Is Diet Culture Dooming Us All?

As I touched on last week, I firmly believe in distancing morality from food. There are no good nor bad foods – there are just foods, and healthy and unhealthy portions, based on your current situation.

But as a dietitian, a so-called “expert” in the realm of nutrition, how can you NOT say that there are bad foods?!?

This infuriates people. The dieters. The gurus. The zealots.

There are CLEARLY BAD FOODS! Gluten, sugar, carbs, fat, dairy…

People love to give these labels and marry them to a specific ideology around food.

Here is the deal, and the shocking truth – people are different. What may be unhealthy for one person, could be okay or tolerable for another. Gluten, for example, can wreak havoc on someone with Celiac Disease, or a major intolerance… but to someone else, it may be totally fine.

Dairy – especially milk – causes me some super unpleasant side effects within minutes of consuming. While my wife can handle it.

People are different.

While there are some fairly universal truths when it comes to what we eat being a healthy option – vegetables are one – there are STILL outliers. Some people have terrible reactions to peppers, and onions. Some to broccoli (and no, that’s not a legit excuse to avoid eating broccoli if you can).

People are different.

Do you get the point yet?

What about donuts? And pie? And cookies? How can you say that those are not bad?

Again – context matters. What is bad about the dount? The donut itself isn’t bad. It’s frickin delicious. Eating 20 donuts per week…still not bad in itself, but probably not the healthiest decision. Eating a donut once in a blue moon, while being active and balancing your diet with mostly non-donuty foods? Probably 100% totally cool.

So by adhering and perpetuating the diet culture – which is only successful 5% of the time – where has it gotten us? Not very far. Yes, 5% of people who lose weight on a diet keep it off for more than 2 years.

So 95% of people who try to diet, fail?

No.

95% of diets fail people. 

Most diets out there make it so unbearable to continue forever, that after a year, maybe two – life happens and you start back to your old ways. You see, food is pleasurable. It’s not just fuel, or macros, or sustenance to get you to a weight that will make you happy. It is supposed to be enjoyed. We cannot deny that foods bring pleasure.

When these diets deprive us of entire food groups or put us on an insanely low amount of calories, then, of course, we are bound to give up. Who wouldn’t??

So how the heck are people supposed to lose fat, improve their health, or get super sexy 6 pack abs?!?!

Awareness. Acceptance. Time. Consistency. Patience. And Effort.

Awareness as to how you have gotten to your current state, and if it is a state of unhappiness, figuring out why you are unhappy. Will losing weight ACTUALLY make you happier? Solve the root of your unhappiness? If not, then don’t even think about trying to lose weight. Solve the root problem first.

Acceptance that you have gotten to your current state because of a cumulative effect of things you have an have no done over years and years. This is not meant to shame, but to just accept ownership of your decisions. You decided to stop working out for 10 years. You decided to stop cooking meals, and eat out all the time. You decide every morning to drink 800 calories from Starbucks. None of these decisions are inherently good or bad, they just are what they are – and they have lead you to your current point. Once you accept that YOU have gotten yourself here, you can also accept that YOU can get yourself out.

Time. It will take time. You didn’t get unhealthy from eating one “bad” meal. You won’t get healthy from eating one “good” meal. Go back to awareness. Why are you here? What got you to this point? Why is it important that you not be at this point? Dig deep. Find the real “why” that will pull you out of the bed each morning, and encourage you to realize that you don’t need food to cope with your stress.

Consistency. Again – one salad, one donut – won’t change much. You need to be consistent. But not OCD. If you give yourself time, you can be more lenient. Enjoy holidays. Enjoy birthdays. But maybe don’t celebrate every taco Tuesday with 4 margaritas. What you do the majority of your time, will lead you to become the person that is a direct result of your efforts.

Effort. It’s simple, but not easy. Most will give up when they don’t see 10 pounds gone in 10 days. Most will want 7 minute abs to be true. Most will want the supplement that their friend scammed sold them on to work now. Truth is, you still need to put in the effort. The effort is needed to move your body, break a little sweat, and challenge yourself occasionally. The effort is needed to not bring foods into your house that you know you struggle with. The effort is needed to not give up when you feel you are doing everything right, but the scale hasn’t moved in weeks (scale doesn’t mean everything – never forget that).

We haven’t failed at diets. Diets have failed us – because what we perceive diets to be are miserable, unsustainable and damn near laughable.

 

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Let’s Stop Calling Foods “Good” and “Bad”, Shall We?

I sat down in my office to get to work on some client check in’s for my online nutrition coaching. The first one I opened, BAM! There it was… “I need to call you, I am really struggling”.

I remember my stomach dropped. What was going on? How serious was this? Am I going to need to refer out to someone more suited for this kind of talk?

We got on the phone the next day and I was met with such a sigh of relief. Well, sort of relief.

This client explained to me that she was feeling so guilty about tracking her bad foods in MyFitnessPal because I would see it and shame her. This was our first week working together…

I explained to her that I NEVER shame anyone, especially for what they eat and only maybe for the sports team they choose to support…but the bigger point I made was one that I make often.

Food Carries NO Morals. It doesn’t affect our morality. It doesn’t change who we are as a person. Food is not good, it is not bad, and it doesn’t make us good or bad based on what we eat.

Food is food.

I say that this call was the only sort of a relief because she wasn’t in danger or anything, but this is something I hear all too often – people calling foods good or bad or making them out to be these magical unicorns or evil trolls….it’s food people, that’s all.

The more “power” we give to foods by labeling them a certain way, the more they will affect us at a psychological level. Think about the forbidden fruit story from the Bible. Eat whatever you want, but you better not touch that delicious looking apple! Well…thanks a lot, Eve.

When certain diet gurus or magazines need to make money, they criminalize one food while promoting another. This is usually from some sort of bastardized study that someone in their research department read, and said, “yeah we can stretch this”.

At the same time, you better bet there is a paper trail connecting them to the food or supplement that they are touting as the miracle food of the week.

Food is Food. Nothing else. Don’t give it the power that it doesn’t have, and you will realize that you are more in control of your food “addictions” and impulses than you think!

So what do we call foods then? You can’t tell me that eating Twinkies and HoHo’s is good for you…

If this is you reading this, you are right – I’m not telling anyone to go out and crush beers and ice cream (terrible combo anyways).

We have 2 categories of foods or two ends of the spectrum so to speak.

Calorie Dense and Nutrient Dense

Calorie dense foods are probably the foods that most would label as “bad”. Pizza, cake, ice cream, alcohol, fries, greasy hamburgers, cookies, donuts, etc.

These foods pack a ton of calories, in a relatively small volume.

Think Snickers bar here. Pretty small, and packs 280 calories, and not a whole lot of quality nutrients. That is calorie-dense. Not BAD. Not GOOD. But calorie-dense.

Nutrient-Dense foods are on the opposite end of the spectrum. These are foods that are loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and low in calories per gram.

Think vegetables, fruit, lean meats, whole grains. The foods usually labeled “good”.

Think broccoli here. A full plate = 200 calories. It’s loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and other great micronutrients. Then we have 200 calories of delicious peanut butter…roughly the size of a golf ball. #Sad

But now there is a twist…foods that are both.

Of course, there is a twist…calorie dense AND nutrient-dense foods do exist.

These are your healthy fats – olive oil, avocado, nuts, coconut oil…

Via VeryWellFit – check out the awesome nutrients of almonds! Also, check out how 24 almonds (this is not that many) is 164 calories. Calorie AND Nutrient Dense.

Again, check out avocados. Awesome fiber, and heart-healthy fats…but also 227 calories (or more if you are getting steroid avocados).

These are usually the culprits when people say “I eat clean, and still can’t lose weight!”

You see, you can eat “clean” all you want, but if you are in a calorie surplus…you will still gain weight.

Awareness is the key to success. I’m not here to tell you how to eat, what to eat, or what foods are good or bad. Everyone is different, and everyone has different needs. If you take the time to learn about this stuff, become aware, and make some small changes, I promise you can start moving in the direction that you want to.

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4 Ways to Simplify Your Workouts Without Stressing Over the Small Stuff (With Videos)

When it comes to working out, there are a million different things you can do and a million different ways that people think is best.

The one common factor: hard work and challenging stimulus.

So why do we NEED to overcomplicate things? The tried and true methods still exist for a reason. The staple exercises still exist for a reason. They work.

But what about when we are low on time, energy, equipment or creativity? Can we still get in a good workout? I better bet you can. Here are a few of my favorite methods or modalities to train when there is a limiting factor.

Time

I love doing simple timed supersets or trisets. Let’s say you only have 30 minutes to be in and out of the gym. Okay, take 5 minutes to warm up and 5 minutes to cool down. That means we have 20 minutes for a workout.

Pick 2 to 3 exercises that hit different muscle groups – upper, lower and maybe abs.

Set a timer to beep every 2 minutes, then do 6-12 reps of each exercise, rest until the beep, and repeat again. Here is a simple example using just one dumbbell:

Dumbbell Offset Reverse Lunge

Dumbbell Renegade Rows

If you do this every 2 minutes, that means you are getting in 10 sets of each. Pretty darn good work.

No Equipment

Your body weight can be a great tool here.

Keep it simple, pick a set number of rounds, or like the previous example, do timed rounds.

Here we have a squat, row, single leg RDL, pushup and single leg glute bridge:

***If you don’t even have a bar to row on, just skip it, but make sure you get in some rowing movements later in the week!***

Just a Barbell

“Just” a barbell is a ridiculous statement. You can do SO MUCH with a barbell!

Here is a simple barbell complex: squat, row, RDL, and push up.

Obviously, you want to use a challenging weight, and the right number of reps based on the weight and or the rounds you choose to do. I have done this exact complex for 25 minutes straight (6-8 reps per exercise with 135 on the bar, plus 1-minute rest after each round) and it is BRUTAL!

Get Creative

Maybe you just have a foam roller? Or a log? There is literally no excuse to NOT get a workout in.

Here is a foam roller only complex, and my cabin log workout (this was more of a joke, but it IS possible!)

 

BONUS: It doesn’t always have to be crazy! 

Here was a cabin mobility/pump workout I did in the basement of my parent’s cabin. Don’t overthink these things!

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Your Diet Doesn’t Matter, and 3 Other Things That Don’t

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Let’s stop the talk about this and that diet being best…

Currently, America sits at a 40% obesity rate, and about a 75% overweight rate. Here are the cold hard facts from the CDC itself:

  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

So what caused this?

Well depending on where you get your information, or what Netflix documentary you decide to confuse with a factual, educated report, it could be anything!

Sugar, fat, carbs, processed foods, toxins, meat, etc… have ALL been blamed!

Those documentaries always will have an agenda. The people they interview are usually trying to sell something, and they will cherry pick their studies only to support their beliefs. Just like a political debate, you are only getting one side of the story. Remember that the next time you watch a food doc, and decide you need to change your whole life based on one movie.

Here’s what some pretty smart and unbiased people have come up with:

We eat too much, and we move too little…this is it.

Yes, sugar has contributed (even though consumption is actually DOWN over the last 10 years). Yes, fat has contributed (stop putting butter in your coffee, please!) Yes, processed foods have contributed…

But it all comes down to eating too damn much, and not moving enough.

AND studies have also shown that you can lose weight while pretty much eating whatever you want AS LONG as you are eating less than you are burning aka a calorie deficit.

But what about internal health, like blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure?

These markers will ALL improve with a loss of fat. If you are currently obese and have a high marker for any of these, stop wasting time reading about the XYZ diets that are best for you, and just start focussing on losing some weight.

Internal health markers all show significant improvement with body fat loss regardless of what diet you use. Yes, even high fat keto diets improve cholesterol, and high sugar diets have improved blood sugar levels WHEN they are used in a calorie deficit eliciting a fat loss effect.

What about exercise? Don’t I need to punish myself for my gluttony?

That’s the last thing you need to do. If you are obese, and not active, doing some crazy hardcore boot camp or HIIT  training will destroy your body, joints, and soul.

It may LOOK like that is what you need based on commercials and outdated TV shows… but truthfully you need to first focus on diet, then just start walking.

Walking is free. Walking is low impact. Walking has many other great benefits:

  • Blood sugar control after a meal
  • Improved cardiovascular function
  • Joint mobility
  • Improved mood
  • Free dog interactions (if you like dogs)

If you are NEW to exercise or have any form of chronic pain because of your severe obesity – PLEASE DO NOT sign up for a crazy high impact Bootcamp class. Find a good personal trainer who will work with you and where you are at.

What Foods Should You Never Eat Though?

The internet and gurus love to use these lines as click bait. Truthfully, there IS NO MAGICAL FOOD that will make you fat by itself. It doesn’t work that way.

There are no good or bad foods, they have no morals. There are only good and bad portions or good or bad reasons as to WHY we are eating.

Good reason to eat: you are hungry and need nourishment.
Bad reason to eat: any other time, really…

But even this is only partially true. Think about the coffee shop. You sit down and order a large cappcifrappecoco and a scone because, duh, its a coffee shop, without even thinking.

How many people go there because they truly need a meal vs. meeting up with friends, hanging out after a kids baseball game, or magically appearing in the drive-thru because we are stressed?

So it’s not so much about WHAT we eat, but truly not knowing WHY we eat that we need to be focussed on.

What About Fancy Workout Programs to Boost Fat Loss?

Again – not that simple.

The very popular at home, the P90x program is a great example.

Independent researchers looked at three groups:

  1. People who did the program.
  2. People who did the program, and the nutrition plan that came with it.
  3. People who did the nutrition plan that came with it, and their own workouts of choice.

Guess what? Groups 2 and 3 had the same results, while group 1 had worse results.

This shows two things: nutrition matters and exercise modality kiiiiiinda doesn’t…

I say that with a grain of salt, but it’s really just like a diet – you need to find what works for YOU and what you can do safely.

Now, that being said, if you are after a certain LOOK, there are certain ways you will need to train.

You can’t train like a cross country runner and end up looking like a bodybuilder.

But you still don’t need to make training so darn complex. Find a solid program, stick to it for at least 12 weeks, and then assess if you are better off now than you were when you started.

I hope this helps clarify some things for you, and I hope that you can use this knowledge to either help yourself in the right direction or someone you know and care about – so feel free to share it along!

Until next time, stay healthy my friends,

Mike

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How to Avoid Gaining Fat on a Holiday

“What will I do this _______ (insert holiday here) – how will I stay on plan?”

I get this question a lot, and I sense the worry of many patriotic Americans this 4th of July, who know it is their civic duty to celebrate our independence by stuffing our faces full of processed meats, things we call salads that are hardly salads, and epic amounts of American beer…because that’s what freedom looks like!

Now, the cliche answer that many coaches will put out there is – one day doesn’t matter.

One day won’t ruin your month of work, your year of progress. Just like one salad doesn’t make you healthy, one binge day won’t make you fat…

yeah yeah yeah, we have heard it all.

But what if this is wrong? What if one day CAN derail you? Well, I’m here to explain that it can – and how you can minimize the damage.

Let me get this straight though – if you have been rocking your lifestyle, training, and nutrition lately, and you have one crazy day of pigging out, then get right back to your normally planned routine on July 5th, then yeah…most likely you might wake up a little puffy, water-bloated, and hungover… but it won’t undo weeks of work.

But for most people, this is not the case.

From a psychological standpoint, many people struggle with the whole “get right back to it” part. And to make matters harder, many preemtively prepare for a holiday by using the ol’ “i’ll be pigging out in 2 days anyway, so might as well start now” line.

AND to go full science nerd on you – one day of overeating CAN lead to fat gain if you push your calories into a surplus.

For example – let’s say your maintenance calorie level is 2000 calories. If you eat 2000 calories every day you stay at the exact same weight.

Now let’s say you have been losing weight by eating 1800 calories per day. Your week might look like this with a July 4th party…

  • Monday 1800
  • Tuesday 1800
  • Wednesday 1800
  • Thursday 5000
  • Friday 1800
  • Saturday 1800
  • Sunday 1800

AVERAGE: 2257 calories aka a SURPLUS

So yes, one day of super binging CAN derail you. Facts our facts. No fake news here. The key is to not let it if it happens. Yes, you will have a setback – but this is not the end of the world. It is what it is…and frankly it’s called being a human.

The mistake most make is they beat themselves up over this weight gain. They feel guilt, shame, and disappointment – and eventually, just give up. That is where the mistake lies. Not in the one-day bender for America – but giving up BECAUSE of the one-day bender.

If you put yourself in the right mental mindset, you can get over this mental hump and just keep fighting forward – great! It happened, now just move on. Don’t vent about it on social media, don’t cry about it to your spouse – just move on.

Now how can we minimize the potential for that one-day bender causing a setback?

Be Active

Get a workout in. A hard one. A heavy one. You know you will be eating like a patriot on July 5th, 1776 later today, so make room for all that fuel. I love doing heavy leg days or strongman type workouts on holidays.

I like this one for today:

  • Farmer Carry
  • Sled Push
  • Clean to Press
  • Sled Pull

I will use bodyweight for farmer carries and double bodyweight on the sled. 6 rounds sound fun.

Also – go for walks after meals. Don’t just sit around in a coma all day. Just move.

Prolong Fasting

If you know you are grilling out around noon, maybe have a light breakfast or skip it altogether ( not recommended if you are doing the above recommendation of training hard). There is nothing wrong about prolonging your fast from the night. Some might say this encourages eating disorder like behavior – which in some it might – so know your mind and body – BUT for many, this is just a biological tactic that humans have been doing unintentionally forever up until the current century.

The other tactic is prolonging the fast the day after.

If you wake up tomorrow still full from today, here’s a newsflash – you don’t need to eat. Listen to your body. Again – for some, this might trigger eating disorder like behavior, but for many, this is just called mindful or intuitive eating. Don’t eat unless you are hungry is a simple, but a very challenging thing to master.

Keep it Normal as Possible

Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you NEED to pig out. I know, crazy idea!

The fact is, you can enjoy the celebrations and the company of others without pigging out. There is nothing that says you need to change a thing with your diet.

But I am also here to reinforce the bigger picture.

Yes – one day CAN derail you. But you don’t need to let it. If you want to enjoy 4 brats and 12 beers – go for it. Just own your decision and own the result, and move on. We could sit around and blame others for why we pigged out on a holiday and how we have no clue why our weight went up, but that’s lying to ourselves.

Enjoy the day how ever the heck you want to – if you choose to take a day off, sit around, and pig out – awesome! If not, awesome! Just remember it’s your decision and your decision alone.

 

Happy 4th America!

 

 

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Stop Lying to Yourself About Reaching Your Goals

You are holding yourself back. No one else, but you.

This is a very hard thing for many people to accept. If you are okay with your current life – not even talking fitness and health here – that is awesome! But if you are not happy, and you continue to not take ownership and do something about it, you are the only one to blame.

You need to take ownership of your life and your decisions, and stop blaming outside people and things as the cause for why you can’t do XY and Z.

Ask most people what a good show to watch is and they will fire off 5 shows on TV or Netflix, but then those same people will tell you how much they wish they had the time to go to the gym.

They have the time.

It’s just not a current priority of theirs – and thats okay – as long as they don’t complain about not seeing specific results that they want.

We need to get better at owning our situations and choices.

When I played football in high school, one of our rules was if you screw up on a play, you say “my fault coach” and move on, and don’t do it again. Obviously, if someone had too many “my fault coach”‘s – they would get demoted.

But taking ownership of our mistakes, and moving forward saved us a lot of time and energy that I’m sure many people would rather spend arguing about why they screwed up, or how it was so-and-so’s fault…but we had work to do, and didn’t need to waste time doing that.

This is one of the many reasons why Eden Prairie Football is a powerhouse in the state of Minnesota and we were undefeated state champs my senior year #glorydays

When it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition – these same rules apply.

You do have time to workout. You do have time to make a healthier meal. You CAN sleep more.

You just need to prioritize these things and put in the work. Like anything else worthwhile in life, the results FOLLOW the work!

Here are some of my favorite examples of how you can do all of the above:

Making protein breakfasts – okay, this one is pretty specific, but it’s one of my favorite “myths” to bust. Eggs and egg whites are a staple of many peoples healthy diets – while the standard American breakfast is full of carbs and sugar. It takes me less than 3 minutes to make eggs in the morning. You can find three minutes – I promise. No excuses here. View the Instagram video below on how to do this:

View this post on Instagram

Less than 3 minutes…it’s all you need to make eggs for breakfast and really up your protein game. . . . Eggs and egg whites are the most complete form of protein, and one of the healthiest foods you can eat. . . . I hear this so often “I don’t have time to make eggs in the morning” – and then this person either skips breakfast, or eats a total carb and sugar bomb of a breakfast. . . . 3 minutes is all you need. If you cannot find 3 minutes to improve your health, you don’t want it bad enough – there is no other way to put this. . . . #eggs #healthybreakfast #breakfast #protein #nutritiontip #easybreakfast #eggwhites #rdapproved #onlinecoach #onlinedietitian #healthyfood #cookingvideo #cookingtip #timesaver #savingtime #priorities

A post shared by MG Fitlife – Mike Gorski, RD. (@mgfitlife) on

If you have a little bit more time you can throw any veggies in the pan while it heats up. One of my favorite tricks is to cut up a bunch of veggies on a weekend, throw them in a plastic bag in the freezer, and then when I need them for eggs I just grab a handful and throw them in the pan while it heats up.

Working Out – “I wish I had time to work out all day like you” – is something that is assumed because I am a trainer. Lately, I have been lifting 3 days per week for anywhere from 60-90 minutes. And that is all I do for working out. Honestly.

Strength training is what I love doing. It also happens to be one of the best things you can do as far as exercise goes. The benefits are endless and I went into more detail on it here.

You need to find something that you at least sort of enjoy, and stick to it as your exercise. You won’t stick to something that you hate. If you enjoy yoga or running – then do that!

Obviously, I am biased and will always recommend strength training in some way shape or form because it is proven to be the best form of exercise 🙂

But here is what else my day looks like:

  • On my feet all day – getting an average of about 11,000 steps per day right now
  • I track my diet and hold myself accountable to my food choices
  • Usually, get in one 2 mile walk per day with the family after dinner

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym. But you do need to get off your butt. Here is a totally free resource to get you started: Free Dumbbell Only Workouts

Getting More Sleep – again, you choose when you do this. Yes, there are some busy frickin people out there that need to work late and get up early. But start with a true assessment of your day. Are you wasting any time on mindless TV, phone use, or anything else?

Be honest with yourself.

Power down the electronics 30 minutes earlier tonight, turn the lights down and see what happens. You can’t knock it until you try it, and you won’t know how it feels to get more sleep until you do!

Sleep is so vital to everything that most desire – fat loss, muscle gain, more energy, more productivity, more money…

So set a timer to tell you to get your butt to bed. Hold yourself accountable, and make it happen.

Tracking Food – if I had a dollar for every time I told someone to just start tracking their food (not even making recommendations yet) and they said “I don’t have time for that” – I would have probably about 500 dollars – cool story.

But… if I had a dollar for every time someone started tracking their food, and they came back to me and said “wow! you haven’t even told me what to eat and I already lost some weight!” – I would be a millionaire. (okay maybe that’s a stretch…).

So many people claim to not have time to track, yet, those who do see the benefit right away.

Why wouldn’t you give it a shot? Truly – like setting yourself up for sleep – you can’t doubt it or knock it until you give it a fair shot. So many people just assume that they can’t do it without even trying.

Once you get the hang of it, it will only take you about 15 minutes per day – guaranteed to improve your chances of getting results.

How many people would buy a product called “The 15 Minute Workout” if it promised fat loss and sustainable results? So why not commit to tracking your food if that provides the same?

You don’t need to track forever, but it can be a great learning tool. Studies have shown that people underestimate their intake by 48%, and overestimate their output (calorie burn) by about 21-61%!

Many people “think” they are eating in a deficit until you track everything – nibbles, bites, and snacks included – and you will find that this stuff adds up fast!

Again, this is just a tool to bring awareness – and is not meant to punish or shame you. Awareness must always precede change.

Track your food while sitting on the toilet for all I care…just give it a try.

Would you like more help on taking back your life, learning to love health and food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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I’m a Registered Dietitian…and I Don’t Like Vegetables

True statement.

Sort of.

If you offered me a choice between what I would rather have:

  • Meat or Vegetables
  • Starchy carbs or vegetables
  • Fruit or vegetables
  • Dessert or vegetables

I would choose option one every time.

But – I eat them. Not enough, but I eat them – and most of the time I do enjoy them, but not more than the other parts of the meal.

When most people, myself included, think of vegetables, we think of boring, plain, raw, steamed or boiled vegetables. Not very enticing.

But, when prepared in a slightly different way, or with some extra seasonings or flavors added – they aren’t that bad, and actually enjoyable.

Roasting, air frying or grilling are my go to options. Add in some fresh garlic, lemon juice, or a little seasoning blend and they can be game-changing.

When it comes to nutrition, fitness, and health – we KNOW what we need to be doing, eating, not eating, and not doing to optimize our health. The disconnect comes from actually taking action and doing it, especially if it isn’t the most enjoyable.

Take traditional cardio for example.

I know that having cardiovascular health is important. I know that cardio is great for heart health, conditioning, and even muscle recovery.

But there are endless things I would rather do than jog on a treadmill, sit on a stationary bike, or plant my butt on a rowing machine.

So I make it more enjoyable and incorporate different forms of cardio in my training or add something that I want to do to my cardio (what I need to do).

If I am going to listen to a podcast or a new album release, I will do it during one of my recovery walks. 30 or 45 minutes of walking goes by extra fast when listening to something enjoyable AND if done outside in nature.

If I don’t have a podcast to listen to, I will do more of a conditioning circuit workout for 20-30 minutes. Pick a couple of exercises that get the heart rate going, and repeat for a metabolic circuit. These can be things like dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell complexes.

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Don’t over complicate your training for the sake of being cool or different. There is a reason why these movements have withstood the test of time – they work. . . . Here I turned 4 fundamental movement patterns into a simple dumbbell Complex. These are great for getting your heart rate up, metabolism revved and still hitting the muscles decently well. . . . 5 reps of all 4 (squat, row, hinge and push-up) followed by a rest period (2 minutes for beginners, 90 seconds for intermediate and 60 seconds for advanced) . . . Complete 5-8 sets or set a timer for 15 minutes and just go. Make sure you use a weight that makes the 5 reps challenging. . . . #dumbbellworkout #dumbbellcomplex #metcon #hiitworkout #fatlossworkout #musclebuilding #primarymovements #squats #rows #deadlifts #pushups

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Or I will do strongman type workouts that involve pushing sleds, pulling sleds, carrying heavy things, and slamming ropes, medballs, or sledgehammers.

This is what we all must learn to do. It’s easy to sit around and tell people what they should be doing in the short term, to gain benefits in the long term…but many people still don’t actually do it!

Instead, we need to find strategic ways to take what we KNOW we should be doing, find a way to spice it up, and DO IT.

The human body is meant to thrive off of whole, nutritious foods.

The human body is meant to be active and strong.

We all only get one body – so you better find a way to make the most of it.

Would you like help with spicing up your training, learning to love health and food, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

5 Hacks to Add More Time to Your Day

“If only I had more time…”

Here’s the deal – we all have the same 24 hours. Nobody is special and gets more.

What you do in that 24 hours is YOUR doing, no one else. Taking responsibility for your own life, decisions and actions is step 0 of this process. Without being in that position, you will continue to blame others, play the victim card, and not do anything for yourself.

Okay, tough love talk is out of the way, and you have accepted that you are in control of your life, right?

Cool.

Now to the actionable items…

How can we add more time to our day?

1) 15 Minute Time Audit

Yes, write out your whole day in 15-minute blocks. What were you doing during each of those blocks. What EXACTLY were you doing? Were you at work working, or at work creeping on your ex-girlfriend on Facebook?

Were you spending time with your partner, or actually just sitting on the couch browsing Instagram while some boring show played in the background?

Be brutally honest with yourself.

Within your full day of 15-minute windows you will find 2 different opportunities:

A) Instant cuts – things you can get rid of right now to free up more time

B) Linkable habits – things you always do that you can LINK new habits to.

2) Habit Linking

What is something you do every day, without even thinking about it? This is a pure habit. Find something that you WANT to do every day…and link it to that habit, preferably BEFORE the habit you currently do…so you have to “earn” it.

“I need to start exercising” –> “I currently brush my teeth every morning after breakfast, then watch the morning news for 15 minutes”

Cut out the news, it’s all fake anyway 😉  (but you can check it later really) and make it habit of – after breakfast, before I brush my teeth, I will do 5 squats and 5 pushups every minute on the minute for 5 minutes.

Another example:

I always walk by Sharon’s desk at work AND grab a piece of candy out of her bowl.

Sharon is an awesome lady – don’t stop walking by her desk and saying hello. But guess what, you can say hello without mindlessly eating 100 calories every day. Swap the habit of grabbing candy with saying something nice about Sharon every day (don’t be a creep though)

How does this add time to your day though? Think forward. By mindlessly skipping the candy, you have saved yourself 100 mindless calories. When you save those calories, you don’t need to stress about eating a “healthier” dinner because you shamed yourself for eating that candy (THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY BEHAVIOR, BUT Let’s be real, people do it), nor do you “need” to walk that extra mile to burn off those 100 calories… (again NOT what I condone, BUT in reality, people do this)

3) Outsource Tasks

We live in a crazy new world. You could stay in your bedroom all day (with the right job) and get everything you need. This is a curse and a blessing – but if used wisely, you can add time to your day.

Hate grocery shopping? Most places will deliver for FREE if you spend at least $50. That saves you a trip to and from by itself.

The other benefit to this – you can decide what food enters your home, and not leave it up to chance at the store. How many times have you gone grocery shopping hungry, stress, or sad…only to buy food that you didn’t really want, and definitely didn’t need?

So let’s put this into practice with the previous hacks.

When is it that you feel the most motivated to be healthy? Usually after a good workout, or after doing something else for your health. So link it up.

After working out on Fridays, I will take 15 minutes to log in and online grocery shop for the foods that 90% support my goals, my families health, and 10% are enjoyable treats.

You can outsource so many other things…even if you have to spend some money.

Figure out what your time is worth. Whether it is based on being able to work more (what is your hourly rate) OR being able to do more of what you love (no price needed).

Pay the neighbor kid $20 to mow your lawn so you can meal prep, spend time advancing your business, or just spending time with family.

Whatever value you put on your time, or what you want to be doing – figure this out, and find a way to make it worthwhile.

4) Schedule Out Your Entire Day

Yes, this might seem OCD, but it really helps.

I am terrible at time management. If I am working on one thing, and an email pops up – I will stop what I am doing, and check the email…and then somehow find myself on facebook, and then decide I need a snack…

Schedule your day. When you work. When you eat. When you play. When you sleep. When you have family time. When you check emails.

After doing your 15-minute audit, clean it up. Designate specific times for the things that matter most.

I removed my work email from my phone and designated specific time EACH day to check my work email from my home computer. This has helped incredibly with focus, and stress in my life, and it is so simple!

I schedule in time to train, and I have my phone automatically lock me out of all apps besides my music app during this time. No more getting wrapped up in facebook, emails or reading the news – just my time to train because it makes me feel better, keeps me in shape, and is a stress reliever for me.

5) Plan Out the Next Day the Night Before

What are the 3 things I NEED to accomplish tomorrow?

Nothing else matters until those 3 things are done.

Write this out. They might be 3 very simple tasks – but you will be much more likely to actually do them. If you only do 2 of the 3, put the 3rd task as #1 on the following day’s goal list.

Put the easiest task first. That way it puts you into a winning mindset for the day. As soon as you do task #1 – cross it off, and say “hell yeah, I got this”

When you plan out these things and trim the fluff from your day, you will find yourself having more time, more freedom and honestly – a much better life.

Would you like more help on taking back your life, learning to love health and food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Results Will Be Found in the Company That You Keep

“Results Will Be Found in the Company That You Keep” – Peterson Company Fitness

This is the motto from one of my fellow trainer’s and friend, Becky’s gym in Reedsburg, WI. Honestly, the motto is perfect on so many levels.

You are more likely to get results with a support system.

You are more likely to become like those you spend time with.

The truth of it is, you cannot reach your goals – in whatever facet of life we are talking about – without setting yourself up around like-minded, like-motivated, people – in AND out of optimal environments.

Want to exercise more? Hang out with people who like to go to the gym.

Want to become a microbrew connoisseur? Hang out with people who drink microbrews.

Want to become a pothead stoner? Hang around with potheads.

Trying to be the black sheep in a majority environment will and can only last so long. If you are in a group that does not support your views, goals, ambitions, you either succumb to the norm or walk away.

“But Mike, I’m trying to lose weight, and my co-workers/friends are all fit – yet they eat the same lunches that I do, and we hang out on Friday nights – yet they get these results and I don’t”

This is a very narrow-minded view. Just because you eat lunch with them, and go out for drinks weekly, doesn’t mean you see the whole picture. Let’s say you spend 6 hours a week with them, doing the same stuff, eating the same stuff… that’s 3.5% of the week.

I wouldn’t call that truly mimicking their lifestyle.

That is why you have to look deeper. What are their day-to-day habits like? Sleep, Food, Choices, Exercise, Steps, Activity, Mental, Mindset, Stress, and the list goes on and on…

Hang around them more often. Take your gym friendships outside of the gym. Talk about things that relate to health. Build a lifestyle around it. It doesn’t have to consume you to the point where it is all you talk about, but if you start living like someone who takes care of their body and health – well, you will start looking like someone who takes care of their body and health!

However – this doesn’t mean that if your friend looks awesome and doesn’t eat carbs, that you must not eat carbs to look awesome. This doesn’t mean that if your friend squats 300 pounds, you must squat 300 pounds to have that nice booty.

More importantly, it is the HABITS and the PATTERNS that your friend focusses on that are likely the areas that you should focus on as well.

Maybe they track their food or at least are conscious of what they eat (not eating carbs creates a caloric deficit – that’s all)

They squat 300 pounds because they are consistent with workouts, track workouts, and challenge their body in the gym – that is what to focus on!

Keep company with those you want to be like, those you enjoy being around, and those that support you in whatever you want to become.

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Stay healthy my friends,

Why Relying on Exercise for Weight Loss is a Bad Idea

It’s that time of the year. Gyms are packed with New Year Resolutioners! It is a fantastic sight. People looking to get their health back, lose some pounds, and get healthy. I love it.

However, many of these people have the best of intentions, but maybe the wrong approach. And I don’t blame them. For years and years, people were told “oh just move more”, “run”, and “do cardio”, were all the best ways for fat loss.

Here are the stats:

Traditional cardio – on AVERAGE, a person will burn about 100 calories per mile walked, jogged or run. How easy is it to eat 100 calories? 1 TBSP of peanut butter, a weak 4oz. pour of wine or one measly ounce of cheese…

High-Intensity Cardio – this would be stuff like sprint intervals, HIIT classes, etc. While there is no exact number for calorie burn calculations here, yes it may be slightly higher…but at some point, somethings gotta give. If someone is just getting into fitness, and is overweight, doing high-intensity work right out of the gate is NOT a good idea. Frankly, most “high intensity” boot camps and classes are not a good idea because they rely on providing a feeling, and a sweat factor – to make people think “man, I worked hard today!” – which anyone can do with enough exercises thrown together.

 

Jumping, splitting jumping, hopping, sprinting, burpeeing, on fatigued, unstable, and weak joints is a recipe for no exercises at all after you blow out your knee, tweak your back, or strain your calf.

Strength Training- but Mike, I thought you were 100% meathead and all about strength training?? I am – but not for purposes of fat loss. Truth is, the idea that “EPOC” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is super-elevated after strength training and will burn fat for 72 hours afterwards is pretty overblown. Strength training is great to build muscle and keep your strong (which does raise your resting metabolism), but not as a sole means of fat loss.

So how does one lose fat in the New Year?!?!

Watch. What. You. Eat

Simple. Not easy, not sexy, but factual and proven to work 100% of the time.

The average person will underestimate their intakes by anywhere from 50-75%!

Start with reading labels. Be aware of how many calories is in what. Learn about how higher calorie food choices add up. Be aware of how many calories you drink – from juices, sodas, coffee drinks, booze… Be aware of the mindless eating, and how a few nibbles here and a few bites there can add up.

Follow up with intuitive eating. Are you hungry? Then eat to the point of not feeling hungry, but not to the point of being stuffed and bloated.

Lastly, give it time. Yes, we are coming off of the Holiday season, and 99% of people, even the healthy folks, are bloated up.

Everyone wants quick results, and in the easiest form possible. 99 people out of 100 and even the most deconditioned persons are going to choose “add exercise” over “pay attention to food intake”. Well, I encourage you to be that 1. Be active, don’t get me wrong!

But be active doing things you enjoy, not because you feel the need to burn more calories and punish yourself from the holidays.

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Stay healthy my friends,