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.
- Whole foods > Processed foods
- 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..
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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,
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 😉
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.
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: email@example.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,
How do you feel about pop quizzes? Don’t worry, you won’t be graded (and truthfully, I’ll never know your answer unless you’re feeling brave and let me know with a comment below 😉 ) Without thinking too much about it, which one do you identify with more?
Are you a
> > Goal getter: sets goals and crushes them every single time no matter how long it takes
> > Goal forget-er: sets goals, well more like sends wishes out into the universe hoping/wishing/ praying/ crossing your fingers that they will just somehow happen. Then are constantly feeling discouraged and defeated when you’re not anywhere closer to where you wanted to be…
If you’re already a goal getter, congrats! Keep doing what you’re doing. Hit reply and let me know your system 🙂
If however, you answered goal forget-er, read on.
I was the latter for most of my life. I don’t think I really remember hitting a goal that I had deliberately set for myself until I was in my early 20s. Before that it seemed like everything was either dumb luck or my stubbornness working in my favor for once..While that might seem cool and all, it isn’t a predictable way to go after your goals.
Sure, you need resilience and belief in order to achieve things you’ve never achieved before. But you also need a bit of a plan, a clear vision, and you may even need to learn a few skills along the way.
Before you Google goal setting strategies, here are two of the most common goal setting techniques I’ve seen. I tend to oscillate somewhere between. I like having goals bound by time, but I’ve also had to learn to not beat myself up if I miss a goal deadline. It’s ok to not reach your goals as long as you are taking action every single day towards them. In all reality is less about the success in hitting your goals and more about who you become in the process.
After all, we tend to set goals because we think they will bring us something…usually it’s joy, fulfillment, happiness, peace, contentment, worthiness, value, etc. Spoiler alert, you don’t actually need to wait until you hit your goals to feel those things right now.
So, do you set SMART goals or Process goals?
There is a good chance you’ve heard or seen SMART goals at least once in your life even if you didn’t realize it at the time. A SMART goal by definition is- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and is bound by time. An example of a SMART goal would be:
I will walk 5x a week every week until August 31, 2018.
With this you see that it is specific, we know what you will be doing. It is also measurable. You can track whether or not you walked 5x a week. It is also quite achievable and realistic. And of course setting a ‘done by date’ or deadline, gives you a time parameter.
>Things I like about SMART goals<<
They are clear and defined. You know what you are doing, how often, and you have the sense of urgency a deadline can bring.
You can become defeated or discouraged if you constantly set goals based on a hard deadline. Let’s say you have the goal of losing weight by a specific event. Let’s say your goal is to drop 10 pounds by summer. So you set your SMART goal and you execute daily on the the specific action or actions you decided on. You’re consistent, you’re diligent, you’re committed. You don’t miss your workouts and your diet is nearly perfect, except the occasional treat here or there. You’re doing everything right.
You hop on the scale after several weeks of this stellar behavior, and BAM! You’ve only lost 3 pounds. Does that mean you failed because you didn’t lose the entire 10 pounds? Does that mean that you didn’t work hard enough? Does that mean you should not celebrate what you did accomplish?
But depending on how your mind works, those are some of the thoughts that might be racing through your head. How do I know? Because that was me. I still catch myself at times going back to that old way of thinking. Habits are hard to break, and our self-talk is no different.
I’m also not a huge fan of only setting realistic goals..think about this for a moment. If you have a goal of losing 100 pounds, yet you’ve never done that before. Does the goal feel realistic in the moment? Likely not. Why? because you’ve probably never lost 100 pounds before, but have probably tried to 100 times before. I’d like to offer that we swap realistic for possible. Is the goal in the realm of possibilities? Has anyone else ever in the history of humanity achieved the goal? Could it be done within the natural realm of possibilities? If you can answer yes to either of those, then its a goal worth setting no matter how crazy it might seem.
Process goals vary from SMART goals in that it focuses more on, you guessed it, the process. These types of goals tend to be less focused on the outcome and more focussed on the consistency of a desired action. Process goals emphasize the importance of the journey and prioritize who you become along the way over what you achieve.
In my honest opinion I think this is perhaps a more biblical way of looking at setting goals. Why? Well, we can’t control an outcome no matter how hard we hustle, how diligent or driven we are, or how obsessed we become. We can simply control how well we showed up each day.
If the thought of setting a deadline overwhelms you and brings on anxiety, then I’d like to suggest that you may want to consider setting goals that focus on specific actions you can take. That instead of measuring whether or not you hit a specific goal ie weight loss that you also measure and focus on the in between–where you are now and where you’d like to be someday.
Remember, you will never truly ever reach the finish line. Goals are intended to inspire us to become slightly better today than we were yesterday. Not because you aren’t good enough as you are, but because you were created to be so much more. Who doesn’t want to reach their absolute fullest potential? Its not necessarily for this life that we strive for those things, but for the one we were created for.
Regardless of where you are in life and how you have or have not reached past goals, you can always make strides towards the vision you have for yourself. Just might take rolling up your sleeves and doing a little work…Your ability to imagine for yourself the life you want to be living will be the ultimate litmus test for whether or not your goals are either realistic or achievable.
Get out there and shine,
PS. If you need a little help mapping out your goals, here is my gift to you
“You must first master a knew way of thinking before you can master a new way to be.”
It all starts in our minds. Our thoughts inform our feelings and it is often how we feel about something that informs our actions. Which repeated over and over form our beliefs about ourselves, others, and our environments. I believe this is why the Bible talks over and over again about guarding and renewing your mind. We were not created with negativity in mind. However, that is sadly the soundtrack that most of us hear on repeat.
It is important to realize that if you are merely listening to your thoughts, the chances of those thoughts being negative are almost always 100%. I don’t believe this is how it’s always been. When you look at kids, up until a certain age they don’t seem to have that kind of vulnerability towards negative thinking about themselves. Sure, some kids seem to from early ages, but when I look at kids, I see courageous little beings with the belief that anything is possible and that they are capable of doing whatever they set their minds to. In fact, just the other day my 7 year old son asked me to reach out to one of his gaming heroes to see if they could team up and play a game together.
I was taken back for a second by his unwavering hope and belief that he would actually get to do this if he simply asked for it. It breaks my heart to say that as of yet, his wish has not come true, but there is an equally powerful lesson in the let down as well. And I can only hope and pray that I help him navigate this in a way that encourages him to continue reaching for the things that seem impossible.
So, what’s this got to do with you and me?
We often start backwards. We try to implement new ways of being before we ever even think about what is going on between our ears. The catch is, if we don’t attend to our thoughts our new behaviors won’t last long. Even if you can create new habits. You will always run into self-sabotaging behaviors.
Sometimes the thoughts will feel foreign or phony at first. When that happens it is worth exploring why that is. I know it is hard to see what it isn’t there yet and have faith that it is in the waiting, but it is. That next level version of yourself is waiting for you to discover her and to reveal her to the world around. It is not about faking it until you make it, but more about slowly becoming that vision of yourself starting in your thoughts.
How would she carry herself?
What would she eat?
How does she dress, do her hair?
Does she have good relationships with others?
What does she read?
Craft up that vision, and put yourself in her shoes. You may not know exactly the answers to those things yet, but you can take a good guess, because she is you. She is the future you. Start thinking like her and you will cultivate the ability to behave like her too. Bit by bit. Thought by thought. If you’re ready for new outcomes, welcome new thoughts.
P.S. I’d love to hear from you, my inbox is always open. Drop me a line and let me know what thoughts you are committing to exile this week! firstname.lastname@example.org