Burnout to Best Self
Are Meal Plans Ever a Good Idea?

Are Meal Plans Ever a Good Idea?

December 10, 2016

One thing I think is super important to understand is that the perfect diet for anyone is not so much about low carb, high protein, gluten free, paleo or vegan. It's about compliance before anything else. I can write you a meal plan that is so perfectly balanced it would solve all your problems, but unless you were able to adhere to it, it would be worthless. Same goes for workout programs. I partner with Beachbody - because I think their programs are outstanding (and I say that as a personal trainer and a user). But a brilliantly programmed workout regimen is just a DVD unless it's consistently followed through on. So we have to start with compliance which starts with knowing who you are as a person, and what you're willing to tolerate.

I know for myself, any meal plan that makes a little sugar-free chocolate and wine completely off limits, is not something I will adhere to, because I love those things. So I have to negotiate and say to myself, okay, I'll make a little room for wine and chocolate, but I'm also willing to give up potatoes and bread so that my carb intake doesn't go off the rails.

This is why success should be slow and methodical. Because you're discovering and negotiating what you can get away with, rather than white-knuckling through a program you have every intention of ditching after 8-weeks because it's near impossible to follow and enjoy.

Start with enjoyment and work backward. Negotiate what you're willing to give up, consume less of, or alter. Then see what your results tell you.

By the way, if you're interested in getting some help figuring all this stuff out, consider joining my online fitness groups.  They're 3 weeks of support, training and kick-ass recipes to help you rock an awesome body in 2017!  Want in?  Drop a comment below and I'll give you the deets. meal plan high protein

How not to be a miserable cow on a diet this holiday season.

How not to be a miserable cow on a diet this holiday season.

December 4, 2016

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Christmas holidays?  Your weird uncle Fred?  Mall madness?  Or food?  Seriously, eggnog, cookies, and crappy holiday party food is everywhere you look!  No wonder people joke about gaining 5 to 10lbs over the holidays and then feel like crap on Jan 1. 

Sound familiar?

The key to long-term success is adopting a lifestyle mindset. Accept that you’re not on a diet that has a start and an end, but that you generally (not always) chose foods that help your goals, not hinder them.   You’re eating for a way of life and doing so means being able to incorporate holiday eating into your plan. There’s no doubt that the holidays present a unique set of challenges with all the delicious holiday baking and boozy parties.  And I bet you feel pretty badly about yourself when you over indulge.  But here’s the thing…  unless you’re out there night after night, diving face first into Christmas goodies, you’re going to be okay.  And if you’re looking to make fitness a lifestyle, then you need to make a little room for the things you love, or you’ll be a miserable cow that will poop all the parties you go to.

Speaking of party poopers – have you ever seen this video???  F*&king hysterical. I digress…..

So here’s my advice to you for getting through this festive season and still be able to fit into your pants in January.

  • Control the meals you have control over. Stick with your plan for the meals you can.  That means prepping meals for lunch, making sure your breakfast (if you have one) is healthy and when your dinner is planned to be a festive one, be intentional, but not maniacal with the food that you chose to eat.
  • Control the portion sizes of the meals you can’t control. A common mistake is not respecting the fact that quantity trumps quality when it comes to calories. So, even if you’re enjoying some indulgent food, how much of it you eat will be the biggest determinant of the effect that indulgent eating has on you.
  • Get MORE sleep than normal.  Yes, we’re all busy over the holidays, but scrap the malls this year, buy your gifts on amazon, then put your phone down and be lights out by 10pm every night!  I know you guys are sick of me talking about how important sleep is for fat loss, but it’s true.
  • Continue to get your workouts in 100% of the time.  Now is not a time to say to yourself that you don’t have time to get to the gym, because that becomes a slippery slope into not workouts and lots of bad food choices.  No time for the gym?  Workout in your bedroom.  That’s what I do, and it works.
  • Say no to events that don’t appeal to you.  If you’re invited to a party that you don’t want to go to, then say you have another commitment and you’re done.  No drama.
  • Be realistic about the expectations you place upon yourself.  If your intention is to not have ANY wine or dessert, but everyone around you is raving about the cabernet and flourless chocolate cake, and you LOVE wine and chocolate, then you’re going to be a miserable cow with impeccable eating habits.  Let me know how that works out for you.
  • Get support.  I have an accountability group starting Dec 17th to address that feeling of being all alone (and miserable) because everyone around you is enjoying the Christmas goodies, but you're trying to stay on track (and we know they'll be feeling crappy in January). Our group will be focused on practicing the 80/20 principle - 80% on track, 20% Christmas goodies.  Join us!

But, but, what about your goals? A few meals here and there aren’t going to do anything to negate the results of all your hard work. Especially if you’re paying attention to the size of your portions and how much you’re eating as I suggested above. It’s the constant partaking in large quantities of holiday treats that’ll catch up to you. And you end up there only when you allow yourself to, by ignoring the choices you are making and the impact it is having on you physically and emotionally.

Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. When it’s well thought out and logical you’re less likely to overeat as when you feel as if you’re actually caving in and cheating and doing something forbidden. Maybe your intention should be to simply maintain over the holidays. If you typically put on a few pounds of fat over the holidays, then even this is a huge victory for you. Keep active with your workouts, spend most of the time eating what you’re supposed to be eating, and then factor in some extra off-plan food. Factor it in. Don’t try to be perfect over the holidays, because it’s an unreasonable expectation and it will make miserable. Don't poop the party. XO

Staying Committed to My Goals While On Vaycay

Staying Committed to My Goals While On Vaycay

November 21, 2016

healthy travel

Greetings from Palm Springs!! OMG, I love it here.  It’s a little cooler than I'd like it to be (low 70s) so I’m sitting here in the late afternoon in yoga pants and a sweatshirt, but it was warmer earlier, so I did manage some sun time in :)

Honestly, I’m just so grateful to have flexible work that affords me the ability to do these little trips.  It’s so nice to just rent a house with a pool, somewhere warm with a huge backyard and let the dogs have a blast.  This is seriously my kinda vaycay.  I’d take this over a resort in Cabo any day.  But that’s the hermit in me :)

Anyway, suffice to say, it was worth the 9-hour drive to get here!! 

palm springs

Speaking of 9-hour drives, someone on Facebook asked me about thermos recommendations for healthy travel and just toting food to work.  Here’s a few of my must-haves for travel.  The cooler pack is not the same as mine (it's better) and it already comes with the little travel containers, so it’s something that might end up on my Christmas list as I bring breakfast and lunch to the office with me every day.  I just wish it came in pink <3

img_5400

I was given these by a friend who got them as a sample - MUST FIND THEM!!  So awesome!

Anyway, if you can, check in with me on social media this week as I’m sharing all kinds of low carb, gluten free thanksgiving menu ideas.   I also sent some ideas to the gals on my mailing list.  Are you on that yet?  It goes out weekly and it rounds up cool stuff that’s going on.  This Friday I’m also sending out a Black Friday Sale Roundup.

Have a great week!!!

Favorites items for healthy travel

A few travel tips.

  • Here's a quick video covering what I packed for our 9-hour drive.
  • Make soup in advance of the trip and bring it in a little thermos.  I made this soup and it was crazy simple to do!
  • Make (and peel) hardboiled eggs.  So easy and so good.
  • Have an audio book (or my podcast) downloaded and ready to listen to on the drive.  You might as well use this time to learn something new!
  • Nap if you can.  Bring your pillow if it will help you get comfortable.
  • Wear leggings - but I’d recommend you do that regardless of what you’re doing because I freaking love leggings

travel leggings Happy Travels guys!!!

What’s the best workout for losing weight?

What’s the best workout for losing weight?

November 13, 2016

First, you need to know that nutrition is always going to “trump” your workout program. You can’t work your way out of a poor diet. That said, “abs are made in the kitchen” is all true.

Here’s what I think (feel free to disagree)… optimize weights and do as little cardio as you can get away with. Unless you truly LOVE cardio for mental reasons, in which case, do what floats your boat because it’s giving you benefits beyond weight loss. If you’re doing it JUST for weight loss, it’s a futile effort, so stop the madness. Do as little as you need to do to reach your goals and not a minute or mile more. Because here’s the thing, cardio breaks you down - weight lifting builds you up. This is the critical difference between these two work out modalities.

The biggest issue is with cardio is that the body adapts very easily to what you’re doing and then you have to do more, to get the same level of results. That blows. It also elevates hunger levels which means, you’re eating more, and therefore you’d need to do MORE cardio to negate the extra calories (and the math never works out). Cardio is not a tool or punishment for erasing bad food choices.

When it comes to weight-bearing exercise, you can lift weights or just focus on bodyweight exercises. The choice between those two options is largely dependent on your goals and your body type - ectomorphs should lift heavy weights, mesomorphs could get away with just bodyweight workouts.

Body weight workouts I recommend

Weight workouts I love

A Few Nutrition Notes

  • Be smart with your carbs - if you’re going to eat starchy carbs, eat them around the time of your workout.
  • Have protein and fats in the AM. Leave your carbs for your workout period.
  • Don’t have 5 to 6 small meals a day unless you like doing that. Otherwise, do 3 square meals a day like your grandparents did, and limit snacking as much as possible.
  • Focus on veggies, proteins and healthy fats. After a workout, eat a carb and a protein (or Shakeology is perfect for a post workout meal) to get glucose into your muscle as soon as possible.
  • Aim to eat 30 grams of protein per meal.
  • You need healthy fats for muscle repair, healthy hair and nails.
  • Sleep is critical to muscle repair! Get at least 7 to 8 hours a night.

Got questions? Feel free to leave them below. I’ll do my best to answer them and as always, thanks for listening to the podcast!! 

Xo

How Your Environment Drives Your Success

How Your Environment Drives Your Success

November 6, 2016

I grew up with some pretty bad habits. Partying, smoking, not sleeping well and eating all the wrong things. It showed. I was over 200lbs until my early 20's when I finally did something about it.

It wasn’t until I moved to California when I was 36 that my life really shifted. I found better social influences, I tried new sports, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, time and time again. That was the catalyst that I needed to go from party girl to sporty-spice.

According to James Clear:

Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. We tend to believe our habits are a product of our motivation, talent, and effort. Certainly, these qualities matter. But the surprising thing is, especially over a long time period, your personal characteristics tend to get overpowered by your environment.

Bottom line, if you want to create a better environment for yourself, you have to make good behaviors more convenient, make bad behaviors less convenient and be consistent enough to make the good behaviors, habitual.

Here are some ideas to consider with your own environmental setup. What can you do to make your good behaviors more accessible and the bad ones, more inconvenient?

  • Get your groceries shipped to you by amazon fresh or similar.  You’ll be less tempted to buy crap.
  • Autoship things like supplements, meal replacement shakes etc.  You'll know if you're slacking if they
  • start to pile up and you won't let that happen.
  • Create a home gym (can do in a very small space)
  • Make going to bed inviting.  Wash your face and brush your teeth before you get too tired.  Have a
  • GREAT book on hand. Invest in the best bedding you can find.
  • Sleep in your workout clothes
  • MEAL PREP!!!!
  • Have smoothies in the AM
  • Hard boil all the eggs
  • Always have a quest bar on hand
  • Don't keep wine in the house - buy bottles as you need them
  • Don't center your vacations around loafing around and eating food.  Center them around hiking, or exploring a new city or a spa
  • Wear workout clothes as much as possible - invest in cute stuff
  • Have rules - no food on the couch, no carbs before noon, etc.
  • Have a pair of walking shoes at your desk at work (and use them)
Want more great tips on living a fit life?  Come over to The Fit Habit and sign up for my weekly hit of awesome.  It's typically 3 to 5 of my favorite recipes, workouts, athletic wear and more from around the web.

See you there!


How to Ditch Gluten (and why you want to)

How to Ditch Gluten (and why you want to)

October 29, 2016

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I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now. I mean, I don’t eat a ton of gluten anyway, but at least once or twice a week, I’m eating a “healthy” pizza, dipping into the breadbasket at restaurant, or dipping my sushi in soy sauce (yes, soy sauce has gluten and a shit ton of sodium).

I find that I when I do indulge, the same things generally happen - I get stomach cramps almost immediately and a little bloating, but then the next day, my “#2” is not normal (I’ll leave it at that and you’re welcome) and I’m in a funk/fog for the rest of the day. It’s like I get a bread hangover and I’m just a little dumber for the next 24 hours.

The other thing about gluten is it promotes visceral fat (read Wheat Belly for the deets on this) and I for one, don’t need any more help in the belly fat department.

I’m all good there, thanks much.

So if you’re curious about whether or not you may have a sensitivity, take a look at this self-test, or just watch how you feel 2 hours and 24 hours after you eat something with gluten in it.

Not sure what has gluten? I’ll post a non-exhaustive list at the bottom of this post.

Want to ditch gluten but you’re not sure where to start? Well, you can listen to the podcast I just created. When you’ve covered that, here are a few more resources for you to explore.

Do you think you have a gluten intolerance?  I pulled this from Celiac.org.  You might be surprised to know things like soy sauce and lip gloss contain gluten.  Read on!

Gluten-Containing Grains and Their Derivatives

  • Wheat
  • Varieties and derivatives of wheat such as:
  • wheatberries
  • durum
  • emmer
  • semolina
  • spelt
  • farina
  • farro
  • graham
  • KAMUT® khorasan wheat
    einkorn wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Triticale
  • Malt in various forms including: malted barley flour, malted milk or milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring,
  • malt vinegar
    Brewer’s Yeast

Common Foods That Contain Gluten

  • Pastas: raviolis, dumplings, couscous, and gnocchi
  • Noodles: ramen, udon, soba (those made with only a percentage of buckwheat flour) chow mein, and egg noodles. (Note: rice noodles and mung bean noodles are gluten free)
  • Breads and Pastries: croissants, pita, naan, bagels, flatbreads, cornbread, potato bread, muffins, donuts, rolls
  • Crackers: pretzels, goldfish, graham crackers
  • Baked Goods: cakes, cookies, pie crusts, brownies
  • Cereal & Granola: corn flakes and rice puffs often contain malt extract/flavoring, granola often made with regular oats, not
  • gluten-free oats
  • Breakfast Foods: pancakes, waffles, french toast, crepes, and biscuits.
  • Breading & Coating Mixes: panko breadcrumbs
  • Croutons: stuffings, dressings
  • Sauces & Gravies (many use wheat flour as a thickener)
  • traditional soy sauce, cream sauces made with a roux
  • Flour tortillas
  • Beer (unless explicitly gluten-free) and any malt beverages (see “Distilled Beverages and Vinegars” below for more information on alcoholic beverages)
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Anything else that uses “wheat flour” as an ingredient

Foods That May Contain Gluten (must be verified by reading the label or checking with the manufacturer/kitchen staff)

  • Energy bars/granola bars – some bars may contain wheat as an ingredient, and most use oats that are not gluten-free
  • French fries – be careful of batter containing wheat flour or cross-contact from fryers
  • Potato chips – some potato chip seasonings may contain malt vinegar or wheat starch
  • Processed lunch meats
  • Candy and candy bars
  • Soup – pay special attention to cream-based soups, which have flour as a thickener. Many soups also contain barley
  • Multi-grain or “artisan” tortilla chips or tortillas that are not entirely corn-based may contain a wheat-based ingredient
  • Salad dressings and marinades – may contain malt vinegar, soy sauce, flour
  • Starch or dextrin if found on a meat or poultry product could be from any grain, including wheat
  • Brown rice syrup – may be made with barley enzymes
  • Meat substitutes made with seitan (wheat gluten) such as vegetarian burgers, vegetarian sausage, imitation bacon, imitation
  • seafood (Note: tofu is gluten-free, but be cautious of soy sauce marinades and cross-contact when eating out, especially
  • when the tofu is fried)
  • Soy sauce (though tamari made without wheat is gluten-free)
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Pre-seasoned meats
  • Cheesecake filling – some recipes include wheat flour
  • Eggs served at restaurants – some restaurants put pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omelets, but on their own, eggs are naturally gluten-free
  • Distilled Beverages And Vinegars
  • Most distilled alcoholic beverages and vinegars are gluten-free. These distilled products do not contain any harmful gluten peptides even if they are made from gluten-containing grains. Research indicates that the gluten peptide is too large to carry over in the distillation process, leaving the resulting liquid gluten-free.
  • Wines and hard liquor/distilled beverages are gluten-free. However, beers, ales, lagers, malt beverages and malt vinegars that are made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and therefore are not gluten-free. There are several brands of gluten-free beers available in the United States and abroad.

Other Items That Must Be Verified By Reading The Label Or Checking With The Manufacturer

  • Lipstick, lipgloss, and lip balm because they are unintentionally ingested
  • Communion wafers
  • Herbal or nutritional supplements
  • Drugs and over-the-counter medications (Learn about Gluten in Medication)
  • Vitamins and supplements (Learn about Vitamins and Supplements)
  • Play-dough: children may touch their mouths or eat after handling wheat-based play-dough. For a safer alternative, make
  • homemade play-dough with gluten-free flour.
The Ultimate Guide to Meal Prep

The Ultimate Guide to Meal Prep

August 7, 2016

low carb meal pret

Breakfast: I do a shakeology superfood smoothie every morning with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, water, ice, and 2 tablespoons of nut butter or coconut oil.  Approx 350 cals, mostly fat and protein.

Lunch:  Fill large containers with bagged lettuce.  Done

In 3 smaller containers put your salad fixin's including cherry tomatoes, olives, cheese, and protein (chopped chicken, flaked tuna etc).  Bring dressing in a tiny container, or do what I do, and keep a bottle of olive oil at your desk at work.

Snack:  portion 2 hard boiled eggs into a container or in a baggie.  Best grab and go snack ever.  Chop small cucumbers and sweet peppers as well.

Dinner:  Roast 1 spaghetti squash and make a few different meals out of it.  Bake some protein like chicken or salmon (6 servings) and use this for your lunch and dinner.



When you get home at night, you have the spaghetti squash that makes great spaghetti and meat, or if you have a few more minutes, this lemon pesto shrimp dish is awesome and it's really easy to make

Done.

Grocery list

  • 3 bags lettuce
  • 1 container of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 container of small cucumbers
  • 1 bag of sweet peppers
  • 1 dozen free range, organic eggs
  • Bagged shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 or 2 spaghetti squashes
  • protein (your chicken, fish or whatever)
  • unsweetened almond milk
  • Olive oil
  • olives (for salad)
  • tomato sauce for spaghetti squash
  • coconut oil
  • nut butter
  • avocado
  • nuts (raw, unsalted)
  • Organic cheese sticks
  • plain single serve yogurts

Boom!  Done.  Really, this is my food plan and it works! What do you think?  It would take you longer to wait in line at Starbucks than it would to prep these meals.

I'm all about easy peasy and healthy!

Wellness Vs Weight Loss (and what you should really be focusing on)

Wellness Vs Weight Loss (and what you should really be focusing on)

August 2, 2016

Many of my clients and readers come to me because they’re in their 40’s and they notice everything is starting to fall apart on their bodies and their waistlines are getting bigger and bigger. 

All of them ask me for the same thing - a meal plan and workout program that will fix the problem and make the fat go away (preferably forever and ever).

While I get the frustration (been there, done that), I always tell them the same thing (which is not always appreciated, but it’s the real deal) - all the squats and kale in the world is not going to fix your problem if the problem isn’t food or nutrition.

There are several variables that impact sudden or gradual weight gain.  Yes, some of it is about food and nutrition, but a lot of it is also about sleep deprivation, stress and exhaustion - something most women are dealing with on the regular.

If you are stressed out about work, family or money, that’s having an impact on your weight (I know, something else to stress about).  If you are sleeping less than 7 hours a night, you can be sure, that it showing up in your increasing dress size.

I could go on, but I talk about it all on the podcast.

The takeaway here is that there’s a much broader issue to address when looking at losing weight and looking and feeling your most awesome self (for like, ever).  I want you to see the bigger picture which is why I blog, podcast, share stuff on social media and do my fitness challenge groups.  It’s about getting healthy, but it’s also about the steps you need to take to get there.

So stick with me.  I can help you lose those 10 or 20lbs, no problem, but I want you to get to a place where that’s never an issue for you again, and where you don’t have to suffer through the journey.  You just start to live better, little by little, day by day.

That’s the difference between wellness and weight loss.

Tell me what you think!  Does this make sense, or does it frustrate you?  It’s okay to be honest if it’s not resonating with you.  I’m here to help!

Head over to the blog and let's connect! 

xo

Focus & Balance (and why you need both for everything)

Focus & Balance (and why you need both for everything)

July 24, 2016

balanced focus

Most people that look at my life think I’m a total health nut.  They’d say I’m not normal because I don’t eat bread or because I workout every day.  They’d be mostly wrong though (okay, except maybe with the whole “normal” thing…)

But I’m not a health and fitness freak.  Not even close.

Truth is, I just know exactly how much I can get away with in terms of indulgence, and still look good in a pair of skinny jeans (at the ripe old age of 46). 

And you know what?  That ratio is about 20% wine and cheese (which I love and won’t ever give up) and 80% healthy stuff like morning runs and kale salads. But the key to this being totally doable and never a problem for me to sustain is that I like the 80% part (almost) as much as I like the wine and cheese! 

I’ve built my life so that the workouts I do, give me the right amount of energy and happiness while not draining my mojo (which is why I NEVER workout in a gym) #DreamKiller.

Here’s the (very cliche) philosophy that seems to work really well for me - take an 80/20 approach to life.  Give yourself that 20% room to enjoy your life and REALLY indulge, but do it consciously.  Totally enjoy it.  Be present with it.  Really be there in that moment.  Set yourself up with the other 80% to be routine, pleasant or at least neutral and  definitely automated.  Kinda like brushing your teeth.

I fully believe that you HAVE to enjoy your life and all the rosé moments that come with it, even if you have health and fitness goals you’re trying to attain as well.  There’s room for all of it, as long as you know exactly what works for you!

 

Why are balance and focus so important? 

Because this journey to a healthier, stronger, more amazing you, never ends.  It’s not a deadline that once you’ve achieved a certain body weight you can let it go.  It has to be a part of your daily existence until you no longer exist.  So make it enjoyable.  Make it sustainable so that you never WANT to give it up. 

You can’t put your health on a deadline.  You can’t have a goal that’s so rigid that if you don’t achieve it in a certain timeline that you’re just going to give it up and let yourself go. 

Living well doesn’t work that way!

So how can you maintain focus and balance for yourself? Here are a few things that work for me.  If you want the full list, you’re going to have to listen to the podcast (while you workout preferably!  xo)

  1. Find things you LIKE to do.  Don’t “white knuckle” your way through workouts you hate or foods you don’t enjoy. 
  2. Ask yourself how you can make this experience more enjoyable and fun
  3. Find people who inspire you to move forward when things get hard (because the will!)

To be continued on the podcast….

How do you define success?

How do you define success?

July 18, 2016

I'm not going to add much to this episode because I think it speaks for itself.  I talk about some personal successes and failures, and what's worked for me in order to push through hard times (because I'm a pro at giving up).

I hope you find some value here for your own life and how to approach your own definition of success.  The real takeaway is to define it on your own and know what works for you in terms of managing your own expectations and riding the wave of sucky parts (because those always come).

Want more insights light this?  Head this way.