Put an End to Your Food Sensitivities – FOR GOOD!

It was a Friday afternoon. I had just finished up early at the hospital and I was headed back to Madison for a weekend. I ate some leftover cheese ravioli and slammed a big glass of milk as I rushed out the door to the weekend that awaited.

I got on the road and called my mom just to chat. Then, about 30 minutes into the drive…it happened.

The panic, the cold sweat, and the flipping stomach. I HAD TO POOP!

I flew off the interstate at 90 mph, flew into a Kwik Trip parking lot, parked across 2 spots diagonally, and ran in pinching my cheeks as hard as possible.

I will spare you the details from here.

This was the last time I drank milk. Spring 2014.

Since then, I have realized a few other foods thats don’t hit me THIS hard, but lead to some unfortunate results.

How about you? Do you have issues with certain foods? Do you feel lost, frustrated and confused as to what you can eat and what you can’t? I know how you feel.

I felt this same way once – before the “incident” that “woke me up” – but what I found now is that by investing a little extra effort and time into solving this issue, I can now live mostly gut issue free!

Let’s start with the simplest tactic: awareness.

Like anything else that matters to you, you need to be aware of the fact that you are doing it or not doing it. “I have no clue why my kid resents me?” – maybe you are unaware that you never play with them… “I have no clue why I always get bloated and gassy after certain meals” – time to become aware.

Take mental, or better yet, physical notes on what’s going on! See if you can pin down the food that is causing the issue. For me – nearly crapping my pants was the final wake up call I needed to know milk probably wasn’t the best option.

Also, I noticed that every time I ate a raw fruit with a pit, my throat got scratchy. So guess what, I stopped eating them.

So many people decide to throw in the towel on their food and say “this is just how it’s going to be…”. Well, that’s not me, and that shouldn’t be you.

Once you find awareness, it is time for acceptance. 

Milk wasn’t a hard one for me to give up. But other dairy products that I love have been.

However, none of them give me as bad of a reaction as milk, so sometimes I choose to live with them…and this is part of acceptance. Either accept the fact that something makes you feel so crappy that you are okay with avoiding it, or accept the fact that you are going to live in denial and just continue feeling crappy.

For me, I have accepted my choice to avoid milk, and to limit the other stuff to special occasions – and accept that I might be a little gassy and bloated – and I’m ok with that once in a while.

What if you cannot pinpoint the culprit?

Food sensitivities can be brutal, and hard to pinpoint. Some common issues that maybe don’t seem so common are:

  • asthma and allergies
  • autoimmune disorders
  • skin conditions
  • arthritis
  • atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases
  • neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia
  • mood disorders
  • ADD/ADHD
  • narcolepsy
  • addiction
  • migraines
  • kidney problems

(via Precision Nutrition)

If you feel like you cannot pinpoint what is causing your issues, I suggest running an elimination diet. Yes, don’t get a test done – they are often inaccurate, and will just end up telling you to do an elimination diet anyways.

So here we go again, something that seems “hard” and most people won’t do this. But the freedom that this might bring you, and the pain and frustration it might prevent should motivate you to do this!

The Elimination Diet Protocol

First Three Weeks; follow these guidelines – via Precision Nutrition

Yes, this sounds tough, but again – worth it. Buckle down, own up, and make this happen.

After 3 weeks:

You want to pick ONE group that you eliminated and introduce it back for ONE day. Then cut it out for 2 days again – and look for any weird symptoms:

  • Gi Issues
  • Worse sleep
  • Joint pain
  • Sinus issues
  • Skin issues

Then reintroduce another food group and repeat the process with everything you cut out – one group at a time.

It might look like this:

  • Weeks 1-3 – Elimination Diet Protocol
  • Week 4- Monday – Add coffee back (yes, this would be the hardest for me too)
  • Week 4 – Tues – Wed – Cut coffee out (note any issues)
  • Week 4 – Thursday – Add citrus fruits back
  • Week 4 – Friday -Saturday – Cut out citrus (note any issues)

Repeat this with everything, and when you DO have that 2-day stretch where something seems to feel funky – you NOW have you suspect! Good work!

Final Tips

Yes, I know this doesn’t look easy. But again – are you willing to work to improve your well being and health?

Look back to the list above of what foods you can eat. Toss out anything that isn’t on the list – or the stuff that is on the elimination list. Then, use it as your shopping list. Go grocery shopping and buy only these foods, and find ways to prepare them.

It actually doesn’t look all that bad…

So much so that if this post gets 10 shares, I will run a full elimination diet and document the whole process for you! Game on!

Take your health back, invest in the process, and feel better in just about a month and a half…doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?

 

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

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

When Diet and Exercise are NOT Enough

I exercise, and I eat well – yet I still DON’T SEE RESULTS!

First question – what results are you after?

Second: Do they align with what you are doing?

Third: Do they align with what you do 24/7/365?

These are the three biggest questions you can ask yourself right now when it comes to the overall lifestyle that you are currently choosing to live. By taking a deeper dive into these questions, you may come to some harsh realizations that you did not want to accept, or you may come out completely “woke” to a different viewpoint.

What Results Are You After?

9 out of 10 people are going to start with “weight loss” as their answer. That’s a fact.

I encourage people to dive deeper. Weight loss could be accomplished just taking a giant dump, or chopping off a limb. Yet, we still give SO MUCH power to that silly little number on the scale.

“Hi, my name is Mike, and I lost .8 pounds in a year – sign up to work with me :)”

Not the most impressive sales pitch, huh?

Good thing “weight loss” wasn’t my goal.

My goal was to add muscle mass without putting on fat while being able to cut back to 3 days of lifting per week, enjoying more time with my family, and building my business. Now that is a specific goal!

If you look closely at the weight trends you can see when I was doing a small “massing” phase, and when I was doing a small “cut” phase…but thats beside the point. The point is – what are your REAL goals, that are not confined to a number on the scale.

Sure, you may have 50 pounds of body fat to lose, but I still want you to dig deeper than “lose weight” as a goal. Figure out why that 50 pounds needs to come off, and also find some other parameters to measure, because the weight will drive you nuts.

  • Measurements
  • Body Fat %
  • Performance Numbers
  • Fit of Clothes
  • Reduction in Medications
  • Blood markers

These things can all provide MUCH more insight than a number on the scale.

Do Your Desired Results Align with Your Current Nutrition and Training?

If I wanted to get super strong in the deadlift, it wouldn’t make much sense to train like a marathon runner.

If I wanted to lose a bunch of body fat, but keep all my muscle and stay “jacked” looking, it wouldn’t make much sense to go on a starvation diet.

There is much more to “diet and exercise” than eat less – exercise more, or eat more – exercise less.

It takes TIME to build muscle, and patience (or high dose anabolic steroids). It takes time to rebuild a broken metabolism.

If you want to maximize your muscle-building potential, training once per week will not cut it.

If you want to lose maximal bodyfat, eating 1000 calories per day will not end well.

If you want to become a more confident version of yourself and create a newfound level of happiness – losing body fat and looking sexy might not cut it…

We give these misconceived images to our goals and imagine that once we are at our arbitrary goal, we will find our result (leanness, happiness, etc.) However, we often miss the mark on taking the best path to those goals AND enjoying the journey.

If you are not happy, fat loss won’t make you happy.

If you are not confident, building muscle won’t make you confident.

They may help, but to get these kinds of results you must dive deeper, seek out different avenues to work on, and stop thinking that your body determines your persona.

Do Your Desired Results Align with What You Do 24/7/365??

No, this doesn’t mean that you need to obsess over diet and exercise all day, every day. Quite the opposite.

You become a walking version and representation of what you do on average, over and over again.

Maybe you crush it in the gym 4 times per week and follow a rigid diet 4 days per week…

But Friday-Sunday you party hard, booze it up, become sleep-deprived, and eat so much hangover food that you feel like Jabba the Hutt.

You likely are not going to become a bikini model, or be mistaken for Pre-Endgame Thor any time soon.

A) Trains, Eats Well, Repeats.                           B) Parties Hard 7 Days Per Week

This even goes far beyond diet and exercise. What are you sleep habits like, stress levels like, social interactions, and aspirations to a higher purpose or meaning in life?

Yes, having your health and taking care of your body is one of the most important things you can do, because, without that, you probably won’t be able to do all the other things you enjoy. BUT it is NOT the ONLY important thing in your life – or it shouldn’t be.

Back to my goal – add muscle mass without putting on fat while being able to cut back to 3 days of lifting per week, enjoying more time with my family, and building my business.

Yes, there was still a component of my body in there – and that’s my choice, man. BUT I also didn’t want to live at the gym, or not be able to play with my daughter and wife because “daddy has to train” – and I want to give my family a great life, so continuing to grow the business was important to me without adding tremendous extra hours “at work”.

I can proudly say that I did all of the above, and looking back on the year…did it pretty damn well.

This is over the course of 8 months…not 8 weeks. Time is important my friends.

Goals and results around your body and health are often accomplished more by what you do outside of the gym than what you do in the gym. Read this again.

Even if you train hard 7 hours per week. That leaves 161 other hours for you to do things that either support your goals or go against them. 

This can include so many things outside of food and exercise – so just make sure that your lifestyle aligns overall with what you want to accomplish – and make sure you know what you really want to accomplish.

 

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

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

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.

 

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

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

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.

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

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Consistency Over Everything Will Yield Results

This post was originally sent out via my insider’s email list…and I got a very big positive response to it, so I wanted to share it here. If you don’t already get the weekly insider emails (on Tuesdays) you are missing out! SUBSCRIBE HERE

Have you ever not gone to the gym because you didn’t have enough time to get your workout in?

Have you ever thrown out an entire day nutritionally because of one snack or one meal?

I am assuming that you have.

And I’m here to tell you that is not the best idea.

Are there plenty of legit reasons to skip the gym? Yes!

If you are sick, injured (some injuries can be worked around), have a special family event, etc. are all legit reasons to skip the gym…but…not having enough time is not one of them.

I find that guys are especially guilty of this.

“Back in my day I worked out for 2 hours per day, so what’s the point if I can’t do that anymore??”

A few things.

  1. You don’t need to workout 2 hours per day in the first place.
  2. There is so much you can do in 15-20 minutes.
  3. It’s likely your food that needs more work anyways.

When it comes to building a habit, the consistency and frequency of exposure are actually more important than the duration/intensity.

Going hard in the gym 2 days a week, but doing nothing the other 5 will not yield the results that most people want, nor help build a solid habit of being someone who exercises regularly.

But planning to do 5-10 minutes of planned physical activity, every day (assuming you are starting from ZERO) will help build the habit and the identity of someone who works out regularly.

It’s funny, people assume that trainers get to “work out all the time, and whenever they want”

It’s quite the opposite.

Personally, I lift 3-4 days per week for 30-45 minutes, do 1-2 cardio recovery/conditioning sessions that last 20-30 minutes, and that’s it.

I also work a job that routinely has me hitting 15,000 steps per day, and am aware of what I eat.

What do you think has a bigger impact on my health or my current physique? I would argue that lifting helps build the shape/look/strength of my body, but the daily movement and focus on diet is what controls the size/weight of the body.

So just because you are crunched for time, it doesn’t mean you need to skip the gym altogether. Even if you can’t get to the gym due to time – hit some bodyweight work. The possibilities are literally endless.

The same focus goes with nutrition.

Had a “bad” breakfast, so you just say the heck with it, and eat like crap the rest of the day?

Get a flat tire, and say the heck with it and slash the other 3?

It’s pretty much the same thing.

Those who are most successful with their relationship with food are those who practice true moderation, have at least some awareness of what they put in their bodies and are as consistent as possible.

True Moderation – enjoying a piece of birthday cake for your child’s birthday

Not Moderation – “only” eating 2 cookies every day, eating cake because it’s a stressful day at work, or having a nightcap to wind down from work (yes, daily drinking is not moderation, and will not help you with any physique goals.)

Awareness of Food – knowing what a high-calorie food is, and taking action to make an educated swap. Knowing that liquid calories are some of the easiest calories to cut – and doing it. Any many more basic examples.

No awareness of food – literally not knowing what is in what you eat. Or even worse is thinking you know and having no idea. 

Consistent as Possible – have a holiday or birthday? Sweet, enjoy it and get right back to schedule the next day.

Not consistent as possible – “well, it’s my birthday week so I might as well start eating like crap now”….” well, it was my birthday and that was on a Thursday, so I might as well just enjoy the whole rest of the week”

or

“I’m going on this hardcore diet of kale baths and lemon shots to lose 10 pounds before Spring Break”

– the same person struggles with that same 10 pounds up and down their whole life…

I talk about it often, “play the long game” when it comes to nutrition/diet/exercise. Keep chipping away at it…

BUT you have to actually be chipping away at it too, or the long game is the really long game…

Build simple, sustainable habits, and build more on top of them. Do it consistently, do it knowingly, and good things will happen. It doesn’t have to be a 2-hour workout or kale and lemon enema cleanses…just do a little bit more or better than you are doing right now, and you will start to see changes.

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Stay healthy my friends,

The Most Overrated “Healthy” Meals, and How to Fix Them.

This might be something you have never heard a dietitian mutter before, but salads aren’t necessarily that good for you.

What?!?!? Salads?!? The FIRST thing people gravitate towards when it is time to lose weight? Yes, salads.

As soon as someone decides to lose weight they start eating salads. Loaded with healthy veggies, and minimal calories, salads are a sure fire way to drop some lbs…maybe.

A client sent me this accurate depiction of a classic dieter’s week yesterday:

Pretty accurate I must say.

So why am I hating on salads?

1) They can be more calories than you think.

Just because it’s mostly veggies, doesn’t make it the healthiest choice. Depending on what else is on it, the salad option can be one of the heaviest options at a restaurant.

Toppings that aren’t necessarily “bad”, but can lead to the calories adding up are:

  • The dressing
  • Cheeses
  • Type of meat
  • Nuts
  • Candied nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Avacado

Here are some examples of calorie levels of some hefty salads:

  • Applebees Asian Chicken Salad – 1440
  • Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Cesear – 720
  • California Pizza Kitchen Waldorf Chicken – 1310 (below)

(Looks pretty healthy, doesn’t it?)

Again, not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but being aware of the fact that JUST because something is a salad, doesn’t automatically make it a healthy option.

Also, most salads on the menu’s at fast food joints come in around 350-600 calories, but these calorie listings DO NOT include the dressing, so make sure you are aware of that, and aware of how much dressing you put on it.

2) They can be too little calories and not enough nourishment.

As seen in the week;y diet picture above, eating salad everyday lead to a weekend binge.

This can also be the case with salads. They don’t pack enough nutrition to really be considered a meal.

Veggies are great, yes. But, if it is mostly iceberg or romaine lettuce, then you really are just eating a bunch of semi-fibrous water. Not much nutrient quality to be found in those “veggies”

Sure, maybe the salad fills you up physically because it takes up a ton of volume in your stomach, but you might find yourself hungry an hour or 2 later because eating only vegetables is not a real meal.

Google “low-calorie salads” and you will see articles spewing the most ridiculous garbage about 200-300 calorie salads that they claim are excellent meals to help you lose weight.

Sorry, but if you consider 200-300 calories a meal…yikes…

Now, one “meal” a day in that range might work for you, and isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you like to have more food at dinner… but having 3 meals at that range is not a healthy approach to weight loss! You won’t just lose water weight and some fat, but also muscle mass and your mind! Not good!

Undereating through willpower can only get you so far, and eventually, your body will fight you back. So please please please, do not go around eating the 200 calorie salad and calling it a meal.

How to make salads work for you

Now that I have shredded and diced apart salads, I’m going to come back and make peace with the salad.

They can be fantastic meals.

After a weekend of eating crap, our go-to Sunday dinner is this amazing salad: http://makinloveinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2012/07/famous-chopped-chicken-salad.html

However, to make sure that they actually align with your goals you need to first be aware of a few things:

  • How many calories are in this salad?
  • Is their protein?
  • Does it align with my goals?

First, knowing the calories is key. Don’t just assume that it is low. If you make it at home, measure out the added ingredients like nuts, fruit, dressing, etc. These things can add up FAST and if you are just guesstimating them, your calculations can be WAY off. (for example, a Tbsp. of walnuts is about 2 walnut halves…you probably put more than 2 walnut halves on your salad)

Second, protein. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, and you also need a certain amount of it to maintain muscle mass, and muscle protein synthesis (MPS). This is the bodies process of building and maintaining muscle, and the threshold has been found to be about 30g of protein per feeding time to reach max MPS.  This isn’t just for meathead bros, but for anyone who wants to live a long, healthy and independent life…that should be all of us!

Look for salads with grilled, not breaded, chicken. These will usually be your best option – and ask for a double serving of protein.

Third, make sure it aligns with your goals. If you are trying to become a better athlete, a salad might not be the best option. Athletes need carbs, and they are usually pretty short when it comes to a salad. Also, if you train hard, and are just trying to maybe look more like an athlete, or a beach babe…you need carbs! I’m not saying Michael Phelps level carbs, but you need some to fuel your training, so you can get the most out of your time at the gym.

One of my online coaching clients went from 23 to 19% body fat as we INCREASED her carbs slowly (currently eating 270 grams per day)…and she’s still going! 

Salads aren’t always the best thing you can eat, but they definitely can be better than many options out there. Like anything else when it comes to nutrition, awareness and some education are KEY for making foods work for you, without having to stress so much about eating things that you don’t like.

Do you need to eat salads to lose weight? Nope, but you can if you want – just make sure you are salad-ing responsibly.

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Stay healthy my friends,

Think Yourself Fit

Going off last weeks post about loving yourself first., I wanted to bring up the power of the mind.

The mind is truly the strongest “muscle” we have when it comes to what we do with our body. Our mind can convince us to do crazy things, and it can convince us to avoid things that we KNOW we should be doing.

This is why I preach about “mindset” so much with my clients!

Until you finally “get it”, it sounds like a bunch of feel good, Jedi mind trick stuff. But once someone understands that they must be in the right mindset, I can see it. It is like a switch that has been flipped, and true progress begins.

Your subconscious is one of your worst friends if you have struggled to lose weight for while. You have likely stored a lot of negative thoughts about yourself. What is stored in your subconscious will often rear its head into your conscious thoughts and actions.

If you are constantly thinking things OR saying things like “I will always be fat” “I am fat” “I am weak” “I am _____” I will always be ____” “This is hard”…etc – you will continue to reflect these thoughts in your every day because you have engrained those associations into your subconscious self.

When you continue to think this way, it makes it easier for you to accept that this is how it is, this is the hand that you were dealt and there is nothing you can do about it.

Well, I’m screaming BULL$#!T

This is where your thoughts and actions need to change. Stop thinking of yourself as one way, and start viewing yourself as the person you want to become – before you even become that person. I know this sounds like imposter syndrome, but it’s not.

You need to start viewing and thinking about yourself in a positive light. Maybe you aren’t strong at the gym…but you know what? You are pushing yourself day in and day out there, so start thinking about yourself as a powerlifter, or a bodybuilder, or whatever you aspire to maybe be. This, in turn, will start reflecting in other parts of your life.

People who get stronger/more cut at the gym eat healthier…maybe I will start eating healthier…and so on and so on, the snowball rolls.

Maybe you have fat to lose. Instead of thinking “ugh this is hard” and playing the victim card (which makes it easier to accept your current situation), buck up, and tell yourself “I got myself here, and I am getting myself out”… notice, I didn’t put the word “trying” in there.

Then you must continue to visualize, act, and progress like the person you wish to become…day in and day out. Only positive, and motivating thoughts.

There is enough depressing crap in the world right now anyway, so stop bumming yourself out more and playing this “woe is me” card. Start thinking positive, start building your future…now!

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Stay healthy my friends,

Love Yourself First

“You cannot pour from an empty cup”

In other word’s, you can’t help others who need you if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

On this Valentine’s Day, I want you to focus on you. It’s not selfish. It’s mandatory. I am not suggesting that you forget about your loved ones, your spouse, your kids, etc… I am just reminding you to not forget about YOU!

Now here is the not so popular/politically correct version…you can love yourself, but still, want to change.

In today’s society, we hear about loving yourself and being accepting of what and who you are right now. But it ends there. Don’t get me wrong, I agree 1000% with that.

However, wanting to change – especially for the sake of health – is also something that you can do, and frankly, it is the best form of self-love that you can show for yourself.

Being unhealthy is disrespectful to you, and your body – and it is disrespectful to those who care about you.

Maybe you have loved ones, friends, or family, who continue down a path of self-destruction, through their habits, their lifestyle, and their overall choices. They continue to ignore the signs of their body screaming at them for help, they continue to ignore the fact that they are slowing down…

So why would you do this to yourself? Do you have people who depend on you? Do you have people who love you, people who care about you? I know you do.

One of the truly most SELFISH things you can do is accept your current unhealthy state and do nothing. That is NOT self-love. That is accepting SELF DESTRUCTION and SELF ABUSE, and if you don’t care enough about yourself, I bet there are others who do.

Maybe you don’t see yourself as unhealthy right now. Maybe you have time on your side. But look at those who are 20,30,40 years older…some of these situations don’t happen overnight, and the cost of them isn’t felt immediately.

However, we cannot deny the facts. Facts that point out the health risks of certain lifestyles, mortality and morbidity rates.

SO what to do? Choose to change. Choose to TRULY love yourself.

You didn’t get to where you are overnight, so don’t try to fix it overnight. Create a sustainable plan, that is slow and steady and focus on one thing at a time.

But you must commit to it. No wishy-washy “trying”.  You need to commit to change and take action now.

Chase progress, not perfection. Make one little improvement every single day, and you will be amazed at what you can do in a year.

As long as you stay committed, and stay in line with your mission, goals, and end result…you will get there, and you will feel a heck of a lot better about loving yourself AND seeing how much more you can show your love for others.

Happy Valentines Day xoxo

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Stay healthy my friends,

The Missing Link For Progress

Fat loss stalled.

Muscle gain stalled.

Looking softer, or guys…having issues staying “soft”?

Time to diet harder, workout harder, or take more pills…right?

Not so fast.

What about your sleep?

Sleep is a foundational component of overall healthy life. Studies have shown that with as little as only 4 days of sleep deprivation, young, healthy males started to show biomarkers of type 2 diabetes! More here: https://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2015/02/19/new-study-helps-explain-links-between-sleep-loss-and-diabetes/

When we sleep is when our body recharges, our brain recharges, and our muscles rebuild. Growth hormone levels peak and lipolysis (fat burning) peaks during sleeping hours.

So when we don’t get enough sleep, we cut these very important processes short and set ourselves up for trouble from a metabolic perspective for days after.

How much do we really need?

Nothing new here – 7 to 8 hours. However, more isn’t always better. Some studies have shown that getting more than 9 hours can increase SOME risks…but really, who needs to worry about getting 9 hours of sleep…

Also – the quality of sleep matters. Are you in bed for 8 hours, but tossing and turning? Or are you dreaming about happy stuff and drooling on your pillow?

How to get more:

First – minimize stimulants close to bed – this being caffeine  – and anything else that gets you amped up.  Try to not have any stimulants after 12 PM.

Also – minimizing alcohol close to bed. Even though it is a depressant, it doesn’t allow us to get quality, restful sleep.

Second, have a wind-down routine.

Get off your phone at least an hour before your planned bedtime. Sounds crazy I know, but you can read before bed…from this paper thing called a book. Keep your phone out of the bedroom completely.

Even turning down the lights, turning off the TV, etc. will help the brain wind down.

As far as food goes, people respond differently, so that’s something you need to observe. I personally sleep better if I have some carbs about an hour before sleeping. Some people sleep best on no food.

Lastly, room temp. Try to keep the room around 65 degrees for best sleep.

It’s not the easiest thing to do – but getting more sleep might be one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Prioritize it, work at it, and you will notice some awesome changes.

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Stay healthy my friends,

HELP! I Can’t Get to the Gym but I Need to Workout!

What do you do if you can’t get to the gym…because of weather, car issues, or something else – but you know you need to do something, you need to be active, or you need to blow off some steam.

Look no further than body weight exercises. The only equipment you need is you – so no excuses there!

Now, the first thing to ask yourself is, “how do I feel today?”

Have you been crushing it all week, and feeling pretty sore, tired, and beat up? Then you probably need a recovery workout.

Or are you feeling good, and ready to challenge yourself? Then you could do a simple bodyweight circuit – which will not only work your muscles from a strength standpoint but also get your heart rate up for some cardiovascular health.

Recovery Workout

The point of this workout is to mobilize, get the heart rate a little elevated, but most importantly spark some recovery so you can be ready to go for your next training session.

Complete 4-6 Rounds of the following, with 30-60 seconds rest between rounds:

  • 6 x  Hinge to Squat to Reach
  • 6 x Quadruped Rock Back
  • 12 x Forward/Backward Skips
  • 6 x Plank Knee Crosses
  • 6 x SLOW Dead Bugs

Active Workout

The point of this workout is to hit the full body with a little more challenge. Complete 4-6 rounds of the following, with 30-60 seconds rest between rounds:

  • Bridge to Reach x 8
  • Side Shuffle x 5 times down and back ~10 feet
  • Inchworm (add pushup at the bottom for more challenge) x 6
  • Squat to Front/Back Lunge Combo x 6 times per side
  • Side Plank Leg Raise x 8 per side
  • Wide Outs x 10

So there you have it, no excuses, no reason to not do SOMETHING!

 

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Stay healthy my friends,