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.

@vshredforwomen

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.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Nutrition Humor – PB

There’s something about peanut butter. The jars of the chocolate powdered PB2, Peanut Wonder and Nutzo didn’t stand a chance once they made it to my kitchen cabinets. It was so ridiculous (as in, I was taking in way too many calories and fat to maintain what I had, and completely mindlessly) that I had to seriously – with massively-concerted effort – reevaluate.

If I didn’t restrain myself, I would eat a jar a day easy.  

Horrifying.

It came down to not buying it to begin with because I could NOT be trusted. I wouldn’t purchase a single jar until I:

  1. Learned self control, which meant…
  2. Learned to be TOTALLY honest with myself – it’s a slippery slope when it’s you against you!
  3. Developed the willpower of the Gods 

I may not be actually be able to eat ice cream, so the catchy commercial tune falls flat on me. But peanuts and I get along rather nicely.  

Maybe too nicely.

Maybe it’s better if you just hand yours over. . . 

SaveSave

Health – The Freedom Of Having A Choice

This came my way this week and though it sounds a little harsh, it’s a very in-your-face truism that shouldn’t be ignored (hence, I’m sure, why it was phrased this way.)  

img_8844

Everyone is different – nutritional requirements, for example, vary depending on a TON of factors, some of which are not in our control (age is a fine example.)  But at the end of the day, we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves – we have one “vessel” this go around, and while it can take some beating…it isn’t impervious.

Not everyone can fit in a long-winded routine during the day – I’ve been there.  At one time it was 12 to 14 hour days, sometimes with only three hours of sleep (with a three-hour commute split in half on each side.)  At another, there were weeks of frequent overseas travel with 12 to 14 hour days, and a nonexistent gym (not that I would have had the energy anyway!)  And yet another, I was balancing a competitive sport with long days and total exhaustion – work, train, sleep…with a little bit of food in between. 

BUT…despite the timeline being against me most of the time, there were things I could do – whether walking to work, taking the stairs at the hotel, doing a quick routine in my room…something…ANYthing…to get a little movement in.  It matters.  The body is designed to move – not just take in fuel and do nothing with it..

On that latter point, clean eating – a component equally as vital – doesn’t mean you need follow the same diet as a body builder (you’d be amazed how much a body builder’s diet can vary from a figure competitor, or bikini competitor…forget about just a healthy, fit adult!) What it does mean, though, is caring about the fuel you put into your body so you feel – and function – your best.  You wouldn’t put low quality fuel into a Ferrari and expect it to hit it’s potential, right?  You’re the Ferrari!!!

Keeping in mind that everyone’s needs are unique, sticking to whole, real foods (ones nature produces) and less processed items is your best bet.  Your body needs calories, by the way – it needs protein, carbohydrates AND fats to function…not only optimally, but at all!  

I see two things happen a lot in society – in the USA, at least, it’s become about convenience, and size.  If it’s easy to get, and / or the portions are enormous for the money, people flock to it without internalizing the longer-term effect.

(C) Randy Glassbergen

(C) Randy Glassbergen

I feel like if more time was spent either making food…or sitting down to savor it…and / or people ate smaller portions and let themselves digest a moment, that health would be less of a national concern.  Yes, it can be that simple. (Think I’m crazy?  The awareness is out there – example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4…yikes!  There are also, obviously, have been a ton of articles on the topic over the last few years.)

Given the time of year, as an aside, it’s helpful to remember that just because the calendar says it’s a holiday, doesn’t mean we have to go overboard – it doesn’t feel good to be overstuffed (I don’t know anyone who thinks so, honestly.) There is truly no need – most supermarkets carry holiday food items for a while before and after…so you don’t have to worry about getting it all in at once.  Smaller portions also allow you to enjoy everything, without that horrible, ruined-my-night-feeling-sick aftermath.  

There are a lot of factors going into determining our overall health – some, again, are ones we aren’t in charge of (wouldn’t it be nice if we were?!)  But there are A LOT of things we *CAN* do to take care of ourselves, to stay healthy, and in shape.  Neglecting ourselves is a quick route to sickness (and for you active people, that goes for us too – doing too much might be our trouble spot, landing us in overtraining drudgery.)  

One of many thoughts on the issue, this from Mike Adams

One of many thoughts on the issue, this from Mike Adams

We really DON’T get that many chances.  And honestly, no one wants to have to be in a precarious situation first to get the message that loving and taking care of our health is up to us, and a huge priority.

Shutter stock image

Shutter stock image

If you are new to it, DON’T WORRY!  Baby steps are a-okay. 🙂 There are a ton of resources out there to help you (like the snappy food portion visuals below.)  One day at a time always seems to be the best advice – for, ohhh, EVERYTHING!  Remember that you are in control – YOU get to choose – and that you deserve to feel your best every day. ❤

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-06-44-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-6-08-23-pm

Hungry Girl also has a few HOLIDAY TIPS…

More on the food front

Breakfast When You’re Away From Home

So I can’t say I have had a 100% PERFECT experience as far as ordering a healthy breakfast meal when I’m out..but so far, it’s been pretty great!  I’ll always say “don’t worry, if they have eggs, fruit, and / or vegetables, I’m sure I can make it work!”  

But…my hunnie is more right than I am that asking for “CLEAN” isn’t always as simple as it *should be*…  Diner waitresses have looked at me curiously many times.  I’m not sure if they’re thinking “is she serious?” or “I feel kind of badly she’s so stringent.”  It might be a mix…and that’s okay.

IMG_0199

Generally, I make out pretty well.  I usually will order three eggs medium-boiled (preferably), though poached seems to be the easiest preparation (and the most common.)  I ask for medium-boiled because I don’t care for soupy yolks, nor for dry…and I also want to be sure they are fresh cooked and hot.  Someone did ask me once if I wanted already-made COLD hard-boiled eggs heated up.  Uh…no thanks!  (I wanted to say “would YOU?!“)

IMG_9088

So three it is (hopefully more on the medium side) and a side of fruit.  Fresh fruit is a great option because it’s full of nutrients, it’s less sugar dense than a juice, and you get to chew (I am a HUGE fan of munching…not drinking…my calories because it makes me feel more satisfied)…   There’s lots of fiber and water as well to keep you fuller longer. If that’s not around, I’ll ask for cut up “whatever-fruit-you-have”….or steamed vegetables if it’s later in the morning.  The protein and good fat in the eggs, paired with water-dense items will keep you from feeling like you didn’t have enough. 

IMG_7764

Generally, I get something close to what I’d like, which is great.  I feel good about those choices and know that if I need to snack later at home, I can do that (and I will, undoubtedly, bust out my veggies and do so!)

So it isn’t, by any means, impossible.  And you have every right to ask for what you’d like.  Not everyone will HAVE those items, so be prepared to choose something different – maybe grilled chicken slices! 😀

More and more people are modifying because of allergies, or for health reasons, so you won’t be the first.  And if I happen to have dined there before you, trust me, they’re used to it! 😉

(For more of what I eat…)

Wholly Guacamole…Verde!

Oh YAY!  A new addition to Wholly Guacamole’s lineup came out, Avocado Verde Dip!

Avocados are GREAT for you, don’t get me wrong – they are, yes indeed, the “good fats.”  But sometimes they feel too heavy for me – I’m not the biggest fan of it in large slices (sushi doses work better for me)  But, I love that because of the fat, avocados help with satiety (among many other lovely benefits.)  This awesome little dip doesn’t have a ton of fat per serving, but for the lower calorie count, I think that’s okay – if you had two servings *not hard to do* you’re up to 5 grams of (good) fat for only 70 calories.

Mind you, I am not suggesting anyone be obsessive over calories – I’ve been down that eating-disorder-road, and it was severe, unpleasant, and flat-out debilitating.  As in, I was 45 lbs lighter with some serious health ramifications!  So, while the onset of my two (anorexia and exercise bulimia) wasn’t at all because I felt the need to get skinnier (rather, from PTSD), I knew how many calories were in EVERYTHING.  Nightmare.

That said, I have a ton of friends who do figure competition…so for them, macros, calories…it all matters.  For the rest of us just trying to be healthy, I think it is helpful to be mindful, but NOT something we should go bananas about.  We all have different goals and needs so it will be entirely situational.

Now then…why I like that this has 35 calories a servings IS

I can enjoy avocado without going overboard.  With those good fats – peanut butter, olive oil, nuts, avocado – going overboard is way too easy to do!  Enter Wholly Guacamole’s Verde Dip and problem solved.  Provided you aren’t going to house several containers in one sitting, this is a less calorically-hefty portion in comparison to the full-fat, full-fruit (yes, it is a fruit…and also, kind of, a berry!) mix.

There isn’t much IN this product…which is something I LOVE.  Nine ingredients isn’t horrific, let’s be honest (have you SEEN labels in the last decade?!) So I don’t know about you but I am going to see if I can find it over in the produce area…I think it would be a nice alternate to my hummus from time to time!