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.

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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
 

3 Easy Egg-Free Elimination Diet Breakfast Ideas

Discover 3 easy and delicious egg-free breakfast ideas to eat while on the elimination diet. These recipes not only taste great but are also filling so you won’t go hungry.

So many of us start our day with a big plate of eggs, and if you are like me, you also have a little avocado toast too. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same meal over and over, so it can get a little confusing about what to eat when it’s time to start an elimination diet and you are removing eggs for a short time.

Lately, I've been getting several questions on how to eat an egg-free breakfast during the 28-Day Beat Belly Bloat program where we use the elimination diet to discover your flat belly blueprint.

There are so many other great breakfast options available that are equally delish and filling! There is one thing we NEVER do during the program and that is starve. We believe only in nourishing your body so you can discover foods that may be causing inflammation and preventing you from losing fat. So I want to share three of my favorite breakfast options that are great to eat while on an elimination diet.

 
Discover 3 easy and delicious egg-free breakfast ideas to eat while on the elimination diet. These recipes not only taste great but are also filling so you won’t go hungry.
 

But first, what is the elimination diet

The Elimination Diet is an approach used by the Functional Medicine community, health practitioners, allergists and nutritionists to figuring out which foods you have a food sensitivity, food intolerance or food allergy to. This is done by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, removing a specific group of foods such as corn, gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, etc. that are known to cause issues allowing the body to remove symptoms it may have. Later you reintroduce these foods back in one at a time to note any reactions creating a personalized eating plan.

Having this information about your individual health is important to understand so that you can eat mindfully, keep your digestive symptoms at bay, start healing your gut, and lose fat. So many benefits!


3 Easy Egg-Free Elimination Diet Breakfast Ideas:

Easy egg-free oatmeal breakfast bowl idea to eat during the elimination diet.

The oatmeal breakfast bowl my personal favorite for a hearty breakfast!

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats 

  • cinnamon to taste

  • dash salt

  • stevia to taste

  • 1 Tbsp nut butter (sunflower butter or almond - if not eliminating tree nuts)

  • 1/2 serving walnuts (15g)

  • 1 banana

  • 3-4 Tbsp grass-fed collagen 

  • optional 1 Tbsp cacao nibs 

In a bowl, add 1/2 cup rolled oats, dash of salt and 1 cup of water. Cook oatmeal on stove or in microwave according to oatmeal package. Stir in collagen and stevia then top with additional toppings. You can also make as overnight oats to make life even easier. Get creative with it!


This Berry Banana Protein Smoothie is the perfect egg-free breakfast to eat while on an elimination diet.

Berry Banana Protein Smoothie:

  • 1 scoop protein powder (I love chocolate Vega protein & greens)

  • 1/2-1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 

  • 2 Tbsps nut butter (sunbutter or almond) 

  • 1/2 cup blueberries

  • 1/3 cup strawberries

  • 1/2 or whole banana

  • stevia to taste 

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (30 calorie/reduced sugar)

  • Optional: 1 Tbsp cacao nibs

Blend well and enjoy! Make sure to chew your smoothie to get your digestive enzymes working!


Chicken Sweet Italian Sausage and Sweet Potato:

  • 1 organic chicken sweet Italian sausage link cut into slices (check for minimal ingredients, free of dairy, gluten or soy)

  • 1/2 sliced bell pepper

  • 1 medium sweet potato

  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil + more for sauteing

  • salt and pepper to taste + any other herbs for sauteing the bell peppers

In a small skillet, add 1/2 Tbsp of coconut or avocado oil on medium heat. Add sliced bell pepper, salt, pepper and thyme, saute for about a minute. Then add sliced chicken sausage and saute in a pan until both sides are brown. Once cooked, removed from heat and add to plate.

Wash sweet potato, either microwave sweet potato in a dish with a little water and cover with a wet paper towel or if you have time, bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Once potato is fully cooked, slice open the top and add coconut oil, salt and pepper.

Other optional additions are sauteed mushrooms, tomato, butternut squash, spinach or avocado. Get creative with it and enjoy!


So there you have it! Three of my favorite egg-free breakfasts that are sure to taste amazing plus keep you feeling full while doing the elimination diet!

One thing to remember is that elimination diets are very customizable for each individual so just be sure to check to make sure you are allowed to eat the ingredients in these meals before you start cooking!

Leave a comment below and let me know which breakfast idea is your favorite or share your favorite breakfast!


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!

Three easy egg-free breakfast to eat while on an elimination diet.
 



Full Body Stability/Strength Workout that Will Kick Your Ass (If you do it right)

This workout is a great way to use those dumbbells that you may have lying around your house and squeeze out more strength and value from them. If you are in the gym you can take your pick with any dumbbell you think you can use and keep the tempo and form. At home you are probably limited to 1-3 different dumbbell weights so your options are more limited… but that’s ok! The slower tempo (if done right) is going to make the workout and exercises much more challenging!

 
Full Body Stability/Strength Workout that Will Kick Your Ass (If you do it right)
 

 Equipment:

Stability ball

1 or 2 dumbbells

Strategies Used:

Circuits

Slower tempo (4/2/1 count)

Approximately 4 second to lower a weight or your body, 2 seconds to hold and stabilize the weight, 1 second to press or pull a weight

Variables:

  • Circuit: 2x through working up to 3x through
  • Reps: 20
  • Tempo: slow (4/2/1)

 Full Body Stability/Strength Workout

1A) Stability Ball plank: 30-60 seconds

  • Forearms on ball, feet on floor
Stability Ball plank
 

1B) Glute bridge on the stability ball

  • Upper back on ball face up position
  • 2 seconds squeeze at the top of the movement
Glute Bridge on Stability Ball
 
Single arm stability ball DB chest press

1C) Single arm stability ball DB chest press

  • Lay on the stability ball so that your head and upper back are supported and your hips are lifted. Feet should be about hip to shoulder width apart with your feet staying straight

NOTE: Regress to 2 arms if you are feeling too unstable or can’t maintain form

 

Standing Single arm “birddog” row

1D) Standing Single arm “birddog” row

  • Start with left hand on ball and a dumbbell in your right; hinge at the waist so that the opposite leg from your rowing arm is lifted up and pointed straight back (maintained through the whole movement).

 

1E) Single leg squat OR slow tempo squat

 
Standing single leg/single arm dumbbell side raise

1F) Standing single leg/single arm dumbbell side raise

  • ie. Stand on your left leg and with the weight in your left hand bring the weight out to your side approximately shoulder height. Hold the weight at the top for 2 seconds before slowly lowering back to your side and repeat for reps.
 
Chris Hale
 

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?