Browsed by
Month: August 2016

BEFORE YOU START THAT CRAZY DIET…

BEFORE YOU START THAT CRAZY DIET…

When you think of the word diet, what do you think of? Probably something along the lines of miserable, strict, and/or boring. Dieting gets a bad rap because of the past. Fad diets have proven to be unsustainable for most, and honestly unappealing to even more. Fear-mongers have driven us to think whole entire food groups are not good for us (protein causes kidney issues, carbs make you fat, fats make you fat, and the most recent trend of carbs make you fat …again). There is a plethora of information (good and bad) out there so I can’t blame you for not ever sticking to a diet, nor lacking the knowledge of what exactly makes a good diet anyways.

In my opinion, there really is no “best diet”. In fact, the best diet is highly individual to the person starting it. What works for Jane next door, most likely won’t work for you. Why? Well, to put it simply, you are not Jane. The most important factor when starting a diet is making sure that it is going to be sustainable and fit your lifestyle.  

We compiled a few tips to not only help you ease into a healthier lifestyle, but to also hopefully steer you away from jumping into the next juice cleanse, 30 day detox, or worse.

blog 1This seems to be the first mistake most individuals make when starting a diet. They immediately try to change their entire lifestyle in order to adhere to this new (and pretty large) part of their life. A diet should be like a new relationship. You obviously aren’t going to move in, marry and have children with your new partner all within one week, so why should something that literally keeps you alive every single day be any different? Small, baby steps will not only lead you to success, but allow you to learn more about yourself and this new endeavor in the process which will ultimately lead to sustainability. For example, if you are a total nutrition newbie and really don’t even know where you stand with your current nutrition. Take a few days to track your current intake using an app (We love the MyMacros+ app!) just to see where you current standing is. Are you a carb-ivore? Do you love your fats? Lacking in protein? This will give you a great idea of what areas you need to improve upon. 

blog 2

Speaking of protein, shift your focus to protein starting now. With a lot of our new clients we find that most individuals are under-consuming protein. Without getting too technical, a good starting place would be to focus on getting a source of lean protein in at every single meal throughout your day. The RDA for protein is pretty low at only .8g per kilogram of your bodyweight (to get your bodyweight in kilos simply divide it by 2.2). For athletes it is recommended to consume about 1g per pound of your bodyweight. So while everyone requires different amounts, shooting to hit somewhere within that range, while also incorporating a source at every meal should be helpful if you are trying to increase your protein intake. 

blog3

 And no..we don’t mean to go shop at the store. While we don’t advocate a full-blown “clean eating” method as it can be restrictive and also force you to think of certain foods as good or bad, we do suggest filling your day with mostly whole food sources. By doing this, you are getting in quality micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as helping to keep your body full-especially if you need to diet on lower calories (see the next tip for more on that). By replacing packaged food sources with either fresh or frozen fruits/veggies, whole grains, lean meats and dairy products, you will give your body a well-rounded intake of the macronutrients, micronutrients and energy it needs to…well you know keep you alive and kicking. We suggest shooting for the 80/20 rule– 80% of your day should come from nutrient dense sources, leaving around 20% to be foods that maybe aren’t so healthy, but enjoyable. By leaving yourself a little wiggle-room, you aren’t restricting things you may like, you aren’t totally sabotaging your goals, and you can still have that piece of birthday cake, cookie before bed or head out for ice cream with your family without feeling like you totally killed your diet. 

blog4

Drinks add up! Replace any beverages you may drink daily (soda, iced tea, etc) with water. Water is also highly under-consumed and it’s safe to say the majority of people spend their days dehydrated without even knowing it. A good suggestion is to have at least 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. So for those of you who are visual: I weigh 125lbs—I need at LEAST 60 ounces of water daily. That number increases if I exercise/sweat a lot. Plain water is obviously optimal, however if you really cannot stand plain old water, adding in some Crystal Light, or zero-calorie flavor shots is a great way to increase the amount of water you drink daily. 

So before you jump into the next big diet that your BFF wants you to do, take these 4 tips first. We can guarantee you if you simply start by adding in these small steps, you will start to not only see a change in your body, but also in your energy levels and overall health. This is certainly just the tip of the iceberg for optimal nutrition, so if you can adhere to these 4 things yet still want more of a change, it may be time to take it to the next level. Email us if you feel that you are ready for more of a push, a higher focus on nutrition, and want to learn quality techniques to give you a happier and healthier life. 

SHOULD YOU CALL IT QUITS ON YOUR DIET?

SHOULD YOU CALL IT QUITS ON YOUR DIET?

Think back to the last time you had to deal with a period of high level stress. Now, I don’t want you to think about what exactly was causing the stress, but more so about how it affected you. Most likely, it impacted your daily life to a certain extent depending on the level of stress you were experiencing. Many individuals use food as a coping mechanism when experiencing high amounts of stress. Maybe you turned to food as comfort, maybe you went the opposite direction and simply did not have an appetite for days at a time. Neither of those options are beneficial to your health nor your goals of weight loss. On the other side of the spectrum dieting can actually induce stress in your life. Low-calorie diets have been shown to increase cortisol production which is our major stress hormone. That along with counting calories and macros can be incredibly stressful for (SOME) individuals. This is why we stress that:

  1. Dieting (or fat loss) should be a phase. Dieting is not a lifestyle, and you should not be in a caloric deficit for the entire year. Spending some time at maintenance, or even massing (gaining weight with the focus of muscle-building) is recommended to not only give your body time to recover from dieting, but also give you a mental break which will ultimately reduce stress levels. If you do however come to the realization that your diet is adding too much stress to your life, it may be time to reassess your goals in order to go through a more productive fat-loss phase at a later time. 
  2. Make sure you are choosing a diet that is a good fit for YOU. Counting macros certainly has a time and place, but it is not for everyone. Maybe you need a more general approach to start, maybe you need a more structured meal plan to follow. Chances are, if you are severely struggling with dietary adherence, it may be time to reassess your methods and try something new. (If you need help figuring out what may be best for you, email us HERE– we can help!)

With that being said, dieting is HARD. Harder for some than others, but it is also important to recognize that you are essentially putting your body into starvation mode (on purpose) when in a fat-loss phase. Your body is going to want to fight you, you will probably experience hunger, and that is normal in this phase. There are however a lot of great ways to combat these issues and in our next blog we will be discussing our favorite dieting tips so stay tuned there!

Obviously we can’t just flip to the next page of our lives and be stress-free (wouldn’t that be nice?), but there are ways to minimize your stress levels and how you handle your overall stressors. There are a few steps you can take to address this and move forward as a calmer, more efficient individual. 

step 1Identify what is stressing you out. Sometimes this is obvious, other times there may be underlying issues that you simply did not realize are messing with your head. Lack of sleep, a big life change such as moving, a restrictive diet, workplace drama or even your marital status can all cause some level of stress. Realizing what it is that is causing you higher levels of stress than normal is just as important as drawing a line between what it is that you can control versus what is beyond controllable. Be old-fashioned and grab a pen/paper (or use the Notes app in your phone is you’re more tech-savvy) and literally jot down everything causing anxiety to you at the very moment. Put a star next to what you have control over and work from there to see how you are going to start managing them. As far as those un-starred items? Simply make it aware to yourself that these are far beyond your control, and let be what will be.

step 3Structure your day. This is something that has really been life-changing for me personally as I have grown from being the most unorganized, late, “hot mess” individual to someone who utilizes a daily planner to schedule time slots for just about everything that needs to be accomplished. When you design a structured day, you are ultimately referring back to step 1 and controlling everything that can possibly be controlled. I find this method great for those who get overwhelmed with the “small stuff”. This can be as simple as using a planner, or just taking a blank sheet of paper and jotting down your daily schedule, what needs to get done and when it needs to be done by. I schedule everything from packing my lunch for the next day, to some downtime to read, to my training, and since I have started acting on living an organized life, I have GREATLY reduced the amount of stress I was perceiving. Every Sunday, I take some time to either mentally or physically take note of the week ahead and what it will consist of so that way when things DO pop up, I can be as prepared as possible to address them.

step 34Practice mindfulness. I can’t preach this one enough. Set aside even just 5 minutes out of your day- maybe after you shower at night, before your morning coffee or right before you hit the pillow- to sit in silence and just ponder your life. I start by pointing out all of the positives I can think of that I have going for me at the moment. Small things such as getting to spend some time with a certain loved one that day, hitting a new PR in the gym, or even a really delicious meal you had earlier. Let the good consume your mind for a few minutes and you won’t believe how much less stressed you immediately feel. When you focus on the positive, you will continue to act, think and be positive. 

While stress will never go away completely, you can do everything in your power to learn how to handle it best for your body and mind that are healthy, productive and will ultimately make you happier while still allowing you to achieve your goals.