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! 

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.

 

The Perfect (Gluten Free) Bar

Sooo, you know that feeling when you fall in love for the first time? I just had that feeling again once I bit into this bar…my first thought was “This is Perfect!” Only to find out the bar is called “The Perfect Bar”.  It was absolutely delicious!

 

This bar is 100% all natural and no preservatives, so you don’t have any weird after tastes or weird texture issues to deal with. It literally tastes like someone’s mother made it in her kitchen. But what I also love is that it is packed with tons of “superfoods” and tastes like a dessert!  It’s like the bar version of Shakeology! 

I found them at Costco in the refrigerator section and I will be back to buy the entire section out! Perfect for breakfast, snack or even before a workout! Do yourself a favor and get these! #LoveAtFirstBite

If you don’t have access to Costco or can’t find them in your local store, click here to order it online The Perfect Bar – Perfect Foods Bar Almond Butter. You won’t regret it!

How to Survive a Conference in Vegas

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Healthy Snacks Packed for the Coach Summit in Vegas: Banana, 2 bottle of water, strawberries, sunflower seeds & dried cranberries, applesauce, blueberries, and a homemade chocolate protein brownie. Some items were bough through online grocery delivery and other items were brought from home.

Last week, I was at the Team Beachbody Coach Summit, that was held in Las Vegas.  As much as I look forward to this annual conference, one of my biggest pet peeves with most conferences is that the schedules are jam packed, the food options aren’t always the best to keep you on track and it is so darn expensive! This year, I got smart and made it important to stick with my goals – to stay on track with clean eating and to stay on track with my budget. I spent $50 total on food for 4 days in Las Vegas and was 100% healthy, satisfied and happy with my choices. I came back actually down 2 pounds, didn’t get sick, had tons of energy, and had a great time!

Here are my tips:

  1. Order Groceries Online: A few days before arriving to Vegas, visit http://www.vons.com and set up an account to have groceries delivered to your hotel. I stayed at the MGM Grand and it was no problem at all.  Myself, along with 3 other people put our money together to order about $60 worth of groceries. Our list consisted of fresh fruit, cases of water, bread, peanut butter, crackers, cheese sticks, applesauce, plastic cutlery, dishwashing soap, and plastic sandwich baggies. We all ended up spending about $20 each on groceries.  Also, you can bring some items from home, as well, if you already have them on hand, just add them to your suitcase. 🙂
  2. Pack Snacks: Once you have your groceries, create individual snack bags that you can bring with you along the way, so you don’t have to worry about being stuck in a workshop or meeting without having something healthy to eat or snack on.
  3. Make a Morning Shake: We used ice from the Ice Vending machine and one of my roommates brought a Single Serve Hamilton Beach blender and we used the fresh fruit and water/juice to create our morning Shakeology.  As you know I drink it every single day, and this allowed me to stay on track. Especially in Vegas, where the air quality isn’t the best and I used to always get sick when I went to Vegas, this super packed daily dose of dense nutrition, was critical! I actually had 2 shakes a day just for good measure (one for breakfast with ice, water, and fresh fruit) then mixed the other with coconut water for a snack and extra energy boost.
  4. Splurge on Dinner: Instead of trying to run to grab lunch, which we didn’t have much time, so I stuck with a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, some triscuits, fruit and a cheese stick, but for dinner, I was more open to splurging on a meal when I had the time to unwind and relax. These was perfect because most of the nights were parties and events where there were cocktails and tasty food. So I didn’t feel bad at all, especially because I had made great choices during the day.
  5. Stick with the plan: If you take the time to plan out your meals before, pack your snacks and lunches, you won’t fall victim of making bad choices.  Yes, it could be tempting to skip the PB&J in the bag and head out with the rest of the group for a big lunch that you will have to rush through (which will make you feel worse as you are inhaling your food then running back to the workshops). But think about your goals and how you want to feel throughout your time.  If you need help sticking with the plan, get a few accountability partners or people from your team, that you can eat lunch with in a cool place in the hotel or even have a picnic outside and get some fresh air (although the air quality isn’t the best) since you are stuck inside most of the day.

The key is that if you take a few proactive steps, you can stay on track.   What are your tips for staying on track during  convention or conference?

My Favorite Healthy Snacks

Eating Clean is something that I have really incorporated into my every day life, although I’m not 100% clean all the time, I do try my best to keep it as close to it as I can. I say that I am about 80% clean, I still enjoy a cheat or treat meal, as I like to call them, at least twice a week. 

However, one thing that was a bit of a challenge for me, when I first started was my snacks.  When you start to eat clean, you actually will eat more throughout the day, because you are eating lower calorie foods so to make sure that you are not hungry and that you are fueling your body throughout the day to give you enough energy.   So eating a snack in between meals is key!

Here are some of my favorite snacks:

  • Handful of raw almonds & handful of dried cranberries – love this salty, sweet, chewy, and crunchy taste
  • 8 Baby Carrots
  • Cucumber Slices with Salt, Pepper, & Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp of Natural Peanut Butter with an apple
  • 1 cup of plain Greek Yogurt with 1/2 cup of Mixed Berries
  • Trail Mix: handful of nuts, seeds, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries/raisins
  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Bell Pepper Slices with 2 Tbsp of Hummus
  • Whole Grain Pita Bread & 2 Tbsp of Hummus
  • No sugar added applesauce with 1 Tbsp of Granola and dash of cinnamon
  • Natural Cheese Stick with an apple
  • Natural Cheese Stick with 4 Whole Grain Crackers
  • 1 Tbsp of Natural Peanut Butter with 4 Whole Grain Crackers
  • Easy Banana Nut Cookies – click here for recipe
  • Fresh squeezed juice – Click here for some of my favorite recipes

5 Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping

I know that for some people, eating healthy is a challenge because they are not sure how to properly shop for the right foods.  It is pretty clear that one of the major ways to make sure that you don’t eat crap food, is to keep crap food out of the house. But then you are left wondering, “What should I get?” or thinking that all healthy food is “gross”. But, to be honest there are many great options out there for you.

First, here are some guidelines that I go by to help make sure that I am staying on track:

1. Sugars are everywhere! And it is so hard to keep it under control because it is in things like salad dressings, many condiments, and packaged foods.  I try not to add foods that have sugar as one of the first 3 ingredients.  Many cereals and yogurts are packed with yogurt, even the healthy ones, so watch out for that.

2. Shop around the perimeter, this is where the fresh foods are.  The aisles in the middle of the grocery store tend to have the processed and packaged foods, which are packed full of preservatives.  The perimeter is where you will find fruits, veggies, dairy, and the deli.

3. The Essentials in my cart – Fruits, Veggies, Whole Grains, and Lean Protein. These are the key things that I shop for every week.  It may seem pretty basic, but these can be great building blocks for a nice, healthy and tasty dinner.  Try googling recipes that include the things that you buy so you can experiment.

4. I buy organic when I can (I use coupons A LOT to be able to make up for some of the pricier organic stuff I buy)

5. Don’t forget snacks! Eating clean means that you will most likely need to consume more food (not calories), as many whole foods are lower in calories. So including healthy snacks are key.  I like to do fruit, nuts, greek yogurts, natural cheeses, whole grain toast (or Ezekiel Bread) with peanut butter, hummus with veggie sticks, etc.

Healthy Snack Alert: Apple Nachos!

So, I’m not much of a snacker, but when I do, I tend to want something salty and sweet and crunchy. The old Allison would eat Lays Original Potato Chips and Chocolate Chips or Peanut Butter & Jelly with Ruffles.  But, things have changed now that I am really focused on eating cleaner and eating to support my goals.  So, the other day I was craving something salty, sweet and crunchy.  I stood in the kitchen for a bit when inspiration hit me. Check out this recipe for Apple Nachos or Apple Chips and Dip, as my friend preferred to call them.

  • 1 Apple, sliced thin into slices
  • 1 Tbsp of Peanut Butter – I used an organic brand from Whole Foods, can’t remember
  • 1 Tbsp of Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tsp of Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 Tsp of Vanilla Protein Powder – I used Shakeology, but I also think that Chocolate would be great too!
  • Dash of Cinnamon

Arrange sliced apples on a plate and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon. In a bowl mix together the Peanut Butter, Greek Yogurt, Almond Milk and Protein Powder until it is smooth.  Serve the dip with the apples and enjoy!

It’s super simple, super easy, and you probably have all of these ingredients in your fridge if you are a clean eater. 🙂

Are you fueling your body? 3 Tips to stay Fueled Up!

Right now I have a challenge group running and we are 2 weeks in.  Many of the challengers are reporting to be super hungry and they are nervous about eating more since they are trying to lose weight.

I love when my challengers get to this point, because they are normally confused as to why they want to eat more food, then I remind them that they are now doing a committed fitness regimen where they are working out daily and burning more calories and building muscle, which revs up the metabolism. This is a great place to be along your weight loss journey, but it can also be the place that will sabotage your hard work.   Yes, you will be hungrier and want to eat more often and I encourage that…only if you are choosing foods that will fuel your body and help you along your journey.

So what should you do?

  • Focus on eating real and whole foods, keep the processed and refined foods out of your house and out of your mouth.  These will definitely side track your progress, especially because it isn’t “real food” and you body tends to hold on to it longer.
  • Second, aim to eat healthy snacks throughout the day. I’m a big fan of doing one snack that is protein and fruit (apple and tbsp of peanut butter or banana and 10 raw almonds) and then another snack that is fiber and protein (whole grain crackers with low fat cheese stick or plain greek yogurt with crushed pecans and sunflower seeds), because these keep me full and fuel my body.
  • Lastly, make sure that you are drinking tons of water, I challenge my groups to hit 80+ ounces a day.  Water is a necessity as you are working to lose weight and get healthy, but also, sometimes we think that we are hungry but in reality we are thirsty or even worse, dehydrated.

Hopefully, these tips help you if you find yourself ravenous in your new journey of fitness and weight loss! For more information or help to create some healthy meals and snack ideas, comment below and we can chat!

Healthy Snack Recipe: Kale Chips

So, I have a confession…I’M OBSESSED WITH KALE! Seriously, this superfood is packed with so many amazing benefits, like being super low in calories, fat free, high in iron, high in Vitamins A, C, & K, packed with anti-oxidants and is an anti-inflammatory food. It’s also a great veggie to assist with detoxing the body.  I ate Kale in salads (love them with sliced apples, red onions, and feta cheese with a healthy vinaigarette) or in soups (it holds up nicely with hot temperatures) or even I toss some into my Shakeology.  But when I want a nice snack, something salty, flavorful and crunchy, I make kale chips!  Check out the recipe below to make your very own. You can also add various seasonings like Sea Salt, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Cayenne or Chili Powder or any other healthy herb or season blend and you will knock your own socks off. Check it out and let me know how you like your Kale and your Kale Chips!

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Tips for eating healthy at the office

 

I had a friend who reached out to me, because she is struggling trying to eat healthy while at work. I can remember when I was working in Corporate America and between back to back meetings, office birthdays, potlucks and happy hours, coupled with sitting for hours at end glued to the computer and my desk, made it hard for me to eat healthy. I had a “grab and go” diet while at work and usually I was grabbing fast food, processed foods, or something from the vending machine. (No wonder I felt groggy and sleepy during the day!)  But here are some tips that I shared with my friend to help her out:

  1. Make a Shake or Smoothie for breakfast. This is super simple to make and takes a few minutes to prepare, plus you can make it and drink it on your way to work. I drink Shakeology, because it’s a complete nutrition shake that keeps me full until lunch and gives me tons of energy.
  2. Create a Healthy Snack Drawer: Keep your desk or office stocked with Nuts, Dried Fruit, Whole Grain crackers, and a jar of peanut butter. Keep it at arms length, so you can easily and quickly eat a healthy snack
  3. Bring an insulated lunch bag filled with healthy food. For non-perishable foods like Greek Yogurt, Cheese Sticks, Hummus, and fruit, you can keep them cold by using an insulated bag and keep it at your desk.
  4. Pack your lunch. This sounds pretty simple, but not only will it prevent you from running out to the nearest fast food place or vending machine for a lunch. If you pack it, you eat it. That’s my rule.  Even if you pack a lunch only 3 times a week, you could save yourself a few hundred calories and a few bucks. Pack a sandwich or a wrap or even left overs from a healthy meal that you made (wink wink) or a salad.
  5. Set a timer every few hours. Sometimes you can get so busy at work that you forget to eat or drink water. To keep your metabolism up, you should be eating every few hours and drinking tons of water. Set an alarm on your phone every 2 – 3 hours to remind you to eat something healthy and drink 8oz of water.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to stay on track with your healthy eating while at work. Do you have any other questions that I can help you with? Just comment below and I’ll do my best! If you need additional help, I’m here to help!