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The PERFECT Diet to Lose Weight!

I want to give a gift to you… one that you have been asking me for…

The PERFECT diet to lose weight!

You have been home for over a month. You have had to work from home, while homeschooling your kids, and making sure that your zoom meeting does not interfere with your kid’s classes… 

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Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

Let me say if you are reading this in the future and you are not sure why all of this would be happening… We are currently dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. A time where we asked to shelter in place and EVERYTHING (well mostly everything) was closed. We wore masks to the grocery store and could not visit loved ones or friends, and if we were in public we had to remain 6 feet from any other individual – it was a crazy time…

Now where was I – oh yes… being cooped up in your house with endless apocalyptic snacks and beverages has left you with the dreaded weight gain that comes from eating said endless snacks and possibly having more screen time than you normally would. I am sure you, like many of us, watched everything Netflix, Hulu, and even TickTok had to offer – and chances are you may have gained a few (or more) unwanted pounds during this whole isolation adventure. Adventure? Yes – let’s call it an adventure, and one that we would like to not repeat.

Well have I got a treat for you friend! 

I am going to give you exactly what you need to do to lose the COVID-10,15, 20, (fill in the blank). And if you are reading this in the future, then you can follow this exact diet to lose weight – because… well… it is PERFECT!

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Really quickly – if you don’t know who I am – My name is Megan, but you can call me Meggs. I was on a journey just like you at one time to find the perfect way to lose weight. I had gotten married and happy and gained more than the “freshman 15” that people who didn’t drop out of community college say to have gained in their first year… I did not have a resource like this to help me get through all of the mess of fad diets and diet cleanses! NOPE! School of hard knocks learner here – but let’s get you back to why you are here!

This is the PERFECT diet to lose weight…

 

 

Are you ready? 

 

 

Calorie Deficit.

Before you start to roll your eyes at me, huff/puff, and click on to social media… Let me give you a little more information.

In order to lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit. You need to be mindful of the food you are consuming and you need to make sure that you are drinking water.

Let’s dig a little deeper shall we?

Not everyone wants to count calories, and I understand that. However, if you do not at least try for a little while, you may not be aware of how much you are actually consuming. Even salads can be high in calories with all of the added toppings and dressing. 

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

If you are still crossing your arms, shaking your head and saying “Nope, I refuse to do that, it takes too much time out of my day to track everything I eat,” then I ask you to write down your goals or at least think about how you came to this article in the first place. 

For those who are ready to actually start tracking – I recommend the app “Mikes Macros” You can find it in the app store and download it. It will help you obtain your macros and get you an idea of what your calories should be for weight loss. 

Note that no this is not a perfect science – it is just a tool to use to help you lose some of the weight that you have been looking to shed off of your body. Even if you are just hanging out in the backyard in your kids kiddie pool this summer…

Once you have that – you can have the perfect diet – FOR YOU!

You get to choose what to get into those categories of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats!

“Meggs, Where do I start though – HELP!” OK – Keep reading…

Protein… This is where carnivores, like myself, lean cuts of meat and poultry are going to be your best bet here. Lean beef, bison, lamb, turkey, chicken and eggs are great options… also – if you are just having a hard time getting your protein in by the end of the day you can add a protein shake in there too… Just be mindful of what is in your shake… (but try to eat your protein)… Vegetarian, Vegan and others – combining beans and rice give you a protein, but I am not well versed because, as I said, I am a carnivore… but if you need me to point you in the direction of a fellow vegetarian, I can – just let me know!

Carbohydrates (called carbs by literally everyone I know) – Fruit, Vegetables, Whole Grains… go nuts on the fruit and veggies. The more variety the better! Whole grains are rice, oats. (The less processed the better)

Fats – (to be honest you will meet this and probably will not need help in this department) avocado, olive oil, nut butters (as the middle school kid in me chuckles – I’m not always that mature ok!)

Need an actual list? Email me… I will get you a pick list that you can choose foods from if you need more help.

Water – for the love of the gorgeous sun that we don’t get to play in right now… put down the diet soda and go drink some water. Sure, water is not fun unless you are floating, diving or sliding into it – but it is necessary for your health. So adult up, and drink a glass… go ahead… I’ll wait. 

There you have it – the PERFECT DIET to Lose Weight!

You are not in this thing alone. It gets confusing and overwhelming and tiring and just downright boring sometimes… but I can tell you, I never get bored with food. I even eat out several times a week – but I make it work with my macros! 

“If you need me, call me – Wherever you are – no matter how far… Cause’ baby there ain’t no mou…” Oh – sorry… just fill out below!

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Losing the Pooch – Week 1 Results!

Guess what!

It is still there – is that a shock to anyone, it should not be! As I said in my last article (which if you have not read, I HIGHLY recommend and can do so here), this is going to take time. And I am not talking about the “30 Day” “6 Week” or even “12 week” challenge that you may have seen on any “influencer’s” email chain or Facebook post.

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These are real results, and the real and sustainable results take time. Now, if you are going through the same thing and groaning at the time it is going to take, understand that I am not doing this the “Biggest Loser” type of way.

Yes sure, there are ways you can speed up the process. However, I hope you will see that the way this journey is going to go is going to be healthier than a risky cosmetic surgery or spending hours upon hours doing cardio at the gym while only drinking vegan green protein shakes (really – no offense if that is you – but there is a better way)

Now when surgery is necessary and a massive amount of weight has already been lost and you are removing skin flap – that is not what this is addressing in this article. You have put that work in and if you want to feel good in your skin after your massive transformation – You will hear nothing but cheers from me.

This challenge is for those who are like me, maybe have a lot or a little to lose, and want to tighten some areas of sagging skin from having children. Hence why all of my hashtags are “meggsloseshermommybelly” or “meggsloseshermompooch” in my Instagram and my Facebook. It is about taking the time to put in some work and still enjoy life. At the risk of sounding cliche, it is about balance.

First thing – is always going to be – NUTRITION!

My macros are as follows: 1360 calories (99g Protein, 183g Carbohydrate, 26g Fat)

I have stuck pretty close to those numbers, yet going over on fat quite often and hardly hitting my carbohydrate numbers. I primarily always try to hit my protein goal. This is what a typical day of nutrition looks like for me:

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  • Fast through breakfast.
  • Lunch is a salad/sandwich/chili type of combination
  • Dinner is weighed out protein/lots of vegetables and (depending on my carbohydrate remaining) a serving of whole grains.
  • If I have a large gap in my protein goal, I will make a vanilla protein shake.

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Here is the exact workout regimen that I made for myself:

  • Monday – TRX Suspension Training Workout and Yoga (I train two yoga clients and workout with them)
  • Tuesday – Cardio jog/walk for 30 min (trying to improve my time or distance each week)
  • Wednesday – Resistance Training (using resistance bands)
  • Thursday – Weight Lifting Day
  • Friday – DANCE PARTY – if you have not seen my dance parties with my family on FB, you are missing out… my daughter is a HOOT!
  • Saturday – Longer Workout Day (45-1 Hour) Freestyle – meaning “I do what I want”
  • Sunday – REST – possible leisure walk as my daughter rides her bike.

You have to remember that these are the things that work for me. My workouts are 30 min long (with the exception of Saturday).

Also something to mention is that I am still aiming to drink a gallon of water a day and have, with the exception of one day, been successful. (Even on that one day I drank over 100 oz)

Here are my stats for week 1:

  • Current Weight: 124.2  (loss of 4.3 pounds)
  • Pooch: 34.5″ (loss of 1.25″)
  • Waist: 32″ (loss of 2.25″)
  • Hips: 36.5″ (loss of 1.5″)
  • R Thigh: 22″ (Increase of 1″)
  • L Thigh: 22″ (increase of .75″)

Loss of a total of 3.25″

Here is the reason behind such a drastic change in one week… are you ready to hear it?

Water. Bloating. Nutrition. Moving my body with a purpose. Nothing magical… just changing my habits. Also to be noted, when you were eating like the world was going to end, and drinking diet cokes daily (which I have not had one in 2 weeks) before you get started on a refocus of your diet… this is likely to happen. That is why so many diet programs promise results in the the first 7 days.

There is nothing magical about what I am doing. I am just doing the work.

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If you you are tired of looking in the mirror and not liking what you see, and are wanting a change… be willing to put the work in, contact me, and let me get you on the path to sustainable success.

XOXO – Trainer Meggs

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My Mom Stomach – Kangaroo Pouch – aka Sagging Skin after Kids

My daughter is currently three years old and in October she will be four.

FOUR YEARS OLD!

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My body is STILL not what it was before I had her – and that is OK!

However, it is something that I want to focus on for no one but myself, and this is exactly how I am going to do it:

Nutrition and Exercise

Now before I get a million e-mails from fellow moms who are also network marketers with the latest product that will help “tighten and firm” my mid-section or “detox” my insides in a week to get me the aesthetic results I am after – hear me out… DON’T.

Just… PLEASE DON’T!

There is a very specific reason I am going through this journey the way that I am…

That reason is this:

I want every mom to know that

  1. A) It takes time to get your body back in shape.
  2. B) It is unreasonable to put pressure on yourself to get back your body in a certain time frame. (Thank you social media for your constant pressure on moms to get their bodies back)
  3. C) That nutrition is the number one key ingredient in the fat loss/weight loss equation.
  4. D) That you do not have to spend hours in the gym to reach the desired effect.

 

A little back story before I dive in to my steps…

It took my husband and I 10 years to conceive and carry to term a viable pregnancy. I suffered 2 losses during that ten years and had thought that it was just not going to happen. God had other plans and shocked us when I did become pregnant – and it stuck… so I ENJOYED my pregnancy.

The day I found out I was pregnant I weighted about 122 pounds. I am 5’ tall (not to be confused with my IG post that stated I was 5’5” – wishful thinking), and I was pretty muscular. We realized I was pregnant because I was in the gym (this was also before I had my own personal gym) 5 days a week for one hour and I was doing primarily heavy lifting… but my weight was not moving. My nutrition, up to that moment was on point… so I had assumed I had hit another plateau. My energy was tanking however… I was tired and hungry all the time – and my husband called it. He knew I was pregnant before I did… and when I told him – his words were “I KNEW IT!” (funny note is that we had just paid in full for a week vacation in Cancun with our friends, which is the same thing that happened when we booked a trip to Jamaica about 5 years earlier).

Once we knew that the pregnancy was going to stick this time – I started to ENJOY my pregnancy. Paul would go and get me cheese burgers from Sonic, and everyday on my way home from work I would stop and get a small (not mini) heath bar blizzard from Dairy Queen – like I said I ENJOYED every moment. (And I do understand that some do not enjoy pregnancy and this is in no way to rub it in – it is just my experience…).

The day I delivered – I weighted a whopping 185lbs. At 5’ tall… that is a TON of weight, and my daughter did NOT weigh 63lbs.

I also did not have the easiest delivery… several things did not go “as planned” (my birth plan? My exact words to my doctor were, and I quote, “You GRADUATED from med school, and I dropped out of community college. My birth plan is to go to the hospital when you tell me to, and you do whatever it is you need to do to deliver a happy healthy baby that we have waited over ten years to meet) and I wound up needing a walker for about 2 weeks after getting home from the hospital.

All of that being said I started to focus on my recovery and health slowly, and I mean snails pace slow.

I went back to work full time, was taking care of a newborn – and on top of that, when she was 3 months old, I had the ingenious idea to start the course for personal training. I was busy, stressed, and tired. Overwhelmed I would put it…

Months turned into years. I was mindful of my eating most of the time…

Which brings me to where I am now:

Current Stats:

Weight 128.5lbs

Waist (belly button): 34.25”

MOM Belly: 35.75” (largest section on my stomach)

Hips: 38”

R Thigh: 21”

L high: 21.25”

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My focus to tighten my mid-section is going to come from nutrition and from exercise. There is no way one area is going to be able to be spot trained – that is not possible… You must reduce total body fat, and then you can gain muscle. I would be deceiving myself if I thought that ALL of the loose skin will go away, but it will decrease – and that is the overall goal.

My Steps to My #MommyMakeover

Nutrition: Attaining this goal is 80% food (and really if I am being totally honest it is more like 90% food)! That being said – I am not going to deprive myself of things that I love. I will be counting my macros (I use an ap on my phone called “Mikes Macros” to track and log my calories. I have found with my clients that if they deprive and completely cut out al the food that they love that is higher in calories, they will wind up binging on those things later.

My macro goals are as follows (please use a macro calculator such as Mike’s Macros if you are wanting to start your own 3mommymakeover journey as each person is unique and different).

Total Calories: 1,232

Macro Breakdown:

98g Protein

152g Carbohydrates

26g Fat

My total calories may seem low, but I have an office job where I sit most of the day and I need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat. For someone who is more active the total calories would be higher.

As a general rule, I am usually always over on fat and under on my protein and carbohydrate goals for the day, but overall, still in a calorie deficit.

I personally fast through breakfast. I make myself drink 20 oz of water before I allow myself to have my first cup of coffee ***and usually my only cup of coffee***

I fill my diet (meaning food consumed, and not a specific fad diet) with vegetable carbohydrates that are more filling than the grain/bread type carbohydrates – meaning they are higher in fiber to sustain hunger for longer periods of time. I also do my best to eat lean protein. I am not a fish lover… but I will eat shell fish, so I generally stick to chicken, turkey, lean beef, and bison.

I am also drinking a gallon of water (or as close to it as possible) each day.  A gallon is 128oz. I have a 20oz cup and I keep filling it and have had about 80-100oz by the time I leave work and commute home. Disclaimer *** I also LOVE the taste of Diet Coke… not regular coke, it has to be diet… and CHAMPAGNE…*** I have made a rule that I can have no other drinks (besides my morning coffee) until I have had my gallon of water. These are my rules, not saying anyone has to follow them – but I have found that my cravings for sweets has gone down, and I don’t want the diet coke as much as I used to. I still LOVE champagne – that will not change. I have two bottles in my refrigerator that I feel like I am saving, but for no particular reason.

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Exercise: I am committing to exercise for 30 min a day 6 times a week. Now hear me out – exercising could mean a weight lifting workout, resistance band training, a TRX workout, a cardio session (jog/walk, bike, rower), an afternoon stroll with my family, or a dance party with my little in the living room… for me as long as it is 30 min of intentional movement… that is exercise to me.

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I want to show you my schedule and what works for me, and before I get any “mom shaming” for what my day looks like – my daughter is well taken care of and gets plenty of attention – so don’t come for me.

My Schedule: (Mon thru F)

4:45-5:00 AM – Alarm goes off, watch the news

5.00-5:30AM – Get ready for the day, wake up my daughter and let her say “Mommy, I want to sleep for 5 more min”

5:30-5:45AM – Make lunches, pack up the car

5:45-6:00AM – Get kiddo dressed and dropped off at preschool

6:00 -7:00AM (this can be a little longer sometimes because of #houstontraffic) Commute to work.

7:00AM-4:00PM WORK (desk job, not much movement… except all the steps I am getting from trips to the bathroom – HELLO gallon of water challenge!)

4:00-5:00PM – Commute Home

5:00-5:30PM – At home workout (weight or resistance training, or cardio)

5:45PM – Pick up kiddo from preschool (Dad helps with this too)

6:00PM Dinner – playing, learning with kiddo.

6:30PM-7:00PM (M-Th) – Training clients one on one

7:15PM – Kiddo in jammies, brush teeth, read book, lights out! (unless it is Friday… Friday is “FRIDAY MOVIE DAY – where we watch a movie as a family and bed time gets pushed a little later)

7:45-9:00PM – Clean up kitchen (this is also when I fit a workout in if the commute took longer than expected)

9:00PM – Lights out!

One weekends it is different… a little more relaxed.

Now this is MY schedule, and there is not a one size fits all. There are some days when my internal clock goes off at 3:30 AM and I can get up and do some light cardio in the morning, there are other days when I feel like my eyes are cemented shut when my alarm goes off. I have learned to take each day as it comes… but also to make the most of it!

Conclusion:

This is going to be a slow-go process. The reason it is going to be so slow, it will be sustainable. It is something that will be able to be maintained for the long term and not just a challenge that will be completed in 60-90 days and then go back to eating #allthethings and drinking nothing but diet soda and watching Netflix every free minuet I have to myself. (And that is not to say that there is anything wrong with challenges – I like them too – but this is not aimed to get flat abs in one month by doing a million crunches).

I hope to show moms, like myself, that it is possible to lose the body fat in a sustainable and healthy way that is not linked to supplements and wraps/pills that you “have” to take.

If you want to follow along my journey, see my progress and encourage me as I go – check out my Facebook or Instagram. There is not a time limit on this, as I expressed before – I am not putting the pressure on myself to get results in a certain frame of time.

Also to note – we are possibly looking to expand our family (me possibly conceiving) in 2020 – and if that happens, this will change into a “keep moving and don’t gain 63lbs during pregnancy” type of thing if you get my drift… but only God knows if that will happen – and with this pandemic we have currently, I am not excited about the thought of being pregnant during this – but if it happens, it happens! I have faith that God has a plan in all of this!

If you have the same “mom belly/kangaroo pouch” belly and want some results? Message me and let’s get connected! I am taking coaching clients and would love for you to be one of them!

XOXO Meggs!

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5 Ways to Grow Your Own Food (No Garden Required!)

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Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

Even if you don’t have a yard or balcony to grow your food, there are other creative ideas you can use to make sure you’re getting fresh produce regularly. No garden required.

If you’d love to save money on groceries and have fresh food ready for the pickin’ any time, here are five ways to grow it yourself without having your own garden to weed through.

1. Create an indoor growing situation

Perhaps you won’t be able to grow everything, but a sunny kitchen windowsill is a great place to grow smaller things. Think herbs, scallions, or tomatoes! Some great options that are easy to regrow from a windowsill include celery, lettuce, onion, green onion, bell pepper, and herbs.

2. Become a member of a community-supported agriculture program

Also known as CSA, it’s a great way to get local food for a great deal. It works by taking in members that purchase shares of produce from local farmers. You get your share every week or even biweekly during the growing season. And not only do you always get the freshest local foods without getting your hands dirty, but you also get the opportunity to help your local farmers, which boosts your community.

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3. Strike up a symbiotic deal with friends or family

If your parents or a good friend have space to spare, you might be able to talk them into letting you garden on it. You could negotiate the area by offering to care for and cultivate it while sharing the bounty. It never hurts to ask!

4. Work with a local farm

Live near the farms? Another way you can get growing on your food is to volunteer at your local farm. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves to gain experience and a few fruits and veggies in return, they might be willing to let you help out. The worst thing they can say is “no,” so give it a try!

5. Become a member of your community garden

In most communities today, community gardens are popping up in abundance. Look online near you, and you should find them. Don’t be afraid if you’ve got a brown thumbthey’ll show you the ropes. You’ll make new friends, learn something new, and get fresh and tasty produce without having to maintain your own garden yourself.

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In a community that doesn’t have a community garden? Talk to your neighbors and see about starting one. It could be the next big thing, and it will do so much good for everyone.

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Highly Effective Ways to Lower Stress Naturally

Stress is remarkably damaging to our mental and physical health. Even though we know how serious it is, most of us can’t seem to find an effective way to get rid of it (or at least reduce it). Here are six all-natural, healthy, and highly effective ways to reduce chronic stress in your life.

  1. Exercise
    You’ve probably heard this one before, but exercise is a marvelous stress reliever. Exercising releases endorphins, which are natural compounds in your body that reduce stress and pain. You don’t have to do strenuous or intense workouts to experience this benefit. Try to be physically active every day, whether it is a brisk walk in the sunshine, swimming, or weightlifting at the gym. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel.
  2. Natural Adaptogen Supplements
    Adaptogen supplements are natural herbs that help your body adapt to stressors in your environment. A common adaptogen is Ashwagandha. Although the stress response might feel as though it’s limited to your mind, your entire body responds to stress. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, you might have difficulty focusing, and you start breathing rapidly. Adaptogens help calm the nervous system down and are completely natural.
  3. Schedule in “Me-time”
    Although life can get overwhelmingly busy, don’t forget about yourself. Scheduling in “me time” is equally as important as that business meeting or lunch with friends. Take time at least once a week (or as often as your schedule allows) to relax and do things that calm you down. Read a book, have a bath, meditate, or watch a funny movie, and don’t cancel on yourself!
  4. Get Enough Good-quality Sleep
    I can’t stress how important getting enough sleep is for your overall well being. Getting enough quality sleep is proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress significantly. You probably know how irritated, frustrated, and upset you can get when you feel exhausted and haven’t slept enough. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  5. Eat Healthy, Whole Foods
    The foods you eat can have a tremendous impact on your stress levels— both positive and negative. If you eat processed, sugary junk foods, you will notice that your feelings of stress will only get worse. A diet full of real, nutrient-dense, whole foods can counteract the damaging effects of stress on your body and can help you feel significantly better. Healthy fats (especially omega-3 fatty acids) found in salmon, avocado, nuts, and seeds can help regulate levels of cortisol, your stress hormone.
  6. Calming Essential Oils
    Essential oils are powerful and natural remedies for numerous health problems, from indigestion to stress. Lavender essential oil is well-known for its calming properties. You can put this oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or apply it topically to help you relieve stress and sleep better. Rose oil is also a powerful calming oil that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. However, be careful as essential oils are very potent, and you don’t want to
    use too much.
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Ways you can be more mindful and intentional with your meals

Counting calories, tracking macros, and restrictive dieting, for the most part, all lead to one thing —an unhealthy, negative relationship with food. Food is there to fuel our bodies and satisfy our taste buds. We should love
and enjoy it, not dread it. However, in today’s busy world, we often eat mindlessly, ignoring whatever signals our body is sending us. Here are six tips to help you eat more mindfully.

  1. Before you eat, take some time to breathe and check how you’re feeling:
    This is an important first step towards mindfulness and eating in the present moment. How are you feeling right now? Are you hungry, or are you just thirsty, bored, or stressed? Sometimes, we confuse different
    emotions or thirst for hunger and grab some food without taking time to reflect. Maybe instead you need some water, exercise, meditation, or just some time to destress. Taking a few minutes to breathe deeply can help you stop and reflect on what your body needs at this moment.
  2. Evaluate the food you’re eating:
    Before you take your first bite, take some time to look at the food on your plate, and evaluate its properties. What colors are on your plate, and what textures do you notice? Are they healthy, whole foods, or processed foods? Where did this food come from? Instead of focusing on the quantitative properties (i.e., number of calories, carbohydrates, etc.), focus on the experience of the food. This will help you enjoy it more and be more appreciative of the healthy foods you’re eating.
  3. Eat slowly!
    Eating slowly is not only crucial for mindful eating, but also for aiding digestion. Often, we eat so fast that our brain doesn’t even have time to register that we’re full before we’ve already finished two plates. Put your fork or spoon down between each bite and take your time. This will not only help you better assess when you’re full, but it will also help you enjoy your food more.
  4. Halfway through your meal, stop and assess your hunger levels:
    Often, we only stop to consider how full we are once we have finished all the food on our plates. However, the amount of food on your plate might not be the amount of food you need. Halfway through your meal, stop, and assess whether you are still hungry or whether you are still enjoying the food you’re eating. You don’t need to finish your plate.
  5. Chew your food thoroughly:
    Digestion begins in the mouth. When we chew our food, important digestive enzymes are released with our saliva. Thus, taking time to chew our food is not only important to keep us mindful of the different tastes and textures that we’re eating, but it also improves digestion. When we take time to chew our food, we are also subconsciously slowing down our eating and enjoying the entire experience.
  6. Enjoy your food:
    This is so important—eating should not be a chore, nor should it be something that we only do because we have to in order to live. Eat the foods that both your taste buds and your body enjoy. The more you restrict
    yourself from what you actually want to eat, the more frustrated you will get, and you will probably end up eating it anyway. You might as well just eat it and enjoy eating it!
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How getting enough sleep puts you “in the mood”

I came across some interesting numbers the other day that I had to share with you. If you’re feeling tired, you are NOT alone!

Did you know that we’re getting less sleep than ever? Almost 60 years ago, a survey of more than 1 million people found that most people got 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

By 2000, that number dropped to about 7 hours a night. And now almost 20 years later, sleep experts say we’re sleeping even less – with many of us only 5 to 6 hours a night!

Woah! That’s a big drop in a short period of time.

I guess it’s not surprising that energy drinks are so popular, right? But “powering through” on too little sleep is not a good idea for the long-term health of your body.

The fact is, you don’t have to wait to feel the impact of too little sleep on your hormones. You might be feeling it today!

There are two major hormone “pathways” that take a big hit when you don’t get enough sleep – including hormones that handle things like your sex drive, stress, hunger, and blood sugar … and (ironically enough) even your ability to fall asleep!

It only takes a night or two for them to get out of balance.

One pathway is governed by your pituitary gland and the other is your autonomic nervous system. But they are intertwined, and they have a hand in virtually every function of your body. Keeping your hormones in balance is a huge part of feeling focused, strong, and vital.

I’m going to hit on just a few ways your sleep affects your hormones.

Hunger: When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases two important hormones that affect your appetite.

Ghrelin is your hunger hormone, which tells you to eat. Leptin is your “I’m full” hormone, which signals you to stop eating. Having disrupted sleep can throw these out of whack, leading you to feel hungry – and to stay hungry, even when you eat!

On top of that, when you eat your blood sugar levels can spike, causing your body to release insulin (another hormone) to help offset it, followed by a rapid decrease in blood sugar that can make you feel hungry again.

As you can imagine, this can cause round-robin effect, leading to weight gain and a long list of related health problems (i.e., leptin resistance, insulin resistance, metabolic disorders, etc.).

Stress: Lack of sleep can cause stress – and stress can cause lack of sleep! The two go hand-in-hand.

When you’re stressed, your “fight or flight” hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can rise and lower (also affecting your blood sugar and insulin levels, see above!), making it hard to sleep or wind down.

Over time, your cortisol levels – which normally rise in the morning to help get you going, and lower at night to help you sleep – can get turned around, throwing your sleep cycle off.

Libido: Being sleep deprived for one week can cut your testosterone levels by as much as 15% (even in women!). This can have a pretty big impact on your sex drive, making you feel less “in the mood,” less often!

All of that adds up to have a pretty big impact on your quality of life!

It can be tempting to think of sleeping as wasted time, but it’s actually the opposite. It’s when your body recovers, restores and recharges for the coming day, helping you live your best life!

My ebook Supercharge Your Sleep contains a lot of great info about sleep along with tips you can use to improve both the quality and quantity of sleep. It also contains info about when to get help for possible sleep disorders – according to the Cleveland Clinic, about 70 million Americans suffer from them.

If you need guidance about ways to improve YOUR sleep or other healthy habits, I’m here to help!

I’m committed to helping you reach your wellness goals!

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Is Eating Organic Food Really That Important?

You likely are no stranger to the benefits of organic foods over conventionally grown foods — organic foods ‘aren’t allowed to be cultivated with nasty pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, and GMOs. But perhaps the price tags of organic items make you wonder if it’s possible to fill your cart with only organic items.

There are many benefits of eating more organic food, like lowering your exposure to hormone-disrupting toxins.  The costs of healthcare are more astronomical now than ever, so it makes great sense to take better care of yourself through nourishing foods that don’t have harmful agents in them.

Going organic can have a bit of a higher price tag, but it is worth it in the long run.  If going all organic isn’t an option, you can still take small steps to get safer food on your table. 

Here are a few tips to help you on your next grocery run:

Always give your kids organic

Because kids are still in a crucial period of growing, if you have to make sacrifices in your budget for organics, then you could just buy organic for your children to start with.  Those pesticides and growth hormones can affect their growing bodies. You can start by picking up long-lasting produce that won’t go bad quickly, so you aren’t throwing money down the drain. There are some items that you don’t HAVE to buy organic – because it will not matter… but those are in an earlier post.

Go organic on meat and dairy items

Conventionally-raised livestock is given synthetic growth hormones, and they’re fed grains that contain GMOs.  If that’s not upsetting enough, these animals are often kept in inhumane conditions that you’d be appalled to see.  If you do choose to eat meat, choose organic meats from farms that have an excellent reputation. 

Even fruits and vegetables

Want to know something really alarming? Even fruits that have peels that you don’t eat can absorb the pesticides they’re sprayed with. So when you thought it was fine to choose a banana that wasn’t organic, think again. It’s even more critical when it comes to fruits and vegetables where you do eat the skin.  Check out the EWG’s yearly Clean 15 / Dirty Dozen list (I posted about that on FB back in May – let me know if you want that information again) to see what items you should definitely be purchasing organic, and which items have the lowest amount of pesticides where you can skip the organic label.

Avoid GMOs at all costs

GMO’s cause a host of problems and should be avoided.  Just a few years ago, GMO’s weren’t as widely understood as they are today.  Because of this awakening, it’s quite simple to find GMO-free products, primarily because they’re clearly labeled.  So lucky for you, it’s not difficult to make sure you are getting GMO-free items before you head to the check-out aisle!

Switch your coffee

Love coffee? Make the switch to organic. Regular coffee is chemically-treated, and since it penetrates into the beans, you’re brewing up a pesticide-laden beverage for yourself that can take a toll on your health over time.  Since coffee is typically consumed daily by coffee drinkers, it’s worth the extra money to invest in organic coffee.

So yes, going organic everywhere is really best for your benefit, but especially important for your kids. And if money is a factor, consider shopping for produce at your local farmer’s market where you can be sure you’re getting organically-grown produce which has the added benefit of being local, too. You can also join a co-op where everyone pitches in for fresh organic produce from local farms. There are options for your better health organically that don’t have to cost a fortune, so check them out and find what works best for you and your family.

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Forget about big goals. Do this instead.

This post is all about a very simple (but super powerful) philosophy in business that improves efficiency, creates steady long-term growth, and basically helps you to CRUSH your goals.

But the power of this philosophy goes way beyond business. It also can make a HUGE difference in living a better, healthier and more fulfilled life.

It’s fueled by one simple principle:

Do 1 percent better every day.

You might have heard of kaizen before, which is the idea of doing 1% better every single day. It’s all about small, continuous improvements. When you add them all up, they lead to mind-blowing changes.

What’s even more amazing is that the changes created this way actually “stick.” That’s because they didn’t require any major lifestyle overhauls. Instead, they were built up over a period of time, which means you learn to MANAGE and MAINTAIN them along the way.

And that’s EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT!

Let’s say you want to make improvements in your diet. Instead of changing everything about how you eat, what if you went for the (food pun alert) low-hanging fruit? By that I mean, gradually changing the things that are easiest for you to change?

—> You could swap out your afternoon cookie for a piece of fruit. Your chips could become a handful of almonds. Instead of eating a grab-and-dash granola-bar breakfast, you could blend a protein smoothie.

Not all at once. Just one change at a time, over time. Can you see how before long, as you fold these new habits into your life, they will add up to a HUGE transformation in your life?!

There are lots of great books on the subject. One of the latest that breaks it all down with actionable tips is the bestseller Atomic Habits by James Clear.

It can be tempting to go for the quick fix – and it’s true that you may see some results in the short-term.  But you’re not looking to yo-yo your way through life. You’re looking to make real change that LASTS.

So when it comes to changing your mindset and building new habits that stick, studies show that making smaller changes can be more helpful.

Give the 1% method a go this week, and let me know how it goes!

If you need help with your healthy habits, let’s talk about ways I might be able to help you. Just hit comment below or email me and we can make a time to talk.

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Why LIFE STRIDE HAS to CHANGE

PASSION

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

I am CALLED to be different. And that includes my passion! Life Stride Fitness has been my passion project – and at times I have been confused and caught up in trying to make it something that it was NOT INTENDED BY GOD to be. It was never supposed to be about financial gain. It was never about increasing my income… It has always SUPPOSED to have been about using this passion of mine to GLORIFY GOD. To help those who need my help and assistance. My REALISTIC approach to health and fitness.

So if you have not noticed all pricing has come down off this site. That does not mean that the training comes free – but it means that I am getting back to individualized, which means pricing too… There is no cookie cutter way for people to train with me or to be priced… so I am getting back to the focus of helping those who need the help and guidance – my passion… I am getting back to my passion!

ALSO – I realize that I may not be the perfect fit for everyone. I firmly believe that you need to find a trainer that meets your needs and helps you the way you need to be helped. If you are looking to compete – I am not the trainer for you… if you are looking for someone to tell you EXACTLY what you need to eat – I am not the trainer for you… So – I will give everyone who wants to start their health and fitness journey a FREE 1 week trial to see if I will be a good fit as your trainer – and if not THERE IS NO HARD FEELINGS! I will never make you feel as though you HAVE to buy from me – or hound you or put you down… heck, I will even give you some other names of trainers who might be better suited for you, because I WANT you to find the perfect fit for you!

And if by chance I AM that trainer – I hope to be able to guide you and help you learn – so that in time YOU WON’T NEED A TRAINER! That is right! I WANT YOU to NOT NEED ME!

This is crazy to most… this is unthinkable and unheard of to many – but I am CALLED to be different!

Does that mean I am setting myself up to be taken advantage of – sure… and I know that will happen… and I am starting to pray for those people as we speak… but where I choose to Glorify God – will be blessed!

Thank you all for your support on this journey – and if I can help you get started or assist you – please reach out to me by email: lifestridefitnesstraining@gmail.com