Keep your nutrition simple if losing fat is the goal…

For Fat loss, keep it simple..

Photo Credit: Court Prather

Like most women, I have spent years and countless dollars trying to lose weight. I overcomplicated things, followed super restrictive diets, and was a habitual quitter. I used the word diet like a verb and not the way it was originally intended to be used. Diet culture and the weight loss industry kind of likes it that way. Because if we can’t ever truly figure out how to lose weight or fat we will keep coming back looking for more. That is exhausting, discouraging, and not at all anything I want to be a part of.

I want to see women lose weight, lose fat, get healthier, and stronger. I want to see women become more confident and live the lives they were created to live.

No, I am not saying that it is your weight or the amount of body fat you’ve got, how much weight you can lift, or your health score that will give you worth, make you loveable, or beautiful. However, I do know that for myself and for so many other women that I’ve helped, the more they started taking care of themselves and started seeing progress in the arena of their health and fitness, they changed. They became more of themselves, more relaxed, and more confident.

With so much information out there, how do you decide what is right for you?

Keep it simple. Like almost so simple it seems silly.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, body fat, get stronger, tone it up, build a bikini body, or whatever you can use the same principles. You don’t need to completely cut out any certain foods or restrict yourself to the point you feel like you’re going to kill someone.. (I’ve been there!)

If you’re tired of riding the ‘diet’ rollercoaster, you wanna lift weights and stay lean, or just wanna have more of a relaxed relationship with food here are some pointers to get you started.

  1. Whole foods > Processed foods
  2. Eat mostly plants (fruits and veggies), lean protein, and quality/complex carbs, healthy fats in that order. It’s time to rethink the “my plate” slightly..
  3. Eat slowly—-> this one is a big one! Especially if losing is a goal. You gotta give your brain time to realize your stomach is full.
  4. Eat slightly less than you usually do.

If you wanna catch the video version (where I go in to detail a bit more on each of these), you can click here to >> catch my latest IGTV <<

What do you struggle with the most when it comes to your nutrition? Drop a comment below with your questions, successes, and struggles.

 

Healthy snack ideas for any diet

Yep, you read that right. I used the word diet, without even a blink of the eye. It’s not because I want you to buy into ‘diet culture’ which is in itself a pretty destructive and ineffective way to manage your weight, your health, or your sanity for that matter. Instead I use that word because the word diet itself simply means a way of eating…for life. So whatever diet you choose to follow, whether it be paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, clean eating, keto or any other diet created make sure it is one that will allow you to reach your physique + health goals and is something you can do for life.

It was that little shift in mindset that really was the catalyst for change in my own life. Before deciding I was going to create a new lifestyle, I had approached every diet with a temporary mindset. I chose things that were restrictive and designed to give me maximum weight loss in the shortest period of time…in other words, limit my carbs, eat veggies and protein, and lose a bunch of water weight. Not sustainable and not really what I was after. Fat loss, was really what I wanted. Sustainability was another thing I craved.

Speaking of fat loss, these snack ideas I’ve prepared just for you are sure to help with that. Not to mention give you sustained energy- think no more energy crashes and feeling satisfied longer.

Mix protein + healthy fat + carb

One of the best tips I can give when prepping any sort of snack for you or your kids is to make sure you are mixing lean protein, some healthy fat, and even a little carb in the form of fruit/ veggies/ or whole grains. When choosing carbs think about fiber content, look for carb choices low in sugar, and overall ingredients.

Focus on minimally processed

I touched on this a bit above, but let’s dive into this a little more…Whether you are choosing your carbs, proteins, or your healthy fats aka your macros, you want to look for ones that are in as much of a natural state as possible. Ask yourself how this food would have looked in nature. If you wouldn’t find the ingredients in nature, put it down and walk away.

It took some time for me to start reading food labels, and there was definitely a learning curve to it as well. Essentially if I can’t pronounce it and it looks like its a chemical compound, or I recognize it from sources other than food, I am not eating it and neither is my family.

Ditch the ‘diet’ foods

If you are doing the above, then this will be pretty easy. However, if you are still drawn to the 100 calorie snack packs and diet soda (like I used to be), or “snack” foods like crackers/cookies/bars then let’s chat about why these may not be the best choice for helping you curb your hunger mid afternoon.

Diet foods may have the calorie thing under control, as in they are either quite low in calorie or have no calories (like diet soda), however what they do have is probably a lot worse than a few extra calories from whole food sources. Often snack foods are laden with extra sodium, sugar, and ingredients that you likely wouldn’t find in nature. Diet inspired snack foods are also pretty low in nutrient density meaning the amount of good-for-you stuff is pretty low compared to the calories.

Some of my go- to snack ideas

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  • Hummus and veggies
  • Guac and veggies,
  • Hard boiled eggs and veggies or fruit
  • Greek yogurt and fruit (opt for a coconut or other non-dairy yogurt if you’re vegan)
  • Apple and almonds
  • Apple and peanut/nut butter
  • Fruit and cheese/ Veggies and cheese (can also use nut cheeses like almond)

It doesn’t matter if you make these yourself or get a little help from your local grocery store these are all good choices whether you are on the go or relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. There are tons of great options already made for you, just be sure to read the label, and when you’re snacking listen to your body’s hunger cues. Try stopping before you finish the whole thing. Take a breather between bites. Remove distractions that make it easy to finish the whole thing.

Keep in mind these are also great ideas you can use to fill out a lunch for yourself or your kids. Try making it a game if you’ve got picky eaters. Everybody has more fun when we make it a game!

What are you already doing that is helping you live a healthier life? Drop your tip in the comments below, I’m always looking for new strategies to try!

 

Cheers to a wonderful day,

Alisha Carlson (8)

 

 

A super simple and delicious peanut sauce you can make in less than 5 minutes

Do you secretly {or not so secretly} have a slight love affair with peanut butter?  I will find any and every way to have some just about every day. It’s the absolute cherry on top if I get it with a little dark chocolate too..but hey, I won’t be too picky 😉

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard that learning the art of  clean eating was the one thing that finally worked to help me lose weight for my wedding and has been pretty much the way we have eaten every since. Learning how to eat, changed my life. This was the first big step in getting off the yo-yo diet rollercoaster.

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Photo credit: Alexandra Andersson

Sauces and dressings I came to quickly learn are some of the easiest places to cut the crap aka chemicals, additives, and preservatives as well as the sugar content and overall calories.

I came across this peanut sauce recipe in a magazine I used to subscribe to, and it is seriously so simple, goes good with everything from stir fry to Thai, and takes less than 5 minutes to make. Count me in!

Forgive me, if you are someone that likes exact measurements as I am not the best at measuring things (maybe that is why I don’t do a whole lot of baking 😉 )

But here is my best guess at what you will need to make a single serving..If you need or want more just double or triple the recipe. And as always feel free  to play around with the ratios a bit!

1 T. Peanut Butter or nut/seed butter of your choice

2 T soy sauce/ coconut aminos (if you are gluten free or trying to limit your soy intake, use the coconut aminos)

1 T  Sweet garlic chili sauce

Sriracha to taste if you like a little heat

Add all of the above ingredients to a small bowl if you want to eat it chilled or to a sauce pan if you want to heat it up a bit. Heating it up slightly  will help the consistency and make it spread easier especially if you are using natural peanut butter. Mix all the ingredients until blended, top your fave dish with it, and let me know how much you love it!

 

Do you have a favorite recipe? Sharing is caring, drop a link in the comments below..

 

Cheers to you and peanut butter,

 

Alisha Carlson (8)

 

 

 

Getting in shape | Some things to consider before you start that new workout routine

 

 

So, you’ve finally decided to dust of those kicks and get your butt in gear…You’ve got your  cute new workout gear, a Spotify playlist to keep you motivated as you log those miles and those reps, heck you’ve even written out your goals with a detailed plan. This is fantastic news, and I seriously couldn’t be more thrilled that you are taking this courageous next step towards improving your wellbeing and your health.

If you’re anything like me then you probably get super excited to start something new. You go all in and throw yourself out there without much preparation. I am slowly learning that planning ahead is actually quite virtuous and saves a ton of time, but that is for another day and another post.

I do believe that there are certain benefits to being the ambitious and somewhat impulsive person that I am. We usually don’t hesitate to act. If we get an idea we are excited to start implementing right away, which of course saves us from analysis paralysis or procrastination. However, we also fizzle out pretty quick after the newness has worn off or we hit some pretty intense obstacles. As with everything, finding a balance between the two extremes is probably the best place to be. And I’m learning 😉

Alisha Carlson Fitness Contact

Before you lace up those new shoes and hit the gym, here are some things to consider as you start this new workout routine..

It’s ok to be a beginner. In fact, no matter how long you train we should always hold the curiosity and the humility of being a beginner.

Let your ego go. Allow yourself to be comfortable where you are at in your journey. This is going to require you to go in with your blinders on so that you aren’t comparing yourself to others.

Set a strong foundation from the start. Ask yourself these questions before you start your new exercise + nutrition program:

  • What is my current experience with exercise? Sure I mean time wise or training age, but also what has your experience with exercise been up to this point? Is it something you like/dislike, something you feel confident doing…etc.
  • What foundational skills do you have in place? This  will definitely impact your confidence in getting started and sticking with it. Plus, if you’re interested in something like olympic lifting or physique competitions, you want to make sure you’ve got the skills in place to help you succeed.
  • What are your end goals? This might seem silly, but if you don’t have a clear picture of what you want your body to feel and to look like and how you want to feel in your body, you will have a hard time finding the right exercise program for you. Someone who wants fat loss is not going to train or eat the same way as someone who wants to run their first marathon.
  • And last, but certainly not the least to consider is whether or not you are working with any injuries. If so, make sure to check with your doctor before starting and take the time to do the proper rehab. It shouldn’t be painful to workout, out of your comfort zone–yes, but physically hurt, not so much.

Regardless of if you’re just starting out, starting over, or have been working on your health and fitness for a while you will benefit from taking some time to walk through these steps and lay a strong foundation so that you can crush your goals for years to come.

If you’ve been in the fitness game for a while, what tips would you give to someone just starting out? And if you’re just starting out, what tip will you implement first?

I love hearing from you, drop your tip in the comment below so we can connect and learn from one another.

 

xo

Alisha Carlson (8)

 

Break your bad habits in just 5 minutes a day

 

5 Minute

 

What’s the hardest part about change for you?

Change is such a scary place to be. It’s like we know we want it, but we are afraid of what’s on the other side. There are so many quick fixes out there or plans that encourage us to completely overhaul our lives and make radical changes. Sometimes those plans work and sometimes they back fire in the worse way. Ultimately it depends on who you are and what works for you. If radical change is the only way to go and you can make lasting change, then this blog post may not be for you. However, if you like to dip your toes in the pool of change before diving in, then read on my sweet friend.

I mentioned the other day that I am on a new leg of my own journey. And I’ll be completely honest I am usually the one that dives all the way in and figures it out as I go. That works for me…. some of the time, but there are lots of times I get myself in too deep too fast. I get overwhelmed, confused, and just stall out. Sometimes instead of doing the same thing and wanting different results you’ve gotta be wiling to shake it up a bit. So in the spirit of being a bit rebellious to my old ways, I’ve decided to take it slow. Enjoy the journey, and reflect a bit more along the way.

If you’re staring change straight in the eye and it’s got you intimidated, then I got you! Instead of trying to eat the whole elephant at once, ask yourself what you can do in just 5 minutes a day? What small, seemingly insignificant change can you make in five minutes a day?

Maybe it’s parking a little further and walking more. Maybe it’s eating one more serving of veggies for the day. Maybe it’s going for a walk instead of plopping down on the couch after work. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it is moving you in the direction you want to be going. Then just focus on that simple 5 minute action daily and slowly build from there. And most of all just have fun with this! Try making it a game to see how many days in a week you can get that 5 minute action in. If you are someone that likes having a prize at the end, you can even try setting up little rewards along the way. So let’s say you do your 5 minute habit consistently for 2 or 3 weeks, have something that you will do for yourself (just make sure it is not going to undo what you’ve been working on for the past few weeks).

I’m dying to know what 5 minute habit you will commit to this week…let me know in the comments below, so I can check in on you and see how you’re doing with that!

Don’t let the fear of changing keep you from being all you were created to be! If you’re ready for more than a 5 minute change, then let’s chat, email me: alisha@alishacarlson.com and if you’re up for a little challenge, I’ve got a special 5 day mini-program that I want to get into your hands for free. You can click here to claim your seat. See you there!

Cheers to choosing change over comfort,

 

xo

Alisha Carlson (8)