Motivation

Put Down Your Scale And Pick Up Your Fork

Today I was scrolling through Instagram under the tag #weightloss. Once a month or so I look through some posts linked to popular tags to see what’s going on in the minds of people in the health and fitness community. Today I stumbled across an Instagram user who was asking for weight loss help. She was restricting herself to 1300 calories a day and noticed the scale had stopped moving. I shouldn’t be surprised that people are still using calorie restriction to lose weight, but I am.

Weight loss is so much more than energy out > energy in.

For years we have been told that to lose weight we need to go on a diet that decreases our calorie intake to less than the calories we burn. Guess what, we have gotten fatter. If eating fewer calories worked for everybody, by now we should have a skinny population. I’m not saying nobody has lost weight on a restricted diet, but I do not think it is a healthy or safe option.

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Your Body Is Not Stupid

Our bodies job is to stay alive. It will do everything it possibly can to keep working. This is why we see people live through unthinkable circumstances and long-term illness. When you restrict your calories to less than your body needs, you may initially lose weight. Over time your body starts to think you aren’t going to feed it and it adjusts to keep you alive. It slows down energy systems and other biological processes to conserve enough energy to keep functioning. When this happens, the weight stops coming off, and many people will further restrict their diet, this either goes on until the person is severely ill or, in most cases, gives up and returns to their previous lifestyle. This leads to years of yo-yo dieting further confusing the bodies processes and sometimes causing long-term damage. This is the same for people who eat way more than their body needs, the safest response is for the body to store it as fat. Your body can’t let all that free sugar hang out in your blood stream, it must do something about it.

Put Down The Scale

Guess what, that number is JUST a number. There are so many variables that go into what you weigh. If you can’t look at yourself objectively, the scale will work against you. There is nothing wrong with using it as a tool of measurement, but it should never be used as a tool of destruction. Your motivation needs to come from something deeper than wanting to look a certain way. It needs to come from something inside you saying, “I want to be better.”

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Pick Up Your Fork

I want you to pick up your fork and eat your way to better health. I want you to choose whole foods that leave you feeling satisfied at the end of the meal. I want you to include a healthy source of fat to help curb cravings. I want you to eat lots and lots of vegetables so that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function properly. Weight loss is a side effect of good health, it isn’t the cause. Look at yourself in the mirror and accept where you’re at, and then strive to be better. Love yourself but never give up on improving. Fix your health, and the weight will come off on its own. You can read what I recommend you eat here.

Individualized Nutrition

As human beings, we are all unique. Not one is like the other. Why then do we constantly try to copy one another? Our DNA is unlike any other person on earth, but we tend to treat ourselves like we are all the same. We assume that if it works for one person, it should work for everyone. Some general principals work for everyone but to achieve optimal health, you need to find what works for you. Your nutrition plan shouldn’t look exactly like anyone else’s. The foods your body loves/hates are not going to be the same. I am gluten free, that doesn’t mean you should all be gluten-free. I have a friend who can’t eat tomatoes, I didn’t stop eating them just because she did. Therefore, I find out as much as possible about my clients. I want to know how you feel after you eat. I want to know how you sleep at night. I want to know how stressful your job is. These things change the nutrition plan I prescribe. Don’t put yourself in a box, or on a diet, just because other people do.

Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

 

 

 

The Day After Thanksgiving

I don’t know about you, but I find the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas kind of awkward. We enjoy a long weekend full of Turkey, and other festive foods, and less than 12 weeks later we spend roughly two weeks doing it again. It’s easy to just tell myself that I might as well just do/eat what I want until Christmas is over. Why not just start fresh January 1st? After all, it is baggy sweater season! But that would mean I’ve missed out on 3 months worth of self improvement. You can make a huge difference in your health with three months of time.

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What if rather than waiting until January 1st, you made a change today? It doesn’t have to be a big change, it can be something as simple as committing to taking your dog for a walk every morning. What if next week you decided to pack a salad and grilled chicken for lunch instead of hitting up McDonald’s every day? What if the week after that you switched out one of your diet cokes for a water? Three weeks in you will have added in exercise, extra vegetables and cut back on something you’ve been trying to give up for months. You don’t have to decide to run a marathon or commit to the paleo diet! Instead you can commit to a 5 minute jog and adding in more vegetables.

Every day is an opportunity to make one good decision for yourself. Before you know it, one good decision becomes easy and you start making two. In three months you can look back and celebrate a whole bunch of small victories that have now become one big one!

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Last weekend I got contaminated. This is what my family says when one of us has eaten gluten, usually unknowingly. Because I have Celiac disease, this is a BIG deal. My immune system turned on me and I spent 3 days only getting the bare necessities done so I could lie down. I couldn’t eat much and I spent a lot of time sleeping. The worst part of being contaminated is I have panic attacks and suffer from anxiety. Anxiety so bad I have to fight to leave my apartment. I am anxious about seeing my own family and struggle with making decisions. I start to question every decision I’ve made and feel like the progress I’ve made has been ruined. After a few days the fog clears and I can at least think clearly, but the physical damage can take weeks to months to recover from. I have to be even more careful with what I eat, foods that wouldn’t normally bother me give me stomach aches and cause a rash to spread across my face. I used to sit and feel sorry for myself and take weeks to pick myself back up, but now I know its a waste of time. I need to get back to my workouts, increase my nutrients and get lots of rest.  Rather than wallow in self pity for three months and then experiencing it all over again at Christmas (it’s hard not to get contaminated at Christmas) I will focus on building my immune system back up so that when this happens again I am ready, rather than being torn down even further.

Maybe you’re reading this post thinking about how far you are from reaching your goal. Maybe it seems impossible. I want you to pull out a piece of paper and write down three small actions/changes that you can make today. These should be things you KNOW you can do. Put them somewhere you can see them. Start with action one, when it has become habit you are ready for action two. I have seen some amazing results from my clients these past few weeks, and many of the results are because of small changes that they have been consistent with. You can do it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Charity

How To Stuff The Turkey Without Stuffing Yourself

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It has all the great food and visiting that Christmas has, but with less fuss and no presents (aka less stress). Before the weekend is upon us I want to help you strategize your Thanksgiving nutrition. I’m not going to tell you NOT to eat something, we all need a piece of pie. I just want to give you some tips that will keep you feeling well all weekend long! They are as follows:

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  1. Hog the vegetables. I mean it. March up to the Thanksgiving dinner buffet and fill at least half your plate with a variety of vegetables! Your family doesn’t cook anything but steamed carrots? Start a new tradition and bring a big salad, steamed broccoli or a delicious butternut squash.
  2. Have a healthy serving of Turkey. We don’t get turkey very often, which I find weird because it really is one of the most delicious birds. For some reason we are convinced they can only be eaten on holidays, but I digress. Turkey is a great source of protein, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B6 and niacin. Load up!
  3. Keep the grains to 1/2 a cup or less. Half a bun or half a cup of stuffing is plenty! Cutting back on the bread will save you room for dessert and prevent you from feeling “stuffed”
  4. Still have room on your plate? Choose something colorful! There are so many delicious dishes you can make with a variety of in season produce. I’ve linked to a few recipes below:
    1. Bacon wrapped squash,
    2. lentil and sweet potato casserole,
    3. zucchini pizza
  5. Eat mindfully. Take your time. Enjoy the food.

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Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family and friends. That can be hard to do if your feeling overstuffed the whole time. If your looking for a delicious and nutritious pumpkin pie recipe, you can find my recipe here.

Eat your veggies and your pie!

Charity

This Summer I Stopped Training

Hello Friends,

This summer was very different than the previous one. As of next month, I have been doing CrossFit for 8 years. It didn’t take me long to “drink the koolaid.” I was hooked almost instantly. CrossFit is structured in such a way that there is ALWAYS something you can be better at. It isn’t called a cult for nothing. It inspires you to show up over and over because there is always something you should work on. Eight years in and I still have things I can learn. I’ve made a lot of decisions this year that led to a lot of changes. One of the decisions was to treat summer like a rest. I wanted to focus on my business and enjoying the beautiful weather, rather than spending 2 hours a day in the gym. We had some big events this summer that required my time. So I told myself that I was going to cut back on the time I spent working out, and I did. I thought it was going to be really hard. I thought I was going to decide a  week in that I couldn’t do it and go running back to the barbell, that’s not what happened.

Instead I felt free, I had taken the pressure off of myself and I felt so good. I still worked out 2-3x a week for 45 minutes but that was the it. I realized that I had been focused on “keeping up” rather than improving myself. I had been in a competition mindset instead of a health mindset. I realized training to compete was great if you were willing to make it your priority, but I have other priorities right now and that’s ok too. I have my own business, a husband and a family that all deserve my attention more than a competition here and there. Guess what, I didn’t gain weight. I didn’t get slower. I didn’t get weaker. If anything I improved because of the rest. My body is at a point where 2 months off the schedule did not hurt me. I still ate whole foods and little sugar. I still focused on a good nights sleep. I still took my vitamins and drank lots of water but I worked out less. The last two weeks is the first time I’ve missed working out, I know its time to build some extra time back in. I’m not going back to 2 hours a day at this point, but I am going to commit to one hour 4-5x a week. Physical activity is so important to your health, but it doesn’t have to be your number one priority. If your exercising right, it should enhance everything else in your life. It should give you more energy to play with your kids. It should give you more patience at work. It should build you up not tear you down. If your life isn’t enhanced by your time in the gym, you need to asses why.

Sometimes we need to sit back and ask ourselves why we do what we do. Its ok to change your mind and set new goals. Its ok to not go to the gym every day. Its ok to enjoy a slice of birthday cake. Life is about finding a balance that works for you. What works for you may not work for someone else.

Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

 

Why I Stopped Counting Macros

This is a topic I’ve been sitting on for a while. Counting macros is a very popular eating lifestyle, and I have many friends who do it. Last year I decided to try it and since then have changed my food philosophy.

What is counting macros/IIFYM?

IIFYM stands for if it fits your macros. If you look up the hashtag, you will find all sorts of people who have had weightloss success. It has been made even more popular by companies such as Working Against Gravity, and Renaissance Periodization. Counting macros means you are tracking your intake of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. There are many online calculators and templates that help you calculate how many grams of each macronutrient you need for your body type and goals.

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Why do people count macros?

Macro counting is most often used for weightloss. Knowing exactly what you’re eating makes it a lot easier to see where you may be going wrong. Everything is weighed on a food scale to be as accurate as possible. When I tried it I paid for a downloadable template and then entered my information, and it spit out the numbers. Most people who count macros will have less on rest days, and their numbers may vary based on the intensity of their workouts.

Why I stopped

I enjoyed the first few weeks of macro counting. I love experimenting so I was interested in seeing what it would do for me. I did notice that I leaned out a tiny bit over the 6 weeks, but nothing that wouldn’t happen with other minor changes. The first reason I stopped macro counting is that I would justify poor food choices because they fit my macros. I often found it easiest to have foods that weren’t good for me because it helped me reach my numbers. If I wanted to reach my carbohydrate goal I needed to add in much denser carbs than I was used to eating, and this did not go well for my belly. Most of my carbohydrates come from veggies and I feel much better this way. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against carbohydrates. Personally, I do not digest grains, which limits my carbohydrate choices. Second, if I had chosen to follow the plan I was given, I would go through a series of cuts to reach my goal weight. I did not have a goal weight, I just wanted to feel better. If I had followed it, I would have ended up as low as 1700 calories a day compared to my regular 2300-2500. At the end of the day, it wasn’t any different than just restricting calories. If you know me, you know that I believe there are healthier approaches than obsessing over calories.

Who does IIFYM work for?

Athletes: When your full time job is about performance, it makes sense to have your diet down to a science. Athletes also tend to be pickier about what they put in their bodies, and would care just as much about quality as quantity. They would also have a personal dietitian/nutritionist to help guide them through the process.

Performance Driven Individuals: In a world focused on weight, it can be difficult to focus on performance. If you are someone who is solely focused on performance, IIFYM may work for you. If you can have a healthy balance between quality and quantity, IIFYM can help keep you energized. It forces you to eat when you might otherwise skip a meal, this can go a long way towards reaching your goals.

What do I believe?

Macronutrients are important but micronutrients are equally as important. If you are not getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs, you will not function at your best. What you eat matters just as much as how much you eat. With my clients, and myself, my goal is to teach them intuitive eating. This takes time because many people do not recognize when they are hungry or when they are full. Teaching people to build well balanced meals with lots of nutrient dense food is my mission. I want to teach people to listen to their bodies rather than having to count every single calorie they consume. Food is fuel, we HAVE to give our bodies what they need!

Eat Your Veggies!

Charity

Back to School Health Reset: Part 5

Shop Local!

Knowing where your food comes from is a rare thing these days. Sure, the sticker may say Mexico but that doesn’t mean we know exactly where it came from. We don’t know the process that particular farmer uses to grow his food. When you shop local you can find out whatever you need to know.

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Shopping local also increases the likelihood you are eating food that is in season. If it’s meat your looking for, you can find out how the farmers treat, feed and house their livestock. Bring your kids to your local farmers market, let them talk to the vendors. Let them pick out some vegetables for the week. Letting your kids be involved in the shopping process is a great way to introduce them to new foods. Help them appreciate the work that goes into growing/raising the food you are eating, it will give them a new perspective.

Eat Your Veggies

Charity

Back To School Health Reset: Part 3

If you missed Part 2, you can find it here

Get Moving!

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With summer holidays coming to an end it is likely that stress levels are going up. A great way to manage stress, and improve your health, is to exercise. Often when we think of exercise we picture a one hour gym session that leaves us gasping for air. When I say exercise, I am talking about anything that gets your heart rate up. If your fairly sedentary, a walk may be enough to accomplish this. If walking doesn’t cause you to break a sweat, it’s time to find something that does. Check out your local gyms for class options, don’t be afraid to try something new. If your a homebod, or find it difficult to carve out time, complete a simple at home workout. I’m posting an at home, and walking, workout example below. Keep in mind that you should speak with a health care professional before beginning a new exercise routine, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.

In 10 minutes complete as many rounds of the following as possible:                                   10 Push-ups :these can be wall, or chair push-ups if necessary                                                  10 squats: If you have never done a squat before a good starting place is simply sitting      down to a chair and standing back up                                                                                              10 Tuck sits: start by lying on your back and then sitting to a tucked position, for an          easier version sit in a chair and raise your knees to you chest.

20 min walking/jogging                                                                                                                       Alternate walking and jogging between telephone poles. Each telephone pole is about 50m apart from the next. If this becomes easy, increase it to two telephone poles. You will be jogging the full 20min before you know it. Keep in mind, jogging is not a suitable exercise if you have a bad hip, knee or ankle. If you have had previous injuries you should speak to a health professional before beginning a new routine.

If you are looking for some guidance in this area, check out our exercise services here

Get Moving!

Charity

 

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