it’s monday: don’t miss out

It’s Monday!
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This. I saw this image and it literally made me gasp. This is exactly what I spent years of my life doing and even still work daily in fighting.

Those of you who know me know I’m a recovering exercise addict (real talk). Beachbody programs have consistently given me the courage over the past year to work on finding a healthy balance with food and fitness.

Healthy living isn’t about crushing your body into submission with over-exercising and deprivation diets. For what? To be miserable and miss your life for a few meaningless pounds?

Fact is, when I learned to let go and trust in the process of these programs and listen to what my body and mind truly NEEDED, I was rewarded by finding myself in the best shape of my life. Now I’m on fire to help others do the same.

We all have different struggles, but if you find yourself forsaking your family and friends and the LIVING of your life for an unreasonable weight or fitness goal – know that you are not alone.

And maybe this week, push yourself to live a little larger and know that in that action, my friends, you are making steps towards a healthy and balanced life. đź’›

 

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a reminder

i’m working every day on loving my changing body, it is strong and powerful and adapting to grow a healthy baby boy.

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and i want to remind YOU that the most important thing is to love yourself and your body no matter where you are in your healthy living journey.

so let’s work on loving our bodies – whether tall, short, too few pounds, too many pounds, curvy, athletic, young, or old. we all deserve this. love your body, and the rest will fall into place.

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healthy living tip: on morning exercise

Today’s tips: how to exercise in the morning.

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Figure 1. Morning exhaustion face.

Tip #1. Sleep in your workout clothes (I’m serious). Wash them first, of course. When you wake up after a (albeit slightly uncomfortable) night of rest already in your workout gear – what excuse do you have? Are you really doing to take them off without working out? (The answer is no).

Tip #2. Set your coffee pot on auto-brew. This is a new habit for me, but the sound and smell of my coffee pot at work in the morning is (sometimes) enough to lure me out of bed (Figure 2).

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Figure 2. My morning arsenal: coffee (auto-brewed), water, 1/2 banana.

Tip #3. Peruse Pinterest fitness boards. This tip is mildly pathetic, but surprisingly effective. If I’m not in the mood to workout, I’ll spend a few minutes perusing the fitness boards on Pinterest. Seeing rock hard bodies and motivational quotations usually gets my adrenaline going (Figure 3).

Tip #4. Remember it doesn’t have to be your best. You don’t have to have the best workout of your life. You just have to move. Maybe you’ll silently curse the entire time and stop a bit earlier than you intended – but you will have worked out. Sometimes telling yourself this is enough to get you out of your early-morning haze.

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Figure 3. A little early-morning fitness Pinterest inspiration and coffee.

Tip #5. Reincarnate as a morning person. Try these tips, do. But, just like I’ll never be a night owl, I’m convinced some people just aren’t meant to workout in the morning. And that’s okay. Just workout.

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it’s monday: supposed to be

it’s monday!

somewhere along the line these images of what we are “supposed” to be get created. it might involve achieving a certain amount of success, having a perfect family by a certain age, living in a certain city or in a certain type of house, or even being a certain weight or being able to run a certain number of miles.

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at one time in my life that picture for me, personally, included being a successful academic and it also included reaching a specific number on the scale and being able to run a specific number of miles weekly – even at the sacrifice of my health and happiness. when i became brave enough to step back from these goals – to stop focusing on that number on the scale, to let my body guide my fitness instead of the structured plan i was forcing myself to follow, and to do what i LOVE every day instead of doing what i thought i SHOULD love – my world was transformed.

do you struggle with this? this week, i encourage you to remind yourself of the following: that life isn’t so neat and organized as the plans our own brains may have created for us. life is messy and fluid and our goals and needs change over time. instead of desperately trying to match your “supposed to be” image – step back, adjust, and live life with flexibility. instead, focus on finding happiness and peace – and in that you will find the greatest rewards.

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the scale

the scale.

it ruled my life for years. i remember staring down at it before my wedding thinking i would give ANYTHING to be at this magic number i had in my head. each morning the number would waver. some days i would be above it and my day would be ruined with defeat; some days i would be below it and i would panic that i wouldn’t be able to keep it there. no matter what number i saw – it wasn’t good enough.

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i hated it and i needed it all at once.

one day i was brave enough to say goodbye to that scale. i had my husband (fiance at the time) hide it from me.

and do you know what happened?

I FELT SO RELIEVED.

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dr. robb’s office: calorie labeling

welcome to my office! a place where i put my degrees to work and share my love for all things science! today we are talking about the impact of calorie labeling.

Copy of Dr. Robb's OFfice

a study published in Spring of this year in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (abstract) evaluated the impact of numeric and color-coded calorie labeling on online food ordering among 803 orders placed by 249 study participants. they found that the calories ordered from labeled menus were 10% less than those without any labeling system.

this was the first study to evaluate the ‘traffic light’ color-coded labeling system, which places a red light by items with a higher calorie count and a green light by items with a lower calorie count.

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so…let’s think about it. in May 2017 the US FDA will start requiring calorie labeling by restaurants, online food vendors, and vending machines. personally, i do not calorie count – but rather use a portion control system that keeps me balanced without going crazy! and, although i understand the importance of educating the public on their choices, i also believe that healthful food choice are broader and more complex than calories alone!

what do you think about calorie labeling? COMMENT below!

class dismissed. 🙂

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it’s monday: beauty is in your soul

it’s monday!

i remember how i used to sit and flip through magazines over the years like Seventeen, Cosmo, Shape and wonder if i could ever be beautiful like those women i saw on every.single.page. and i must admit there have been seasons in my own life when the actions i took – exercise, eating a certain way, buying certain clothes – were motivated by the desire to be beautiful in the way the world had relentlessly taught me. thinking back on it, maybe this is what started my interest in health and fitness – but it certainly is not what has fueled it through more recent years.

i would be lying if i said there still weren’t moments where the only reason i hit my gym or eat that salad is to look a certain way (i am human after all), but i have learned that beauty it is SO MUCH BIGGER than that. and that if your motivation to change is something so simple – so fleeting – as magazine-level beauty it will never.ever.be.enough.

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if we can shift our focus and work on ourselves from the INSIDE – this, my friends – may be the way to find true beauty. and once we find happiness and peace in the small pleasures in life, in family, in friends, in kindness, in the cool morning breeze, in the sound of the rain on the pavement – that is when our beauty is whole. and when we are beautiful for reasons deep within us, we can do the work to change all aspects of ourselves for the better.

so this week, let’s work on finding beauty in the most important place – deep in our souls.

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healthy living tip: on healthy eating

Eat healthy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve heard it all before. We spend money on diet books, we stock our fridges with bags of spinach and carrot sticks, we talk about it, we want it, but we rarely do it (and rarely actually eat those carrots).

Several years ago, you would have found me downing tuna helper and ice cream for dinner. Slowly, but surely, I have worked to re-create my view on healthy living. Here are a few healthy eating tips that I now follow on a regular basis. I hope you try them out, tweak them to fit your life, and soon find yourself eating massive piles of spinach and…enjoying it.

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Figure 1. A spinach and red cabbage salad with roasted red peppers, smoked almonds, balsamic vinegar, and topped with hummus thinned with almond milk.

Tip #1. Keep your fridge stocked. If you open your fridge and there is only one lone cane of Sprite in the corner, I don’t blame you for grabbing your keys and hitting the drive-through. Instead, stock up at the grocery store. Buy enough healthy food (that you actually like) so you have choices, variety, and excitement when you open the fridge.

Tip #2. Embrace the power of the salad. I believe in the power of the salad. For me, at least, an embarrassingly-large salad filled with healthy fats and protein makes the perfect meal. Salads are the perfect canvas for being creative; I never eat the same combination two days in a row. Salads keep me satiated, energetic, and ensure I meet my veggie-quota for the day. Embrace it, folks (Figure 1).

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Figure 2. A healthy snack: a Gala apple and a mix of shredded wheat and cocoa-roast almonds.

Tip #3. Balance. This is the mother of all tips and the key word for living a healthy lifestyle. Balance. Balance your meals, balance your daily intake, and balance your weekly diet. First, balance your meals. I follow a simple formula (this way, even my husband can make dinner): protein + healthy carbohydrate + veggie (Figure 3). The protein doesn’t have to be meat, but it certainly can be (try: eggs, baked chicken, salmon, tuna); the carb can be anything from brown rice to sprouted whole-grain toast; and the veggie should be plentiful and kept exciting (I usually amp up the excitement factor by adding a bit of healthy fat to my veggie [e.g., olive oil, goat cheese]). Second, balance your daily intake. If you have a carb-heavy breakfast (like I do), make your lunch light on the carbs (see Tip #2). I try and never have two similarly composed meals back-to-back. Our bodies and minds need variety and….balance. Likewise, if you went out to lunch with your co-workers and indulged, lighten up your dinner (and the Portion Fix container system from the 21 Day Fix that I use now makes doing this super simple!) Finally, balance your weekly diet. For me, this means eating healthier during the week and treating myself a bit on the weekends. I do this mindfully and never feel guilty. What is life without chocolate cake, after all?

Tip #4. Eat healthy snacks. Your snacks should fuel you. I always make sure my snacks have a significant source of protein, otherwise they will do nothing to satisfy my hunger and I’ll be hitting up the vending machine one hour later. I also use them as an outlet to ensure I’m getting all my nutrition needs met. If I haven’t had fruit yet, for example, I’ll grab an apple and almonds (Figure 2). If I’m low on calcium, I’ll make a bowl of Greek yogurt and whole-grain cereal.

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Figure 3. A balanced meal: scrambled eggs (1 egg and 2 egg whites) with a grilled Portobello mushroom and roasted red peppers, roasted zucchini and eggplant, and two pieces of whole-wheat toast with Earth Balance spread.

Tip #5. Cook. This is the tip that ties everything together. When your schedule and energy levels permit, cook. Several years ago I subsisted on frozen entrees. Armed with a Cooking Light subscription and meal ideas garnered from hours of scouring healthy living and 21 Day Fix blogs, I cast my inhibitions to the side and started to cook. It began with weekend adventures (some successful, some not), but I quickly realized how even a home cooked meal could come together quickly and healthfully on a busy Tuesday night. Now, I love cooking exciting and healthy meals with whole foods. Cooking allows you to maintain balance, eat the way you like, and is not only good for your waist-line (and wallet), but it is good for your soul.

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Dr. Robb’s office: dietary fiber & aging

welcome to my office! a place where i put my degrees to work and share my love for all things science! today we are talking about dietary fiber and aging.

Copy of Dr. Robb's OFfice

a study published in April of this year in The Journals of Gerontology (link to article) found that eating the right amount of fiber from foods like fruits, breads, and cereals can help us age more healthfully.

this study examined 1,600 adults over 10 years and found that adults who consumed more fiber had what they called more “successful aging”. this meant that as these adults aged they were less likely to be disabled, display signs of depression, have impairment in their cognitive or respiratory functions, and get chronic diseases like cancer, coronary artery disease, or stroke. all conditions i would like to avoid!

SOOOO….let’s think about it! i have a lot of clients that come to me terrified of foods like bread and fruit and are surprised when i recommend they incorporate them into their diet in a HEALTHFUL form in moderation. this study suggests that incorporating healthy carbohydrates like whole grain breads (i love sprouted grain bread), rolled oats, and fresh fruits may have more health benefits than we realized!

what are your favorite healthy breads/cereal or fruits? COMMENT below!

class dismissed.

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it’s monday: stop, breathe, cry if you must

it’s monday!

i think sometimes it’s easy to overlook that making changes in your health and fitness is an emotional journey. in the training i’m doing right now for my integrative health coaching certification we talk a lot about how finding peace within yourself – your emotions, relationships, spirituality, happiness – is crucial to conquer first before tackling what is on your plate. the fact of the matter is that if i come home stressed and unhappy after a negative day – making healthy choices is SO MUCH HARDER than if i am calm, satisfied, and joyful.

i understand that relationships with food and exercise are extremely complicated (i’ve been there, trust me!). that is why today – this image hit home with me.

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even though understanding nutrition and portion control is so important – we ALSO need to work on ourselves. taking moments throughout our week to pause and reflect and EXPERIENCE those emotions we may have from the daily rigors of life.

so today, i hope that you’ll find space in your day to STOP, BREATHE, and CRY IF YOU MUST. and know that in doing so, you are giving yourself an important gift that will benefit you in so many ways.

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