Consistency: The key to your success

imagesCARIMT9SIt sounds obvious – if you keep doing something, it’s bound to work but many people fail to make time for regular workout routines and eating schedules. And if we’re constantly battling as we try to find time for a workout, guess what, it’s NOT gonna happen!

Finding time is the wrong way to look at it. We need to MAKE time. When I am consistent, I see results without even realizing it. As we establish habits (when we regularly get up, workout, eat breakfast, etc) we begin to get into a rhythm and it’s easier because we’re not trying to fight against our bodies. Remember over Xmas break when you were a teenager and you’d stay up as late as you could and sleep in all day, sometimes not eating breakfast until 2pm and then getting into a really weird sleep schedule. When you aren’t consistent with your diet and exercise, it’s like the same thing and your body will pay for it.

Now let me clarify – I’m not saying eat exactly the same things everyday at the same time and run exactly 4 miles everyday – sure that’d work but you’d go insane. What I mean by consistency, is don’t go one extreme or another. If you’re doing good all week and then you go out to dinner and eat more than you should, bring yourself back together and start the next meal right. Making time to exercise on a daily basis is also important. I’m consistent in my exercise in that most days of the week I AM exercising. Granted, sometimes it’s only running for 10 minutes in the morning or doing half of a workout DVD but it’s still moving.

Realize that a healthy balance of food, exercise, and sleep is key. Give yourself a cheat meal instead of a cheat day. When you can’t get rid of a craving for something, have a small amount, savor it, and then move forward. Sometimes when we constantly deny ourselves things, we end up bingeing later. If you do go crazy one day, realize it’s not like it’s making you gain back all of the weight you lost. Don’t let it be the start of a new bad habit. Instead, push forward. Think of “oops” days as a step in a different direction.

I also try to workout even on days when I’m being “bad.” Knowing that I’m still going to have to move my tush makes me want to eat less so I don’t feel as heavy or sick later. Again, it’s the consistency factor.

We are never moving backwards, only forwards, either towards our goals, or towards bad habits. Realize that you can continually change your course and path as you move. You don’ t permanently close the fitness door just because you ate a couple brownies. Think of your life and fitness goals as ONE road, instead of a fork with two paths. You’ll always be on the same road, you will just be determining how windy it is.

You can do it!

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The Power of Spoken Word: Why you should be your own voice

I look for inspiration everywhere, every day, constantly. Don’t we all to some extent? We ask our friends for advice, we want our boyfriends/girlfriends to validate our sex appeal and sheer attractiveness. We want everyone else to do emotional work for us, to keep convincing us that we are amazing, intellectual, stimulating, beautiful, and funny human beings. But then there’s that moment, when you’re having a bad day, or you’ve eaten PopTarts you shouldn’t have and suddenly, you feel awful.

Many of us don’t share these feelings, these low points, the negative moments that take over our minds and leave us feeling worthless. Today as I was browsing blogs I came across a great post by Thais G. where she shared a raw thought during her day:

“Just binged. Luckily there wasn’t much to binge on at work. Thankful there’s no junk to binge on at the house. Feeling really blah. Uncomfortable. Judged. I keep looking to others to save me. I have this urge to buy things. Like maybe that rush of a new thing will somehow outweigh the awful feeling in my heart. The feeling that I’m inherently not good enough. That I’m flawed. I hate being in my body right now”.

This resonated deep with me. Because just yesterday myself, I had such a similar thought. Knowing that someone else out there had experienced the same emotion made me inspired and feel stronger.

So often we look to others for advice and consult that we forget to speak to ourselves. We forget to look in the mirror and tell ourselves we’re beautiful, to truly believe in ourselves. It also feels like anytime I hear the phrase “believe in yourself” I feel like it’s cheesy, but really, it isn’t. Maybe “be your own badass” is better. At any rate, we need to remember to treat ourselves with respect. To talk to ourselves in our minds like we would a friend and to look in the mirror and think positive thoughts about our body and what it can do.

When is the last time you were alone in a room or outside somewhere and you let yourself say out loud “I am amazing, I am beautiful, I am fantastic, I am sexy, I am smart, I am awesome!” Yeah, me either. But why not! Why not go to bed at night and whisper a compliment to yourself. Take a giant sharpie and write “I LOVE ME” – I think you’d be surprised at how encouraging this would be. We are our often our worlds biggest critic, why not be your biggest fan.

Something to contemplate. ❤

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400 Calorie Chipotle Avocado Turkey Burger

OM NOM! Tonight I made the most amazing turkey burgers for only 411 calories!! They were amazing and on par with a burger I’d get at a restaurant. Try it out!

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40 Ways to Reward Yourself Without Food and Creating a Reward Jar or Star Chart

rewardstarsIt’s been a habit of mine for years, I do a good job at work or make an early deadline and I want to reward myself with beer and food. But when you’re on a weight loss journey, rewards need to be different. Lifestyles and habits have to change. So how can we reward ourselves at the end of a long day, especially after we’ve been super healthy and didn’t cave at the sight of cheese.

There are a lot of posts out there with ways to reward yourself, but many involve money and planning. Food is an immediate reward that we can get instantly the minute we walk into the kitchen. So I wanted to brainstorm and come up with some great ways to reward yourself that are just as easy as putting food to your mouth (well, almost).

I like the idea of creating a bowl of rewards, for those times when you feel accomplished but don’t exactly know where to go or what to do. If you can tie a friend or significant other into this too, even better. Tell your boyfriend or girlfriend what you’re doing and that if you draw a foot rub reward card, they will be happy to participate. 🙂

Another idea is making a calendar and putting a star on everyday that you workout and stay within your calorie goals. A certain number of stars could equal different reward levels. 5 stars = $10 at your favorite store or 50 stars = new boots. Get creative!

It’s also easy to fall into reward routines better known as the giant cheat day that can leave you feeling guilty and trigger hormone responses to sugars and fats you haven’t had access to in a while. While cheat meals are important every now and then, try to avoid having an entire day where you just don’t care and eat everything in sight.

Whether you decide to write these down and use a reward jar or not,  these will help you stay on track. Some may require outside participation from your loved ones. Here are some great ways to reward yourself without food and distract yourself from cravings:

  • Enjoy a footrub
  • Rent a movie from Redbox
  • Take a bubblebath
  • Give yourself an entire Saturday to do whatever YOU want and don’t feel guilty about it. Whether its video-gaming, reading, or saying no to any and all invites
  • Drink tea (loose teas are amazing!)
  • Give yourself $5-$10 and hit up your local thrift shop or GoodWill and discover a new treasure or buy some new books!
  • Drop everything and give yourself 30 minutes on a weeknight you feel you need a reward and do something you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t made time for. Like cleaning out your car, organizing your closet, or free-writing. Some things aren’t fun to do but will make you feel SO much better afterwards
  • Get crafty – take an hour to hop on Pinterest and find a fun DIY project
  • Meditate
  • Nap! You deserve it!
  • Do a homemade facial with honey and oatmeal
  • Jump in your car and go adventuring – find a new park or a secret place you can always go to get away from it all for a minute
  • YouTube funny videos
  • Make a new mix CD or finally update your iPod with a new workout mix
  • Plan some new outfits – try mixing and matching and you’ll discover you have a bigger wardrobe than you thought!
  • Have your bf/gf cook YOU dinner
  • Go see a matinée by yourself
  • Sleep in the middle of the bed
  • Go to your local library and check out a book on tape
  • Sleep in as long as you want and don’t feel guilty
  • Turn off your phone for a day and don’t check work emails
  • Print off one of your favorite pictures and frame it for your room or desk at work
  • Meet up with your best friend or S.O. and write a list of things you love about the other person, then exchange
  • Run to your local beauty supply store and buy a $1-$3 hair treatment, light a candle, and listen to your favorite relaxing music
  • Get outside! Go on a hike or find a new trail
  • Look for a new workout outfit
  • Buy a plant or flowers that you can grow in your backyard or on your patio/balcony
  • Have an old magazine swap with friends and read fun articles you haven’t before
  • Order a new workout/fitness DVD used on Amazon to spice things up
  • Get a massage
  • Go to bed early, no really, don’t make excuses or worry about finishing up anything, just hit the pillow
  • Get some new nail polish
  • Try new hairstyles
  • Make coupon books for you and your bf/gf to exchange
  • Lay around and do absolutely nothing
  • Indulge in a show you usually don’t let yourself watch
  • Brag about your weight loss/progress. Ain’t nothing wrong with sharing your goals and how you are accomplishing them. It’s silly, but sometimes a LIKE or a comment on Facebook really do encourage and motivate us. Plus, you’ll be inspiring others.
  • Browse the web for healthy recipes and alternatives
  • Re-arrange your furniture or hangup a picture in a new spot
  • Take your old clothes that are too big and make them into crafts, leg warmers, cut old t-shirts into fun designs, get creative

Taco Salad Under 400 Calories

I’ve really been inspired lately to find yummy healthy foods to eat while losing weight. Sure, you could eat baked chicken and veggies every night but the key to sticking with anything is incorporating variety!

Here’s my 393 calorie taco salad recipe! It was so delicious, inexpensive, and filling, I didn’t even think about dessert or crave anything more after dinner.

Buy the leanest ground turkey you can find, cook, drain, and add taco seasoning (I used a store brand $0.47 packet and it was amazing!) Then top with all chopped ingredients, 5 crumbled tortilla chips, salsa, and low-fat sour cream.

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The whole meal was 453 calories and I didn’t even MISS not having cheese! When you add tons of healthy flavors, you’ll be amazed at how satisfied you are. To cut out 80 calories, take out the avocado – this was delicious but I don’t think I would have noticed if it was gone.

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Portions: Eating for the size you want to be and 8 ways to do it

This may be the hardest part of losing weight. It doesn’t matter how healthy something you’re eating is, you still can only eat in portions if you are going to lose weight and reach your goals. The key is not eating less of what you’re already eating, but eating smart and eating MORE of what you should be.

There’s a great article that shows the difference between eating a piece of pizza for example vs. a low-fat version with salad. It’s amazing how much you can actually eat when you are making smarter choices. An example below.

portionNot only will you feel fuller longer and more satisfied from eating the bagel with oranges to the left, but you’ll also be staying within your calorie goals. So how do we go about eating less and not feeling so sad about it? We can even indulge in pizza and bad things on the weekend but in order to maintain our goals, it means less of it, drastically less. It can be tough to go from eating 4 slices of your favorite pizza to just one with a smaller side salad.

Here are 8 ways to get your portions under control:

  1. Focus on what you CAN eat and SHOULD eat rather than what you can’t. If you spend all day thinking about the cake you can’t have, what do you think you’ll end up wanting? Just like we have to be thankful for what we already have in life, we have to work with what we should eat and what will make us feel better in the long run and keep us healthy. Try this: the next time you start fantasizing about eating an entire bag/box/carton of your favorite treat, start thinking about what you’re going to have for your next meal, how satisfying it’s going to be, and how great you’re going to feel afterwards aka not guilty and closer to your goal. Tell your brain to focus on something else for 5-10 minutes, before you know it, you’ll probably forget about your craving. If all else fails, make some tea.
  2. Spend a little time thinking about what you love to eat and how you can make substitutions. Tonight I’m making a taco salad and I didn’t buy cheese for it, why? Because with avocado and low-fat sour cream, I won’t even miss it. There are many ingredients we use out of habit when really, if we use other healthy ingredients, we’ll be satisfied without the extra calories and fat. Think about meals you can make for 400-500 calories or less. Some of my past recipes and meal/snack ideas can be found here.  Once you start getting creative, you’ll realize that there are TONS of low-cal recipes out there that are easy to make, even in your crock pot!
  3. Don’t let friends or events pressure you into eating more (or not going at all). It can be easy to eat more when you’re out on the town, at a friend’s birthday part, or enjoying a work gathering, but you don’t have to slide off your meal plan. If everyone is having nachos, have some, just less, and make sure to stop eating when you’re full. Also – you don’t have to be a recluse in order to lose weight, express to your friends your goals and how much their support means to you. That way you won’t have to say “no” anytime they all want to order pizza, suggest making a healthy meal together instead.
  4. Close the kitchen. When you were little you’d get in trouble for sneaking snacks after dinner, what makes it any different now? Establish a strict routine with yourself and close the kitchen after dinner. Limitless tea and water but no more foods! After a week of getting used to the feeling of going to bed without feeling stuffed and waking up feeling lighter and more refreshed, it will become a habit in no time!
  5. Drink that water! I’m pretty sure I say this in 90% of my posts but it’s SO important. Today I’m already through 50oz (my goal is 90) and I can tell you that I feel so much fuller! Normally around 2-3pm I get my afternoon donut craving, but today, I’m feeling great! There are some great apps out there to help you log and track your water intake and get you on the right path (try WaterLogged or iDrated). Most people should be drinking at LEAST 64oz a day but depending on your height and weight you’ll probably require more.
  6. Get portion smart! We’ve all heard that a serving of steak is about the size of a deck of cards. Get familiar with other foods and portions so that when you are at a restaurant, your mind will already have the right idea. WebMD has a great portion guide here.
  7. Order small, be small. I went to FatBurger over the weekend (mother of god it was good) but I should have ordered the small because 1) I was only able to eat half of the medium anyway and 2) even if it wasn’t a healthy meal, I could have been eating better portions. We often think that a small size won’t be enough food, but usually it is and is most likely still more than what a healthy portion should be anyway.
  8. Split food. Not only will your restaurant bill be less expensive but you’ll also be able to indulge in the foods you love more often. Next time you’re out with a friend or your cute significant other, share a burger and get a side salad!

398 Calorie Apple and Tuna Salad

There’s nothing more motivating for your health than knowing you packed a lunch you can’t wait to eat!

On today’s menu – Apple Tuna & Balsamic vinaigrette Salad

  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach (21 calories)
  • I chopped 1/2 apple -braeburn for extra sweet and crispy-ness (47 calories)
  • 1 5oz can of tuna in water, drained (133 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon mayo (97 calories)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette (100 calories)

Line your favorite to-go dish with a bed of spinach, mix up tun and mayo, toss balsamic vinaigrette over spinach, pour tuna and chopped apple over and enjoy!

Seriously one of the best salads I’ve made in a long time!

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