Eating Out Right

Sometimes you have to eat out. Temptations and food trickery are abound when you eat out. There are bread baskets, and chip baskets, and appetizers, fake healthy salads (oh yeah!) and desserts. In order to maintain your healthy diet you’ll have to have a plan in place before arriving at the restaurant. Yes! Get your mind right!

Here’s how you stay on track while eating out:

  • Don’t eat extras: Don’t ask for seconds! Do ask for the bread basket or chip basket to be removed from your table (if it’s already there) and stick to eating only what you ordered. Better yet, think ahead, and ask the staff not to even bring that stuff over to tempt you.
  • Don’t drink calories: Stick with water or unsweetened ice tea in order to avoid a few hundred extra calories. You’ll also save $$$.
  • Get it plain: Ask for sauces and dressings on the side to cut down calories.
  • Get healthier sides: Just because the grilled fish comes with a side of rice or couscous doesn’t mean you have to get it that way. Ask for a side of steamed veggies or a bowl of fresh raw greens instead. You could sit the fish on top and eat up!

Is your smoothie killing your results?

Smoothies are refreshing and delicious, especially during the heat of summer. But, unfortunately, most smoothies are made to be ultra sugary, and could be slowing down or even reversing your fitness results.

If the thought of having a smoothie derail your health train is upsetting, read on to find out whether your smoothie is working against instead of for you.

Does It Have Fruit Juice?

If your smoothie relies on fruit juices to give it some added punch, your smoothie may not be as healthy as you think. Since fruit juice is often jam-packed with flavor-enhancing sugars, you’d be smart to keep fruit juice well away from your morning pick-me-up. Have a killer recipe that can’t do without fruit juice of some sort? No problem. Just be sure to pick all-natural homemade squeezed or 100% fruit juice or coconut water. The best way to make sure your fruit juice is nothing but fruit juice is to squeeze it yourself, so start squeezing!

Do You Have to Add Sugar?

For the same reason you don’t want a smoothie with store-bought sugar-laden fruit juice, you want to sidestep any smoothie that requires you to toss extra teaspoons of sugar, honey or agave in. The fruit you add to your smoothie should have plenty of sugar to give it natural sweetness. Anything else is excessive and will serve to slow you down and encourage fat storage. AND the real truth is, if you’ve been behaving excessively for a long time, it’s going to take time to allow your taste buds to appreciate the natural sweetness in foods that it used to. Even if you feel you must add some type of sweetener, do so as sparingly as you can until you can do without it.

Do You Toss in Yogurt?

Smoothies that include yogurt can come out on the healthy or unhealthy side of things. It all depends on what kind of yogurt you use. If your favorite type of yogurt is stuffed with added sugars and flavors, it’s not going to be a good way to power yourself up for the day. On the other hand, if you’re careful to only use plane homemade, organic, or Greek yogurt, your smoothie can be a superbly healthy start to your day.

Is It Super Sized?

No matter what healthy ingredients you shove into your smoothie, it can still sabotage your weight and health goals if you can’t stop eating it. Before you serve yourself a 48-ounce smoothie, consider your weight goals and split your morning smoothie into appropriate portions. Drink down one portion in the morning and save the rest for a small afternoon snack or finish it off the next morning. Either way, avoiding a supersized smoothie will keep your smoothie from ruining your diet.

Do You Ever Color It Green?

While fruit smoothies are incredibly delicious, it’s a great idea to switch it up by making a veggie smoothie on occasion. You may even want to go green the majority of the time. The deep green color is sure to give you some vitamins and minerals that your body is likely missing, and skipping the fruit on occasion will remind your taste buds that good things don’t always have to be desert like.

Does It Contain Ice Cream?

Okay, this may sound like a joke, but if your smoothie contains three scoops of ice cream, a squirt of chocolate syrup, and a cup or two of milk, you’re not drinking a smoothie. It’s a milk shake. And it will not get your day or diet off on the right foot.

Before you laugh too loudly, you should know that some people think that anything cold and creamy that comes out of blender is a smoothie. So if you’re lounging at a friend’s house and he or she offers you a delicious homemade smoothie, ask what’s in it first!

When it comes to fat loss, eating clean is part of the battle. The other half is all about effective, challenging and consistent exercise.

How to LOVE exercise

Here’s how to turn something that you’ve dreaded into something you enjoy…

1) Block the Negative: Your thoughts play a big part in determining your favorite things. Block out any negative thoughts you may have about exercise. Focus your energy on creating a positive attitude/ & thought that will get you excited about exercise, rather than dreading it. Create a mental picture of your new fit body while you exercise!

2) Focus on the Benefits: With exercise you have so much to gain. Exercise makes you stronger, sexier, happier, and gives you more energy. Pick the benefit that moves you the most and fixate on it.

3) Get Camradery: The easiest way to put exercise on your list of favorite things is to experience it fully. Good fellowship will keep you in LOVE with exercise! You always experience this in positive group settings (i.e. personal training, aerobics classes, yoga classes Facebook/Instagram fitness groups…it all counts)

Fell off the healthy eating wagon?

Whether you’ve been riding the healthy eating wagon for a week or a decade, staying on can be difficult. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can hold on.

Keep reading to learn seven ways to protect yourself against the temptation to fall—or even jump off of the healthy eating wagon.

1. Don’t Starve Yourself

Eating is a basic human need. Cut your calories too much & too soon and you’ll land flat on your face in no time flat. When you’re eating for good health, you still need to eat. You’ll just need to go with healthy options and avoid eating more than your body burns through the day.

2. No Excuses

There are as many excuses to fall off the healthy wagon as there are days in a year. So if you’re going to stay on the wagon, you’re going to have to ignore the excuses and focus in on your goal: eating the right stuff. Which brings us to the next way to avoid falling off the wagon…

3. Stay Focused

Being mindful of your healthy eating ways is easy during the first few days. After all, you’ve spent years eating one way and now you’re changing everything up. In a week or so, however, it can be difficult to remember your desire to eat healthily and even harder to remember why you made that decision. Stay focused on your choices and why you made them to stay strapped tightly on the wagon.

4. Get on the Right Wagon

Every person’s health goals and expectations are different. If you hop on a healthy eating wagon for the first time in your life and expect to shed the same amount of pounds as anyone else, you’re going to be disappointed. Setting appropriate goals will help you stay on the wagon and help you make the next goal, as your wagon gets easier and easier to ride to the finish line.

5. Avoid Naysayers

Always struggled with your weight? Tried every diet plan known to man without success? Then you’re going to have a lot of folks who scoff at your desire to eat healthily. Let them scoff on their own and find new friends if you have to. Once your lifestyle changes start to pay off, strut by the folks who said they’ll believe you’re serious about healthy eating when they see results and watch their jaws drop. Haters!

6. Stay Away from Triggers

The reason healthy eating is difficult for so many is that unhealthy eating tastes so good! Understanding this and understanding when you most want unhealthy food options will help you stay on the healthy wagon. That takes a lot of self work. Have a hard time saying no to sweets at your best friend’s house? Invite him/her to your place or meet at the park. Eat everything in sight when you’re lonely/bored? Give someone a phone call/text during those times.

7. Know How to Get Back On

You should aim to stay on the healthy eating wagon 80% of the time. But you should also be ready when you fall off. While you can find any number of ways to get back on the wagon, the best is to just do it! Admit you fell off, recommit yourself to healthy living, and get back on. Start living the healthy life you deserve once again.

Come on, you deserve it!

7 Healthy Family Friendly Weeknight Dinner Recipes

1) Pizza: This pizza is so easy to make. Just watch my video

2) Chicken Lettuce Wraps: This one’s a winner!…The only cooking involved is the meat filling, and that’s done in minutes. See this recipe.

3) Super Greens Salad & Grilled Chicken (serves 4): How simple is this? Combine a mixture of super greens in a large bowl: baby spinach, beet leaves, arugula and kale. Fill each serving dish with about 2 cups of super greens. Top with a palm sized portion of sliced, grilled chicken and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Simple right?

4) Low Carb Spaghetti & Meatballs: This one is always a family pleaser. See this recipe.

5) Fastest Chicken Stir Fry: Recipe here…enough said : )

6) Simple Turkey Loaf: I’ve got the recipe for you right here! Just add 1-2 cups of steamed green veggies on the side, and you’ve got a great meal!

7) One Pot Chicken & Veggies (serves 4): In a large skillet, brown a pound of chicken tenders in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of each: black pepper, dried basil, crushed rosemary, sweet paprika, dried thyme, dried parsley and cumin. Add 4 cups of chopped veggies (zucchini, onion, tomatoes) and 4 cloves of chopped garlic. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until tender and fully cooked. Yes!

You see, healthy dinners can be quite simple to prepare. Don’t get too hung up on the exact measurements of ingredients and instead focus on combining a handful of quality ingredients together in a delicious way. There’s no such thing as a dinner that’s too simple when nutritious, wholesome ingredients are used.

What is processed food?

Understanding what processed food looks like is the first step to avoiding it. If you can’t pronounce items on the ingredients list, anything was added to the food for flavor or preservative purpose or a vitamin boost, or if something was removed to make a food “refined,” it’s processed.

If it doesn’t grow from a tree, sprout up from the ground, swim or walk on all fours, it’s processed.

If you’d rather try a healthy eating auto-pilot route, check out the “Fooducate” app. With this app, you can scan most food packaging barcodes, in any store, and the app will tell you if the food is healthy enough to eat or not. It does have a few glitches, but it’s a good app overall. It’s definitely better than just grabbing an item you know nothing about.

What Is Clean Eating?

Nobody wants to eat dirty. It just sounds gross. But if you’re not eating clean, that may be your only option. So you may be wondering what it takes to take the dirt out of your diet and wash it off so you can dine on the clean diet you deserve. Well, wonder no more.

Below, you’ll find out what exactly clean eating is and what you can do to make your diet a little bit cleaner.

Keeping It Clean

First things first. What is it? If clean eating is completely foreign to you or you’ve only heard about it in passing or seen it on the cover of a magazine, here is a quick rundown of what clean eating is all about.

Clean eating is nothing more than knowing who made your food. Well, that’s where it starts at least. Because if all you do is know the factory your food is made in, you’re not eating clean. The heart of clean eating is not only knowing who made your food, but knowing where your food comes from, when it came from there, how it gets to you, and knowing whatnecessary steps to take in order to eat those things that are in their most natural and therefore healthy state.

In other words, eating clean means you’ll be eating a lot of whole foods, a.k.a. “real foods,” which are either not processed at all or have undergone very little processing. Thanks to the desire to prolong shelf life of foods, many foods are so crammed with preservatives and are so processed they barely resemble their original selves. This also means that eating so many of those preserved foods, preserves fat on your body. It’s really hard to work that stuff off!!! Clean eating doesn’t allow such foods in your system.

What It Isn’t

While clean eating is great, there are some things it is not. To begin, clean eating is not easy. A century ago, it was much easier. However, with advances in food preservation, food processing became more and more common. Today, finding enough unprocessed food to live off of is no easy or cheap. Heading to your local farmers’ market or choosing organic foods when you can at the grocery store is a great way to start making it happen.

It’s also not about going raw. Cooking your food is fine if you’re eating clean. All you’ve got to do is make sure the food you cook is as close to its original state as possible. As long as you’re not prepping your food in a way that will keep it edible for decades to come, you’re still eating clean. Eating raw is awesome, but you don’t have too if you don’t want to.

Finally, it’s not about cutting certain food groups from your diet. While eating clean will help you lose weight and feel better, you won’t get the perks by just cutting out fats or desserts. You’ll get the perks by simply eating clean.

How to Do It

Your interest piqued with clean eating? If you want to become part of the clean eating movement, here’s some good news: it’s delicious.

With clean eating, you’ll be eating the good stuff: fats, protein, and carbohydrates. You’ll also probably be eating more often than the traditional three square meals each day. Instead, you’ll chow down on five or six smaller meals & snacks.

As you eat, you’ll want to reduce bad fats. Namely, you’ll want to cut down on saturated fats (i.e. cheese, butter, fried foods, sausage & other fatty cuts of meat…). You’re encouraged to eat healthy fats, you just don’t want to gorge yourself on them. You also want to prevent yourself from overdoing it on salt. Instead, train your pallet to appreciate the flavor of food without all the added salt and sugar that is so common in processed foods.

Eating clean, coupled with challenging exercise, is the formula for a toned, lean body — so guarantee your results by teaming up with healthy folks in your corner like me!

Together we will come up with a fitness plan that is uniquely yours, one that fits your lifestyle and brings you promptly to your goals.

9 Reasons to Lift Weights

Watch a documentary about people who lift weights and you’ll likely be watching some of the world’s elite body builders hone their physique to abnormal largeness. Take a peek into your local gym and you’ll see something quite different! Sure, there may be a few body builders there, but they’re lifting right next to an accountant, a nurse, and a retiree. That’s because all these people realize one thing: lifting weights is for everyone.

But is weight lifting really for you? Here are nine reasons the answer is yes.

#1: You Get Happy

Yes, exercise of any kind gets the happy chemicals running through your body, but lifting weights seems to have an advantage on your happy level. Why? Lots of reasons that are listed below.

#2: You’re More Useful

You were born with a great affinity to do something. You may be gifted to argue cases in court, crunch numbers, or get a great needle stick. Lifting weights helps you do each of them better! On top of that, it gives you the capacity to lend a helping hand when someone is struggling to lift a heavy bag, get up out of a chair, run errands, keep up with kids…

Suddenly, you’re not stuck waiting for help when a demanding task is put in front of you. Instead, you bend at the knees and get to work!

#3: You Get Focused

If you’ve ever struggled with trying to figure out what to do at the gym, I’m here to help. That includes lifting weights. As your strength and the amount of weight you lift increase, intense focus is required to avoid injury. This focus with exercises—if you let it—will carry over into your non-exercise activities.

#4: Your Youthful Body

Lifting weights does so much for your physique. Push yourself hard enough and your body will amaze you constantly. But your physique isn’t the only beneficiary of weight lifting. Lifting helps your body fend off illnesses and injury by helping you shed unwanted pounds, improve immunity, lowering your blood pressure, improving your heart function, and more.

#5: You Do the Impossible

When you start lifting weights, you can’t imagine lifting any more than you do in your first session. As time passes, you notice you’ve already passed the impossible mark. By doing this over and over, you pick up a mental toughness and confidence that will aid you in all areas of life.

#6: You Eat Better

Have you been struggling to keep your daily calorie count down? Nothing helps you stay in line better than working out. Your regular weight-lifting routine makes you more aware of what you put in your body, making it easier to say “No” to those temptations that are always around the corner.

#7: Your Bones Get Stronger

While the first thing you may notice after lifting weights is stronger muscles, your bones are also secretly gaining strength at the same time. Since the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones only increases as you age, guarding against them with weight lifting only makes sense!

#8: Your Balance Improves

Staying on your feet may not be an issue today, but as you age, it will become one of your top priorities. This is especially true considering how often elderly people lose their balance and wind up with life-altering broken bones. Lifting weights at any age will give you a balance boost that will last throughout your life.

#9: Your Brain Function Increases

Believe it or not, people who lift weights aren’t the meat-heads they’re made out to be. Quite the opposite. Research has proven that lifting weights actually has the power to improve your brain’s ability to do its job.

Reach your fitness potential faster by coupling your good diet with a challenging exercise program. I’m here to motivate, instruct and encourage you to reach your goal.

Time for Toned Thighs

Wish your legs were more toned and looked better in shorts and swimsuits? Today I’ve got moves that specifically target your thighs in the most fat blasting way. To get the thighs you want, you’re going to have to get moving. With these exercises, your thighs will be on the way to toned in no time.

Toned Thigh Move #1: Squat

It’s basic, you know how to do it, and it will give you incredible results. Whether you choose to go with or without weights, squatting is the fundamental move you should cling to if shapely thighs are your goal.

To perform a squat, have your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knee until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Of course, if this is too easy, you can add more weight or turn your regular squat into a jump-squat for extra thigh-trimming power. When you reach the bottom of your squat position, jump as high as you can, land in the starting position and repeat.

Toned Thigh Move #2: Lunges

Another classic move, lunges will get your thighs tight and toned to perfection. To do them right, start by standing as you would normally, feet placed approximately hip-width from one another. Take a lunging step with your right foot, bend you left knee so that it almost touches the ground and your right knee is at a 90-degree angle, and return to the starting position. Repeat with the other foot stepping forward in a lunging motion.

Still need more burn? Grab a couple dumbbells and go at it again!

Toned Thigh Move #3: Leg Circles

Sure, it looks ridiculously easy, but if you think leg circles are a cinch you’ve not given them a try lately. Starting out, you’ll need to lie on your back on top of a soft surface, such as carpet or a yoga mat. Bending your left leg and keeping your left foot flat on the ground, lift your right leg into the air with your toes pointed and no bend in the knee. Then draw large circles in the air with your leg. Make the circles in a clockwise motion five times and then do five more in a counter-clockwise motion. Swap legs and repeat.

When you feel particularly powerful, try spelling out the entire alphabet with each leg and see how far you get.

Toned Thigh Move #4: Stiff Leg Deadlift

This move is not reserved for body builders. In fact, performing stiff leg deadlifts a couple of times a week is an effective way to increase the thigh toning power of your routine.

Here’s how it’s done: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, hanging down at your sides. Bend at the hips, keeping your chest out and back flat, and lower down until the dumbbells reach the tops of your shoes. Exhale and straighten back up to a standing position.

Toned Thigh Move #5: Scissor Jacks

With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your hands facing the ground and arms extending out to either side. Jump into the air. While in the air, cross your right arm over your left arm and right leg over your left leg. Jump again, this time returning to the starting position, and then repeat with your left arm and leg going in front of your right arm and leg.

Want to take your routine to the next level? Contact me today to schedule your first workout.

Eat This, Not That Fat Loss Tips

Fat loss techniques are ways of doing everyday things, like eating, in a way that promotes fat loss and blocks fat storage. Sounds pretty great, right?!

Here are my 7 most effective Fat Loss Tips…

Fat Loss Tip #1: Cauliflower Rice
Serve shredded, sautéed cauliflower as rice, rather than traditional brown or white rice. This simple tip will save you hundreds of calories per meal. You don’t have to go cold turkey if you don’t want to. Going half & half is a hack too (i.e. 50% rice, 50% shredded cauliflower tossed together). Use a food veggie chopper or food processor to get it done quickly. You can even add your favorite spices and flavor additions as you do with traditional rice.

Fat Loss Tip #2: Vegetable Noodles
There are many ways to create and enjoy noodles made from vegetables, rather than noodles made from grains. The veggie noodles are a hundred times less fattening than grain-based noodles, so what are you waiting for?! Use a spiral slicer to turn zucchini or butternut squash into noodles; bake a spaghetti squash and scrape out those nature-made noodles; or simply use a traditional veggie peeler to create long noodle strips from zucchini.

Fat Loss Tip #3: Lettuce Wrapped/Mushroom Topped
By simply replacing your sliced bread and buns for large pieces of lettuce, you’ll quickly eliminate at least one hundred calories from each meal. Once you get used to the crunch of the lettuce you’ll enjoy your new style of sandwich and burger. Portobello mushroom tops are fantastic for burger buns too.

Fat Loss Tip #4: Protein Powder
Did you know that protein powder can be used in many recipes to increase the protein and reduce the carbs? Replace 25% – 50% of the pancake mix with high quality protein powder and you’ll see how delicious it tastes while being so much healthier for you.

Fat Loss Tip #5: Coconut Oil/Olive Oil
Replace the vegetable oil in your kitchen with olive oil & coconut oil, and enjoy benefits such as increased fat burning and reduced appetite. In addition, you’ll be avoiding the pitfalls of other, less healthy oils and fats. These oils can be used in virtually any recipe both stove top and baking.

Fat Loss Tip #6: Artificial Sweeteners
Throw the high and empty calorie, refined sugars out of your kitchen and replace them with artificial sweeteners. Yes! I said it! OMG! By getting your sweet fix from an artificial sweetener, you’ll skip the belly fat that the empty calorie sweeteners create. While it’s true, artificial sweeteners are fake, and have been said by some to possibly cause disease, science has shown that consuming too many refined sugars absolutely pose a bigger health risk. Are you going with a refuted possibility or absolutely? Just be informed!

Fat Loss Hack #7: Water
Replace high calorie beverages with crystal clear water. Don’t worry. Fruit & herb infused or sparkling water is fine too. This simple trick could quite possibly change your life. If high calories, sugar-laden beverages make up a significant part of your daily calories then switching to water will swiftly induce fat loss.

Start using these Fat Loss Tips today and enjoy a leaner, more fit physique. Let me know when your jeans start to feel loose around the waist!

A consistent, challenging exercise program, like the ones that I provide for my clients, is the only way to achieve and maintain your ultimate fitness goal. Anything worth having is worth working for. Get to it!