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10 Things That Will Inevitability Sabotage Your Success:

The secret to success is that there is no secret!

All it takes is a little hard work and dedication mixed with a some time and patience, and BAM, you’re on your way to achieving all your goals and more!

But be weary!

As easy as it is to achieve success, it’s even easier to sabotage it. Believe it or not, the biggest threat to your success is YOU!

Don’t worry, though! I’ve come up with a list of 10 things to avoid, so that you can be successful in all your health and fitness (and life) endeavors, and continue to be the happiest, healthiest version of you possible!

1. Setting unrealistic goals:

Goals are very important. They give you direction, something to work for. Goals give you a purpose for making positive changes. Essentially, they’re your why.

Setting goals is a great way to start building healthy habits that will follow you through the rest of your life. But, all too often people set crazy, unrealistic goals that they cannot possibly achieve. Goals like…

I’m going to lose 20 pounds in a month.

I’m going to build muscle and totally reshape my body in 12 weeks.

I’m only going to eat “clean” and “healthy” foods from now on.

Goals like that just aren’t feasible. There’s no way you’re going to lose 20 pounds in a month without being sick. Additionally, you’re not going to go from Bruce Banner to The Incredible Hulk in 12 weeks. Those types of changes in body composition take time…lots of time!…And, trying to only adhere to a “clean” and “healthy” diet, with no room for flexibility, will only lead to dissatisfaction, binging, guilt, and, eventually, abandonment of that goal altogether.

Instead, try setting smaller, more realistic goals that you can actually stick to, like…

I’m going to start working out a little each day, in an effort to improve my health and lose some body fat.

I’m going to start incorporating weightlifting into my workouts, in an effort to build lean muscle over time.

I’m going to start making better nutrition choices little by little each day.

By being realistic, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your game plan, and, ultimately, succeed.

2. Being impatient:

Did you know?…The number one reason people abandon their fitness journey is because they look at how far they still have to go, instead of looking at how far they’ve actually come.

Patience is KEY!

Just because you aren’t where you want to be does not mean you aren’t on track. Significant change takes time, but progress does happen daily…Usually, without you even realizing!

Focus on the small victories, like how your energy has improved, the quality of your sleep, the strength and endurance you’ve gained, your mood, and your confidence level. Think of how you’re feeling and performing, now.

I guarantee if you think back to when you started, you’ve made some pretty awesome improvements since…Be proud of those improvements, and keep working towards your goals!

3. Comparing yourself to others:

You are you…I am me…Those fitness models on social media are who they are…

My point is, everyone is different, and everyone is unique. Don’t spend your time scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, etc. wishing you were someone else, because you’re not…and you never will be!

The only thing you’re ever going to be is YOU…and That. Is. Enough.

You are exactly who you were meant to be! Embrace that! Love yourself…for YOU…because there will never be another you.

You are special…

YOU! ARE! ENOUGH!

4. An all-or-nothing attitude:

While it’s good to be focused and determined to reach your goals, going into it with an all-or-nothing attitude will only end in disaster.

If you’re goal is to make better nutrition choices, that’s great! Just don’t go into it with the notion of never eating “junk food” again…If you do, you’ll fail.

Good nutrition is important to any healthy lifestyle, but part of good nutrition is indulging in the things you love, as well. If you try to cut out all the foods you love…you know, the less-than-Healthy ones…you’ll crave, and eventually, you’ll cave, which will lead to a binge, and possibly you giving up.

No bueno!

Make small changes each day. Have a nutritious breakfast. Have a side salad at lunch, instead of fries. Make it a point to have at least one vegetable with dinner each night. Small swaps will really add up!

The same goes for fitness. If your goal is to start exercising and get in shape, don’t start by trying to go balls to the wall 6 days a week. You’ll get tired and abandon that real quick!

Instead, start off by moving a little more each day. Park a little farther from stores or your workplace, so you’ll have to take a few extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a shot walk after lunch or dinner. Start doing a structured workout 2-3 times a week. Learn the movements, progress slowly, have fun with it! You don’t have to get there all in one day.

Take your time, be kind to yourself, and remember, making small daily changes will lead to bigger results than an all-or-nothing approach.

5. Never leaving your comfort zone:

Good things never come from comfort zones…

True words!

In order to grow, you have to do things that scare you a little, things that make you uncomfortable, things that are hard. Whether it be changing careers, asking for a raise, starting a new fitness program, or embarking on a complete lifestyle overhaul, you’ve just got to get in there and go for it!

Don’t let your fear of failure hold you back!…Don’t let YOU hold yourself back!

After all, you are your biggest limiting factor…

Breaking out of your comfort zone will help you realize your full potential and show you what you’re truly capable of.

6. Making excuses:

it’s too cold.

I’m tired.

It costs too much.

I don’t like that kind of food.

I don’t have time.

It’s simple, either you want change or you don’t!

If you do, making excuses will get yo no where.

#TruthBomb: You’re not always going to be motivated.

Most days, you’ll have to talk yourself into doing the things you know are best for you, the things that will help you get closer to achieving your goals, because you won’t always want to do those things. Working out, eating well, drinking water, going to bed early are all necessary, but 90% of the time you’ll want to do the exact opposite.

On those days, you just have to throw away the excuses, and make yourself do what you don’t want to. Those are the days when it is necessary to dig deep and just do what needs to be done.

Motivation won’t always be there….Excuses will!…You have to be stronger than those excuses.

7. Following “fad diets”:

You’ve heard them all, Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Paleo, Keto (as a “diet”), and many more…miracle weight loss solutions guaranteed to give you dramatic results literally overnight.

The problem is…

You cannot achieve real results “overnight”, or even within the short frame of time promised by fad diets.

In all honesty, fad diets are unrealistic, unhealthy and pretty much hopeless…Lasting, maintainable results take TIME. They take hard work. They take dedication and patience. And, they take sound nutritional choices.

There is no amount of yo-yo dieting on the planet that will give you the results that good old fashioned, consistent hard work will.

My advice, skip the fad!…Be your own trendsetter!…Move your body daily, drink plenty of water, and fuel up of nourishing, wholesome foods that energize you and leave you feeling good!

8. Listening to to the negativity of others:

No matter what you do, someone will have something negative to say.

You can’t please everyone, and that’s ok! The most important thing is that YOU are happy and fulfilled.

Fact: Getting others to understand your lifestyle choices is often the hardest thing, especially when those choices are geared towards bettering your own life.

You have to realize that everyone is not going to understand, and everyone is not going to support you. But, don’t let that discourage you!

Keep living your best life!

Keep making healthy/productive choices!

Keep doing what makes you the healthiest, happiest version of yourself, and don’t be afraid to radiate your happiness!

Whenever someone else questions you or tries to bring you down…and they will…just tell them. “i’m doing this for ME! You you don’t have to like it, understand it, or agree with it, but you do have to accept it…because it’s for ME…not you, and I’m doing it”.

In the end, life is too short to worry about what other people think about you, anyway. So, do what’s best for YOU, have fun, and give them something to talk about!

9. Not believing in yourself:

If you believe you can, you’re right…If you believe you can’t, you’re also right.

Here’s the thing, guys. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to. You are capable of ANYTHING! You just have to believe it!

Believe in yourself and all that you are!…Know that there is something inside of you that is greater than any obstacle…EVERYTHING you need to succeed is already inside of you! Never forget that!

You got this!

10. Quitting when things get tough:

And, things WILL get tough!

There’s a saying that goes “If it were easy, everyone would do it“.

WRONG!

If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it!

Nothing worth having ever comes without a little struggle and sacrifice. Quitting when things get tough will only make them tougher. The best thing to do is face obstacles head on, with a positive attitude, and work through them.

Learn to roll with the punches.

You’re not going to succeed at everything the first time. You’re going to fail…A LOT! Learn from those failures…Grow from them…Don’t give up when things get hard. Jump in and give it your all.

Success doesn’t come from doing everything right the first time. Success comes from constant, genuine effort and unwavering dedication.

Success comes from never giving up!

Mindful Eating: What It Is And How It’s Changed My Life

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I take a very relaxed approach to nutrition. I practice what I call Mindful Eating.

But, what does that mean, exactly?

I’ll explain…

First, let me tell you a little more about me and then I’ll explain what I mean by mindful eating.

See, when I started lifting weights in January of 2015, I also started tracking my nutrition, diligently, because I thought that was how it worked. I mean, I counted EVERY macronutrient and Calorie right down to the last stick of gum, to make sure everything was “on point”! I was constantly looking up nutrition information, weighing and measuring portions to get the EXACT amount, because Heaven forbid my numbers be even slightly off, stressing because no two labels for the same food item gave the same values (that’s a whole other explanation, lol), obsessing over what I “couldn’t” have, and constantly thinking about what I “could”. Food was controlling my life, and I was starting to dread mealtimes.

In the past, during my teenage years and early 20s, I had been in a really dark place with food, and I was starting to see some of that previously disordered mindset trying to creep back in, so in June of 2017, I decided to conduct a little self-experiment. I was going to not track my nutrition for one weekend, just to see how things would go. I knew if it got overwhelming, I could easily go back to daily Calorie math…Nothing lost, nothing gained

Well, that first weekend turned into a week, that week turned into a month, and that month turned into a year, and so on…

Today, I have a really good relationship with food. I no longer label it as “healthy” or “unhealthy”. There is no ”good” or “bad”, there’s only food. I don’t worry about what I “can” or “can’t” have,..I just eat!

Giving myself the freedom to choose has made me less likely to overindulge when I do eat a less than wholesome meal or snack. And, since I stopped tracking, I’ve really noticed the biggest positive changes in my overall body composition.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t just mindlessly eat, I’m always 100% aware of everything I put into my body, whether it be beer and tacos or grilled chicken with broccoli, and quinoa.

See, the trick with mindfulness is to not look at foods in terms of “good” or “bad”…Don’t try to tell yourself what you “can” and “can’t” have; that’s where feelings of restriction and deprivation manifest…Instead, focus on giving your body what you know it needs to flourish the majority of the time. Things that are rich in nutrients, that fill you up and energize you, and that you enjoy eating.

You don’t actually have to give up “junk” foods all together. Lord knows I love me some beer, tequila, pizza, cheese fries, ice cream, burgers, etc, and I allow myself to enjoy those things ANY TIME I WANT…and I do mean ENJOY…free of guilt and shame, because I know I don’t eat/drink that way everyday.

Allowing those things into my diet is a normal part of being human, and indulging every now and then does not, and will not, undo anything I’ve accomplished.

Mindfulness = awareness.

As I mentioned, I am 100% aware of everything that goes into my body at all times. By being more flexible with my nutrition…and a lot kinder to myself…I’ve found that I actually crave less-than-heathy foods much less often. For example, I know if I want a cookie at 12:00 on a Tuesday afternoon, it’s perfectly ok to have one, but I often find myself craving something like apple and cottage cheese or a granola bar at times like that, so those things are what I reach for.

Being mindful isn’t about what you can and can’t have. It’s about being aware and accountable at all times without feeling guilty or beating yourself up.

You don’t have to be perfect to be all in. You just have to give it your best effort each and every day!

Going Beyond Beauty: 8 Little Known Benefits of Collagen That Are Totally AWESOME!

While many reach for the heavy, sweetened creamers each morning, my go-to coffee “mate” is a heaping scoop of collagen!

Now, I know many of you may already take it as part of your daily beauty regeneration, but did you know collagen actually has far greater benefit to your health that go way beyond just a pretty face?

Let me explain…

First off, (for those who don’t know) what is collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is found in our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, and cartilage. Although it is present naturally in our bodies, it declines with age (as do most things) leaving us vulnerable to achy joints, sore muscles, wrinkly skin and brittle bones. Because of this, it is a good idea to use a collagen supplement each day, to replenish our body’s natural supply.

What are the benefits of taking collagen each day?

Other than the obvious, collagen has several little known health benefits that, in my opinion, place it at the top of the supplement charts!

1. It Repairs Joins And Connective Tissue:

Got sore joints? Been aching after your workouts? Try collagen!

Research studies have shown that collagen reduces joint pain and inflammation, and may even help heal degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.

Hello, mobility!

2. It Improves Sleep:

Sleep is one commodity that we cannot live without!

Research suggests that those who used a collagen supplement reported falling asleep faster at night, and staying asleep, And better sleep = better health, better performance, and a better overall quality of life in general.

WIN!

3. It Calms Anxiety:

The secret behind collagen’s anti-anxiety superpower is the amino acid, glycine. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter—a chemical in the brain that stops the fight or flight response, calms the brain, and balances mood.

It works much the same way as anti-anxiety medications, only without any of the adverse side effects or need for a prescription.

NOTE: i am not a medical professional, nor am I suggesting the use of collagen to treat or cure any suspected or known medical conditions. if you experience extreme anxiety or depression, please consult your doctor immediately!

4. It Strengthens Bones:

As we age, and especially for women, bone health should become a major priority.

Since bones are actually 90% collagen, a daily dose of this superior supplement can actually help to prevent potential bone loss. In fact, studies have shown collagen “to support bone health through increased bone and mineral density, increased bone size, less brittle bones, and the stimulation of osteoblast activity.” In a nut shell, it helps replenish what years of wear and tear take out.

5. It Helps Reduce Appetite:

For those looking to manage their weight, or even shed a few pounds, collagen is a great option over meal replacement drinks, which can be high in sugar, additives and unhealthy fillers

A serving of collagen contains between 7-10 grams of healthy, satisfying protein, which can aid in satiety and give you a much needed energy boost. In fact, studies show those who took a collagen supplement at breakfast actually ate 20% less food at lunch.

6. It Heals Leaky Gut:

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is a condition that involves damage of the lining of the small intestine causing incompletely digested nutrients, toxins, bacteria, and wastes to “leak” through the intestines and flood the blood stream.

The foreign substances entering the blood can cause an autoimmune response in the body including inflammatory and allergic reactions ranging from respiratory problems, digestive issues and headaches to joint pain, skin conditions and a whole lot more.

Because damaged cells in the intestines may fail to produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion, absorption of essential nutrients is compromised creating further imbalance throughout the body that can contribute to various issues including hormone imbalance and a weakened immune system.

LGS is a growing problem that leaves one feeling bloated, tired and moody among other things, but fortunately, collagen can help by working to re-establish the integrity of the intestinal lining to heal leaky gut.

Basically, it helps break down proteins and soothes your gut’s lining, healing damaged cell walls and infusing them with healing amino acids, and it helps form connective tissue, which“seals and heals” the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

7. It Improves Liver Health:

The glycine found in collagen also helps minimize damage your liver experiences when it absorbs foreign substances, toxins, or alcohol that shouldn’t be passing through it. Studies have even found that glycine can be used to help reduce alcohol-induced liver damage and other forms of acute or chronic liver injury.

8. It Protects Cardiovascular Health:

Collagen contains another amino acid called proline which helps your artery walls release fat buildup in the bloodstream, shrinking the fat in the arteries and minimizing fat accumulation. Proline is needed for tissue repair within the joints and arteries, plus it helps control blood pressure. It’s also linked with the prevention of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) since it helps our arteries stay clear of dangerous plaque buildup.

In addition, another amino acid present in collagen called arginine helps with nitric oxide production, which allows for better vasodilation — meaning the widening of arteries and relaxation of muscle cells and blood vessels which allows for better circulation.

And, there you have it, eight little known reasons why collagen may just be the superhero of the supplement world!

For optimal health, I recommend a 5 to 10 g serving of collagen each day. Also, if taking it in powder form, you’re going to want to mix it in room temperature or hot liquid, as it will not dissolve at all in cold liquid.

Why I Used To Be Afraid Of Carbs And What I’ve Learned From It

Confession time!…Not so long ago, I was afraid of carbs.

Yep! Me!

Now, it’s no secret that I’ve been in some pretty dark places with food in the past, and thankfully was able to overcome all that. But, every once in a while something subtly triggers that previously disordered mindset, and one or two irrational thoughts manage to creep their way back in, if only for a moment or two.

So, what was it that made me look at carbs in a negative light in the not-so-distant past?…Well, it was a few things, really.

Like many, when I was just getting started on my fitness journey, I didn’t know anything about…well…anything, and nutrition was no exception. In the past, my thought processes was “eat less, weigh less, WIN!” (I know, YIKES!), so when I did finally learn about proper energy balance and macronutrients, I was like “woo-we!” It was all so confusing and a little bit overwhelming. And, at the time, the only resource I had was the not-so-trusty Internet.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great resources to be found online…and you’ve found one, right here…but for every piece of valid information, there are at least three pieces of bullshit and bro-science…Sad truth…

Anyway, the more I “learned” about macros, the more sketchy carbs seemed to be, and here’s why.

1. I saw others having results from following low carb diets – is it just me, or does it seem like everywhere you look these days SOMEONE is showcasing the dramatically over the top weight loss transformations that they’ve accomplished via some kind of low carb “diet” (cough…Keto)? Here’s the thing…and I AM NOT taking a stab at Keto…those people only represent a small percentage of the population. Yes, there are people who benefit GREATLY from a low carb lifestyle. From those with certain health conditions to those who’s bodies just don’t process carbs as well as others…carb intolerance IS a thing…a lower carb lifestyle is just what the doctor ordered (sometimes, literally). But, in truth, many people (myself included) tolerate carbs very well, making it unnecessary to eliminate them from life completely. This is a simple case of what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. You’ve got to find what works for you and roll with it.

2. The media said “Carbs are bad. Mmm-Kay” – News flash, the media says a lot of things they shouldn’t. Period…The media is unreliable, especially when it comes to telling us what we should and shouldn’t be eating…Ignore the media.

3. I was under the impression that all carbs are the same – They’re not! While it IS true that all carbohydrates eventually get broken down into simple sugars in your bloodstream, those that are digested and absorbed slowly, like whole or minimally processed, unrefined carbs, are very important for daily consumption as they help to control hunger, blood sugar, insulin concentrations, energy levels, and body composition. They also help increase macronutrient intake, boost fiber intake, enhance satiety, increase the body’s thermic effect of feeding, and promote better blood sugar control. It is, on the other hand, the overconsumption of refined carbohydrates…like white breads and pastas, cookies, pastries, processed cereals, etc…and added sugars that causes problems. These carbs are low in fiber and enter the body at a rapid pace, causing temporary elevation of blood sugar, blood triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol, inflammation, and insulin resistance. So, stick to things like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, potatoes (yes, even “regular” potatoes!), beans, and legumes, and you’ll be just fine.

The takeaway?

Going low carb is great (for those that it actually works for), but it isn’t necessary (or beneficial) for everyone. EveryBODY is different. Just because so-and-so does well on minimal carbs doesn’t mean you will. Additionally, the media is not a reliable source for nutrition information/recommendations. And, not all carbs are created equally. Minimally processed, unrefined carbs make most bodies very happy!

Today, I’m happy to report I eat ALL the carbs, even the occasional refined ones, and I’m the fittest, healthiest, and happiest that I’ve ever been!

The Truth About Fitness Programming: Success Comes From YOU!

November 2017-November 2018:

12 months of slow, steady progress using my own At-Home Strong programming.

No, my results aren’t dramatically over the top, but they are healthy, they are maintainable, and THEY ARE REAL!

I’m not gonna sit here and BS about how my programs will give you insta results in only 12 weeks….They won’t!…No program on this planet will do that.

Don’t get confused, my programs, as well as many others, WILL bring you results, BUT you hav to consistently follow them! You’ve got to switch out the workouts, increase the resistance, do more sets and reps. Once you complete the program (ANY program) you’ve got to keep going!

Fitness programs, whether they be of my design or someone else’s, are created with the intention of giving you guidance and structure. They are meant to 1) help get you started and establish a routine (if you’re a beginner), 2) learn various exercises, 3) give you structure and variety, and 4) help you reach your goals more efficiently. They are not a quick fix option. Whether you’re working one on one with a trainer at a gym or following a program you purchased online, you are not going to lose all the fat or build all the muscle in just a few short weeks or months. Think more along the lines of 12, 18, 24+ months.

Let’s look at it in terms of fat loss. It’ll take you about 1/4 of the time to lose the fat (and keep it off) as it took you to gain it. The same goes for muscle gain. If you’re super skinny and your goal is to beef up, don’t expect it to happen overnight. Even with a calorie surplus and heavy lifting, you’re looking at months and months of consistency and dedication.

It’s a lifestyle, guys, a constant! You’ve got to trust and follow the program, as well as embrace and ACCEPT the process!

If you start today, think of the impact it’ll have on the res of your life. No, you won’t get there in 12 weeks, but every day really does add up!

You just gotta take that first step!

Available Programs:

Currently, I’ve got four At-Home programs (which can be easily adapted to the gym) and one gym specific program (designed for those who typically train in the gym), plus an At-Home Bodyweight HIIT program that can be done anytime, anywhere.

-My 12-Week Beginners Program focuses on “getting started”, so to speak. It’s designed in 4 3-week periodized phases, staring off with simple bodyweight exercises, and very light resistance (dumbbells), and it progresses to more complex workouts, using heavier weights. It begins with total body workouts that are performed in a circuit fashion, and ends with a split schedule (different workouts focusing on specific muscle groups). It also includes a HIIT circuit that can be used for cardio, a step by step exercises how-to guide, and personalized nutrition strategies, including daily energy expenditure calculations and Calorie goal recommendations based on your specific goals. It is $59.99.

-My 12 Week At-Home Tone and Sculpt Program is a continuation of my Beginners program, but it is certainly ok to start with this one! It is set up on a split schedule, for five days a week (Monday & Friday: Biceps and Triceps, Tuesday & Thursday: Legs, and Wednesday: Back and Shoulders) This one consist of 2 6-week phases (12 Weeks total) with two different sets of workouts (for example, the first six weeks you’ll do one workout, then you switch to another workout for the second six weeks. This allows you to keep progressing without hitting a plateau). It also includes my At-Home Bodyweight HIIT Circuit Program, which consists of 10 different HIIT circuits that you can choose from to use as cardio, a step by step exercise how-to guide, 2 short exercise tutorial videos, and personalized “Nutrition Strategies”. It is $59.99

-My Tone and Sculpt Gym program is set up on a split schedule, for five days a week (Monday & Thursday: Legs, Tuesday & Friday : Biceps and Triceps, and Wednesday: Back and Shoulders) This one consist of 2 6-week phases (12 Weeks total) with two different sets of workouts (for example, the first six weeks you’ll do one workout, then you switch to another workout for the second six weeks. This allows you to keep progressing without hitting a plateau). It also includes my Bodyweight HIIT Circuit Program, which consists of 10 different HIIT circuits that you can choose from to use as cardio, a step by step exercise how-to guide, and the same personalized “Nutrition Strategies” as mentioned above. It is $49.99

-My At-Home Booty Sculpt, is specifically designed for shaping and toning the gluteus. It is also set up in phases, starting off with body weight exercises and progressing to heavier resistances. It also includes a step by step exercise how to guide It is $29.99

-My At-Home Core Strength and Stability Program is designed along the same lines as my Booty Builder (periodized progression), except it’s specifically designed around core strengthening exercises. It also includes a step by step exercise how to guide. It is $29.99

-My At-Home Bodyweight HIIT Circuit Program is available on its own for $15.99, as well. It consists of 10 different high intensity circuits that can easily be performed anyway, any time.

-Personalized Nutrition Strategies only are available as well. This includes BMR and Daily Calorie Expenditure (DCE) calculations, calorie/macronutrient recommendations based on your specific goals, tips on how to track calories and macros, the most accurate way to measure portions based on you specifically, tips on meal prep, a list of healthy options to stock your kitchen, and some of my favorite recipes. I also include tips for “mindful eating” to help you achieve success if nutrition tracking just isn’t for you. This service is $25.99.

The way it works is first we determine which program would be best for you and your goals, then I send you my comprehensive client questionnaire via email, you fill it out and email it back. Then, I get your program and all the information together and send the PDF to your email.

I get paid through PayPal, so when I’m ready to send the program I’ll send a payment request. Once the transaction is complete, I’ll send you everything.

Feel free to contact me today with questions or to get started. I’d love to help you find your healthiest, happiest self!

10 Ways To Take Control Of The Holidays And Still Have Fun:

With Thanksgiving just a couple of short weeks away, I think it’s safe to say, the holiday season is officially here!!!!

The holidays are a stressfully wonderful time filled with love, laughter, family, fun festivities, togetherness, and of course, food!

With all the parties, mixers, and get-togethers coming up, it can be hard to stay on track with your fitness and nutrition goals. But, not to worry! I’ve got 10 great tips to help stay on top of things and still enjoy yourself this (and every) holiday season!

Here are my top 10 ways to take control of the holidays and still have fun:

1. Don’t skip your workouts:

The holidays can be super busy. With all the parties, shopping, sight seeing, cooking/baking, wrapping…not to mention all of our regular daily responsibilities…things can get a bit hectic and overwhelming. So much so that it’s very easy for our goals to get put on the back burner.

Maintaining a solid workout schedule is one of the number one ways to stay on track during the holidays. If you find it hard to keep up your regular schedule during this time, that’s ok! Even a super short workout is better than nothing. Just try to move your body everyday. You’ll feel better and be much less susceptible to added holiday stress.

2. Focus on family and friends:

As I mentioned above, the holidays can be hectic and overwhelming, and when we’re stressed, what do we often turn to?…Food!…And, the holidays are full of it!

This season, don’t stress yourself out trying to make everything “perfect”. Focus on what’s really important, spending time with family and friends. When you’re at a party or get-together, really engaging with and enjoy the people around you. Talk, laugh, catch-up on old times.

Remember, the holidays are about togetherness. Make that time count!

3. Do something fun:

Instead of always going out for a meal or drinks, go do something fun that isn’t food related. Go skiing, sledding, or ice skating. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Go to a holiday play. Do some fun window shopping.

Don’t be a Scrooge and stay hoarded up inside all season. Get out and enjoy yourself! It’s another great way to keep moving, plus you’ll be much happier for it!

4. Don’t go into meals starving:

When it is time to enjoy a heavy holiday meal…and you SHOULD enjoy them…make sure you aren’t starving when you sit down at the table.

Many think they have to under eat on the day leading up to a big meal, but this is the absolute worst thing you can do. Going into a meal overly hungry will lead to uncontrollable overeating, which can lead to indigestion, bloat, discomfort, unnecessary feelings of guilt, and in time, unwanted weight gain.

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are wonderful, but there’s really nothing to be gained by stuffing yourself to the point of misery. On days you’re going to be enjoying rich feasts, go about your day as you normally would. Have your regular breakfast and lunch, so when you get to dinner, you’ll be less likely to overdo it and end up in a food coma.

5. Prepare/Bring your favorite healthy dish to share:

The next time you go to a dinner or party, prepare your favorite healthy recipe to share with your friends or family. Everyone loves to make their favorite dishes this time of year. Why not make something healthy, that you love? Who knows, that festive salad may just be a hit!

6. Try to stick to mealtimes instead of mindlessly grazing:

This time of year, it seems that there are snacks literally everywhere! Cookies or homemade candy in the break room, fudge at church, fee samples of spiced nuts, peanut brittle, almond bark, etc. lining the walkways at shopping malls. Everywhere you look, there’s a bite of something seasonally delicious.

While it is perfectly ok to taste and try things, try not to spend your days mindlessly grazing and snacking on all the confectioners lying around. Remember, all those little bites and tastes really do add up, making it so easy to overdo it without even realizing.

Enjoy your favorite seasonal foods, but be mindful of everything you put into your mouth.

7. Monitor alcohol consumption:

I love cocktails (and shots…and beer) as much as anyone, believe me, but when enjoying yourself at a holiday party, it is so easy to go overboard on the holiday spirits and have a few too many.

Drinking too much can really interfere with your nutrition. Alcohol has a lot of calories, and it may make you more prone to overeating. Basically, it makes your brain go into starvation mode, meaning it makes you feel hungry, and increases the likelihood that you’ll reach for less than nutritious snack options.

Don’t get me wrong, a fun night out won’t do too much damage but if you’re doing it often, it adds up.

8. Indulge without overdoing it:

The holidays, like life, are meant to be enjoyed, and it is 100% ok to enjoy your favorite seasonal foods/drinks! Just try to be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking. Don’t go overboard. Have a cookie or two, just don’t scarf down the entire platter.

Take the time to savor and enjoy what you’re eating. Allow your brain to recognize that you are satisfied before going in for seconds…or thirds. You don’t have to avoid your favorite foods. Enjoy them, but make them count!

9. Don’t beat yourself up over bloat and water weight:

#TruthBomb: Your weight fluctuates, daily!

It is dependent on things like how much salt you have had, eating/drinking in general, whether or not you’ve gone to the bathroom, how active you’ve been, water retention, etc.

The fact is, you cannot gain 5 pounds of fat in one night, period…It takes time…More than likely, any sudden holiday weight gain you experience is a direct result of excess water retention, or bloat, brought on by a little bit of overindulging…Hey! It happens!…The most important thing to note here is water weight is NOT a true reflection of your actual body composition at all.

So…

If your weight starts to rise over a short period of time, relax Stressing about it and punishing yourself will only make you feel worse.

Instead, try to balance things out by picking up where you left off and moving forward with your healthy lifestyle. Setbacks happen, but a little overindulging doesn’t cancel out all of your previous hard work. Yes, it’s always best to try to exert a little self-control, but it’s never ok to tear yourself down when you don’t.

Accept that you’re human, and keep moving forward.

10. Have fun!:

Finally, ENJOY YOURSELF!

Don’t stress or obsess all season. Allow yourself to enjoy this magical time of year! Radiate joy and love. Laugh! Be thankful for your many blessings and cherish those around you.

The holidays are about peace, love, and joy. Hold on to that, and have a wonderful time.

Defining Good Nutrition: Everything You Need To Know

Ok, so it’s no secret that nutrition is a major component in our overall health an wellbeing…It plays a huge role in everything!…Whether the goal is weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance, good nutrition is key.

But, what is good nutrition?

That’s not an easy question to answer, because defining “good nutrition” isn’t as simple as looking up a word in the dictionary…Everyone’s definition is different…For some, it may be eating super low carb (i.e. adhering to a ketogenic lifestyle), others my be inclined to eat a more plant based diet, and then there are those who follow to a more “traditional” dieting strategy (i.e. balanced amounts of carbs, protein, and fats).

While none of these approaches are inherently wrong, they aren’t exactly right either. What works for one won’t always work for another in terms of diet. And, in truth, diet isn’t the only aspect of good nutrition. It’s only a small part of it. No matter what type of diet plan you choose to follow, good nutrition can be achieved.

On the whole, good nutrition is about so much more than just which foods to eat and which to avoid. It’s also about more than just calories in…It’s how you expend those calories, what you’re working towards, and what you actually achieve…Regardless of the types of foods you choose to eat, a good nutrition plan is well developed, based on your specific goals, and built around four common characteristics.

  1. Balanced energy
  1. Nutrient density
  1. Balanced goals
  1. Honest outcomes

Here, we’ll explore each of these four characteristics.

1. Balanced Energy:

Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Wanna lose weight? Eat less calories! Gain weight? Eat more calories! Maintain? Find your right calorie balance!

It’s that simple!…Or, is it?

While creating the proper energy balance to match your goals is necessary, it’s not as simple as “just eat more to gain” or “just eat less to lose”. When you’re looking to lose or gain weight, you’ve got slow down and take the time to assess the rate at which you add or subtract calories into or from your diet.

In terms of weight gain, consuming too many calories too fast can increase your risk of:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Various types of cancer

While dramatically restricting calories and losing weight too quickly can lead to:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Reduced metabolic function
  • Lack of concentration
  • Reduced reproductive function

A controlled change in nutrition (i.e. adding or subtracting calories slowly, over time) prevents the balance of energy from jumping to either extreme, and allows the systems of your body to adjust naturally, leading to desired outcomes and better overall health.

A good nutrition plan, whether it be geared towards weight loss or weight gain, always keeps the balance of energy in mind. For best results, the plan should progress slowly and in a way that works well for your body composition to change (over time), but it should also allow you to adapt easily to the new lifestyle changes, so you can, and will, stick to it.

2. Nutrient Density:

Regardless of the type of diet you chose to follow (Keto, vegan, vegetarian, balanced/traditional, etc.), what you eat is just as important as how much you eat.

In order to get the most out of the foods you eat, you first have to understand nutrient density. For example, you’ll get limited nutrients from a doughnut, as opposed to s spinach and mushroom omelette with a side of whole wheat toast. The doughnut will pack on the calories and little else, while the omelette and toast will offer you many more nutrients without an overwhelming number of “empty” calories.

It’s easy to lose nutrient density by consuming too much of the wrong kinds of fats (trans fats, hydrogenated oil’s, high amounts of saturated fats) and overly processed “convenience” foods. Thats why it’s so important to be mindful of what you put into your body at all times. Remember, good nutrition shouldn’t make you work harder to meet your goals…It should make it easier to support a healthy body.

If you feel you fall short in this area, try this little exercise;

First, make a list of all the foods you eat each day and review the nutrient density of those foods. Look at how many grams of fat, carbohydrates, and protein is in each food, and how the calories match up. Tip: protein and carbs each have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram, so let’s say a particular food has 130 calories, 2g Fat, 8g carbs, and 20g protein…The nutrient breakdown would look like this, fat: 2g x 9 cals/g = 18 calories, carbs: 8g x 4 cals/g = 32 calories, and protein: 20g x 4 cals/g = 80 calories. If you do the math, the number of calories from each macronutrient adds up to total 130 calories, which indicates that this particular food is extremely nutrient dense. If the numbers are way off, it’s a pretty good indicator that the food item in question isn’t the most nutrient dense, and is probably loaded with overly processed and artificial crap. You also want to look at how much sugar and fiber is in each food you eat. Try to keep items to 15g or less of sugar per serving…the more fiber, the better!

After you’ve reviewed your daily food choices, make a list of some alternatives, and review the nutrient density of those things….What’s the best option?

Try to choose foods higher in nutrients more often than those that are overloaded with empty calories.

3. Balanced Goals:

Now it’s time to talk goals.

More than likely you’re pursuing good nutritionin an effort to meet a primary goal of some sort. Whether it be health, performance, or body composition, I’m guessing you’re thinking of little else other than “I wanna achieve x as soon as possible”.

Let’s say, for example, you’re super focused on losing weight. Your goal is just to get the numbers on the scale to drop, TODAY! You’re not focusing on nutrient dense foods and you’re not getting enough energy to support any functional performance…With this unbalanced approach, something is eventually going to give out. Aggressively pursuing one goal only will offset the balance of good nutrition and potentially negatively affect other areas of your health.

Back to your example, if you only focus on weight loss, you’re going to have lower energy levels which will affect your performance and even your health. So, when you think about good nutrition, you need to incorporate habits that will positively impact all three goals of health, performance, AND body composition…You know, balance!

You have to make sure your energy needs are being met, and that you’re fueling your body with the right kinds of foods each day. Remember, significant, lasting results take time, and by focusing on performance and overall health, as well as body composition, you’ll be more likely to achieve the results you desire AND keep them!

4. Honesty:

“Long-term support of good nutrition is dependent on honest reporting to allow for realistic outcomes.”

I’m just gonna be blunt here. You can have a great nutritional plan, but you won’t get realistic results if your reporting isn’t accurate. In other words, if you aren’t recording your daily food intake accurately, you aren’t going to see the results you want. When tracking calories and macros for a specific goal, you HAVE to be 100% honest when documenting what you’re eating. This goes beyond accurately measuring and weighing foods, and it does not mean that you have to be “perfect”, BUT if you eat a cookie, you’ve got to document that cookie. By being honest and holding yourself accountable, you’ll be able to see what areas you need to work on, and concentrate on those specific areas in an effort to improve your outcome.

Ultimately, good nutrition is about more than just calories and eating vegetables…It’s about eating to support a healthy life…Balanced energy, nutrient dense foods, balanced goals, and committing to honest outcomes are ALL key factors of a good nutrition plan, and should ALL be taken into account when pursuing your goals.

Not sure where to begin. Contact me today for personalized online nutrition coaching. My Nutrition Strategies include BMR and DCE calculations, calorie and macronutrient recommendations, and other tips, tricks, and methods to help you achieve the body you’ve always wanted while still enjoying delicious food and maintaining your proper energy balance.