How to Quit Dieting Forever

How to Quit Dieting Forever

Five Nutrition Habits to Help With Weight Loss Or Weight Maintenance

How to Quit Dieting ForeverWhat if I told you that you never had to diet again? Would you be relieved? Dieting can take a lot of mental energy, but I’ve learned three things in the course of my journey and five habits that have made my nutrition sustainable forever.

 

 

Three things I’ve learned: 

1.) I can’t out exercise a bad diet.

2.) I have to create a way of eating that works for me…forever.

  • (If you are currently following a diet that you can’t do forever, keep tweaking it until you can.)

3.) Follow the 5 habits 80-90% of the time and leave room for my favorite foods.

I’ve talked about how I grew up eating hamburger helper, Kraft macaroni & cheese, cheese sandwiches, Cocoa Puffs, and just about every snack you can buy in a box or a bag. I really didn’t start to change my way of eating until I graduated college and started gaining more knowledge in the nutrition field. I wouldn’t change how I grew up because it allows me to see how much I’ve grown in the last seven years!

In my younger years, I used to exercise constantly so I could continue to eat junk food. After hitting 25, this didn’t work anymore. I knew I needed to incorporate some better habits. The good part of the five habits is it has allowed me to keep my favorite foods. Striving for 80-90% compliance still gets great results! I’ve found if I can leave in a few pieces of chocolate, a cookie or going out to my favorite restaurant 1-2x a week, I find myself not feeling deprived.

Finding a way of eating that works for you takes some time and patience but it’s definitely do-able. Here is what has worked for me and individuals I work with.

Habit 1: Make vegetables a staple in your diet. Strive for at least 3 servings a day. 5+ servings is ideal. 

This isn’t breaking news. We all know we need to eat vegetables daily for weight loss, great energy and a way to get a great source of fiber, vitamins and nutrients in. Plus, vegetables fill you up without adding a ton of calories. Learn more here on how I increased my vegetable intake over time.

What’s a serving of vegetables?

1 cup of leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine, butter lettuce, etc.)

1/2 cup of cooked or raw vegetables

Don’t want to measure? A fist is roughly the size of a serving. In order to hit the recommended servings, focus on getting at least one serving with every meal.

Habit #2: Eat a source of protein with every meal 

Protein helps you stay full for several hours, stabilizes blood sugar and helps maintain & increase lean muscle mass. Practice incorporating protein at every single meal. Strive for at least 60 grams of protein a day (20 grams per meal if you eat three meals a day). I personally do best when I eat closer to 80-100 grams a day.

Servings and examples:

Read your labels for serving sizes or use the size of your palm for a minimum amount of protein with each meal (about 20 grams).

Protein examples: eggs, egg whites, turkey, chicken, beef, pork, bison, fish, shell fish, game meats, dairy products like cottage cheese, cheese, Greek yogurt or a high quality protein powder.

Vegetarian or vegan? Plant based proteins include beans, quinoa, nuts, seeds.

Habit #3: Make water your beverage of choice 

I have come a long way in this department. For most of my teenage and early adult life, diet pepsi, propel, diet snapple, mountain dew and fruit juice made up my liquid consumption. There are so many benefits to drinking water. I notice healthier skin, improved energy, preventing muscle fatigue, and most of all, it keeps me hydrated. When I was drinking fruit juice and diet drinks, my taste buds were so elevated to sweet. I remember trying something unsweetened and hating it! After switching out diet drinks and juice and drinking more water, I automatically desensitized my taste to sweet. Now, the diet drinks taste too sweet!

Action Steps:

1.) Strive for half your body weight in ounces of water (150 lb person should drink 75 ounces of water) If this seems like too much, make sure your pee is clear or a light yellow so you know you’re hydrated.

2.) Use a straw to help get the ounces in. This was a game-changer for me! For some reason, a straw has helped me hit my goal daily.

3.) Slowly switch out your normal drinks for water. If you love soda like I did, start weening yourself and replace it with water.

4.) Start your day with a large glass of water.

5.) Don’t like plain water? Add lemon, lime, cucumber or a few pieces of fruit for flavor.

6.) Try sparkling water for something new. I enjoy drinking a can of La Croix a few times a week to mix things up.

Habit #4: Include healthy fats in your meal plans 

Fat is great for your hormones, brain and cell membrane health, healthy skin, and feeling satiated between meals! Fat also gives your food (especially vegetables) flavor! Use it to roast or sauté vegetables.

Healthy fat examples: raw nuts, raw seeds, nut butter, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado, fish oil, flax oil, olives, and animial fats like eggs and meat.

Be sure to read your labels if you’re buying something from a bag or box. Fats to avoid most of the time include vegetable oils and canola oil.

Action Steps 

1.) Add 2-4 servings of healthy fat into your daily meal plan.

2.) Watch serving sizes. It’s easy to overeat healthy fats.

3.) If you’re looking for weight loss, cut down on the amount of carbohydrates and eat more healthy fat so you’re eating enough calories.

Example meal: Baked salmon with roasted broccoli (baked in olive or coconut oil).

Habit #5: Eat slowly and stop at 80% full 

I’m a recovering speed eater. I would eat so fast that after my meal, I would immediately look in the refrigerator or cupboards to find what else I could eat. Shortly after, I would feel stuffed! It has taken some time to slow down my eating, but now I’m much more in tune with feeling satisfied versus stuffed.

Action Steps: 

1.) Eat on small plates. If you put an appropriate portion size on a dinner plate, it looks small and your brain might automatically think you’re depriving yourself. By eating on small plates, your meal looks larger.

2.) Chew your food thoroughly. I’ve shared this with many people that I would always chomp, chomp, swallow. Now, I chew about 20-30x before swallowing. The texture should be a soft mash in your mouth. Some things (like raw vegetables) take longer to eat, while other great food choices may not take as much time.

3.) Set down your fork between bites. It’s easy to use your fork as a shovel. Try setting it down after each bite and chew thoroughly.

4.) Eliminate distractions. If you’re watching television, talking on the phone or working on a computer, it’s easy to overeat. Take some time to eliminate the distractions so you can enjoy your meal.

What about eating carbohydrates? Something to consider: If you’re trying to lose weight, eat starchy carbohydrates on days with challenging workouts . If you’re looking to maintain your weight, find how many carbohydrates you need to keep your weight stable. 

Carbohydrates aren’t evil. As a matter of fact, we need them for energy! Eliminating carbs completely doesn’t work for most people forever. Individuals who exercise a lot need plenty of carbs to perform and keep their energy up. So, you need to find you’re sweet spot with how many carbs you need.

If you’re looking to lose weight, save your starchy carbohydrates (bread, oats, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit) for days where you get in a challenging workout. They are best consumed after your workout. You can start with 1/2 cup to a cup at one or two meals. Trial and error until you find what keeps your energy up, hunger stable and cravings low.

On days that you don’t exercise or perhaps do a leisure walk, focus on using vegetables and low sugar fruit (berries, apples, grapefruit) to make up your carbohydrate intake. Be sure to eat enough healthy fat (3-5 servings).

If you’re looking to maintain your weight, pay attention to how many carbs help you maintain your weight. Some people can do well with some carbs at every meal (1/2 cup to 1 cup). Others may need to pay attention to their exercise intake.

Note: The most important thing to keep in mind is paying attention to your energy level. If you’re eating well and exercising, but have awful energy, you’ll need to increase your carb intake.

 

 

 

Healthy Chicken Stir-Fry

Chicken Stir-Fry

Healthy Chicken Stir-FryI love stir-fry and it’s a great way to get a few servings of vegetables! I have tried a variety of stir-frys. Sometimes I buy the frozen bag of “stir-fry” vegetables and other times I create my own. Find what works best for you!

 

 

Ingredients

Serves 4-5 

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

On medium heat, add chopped chicken, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Saute until the chicken is cooked through. Set cooked chicken on a plate, then add in vegetables and remaining olive oil. Add in a little more salt and pepper. Once the vegetables are cooked through, add chicken back in.

Super simple! You can add salsa, sriracha, hot sauce or sliced avocado on top!

Heart Rate Training For Your Workouts

Three Ways to Mix Up Your Workout Routine

Even working in the fitness industry, I catch myself getting bored of my workouts. Here are three things that are keeping me engaged and loving every workout!

1.) Heart Rate Training 

Heart Rate Training For Your WorkoutsI have used a heart rate monitor before, but simply to have the awareness of how hard I was working during my workouts. It was motivating! I have to admit, I took a long break from my watch and band because I got bored. Now, I’ve learned a new way to track my heart rate during workouts by working into three zones.

I purchased a new Polar heart rate monitor (bluetooth) and downloaded the Polar Beat app. Three to four times a week, I’ll use my monitor and app to track the intensity of my cardio and strength workouts. My goal: to stay at least 20 minutes in the yellow and red zone throughout the entire workout. Working up to this intensity can help create a metabolic disturbance so you’re metabolism is elevated 20-40 hours afterwards.

Example workout:

Pick your choice of cardio: increase to a challenging resistance/speed until you reach the red zone. Once you’ve reached the red zone, lower the intensity until you reach the green zone. Continue to go back and forth for 15-20 minutes.

Elliptical:

Warm up 1-2 minutes at a light resistance.

Resistance Level 14 until you reach the red zone.

Resistance Level 6 until you reach the green zone.

Metabolic Training

Warm up of your choice

20 Goblet Squats

40 Mountain Climbers (20 each leg)

20 KB Swings

15 Push Ups

20 Lateral Lunges (10 each side)

10 Push ups

10 Renegade Rows

20 Lunge Jumps (10 each side)

  • Complete as many exercises back to back until you reach the red zone then pause and wait until you reach the green zone. Once you’ve reached the green zone, continue where you left off in the circuit.

2.) Fitbit 

Use a fitbit for consistent exercise Pedometers have been around forever and I was never really interested in owning one until last month. I received one for Christmas and it has been motivating me more than ever. First of all, I thought I moved more than I actually did. I enjoy exercising daily for the mental clarity, whether it’s a short, leisure walk, yoga, weight training, or even doing a quick run to break a sweat. After owning a fitbit for a few weeks, I realized I don’t really get that many steps in naturally. I averaged about 5,000. It’s definitely helped me move more! I go for a few leisure walks a day and find other ways increase my steps. So far, I’ve been able to hit 10,000 steps most days, but it takes some effort. Exercising intensely can cause overtraining and can even stall results because you’re stressing your body too much. Leisure walking is a great low intensity exercise that you can do everyday because it doesn’t elevate your stress hormones.

3.) Try Something Completely New

I’ve always wanted to try boxing and finally I signed up to take a class. I love it. It has challenged me mentally (learning new skills) and physically. Trying something new for exercise can also be great for working out of a plateau, plus help you work through a mental block of exercise.

 

A blueprint action guide to help you stick to your new year resolution goals in 2016.

How To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution All Year Long

A blueprint action guide to help you stick to your new year resolution goals in 2016. Well it’s that time of year again; time to think and reflect about how you would like to grow and better yourself in 2016. This is an exciting time of the year because motivation to change is at it’s peak. I’m reading a lot online right now on why you shouldn’t set goals and some coaches are promoting anti-resolutions. Everyone has their own view on this topic, but I personally like resolutions. It gives you some time to think about what you really want to accomplish over the course of the next 12 months. Once you’ve reflected on what you want to change this year, be sure to set up your action steps. My advice: look at the big picture of what you want to accomplish, then put together baby steps to get there. This is key to not draining your mental energy or willpower throughout the journey over the next 12 months.  

I’ve written a detailed blue print to success to change guide here, but I decided I wanted a summarized version.

1.) Discover your why. Ask yourself why you want to make this change. Why is it important to you?

2.) Become aware of where you are currently. Learn more about yourself and see where you currently stand. How are you acting now compared to where you want to be?

3.) Take action. Start with one, simplified change. Find an easy step that will help you change and work towards your goal, but won’t drain your mental energy.

4.) Be accountable & practice consistency. Notice how I didn’t say practice perfection. Being perfect only leads to a negative outcome. Be sure to realize slip ups will occur along the way, but don’t let it discourage you from trying again. Tracking your progress allows you to learn from mistakes.

5.) Simplify your process and build a habit. How do you know it’s a habit? When you don’t have to think about your goal anymore because you do it naturally.