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!

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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2 minute 240 calorie breakfast and tips on snacking

I’ve been battling the sugar addiction after over a month of indulging. Today marks getting back on track and I wanted to share some tips I’m using to get there.

An easy breakfast (or in my case tonight, dinner) is to microwave your eggs. I’ve always been hesitant about this until I finally tried it.

-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons almond milk
-pepper
-1/4 cup shredded cheese

Spray your favorite (microwaveable) coffee mug with non stick spray, add eggs, milk, and pepper and beat/stir. Put in microwave for 45 seconds, stir. Add an additional 30-45 seconds until eggs set. Top with cheese (or don’t if your even healthier). Came out delicious! Just be careful because the eggs will be hot!

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When it comes to snacking and planning out your day, it’s important to be prepared with a healthy snack instead of caving at the donut box. I ziplock all my snacks ahead of time for the week so I can just grab them and go. I usually have carrots or an apple mid-morning and then almonds or a fiber bar in the afternoon after lunch. There are roughly 25 almonds in an ounce (or a small handful) which net you 160 calories, 3g of fiber, and 6g of protein.

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Pack ahead and beat the cravings!

Fat Loss and Building Muscle: One before the other

I’ve often wondered, as many people do I’m sure, why it seems SO hard to build muscle AND lose significant amounts of fat at the same time. I’m not saying you can’t and if you are lifting, you obviously will burn calories and fat as you gain muscle, but in today’s post, I want to go into detail about why it is a much slower, more difficult, and tedious process for you to do both at the same time and get the exact results you want.

When I first set out to lose weight, I was also involved in a heavy weight routine, and although I was building lots of muscle and burning calories, there was still a huge layer of fat around my body, so it almost felt like extra bulk. If you don’t already have a lean frame, no matter how much muscle you build and weights you lift, it will be harder to see definition and results. Think about it, we all have abs under there somewhere and I’m sure you’re doing tons of sit ups and planks, but until you lose stomach fat, you won’t ever be able to see them. The same goes for definition around your arms, legs, etc. We need to trim the fat before the muscle will show through.

This doesn’t mean don’t’ do weight-bearing exercises or forget ever lifting, but it’s a good idea to focus on cardio, portion control, and your caloric intake while you’re losing fat first. Also, ever notice that when you start doing strength routines and weights you’re appetite sky rockets? This is because your body needs more fuel and energy to sustain new muscles. It takes effort and consistency to stay strong and ripped. It would be incredibly difficult to eat 1200-1500 calories a day (for a woman) while doing an intense weight routine and not feel lethargic and weak. Even when I’ve done the CHALEAN DVDs, she even tells you to start eating MORE as you gain muscle. And this makes sense as you change your overall body composition. A lot of people often feel discouraged when they are doing a lot of weights and little cardio, although they are building muscle, the exterior only shows the bulk of it beyond their current body fat.

There really isn’t one way that’s better than the other, but both fat loss and building muscle require a lot of dedication and consistency and it can be extremely hard to try to do both at once. Choose which direction you’d like to go and focus on one before the other. Ultimately, if you are decreasing your intake and working out, you will see results over time. However, in order to be able to see the muscle you will be building, you will need to also decrease your body fat percentage.

New Year New Habits: 5 Ways to get your body and mind on track

The new year makes most people think about weight loss and improving their health. The problem is that most people set such lavish future goals that the they don’t stick to the small, day to day habits that really are responsible for the big results you crave. So now that a new year is in front of us and we only have 6 more months until summer, how are we going to even start on this journey?! Don’t stress! I have some helpful tips that I live by that always help me get back on track. Also, you should know that I’m writing this in bed from my iPhone in an attempt to motivate myself for tomorrow 🙂

1) Flush out your system – I hate to use the word “detox” because I feel like its always associated with fad liquid diets that are horrible for your body (and your mentality). To get your body and your appetite back on track you don’t need to starve yourself or drink nothing but carrot juice for a week (please don’t ever do that). The best thing to do is to start drinking lots of water, LOTS of water, no really more than you’re already thinking, lots. And I won’t lie to you, it’s going to take effort. You will have to drink water all day even when you’re not thirsty and explain to your boss that yes, you have went to the bathroom 3 times in the past hour. Your body will get used to your increased fluid intake over time. Water is the best way to flush all those toxins out of your body. Think of it as washing away all that sugar and clearing your mind of impurities as well.

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2) Get back to portions – this part can be the hardest. In order to reset your appetite hard drive, you’ll need to eat less and those first three days are going to be brutal. For me, the first day isn’t so bad, I’m just starting and think “oh no big deal.” But if you’ve over eaten the night before, you’ll notice your stomach will feel stretched out in the morning and you’ll want more food. Make it over this three day hump of eating healthy portions and letting your tummy grumble and I promise you it will get easier from there. Also – every time I get back on track I notice that as my body re-acclimates to healthy foods again, I get SO bloaty!!! It can actually be discouraging like “I’m eating less and working out why do I feel so HUGE!!” Again, don’t stress, this will pass, too.

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3) Exercise! – OMG yes even if you don’t want to. Especially if you don’t want to! Part of the reason I’ve lost over 50lbs and kept it off is because I keep moving! Even after a night of beers and nachos, the next day, I’m back at it! You have to keep moving forward.

4) Indulge by the meal, not by the day – this is so important. How many times have you had a piece of pizza, then two, then maybe a coke and a piece of cake and thought “whatever!! Today sucks anyway, I’ll start tomorrow or after the weekend, or after Christmas, or maybe…after all the holidays…” This mind set and logic won’t get you where you need to be, in fact, it will set you up for failure and only sabotage your spirits. If you work hard all day making smart choices and find yourself splurging on happy hour food with coworkers later, don’t throw that entire day in the trash. Enjoy some good food and relax but stick to portions, stop eating when you’re full and get back to your healthy habits with the very next meal. So many of us think that we have to start diets on the 1st of the month or on a Monday in order for us to be successful but who are you really fooling? You already started when you started reading this post. When you’re done eating bad food, be done eating bad food. Don’t use slippery slope logic to fall back into bad habits.

5) Work on judging food on how it makes you feel vs. how it tastes – remember that moment in middle school when you realized that if you liked someone’s personality enough they actually became more attractive and when attractive people were vile they became less so? The same can be applied to the foods we chose to eat. I’m not saying don’t enjoy those tasty treats, but realize that once we are full, our brains feel the same reaction ultimately, and that is satisfaction. Ever notice that if you really want a burger but decide to eat a salad that after you’re full you don’t really regret your decision? You’re actually glad you made a healthy choice and your stomach is glad, too. Our bodies need food and in survival mode as long as we have something with calories, we’ll be sustained until our next meal. Now, we know that although true, healthier foods will keep us living longer, feeling full longer, and in a better mood. Try to pick out your foods by how they make you feel during and afterwards. Nourish yourself with ingredients instead of tunneling waste through your body.

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I hope these tips help you out with your goals for today, tomorrow, and all year!