Let's Talk Protein

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Welcome back! Today we’re talking #protein. You know, the most popular topic in nutrition and fitness (next to avocados). If I made a graph to represent how many people care about protein now to how many people cared 10 years ago, it’d probably look something like this:

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So, with fads come false information, and it’s getting trickier to figure out what is legit and what is nonsense. Here are a few facts that might help clear things up, and hopefully make it easier for those interested to pay more attention to their intake.
 

How much protein should you get?

According to dietitians, the recommended daily intake for protein should range between .8 and 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight. (Thanks for making us do math, dietitians and whoever decided we should abandon the metric system!) 1 lb = 0.454 kg. So say that you are a 140 lb person- that’s 63.5 kg. Your recommended protein intake is around 50 to 77 grams.

 

“But what does this actually look like?” you say?

Let's say you eat 5 times a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two small snacks. You might shoot for about 15-20 grams of protein at each meal, and maybe 5-20 grams in a snack.

A few snack ideas within the target protein range:

  • hard -boilded egg: 6 g

  • 1 cup greek yogurt: 20 g

  • Handful of nuts: 6 g

  • Light string cheese: 6 g

  • Protein bar: 14-25g

  • Protein shake: 20-30 g

A few ideas to include in your meal:

  • One serving of oatmeal: 5g

  • One serving of rice: 4g or quinoa: 5g

  • a serving of lean meat or fish: 15-30g

  • One serving of beans: 5-8 g

 

Does my exercise routine matter when accounting for protein?

Yes! While the general recommendation sticks, you’ll want to be on the higher side of protein if you are strength training or trying to lose fat while resistance training. On the flip side, those cario enthusiasts out there (long distance runners and bikers) might feel better with a slightly lower protein goal, as they aren’t necessarily trying to grow their muscles.

 

Should I care more about protein than I do?

That depends. Remember that graph earlier? The level of attention to protein intake has skyrocketed lately, but I bet you or your parents and their parents never lost a moment of sleep thinking about protein, and they turned out just fine. If you are interested in nutrition or have specific fitness goals, it would behoove you to consider this macro nutrient a bit more.

Can you estimate about how much protein you get in a day? If you can and you’re in the comfortable range, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you know you’re not getting enough protein, make an effort to include more protein-dense options for the next couple weeks and see how you feel. If you have no idea, maybe pay attention for a few weeks with a food journal and see where you’re at!

Protein bars, shakes, and supplements

Tread carefully here, folks. Protein powder and supplements are not regulated by the FDA to ensure the ingredients are safe and free of contaminants. Now, competition drives quality and you can find tons of brands that promise clean ingredients and minimal additives, and those are the products you should look for. As a rule of thumb when buying powders and bars, glance at the sugar content and the ingredient list. I like to keep sugar under 13g for protein bars, only because the natural bars tend to have more natural sugar. If you look at the ingredient list and see more than 10 listed, look more closely. Artificial sweeteners are common, and while some are better than others, most can cause gas and digestive issues, especially in large quantities. AKA, if you see a bunch of words that end in “-ose,” steer clear!

Also, the source of protein is important too- I won’t go into too much detail here, but the general rule of thumb is that really cheap products are lower quality. This isn’t to say you should only buy the most expensive brands, but it’s my opinion that not all protein is created equally, and the extra crap in lower-quality protein sources should be avoided. A few brands I love are Quest, Oatmega, VegaOne, Optimum Nutrition, and Epic. A few I try to avoid are ThinkThin (sugar alcohols), Cliff and Cliff Builder (holy sugar), and the surprisingly cheap powders on the sale shelf at Target and Marshall's.

I hope this cleared up a few questions you had. As a last note, the popularity of protein is largely due to a wider understanding that protein can help people lose weight. This is sort of true, weight loss is pretty much determined by creating a calorie deficit. Protein is great because it can help curb appetite by regulating insulin and Ghibelline-producing hormones, but simply adding a few protein shakes and chicken breasts to your diet won’t cut it. In my skeptical view, I also think people who start paying more attention to protein also pay more attention to calorie intake in general, which is important in weight loss. Like everything, there’s a balance.

Have any favorite snack or meal ideas to share? Let us know in the comments!!

Trying to Lose Weight? Then Get Off the Treadmill and Pick Up Some Dumbbells.

Women are notorious for spending hours doing cardio to shed extra pounds.  Thinking that if only I walk or run a little further I will burn more calories and lose this damn weight.  You couldn't be more wrong.  Think about it, we have all seen a marathon or a 1/2 marathon and/or known someone training for one that we thought, really, how can "they" be doing that.  They are overweight and simply do not look "fit enough" to be able to complete the task.  This is not to discredit the work that these people are doing.  More power to them.  However, case in point, lots of cardio is not a secret weight loss pill.   

Ok, if that image is not enough to convince you here are a few more reasons.

1.  Muscle burns more calories than fat.  Every 1 lb of muscle will burn approximately 35-50 more calories per day then a lb of fat.  So, think about it.  If you add 5 lbs of muscle you could be burning an extra 250 calories everyday without doing anything.  (well you have to lift weights a few times each week).  This could amount to 91, 250 calories per year.  HOLY SHIT that is a lot of room for extra glass of wine or a brownie (HA HA, just kidding).  

2. As women age, we lose muscle mass naturally.  Every decade starting at age 30 women will begin losing muscle mass. In fact, up to 3-5% each decade.  However, lifting weights even 2x per week for 20-30 minutes can reduce this from happening.  So, say you lose 5 lbs of muscle between age 30-40 in muscle.  Now, even though you might be doing cardio and eating healthy all of the sudden you are gaining weight. Remember Reason #1?   So, now instead of burning that extra 250 calories you are burning 250 calories less.  Now you are losing 91,250 calories per year and at 3500 calories for 1 lb of weight gain that is a potential gain of 26 lbs.  OUCH no wonder women gain weight as they age.  

3.  But hold on it gets worse. Women can lose up to 20% of bone density in the 5-7 years after menopause.  I am not going to bother with the math here.  You get the picture.  

Ok, if that math lesson doesn't convince you think about all the other benefits like looking stronger, feeling more confident, having an easier time carrying the groceries into the house, getting up and down off the floor is easier, the list goes on and on.  

You can start a strength training program without much or any equipment.  Plug in a few squats, lunges, pushups, and planks and you will be on your way to not only a stronger and leaner body but also a stronger and improved mental state.  Reach out to me or watch this blog for more posts about how to incorporate strength training into your routine.  

 

Finding Motivation

Finding Motivation

Finding the will to work out can be hard.

If it wasn’t, everyone would do it You might have the best intentions right now to start working out this week. You might make a mental note to stop at the gym on your way home, or think about which Jillian video you’ll do before dinner, or maybe if it ends up being nice outside which route you’ll run. But then you get stuck at work and by the time you get to the gym it’s going to be too busy, or it’s raining out and you can’t run, or maybe you just don’t really feel like squeezing in a workout in before you start dinner. We’ve all been there, life is busy!

But have you noticed how the more you do something, the easier it gets? You blow of your workout one day because you don’t have time, then a few days later it’s because you don’t feel well, then next week there are a few more reasons and all of the sudden working out is something you only do when it’s convenient, but even then you could still find other things to occupy your time with. It’s a slippery slope!

Why do you work out?

If you’re down on yourself for missing workouts but still can’t seem to motivate yourself to start up again, think about why you want to work out.

  • Do you want to get stronger?
  • Are you trying to lose weight?
  • Is working out something that makes you feel good?
  • Are you training for anything?
  • Do you like your workout routine?

If you’re working out for the wrong reasons or for anyone other than yourself, it’s not going to stick! The first thing you need to do is figure out why you want to want to workout. For me, working out gives me a sense of accomplishment. It’s a mental escape, and those endorphins keep me sane. I don’t want to workout all the time, and I get into ruts where I lose motivation, and it is hard to break that cycle. The thing that brings me back is paying attention to how I feel.

Do you notice having lower energy, craving more sugar, feeling a little foggier, and maybe a bit moodier when you aren’t exercising? After a few days of feeling like crap, you start to pick apart your body and feel even more down. This negativity is a vicious cycle, but you can play your own mental game! If working out gives you energy, or you love the way you feel when your done, or noticing physical changes are results that you really value, hold on to that. When you don’t feel like working out, remind yourself of these things.

Make it a priority.

If you’re serious about consistency, then work it into your schedule. Your excuses might be valid, but so are everyone else’s. Not to get all TedTalks up in here, but you are in control of how you spend your time! Here are a few more things to consider (I know, I like lists):

  • What workouts do you enjoy?
  • What time do you feel most motivated?
  • Which elements of your schedule can you reorganize?
  • Where do you want to workout?

Once you figure out what you truly enjoy doing, be it jogging, cycling, barre class, weight lifting, whatever, get it into your schedule. Be honest with yourself about timing, too. Don’t pretend you’re going to all become a morning person of the sudden if you aren’t. Pick a realistic time for your workout and plan your day around it. Tell your family, coworkers, and friends if it comes up- your workout is as high a priority to you as are your other obligations. If you believe it, others will too!

Finally, check in with yourself. Pay attention to your mood, your eating habits, your energy, and your relationships. Find the types of exercises you like, and stop trying to force yourself to do whatever it is you don’t (looking at you, long-distance running…). Being excited about your workouts makes it all the easier.

At the end of the day, working out is about health, and health is more than your physical appearance. Start making yourself your priority and work on building a healthier, better you!

Written by Tianna Larson

Why I run when I am not in love with running?

Yesterday I ran the Minnetonka 1/2 Marathon for the third time.  I am not one of those crazy runner types, in fact I often complain, long for it to be over, and get annoyed with all of my friends that tell me "they could run forever".  What is wrong with them anyway???  But here I am.  I did it again. 

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In fact I have been doing at least one race each spring for the last 4 or 5 years.  So, I thought in today's post I would share my "why" and maybe in return give you some insight into how you can find your fitness stride (HA HA).  

I started running many years ago when I had a roommate that was running marathons.  I thought to myself if she can run 26 miles I can surely run ONE.  Well, let me tell you that first mile SUCKED.  I hated it but I was determined.  I lived by Lake Calhoun and slowly built my way to running the whole lake.  I lived close by so eventually, I decided if I ran from my house I wouldn't have to drive to the lake and deal with parking.  That was 5 miles.  I lived in this space for a very long time running mostly 3 miles a few times per week.  I did not love it but I loved being outside and I loved that I could get a hard workout in 30 minutes. 

Fast forward many years later and throw a couple of kids in the mix and that is how I ended up running longer races.  I didn't have a lot of time to myself but I could take my kids and sometimes I could leave them home and run with my friends.  This gave me lots of options during a busy time.

See running for me is so many different things.  It is therapeutic (I don't have to use my brain).  I can get it done quickly,  it is a time to socialize, and it is a time to get fresh air and do something for myself.    It is not the run I love but the social time, the "me time",  and the fresh air.   The flexibility I have to do it almost anytime, anywhere, alone or with others, indoors or outdoor.  I run races because it motivates me to run, gets me excited to run, and gives me an excuse to be with my friends.  

My advice to you. Find inspiration.  Set goals.  Make it fun.  

Happy running or whatever it is you like to do.  If you are not sure what you like to do contact me and I can help you figure it out.  T  

 

What You Need To Know About Fat in Your Diet.

This post is intended to simplify the confusion around dietary fat.  Should you eat it?  How much? What types?  Where do I get it?  Without going into scientific explanations I will break it down for you.  

First of all yes, you should absolutely be eating fat and here are some reasons why.  

  • It provide energy.  
  • You need it create and balance hormones.
  • It helps form cell membranes.
  • Your brain and nervous system need it to work properly.
  • It transports fat soluble vitamins  A,D,K, and E.
  • It tastes delicious.

So, essentially your mind and body will not work well without it and you will likely feel nutritionally dis-satisfied without it.  Word of caution and likely one of the reasons fat has gotten a bad rap: it has 9 calories per gram vs 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates and protein.  So, you cannot have very much.  I recommend a thumb size amount at all meals.

Another question surrounding fat is what type of fat should I eat?   We have all heard that saturated fat is "BAD".  This is somewhat misguided. As, it seems that diets highest in saturated fats are also high in sugar and processed carbohydrates and low in unsaturated fats. The list below will show you some healthy  and not so healthy sources of saturated fats.  Consider which ones you eat most of?  Are they healthy sources or the sugary and processed variety?   

The next category is unsaturated fats this includes Polyunsaturated (including omega 3) and Monounsaturated fats (including Omega 6).  The ratio of these two categories is very important as our Western diet is often highly disproportionate in Omega 6/Omega 3.  Think 16:1 or 20:1 and really it should be 1:1.  The list below shows sources of each and you will quickly see why the ratio is so out of whack.  

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The last group of fats we hear a lot about are trans fat.  These are basically unsaturated fats that have hydrogen added to harden it.  This processing gives these fats a longer shelf life and a nice flavor.  However, because the chemical structure changes when forming these fats our body cannot utilize these fats the same as other less processed fats and research has shown these fats increase coronary artery disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions.  

So, to summarize you should consume an equal balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats and avoid processed trans fats.  These should NOT come from processed foods that also contain a lot of sugar.  BUT yes, please eat some fat!!

 

3 Types of Cardio. Which Is Best?

There has been a lot of talk these days about HIIT training.  High Intensity Interval Training.  It has been touted as the Golden Ticket for quick fat loss results.  But is it?  

I am going to break cardiovascular training down into 3 basic types and explain to you how to do each and the benefits of each.  Then you can decide what is right for you.  

1.  Long, Slow, Distance Workouts.  (LSD)

This is what everyone is familiar with and is best for starting out and building a base level of fitness.  This includes things like walking, using the elliptical trainer, leisurely bike rides etc.  Most people find this the most enjoyable type of cardiovascular exercise and is a great way to keep your heart healthy.  However, your caloric burn will be low with this type of exercise and you will need to work at a higher intensity to achieve long term weight loss and improve fitness level.  Think of this as the stuff that is fun and will keep you healthy but will not necessarily improve your physique or your fitness level .  It is great for those with injuries, new to exercise, and for active recovery days.  

2.  Tempo Workouts

These give you great fat burning results.  They will torch calories much faster then LSD workouts.  You can use the same mode of training as in the LSD workouts.  However, you will push yourself much harder here.  These workouts should feel uncomfortable as you will be working just below your lactate threshold (that point of burning in your muscles).  It should feel doable for 15-20 minutes and should include a 5-10 minute warm-up.  These workouts are great for those that do not have a lot of time to workout, enjoy challenging themselves, and are trying to improve their overall fitness level.  

3.  Interval Training (including HIIT)

These workouts will burn the most calories and will continue to burn calories once you complete your workout.  You can do aerobic interval training or anaerobic interval training (HIIT).  For these workouts to truly be considered HIIT workouts they need to be incredibly hard.  Meaning you will go as hard as you possibly can for a very short time 10-30 seconds and recover for a minimum of 3 times that.  If you do not need that much recovery time you are not doing a true HIIT workout.  Most people will not push themselves to a HIIT level of intensity on their own (me included) but many will do aerobic interval training.  Both are effective for fat loss and increasing fitness and sports performance.  Due to the intensity they require a solid base level of fitness and should not be done more then 2-3x per week.  

I recommend that most people include all three types in there weekly workout routine.  How much and to what degree will vary greatly based on fitness level and goals.  If you would like some help determining what is right for you please reach out to me for some advice.  The most important thing is to have fun with whatever you are doing.  

Amy

 

The 3 Step Plan for Losing Weight (or accomplishing any goal).

 Do you ever wonder why or how some people can accomplish so much.  Are they just programmed like a machine, do they have crazy super-powers that the rest of us do not have? I have coached and trained a lot of women.  Some work full-time and some do not.  Some have 3 kids. Some have 1.  Some have husbands that travel. Maybe some of them do not even have a husband.  It doesn't matter.  They do not have super powers.  They are no better or worse then you.  But they are good at setting goals and following through. Here is how they do it.  

1.  Know why you want to lose weight (or whatever else it might be).  Don't give me some generic answer like "I want to be healthy" or the worst reason I hear is "because I know I should."  That is not a reason, are you 5?  SO, really think about this question. Find your why and ask again why does that matter until you know for certain why it matters.  It will drive you. Trust me.  Being healthy is not easy.  You need to know your goal and more importantly, your motivation.  Keep in mind his will change from time to time so be sure to reevaluate.  

Envision you life once you reach this goal.  What will be different?  How will you know you have arrived?  These questions might help you uncover your why.  As a coach I spend a lot of time making sure I know my client's why.  None of the other steps will work if you do not do this one first.  

2. Know what you are willing to do or not do.  For example: if you love bread and cannot envision your life without it do not go on a low carb diet.  That is like putting a a toy in front of 3 year old and asking them not play with it.  Just plain mean.  However, maybe you could cut back on bread and would be willing to only eat it 1x per day instead of 3.  I will share some of examples of things I am doing to maintain my weight.

  • I am committed to exercise 5 days per week for 45-60 minutes.  
  • I am committed to eatting a healthy breakfast each morning. 
  • I am committed to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies each day.  
  • I am committed  to eating 75-80% of my meals at home. 
  • I am NOT willing to give up my small treat after lunch or dinner (chop off my arm if you want but I am not giving up my chocolate).  
  • I am NOT willing to give up wine with my husband at dinner 1x per week.  
  • I am NOT willing to commit to ordering a healthy meal when I eat out (hence the commitment above to eat at home 75-80% of the time)

Take note that this commitments are very specific.  These habits are what determine your success reaching any goal. 

3. Make sure you can be consistent with the action steps above.  You must be willing to commit and stick with these things 80-90% of the time.  If you cannot do this please go back and change the list.  Make it easier for gods sake.  Life is a marathon not a sprint take your time, be realistic and, do not over commit.

Like I mentioned you can use this system for any goal rather it is weight loss, saving money, quitting smoking, having less stress.  If you follow this plan you will be successful.  If you need help consider hiring a coach to help you find your way and create the habit goals that will get you the results of your dreams. 

Good luck and have fun taking charge of your life!!

A New Year's Resolution Shouldn't Be About Losing Weight

As many of us (me included) have over-indulged, lacked sleep and been neglectful to our bodies over the holidays it is easy to beat yourself up, criticize yourself, and become frustrated.  Now, as you approach the new year you are resolving to lose weight and get in shape.  You will run out and buy the latest workout gear, start a gluten-free, sugar-free diet, or whatever the latest diet craze is and in one month you will quit.  Sound familiar?  

The problem with this type of resolution is that it is often based on punishment and obligation.  We tell ourselves we must lose weight and if we do not we are failures.  PHEW, that is a lot of pressure and frankly sounds really awful.   

What if this year instead of resolving to lose weight you resolve to be kinder to your mind and body?  What if you set a goal not to lose weight but to treat yourself better?  

Here are some examples of how this might make a difference.  If your goal is to lose weight you might decide to exercise because it is necessary to be successful, you might eat more vegetables because they are low in calories and you have to, you might vow not to eat a cookie ever again and then when you do you will tell yourself you are weak, a failure, and then eat 10.  Sound familiar?

What if instead you resolve to be kinder to your mind and body?  How might things be different?  You might choose to exercise not out of obligation but because it is a small amount of time you get to take each day for yourself.  You might begin to choose vegetables that you enjoy and know will nourish your body.  You might still eat a cookie here or there but will remind yourself that you are human and humans are imperfect.  You would likely forgive yourself, and stop after one or two.  

Which resolution sounds better to you?  

So, if your goal is to lose weight consider your headspace.  If you are looking at this an obligation, something you HAVE to do you will likely fail.  However, if you think of it as something you are choosing to work on to be a better version of yourself you will likely be successful.  Life is to short to be hard on ourselves.  Love yourself where you are and always work to be better not because you have to but because you want to!!  

Happy New Years Everyone.  You are Awesome just the way you are.  

Don't Fall Prey to Deceptive Marketing

Deceptive Marketing:

 

We live in a world where marketing prevails. It’s exciting, colorful, and scary. Advertising has the power to create demand, to initiate trends, and even to sway public conception. It gets into our heads and tricks us into thinking something is better, stronger, or healthier.

 

As our society becomes increasingly infatuated with health, brands continue to direct their marketing efforts to appeal this, which makes shopping harder for virtually everything. This post seeks to help you weed out the deceptive health claims and understand how to read labels and ingredients. We’re talking popular health claims and what they really mean and swapping some popular items for their healthier counterpart.

“Healthy” claims

Natural: This marketing claim is everywhere- from poultry, meat, dairy, and even preserved items like fruit cups and chips! What does it actually mean?

According to the FDA, the term “natural” means that nothing artificial or synthetic  (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included or added to a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food. Pretty ambiguous, wouldn't you say? There are many products labeled “natural” which are minimally processed and preserved, though there are many items that are not as deserving of the title, such as deli meat, chips and crackers, fruit preserve cups, dairy products, and even soft drinks. These products may still contain ingredients meant to preserve, thicken, and color the food items.

Shop smart: Natural may be better, or it may be a simple ploy to con shoppers into spending a few bucks more. Check the ingredient list- the overarching recommendations usually stand: the fewer ingredients the better, and if you can pronounce most of the ingredients, you’re good.

 

Organic: Don’t you just feel better when you purchase “organic?” This claim is backed by its regulation- you should feel better! For the most part.

The labeling requirements are stricter than others. According to the eCFR-Code of Federal Regulations, the foods must be produced “without excluded methods” (i.e. genetic engineering or radiation). For foods labeled organic, preservation methods must not contain those nasty sulfates or nitrates. Any ingredient must also not be added solely for the purpose of flavor, color, or texture enhancement. In crop production, the most basic, safe, and least-harmful methods of maintenance, disinfectants, and repellents are permitted with very strict regulations.

Big picture? Organic is expensive, there is no dispute. You should also note that “organic” ensures the ingredient quality, not the nutritional quality. Shopping organic is mainly going to benefit your produce selection, not your chip selection ;-). Shop smart: purchase organic when buying produce which is grown above ground and where the skin is consumed, such as tomatoes, leafy greens, peppers, apples, berries, strawberries, and grapes. These foods are in direct contact to higher volumes of pesticides and may be artificially color-enhanced.  However, I would always recommend non-organic produce over none at all!!

 

Non-fat, Lowfat, and Trans Fat: Fat contains 9 calories per gram, as opposed to its fellow macro-nutrients, proteins and carbohydrates which contain 4 calories per gram. Thus, it MUST be evil! Right? WRONG! Your body needs fat for energy, regulating hormones, performing basic cell functions, transporting vitamins, and keeping your skin healthy! We just need the right fat- aka NO TRANS FAT!

The explosion of trans fat in the American diet can be attributed to its long shelf life, affordability, and convenience. Trans fat comes from the partial hydrogenation of oils, where chemical makeup is disturbed. This man-made fat molecule is known to lower good cholesterol and increase the bad cholesterol, clog your arteries, create insulin resistance, and contribute to type 2 diabetes. This type of fat is found in many packaged foods- like chips, cookies, breads, candies, and creamers. Be on the lookout for an ingredient list containing “partially hydrogenated” and “shortening.” NOTE: There may still be trans fat even if the label doesn’t say so- the FDA mandates that there be less than .5g per serving to be excluded from the label. Have you ever wondered why one serving of Oreo's is only 3 cookies? Sneaky!!

Now to “fat-free” and “lowfat.” Firstly, fat tastes good! When fat is taken out of a product, something needs to be added to it to return to its yummy expectation: SUGAR! Look at any two of the same products where one is fat-free- how much extra sugar is added in that product? Unfortunately, the sugar added is usually a cheap substitute, like high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, malt syrup, sucrose, or something along those lines, which can be even more detrimental to our health. To make it worse, many of the non-fat substitute ingredients often cause digestive issues and can lead to weight gain!

Shop smart: Try to avoid “fat-free.” When picking products like condiments, frozen treats, packaged snacks, and many dairy products, opt for the original product. Secondly, try to reduce trans-fats. Some of these products are going to be hard to get away from, but by changing a few of your choices in the grocery store can make a huge difference. Some of the biggest products to be cognizant of are peanut butter, packaged snacks like cookies, chips, crackers, breads, and creamers. Choose peanut and almond butters where you can see the oil separation and that need to be refrigerated after opening. When picking snacks, avoid many of the big-name commercial brands, like Skippy and Jif, Nabisco products like Ritz, Oreo's, 100-Calorie packs, Honey Maid, Wheat Thins, and more. Often there will be alternative options among these items which are produced without hydrogenated oils.

 

Whew! That’s a lot! Hopefully you found this helpful. This post is not to scare you or tell you to stop enjoying your favorite treats, but to help you to be a smarter shopper. Don’t be fooled by those advertising geniuses who put so many spins on health claims and food labeling that we don’t even know what we’re eating! One of the biggest objections to shopping for the healthier options are that it is too expensive. That may be true in the short term. If you consider that avoiding many of these chemicals and preservatives could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars on health care in the long run, wouldn’t you agree it would be worth the extra dough? Choose food products that deliver you with the most nutrients and leave you feeling healthy and energized.

Weight is Not the Best Indicator of Progress or Success

So often we get hung up one the numbers on the scale.  We set goals to lose 10, 20, 30 lbs and while this is tangible it is not always in our control and can be a very demotivating and misleading way to measure progress. 

Here are some questions to consider when getting hung up on the numbers on the scale.  What does that number really mean?  What is going to be different about your life when you lose that 10, 20, 30 lbs?  Weight loss takes time.  What will you do to stay motivated during the process?  What will your motivation be to maintain those changes once you lose the weight?

Here are some better ways to decide if your nutrition and exercise plan is steering you in the direction of your goals and leading you to sustainable long term success.

1)  Do you feel satisfied after meals?  Processed foods will leave you wanting more, it will force you to use "willpower" to avoid overeating.  If you are eating healthy and nutrient dense food your body will know when to stop and you will feel full and satisfied.  When was the last time you over ate carrots??  When was the last time you couldn't stop eating the potato chips you were only going to have 1 of?  

2)  How is your energy?  Do you need caffeine or sugar to keep your energy stable.  Do you need to use the snooze button in the morning.  Being nutrient deficient and not moving enough will drain your energy.  If you do not have to rely on caffeine and sugar for energy this is a good thing!!

3) How are you sleeping?  Poor sleep can be caused by stress, aging, hormonal changes , being a new parent, and so on.  Caffeine, sugar and alcohol can impact your sleep. If your sleep improves you are making progress rather or not the scale is changing.  

4)How do your clothes fit?  Muscle weighs more then fat but takes up less space.  So even though that number may not change as you would like you still are making progress. Bonus: muscle burns more calories, as much as 50 calories per lb.  So, pick up those dumbells!! 

5)What kind of mood are you in?  If it is a sustainable plan you will be happy, you shouldn't feel hangry, crabby, or like a party pooper.  A good nutrition and exercise program will leave you feeling confident, empowered to keep going, clear headed and positive.  You will be motivated to continue regardless of the number on the scale.  

My goal is not to simply help clients lose weight but to help you live your life to the fullest.  To be happy, confident, and excited about life, and proud of your progress even if that number on the scale isn't giving you the answer you were hoping for.  .

Contact me today to find out how wellness coaching might be able to help.   

 

 

 

 

Why My Kids Are Keeping Their Halloween Candy

This is my first real Blog post and I have been tossing around a million ideas as to what to write about.  Why am I even doing a Blog etc.  It is 4:30 in the morning and I had an epiphany.  I do not want my Fitness and Wellness Blog to be like all the others.  I want it to be REAL, HONEST, and MEANINGFUL.  

So here we begin:  My kids will be keeping their Halloween candy and get this I am even going to even let them eat it.  But before you freak out and start judging me let me explain why.  

1. Deprivation leads to overindulgence.  You've done it.  Banned yourself from cookies and then gave in and ate the whole damn box.  I will set boundaries and they will not get to choose when or how much candy they get but I will allow them to have a piece everyday if they want after a meal.  

2. Labeling food as "good" and "bad" is wrong.  My kids know that candy is not a healthy food.  They know that if they want to be fast runners or good readers and have lots of energy that they need to eat fruits, veggies, and plenty of healthy protein and fat.  I sure as hell am not going to send them the message that if they eat a piece of candy they are going to turn into a fat ass. Labeling food this way causes shame!!!   Instead we call candy a "sometimes" food and I am working to teach them that it is okay to have a piece of candy if they truly enjoy it but that they must also nourish their bodies with the foods that will give you energy, build muscle and fuel thier brain. 

3.   I'm no idiot.  If I don't let them have it someone else will.  Grandma, their friends mom, the neighbors etc.  My kids bring junk home all the time and guess what they give it to me, they tell me what they ate, and I know what they are putting in their mouths.  If you are the food police and think you kids are not eating this junk at their friends house you are WRONG and get this they are probably eating 3x as much my my kids because you never let them have it.

4.  Giving kids choices makes them think and teaches them to take pride and ownership of their decisions.  For example my kids are allowed to have a snack at school during the day and I give them a snack after school.  They begged me to take Goldfish to school because that is what all the other kids get.  So, finally, I gave in and guess what they took those damn Goldfish everyday this school year until this week. When I asked the question:  "what do you want for snack today?" .  My 5 year old replied "I want Jicama sticks" 

I about had a heart attack as she is my junk food kid and doesn't fully grasp the messages I am sending yet about choosing healthy foods..  However, let me repeat she asked for jicama.  Now, before I go ahead and put my gold crown on I will confess she only did this because she wanted Goldfish after school instead but still this is progress.  

So there you have it.  We do eat candy in our house because I am a realist and because I believe that nothing is good or bad.  Anything can be enjoyed in moderation and in fact it should be.  Have a piece of candy but NOT the whole bag.

Happy Halloween. 

Pre/Post Natal Pregnancy

Benefits for exercise during pregnancy

Nothing is more exciting than finding out that you are expecting a baby.  There are so many things to consider:  do you find out the gender, are you going to use disposable or cloth diapers, will you bottle or breastfeed, the list goes on and on.  As your pregnancy progresses, your body will also start to undergo a host of physical changes.  Should you exercise during this time?  Is it safe for you and the baby?  It is recommended that women who are pregnant should aim to exercise at least 20 – 30 minutes a day. Studies show that women who exercise before, during and after pregnancy may gain many health benefits if they are properly supervised. Exercising during this time should help work out the kinks and loosen you up (for childbirth). Your pregnancy and labor will be much easier if you are healthy.

The main goal during this time is to get your heart pumping and to prepare your muscles to handle the physical demands of pregnancy.

There are many benefits for prenatal and postnatal clients.

1)      More energy during pregnancy

2)      Helps you sleep better (and we all know how tired you can get during the 3rd trimester)

3)      Lower risk of complications in pregnancy

4)      Reduced Stress

5)      Less Anxiety

6)      Shorter labor time

7)      Quicker Recovery after delivery

8)      Improve your self-image

Please check with your health care provider about exercising during your pregnancy before starting any exercise program.  After you get their approval, make sure that you listen to your body and don’t overdo it!  

Healthy and Happy

The road to health and happiness isn’t a straight line.  There are many bumps, twists and turns in the journey to living a healthy life. I know that it isn’t always easy to make it to the gym or there can be many food temptations along the way.  Sometimes, you really just have that craving for a piece of chocolate cake! Or, that glass of wine!

Everywhere you go, there is so much pressure to look, dress, feel, or even act a certain way. These feelings can leave you feeling defeated, exhausted or stressed.  By exercising and eating healthier, you will be on your way to a happier version of yourself. Our moto at A Better Me Fitness is, “The better that I take care of myself, the better I am suited to take care of the one’s I love.” So, start loving you!  Start loving your body! Start being A Better You!

If you are dissatisfied with your current nutrition and/or fitness situation and you want to transform your life, we have a program for you!  Start to think positively and stop the negativity in your life.  Both of these things will help you become more confident and give you the strength to overcome your insecurities.  Exercise should be enjoyable, not a punishment. Happy people don’t waste time complaining.  They focus on the good and they accomplish more in life. Here is a “Happy” Activity to try:  Whenever you have a negative thought, ie. This workout sucked. My jeans are too tight.  Counter that thought with at least one (or maybe three) positive thoughts.  The weather was perfect for a run,  I had a delicious breakfast after my workout, I feel more energized throughout the day.

Here at A Better Me Fitness our goal is to help guide you on your transformation journey by giving you support, encouraging you and by holding you accountable.  We will customize a program that will give you the information and education that you need to be helpful.  We will also help you set goals and motivate you on your journey to a healthier you.

Our personal experiences and our passion for helping women to be happy and love themselves is what motivates us.  Work with Amy, a certified NASM, ACE, ProCoach and Personal Trainer.  You will receive individually-tailored support to help you manage your life.  Contact us today and join us on this mission.