5 Ways to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

funny-pictures-winter-weight-loss-snowmanDid you know that the average American gains 5 – 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve? That’s not too surprising given all of the festivities and holiday indulgences, plus added stress with work, family, and travel.  Our schedules are out of whack and then there is always that one co-worker who brings in the treats and sweets!

This time of year, can wreck havoc on your current fitness and clean eating regimen and can also set you back in your goals for 2017. A lot of my clients have been asking me how to help them, so I wanted to put all of my best tips that have worked for my clients and me.

  1. Just Say No: This is definitely a no-brainer, but it just has to be said.  Many times, it’s all about having the willpower to simply say no to full indulgence.  For example, do you need to eat that piece of cake or indulge in a second plate of appetizers at the company holiday party? Probably, not.  One thing that I do to make it easier, if I know that i’ll be in a place where I’ll be tempted, is to eat a healthy snack or meal before attending an event. That way I won’t be starving and less likely to overindulge.
  2. Focus on Healthy Snacks: Remember, “FOOD IS FUEL” and if you are not able to have healthy meals for lunch or dinner, focus on making your snacks healthy.  Aim for foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, lean protein and healthy fats.  Lately, I’ve been snacking on an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter or whole grain pita with hummus and cucumber. I also keep Kind Bars and healthy trail mix in my bag for an easy grab and go option while I am out and about.  Protein shakes or green smoothies are also a great in the clutch snack. The focus is to find snacks that can fill you up, fuel you up, and help to keep your metabolism revved up.
  3. Find Healthy Alternatives: Tis the season to be creative and opt for healthier alternatives to your holiday favorites.  You might be surprised at how tasty and delicious an apple crumble can be in place of a traditional apple pie or even swapping a mixed drink or beer for a glass of champagne (which is lower in calories and carbs). It’s all about balance, but if you are looking for more options, check out my Healthy Holiday Recipe Pinterest Board. 
  4. Commit with a Buddy: People who have an accountability system in place can help them stay on track with their health and fitness goals.  Connect with a co-worker or a family member or your best friend and commit to taking a fitness class a few times a week or committing to logging your food in MyFitnessPal or even committing to eating a healthy breakfast and snacks each day.  Knowing that you have someone else in the same boat as you and that you have to check in with them, will help you to be more mindful in what you are doing and what you are eating, which sometimes is all you need to make better decisions.
  5. Establish a Reward: I don’t know about you, but I am all up for the new “Treat Yo’Self” movement and I have been very good about rewarding my good behavior.  One of my clients just told me that she booked a trip to Puerto Rico because she made a commitment that she would get a trainer and workout 3 times a week for 6 months. Not only did she meet that commitment, but she has lost 23 pounds since we started training and she has definitely earned her trip! Think of a reward that you can do for the beginning of the year if you avoid gaining weight by making the best decisions. Maybe it’s a trip, a new dress to wear on New Year’s Eve or a new toy or appliance!

Hopefully, these will help you to stay on track this year and if you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.  I am hosting a January Fitness & Clean Eating Challenge starting in the New Year and if you are interested in joining click here to submit an application! 

3 Clean Eating Breakfast Ideas

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Breakfast is one the most important meals of the day, mainly because it provides your body with the first dose of nutrition (or lack thereof) to start the day. Unfortunately, most people either skip breakfast all together or choose less than optimal foods that are high in sugar and fats, leaving them feeling exhausted and out of energy by mid morning. This is where the spiral of bad choices continues, when are energy is low mid morning, we opt for more cups of coffee (typically loaded with dairy and sugar) or grab something quick like a muffin or pastry (again more fat and sugar). This back of forth of sugar kick to sugar low, puts the body in a very fragile state.

However, when we start our day with a nutrient dense breakfast that has a mix of complex carbs, fiber, healthy fats, and protein, our body has the right kind of fuel to help us have the energy we need to take on the day.  Our desire and need for sugar and caffeine subside, because we have natural energy and I’ve found that most people make better food choices for the rest of the day.

When I am not drinking my daily Shakeology, which is a superfood meal replacement shake that is perfect dose of dense nutrition that tastes like a dessert, I am aim to eat one of these breakfasts:

  • Eggs and Whole Grain Toast: Eggs are a great source of protein and the whole grain toast is a great source of fiber and complex carbs.  This helps to balance blood sugar and keep you feeling fuller longer in the morning.  When it comes to the type of eggs, I like egg white scrambles with veggies or mini egg muffins with turkey bacon or even poached eggs to accompany my toast.  If I want to make breakfast a bit more indulgent, I’ll add avocado to my toast, which provides a nice dose of healthy fats which the body needs to function and helps with weight loss, or I’ll add some 100% fruit preserves or honey for a touch of healthy sweetness. Here’s a simple recipe for mini egg muffins. 
  • Oatmeal and Fruit: Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast because it really does help you to feel full, thanks to the fiber and complex carbs that take longer for the body to digest and give you sustained energy. Depending on how I’m feeling I’ll go for traditional hot oatmeal made with almond milk with a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I may even add a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter for added healthy fats. Sometimes, I opt for the cold version – Overnight Oats – which are a perfect meal prep breakfast that you can make days in advance and just grab and go.  See my favorite recipe here. 
  • Green/Superfood Smoothies: As I mentioned, I typically drink Shakeology every single morning to start my day, as I like knowing that I’m getting a big chunk of my nutrients, vitamins and minerals into my body first thing.  Another option, would be to make a Green Smoothie. The biggest mistake people make with their “Green Smoothies” is that they are packed with more fruit and sugar, than their greens. They add sugar packed yogurts, super sweet fruit juices and tons of fruit, which can cause you to max out on your daily amount of sugars and carbs in one sitting.  Instead, focus on using 2 cups of greens to 1 cup of fruit, use coconut water instead of juice or unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of yogurt, and add a tablespoon of healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, almond butter, coconut oil, or an avocado, to help you feel fuller longer. See my post on how to make the Perfect Green Smoothie. 

 

The key is simple. One – make sure that you eat breakfast. Two – make sure that your breakfast is one that will fuel you and set you up to have a successful, energized and productive day.

5 Steps to Making a Perfect Green Smoothie

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When I’m not drinking my daily dose of nutrition with Shakeology, I also like to incorporate Green Smoothies into my day as a way to ensure that I get more greens into my diet.   These smoothies are a great way to incorporate more nutrition into your diet in a tasty way. Most people, however, make one crucial mistake when they make their smoothie – they add way too much fruit (which means way too much sugar) and they don’t add a healthy fat.
 
Here is what I would recommend for making a Green Smoothie that is filling, tasty, and has a good balance of nutrition.
  1. Add 2 cups of leafy greens into a blender. I like using Kale, but if it is too bitter, you can use spinach.
  2. Add 2 cups of liquid to the blender with the leafy greens. I like using coconut water or unsweetened almond milk.
  3. Blend the leafy greens and liquid until they are purified…THEN ADD YOUR FRUIT & HEALTHY FATS to the blender.
  4. Add 1-2 cups of fruit to the blender – I am a fan of adding a banana and a cup of frozen berries.
  5. Add a Tablespoon of Coconut Oil or Nut Butter or even a 1/4 of an avocado to the blender and mix it all up!
Bonus: I like to add in ginger, herbs, spices, nuts, or oats to my smoothies to add more oomph and create a more power packed or satisfying smoothie.
 
The benefit of adding the healthy fats to the smoothie is that it provides some satiety, making you feel fuller longer, plus healthy fats help with fat loss. Also, by limiting the servings of fruit to two, it keeps your blood sugar balanced, especially when you combine the healthy fats.
 
The beauty of blending the greens and liquids first, makes sure that there are no clumps and that the greens are blended perfectly.
 
Hopefully, this helps you with creating the best green smoothie you can make! 

3 Tips to Get Out of Your Funk

I don’t know what is going on these days, but I’ve been speaking with a lot of my clients and friends who have said they are feeling “Blah!” when it comes to their jobs, their relationships (or lack thereof), their finances, their family, and their health/fitness. I don’t what it is, but I wanted to share my 3 tips that have helped me and I’ve already heard back from a few who have said my tips have helped them.

In the video below, I break it down into the following:

  1. Get Clarity in what you want.  If you are unhappy, it’s important to know exactly you are unhappy about and what exactly you want to change.
  2. Get Organized and clear the clutter. When our life, house, minds, fridge, etc is packed with clutter, it can create more anxiety and stress about the current situation and it can prevent us from seeing opportunities and possibilities to change ourselves, our situation or our perspective.
  3. Get a Goal that you can use to focus your attention and energy.  Once you know what you want to change and you have created space for change to happen, you have to take action by moving forward in a positive direction.

Watch the video to get a bit more about these tips and to help you get on track to getting out of your funk!

Shrimp & Mango Skewers with Blackberry Sauce 

Every month my friends and I have a themed dinner night. We draw two cards out of a bag full of different themes and this month was Seafood and Your Favorite Color. My favorite color is purple, so here is this recipe. 

Spicy Shrimp & Mango Skewers with Blackberry Glaze 

1 pound of Shrimp, deveined & raw

1 Mango, diced 

3 Tablespoons of seedless blackberry jam 

4 Tablespoons of soy sauce 

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp of Sriracha 

Old Bay Seasoning 


1. Alternate Shrimp and Mango on a soaked skewer and lay on a cookie sheet. Pat the skewers dry. 

2. Season skewers with Old Bay Seasoning 

3. In a bowl, combine blackberry jam, soy sauce, garlic and Sriracha into a bowl and brush on skewers on both slides. Save any left over sauce and place in a saucepan. 


4. Broil skewers on high for 4-5 minutes on each side. 

5. While the skewers are cooking, reduce the remaining sauce in a pan on medium heat until it thickens. 

6. Once skewers are done, drizzle the thickened sauce over the skewers and top with green onions and serve with orange slices. 

7. Squeeze orange slices over the skewers and enjoy! 

I saved the leftovers and combined with brown rice for a tasty and healthy lunch. 

How to eat healthy as a “Picky Eater” 

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I hear this all the time from clients, when we move on to talking about their diet and nutrition. And to be honest, I can’t relate, because I literally love all types of foods!  There is a very small list of foods that I don’t like to eat, which creates a completely different problem. (We will get into that in another blog post! LOL)

When I start working with a “picky eater”, my focus with them is to help them change their mindset and find solutions that will help them stay on track. Nutrition is a huge part of the transformation process and you can’t out exercise a bad diet. So, you have to get this under control if you want to get lasting results.

1.Focus on the foods that you like: I think that a lot of people get so caught up on what “healthy eating” is, and they believe that in order to be healthy they have to stick to a strict list of foods that are acceptable. I once had a client say that she couldn’t eat healthy, because she didn’t like spinach. In her mind, if she couldn’t eat what her friends were eating on their diet, it was pointless for her to even start.  So I asked her, “What foods do you like?” From there we came up with a list of foods that she does like and started to focus on creating a meal plan that included those things. So, if you don’t like kale, don’t eat kale, there are many other healthy vegetables that you can eat to stay on track. 🙂

2. Experiment with new recipes and new preparation techniques. It’s 2016, which means there is an unlimited amount of resources available to find recipes. Once you have an idea of what foods you do like, go to Google or Pinterest and type if “[FOOD YOU LIKE] Healthy Recipes” and voila! You will have a list of options that you can start to work into your daily routine. Also, try new preparation techniques, like using a Crock Pot or trying grilling your chicken instead of baking it.

3. Expand your horizons: Once you have a hang of trying new things with the foods that you like, take a step further and start to add new foods into the mix.  I don’t mean a huge overhaul, but maybe trying one new vegetable, or grain, or new way to prepare your meal.  This is one of the best ways to keep things from getting boring or stale, unless you like that (some people do like eating the same thing, because it helps to keep them on track and relieves some stress).

At the end of the day, just because you are a “picky eater”, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed when it comes to getting a handle on your nutrition.  Try these 3 tips and give it a shot!

If you are looking for a way to get a better handle on Clean Eating, check out my free Clean Eating Guide, which includes a sample meal play and grocery list that you can check out.  Click here to download the guide. 

Mini Meatloaf Muffins 


Mini Meatloaf Muffins are a perfect way to meal prep and watch your portions.  I make the meatloaf mixture then portion then off into 12 balls and bake in a muffin tin. The great thing about them is that they also freeze well! 

Here is the recipe: 

  • 2 Pounds of Ground Turkey, Beef, or other lean meat
  • One bell pepper, chopped
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • One cup of rolled oats
  • 21 seasoning salute
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients and form into 12 balls. 
  2. Place each ball into a section of a muffin tin. 
  3. Bake on 400 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Top with low sugar ketchup or tomato sauce and enjoy with a side of veggies. I typically eat 2 muffins per serving. 

10 Sneaky Ways to Get Healthy

shutterstock_217194712Most people don’t realize that can actually be pretty easy to get healthy, the key is to remember that small changes compounded over time can lead to big results.  This is a concept I learned from reading The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. So, I wanted to share a few ways that you can actually “sneak” in healthier habits into your day.

  1. Keep Healthy Snacks EVERYWHERE: If you are surrounded by junk food, you’ll eat it when hunger strikes.  If you keep healthy foods stocked in your desk at work, glove compartment, and in your house, you will be sure to avoid giving in to junk food.
  2. Do something physical during mundane tasks: One of my clients likes to respond to emails while she is on the treadmill, it’s easy for her to do both and kills two bird with one stone.
  3. Set reminders in your phone: If you have a super busy day, it may be in your best interest to set reminders in your phone to alert you to “Get up and walk around” so you don’t sit for too long or to “drink a glass of water”.  A lot of times our days get the best of us and we simply get stuck at our desk.
  4. Schedule your workouts and meals: Piggy backing off of #3, if you plan your days and schedule your workouts and meals into your calendar, you are more inclined to respect that as a meeting with yourself and will take the time to go workout or eat a real meal.
  5. Keep a pair of sneakers nearby: If you have your Sneakers under your desk at work or in your trunk, if you find that you have some free time that comes up, you can swap out your shoes and go for a nice stroll during that break.  “Not having shoes” can no longer be your excuse!
  6. Keep Bottles of Water Visible: I tend to not drink enough water during the day, so I started to keep water bottles in visible places – on my desk, on my night stand, in my cup holder in my car, and next to the couch. This way, when I see it I’m prompted to drink more water.
  7. Create a Fitness Inducing Playlist: One of my clients needs tons of motivation to work out, so I had her create a playlist of her favorite mood boosting, booty shaking tunes. I then had her to listen to it not only when she works out, but also 30 minutes she is scheduled to work out with me so she is pumped.  She says she now listens to the playlist when she feels sluggish or unmotivated in other areas of her life.
  8. Drink Your Fruits & Veggies: If you follow me on Social Media, you know that I love Shakeology, because it gives me everything I need to get my fruits, vegetables, minerals, vitamins and more.  You can also make a Superfood Smoothie at home, here is a list of Green Smoothies that you can try.
  9. Make Fitness Social: If you are typically meeting up with your friends or having date nights that are centered around food and cocktails, maybe try to switch things up and do something physical together. Maybe date night can be a hike or ice skating, or you can swap out happy hour for going bowling or rock climbing.  It’s the perfect way to make fitness fun and it’s always better when you have a partner to do it with you!
  10. Cook More Meals at Home: Each month I run a 5 Day Clean Eating Group via Facebook and typically my challengers lose 3 – 5 pounds during that challenge. The kicker about those groups is that everyone cooks all of their meals, because I provide a meal plan with a grocery list and recipes.  When you cook your meals, you can control what goes into them and the portion sizes (which are always too big when you eat out).

When I share these tips with my clients and they begin to implement them, they find that they are more consistent with their workouts and eating clean, but also find that they feel better, tend to lose weight, and feel empowered by developing healthier habits.

If you are looking to get a better handle on developing healthy habits, send me a note on Facebook or comment below.

 

3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Reach Your Weight Loss Goals 


Many people think that there is a perfect time to get on track to lose weight and get healthy, but the reality is, “someday” usually never comes. If you are infamous for saying “I’ll start someday”, I want to give you 3 things you can do today that will get you into action to start your successful journey of losing weight and hopefully keeping it off for good! 

  1. Do a Kitchen Audit: This is one thing I do with my clients, because it forces them to take immediate action and it eliminates temptation to fall off track. We pull out everything from their fridge and pantry and go through each item to determine if we keep it, throw it away or donate it. We keep the foods that are clean and not overly processed. We throw away any expired or extremely unhealthy foods, and we donate any non-perishable goods that are not going to help them reach their goals. If there is no junk in the house, you won’t be tempted to eat it. 
  2. Start Tracking Your Food: When my clients start working with me, I ask them to write down everything the put into their mouth from breakfast to a breath mint. This helps me to get a better idea of what they are eating and to help me develop a better meal plan for them, but for the client it gives them a clear picture of how healthy they truly are eating. I find that most people believe that they eat healthier than they really do, which causes them to not take their nutrition as seriously as they should when making changes. 
  3. Make a commitment to yourself and share it with someone: We bend over backwards to make and keep our commitments to others but tend to flake on ourselves. Take a moment and think about one thing you plan to do that will lead to you being healthier and happier. Once you figure it out, write it down and then share it with someone or even better post it on Social Media and ask your network to hold you accountable. When you put it out into the open, it holds you accountable and it allows for others to support you. It can be hard to stay on track if you feel like you’re doing it alone. My most successful clients are those who have a strong support system. 

You don’t have to make big changes, to get amazing results, but you do have to take action! Give these tips a try and if you need more help with getting on track to reach your goals, connect with me on Facebook. 

How I lost 3 lbs on a 8 day all inclusive vacation in Mexico!

13754460_10111174801729644_1663793885540118672_nWhen most people think of all inclusive vacations, they immediately are drawn to the allure of the all you can eat and all you can drink portion of that package.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to eat and I love my Margaritas, but this time around, I had to be very intentional about what I ate and drank on my 8 day vacation at the Now Sapphire Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

On July 6th, I started the 21 Day Fix Extreme program which also included replacing one meal a day with Shakeology.  This 21 day program focuses on 30 minute workouts which vary from upper body, lower body, total body, plyometric, pilates, cardio, and yoga. On top of that you have a very simple nutrition plan that you follow that incorporates portion control containers and a list of foods that you are able to eat.  The whole thought of this program is simplicity, it takes out calorie counting or spending endless hours working out, yet yields pretty amazing results, because you do the program for 21 days without rest days or cheat meals.  In my mind, you can do anything for 21 days, but I will say when 8 of those days are spent abroad, I was a bit nervous, but I am happy to report that I actually lost 3 pounds while on vacation and feel like a total rockstar for staying on track.

Here are a few things that I did, that made this possible and actually pretty doable for the vacation:

  1. SHAKEOLOGY EVERY SINGLE DAY!: I made sure that every morning, before leaving my hotel room, I used one of the ice cold bottles of water and mixed it with one serving of Cafe Latte Shakeology. It was like my morning Iced Coffee that I didn’t feel guilty about.  Shakeology is packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, protein, and has 9 servings of fruits and vegetables. This was my morning fuel.
  2. Beachbody OnDemand & the Gym: Since the resort had free wifi, I was able to bring my phone or laptop to the resort gym and do my 30 minute workouts each morning. Since the program uses dumbbells and resistance bands and doesn’t take up a lot of space, I was able to get the workouts done. Plus, the gym area with the weights was pretty empty, as most people either stuck to the cardio machines or used the cable weight machines.
  3. Make Friends with the Chefs & Wait Staff: The chefs and waitstaff were pretty regular and I made it a point to make friends and explain my dietary needs on day one.  This way, it was easy for me over the course of the 8 days to get foods that I could eat. I frequented the grill area, where I could order a piece of fish, steak, or chicken to be grilled for me on the spot. I brought over the olive oil that was near the salad bar and asked them to use that instead of the oil that was next to the grill, which wasn’t olive oil and didn’t have any additional additives. I also, brought over fresh veggies from the salad bar and asked them grill or sauté them for me and they did without blinking an eye.  I opted out of the fried foods or foods drenched in salty sauces, and ate mostly grilled protein and veggies at each meal.  I also indulged in tropical fruits that we don’t typically have here in the states like Mexican Papaya with a squeeze of lime juice, dragon fruit, and tons of melon, pineapples and mangos. For breakfast, I stuck with egg white omelets with a bit of cheese and tons of veggies.
  4. SKIP THE ALCOHOL: The 21 Day Fix Extreme doesn’t allow for alcohol, which was a bit of bummer, especially seeing all of the cool concoctions being served in pineapples or hearing people order a “Dirty Monkey” from the pool bar.  However, I was able to still have a refreshing “mocktail” – Sparkling Water with muddled mint and lime with a pineapple slice. It was the perfect drink and still felt fancy and tropical. I actually didn’t even miss the alcohol, being that it was so hot and humid, my drink was perfect and I could drink them all day! Which was helpful, since I needed to make sure that I drink at least 10 glasses of water.
  5. Challenge Tracker App & 21 Day Fix Tracker App: To help me stay on track, as when I am on vacation I rarely know what day it is, so having a tool to ensure that I was eating on track and doing the correct workouts for the day, was key.  Plus, I was a part of a Challenge Group, where I was able to see everyone else checking in with their meals and workouts, it was a great reminder when I didn’t want to workout or wanted to pig out at the buffet, that I had goals and made commitments and that I wasn’t alone on this journey.

I am pleased with myself and my results so far, especially because I didn’t make excuses and stayed on track.  If I can do it, that means that anyone else can.  This just proves the power of having a true system and plan for your nutrition and fitness that is simple and sustainable, coupled with an accountability system and tracking tools.  If you are interested in trying the 21 Day Fix or the 21 Day Fix Extreme, I have a Challenge Group starting soon and I’d love to have you join me and the rest of the group.

Click here to learn more!