(Our) Healthy Weight Really Is Made In The Kitchen

They say “abs” are made in the kitchen and it is actually quite true in many ways. Now that said, we all have a different “healthy weight.” We don’t need to be muscular to be healthy (that only indicates a specific level and / or type of fitness taking place for a specific individual.)

What is important, however, is that we recognize what we put into our fuel tank matters. It’s never easy to change our routine – therein lies the secret. . .

When we can make healthy long-term changes (ones we are willing and able (most importantly!) to stick to over the long haul) then we are on the way to seeing that lasting change we want.

Having been on the side where I had far too little for a time, I intimately  understand how sensitive this issue is – whether we are carrying dangerously little, or too much weight. Our self-confidence can be bound to these realities, and our relationship with food can become terribly unhealthy.

I’d also like to add, it isn’t so much the number on the scale kind of “weight.” Losing extra fat that our body doesn’t need to function (or that is impairing our proper and healthy function), and getting our BMI down to a better figure, is far more important. That number may go up if you are adding muscle mass while adjusting your meal plan…so don’t feel derailed by the numerical values necessarily.

I’ve shared other posts such as: 

10 Tips To Feel Full – Yes, Really! (Because Hangry is Horrible!)  and, 

Healthy Lifestyle – The Way To Achieve A Healthy Weight…Without The Failure Of “Diets,”

These posts offer some ideas and thoughts about this journey, as well as some tips and tricks. There is NO reason you can’t find success with your goals but sometimes we need a little encouragement, and more understanding about how to get there.

Each of us are different – our body types sometimes are wildly different. The “outside” doesn’t always reflect immaculate healthy internally either (yes, there ARE “skinny fat people” (a term, but the way, that I don’t really care for – to me, “fat” is incredibly derogatory because of the connotation it’s gained. Unless I’m talking about an avocado, salmon, or egg yolks (etc!) I use “fuller figured” because it isn’t always about what “fat” implies. We don’t need to be using that term for ourselves either because chances are…it makes us feel worse, which is not where we need to be mentally!) 

It’s all about the manageable changes. We CAN achieve what we want to but we need to be consistent, honest with ourselves, and make changes that we are going to be able to stick with. Again, even more so, we need to make changes we can LIVE with longer term.

I don’t know about you but drinking my meals for the rest of my life sounds terrible! I’d rather eat my food, eat healthy portions, and create a plan I can live with indefinitely. 


Eating vs. Training

I frequently get questions about which exercises to use to “spot reduce” certain areas, and the answer is always the same – it’s more about the food we eat than the exercises.  

Spot reducing does not work, It can’t hurt to focus on an area, but without a comprehensive approach, efforts are often in vain, leaving disappointment in the wake of (some) concerted efforts.

Clean eating has a bad rap, though, among the masses – it isn’t about depriving at all which, in my mind, is 100% doomed to fail. It’s about the overall consistency (treats are allowed here and there!) and choosing healthier, whole foods as the primary sources of nutrition. When we are *generally* fueling our bodies with healthier options, having a goodie once is a while is NOT a big deal.

I don’t know this Instagram page – @vshred4women – but this image cropped up this week in one of the App’s ads (hence my post.) Much that sponsored material makes me crazy, I did agree with what was being presented. I always say that our nutrition accounts for 80 to 90% of the results we see and feel.


This particular image shows meal prepping at it’s finest.  Not everyone feels like they have time to do this, and that’s okay – you don’t necessarily need to.  I tend to cook several pounds of chicken at once myself because I find that’s easiest for me.  If I’m also making veggies, or I think in a day or two I’ll be preparing a different meal, I may chop up those extra veggies ahead of time since I’m already at it!  Do what works best for you because that’s what will keep you on track.

Getting back to eating clean though…it’s all about setting yourself up for success.  I shared a few of my personal tips in this post – 10 Tips To Feel Full – Yes, Really! (Because Hangry Is Horrible!) – a few weeks ago, and they really can help.  

Not buying foods I know will derail me is one of my key tactics, and filling up on foods that will keep me feeling full longer is another…but again, it’s about works best for you.

I think the misconception about healthy nutrition is that one mistake is the end of the world – many times people will eat poorly for a day or two, even a week (vacation, anyone?!) and then go into “weeeell, I’m failing as it is, may as well give up!” and they continue with poor choices. It is NEVER, EVER too late to have a fresh start, so toss that negative notion to the waist side. PLEASE!

Each day is a new opportunity to try again. If there is a strategy that you know works / has worked for you, re-employ it! If there isn’t, take baby steps and make a point to notice your progress – a tiny step forward is still in the right direction!

It’s also important to remember that little changes can make a huge difference.  Some examples:

  • Switching from cream to milk in coffee
  • Switching from whole milk to 2% or skim if you are a milk drinker
  • Having a whole fresh fruit versus putting a few fruits into a blender 
  • Using lettuce wraps instead of bread, or making an open-face with just one slice
  • Adding veggies to the base of your meal, or doubling the portion you already have
  • Switching to healthy fats like avocados, portioned nuts, fatty fish, or egg yolks instead of the kind you get in sweets
  • Having slow-cooking oatmeal instead of sugary cereals
  • Swapping your regular yogurt for Greek
  • Putting dressing on the side and just using what you need, vs creating a salad dressing swimming pool for your greens
  • If you must have a soda, try a zero calorie version. . .

There are so many possibilities, you just have to look! 

Fueling our bodies with the right foods also aids our training efforts, and the results of all that hard work. Without the proper combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat, we won’t function optimally, and we may not see the results we would otherwise if we did nutritionally support the exercise we are doing (for example, lifting weights and skimping on protein means you aren’t going to see the muscle mass you would if you had the appropriate protein intake.)

That ridiculous saying that abs are made in the kitchen? It is more true than it isn’t. Our culture is a food-centric one, so saying “clean eating” is sometimes meant with scoffs and dismissal, if not considered a bad word / phrase. But it isn’t some horrible, unachievable state of being that should scare or intimidate anyone. Unless you are working on preparing for the Olympia competition, there’s probably room to tweak (and even then!) 

Healthy changes…

Don’t have to be monumental…

You don’t have to go cold turkey (unless you know that is an ideal method for you)…

You don’t have to follow some stringent fad diet!

And you don’t have to say goodbye to all the things you enjoy.

Recognizing that you can see the results you want with some adjustments to your nutritional intake is actually very freeing – it’s something you have total control over, and can customize as it works for you. The key? Being honest and realistic with yourself – YOU are who matters the most, and there is no reason you can’t enjoy life, enjoy delicious food, and also have the results you are looking for.







Fitness Humor – The Veterinarian Diet

Quite funny indeed…the dreaded cone. I saw another cartoon just like it.  Except it was to avoid cell phone usage…  

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The frightening thing is. . .people go to alarming lengths for fad diets.  You know the ones – boasting promises of losing fat without lifting a finger, and eating all the sugary, fat-laden, carbohydrate heavy foods you love?  I’m not sure I’d be all that surprised were someone to try a cone (perhaps in the privacy of his or her own home but all the same!  I don’t put it past people!)  

Personally, I don’t need any other reason to add wrinkles, even on my neck.  I’ll also find a way to shovel my veggies and protein down that thing so it’s a no go for me!  The cone won’t stop a hungry raptor – I need to make good choices from the start! Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 7.35.54 PM

5 Myths Sabotaging Your Diet‏, by Hungry Girl

Sharing this Hungry Girl post because I feel like these are some common culprits for people, and ones I hear more often than you might think – this way, you get a chance to read the article in case you missed it, or don’t know who Hungry Girl is to begin with!  

In some cases I feel like these mishaps legitimately occur when a person doesn’t know a lot about nutrition, metabolism, or the role of exercise.


In others cases, though, it’s almost a failure to use common sense. . .  

Hungry Girl has been posting for several, solid years – what I appreciate about what she / the Company does is that they always endeavor to educate, remind, and offer some healthier solutions and alternatives.  If nothing else, the blog can help clear up some dietary misconceptions, and help readers to rethink their own habits, recipes and routines for a healthier, happier version of themselves.  


Nutrition Humor – The Traps and Pitfalls

I was discussing this phenomenon recently with someone – that problem when you think you are getting a healthy meal, but instead you are inadvertently adding to your waistline.  It happens rather often because not everyone is educated about nutrition – some items sound so healthy, which is why looking more closely at what has gone INTO those items is crucial.

I’ve heard people say they are trying to lose a few pounds, but who can’t understand why, with all the hard work they put in at the gym, that they aren’t seeing results.  There could be a very simple reason, and it may very well be nutrition.

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(c) Sara Zimmerman, 2013

In my own mind, I kind of like that the recommendation from the medical field(s) at large is NOT “you need spend two hours a day at the gym” – I mean, who has that kind of time?!  I’d RATHER hear “you need to focus on, and make better nutritional choices” more so, because that feels more achievable.

Now that doesn’t mean “easy” necessarily, but it does mean that we can manage the change.  The tweaks we make to our daily food intake don’t always have to be monumental in order that we see monumental results.  It could be as easy as switching to a low-fat milk, instead of whole (which adults don’t really need, by the way), or asking for dressing on the side and just dipping your fork before snatching up your mouthful of salad.

But it may also be that you just need to be AWARE of what you are having, because inevitably there is room to adjust, giving you a higher chance of success in the weight loss endeavor.  You may not even realize there are culprits working against you, until you take a step back.

Salads are a GREAT example.  Ordering the salad is the healthy option, right?  

Uh…Not so fast…!

There are countless salad fixins and toppers  that may be packing a very serious caloric punch…one you aren’t even aware of.  There are a ton of articles on the very topic, because it happens frequently.  Sometimes that protein source is encrusted with highly caloric ingredients (tuna caked with sesame seeds, chicken encrusted with pecans etc…)  Then there are add-ins like shredded cheese, bacon bits, carb-heavy croutons (that have no other real nutritional value, frankly!)  What you thought was a great option may add up to our entire daily intake!  NIGHTMARE!

So, what can you do?

  1. Ask for lean…and CLEAN…sources of protein.  Yes, you can ask plain grilled chicken!  If that’s not your thing, ask about grilled shrimp, chopped hard boiled egg, or plain grilled fish (without oil and marinade, please!)
  2. Have the kitchen hold some of those calorie-boasting bad guys, such as bacon, cheese, candied nuts, fatty meats like ham, dried fruit…
  3. Ask for your dressing on the side!  You will have much better control over how much you use – keep in mind a serving is generally 1 or 2 tablespoons only.  Often they provide half a cup or more!
  4. You can always ask for extra veggies to add volume with out going crazy with calories.  Cucumbers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, even onion in moderation (sometimes those are too much because they are raw.)

Salads don’t have to be boring, but it is also important that they aren’t considered “healthy” by default – if we care about our weight, or even just our internal health and mechanics, we do have to be mindful of this trap.  Many salads come dripping with oil and fatty dressings, as well as calorie-dense toss-ins.  You can absolutely control what the salad comes with, and you aren’t going to stand out by asking – people ask all the time!  You are buying the meal so…you are allowed!

It’s an easy trap to fall into – how bad can lettuce be for you really?  Well, as you see above, the base of the meal may not always the problem – it’s everything else that gets tossed in WITH it.  The kitchen sink is probably not so great for you either, as it turns out! 😉 

I’ve got a couple of examples of my salad options here…