Want to Shape Up for the Summer? Eat at Home.

In today’s fast paced world we consume over 30% of our daily calories away from home. These less-than-wholesome calories are accumulating around our waists and draining our bank accounts.

So why do we eat out and shun the kitchen? Simple: convenience. We don’t have the time to toil away over a hot stove. However, evidence is mounting that we are paying big for the so-called convenience of outside food.

Obesity related diseases are on the rise, as are the number of folks who are just plain unhappy with how their bodies look and feel. Cooking at home seems to be the first step in our road to healthier bodies.

Here are the top 5 reasons that you should starting cooking and eating at home…

Reason #1: It’s Good For You

Hyperprocessed foods are harmful to our health, and that’s exactly where you’ve been getting the bulk of your calories. Even restaurant food that contains fresh produce, chances are high that the produce is not organic, or local or non-GMO. Most of us are eating less than half of the recommended amount of fiber, fruit and vegetables, which eating at home could quickly change.

Simple meals made at home with fresh produce and organic meats or eggs are nutritionally superior to over-flavored, over-processed restaurant food. Not to mention the high calorie beverages and starters that so often accompany a restaurant meal. When you eat at home you take in more nutrient-dense calories that are higher in fiber.

Reason #2: It’s Far Easier Than You Think

Eating out so often has conditioned our concept of a meal to be one with complicated flavors and accompaniments. This misconception has made us fear the kitchen. But I urge you to reconsider.

Meals made at home need not mirror those ordered in restaurants. On the contrary, simple is better when it comes to home cooking. Plan your entire meal around a couple of pieces of fresh produce and a wholesome, lean protein. No need for complicated sauces or sides – these are where the harmful calories hide anyway.

Reason #3: It Costs Less

Fresh, simple ingredients do not cost much. Especially when compared to the cost of prepared meals.

Shopping the perimeter of the store is always a good plan. Here you’ll find the fresh produce, meats, dairy and seafood. Venture into the aisles for oils and spices to compliment the fresh ingredients.

Reason #4: It Is Preventative Medicine

In the US the annual health care expenses related to obesity is $150 billion, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Worldwide this number is over $1 trillion annually. These numbers are staggering, and sobering when you think of all the individual lives that are being negatively impacted by obesity.

Rather than waiting for you and your family members to experience the health risks related to obesity, start your own mission to cook simple meals at home and redirect your future. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Reason #5: It Reduces Body Fat

Eating at home is also one of the best ways to reduce your body fat. Meals eaten at home contain an average of 200 calories less than meals eaten out. Let me tell you, a reduction in 200+ calories per meal will quickly translate to pounds lost!

Start today, and don’t be afraid to start small.

Pick one meal that you’ll make at home either today or tomorrow, and write down your simple menu and grocery list. You could start with the Savory Greek Waffle recipe below.

And let’s not forget the place that a challenging, consistent exercise program has in your quest for good health and a fit physique… FITT Camp starts at 9:30am 🙂

​Keep on keep’n on!

Fight Holiday Pounds

The holidays have arrived with all the high-calorie food and drinks of the season. It’s really no wonder why most of us gain weight during the next five weeks.

Sweet temptations are everywhere. Holiday cookies, gingerbread houses, pumpkin pies, and more. Even healthy foods like sweet potatoes and green beans are somehow transformed into high-calorie dishes that will make you want to do nothing but fall asleep.

And don’t forget the drinks. Eggnog and alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories.

Want to fight these holiday pounds?

#1) Remember the Reason for the Season

Sure, the holidays bring indulgent foods and drinks, but friends, gatherings, and family traditions aren’t only about food. Before a party remind yourself what the holiday season is all about—friends, family, giving, and religious traditions. Then stay focused on the reason for the season rather than the plate full of hors d’oeuvres in front of you.

Also, stay focused on your fat loss goals. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and where you’re headed. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind. A few bites of food aren’t worth hours on the treadmill.

Remember that the holidays can be a time of emotional eating. For many people, the holidays bring stress, family conflict, or depression. If these issue start to wear down your will power then find the courage to address the root of your problems with solutions other than food or drink.

#2) Implement Strategies

If you want to keep your diet on track during this season of parties, you’ll need to pace yourself. Try the following strategies:

  • Don’t go to parties hungry, be sure to eat a small low-calorie snack ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll overeat.
  • Wear tight-fitting clothes around your waist so there isn’t room for expansion.
  • Before and after a meal chew gum so you won’t be tempted to overindulge in appetizers and desserts.
  • During a party, don’t stand right next to the food table, but keep a safe distance.
  • Choose your plate wisely. Go with a small plate instead of a large dinner plate and don’t go back for seconds!

Another important strategy is figuring out how to get in a workout between parties. Leaving room in your busy holiday schedule for exercise will help you fight off the extra weight trying to attach itself to your midsection and rear.

#3) Make Wise Choices

Enjoy the goodness of the season, but in moderation. Trim calories where you can by limiting your trimmings-cheeses, gravy, sauces, creams, and nuts. Be smart about what you choose to eat. Don’t deprive yourself of all the foods you love or you’ll likely spurge and ruin all your good intentions.

The holidays offer many food choices not available the rest of the year. Because of this, you may want to overindulge before they’re gone. Instead of doing this, survey what foods are available and make your choices. Indulge in your favorites and leave the everyday dishes for another time. Only eat what you love, and don’t just eat something because it’s on the buffet.

Also, be sure to limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink. As you likely know, they’re filled with calories, too. Try alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink.

Follow these simple tips, and you will avoid holiday weight gain this season and start the New Year off right!

Keep on keep’n on!

How to quit junk food

Junk food tastes annoyingly good. There’s a reason for this – the food companies actually formulate each bite for maximum craveability with a specialized balance of sugar, fat and salt.

But while junk food tastes like another…it’s detrimental to your fat loss results.

Wondering what exactly classifies as junk food? You’re in good company, especially these days as many junk foods are being deceptively marketed and packaged as healthy choices.

Here’s the rundown on what classifies as junk food:

  • Junk food has little to zero nutritional value
  • Junk food is processed and packaged
  • Junk food is high in sugar, fat and salt
  • Junk food is high in calories
  • Junk food is rarely eaten out of hunger
  • Soda pop, convenience foods, packaged snacks, frozen treats…

4 Steps to Quit Junk Food

Imagine being 100% free of junk food for the next 30 days. How would your weight improve? How would you feel? How many empty calories would you save yourself from? Now let’s take some action!

Step #1: Get Rid of It

Step one is simple: get rid of all the junk food that currently resides in your home, office and car. Go through with a big garbage bag and toss anything that remotely resembles junk food. Remember, junk food is stuff that is high in empty calories.

Step #2: Stock Up on the Healthy Stuff

Don’t worry, you aren’t going to starve now that your junk food has been cleared out. Step two is where you go to the store and stock up on delicious, nutritious foods that will take the place of the junk food. Nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs, meatballs, and hearty salads or burrito bowls (like the recipe below) are great items to have on hand. You’ll eat less of these healthy snacks, since these aren’t empty calories, but rather nutrient-filled calories that satiate.

Step #3: HALT!

When the next craving strikes you, tell yourself to HALT! This word is actually a handy acronym. Ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?” If you’re hungry then reach for one of the healthy snacks from step two. If you’re angry, then explore the issue and seek resolution. If you are lonely, then reach out to a friend, instead of reaching for junk food. And if you are tired then make the time to grab a nap or get to bed early to catch up on sleep.

Step #4: Stick With It

The first day that you go without junk food will be the hardest day. The second day will be a smidge easier. The third day will be even easier than the second…and so on.

The fact is that your taste buds adjust to the foods that you exist on. When your diet is filled with junk foods then that is what your taste buds will crave, but as you shift to a diet that is filled with fresh, nutritious foods then your taste buds will forget all about that old junk food. Stick with it, one day at a time, and you will break free from the grip of junk food addiction.

Never miss a Monday. Here’s why…

Mondays matter more than any other day of the week.

This is because your actions on Monday set the tone for your entire week. Start out on the wrong foot and it could take days to get back on track.

Mondays are like mornings. If you win your mornings, you’re usually going to win your day.

Starting out with a healthy, balanced breakfast that avoids sugar and is full of fiber and protein gets you primed to eat healthy again at lunch, and again at dinner.

Likewise, when you exercise on Monday, you’re going to set yourself up to have an active and fit week. When you show up prepared and rested on a Monday, the rest of the week flows with successes and wins.

Fact: When you get that Monday workout in, you’re 4 times more likely to get in a Tuesday workout… and that Tuesday workout leads to getting workouts in the rest of the week.

On the flip side, when you don’t show up on a Monday with your A-game then you’re left chasing the rest of the week and playing a game of catch up.

This is true for your fitness, health, mindset and work.

When you choose to skip your workout Monday morning, and eat whatever is quick and available rather than what’s healthy, then you’ve started the week on the wrong foot, and you will spend the next several days backsliding away from your goals.

The fastest way to the top in fitness and health is to show up Mondays rested, prepared, and ready to dominate. Never miss a Monday again. Embrace Monday with enthusiasm and vigor.

Keep on keep’n on!

Do you feel guilty about this?

You have so many demands on you. Your family relies on you for money, food, transportation, and a myriad of permission slips, bills and paperwork. You hardly get a moment to yourself at the end of each day, and even less now that school is back in session. It’s hard not to feel guilty about taking a moment to care for yourself.

From the moment that your day starts, with making meals, getting ready for work, and getting the kids to school on time and yourself to work on time, you have demands on you minute-by-minute. It’s easy to start feeling like there’s nothing left for yourself, even though the benefits of self-care are well known.

How important is self-care?

Every time that we board an airplane to jet to another city, we are reminded of the importance of caring for ourselves before attempting to care for others.

“In case of emergency, air masks will drop the ceiling. If you are traveling with a minor, please put on your own mask before helping the minor.”

The reasoning is simple: if you are not in good working condition (i.e. gasping for air) then you will not be as effective when attempting to assist others around you in getting their air secured.

This concept applies to everyday life, not just while soaring at 39,000 feet. Everyday you have the ability to put your air mask on first before assisting others. Now it’s easy to feel like putting your air mask on first isn’t even an option – since the dependents in your life are so good at making their needs known, and your own needs are quieter and easier to shove aside.

Let’s take this moment to assess what your self-care needs are…

Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is essential for good health, and doubly essential when you lead a busy, demanding life. Unfortunately, sleep is one of the easiest things to skip out on, as you attempt to get everything done each day.

A normal, healthy adult needs at least seven hours of consistent sleep each night in order to function well. And while allowing yourself time to sleep may feel like a luxury, remind yourself that it is a necessity.

Nutrition: Keeping your body well fed with nutritious meals throughout the day is another key component to functioning as your best self. Most of us tend to let meal-planning slide, in order to meet the immediate demands in front of us, and end up scrambling to piece together less-than-nutritious meals.

Making the habit to pack a few meals that are rich in protein and veggies doesn’t actually take that much time out of your morning, and the benefit is extreme. The funny thing about meal planning is that it ends up saving you time in the long run, since it removes the need to scramble around for food throughout the day. And the steady energy that you’ll experience once your body is being consistently fueled with good nutrition is priceless.

Hydration: The number of adults that are suffering from chronic dehydration is staggering. Part of the problem is that we are drinking fluids throughout the day that are filled with caffeine and calories rather than plain old water.

That plain old water is what your body really needs to thrive, so remind yourself that proper self-care includes making hydration a priority. You could jazz your water up by adding in a few slices of lemon, some fresh herbs or a piece of fruit.

Relaxation: Relaxation!?! What the…!? Here is where you may feel the urge to tune out of my little talk on self-care. How in the world are you going to find the time to relax with everything that you have going on in your life?

I know it’s not popular to talk about giving yourself time off to relax, but the benefits of reducing your stress levels are too huge to ignore. I want to suggest that you try the technique of relaxing throughout your day by giving yourself a mental break. This doesn’t mean that you walk away from your desk at work or skip out on your responsibilities, just that you consciously take moments throughout your day to focus on deep breathing and to clear any cluttered or stressful thoughts from your mind.

There is also something to be said for making a practice of relaxing when you do have time off from work. Rather than trying to do a million things on your day off, make the effort to take some of the time to simply be. Deep breathing and calming thoughts will do plenty to help reduce your stress level.

Exercise: Lol, yup. You knew this one was coming! Yes, exercise is self-care. Exercise is NOT indulgent, or optional, rather it’s absolutely necessary for taking good care of yourself. Some people will tell you that their exercise time is also their relaxation time, which might not make sense when you first hear it. But when you walk into your workout with the worries of your day on your mind, and you walk out with a clear mind and the incredible rush of endorphins then you’ll understand perfectly what they’re talking about!

And there you have it.  Take the time to consciously practice better self-care. Remember all of your loved ones who rely on you and your stamina every single day. You’re needed, and you owe it to them to keep yourself in the best shape possible.

Keep on keep’n on!