Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss - What’s the Difference?

 
What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.
 

Often when we discuss losing weight, we are really discussing fat. The problem is that they are not a one-to-one thing but we emotionally think they are.

Too often we are dictated by the tyranny of what the scale says, we think it’s telling us exactly how “fat” we are in a given moment.  It goes up, it goes down, and at times it seems to have a mind of its own.

It can really mess with your mind when you’ve been working out, are feeling good, and visually look better, but STILL, the scale weight either stays the same, barely changes, or even (God forbid) goes up! Many times as a trainer, I have to talk folks off the ledge when this happens. What gives!

Unfortunately, the scale is often the ONLY tool folks use in order to track whether or not they are losing body fat and the scale number comes to define whether they are being successful or not.

What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.

What does the number on the scale really mean?

Truthfully, for a fat loss goal, the scale by itself is a fairly crappy measuring tool. It will tell you your weight but it can’t differentiate WHAT that weight is composed of. Items such as fat, muscle, water, waste and so on. Your scale weight is simply your current relationship to gravity. That’s it. We all (me included) attach too much emotion to what that number sometimes signifies.

Our body weight is constantly changing a little bit up and down every day. The scale can’t tell us what percentage of our weight is water at a given moment (more or less dehydrated), whether we have gained muscle from training, lost some body fat, what one’s current hormonal state (ie. where someone could be in their menstrual cycle), what current waste is being held in our bowels or bladder, or whether we have been having more (or less) carbohydrates in our diet.

For example, for every 1g of carb you take in, your body also holds onto about 3g of water.  So if you consume say an extra 200g of carbs on a given day, that’s an extra 600g of water right there. 1lb = approx 454g so that 200 grams of carbs you just ate represents almost 2 more lbs right there between food and water in your system.

Losing fat and losing weight are NOT the same thing. 

They have a relationship but they are not one and the same.  It’s important to try and emotionally understand that, as hard as it is sometimes. What you SHOULD focus on most when thinking about losing WEIGHT is actually losing body fat, gaining muscle, and in-turn changing the SHAPE of your body.

Really, in the end that is what we mean by losing weight. We really want to feel a certain way or look a certain way. 1lb of fat takes up a lot more space in the body then 1lb of muscle. 

For example, if you lost 5lbs of body fat BUT also GAINED 5lbs of muscle you would weigh exactly the same on the scale but would look much different and your body would have a different shape.

 
What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.
 

Here are 4 tips for measuring your progress:

First things first. If you are trying to lose body fat, focus on making a plan, following a reasonable, balanced nutrition and fitness plan and stick to it. When you track anything, scale weight or not, it should be measured against how your plan is working out or not.

1) Reduce your frequency of getting on the scale

If you are a chronic weight scale checker I encourage you to reduce the frequency you get on it and torture yourself. I have absolutely no problem with checking body weight but anything more than 1x a week or every other week is plenty. Remember that the scale weight doesn’t give you the whole story, it won’t take into account other factors such as fat, muscle, water weight, waste, food, bloat, etc.

2) Take circumference measurements

In addition to checking your body weight, another tool you should be using is a tape measure to take circumference measurements. You can buy a very inexpensive tape measure for under $4 and take them at home. Remember that when your goal is to change your waistline or body shape, a tape measure is going to be a much better tool to use than a scale to measure and track change in your body.

3) Measure with a piece of clothing

One of our favorite measuring tools with clients in our programs besides photos and circumference measurements is using a piece of clothing to measure progress. usually, a pair of tighter pants or jeans works well. You can check progress every 2-4 weeks and see if they start to become loser on you.

4) Take pictures to track your progress

It can be very easy to forget what your body looked like before you started on your fat loss journey. Even if you are noticing changes, they most likely are subtle changes over days, weeks, months and you are not going to really remember precisely where you started. As much as we all hate taking pictures of our body when we are not in our best shape, just DO IT! We have had clients tell us that they don’t think they’ve made much progress with the way their body looks, only to find out later that they actually made HUGE progress in their body composition when looking at their before and after photos side-by-side. It’s easy to forget where you started once you’ve already made progress and only see the way your new body looks.

Once you take your “before” photos just set them aside and forget about them for the moment. Don’t sit there and judge them. If you are making changes you WILL look differently as you go and really what the end product looks like is much more important than where you started. We recommend taking updated progress photos every 2-4 weeks and throwing them into that same folder to look at down the road when you are ready or entering the photos into a fitness app that will allow you to see your progress shots side-by-side. When taking your photos, try taking them at the same time of day, morning is usually best and if possible, in the same outfit or swimsuit. Again, If you are serious about making a healthy lifestyle change, and stay consistent with your workout and nutrition plan, you WILL see major changes in your body!

Whatever you choose to do to track your progress, just remember, body weight and body fat are not the same thing and that the scale is mostly just telling you your relationship to gravity in a given moment. Change doesn’t happen overnight so just keep focusing on making positive changes for your body through good nutrition and fitness habits. Your hard work WILL pay off in the end!

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

What's the difference between Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss? Jumping on the scale every day is never a good idea. Your weight can fluctuate for number of reasons which can really mess with your head especially when you are working really hard to be healthy and lose weight! Here we give you 4 tips on how to measure your progress without focusing on the scale weight.
 

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

Do you have foods that just trigger belly bloat for you? It's ok if the answer is no because a lot of folks out there just can't quite put their finger on the culprits.

I have 3 main foods that I really try my very best to avoid if I want to keep a flat tummy. This is especially critical if (1) I am wearing a form fitting dress, (2) if I am in a swimsuit, or (3) I want to look hot for my hubby :)

These are foods that are common in most all of our diets because they are in a lot of packaged foods and on our plates in most restaurants. These foods are known to cause inflammation in the body in general and especially if you have a food intolerance to them.

When you are in a constant state of inflammation, it causes weight gain, insulin resistance, and also messes with your hormones. So food intolerance or not, it’s a good idea to limit these and other inflammatory foods as much as possible!


3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

  • Soy - After experiencing tons of bloating and gas anytime I ate soy, then doing an elimination diet and later food allergy testing, I learned that I was allergic to soy. All forms bloat me such as tofu, soybean oil, also called “vegetable oil” (one of the main oils that many restaurants cook with!), soy milk, soy sauce, soy lethicin (a binding agent ALSO in everything, think most packaged foods - hint hint...check the back of a Cliff Bar). So many people have an allergy or intolerance to soy but they simply don't know because it's in their diet nearly all of the time.

Soy not only causes inflammation in the body for many but it also contains phytoestrogens which mimic estrogens in the body of both men and woman. For men it can cause feminine characteristics to take shape (think man boobs), and for women it can cause serious health issues such as hormone-related issues, infertility, and breast and cervical cancer just to name a few issues. I seriously cringe anytime I see anyone feeding soy to children whose little reproductive systems haven't fully formed yet.  

  • Dairy - This is another major bloat food for me that I discovered when I did the elimination diet and realized I was lactose intolerant and allergic to soy. When you are lactose intolerant, it simply means that your body does not produce lactase which is the enzyme that you needs to break down milk sugars.

Dairy is another food that 75% of people around the world can't tolerate and yet they still consume it quite a bit. It causes digestive upset, stomach cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, acne, headaches, constipation and more. I'm sure when you hear the word dairy, it seems like a no brainer as to what that entails but you would be surprised to hear how many people tell me "I've gone dairy-free for a month!" only to find out they are still eating butter, whey protein shakes, half and half creamer, and even cheese. I don't judge because I too was just in the beginning stages of an almost dairy-free lifestyle at one point and I know how hard it can be to change old habits. 

  • Canola oil - This horrifying oil is high in trans fatty acids and causes inflammation in the body which for me and many others = major belly bloat! Canola oil is also commonly called “vegetable oil” and is a highly processed, genetically modified, rancid cooking oil that a ton of restaurants also use along with soy, as well as it's in nearly every food on the Whole Foods Market hot food bar (this used to be my go to food option, bummer!!), most all common hummus brands that are on the shelves (um hello, hummus is supposed to be made with EVOO!), and again most packaged meals and foods like my beloved tortilla chips. Here you can learn more about canola oil and why you should never cook with it again.

3 Foods to Avoid if You Want a Flat Stomach

Are you noticing a trend here with these belly bloating foods?? One word INFLAMMATION. It can cause a host of problems for your health but a big one is that it will cause insulin resistance, and insulin is our fat storage hormone which = belly fat and the inability to lose weight. NO thank you!

So as you can see, these 3 foods that are often labeled as health food can affect all of our health and our waistlines negatively but lucky for us, there are many great alternatives out there that will benefit our health in big ways.

BBB freebie images.png

Want to learn more about how you can stop bloat from happening?

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

Amber Hale.png
 

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Procrastinating So You Can Crush Your Health and Fitness Goals

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals

The holidays, believe it or not, are just around the corner! Amber and I have been seeing Christmas displays popping up in stores recently, which absolutely blows my mind, given that’s it just the mid-October! At least wait till November folks!

Seeing Halloween decorations and costumes next to Christmas trees is pretty hilarious though. The reason I bring up the holidays is that NOW is the time to start up building good fitness habits instead of after the holidays!

Every year, I see folks waiting until after the New Year to implement a fitness and nutrition program thinking that’s the best approach.  Remember 2 or 3 months from now is a decent chunk out of the year - that’s 16 – 20% of your year!

After the fallout of the holidays, not only are you then trying to FINALLY establish good workout and nutrition habits BUT also typically digging out of a MASSIVE hole that was dug over the months around the holidays eating season.

The statistics of post-New Year fitness habits actually sticking around are pretty bleak because you don’t already have those good habits put into place after eating and drinking a lot over the past few months. It can also be confusing not knowing what workouts you should be doing and can be discouraging.

Plus It’s cold and dark out. It takes some will power to get out and get your butt to the gym. Losing those  inches around the waistline takes more time then people believe and too often folks quickly throw in the towel. 

Hopefully now you see that the urge to procrastinate on your health and fitness goals is a huge mistake and is one that the AVERAGE person unfortunately often makes.

We don’t want you to be average! We want you to separate yourself from the average and choose something different.

NOW is the time to start building those habits! TODAY is the day you do that workout. Not 2 months from now. Doing something that builds up your good habits and helps you feel fitter and stronger is going to pay off in the end.

If you start focusing on your nutrition and building a fitness habit now, you will go into the holidays actually burning more through building exercise and establishing better eating habits. So when the holiday parties roll around, you can enjoy it guilt free and know that you have prepared your body to be able to put those extra fun calories to good use in the gym!

EVEN IF all you end up doing is staying mostly the same, CONGRATULATIONS!!! The average weight GAINED during the holidays is 10+lbs so you’ve avoided that AND you have the habits necessary to sustain you post holidays.

The urge to procrastinate is a strong one and one that I have to fight off as well.

Don’t wait for things to be perfect to get started because there will never be that perfect time. Focus instead on the little things that build you up towards your future self. Focus on the things you CAN do!

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals

5 Tips for how to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals:


#1: Ask yourself what motivates you to get the results you want to see? What drives you?
 

This is your chance to stop and listen to yourself, cut out the outside noise and see what intrinsically motivates you. Write it down! Be specific! General responses tend to lead to general outcomes.

#2: Get started by establishing a short term goal with a reward at the end. 

Wanting to lose 50 lbs is awesome but why not start with actions that lead you towards that goals such as going to the gym 4 days a week for the next 2 weeks. When you do that, plan a little reward for yourself. The brain likes to be rewarded and it feels good to accomplish something you set out to do. Once you’ve accomplished that, they shoot for another 2 weeks.

#3: Practice visualization. 

You need to actually envision the future, see your future self and imagine what you will look like, how your clothes will fit, and how it will feel to like to achieve this for yourself. Some of the most accomplished athletes and people in the world make this a practice. You are training your mind to help you accomplish the tasks you need in order to achieve your goal.


#4: Prioritize the tasks that are going to lead you to success.
 

Now that you know what you would like to achieve, you’ve clearly defined what that is and you can see yourself doing it. Now is the time to cut out the distractions. Every one of us has 24 hours in a day. Most often the things that aren’t as important will just end up taking care of themselves if you can just FOCUS on the things that matter. Stop with the illusion of multitasking. Often the multitudes of things that you are juggling are just keeping you feeling busy but robbing you of focus. Focus on your priorities before even worrying about the other things.


#5: Get in there and get messy! 

Life is messy and so is starting something new. Just make a mess and get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you make an effort. Your future self will be very grateful you did!



Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

5 tips to avoid holiday procrastinating so you can crush your health and fitness goals
 


What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat

If you haven’t realized it by now, one of mine and Chris’ favorite nutrition tools is the elimination diet. We use it as the foundation for health for most of our clients because almost every person can gain benefit from it and the results are amazing. In these videos, Chris and I discuss how the elimination diet works plus some of the many benefits you can receive from doing it even for a short period of time!

 
Learn about the elimination diet in this 2 part video series. Plus how you can use it to makeover your health, lose fat and clear your skin. There are so many amazing benefits that come along with this simple nutritional tool.
 

What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat

Part One

Part Two


Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

2 Part Video Series: What Is The Elimination Diet? Plus How You Can Use It To Makeover Your Health and Lose Fat
 

How To Weekly Meal Prep The Easy Way

One of the most important tools that Chris and I use for staying on track with our personal health goals whether it be muscle building, weight loss or just trying to avoid certain allergenic food ingredients is WEEKLY MEAL PREP! 

We have been doing this for years because it not only helps to keep us on track but it also saves us tons of time and money. The rare times that I do leave the house without my prepped meals, it usually costs me at least $10 for a somewhat healthy meal. When I cook my food at home, it can cost me only a few dollars per meal. It really makes a difference! Plus it's so hard to know what ingredients are really being used in your food when buying quick meals out on the go. 

So today I am going to share with you some of our favorite tips and tricks for weekly meal prep! 

 
How to weekly meal prep the easy way
 

Let's get started!

First, Make a list of all the food you enjoy eating.

  • Search for recipes on Pinterest or you can start with the recipes in my free 7-day meal plan. You can make all your meals ahead of time if you prefer, so save breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that you love. Use recipes that will allow you to have leftovers so you can eat them throughout the week instead of using a different recipe for each meal. The easier the recipe the better so you don't get overwhelmed.

  • Print out a blank meal planner and start to map out your meals. Ideally your meal plan would include blank spaces for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

  • Take inventory of the items you already have in the kitchen and create your grocery list.

Next, Choose your meal prep batch cooking method.

  • Choose between 2 options: the “cook once, eat three times” method or the big batch cooking method for the entire week.

  • The goal of each method is to decrease time spent in the kitchen AND money in the grocery store so that you can spend more time and money on stuff that you love!

 Option 1: “Cook Once, Eat Three Times” Method

How this option works is that you will do the bulk of your food shopping on either Saturday or Sunday morning. On Sunday, you would prep and cook your meals for days 1-3. Then, on Wednesday, you would prep and cook your meals for days 4-6 and so on. Technically you will need 1 extra lunch and dinner for Sunday, so the last part of the week will actually cover 4 meals unless Sunday is a free day.

 Each prepared dish needs to have be 3 (or 4 if you include Sunday) servings in order to cover three different meals. If you are cooking for 2 or more people, then you will want to double or triple your recipes accordingly and also adjust the amounts needed.

Option 2: Big Batch Cooking Method

If you are super busy, like me, you could do all your shopping on Saturday, cook the whole week's meals on Sunday and freeze them individually if needed. Then, just grab each meal as you go throughout the week - major time saver! This will allow you to add even more variety to your meal plan by rotating your 4 main entrees all throughout the week so you are never eating the same meals on back-to-back days.

Choose whichever cooking method works best for your schedule and your taste buds.

Remember: There is no right or wrong way to weekly meal prep. The main thing is for you to figure out which cooking method saves you the most amount of time and works best for your schedule.

Time Saving Meal Prep Tips:

  • Be productive while you cook! Cooking doesn't have to consume all your time. Turn on your favorite podcast, you can do other household chores, check emails or watch your favorite show or YouTube channel.

  • Create your meal plan with food you already have on hand. Save time and money by working with what you have in your freezer, pantry and fridge already. Keeping your meals as simple as possible will save you time and can still taste super delicious!

  • Clean-up while you cook. As you cook, start soaking and washing dishes or load your dish washer. wipe up messes on the counter and put away anything that isn't being used. This way you don't get overwhelmed with a big clean up job at the very end.

  • Take a few extra minutes to throw your complete meals into containers. Once all your cooking is done, throw your meals into little grab and go containers. This will save you tons of time during the week as you won't even need to think twice about making your lunch each day. Plus this also makes it easy to throw meals into the freezer if you don't get to eat them during the week.

  • Pre-prep and freeze your protein smoothie ingredients. Wash, trim and freeze your fruit or better yet, buy organic frozen fruit. Then place each days fruit smoothie portions plus your protein powder (I use this yummy pumpkin protein), seeds, greens, and any other ingredients you desire into individual jars or BPA-free ziplock baggies to freeze. Each morning you can throw them into the blender, add almond milk, and GO!

  • Pull out the crockpot for no fuss meals. You can make super easy meals overnight or while you are out for the day. Just chop up a bunch of veggies like onion, celery, and potatoes, add your protein of choice and seasonings, then let it cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. This will literally save you so much time and result in a delicious tasting meal. Try this easy crockpot beef stew recipe to get started!

  • Use parchment paper to help keep food from sticking to the pan or dish. Sometimes vegetables and meats will stick to pans when cooking and can create a real mess to clean up. Line your pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make clean up a breeze. It is also helpful to place parchment paper over the top of dishes, like baked chicken, while cooking to avoid splattering and to help lock in the juices.

Getting the hang of weekly meal prep may take some practice but you will get the hang of it! The first couple times I did meal prep on my own, took hours. I quickly found my groove and was able to get it all done in half the time which ultimately saved me tons of time throughout the week! Feel free to leave me any questions you have in the comments below. Also, if you need more meal prep tips and recipes, don't forget to download my free 7-day meal plan


Learn How to Stop Bloat From Happening

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

 

Amber Hale, Health Coach
 

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Stairs Are Your Mortal Enemy: The Leg Workout

If you are looking to change up your leg routine or just bored and want to try something different and aren’t afraid of a little pain and suffering (it’s worth it in the end) then give this leg routine a shot. Remember, tears are just weakness leaving your body. Haha kidding! 

 

Warm up:

  1. Plank: 2-3 minutes total time

  2. Side plank: 90 seconds per side total time

  3. Single leg glute bridges - 30 reps per side

  4. Walking lunges, bodyweight - 45 seconds

 
Stairs Are Your Mortal Enemy: The Leg Workout #legday
 

Workout:

1) Walking barbell lunges (use dumbbells if barbell isn’t possible): 4 sets

> 12 steps out and 12 steps back (count each step).

> Add 20-40lbs in weight per set for a barbell or 5-10lbs for dumbbells.

> 60-90 seconds rest between sets.

 

2) Incline leg press: 2 sets x 100

> That’s right. 100 reps per set. Try and get as low as you can for a full range of motion and push out as many as you can in one go. If you need to (you’ll need to) take a SHORT rest pause between reps till you are at 100. The rest pause is just that, a pause. The break comes after the 100 reps.

> If it starts to really suck around 20-25 reps keep going, you are doing it right.

> Put an appropriate amount of weight on. Hint. It will be a lot less than your usual strength sets. ie. If you are pushing 6+ 45lb plates for sets of 10-12 you are putting 2 plates on.

> Rest 2 minutes before diving into your second set.

 

3) Leg extension drop sets: 3 sets x 10,10,10 (each set consists of 30 reps total)

> Put on the most weight you think you can do for 10 reps and then immediately drop the weight down after the first 10 to a lighter weight and do the same thing. Do that once more to finish out the set. You’ll do a total of 30 reps per set

 

4) Lying leg curls, with toes pointed: 4 x 10-12 reps

> Point your toes while doing this exercise. You’ll use less weight then you are used to but by pointing your toes your calves can’t assist at the knee to help move the weight so the hamstring will be doing all of the work and not your calf.

> Rest 60 seconds.

 

5.) Barbell glute bridges: 4x 12-15 reps

> Do this exercise if possible with your upper back on a bench with the bar across your hips. You might want to add a pad to the bar so that it doesn’t dig in too much. If you are doing a fair amount of weight (you should be) then that can be a real life saver. Once you have lifted the bar up and are in bridge position, hold onto the bar as you do the exercise. Make sure you are supported enough with your upper/middle back on the bench so that you don’t feel like you are sliding off the bench when sitting down.

> Rest 60 seconds.

This workout will take anywhere from 60-90 minutes.

 

Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Chris Hale, Personal Trainer
 

    

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

3 Strong Women Who Prove You Need To Ditch The "I'm Older And Out Of Shape Mentality"

I hear it all the time from family and friends close to me (and I'm sure you do too) that they are older now and as a result, they are out of shape or can't move like they used to. While I do believe there are just some unavoidable things that could happen to us as we get older, I also STRONGLY believe in the power of prevention and doing everything we possibly can to keep our bodies running as efficiently as possible. 

There are so many health benefits to exercise at all ages such as:

  • weight loss and weight maintenance
  • boosting your mood so you stress less by increasing your serotonin levels which makes you happier
  • giving you more energy throughout the day
  • better sex by making you feel more confident and getting blood flowing in all the right places
  • helping you sleep better
  • preventing osteoporosis, bone thinning and fractures
  • better muscle mass which is especially important as we age because we start losing it in our 40's and 50's
  • decreasing your risk for disease
  • lowers high blood pressure which is a major factor for strokes

I just can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to soak these health benefits up!

In a recent article in the New York Times, it was reported that by the time we reach late middle-age, we start developing small holes in our brain's white matter which is what passes messages between different parts of the brain. This can cause issues with our thinking and our memory. But a new study on a large group of women between the ages of 65-75 suggests that weight training just twice a week may slow the age-related shrinking of some parts of the brain, slow down the development of the holes in the brain, and improve walking abilities. 

I don't know about you but I want to keep my memory and thinking intact for as long as I can and weight training only two times per week is a very small price to pay to extend it as long as possible. A good goal to shoot for when you are first getting started is to try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day and working your way up from there. 

I know that saying the words "I want to get in shape and be healthier" is a lot easier than actually getting out there and doing it. So you really need to find what inspires you to get out there and make it happen. You have to find your WHY - a why that will make you cry and give you a reason to get out of bed each day to make this life the best it can possibly be!

Over the last several years, I have been inspired by some amazing women that I have been blessed to have crossed paths with.  I have known Sally my entire life as she has been my mom's best friend since high school - I like to call her my second momma. I met Jody and Lynda over the past 4+ years through being a Fitfluential Ambassador and while blogging my own health journey. They aren't your typical 20 something women that we see posted all over Pinterest. These women are strong and unstoppable, they have proved to me that age is no reason to stop aspiring to achieve your health goals and definitely not a reason to start making excuses about aging. 

 
3 Strong Women Who Prove You Need To Ditch The "I'm Older And Out Of Shape Mentality"
 

So I asked these 3 amazing women: "Why is it important for you to be fit, healthy and strong as you age?"

These stories are about women but staying active as we age is important for men and women both. I hope their stories inspire you as much as they have for me!


Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL

At 47 both my parents had health issues and moved into my home, my dad had a major stroke, paralyzed on one side and unable to walk or talk, dementia and TIA's had taken over my mom as well. At this time I had a 13 and 16 year old and a business. It was difficult to cope with the stress. My mom and dad passed away 11 months apart (I took care of them with the help of my husband) for a year. I could see my future with the genes I have been dealt. I was very skinny at that time (110, size 0), and then the weight started, menopause kicked in too, hot flashes, night sweats, fat around my tummy, I was up to 129(size 10) in no time.

Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL

 In March 2007  I had a TIA (mini stroke) my genes had caught up with me(high blood pressure) this was a wake up call. I started walking again with a very good friend Carrie, from March to Oct 2007 we trained for a marathon for my 50th birthday, we went on to do several 1/2 marathons, I was down to 114. I just looked skinny, yuck...So I started classes at the gym, weight classes, yoga, kick boxing. My body didn't change much, but then I was given a chance of a lifetime. Don Brower(former body builder) asked me if I wanted him to help me gain muscle as he knew I ate well. He had never professionally trained anyone because he said most people do not listen and end up quitting and that was a reflection on him. I'm now in my 3rd year training with him and the changes have been amazing! I am extremely healthy now, I can do things most 20 year olds can't do. I am more active than ever, I feel like I'm 17, the confidence and positive attitude that I have gained has really helped me come out of my shell I was in way too long. I have some bad genes I will be fighting and I have chose to fight them with clean food and exercise instead of prescription drugs and I am succeeding. I am 58 years old and proud of it. Please DON'T ever think you are too old, I simply started by walking at 49, then walking distance, classes at the gym and I will always train with weights, It has changed my life and health, mentally and physically. Thanksto Don Brower for pushing me and believing in me to do what I thought was impossible to a body that started lifting at 55 years old.

Who knows maybe at 60 I will compete, I'm a bit stage shy. But, one thing for sure I will lift, eat clean and stay super active because life is good, I sat on the couch long enough! A friend of mine recently told me he heard this in a movie...

"We can get busy living or get busy dying!!"

It is a choice, I chose happy and healthy living!!

Sally Farr, Jacksonville, FL 


Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit
Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit

 

I will be 58 next month. Besides the fact that I fell in love with weightlifting & health in my 20's, going through all the years doing this really made me aware how important it is to be healthy & strong as we get older. You just do not know it until you get there. The body changes so much in the 40's & especially 50's! Women are going to have to realize they need to be fitter & healthier to make it through the hormone change in tact! 😊

For me it was about being able to care for myself, do things for myself as I got older, play with my grandchildren & be around for their weddings. I did not want to have to have others care for me as I got older. I want to be able to take care of myself for many more years to come! The best person you can take care of is YOU! If you take care of you, you are a better person for all those around you!

Jody Goldenfield, Truth2BeingFit


Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country

I have always had a passion for fitness.  I was not really an athlete in school {unless you count cheerleading}, but I became interested in running in my twenties.  I always belonged to a gym, I took classes, watched what I ate and just took care of myself. I loved doing anything that had cardio and weight training.  I think because I am short, I would worry more about weight than if I were taller. I have always continued staying on track.  I have done Yoga, Pilates, Spin Cycle, Weight Training. 

Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country

I have had three children, they are now 25, 15 and 13.  To be honest, my body handled pregnancy well.  Never any stretch marks, and not much weight gain.  I maintained an active and fit lifestyle throughout all three pregnancies.  I loved so much my cravings, but really wanted to stay in tune with my body and keep healthy.  I wanted to be able to bounce back once having the kids and being fit, helped me accomplish that.

I just turned 48 this past August.  I thought the 40's were going to have me bummed out.  This is so cliche, but the 40's are amazing!  Seriously, I have never felt so great.  No joke, I feel amazing and I think I look better as I get older, which has me baffled.  A combination of clean eating, a healthy diet {moderation with treats}, lots of water and exercise is always key to my lifestyle at this age.  Good habits are not only great for my body, but my skin also.  I care about that just as much.  Hydrating all day everyday is so very important.  I have just made it a habit to make sure I am taking in water all day long. 

Running is my passion that I have picked back up again in the last two years.  I am working on my 6th half marathon now {this weekend} and have another next month.  That along with regular Pure Barre classes, keeps me strong all over and fit.  Slipping into a pair of jeans without having to squat and stretch them on to my body, is awesome!  I love the feeling of just getting dressed and not fighting to fit into something.  I recall recently my mother telling me that I was no longer in my 20's {she wanted to remind me of this with all my running}, it threw me a bit and had me responding something like this ... "I realize I am no longer young, however I plan on keeping myself as young as I can and running is doing just that".  Until my body says no more and I can't do it, then I don't intend to stop anytime soon.  It is okay to be older women now and have fitness goals and regimens, we don't need to stop and "grow old".  I believe in embracing my age and I am actually looking forward to the journey my 50's will have.  

Staying fit as I age is just something I chose to do, it makes me happy.  I love feeling great.  I love being a role model for my kids.  I love being the "younger" older mom.  I love that I can keep up with them and have the energy to be active with them.

Lynda Benson, Fitness Mom Wine Country 


"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success, doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today."

-John C Maxwell

Amber Hale, health coach
 

Sources:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/lifting-weights-twice-a-week-may-aid-the-brain/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/amazing-benefits-of-exercise.aspx#01

Disclaimer: I earn a small commission if you use some of the highlighted links to purchase products mentioned in this blog/website. I recommend only products that I would use my own home or that I would recommend to clients. 

Amazon Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Get Cut Like a Jack-O-Lantern Kettlebell Workout

What’s up guys! It’s hard to believe that October is already here and soon Halloween will be knocking on our door.  What the @!&@# happened! Personally, I love the months of September/October. As much as I love summer, the warm weather, going to the beach and not having to bundle up in a million layers, fall is one of the best times of the year. The air is crisp, the changing of the leaves are awesome and as great as summer is, it’s great to have a break from 90 degree weather with humidity. Fall adds balance and symmetry to the year.

As we train, balance and symmetry are also what we are chasing with our workouts. Whether you are seeking symmetry just for aesthetics or muscular balance and control to be better able to move and perform outside the gym, balance is a key component to that. Balance from our left to right side and front and back of our bodies.

With that in mind, today’s kettlebell workout will focus on unilateral movements combined with supersets. Supersets are performing two exercises back to back with no rest in-between. If you haven’t used supersets before they are a great way to really up the intensity factor and get yourself going. Not only that but they can allow you to pack in more work in less time. There are many ways to do supersets but for this workout we’ll have you targeting the same muscles for each pair of exercises.  

So get ready to push yourself with this pre-Halloween workout, but most of all have fun with it and keep challenging yourself!

 
Get cut like a Jack-O-lantern kettlebell workout
 

Perform each pair of exercises then rest; repeat the same pair for 3 (or 4) sets  

Sets: 3x (4 if being ambitious)

Reps: 15

Put the candy down...It's time to get cut like a jack-o-lantern kettlebell workout

Rest: 45 seconds between supersets  

** Perform a dynamic warm-up to prep your body to train**

Let's Get Started

1A.) Single arm overhead shoulder press

1B.) Single arm upright row

(do both these exercises for reps on one side and then transfer over and do the same on the other side)


2A)  Bent over single arm row, elbow in close to the body leaving your hand in a neutral grip postion

2B) 2 arm kettlebell swing X 2 (1 set after each set of rows)

(do the row for reps on one side, the kettlebell swing, then transfer over and do row on the other side followed by another kettlebell swing)


3A) Single arm press laying on the floor

3B) Push-ups – as many as possible (AMAP)

  1. Regress this exercise if you need to. Knee pushups, or pushups on a raised surface will work. Keep form good! Put your knees down or work at an angle if your pushup form looks like a wet noddle with no core/trunk stability


4A) Single leg squat (weight held by your side on the same side as your squatting leg)

  1. Regress to two legged squats if your balance or strength won’t allow you to single leg squat yet. Hold the kettlebell in the rack position for this regression. Each circuit switch up which side you hold the weight on.

4B) Single leg deadlift (hold the weight in the OPPOSITE hand from the leg you are standing on)

  1. Regress to two feet on the ground and two hands on the kettlebell if unable to stand on 1 leg


5A) Seated Russian twist

5B) Crunches – 20-50 reps depending on ability

Chris Hale, On-line Personal Trainer at Awakened Nutrition
 




What The Hell Are Kettlebells? And What’s With All That Swinging?

Kettlebells have been around for a really long time and are nothing new to fitness, but in the last 5-10 years kettlebells have become much more prevalent in the big box/corporate gyms that many of us go to.  Unless you are the gym, Planet Fitness…. Then you have only treadmills, a smith machine and a small smattering of dumbbells. I kid! Not really though.  Just make sure not to make any noise or put any effort in there or you might be asked to leave. Ok!  Mini rant over.  Ha!

 
What The Hell Are Kettlebells? And What’s With All That Swinging?
 

Kettlebells originated out of Eastern Europe many moons ago. As folklore would have it Kettlebells were used as counterweights in Russian markets, then after hours when the market closed, farmers would use the Kettlebells to swing and toss around both for fun and for physical exercise.  

As with most resistance training techniques the Russians/Eastern Europe where the first to start incorporating kettlebells for exercise.  In the 1980s Russia, Kettlebells started to be used to raise the popularity of physical culture.  In 1981, the USSR Weightlifting Federation established a Kettlebell commission in order to keep the masses fit and help decrease healthcare costs. Kettlebells were an easy way to get weights in people’s hands and get them moving without having to have an entire collection or different weights and machines.

The USSR had a unique position in history. 

-          They had complete control over what to use/promote for health and fitness

-          They had the most advanced sports and human performance scientists at the time

-          A need to minimize upfront costs & a desire to reduce long term health expenses

-          Desire to maximize the longevity and work capacity of its population

Their choice of tool to achieve these goals was the Kettlebell.  Today, we live in a society that’s sole motive is to sell and market without a need or concern if what they are selling is actually achieving the results that are desired.

 Kettlebells are about efficiency. Efficiency of movement, cost , space needed and they are multipurpose. Perfect for a home gym setup as all you need is 1-2 appropriately challenging Kettlebells, a little bit of space and you have a home gym!

Another aspect that makes Kettlebells unique from other weights is that the weight is not perfectly centered in the hand. The weight and center of gravity is away from the hand on a handle and better mimics objects that one would actually come into contact with in the real world. ie.  A backpack. You have a strap with off centered weight from the handle or strap.  The take away here is that Kettlebells will better mimic the type of objects we will actually encounter in the real world.

The benefits of Kettlebells include:

-          Strength

-          Endurance

-          Caloric expenditure

-          Functianal movement patterns

-          Improvement in timing and space awareness

-          Better balance

-          Improved coordination

-          Focus

-          Injury prevention

Injury prevention is one of the big benefits of Kettlebells. Most often injuries incur during deceleration of weight . For example jumping.  Landing and absorbing the force of the jump is where most people injure themselves. Not the initial leap.  Kettlebells help teach your body to better manipulate weight that is not perfectly centered in your hand and to better absorb force through rapid, smooth deceleration by spreading forces through the body.  Kettlebells help promote trunk stability and encourage hip dominant movement.

In summary, Kettlebells are great for training the body to manipulate weight more efficiently, learning to absorb force through the body, are low cost and easy to have and use for home (or in the gym) to achieve great results in less time.

 “Physical fitness is the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness without undue fatigue and ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies”. -  According to The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport

So the next time you are thinking about what to add to your home gym arsenal without spending a fortune or you want to add a new challenge to your body and shake up how you go about your workouts give Kettlebells a try!

 



Reduce Belly Bloat With This Flat Belly Tea Recipe

Most people start their day first thing with a big cup of delicious hot coffee, then rush to the office and enjoy yet another large cup of coffee all the while forgetting one very important detail which is essential all hours of the day - hydration! When you are gulping down coffee all morning, there is very high chance that you are not drinking water along side of your cup of Joe. This used to be a very bad habit of mine. Lunchtime would roll around and all of the sudden I'd realize that I haven't had a cup of water all day.

Most all of my female clients deal with the dreaded belly bloat which can come from a host of things like food allergies, leaky gut, candida, too much sodium, or more simply just plain old dehydration! When we are rushing around each day running on coffee alone for the first half of the day, we start to retain water which is the last thing we want when we are trying to get a flat belly. 

I'm not out to make coffee the bad guy because there are actually a lot of benefits to drinking organic coffee such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. But I can bet that if you are just drinking coffee from Starbucks or the office pot of coffee, then you are most likely drinking coffee that has been heavily sprayed with pesticides that are toxic to our bodies and get stored away in our fat cells. I don't know about you, but I don't need any extra junk stored in my fat cells!

So what can be done to start reducing that stubborn belly bloat?

There are two things that I absolutely love to do in the mornings to help reduce belly bloat...

  • #1 Drink a large glass of water first thing when you wake up. I prefer warm water with the juice of half a lemon, but just plain warm water is perfectly fine too. 
  • #2 Swap  your morning coffee with my favorite flat belly tea recipe (below).

Not only will both of these morning rituals help you to kick your coffee habits to the curb it will also decrease belly bloat, help stimulate digestion, stop cravings in their tracks, and may help with weight loss by jump-starting the metabolism! You will still need to remember to drink water during the rest of your day, so make sure to keep a water bottle next to you to sip on throughout the day.  

 
Flat belly tea
 

Flat Belly Tea Recipe

  • 1 cup organic hot green tea
  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from a lemon half
  • Stevia or raw honey to taste

1. Brew 1-2 tea bags of green tea in 8oz of filtered water.

2. Add apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and stevia to taste.

3. Stir and enjoy!


 

Ready kick belly bloat to the curb? Then click the button below to grab my freebie 5 Steps to Beat Belly Bloat!

 

 
 

What's your best tip for de-bloating or ditching the coffee habit?

 

Disclaimer: We earn a small commission if you use the highlighted links to purchase the products mentioned in this post. We recommend only products that we would use in our own home or that we would recommend for our clients. Your purchases help to support our blogging activities such as creating yummy recipes to share with you and also helps us to bring even more helpful nutrition and training information to you on a weekly basis. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us continue what we LOVE to do!

How Food Allergies Are Making You Fat

Summer's (unofficially) here and it's that time of year when we're showing more skin and definitely more conscience of our bodies. All around me, I hear people jumping into juice cleanses and fasts to jump-start their weight loss. I'm not a huge fan of these aggressive detoxes because they can have serious consequences. In truth, most people will lose weight on these types of cleanses simply because of the calorie restriction, not because they are detoxing. But, these types of programs are pretty much impossible to maintain long-term and so is the weight loss. As soon as you stop juicing, the weight comes back on. I've seen it happen time and time again. There is a Better Way.

What if I told you that you could eat (yes, eat) as much as you want of delicious food without counting calories or carbs, and still lose weight? Say what?? Yes, you heard me. Look, it's no secret that excess weight is related to many other chronic conditions and diseases. In fact, we can really look at being overweight as just a symptom of inflammation - and inflammation is the root of all disease.

food allergies

There are many things that can cause inflammation in our body but one of the most common causes is allergies and sensitivities from our food. An allergic reaction is inflammation. And, common sense tells us that when we constantly expose ourselves to something we are allergic too, this leads to chronic inflammation. Having a severe allergy to say, peanuts, can cause an immediate life-threatening response and if you're someone with that type of allergy, then you probably are very meticulous at avoiding such an exposure. Of course an allergic reaction doesn't need to be life-threatening. It could be something as simple as breaking out in hives.

BUT, what if you didn't have an allergy to peanuts but you had a more mild sensitivity? What's the difference here and how would you know? Well, unlike the allergy where you get an immediate response, a food sensitivity is an inflammatory reaction that is delayed, meaning your symptoms may not come out until about 24-72 hours after you are exposed to the culprit.

Symptoms vary, but the most common ones are:

  • weight gain
  • digestion issues (constipation, diarrhea)
  • bloating
  • gas
  • fatigue
  • brain fog
  • headaches or migraines
  • muscle aches
  • stomach aches

You may not even know that you have a food sensitivity because most likely you are eating the culprit food every single day and any symptoms you are experiencing could feel totally normal to you. OR, you are aware of the symptoms but because of the delayed time lapse it's extremely difficult to make the connection that something you are eating is causing the reaction. The other side of this, is that it can be difficult and expensive to get tested. Most doctors are not testing for food sensitivities - just allergies. And this is why so many people are unknowingly causing chronic inflammation in their bodies that can lead to toxicity and excess weight.

How To Find Out If You Have a Food Sensitivity

The easiest, most cost effective way to identify food sensitivities is by doing, what's called, an Elimination Diet. This is the protocol that I use  as the foundation in my seasonal detox programs because it works. I believe in this protocol because it's also how I've uncovered my own food allergies and sensitivities. Although an elimination diet is not a new thing, it hasn't gotten nearly as much publicity as many of the other heavily marketed diets and weight loss programs on the market. And, although the goal is not to necessarily lose weight, that is more often than not, a happy side effect. Just recently, Dr. Mark Hyman was featured on The Today Show talking about the benefits of the elimination diet in helping people identify food sensitivities, decreasing inflammation and losing weight. You can read the article here.

In my seasonal detox programs, we focus on eliminating the most common food allergens for 10 days and then we guide you into a reintroduction phase where you would strategically add back each food one by one so you can determine which food(s) are causing the problems.

The foods we avoid for 10 days include:

  • gluten and wheat
  • dairy
  • corn
  • soy
  • gluten-free grains
  • nuts
  • processed sugars

During the 10 days that you are eliminating the common allergens, we are replacing them with nourishing whole foods which support your detoxification. This 2-prong approach has been very successful in helping people jump-start their weight loss, detox, AND identify foods that they are sensitive to. For most people, this is a very powerful "first step" towards reducing inflammation and building their health blueprint for life.

Have you had success with uncovering food allergies or sensitivities with an elimination diet or detox? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

P.S. Wanna sneak peek into one of my 10-Day Detox programs that uses the elimination diet? Sign up to get my FREE 3-Day Detox and jump-start your weight loss now!

30 Healthy Snack Ideas to Bust Through Cravings + a Kale Chip Recipe

Have you ever had those days when cravings hit and you just want to eat everything in sight? Cravings happen even to the healthiest of us. Often, when a craving hits in the afternoon or the evening after dinner, we get the urge to snack. Snacking can be a bad habit to get into, because the snacks we choose are often junky, nutritionally void, and high in calories, sugar, or fat. I call this the "Snack Attack!" and it can sneak up on you like a ninja. There are many different reasons why cravings sneak up on you such as having a lot of stress in your life, lack of sleep, restricting certain foods from your diet too long, or maybe your body is lacking certain vitamins and minerals. It is key to try to identify what is causing your cravings and try to get to the root of the issue. But, I realize that it may not always be easy to pin point exactly what is going on when life gets busy.

So it's up to us to outsmart our cravings before they get the best of us. The trick to snacking without piling on the pounds is to find healthy alternatives to the regular snacks you might normally reach for.

Usually, when we get a craving it is for either something sweet (chocolate!), savory (potato chips!), creamy (ice cream!), or crunchy (crisps!). Obviously, my examples are foods you shouldn’t eat all the time if you want to be trim and healthy. But that doesn’t mean you have to fight your cravings for the rest of your life. Instead, you just need to substitute.

 
30 Healthy Snack Ideas to Bust Through Cravings
 

Next time you get a craving for something sweet, why not try:

  • fresh organic berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries

  • apples and almond or sunflower butter

  • no sugar added dried fruit and raw almonds or walnuts

  • green or fruit protein smoothies

  • banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor, top with nuts, berries or unsweetened shredded coconut)

  • dates stuffed with almond butter or other nut butter, and top with unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 tbsp organic dark chocolate chips or Enjoy Life (soy, dairy & nut free) chocolate chips

For your savory cravings, try these healthy alternatives:

  • hard boiled eggs with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and salsa

  • olives, pickles, and pickled vegetables, such as carrot, daikon, beets, and lotus root

  • homemade hummus (download my free 3-Day Detox to get this recipe)

  • kale chips (recipe below)

  • sweet potato chips

  • zucchini chips with freshly made salsa or guacamole

  • Sauerkraut (this will also knock your sweet craving right out!)

  • chopped avocado and tomato with sea salt and pepper

Your creamy cravings can be met by eating:

  • smoothies

  • chocolate chia pudding

  • dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush

  • puréed soups

  • puddings made with avocado, or mashed banana

  • mashed sweet potatoes

  • coconut milk

Finally, don't cave and reach for the Pringles, when you can eat these crunchy (but still healthy) snacks:

  • apples

  • frozen grapes

  • rice cakes

  • organic non-GMO popcorn (use coconut oil and sea salt to pop in a covered pan)

  • carrots (particularly the sweet, organic baby carrots)

  • celery and nut butter

  • raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, Brazil, and walnuts

  • small handful raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds (about 1 tbsp)

Don’t fight your craving. Instead, listen to what it is your body wants specifically and choose the healthier option that will be good to your waistline.

Make sure to keep plenty of these delicious healthy snacks around the house so you don't get in a pinch and grab something you will regret later. Another great way to avoid snacking is also to keep your trigger foods out of the house. When you do decide to splurge on your favorite treats, make sure you only buy as much as you are going to eat right at that moment. That way the bag of treats won't unexpectedly call your name from the kitchen pantry.

Kitchen tips and tricks:

  • Pre-cut veggies for quick snacks. Store in airtight, glass containers in the fridge. Make sure to cover celery, carrots and radishes with water so they don't dry out.

  • Freeze a few bananas to have on hand for an ice cream snack later in week.

  • Never waste another avocado. Put ripe avocados in the refrigerator to stop the ripening process. They can be stored for up to a week in the fridge.

  • Measure out and baggie up your nuts and dried fruit ahead of time so that you don't go back for seconds or thirds.

“You cannot change your destination overnight. You can change your direction.” - Jim Rohn

Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale

  • Olive oil

  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350-375 degrees, depending on your oven. The kale chips burn quickly, so keep the temperature on the lower end if your oven tends to get hot or have hot spots.

  2. Clean kale and remove the thick stem by folding each leaf in half lengthwise and cutting it away. Make sure kale is quite dry.

  3. Pour a bit of olive oil into a dipping bowl. Dip your fingers in the olive oil and massage over each kale leaf, front and back.

  4. Arrange kale on several baking sheets making sure not to crowd the leaves. Sprinkle sea salt over the top.

  5. Bake for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the chips to make sure they don’t burn. Turn the chips over and then bake for another 5 minutes more. You may need more or less time depending on your oven. The chips are ready when they are bright green and haven’t turned brown yet except maybe at the edges.

  6. Add some flavor by sprinkling smoked paprika, garlic, ginger, cumin, or curry on before baking.

Comment below and tell me some of your favorite craving fighting snacks!

Want to learn more about how you can stop bloat from happening?

Want to reduce inflammation and lose fat for good? Start by downloading our free guide: 5 Easy Steps to Beating Belly Bloat!

We are Chris and Amber, a husband and wife team dedicated to helping you improve your nutritional and personal fitness habits for a better lifestyle. If you have issues with bloating, inability to lose fat, brain fog, or are in need of a proven nutrition and fitness plan to get you out of a rut, then sign up for our 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat Program today!

 
Amber Hale.png
 

Makeover Your Health With the Elimination Diet

When I first started on my health and fitness journey about 4 years ago, I started experiencing uncomfortable and embarrassing digestive issues which was starting to drive me crazy! I had never experienced these issues before or at least I never noticed because of all of the junky nutritionally void foods I was dumping into my body the many years prior. I was determined to figure out the foods that where working with and those that worked against my body in order to lose weight and be healthier. When you realize that your digestion is much less than optimal and you feel terrible, it is time to do something about it. I got to that point and started noticing that I had symptoms like gassiness and belly bloat that started happening frequently. I knew I needed a reliable way to find out WHY this was happening and, more importantly, WHAT was causing my discomfort. That’s when I found out about the Elimination Diet.

 
Elimination diet
 

The Elimination Diet is the approach I use in my 28 Day Beat Belly Bloat program to help my clients figure out which foods they are sensitive to so that they can eat mindfully, keep their digestive symptoms at bay and start losing weight. About 80% of your immune system is in your gut and is considered the “second brain” in your body, so it is important to keep it healthy and keep things running smoothly. It's also been discovered that if your body is in a constant state of inflammation, it can prevent you from being able to lose weight.

In the elimination diet, you start by eliminating common culprits of digestive upset and common food allergens. You dial down your daily meals and snacks so that you are only eating real, nourishing foods that will not hurt your gut. In fact, you can begin to heal your gut with a proper elimination diet. The categories of food to eliminate are:

  • Grains – The foundation of the Food Pyramid for decades, at one point the government suggested we eat 6-11 servings of grains per day. It has now been discovered that many people have a hard time digesting grains, including corn.
  • Processed Foods – There are many toxic chemicals (like MSG, artificial colors, and flavorings) and other undesirable ingredients (like GMOs, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup) in processed food that can impede digestion and even cause disease.
  • High Glycemic Foods – Large amounts of starches and added sugars can feed a bacterial overgrowth (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth aka SIBO) and other gut dysbiosis problems.
  • Gluten and Fructans – Found in many grains, gluten has been found to be one of the causes of leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases. Fructans are found in FODMAPS (short-chain carbohydrates) and can also feed those bad bugs in your gut.
  • Soy - Over 90 percent of all soy grown is genetically modified and is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Many people can't tolerate soy but have no idea because they eat so much of it on a daily basis via processed packaged foods. Soy phytoestrogens cause infertility, breast cancer and hypothyroidism. It contains high levels of phytic acid which reduce absorbtion of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
  • Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oil – The top offenders are corn, soy, safflower, canola and vegetable oils.  These can cause inflammation throughout your body and destroy your health.
  • Feedlot Meats and Dairy – Meats and dairy from the conventional food system are full of hormones, antibiotics, and even poisons such as arsenic. These animals are sick and stressed form living in confined polluted spaces.
  • Eggs, Peanuts, and Shellfish – All are common food allergens.
  • Gut Irritants – Caffeine and alcohol can wreak havoc on your gut. Avoid these while you are healing.

The Elimination Phase

All of the common known gut irritating foods we talked about above will be eliminated for an initial 14 days. This is so we can allow enough time for food allergens and other gut irritating foods to fully get out of your system and your symptoms to go away. Make sure to write yourself a list of all the foods you can and can't eat during the elimination period so that you are very clear on which foods you need to avoid. It's very easy to forget and slip up on the foods you are used to eating. It's important to stay on track during this time so that you can really figure out which foods work best for you!

Then, you will gradually reintroduce these foods back in your diet one at a time to see how your body reacts. With certain food, you may notice reactions from it immediately and with others you may feel the effects a day or so later. It is important to keep a food reaction journal during this time so that you can pinpoint exactly how you are feeling both mentally and physically. The entire elimination could take up to 35 days or so depending on how many foods you introduce back in. The great thing about the elimination diet is that it can be tailored specifically to your personal needs with your health coach or practitioner. In my Beat Belly Bloat program we start with only 28 days and then my clients have the freedom to add in extra foods if they would like to. I think this is more manageable for clients and their busy lives! 

The Reintroduction Phase:

For two weeks, follow the elimination diet without any exceptions. It is best to have your meals and snacks prepared ahead of time because you don’t want to risk eating foods that may be cooked with unapproved ingredients. If you do eat any packaged foods, you will need to check the labels very carefully for hidden ingredients such as soy, dairy and gluten.

After you have completed the 14 day food elimination diet, you will now start to add foods back in one by one. Introduce one allergenic food in two days increments for 3 meals per day (morning, noon, and night). You will then go back to the strict elimination diet for the next 2 days and monitor how you feel. Take notes on how you are feeling before, during and after the reintroduction. If you notice a server immediate reaction from a food, you can stop there and go ahead and remove the food from your diet and go back to the elimination diet.

Below is the schedule I use during my program with clients who do a general elimination diet of the top known allergenic foods. Follow the schedule below to keep track of what days you will reintroduce each food. Log your food during the elimination and reintroduction phases so you can go back and use it as a reference point.

During this time you will need to document how you are feeling, both during the two reintroduction days and the two days following it. Take note of any headaches, muscle aches, constipation, gas, bloating, low energy, mood swings, fatigue, foggy thinking, etc.

Day 15: Gluten

Day 16: Gluten

Day 17: Back to elimination diet

Day 18: Back to elimination diet

Day 19: Dairy

Day 20: Dairy

Day 21: Back to elimination diet

Day 22: Back to elimination diet

Day 23: Soy

Day 24: Soy

Day 25: Back to elimination diet

Day 26: Back to elimination diet

Day 27: Corn

Day 28: Corn

Day 29: Back to elimination diet

Day 30: Back to elimination diet

Day 31: Eggs

Day 32: Eggs

Day 33: Back to elimination diet

Day 34: Back to elimination diet

Day 35: Discuss

Eventually you will come up with an eating plan that your body will love. Everyone is different and finding your own unique way of eating to feel good will change your life.

If you think the elimination diet might be just what you need to jumpstart your health and relieve annoying belly bloat, then click the button below to grab my freebie 5 Steps to Beat Belly Bloat!

Amber Hale, health and nutrition coach
 


Sources:

Dr. Mercola - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/04/soy-dangers-summarized.aspx

Dr. Axe - http://draxe.com/canola-oil-gm/

Dr. Mark Hyman - http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/01/27/inflammation-how-to-cool-the-fire-inside-you-thats-making-you-fat-and-diseased/

Eat Wild - http://www.eatwild.com/basics.html

*Heizer, W D., Southern, S, McGovern, S. The Role of Diet in Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults: A Narrative Review. JADA 2009; 109: 1204-1214

CalorieLab - http://calorielab.com/news/2011/01/01/big-8-food-allergies/

Guiltless Chocolate Chia Pudding

Do you ever have those days when all you want is a delicious chocolate treat but you are agonizing over it because you are trying to lose a couple pounds? Well agonize no more because I am going to share a guiltless Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe from our 10-Day Spring Detox to bust those cravings! You will actually want to gobble this treat up because it is loaded with rich nutrients and antioxidants! Chia seeds contain healthy fats like Omega-3's, protein and fiber to help keep you full and keep things moving smoothly, and antioxidants which protect your body from free radicals. Raw Cocao also contains antioxidants and has more than 300 phytochemicals, including vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as: fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

Chia chia
Chia chia

Chocolate Chia Pudding - Serves 3-4

1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk 1/4 cup chia seeds 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder 1 tsp cinnamon to taste 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 tablespoon raw honey or a few drops of stevia

1. Combine all ingredients well with a whisk and pour into a glass jar with lid. Shake it up and mix further if there are still clumps in the bottom.

2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, stirring once an hour to keep from clumping

3. Serve topped with dried fruit, sunflower seeds, cacao nibs, or unsweetened shredded coconut.

What's your favorite guiltless dessert?

 

The 24-Hour Detox

The 24 Hour Detox

Don't you just wish you could hit the reset button after an off week or a wild weekend? Maybe you ate a bunch of junk food too many nights in a row or had a few too many drinks at happy hour. You feel bloated and gross, joints are achy, and you flat out feel off balance.When you have a bender of a week, weekend, heck even a month or year...don't worry, we've all been there...you are depriving your body of vital nutrients that it needs to support your main detox organs - the liver, gall bladder, colon and kidneys. Our bodies are already experiencing toxic overloaded from the many toxins we come into contact with on a daily basis which it makes it  harder for our detox organs to do their jobs and excrete toxins naturally. This overload is why we start feeling so bad and it shows up in the form of many awful symptoms that are often unexplainable!

WHERE ARE ALL THESE PESKY TOXINS COMING FROM?

The toxins that come in from outside sources such as those junky nutritionally deficient foods we eat and the many boozy beverages we had in excess are called exogenous toxins. You also accumulate even more exogenous toxins from air pollution - both indoor and outdoor, pesticides on our food and sprayed in the air, chemicals from beauty products we use on our skin, as well as cleaning products we use in our home and even the mercury dental fillings (amalgams) in your mouth. Each year, the number of chemical toxins that we are exposed to dramatically increases because currently there is no system set in place to regulate the amount and type of chemicals that companies can use in their products. Over time, these excess toxins build up in our body and create a heavy toxic burden.

If it's not bad enough that we are storing all of these toxins from our environment, our bodies are also trying to deal with the endogenous toxins that are created from inside our bodies - such as sex hormones, neurotransmitters, folate, iron, etc.

TIME FOR A DETOX!

Detoxing and cleansing occasionally is essential to keep our internal ecosystem balanced by removing the buildup of toxins that are wreaking havoc on your health. It's important to keep our detox organs running smoothly so we are able to excrete toxins efficiently. When our body is balanced, It's easier for you to manage your weight because your metabolism and digestion will be stronger, you will also have clearer glowing skin as well as stay healthier because your immune system will be stronger. 

Unfortunately, detoxing has become such a fad and there is a ton of misinformation out there so people often believe that they have to starve themselves by fasting or juicing in order to detox. But that's simply not the case! You can start right now just by eating delicious nutrient-rich detoxifying foods!

NUTRIENT-RICH DETOXIFYING FOODS

  1. Carrots, garlic, onions, eggs and salmon to support Glutathione production
  2. Brazil nuts are rich in Selenium which helps your body recycle and produce even more glutathione. Just two a day provides your body with all the selenium it needs.
  3. Flaxseed provides Fiber to help your digestion move along. If your bowels aren't moving then toxins will build up in the colon creating a more toxic environment.
  4. Carrots, eggs, and salmon contain essential B vitamins
  5. Cilantro to assist with the removal of heavy metals
  6. Grapefruit provides fiber, it's packed with vitamins and nutrients that will help to replenish the nutrients that your body needs in order to repair damaged cells in your body, and may promote weight loss

Now these are just a taste of a few great foods for detoxifying your body, there are tons more that you can incorporate into your diet daily!

THE 24 HOUR DETOX

This is a quick 24 hour detox modified from Alisa Vitta at Flo Living that will help get you to bounce back and reset your body! Use the detox as a guide, you will ultimately have to decide on the right portion sizes that you need in order to fuel your body. Just remember, THERE'S NO STARVING IN DETOXING! If you feel like you need a 48 hour detox, then you can just repeat this meal plan for the 2nd day. Make sure you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day to help flush out toxins!

Breakfast:

  • Hot water with the juice of one lemon on an empty stomach
  • Green apple with sugar free sunflower butter

Mid-Morning Snack:

  • Green smoothie:
    • blend romaine lettuce, 1/2 inch ginger, cucumber, celery, juice of 1/2 of lemon, 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Lunch:

  • Raw fennel celery, and apple salad
    • 1/2 fennel head, cored and sliced thin
    • 1 rib of celery chopped
    • 1/2 chopped apple
    • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
    • Toss all ingredients together
    • Cilantro and onion omelet
      • Whisk together 3 organic eggs, 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, sea salt and pepper
      • Oil pan with 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, add 1/4 cup chopped onion and cook for a couple minutes
      • Add remaining ingredients into pan. Cook thoroughly, lifting edges of the omelet and tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg mixture to flow underneath and cook evenly.

Mid-Day Snack:

  • Melon in season or  Grapefruit (choose one)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs

Dinner:

  • Asparagus, onions & Garlic
    • Chopped and roasted at 425 degrees with coconut oil, with salt and pepper
    •  Salmon
      • See recipe below
      • Carrots
        • Steamed with cinnamon

Dessert:

  • 2 Brazil nuts
  • 2 dates

Garlic Dill Salmon - serves 4 

  • 1 pound salmon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed or 1 Tbsp fresh
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp onion powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse fish and put into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add dill, lemon juice, and onion powder and pour over fish. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, basting with remaining sauce after 7 minutes. Do not overcook. Fish is done with flakes easily with a fork. Enjoy! 

 


Ditch Empty Calories and Eat Real Food for Real Weight Loss

It's mid-December and everyone is already buzzing about their New Year's Resolutions to lose weight. You may be hearing a lot about detoxes or juice cleanses that will help to shed those pounds you gained over the holidays. But today we want to just stick with the basics: empty calories and exercise. We always hear so much about how to lose the weight the fast way but we want to talk about the reason so many of us are in this situation in the first place and what it would realistically take to lose the weight. NOT all calories are the same. In a day and age when so many foods we get are processed and packaged and picked up at a drive through window so many of the calories we are actually taking in end up being empty calorie foods which are calorie dense but are nutritionally devoid. Empty calories are the walking dead of calories. They pack all the punch calorically often have lots of sugars but are devoid of the fiber, vitamins and minerals that the body requires. All those empty calories that don’t truly feed the body also take a lot of effort to work off.

Here are some average calories burned after walking or jogging 1 mile:

100lb person: 70-90 calories 150lb person: 90-110 calories 200lb person: 110-140 calories 250lb person: 140-170 calories

Now let’s compare how much I would have to run just to simply burn off an order of French Fries.

1 order of small French Fries (230 cal) = Jogging 6 mi/hr pace for 2.1 miles 1 order of med. French Fires (380 cal) = Jogging 6 mi/hr pace for 3.45 miles 1 order of large French Fries (500 cal) = Jogging 6 mi/hr pace for 4.54 miles

I would have to jog more than a 5k race to burn off a large order of empty calorie French Fries!

To put that in context of bodyfat, there are 3500 calories in 1lb of fat. So if I wanted to burn off 3500 calories from those nutritionally devoid empty calories that I ate I would have to jog 31 miles.

We are just picking on French fries here, but you can replace this with any nutritionally devoid food. It is important to know the amount of calories your body needs daily and choose your calories wisely!

Now we can't sit here and talk about French fries all morning and not include an awesome recipe! So next time you have a hankering for French fries, make yourself a healthy version that won't hinder your fat loss goals. We found this amazing sweet potato fries recipe from Nom Nom Paleo!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries - via Nom Nom Paleo

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large garnet yams
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted (I just nuke it in the microwave for ~30 seconds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Smoked paprika (or your favorite seasoning – cinnamon works well, too!)

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F on convection bake (or 425 F in a non-convection oven).
  2. Peel the yams and cut them into even matchsticks. Toss the yams with the coconut oil, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika and place them in a single layer on a foil-lined baking tray.
  3. Pop the tray in the oven for about 30 minutes, flipping the frites and tray halfway through. The fries are done when they’re brown and crispy on the edges.

Serves 4 people as a side dish.

Leave us a comment and tell us what food what your favorite healthy food swap is?

 

Thanksgiving Day Bodyweight Workout

3 days until the big feast! Things start to get a little crazy as we get closer to Thanksgiving day, we all get in preparation mode with grocery shopping, party planning and of course food preparation. We understand that it gets harder and harder to make it to gym when family is in town and you have a million things on your todo list. Last week we gave you 3 solid ways to avoid holiday weight gain and we really want to keep the momentum up so this week we are giving you another tool to arm yourself with. So here is a at-home workout to help you stay on track with your goals this holiday season. This bodyweight workout can be done in your backyard, garage or wherever you can find space. Start thinking about when your ideal time to workout would be and have a plan, morning before everyone is still sleeping is probably best and you will feel motivated and ready to start the day!

 
Thanksgiving Day Bodyweight Workout
 

THANKSGIVING DAY BODYWEIGHT WORKOUT ROUTINE

3 Sets of each workout with 90 seconds to 2 minutes rest in between each circuit before repeating

1)Prisoner Squat (4 seconds down, 2 second hold at bottom) – 20 reps                      *raise your heels up slightly with a book or something equivalent if you are having trouble keeping from folding forward too much in your squat or you can't get low enough in your squat

2)"Happy feet" for 10 seconds then drop and do 10 push ups – 6x (Happy Feet - find a straight line to step over, one foot at a time forward and then one foot at a time backward, as fast as you can.)

3)Reverse crunches on floor - 20-30 reps

4)Forward lunge to a raised step-up to back lunge on the same leg then alternate to the opposite side – 20 reps per side

5)Jumping Jacks – 30 reps

6)Vertical Jumps w. stabilization (2 second hold at the bottome of the squat) – 10 reps

7)Planks – 30-60 seconds

8)Dive bomber pushups – As many as possible

9)Side planks – 30 seconds per side

10) Shuttle Sprint – 30 seconds

We hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing all of your foodporn photos on instagram! If you have any questions about the workout, leave them in the comments below!

What are some of your favorite workouts to do when you have a crazy busy week?

 
 
 

3 Ways To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

TGIF! The week has almost come to an end and before you know it we will all be preparing our Thanksgiving feast! Do you have your menu and Turkey Day activities planned yet? For the past few years it's a tradition for us to wake up early to watch the Macy's Day Parade in Central Park, then go back home to cook and of course watch football. But that usually means we don't actually eat until late afternoon. Once all of our mess is cleaned up, the day is just about over. So this year we decided that we would skip the live parade and opt to watch it on TV that way we can have our Thanksgiving lunch and still have the entire day to do whatever we want! Movies, workout, walk in the neighborhood...the possibilities are endless!

 
 

Chris and I are still trying to decide what delicious food we want to eat on Turkey day. Last year we chose recipes from my Clean Eating Thanksgiving Pinterest board to make us a pretty healthy meal. We will probably do the same again this year because it all tasted really good and without a lot of guilt! I realize that we are lucky, in a sense, because we have total control over our menu and can make a healthy meal without the fuss of our relatives. The downside is that we are not with our relatives and we of course miss them a lot during the holidays! So I wanted to give you some clean eating holiday tips to help get you through day!

 
 
  • Make some of your own healthy side dishes! Vegetables and sweet potatoes are pretty easy to prepare especially if you don't have to make a ton for the whole family. Find a few of your favorite holiday side dishes, swap out some of the less-healthy ingredients for healthier options {like replacing butter with coconut oil} and make a few portions just for you to enjoy!
  • Choose your splurge! You don't have to feel deprived on Turkey Day in order to stay on track with your goals. Find one or two items that you REALLY love {like pumpkin pie with whip cream, a dinner roll, or stuffing} and enjoy a healthy serving with your meal.
  • Turn your "I can't" into "I don't want to"! When your family or friends are lovingly pushing deserts in your face, tell them {and yourself} " I don't want a second helping of pumpkin pie" rather than say "I can't have the second helping of pumpkin pie". Telling yourself "I can't" will leave you feeling deprived and powerless, and will probably result in your giving in at some point. When you tell yourself "I don't" you are empowering yourself to make the decision because you know it will hinder your goals and are no longer restricting yourself because it is an active choice. Click here to read more on this topic.

I hope these tips help you get through the holidays without unraveling all your hard earned work!  Don't worry about what your loved ones will think or say about your lifestyle choices, just remember that you have to do what's best for YOU and your goals!

 
 

What are some of your tips for avoiding holiday weight gain?