Break the Fast. Why Breakfast is SO Important.

24 Apr

“Some people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but this practice is more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss. Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity. Studies show that overweight and obese children, adolescents, and adults are less likely to break the fast each morning than their thinner counterparts. According to research, skipping meals, especially breakfast, can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger. Several studies suggest that people tend to accumulate more body fat when they eat fewer, larger meals than when they eat the same number of calories in smaller, more frequent meals.”

The excerpt above is from webmd.com and shares just a few good reasons why it is SO important to eat breakfast! Think about it. If you don’t eat in the morning, you could be going up to 18 hours without food & statistics show that you are more likely to be overweight IF you SKIP it! On the flip side, you will be more alert and less hungry throughout the day by simply getting something in your body early in the morning. In fact, most experts suggest eating within the first hour of waking up! This is a great way to jump-start your metabolism:)

I typically stick to oatmeal and egg whites every morning. Sometimes I mix it up by making pancakes or muffins out of them but if I have time I like to scramble my eggs and mix my oats with cinnamon:)  However you might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time in the morning to make breakfast! Especially eggs.” I hear this from my clients all the time, however there is always a solution. Here are some simple and quick ideas for breakfast if you are in a hurry.

1. Protein Shake
2. Egg White Muffins (made the night before)
3. Protein Pancakes (also made the night before)
4. Quest Bar

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What Motivates You?

16 Apr

I woke up this morning not feeling very motivated…I’m just going to lay it all out there! Mondays have always been my favorite day of the week, but for some reason this morning I woke up not wanting to get out of bed! On top of that, all I could think about was a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms! Am I the only one that has these moments? I hope not… haha

Anyways, it got me curious as to the different methods that we use to motivate ourselves. I have a few that I use, but I am very interested in hearing what motivates everyone else?! I posted a status update on my Facebook page asking “What motivates you?” and so far the responses have been great! If you would be so kind, leave a comment and tell me and everyone else, what it is that keeps you moving! Your response is likely to help motivate others who like me, are having to dig deep this morning to get the job done! Thanks!

Motivational Monday! [Setting a date]

9 Apr

Working at a gym I hear and see a lot when it comes to people and their “goals.” Most people who come in are eager to share what they want to accomplish and also what they plan on doing to make it happen. There is usually a reason too as to why they are finally ready to get going! I really enjoy listening to people talk about their goals and also encouraging them accomplish everything they desire:)

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in what is motivating people to hit the gym and get healthy! I didn’t realize it till just a few moments ago but I am in fact part of this trend! With that being so, I can confidently say, “It works!” Maybe not for everyone, but I think for a good majority of people, like myself, this will be a fun way to stay motivated on our own personal journeys to fitness. What is this trend? I like to call it, “Setting a date.”

In the past when I was trying to eat clean or diet, after about a week or two I would end up losing motivation. I would end up forgetting why I ever started and convince myself that there really wasn’t a good reason as to why I wasn’t allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted when I wanted. What finally got me focused was when I decided to compete in a fitness show. Now that decision alone wasn’t enough. You see I have been wanting to compete for a while now, I just never really followed through. However, once I finally set the date, that was it, I was motivated! Then, I took it a step further and became invested. I bought the suit, invited my friends & family, and I fixed my eyes on the prize:) All I could think about was the day I would finally get to reap the benefits of all my hard work! And every time a temptation came, which they did 🙂 I just reminded myself of that day!

Now I’m not saying that everyone needs to pick a fitness show or start bodybuilding! There are many other dates that you can set and they can be lots of fun! How about  cruise?! (this seems to be a popular one right now) A day at the beach!? A family cookout by the pool?! Getting married (now that’s a big one!) Or how about a nice dinner that gives you a chance to wear a new outfit!? It doesn’t have to be a bathing suit occasion or even an expensive one. Anything that motivates you and gives you a chance to show off your hard work will do!

So start thinking! Then set the date & after that take it one step further and become invested! Buy the outfit, make the reservation & invite your friends. Doing these things will keep you accountable when you have a weak moment. There is no better time to start then now! And remember to celebrate your victories along the way, ALL of them, no matter how small. This is a marathon not a sprint!

THINK fit. LIVE fit.

12 Feb
Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t,
you are usually right.
-Henry Ford
 

So many people today are consumed with what other people think about them, when in reality, all that matters is what we think of ourselves! Our minds are so powerful, but how many of us spend time exercising and really training it? Rarely do we actually “think about what we are thinking about” and rather allow media to influence and persuade us. The world is constantly telling us how we should look, how we should feel, what we should have, and vice versa; what we shouldn’t look like, how we shouldn’t feel and what we shouldn’t have. With so many different voices influencing our decisions it isn’t surprising that I often come across people who are busting their butts to “get fit” but have no idea what that even looks like! When I ask what their goals are or what they want to achieve they can rarely paint a clear picture.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to think and even speak positively about and to yourself! Like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” So why waste time thinking defeated thoughts or putting yourself down? Even physically, it is your mind that is first to respond when you begin working out! You may notice that the first couple of weeks are the hardest but once you break through that wall, it starts to get easier. This isn’t just because you are getting physically stronger. It’s because your mind is learning to communicate the new functions quicker and easier with your body! Amazing, isn’t it?

You MUST be your biggest cheerleader! Speak positive to yourself, think good thoughts, and focus on the good not the bad! It is important that we think fit on the inside as we live fit on the outside!

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

11 Jan

…and neither were you. One of the greatest things and yet sometimes one of the most frustrating is the realization that ONE day alone won’t make or break you. Unfortunately, one day of intense cardio, heavy weights, and eating completely clean food will not automatically make you drop 20lbs or gain 10lbs of muscle. I know we all wish that were the case. On the flip side, one day of rest or missed gym time and poor eating won’t make you gain 20lbs or lose 10lbs of muscle either!

It’s time to lose that mindset of “failure” just because you’ve had a moment of weakness. We all have moments of weakness! The difference in those that succeed and those that don’t is their mindset. They see that moment of weakness for what it really is, a moment. They do not let it define them and keep them down! It’s the choices we make day in and out that will make us who we are or who we want to be. One day is just one day. However, ONE day when partnered with another ONE day and yet another WILL in fact make or break you.

My advice to us all in this New Year is to look at the BIG picture!! Your goal for your health in 2012 should not be made with the mindset of a quick fix. Being healthy and fit is a lifestyle. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s easy to do some crazy diet (aka starve yourself) and drop a few pounds, but come next month you’ve gained it all back. Don’t be discouraged if you make a mistake or if you miss a day at the gym because tomorrow is a new day! Each day you have the opportunity to start fresh. So, as we all hit the gym in the up and coming months make up your mind, that you will not give up! One day won’t make or break you, but ONE year could change your life!

The Not So Sweet Truth About Sugar Part II

20 Dec
On my last blog, I told you how sugar (AKA granulated Satan) can undermine your fat loss efforts.  It can literally undo months and months of hard work in the gym in just a few days.  In my opinion, NOT worth it!
What you may not know is that sugar is in lots of other foods as well. Most of which, you probably eat and woudn’t even think about. Things such as…
 Breads…
Cereals (big time)….
Dried fruits…
Protein bars 
(protein bars can pack in as much sugar as a snickers!)
 “Lite” items such as salad dressings, condiments, and “fat free”, are huge sources of metabolism damaging sugar as well. The safest way to prevent hidden dangers in your diet is to eat mostly “whole”, unprocessed foods, such as veggies, lean chicken, fish, turkey, meats, and eggs.  You will feel fuller and more satisfied while keeping your blood sugar stable and insulin from surging to wash the sugar out of your blood (and into fat stores!!).

The Not So Sweet Truth About Sugar

13 Dec
Most of us know that snickers, ice cream and other “junk” foods annihilate our weight loss efforts. But do you really know why ALL sugar is bad?  What you DON’T know, it turns out, CAN hurt you!
Here’s a little simple science for you to ponder over some egg whites 😉

All forms of sugar (even “hidden” sugars in processed and packaged foods, breads, pastas, and even fruits) cause an insulin response in the blood. Once sugar enters the bloodstream, your insulin level spikes in order to move the sugar to glycogen stores. Most people have enough glycogen stored in their muscles to run about 20 miles so unless you did your daily 20 mile jog this morning, guess where that sugar you just ate is going…You guessed it! Right to your fat stores. (Now you know where the saying “a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips” came from)

Your body is designed to use quick energey first (glycogen or “stored muscle carbs”) not fat, because fat is harder for the body to convert into energy. Even muscle tissue, if the body is not trained correctly, is a prefered fuel source as it is more easily converted to glycogen by the body. So, when insulin is present (when sugar is in your blood) your body can’t use fat as energy…bummer, huh? Simply put, everytime you consume sugar, not only do you TRAIN your body to use only the energy readily available and NOT the excess “junk in your trunk”, but you also hinder its ability to do so later on.

Next, we will talk more about the different sugars you may be eating, what they do to you and some other hidden diet dangers! 🙂

It’s Easy. It’s Natural. & it’s Pain-Free!

2 Dec

Maybe you can relate…

My whole life I have always strived to be comfortable. I must have been taught at a very young age that being comfortable is the goal in life. Isn’t that what the “American Dream” is all about? Being comfortable.  Think about it. When something hurts, we avoid it. Pain, after all, is very bad. And those awkward moments that make us feel “uncomfortable….” Who actually enjoys that? Let’s face it, we ALL have a comfort zone and that’s where we want to live our lives. It’s easy. It’s natural. And it’s pain-free.

I have never in my life been so far outside of my comfort zone as I am right now. Nothing is comfortable. However, with that being said, I have never been so pleased with my life and the growth I’ve seen as I am right now. I have learned that my level of comfort is directly related to my growth. This applies in any and almost every area of life. Sharing my faith with people who think I’m silly for actually believing in a “God” is not comfortable. Lifting weights to failure, when I’m tired, shaking, and usually hungry (haha) is definitely not comfortable. Sneaking baggies full of chicken and veggies to football games and having to eat it with my hands (because there was no way I could get past security with a fork) while my dad stares at me like a complete weirdo….NOT comfortable.

I don’t know why I have spent my whole life trying to be comfortable, as if pain were a bad thing! There is never pain without purpose, pain produces growth. Jesus said to rejoice in tribulation, not run from it or avoid it. It’s time we push ourselves past our limitations, and by limitations I mean the barriers that WE have in fact set up for ourselves, because we are not limited by anything but our own thoughts! It’s time we re-train our minds to understand that pain is not bad. That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger, remember? So let’s get out of this “comfort zone” that we all love SO much, and let’s agree to be better, because we all have the ability to make a difference. You can do whatever you set your mind to, but it might involve being a little uncomfortable.

Airplanes & Football Games

27 Nov
MUCH to my entertainment, my newest “fitness freak” friend Susannah, (although she worked out and ate fairly healthy before), has begun to “enjoy” the  fruits of her hard work & even healthier eating (ie. more muscles, leaner, toned physique, strange looks, comments from everyone, weird stares….you get the picture :).  Just five minutes ago I was laughing out loud as I looked at a text I received with a picture of Susannah, beaming like the sun was in her eyes, holding a plastic baggie filled with something green and possibly some type of cooked meat….  Not two minutes earlier, according to her (dramatized I’m SURE), her family had stopped at Burger King, gotten a burger, and waved it under her nose.  Two nights prior, the same family member had offered her multiple bowls of ice cream ALL night.  I could feel the distraught tone in her text as she was frantically trying to resist the temptation (I of course, was laughing hysterically )  As much as she likes or dislikes all these added benefits to becoming fitter, it is one hundred times more entertaining for me, listening to her perspective as she goes through it all.  Being a fitness competitor, and an extreme athlete since I was five years old, I have grown used to the stares, comments, and stories that go along with all the “weird” stuff I do for my sport, whether it for basketball, a triathlon, or bodybuilding. My parents gave up on me long ago as they watched me eat cans of tuna and protein shakes while my brothers were eating Spaghettios and M&M’s for lunch.
One of my favorite “weird food” experiences was when I first started competing.  I was clueless as to how everything was “supposed” to be done so I sort of just winged half of it and hoped to God I wasn’t screwing anything up.  I had to travel on an airplane while dieting and training for my first show, so I was instructed (with very little detail) on how to cook and pack my food.  A few days before the trip, I cooked, weighed, and baggied up all the required meals for the trip (now, I am horrible at math, so figuring out 7 different meals for 2.5 days took me a good day and half).  Once all the food was baggied up, I put it in the freezer because according to my coach, if you packed the food frozen, by the time you reached your destination it would be thawed but still cold…..”easy”, I thought.
So, with everything ready to go, I headed to the airport.  Getting through security was interesting.  Heightened, Post 9-11 travel standards, they made my bag of food go back through the conveyor belt (clearly frozen fish and asparagus are the main ingredients of bombs these days….IF you are MacGyver.)  After spending 20 minutes begging the security officer to please let me keep all my food, my lunchbox of frozen treats was returned to me.  Getting to my gate, I realized that it was time to eat again based on my “eat every 3 hour” schedule. One problem…..I failed to remember to “unfreeze” the meals I would need for the trip……not at all discouraged, I instantly had a genius idea (when you are carb depleted, every idea is genius :).  I trotted up to Starbucks, asked for 2 glasses, one with super hot water in it.  With my giant cup of hot water and extra cup, I sat down at my gate next to a crowd of people (who found my little experiment very interesting), and pulled out my bag of fish and green stuff, dunked it in the water, and sat there for five minutes with an idiotic grin on my face, so proud of my idea that I could barely contain my excitement to enjoy my half-frozen meal at 10:00 am.  As I pulled out my dripping baggie from the now ice-cold water, I noticed the bag had not been sealed all the way. “Oh crap”, I thought, as I held the baggie up in front of my face, staring at the still half-frozen tilapia patty and stalks of withered asparagus floating in water….(Now….I know what you are thinking……..”just toss it and go get something to eat”….no way….not when I have a goal).  I took my plastic fork (ok, the TSA let me through security with a FORK and they tried to take my fish????? Come ON!!!)…..and  started shoveling it in without chewing.  Let me be real honest with you….I can’t say I’ve ever eaten anything nastier than half-frozen fish with that gel that forms from cooking it then refreezing it, ALONG with withered, soggy asparagus from a bag at 10:00 in the morning….I almost puked in my mouth. But I was so proud of myself for doing it, that I was grinning from ear to ear as I was eating.
At this point, the small crowd of airline passengers surrounding me, had turned into a larger group of spectators. I looked up from my fish mess and saw 20 or so sets of eyes staring directly at me. Even the young businessmen who were reading the Wall Street Journal while sending emails on their blackberries, and creating flow charts on their laptops had all stopped to watch this poor girl eating from a bag.  I now was a bit embarrassed….I jumped up, went to the bathroom to wash off whatever remnants of fish, I’m sure I got on my pants, and came back to board the plane.
My pre-board gate experience was only trumped by my “mealtime” ON the plane….I sat next to a very large woman who whipped out a King-sized snickers!! Even being under my 3 hour time limit, (and a bit depleted, so most likely very irritable), I remember thinking, “Augh!  I’ll teach HER!”  I pulled out my now thawed, slightly warm bag of fish and greens, leaned over closer to her, opened it up and started SLOWLY eating it, so as to let the aroma waft over her snickers bar!  Hahahaha!  I win again 🙂  Or so I thought…..more stares from nearby passengers, much like the ones a person gets if their kid is screaming hysterically…..
The only lesson I can see in all this food drama, is, no matter where you are, you CAN stay on your diet with the right determination (and maybe a little spiteful attitude, hehe 🙂
Picture from text:)
Susannah @ Jags Football Game

Happy Thanksgiving!!

24 Nov
So, its Thanksgiving time again. Now, I can’t say this is my FAVORITE holiday simply because the basis of it is eating, eating again, eating some more, and…well, you get the picture.  Not that I’m opposed to eating, truthfully I love food!! However, I don’t know that I need an entire day to celebrate it or go all “Golden Corral” where by the end of the 24 hour food fest, I feel like Humpty Dumpty. It’s the atmosphere surrounding Thanksgiving I love more than the actual day itself.
This year, like many, since my family is halfway across the U.S., I get to spend the day with awesome friends!  In planning, a couple of weeks ago, I was volunteered to bring the traditional green bean casserole and rolls (none of which, I might add, have I ever attempted to make before.) I was feeling all “Julia Childs” googling recipes because I’m not one for cans and boxes unless necessary (I just like to put a bunch of stuff in a bowl and stir!)
Now, one thing had temporarily slipped my mind as I was happily strolling down the aisles at the grocery store, looking for all the items from my list (that I had conveniently left on my kitchen counter.)  No worries, I have a photographic memory….wait….or was it short-term memory loss……ah well….what were we talking about??? Anyways, I gathered the items I found necessary for my “concoction,” got to the check out counter and realized I had forgotten the green beans AND the cheese for the CHEESY GREEN BEAN casserole!  I began putting all my items back into my cart as the lady at the register asked me in a foreign voice if I had “changed my mind.”  I just smiled, thinking, “yes, I have decided to put every last item back on the shelves…….”
Finally, I got my beans and cheese, hurriedly checked out and went home…only to realize I had not bought one single ingredient for rolls……awesome….I will just go tomorrow (Which I did. That trip went just as smooth as the first….Confused about which rolls to get…seriously, do we REALLY NEED 18 different kinds?!?! However, not at ALL shaken by the enormous amount of choices, as I am a VERY decisive person…I chose “all of the above” :).
Getting home to cook all the food (completely exhausted I might add), I remembered that I had never actually found an exact green bean casserole recipe. Pulling up google, I went directly to Paula Deen’s recipe, can’t go wrong with butter and sugar, right?! 😉 Then,  I sat for a good 30 minutes, just staring at my iPhone screen (oh how I wish the folks from the early 1900’s could see the way we live!  They would be appalled), and realized, I don’t comprehend any of this….  Not because I couldn’t read it, but simply because I am not sure I have yet mastered the ability to follow any sort of rule, guideline, instruction, or recipe in my life……sooooo, I figured if I just looked at the ingredients, I could dump them altogether in a big bowl, mix it up and cook it!
As I was doing this, I remembered that most recipes call for exact amounts of each item. And seeing that I had bought three of everything in the store (kind of like having 3 GPS’s in your car at all times… better odds at getting it right), I should probably see how much of each is required or I may end up with some type of cheese and onion dip.  I noticed I had forgotten a few items (those must’ve been optional) and dumped the rest in the pan…..Then I saw that I was supposed to have chopped up a bunch of items and since the butter in the pan was almost burnt, I figured it was now or never.  Grabbing the needed items to chop with, my new, sweet knife I bought while at the store (I am an impulse buyer…don’t judge me )  I began frantically chopping. At one point I got a little too close to my finger (when I say a little too close, I mean I chopped my finger) and cut a huge slice off (this is exaggerated for interest of the readers….I did not slice any body parts off of my body).  I went ahead and finished up, trying to doctor my injury along the way. Are we having fun yet?
Finally, I pulled the casserole out of the oven, praying  that it would actually taste like green bean casserole!! Very happy to be finished with this little escapade I thought to myself, “All THIS drama for one small casserole????” Instantly, I felt sorry for my mother for all those years of cooking the entire Thanksgiving meal! Thank God THAT’S over….maybe next year I WILL just go to Golden Corral…..
Happy Thanksgiving!