granola-bars-recipe.html

EatingWell Energy Bars:

These don’t stay together that well, but they are sooo tasty! A perfect combination of salty with just enough sweet from the dried fruit! They are often crumbly, but still tastes great! Try saving the broken ones and adding them to your yogurt or oatmeal to switch things up!

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/eatingwell_energy_bar.html

Make An Effort

No one ever said that making a commitment to a healthier, happier life would be easy. But I can tell you that it is soooo worth it! When you look good, you feel good! And when you feed your body the right types of foods at the right times, it rewards you with things like more energy during the day, a more restful nights sleep, and a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle. You probably hear all the time that the most important thing is patience. It is a process to adapt to any types of change, especially physical changes like appearance. We all want quick results, but quick results are not lasting results. So you need to be patient.

The best thing that you can do for yourself, is take it the challenge day by day, and don’t analyze the results too frequently. When trying a new program, I personally try to compare my results every two weeks. So for example, on week 4, I can compare my results not only to Day 14 (two weeks earlier), but to Day 1 as well. I find it helpful to keep a daily food log and portion out food in the beginning while I am adapting to the change. This helps keep me honest. As time goes on and you become accustom to what you should and should not eat, eating right will become the habit and you might no longer need a food log or a measuring cup. But it is a great tool for beginning a new challenge. You can make your own food log, or you can utilize helpful tools on the web, like myfitnesspal.com.

As I mentioned before, I don’t really believe in yoyo dieting. I prefer to commit to long term change. For those of us that live in New England or similar climates where the weather changes so frequently, I do think it can be harder to stay away from comfort foods. Especially around the holidays!!! I try to give myself a little slack but honestly I often regret it. This is a habit I am hoping to change for myself this year. I don’t play any winter sports and I really can’t stand the cold weather, so between lack of energy and motivation and increased cheat meals, I tend to increase my body fat in the colder months. I feel sluggish, bloated, just all around gross and disappointed in myself for allowing it to happen. So my personal goal is to break this habit this year once and for all.

As an athlete, I know sometimes it helps to get assistance from other athletes or trainers! I design my own programs usually and just do my own thing, but sometimes I use programs designed by others to try them out, or switch things up! It can help broaden my knowledge, experience, and discipline. Don’t be afraid to get assistance from others, even if you are a trained professional or an expert in what you do. There is always something new to learn! In the past, I have met with other trainers, and got consultation on my diet, exercise routines, and changes I could make to maximize performance or results. The more you know the better off you are! I often use Bodybuilding.com as a resource! They have tons of great articles, recipes, and workouts that can help keep you on track.

So, I just started a 12 week, clean eating challenge and a more regular exercise program that should put me back on track. This program is designed by one of my all time favorite athletes, Jamie Eason. The program is called, Jamie Eason’s Livefit 12-Week Trainer. Now to be clear, this isn’t a diet program, it’s a lifestyle change, but I am forcing myself to commit for an entire 12 weeks with no cheat meals or deviating from the program. This should work to break my bad eating habits from winter and to get me back into a routine at the gym. I figure- March, April and May… That puts me back in the groove just in time for Summer! I started a couple days before March 1st because I feel like what’s the point of putting it off 3 more days? I don’t NEED to eat more junk, so I started early. The first week is going to be my biggest challenge because I have to portion out meals and rid my body of toxins that I have allowed to build up in my system. It will definitely effect my mood, most likely effect my sleep habits, and test my patience and will power on more than one occasion… But I am doing this, and I am READY!

I will keep a food log, measure out my portions, keep a calendar to check off my exercise as I progress through the challenge, and track my results every two weeks. I will share my progress and results with you on here so you can follow me as I move through the challenge! At the end of the 12 weeks, I will decide if the challenge was worthwhile, and if I would recommend it to others or use it again.  To learn more about this program, check it out at: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jamie-eason-livefit-trainer.html

Wish me luck! 🙂

Meal Preparation

Ok, for starters I don’t believe in “dieting” per say. I mean think about it… If you do the Paleo Challenge, 21 Day Challenge, Low Carb, or any other diet you are restricting your diet and often cutting things completely out of it. This deprivation might work short term, but unless you stick to that diet for the rest of your life you are technically yoyo dieting, am I right? The minute you break the diet you gain the weight back, and sometimes worse! I think this is why Weight Watchers works. Rather than dieting and cutting out foods, they teach people to portion food by counting points. The down side is a lot of people will lose the weight, but they could still be eating junk, just cutting down the caloric intake, which means inside the body- the machine isn’t working to it’s highest efficiency. If you’re athletic, like me, it can hinder results and progress.

If you want to try a diet, go for it. Sometimes I will for a couple weeks to cleanse my body and get back on track, but don’t expect miracles, is what I am saying I guess. Use it as a tool. Take what you learn and combine the diets to make something that works for you for life. So you can eat a slice of pizza or an ice cream cone and not blow up like a balloon.

So that being said, the most important thing whether dieting or making a lifestyle change is meal preparation (meal prep). Who the heck has time for meal prep? The best thing you can do is familiarize yourself with a variety of quick and easy recipes and prep them at the beginning of the week so you can prepare a meal in 10-20 minutes time when it comes time to eat. Once you learn how to balance a meal out, you can do it without even thinking about it. And it won’t require as much time for “meal prep”.

Step One- Pick your meats and go lean! I usually go with whatever is on sale, but try to get a variety of chicken, beef, pork and occasionally a fresh piece of fish. Read the packages. How many calories, cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, protein and sodium does the meat yield? By comparing the cuts you will see how a pork loin differs from a pork chop, or how 93% lean ground beef or 94% lean ground turkey differs from 85% lean ground beef. If I am planning on having fish I don’t buy it until the day of because unless you are buying frozen fish, it’s not really something you want to be reheating (personal opinion anyway). …If you don’t eat meat, obviously this step doesn’t apply to you the same. But you would want to pick your proteins regardless.

Step Two- Decide how to cook the meat, and what you are going to have with it. With any diet, the key is going to be variety. If you eat the same thing 5 days a week, at the same time, your not doing your metabolism any favors. Your body becomes familiar with the pattern and it doesn’t have to work as hard to break down the foods, in essense, it could slow down your metabolism.

Next, my advice to you is to familiarize yourself with vegetables- what is starchy and what is not? Learning your veggies is really a great idea for everyone! It makes balancing a meal so much easier.  If you are having a starchy vegetable, you probably won’t want to have a grain with it (like brown rice).  If you want to have a rice or pasta or legume, you may want to choose less starchy vegetable as a pairing item.  Catching my drift? P.S. Frozen vegetables are great! They are cheap, and sometimes have more nutrients than fresh vegetables because they are frozen at peak ripeness.  If they taste bland, remember you can season them! 🙂 Stay away from canned vegetables if possible, as they carry the least nutrients. Check out the two links below for a list of veggies both starchy & non (as well as more information):

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/non-starchy-vegetables.html

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/grains-and-starchy-vegetables.html

Now another thing you might need to consider is the fiber content of vegetables because if you are removing grains from your diet, you might not be getting fiber from that source, and they are typically a great source for fiber and carbohydrates. Here is a useful link with the top fruits and veggies and their fiber content. Try and incorporate these into your diet so you don’t fall short. A diet low in fiber can result in gastrointestinal issues… A fancy way of saying a problem with your poops.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948

Now for the fun part- Recipes!!!! 🙂

Here is a great website with tons of recipes for Paleo dieters or even people like me that just like to try a variety of different healthy meal options:

http://paleogrubs.com/paleo-diet-recipes

Now, the beauty of stretching a meal is to not just limit yourself to one thing. For example, say you picked up a package of steak tips.

    • Make a steak kabob adding fruits and veggies, and seasoning of your choice.

    • Serve some with a side of sweet potato and asparagus, or some with other veggies or even a salad.

    • Use some of it to make a Beef vegetable soup or stew

Chicken:

    • Grill it, bake it, sautee it- you can serve chicken a million different ways. Have leftover and want something different? Make a chicken salad, or shred it and make stuffed peppers with it. Cut it up and throw it into a soup with veggies of your choice. Toss it on a salad,

IF…. You still prefer to make one meal and have it for lunch 5 days a week, that’s okay, and I would recommend using the crock pot options for some easy hot meals because they will be easiest and don’t limit you to just soup. You can cook almost anything in a crockpot.

Cashew Chicken, Simple Salsa Chicken, Pulled Pork, Meatballs, chili etc. Check out the recipes on this website above for some ideas. I included a couple direct links below also:

http://paleopot.com/2013/03/stupid-easy-paleo-spaghetti-squash-meatballs/

http://canadagirleatspaleo.com/2013/09/24/stupid-simple-salsa-chicken/

http://www.preppypaleo.com/2013/11/paleo-crock-pot-cashew-chicken-recipe.html

I try and give myself a couple hours at the beginning of the week to meal prep. You can cook the meat at the beginning of the week, you can cook the whole meal and just reheat it each day. Or you can even just cut it up, and package it so you know what you are having on what day and just cook it on that day. It’s really up to you! Hope this helps!

Oh, last thing… Another great tool for learning how to balance your meal is Choosemyplate.gov. This website is what replaced the old school “food pyramid”. But also has lots of tips and recipes, etc.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/about.html

The Basics

The human body is this amazing, super efficient, machine. The more I read about it’s functions and how the different internal systems work together to create this insanely synchronized rhythm for carrying out every process, the more I am amazed. So if the body is so efficient, why do we need to work so hard? Truth is… We DON’T! We just need to listen to what our bodies are telling us, and give it what it needs. So let’s start with the basics.

The human body needs basic necessities for survival; Energy- which comes from our diet- what we eat and drink, Exercise, and Sleep.

Energy is obtained through the food that we eat. Different foods have different nutrients, and the higher the nutritional value, the greater the energy it will yield for a greater period of time. The easiest way to make sure you are giving your body the nutrients it needs is by having a balanced diet. With a balanced diet, we can still enjoy things like pizza and ice cream occasionally, without completely throwing off the system and falling into a “couch potato” rut. You can’t stuff your face with mac and cheese or fried chicken and expect to feel good after. It just doesn’t happen. For more information and for the basics on how to balance your plate there are a variety of websites that offer information. One of my favorites, is http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ This website is like the “latest version” of what we used to rely on for a balanced diet- The Food Pyramid.

When people hear “exercise” they are either pumped up and ready to go or get completely turned off and feel like suddenly losing the weight is going to be their ‘mission impossible’. Well, let me start by telling you that research shows that diet and sleep are actually more important than exercise to maintain a healthy weight. So, you don’t need to be a body builder or marathon runner to succeed here. I always suggest to people that if you are trying to get healthy, start out by making lifestyle changes that will stick, and then if down the road you need a new challenge, change things up and go for it! So how much exercise SHOULD the average adult be getting? Research suggests that either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly. Strength training exercise should happen at least twice a week. Remember to always consult with your physician if you have any concerns, former injuries or elevated health risks prior to starting a new program.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916

Last but definitely not least, SLEEP! People often don’t realize just how important sleep is for the human body. Different people require different amounts of sleep, so rather than go into too much detail on this one I have included a few resources below for you to explore this need for yourself.

http://www.apa.org/topics/sleep/why.aspx

https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/sleep-health

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20459221,00.html

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_sleep_why

Why Start Now?

Why Start Now?

Let’s face it. We all struggle with self image at some point or another in our lives. Whether it be a physical self image, or a social status or position we are in, it happens! I want you to stop and think back for a minute; remember the situation and how you were so positive on how to influence it for the better. How you had a plan, and knew exactly what you were going to do to achieve that goal! You did that for you, because you are worth it! Now, whether or not you stuck to the plan, or the plan got boring and ultimately failed, or you just never put the plan into action, I don’t care right now.  The point is, at one point you believed in yourself, and my goal is to show you how to take that spark of motivation and turn it into fireworks.  We all have one thing in common- a desire to learn more about health and fitness! A thirst for knowledge on how to improve the journey, and the results that come with it! And that’s why I am here. To share with you my story of struggle and success, and how every day I strive to improve to get the most out of my life.

Step one, is to convince yourself you can stick to it. Finding courage and motivation is one of the hardest parts of starting a new journey, a new diet, a new routine.  Because for the one reason we really want something, we can find a million reasons why it’s going to seem impossible to achieve. So let’s not think about that! I find that it helps to first come up with a personal mission statement. Once you have that mission statement, you need to remember it. Whether it’s keeping it in your mind, or writing it on a piece of paper and reading it when the road gets tough. Or waking up everyday and saying it to yourself! I don’t care how, but you need to remember not only what those words are, but what they mean to you. Give them energy, and allow that energy to be the fuel that gives those words meaning, and puts them into action!

You wanna hear mine? “To strive to be the best version of me. To wake up everyday with a purpose and a smile, and to carry out my purpose through dedication to myself and to my journey. To love, respect, and be kind not only to others but also to myself. To strive to overcome challenges and fears, knowing that great reward can only come from great risk. To believe in myself everyday. To be happy.”

So why start now? Because you are worth it! Because you only have one life, and you deserve to have the best life has to offer you.  So, what is your mission statement?