Cycle Of Awesome

Cycle Of Awesome

Love of Basketball

I was a basketball fanatic growing up.  It was the love of my life.  I played year round on competitive teams and as a freshman, started for my high school’s varsity team.  Basketball was my purpose, my passion in life.  My teammates were my best friends and I was convinced it was how I was going to college.

 

Along the way though, I was faced with an injury that presented a major setback in my goals.  I was diagnosed with a form of Compartment Syndrome.  I had no clue what it was then either but was explained to me like this:

 

Like a hot dog is surrounded by a casing, so too are your muscles.  When you heat a hot dog in the microwave the “meat” inside puts pressure on the hot dog’s casing.  If that pressure builds too much, the hot dog is damaged and explodes. The same was true of the muscles in my legs. The fascia surrounding my muscles didn’t grow at the same rate as the muscle.  It was applying crazy amounts of pressure to the muscle inside it, causing no blood flow and horrific pain.

 

Devastation

I was devastated.  The thought of not playing basketball any more, not pursuing the possibility of a scholarship and not being with my teammates left me depressed.  The choice was clear to me.  I was willing to take on two surgeries, gnarly scars and a year of rehab to be ready for the next season.

 

Looking back, it was a major decision in my life that led to me jumping into the “Cycle Of Awesome” as I call it. If I could be active, I’d be surrounded by friends who loved to play sports too.  If I was involved in sports, I’d care about my health and fitness. If I cared about my health and fitness then I’d make choices to support a healthy life.  A healthy life during my teenage years would lead to a higher likelihood of having a healthy adult life.

 

What is the “Cycle Of Awesome” you ask?

The cycle of awesome starts early. We teach it to our children without knowing it.  When we are living in the cycle we are unstoppable.  When we take a detour from it, it feels as though that cycle is spinning fast and we can’t seem to figure out how to hop back in.

 

The Cycle of Awesome is when confidence, effort and results in one area of our life, leads to another.

Then another.

And Another.

And you get the idea.

It is the notion of gaining momentum in life because we have the control to do so.  When we feel in control of one area of life we gain confidence to invest in another.

 

Where Does It Start?

The Cycle of Awesome starts with yourself, your body specifically.  If you could make one investment in anything, your body is the first place to start.  If you have lots of money but aren’t healthy…what good is money?  It’s a lonely place to be if you can’t live life because your health won’t allow it.

 

I know I might have bias, but fueling your body and taking care of the inside is the first place to start.  Filling your body with nutrient dense foods feels good physically and mentally.  When you are intentional about what you put into it, you feel in control. And in fact, you are!

 

When you make positive nutritional habits you begin to notice changes in composition, you feel happier, and most of all you gain confidence.  That confidence begins to pour out into even more areas of your life.

 

When you begin to feel good you gain energy.  That energy is used to fuel other positive habits in your life such as exercise.  And guess what?  When you exercise, you get more energy and are happier all around.

 

When nutrition and fitness are used together your body is unstoppable.  When your physical being is well cared for you are ready to move on to being awesome in other aspects of life. I hear from clients all the time that so much good begins to happen in their life when they invest in themselves.  The domino effect of that investment gains major momentum as time passes.

 

How Do We Stay On It?

Being in this cycle doesn’t just happen.

 

Just like when you set out to lose weight you have to learn how to fuel your body, plan your meals and have willpower.  There is no magic pill.  That effort and hard work is just that…hard. But the outcome is so worth it.

 

The same is true in entering the Cycle of Awesome. It requires grit, effort, planning and hard work.

 

Once you’ve jumped into the Cycle of Awesome by investing in yourself, amazing things begin to happen.  Because you are more confident and happy you spread that same vibe to others, including your family.  The saying “Your vibe attracts your tribe” has quite a bit of validity to it.  Soon, you are intentional about who you surround yourself with because you don’t have space for negativity.  Your confidence breeds relationships that are genuine, authentic and reciprocal.

 

You begin to be purposeful in what you want from life.  You set more goals and set out to take on new challenges.  You become a better time manager.  You even begin to think about how you spend your money because you want more from it.

 

You begin to realize that the Cycle of Awesome is the only place you want to be because it means your life has momentum and inertia.

What If You Fall Off?

At some point it might happen.  Something will come along that applies pressure to the cycle and you might wonder..temporarily.  When you do, you will realize it feels so amazing to be in The Cycle of Awesome that you won’t allow it to be any other way.  You will have to dig deep, jump back on, and regain some speed.  And once you do, it will be that much sweeter.

 

Newton’s first law of motion, sometimes referred to as the law of inertia, tells us that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

 

I want you to jump on that Cycle of Awesome and continue in motion.  If an external force is applied, push back.

 

Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself

Stop making excuses.  The people in the Cycle of Awesome are there for a reason.

 

They too are busy.  They too have a crazy busy schedule.  They too have a million hats to wear.

 

But here is the difference, they don’t make excuses.

 

Instead, they channel the energy of excuse into the energy of “do.”  They take action and use grit to maintain their place in the Cycle of Awesome.  That power of do becomes habit because they make a conscious choice each day to stay on board.  Each turn of the cycle strengthens their place in it and life becomes more rich.

 

You are no different.

 

The biggest realization I hope you will come to is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  When one aspect of your own cycle slips away, don’t let it derail you.  Just like I tell my clients: If you have one bad meal, it doesn’t have to mean the entire day or week has to be lost. Make a choice to move on in a positive direction.

 

Fitness in Life

Being “fit” means so much more than muscles and mile times.  It means being healthy and strong in body, mind, money, attitude, relationships and energy.

If you are already in the Cycle Of Awesome, keep after it. (Now you just have a cool way to reference it.)

If you see that Cycle of Awesome spinning for everyone else, it is time to take action and start with investing in yourself NOW.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

Macro Friendly Hummus

Macro-Friendly Hummus

A Guest Post by Rachel of www.tinylittlebites.com

I am super excited to collaborate with another Mom who share a love for food fitness and HUMMUS.  Rachel is a mom of two littles, fellow foodie, entrepreneur, and creative food photog. Her blog shares some amazing recipes that are both healthy and indulgent.  This week she stretches her wings into the macro world and shares a lower fat version of hummus to share with us.  I am a hummus lover but sometimes the amounts of olive oil and tahini make it a challenge to plan my fat for. 

 

 

Take It Away Rachel…

One of my all time favorite snacks is hummus!  The smoothness and creaminess of the dip mixed with hints of garlic, lemon, and cumin is just the right texture for dipping!  If you’re trying to cut back on some of your fat macros, hummus can be tricky to fit into your diet.  My secret to this lower fat Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is cutting back on the olive oil serving, leaving out the tahini, and upping the amount of beans to create a similar “hummus-like” texture, but that still keeps the flavor on point! To keep this snack low-fat and lower the carbs I like to dip tomatoes, cucumbers, baby peppers, and carrots into my hummus!  If you aren’t counting carbs, then this dip is ideal with pita chips, pita bread, or tortilla chips!  Enjoy!

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas, mostly drained (reserve a small amount of liquid 1-2 Tbsp.)

1 can great northern beans, drained

1 lemon, juice reserved

6 cloves garlic

1 ½ tsp. Ground cumin

1 tsp. Sea salt

1 Tbsp. light flavored olive oil

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 large pieces of jarred roasted red peppers (about half of the jar)

In a food processor, pour in beans, lemon juice, garlic cloves, and yogurt.  Pulse for about 1 minute until everything is smooth and no large lumps appear.  Add in cumin, sea salt, olive oil and roasted red peppers.  Pulse again for an additional 1 minute until things are combined and smooth. Process on low for another minute for things to thicken slightly.  Pour contents out into a bowl.  Serve with crudites, pitas, tortilla chips, etc. and enjoy!

 

Total Macros in 2 Tablespoons:

1.5g P/3g C/ 1g F

 

You’ve got the ingredient list for hummus…ready to download my grocery list “Must Have’s” for one of my favorite shopping destinations?

Work Hard Be Kind,

Awalk

 

Daily Grub Diary #3: What I Ate In A Day

Daily Grub Diary #3

We are all such creatures of habit.  We tend to eat the foods we were raised on, shop in the same grocery stores and order the same things when we go out to eat.

I hate food habit.  I joke with people and say I have food (and workout) A.D.D.  I don’t like eating the same exact thing every day and I feel the same about my workouts.  I get bored fast and need something new to keep me motivated and compliant.  I think that is one of the main reasons I fell in love with Crossfit.

But I too fall victim to redundancy and have a few staples I gravitate towards in my busy life.  I am always open to suggestions and love when current and past clients send me food they think I must try (so keep it coming)!

I began my Grub Diaries to share with people what I eat in order add a little diversity into their own diet and get out of a food rut.  You can visit diary 1 here and diary two here.

Tired of the same food routine in your life?  Download my Trader Joe’s “Must Have” shopping list to add some diversity to your weekly menu!

What I ate on April 13, 2017

 

Breakfast

My coffee is still more like a ritual.  I go to bed dreaming of it and wake up sprinting for it.  I guess I could be dreaming of worse, right?!?!

For breakfast I fried 1 whole and 2 egg whites up in a quick spray of olive oil.  I am often asked what I do with yolks.  My pets are the lucky recipients of those yolks most mornings and they are right at my feet waiting for them.

Alongside the eggs I toasted 2 slices of Little Northern Bakehouse Millet and Chia Seed bread. I spread 1 tablespoon of Costco Organic Peanut Butter between the 2 slices and 1 tablespoon of Crofters Superfruit Jam.  I recently found the Superfruit flavor and it has ZERO added cane sugar in it, just fruit.

 

While breakfast cooked I threw a Chuck Roast into the Crock Pot to cook all day with 1 jar of mild banana peppers to make my own version of Italian beef.

 

 

Lunch:

The night before I had made one of our favorite recipes, a Paleo spin on Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana.  I use  a modified version of the recipe from www.tastesoflizzyt.com. I usually leave out the bacon or butter to reduce fat.  In my opinion, you just don’t need it. I also use white sweet potatoes for a hint of sweet to the savory flavor of the soup.  I saute the meat and then let it cook with the broth, and potatoes and spices all day.  Then roughly a ½ hour before we eat I add in fresh shredded kale and 1 cup coconut milk as the recipe suggests.  And I promise, you can’t even taste a hint of the coconut flavor in it.  I think it tastes even yummier the day after too.

 

Snack:

I was still a bit hungry after the soup so I opted for some veggies to leave more space in my day for dinner (because I love what was to come).  So I sliced up some cucs and mini sweet peppers, poured 1-2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar over top with salt and pepper to taste.  So yummy!

 

Pre-Workout:

About two hours after lunch I knew I would be grabbing the kids from school and sneaking in a quick workout.  I hate working out hungry.  I feel like it zaps the energy right out of me.

My pre-workout snack was a rice cake topped with 1 tablespoon PB Fit and half a sliced banana (and I ate the other half alone).  This is a go-to snack for me. The crunch, with the sweet and salty makes me happy.

Dinner:

I wanted to share a super simple recipe in this post that you can prep ahead and can fit into a busy life. My house smelled fantastic all day with the chuck roast cooking in my Crock pot.

About thirty minutes before it was done I sauteed cauliflower rice in 1 teaspoon avocado oil (you can easily leave this out to save room on fat) and a small amount of vegetable broth to soften.  I love cauliflower rice to add volume to a rice dish and to sneak in that additional vegetable serving. In another pan I followed the directions on the Lundberg Basmati rice to prep it and boom…it was so dang good.

 

Bedtime Snack:

I love a snack somewhere after dinner but not too close to bed.  It is never anything heavy and frequently it is this: 1 tablespoon of my fresh homemade cashew pecan butter (recipe coming soon to the blog) that I save for all day and a few Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.

So, cheers to food diversity and continually trying something new while still working in that something we love each day.

P.S. Do you want to shop for some of my favorite finds from above along with others from Trader Joe’s? Click HERE to get my Must-Have Trader Joe’s Macro Friendly and Gluten Free Finds!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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How FreshBooks Changed My Small Business

How FreshBooks Changed My Small Business

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

I was not a business major.  In fact the only “B” I got in college was in Economics and Finance (I know, total geek, right?).  It is just not the way my brain works.

Somehow I became a business owner.  Okay–not somehow, but with hard work, purpose and grit I’ve been a business owner for over 2 years.  The first 6 months were a blur.  Business was booming and I was so focused on the attention my clients needed that I neglected a whole bunch of other areas inside of my business.  I was sinking….falling deeper into a hole of disorganization and clerical chaos.

 

This was not me.

 

My husband will tell you I am “Type A” to a “T”.  I love organization, winning, being bossy occasionally (ok..well often) and to-do lists.  I needed intervention to bring organization to my business, greater efficiency and thus profit.

 

I’m A Business Owner?

My business is small and I plan to keep it that way.  I want personal contact with all my clients and that takes time.  I want to spend my time doing the important stuff.  I know there are a million people out there like me who never thought their passion would grow into a thriving business. In fact, it still feels weird to even say I am a “business owner” as I feel like it is an awesome hobby.

So why am I , a nutrition coach, writing about business stuff? 

When I took the time to look around me and see how many people are pursuing their own small business success I was shocked.  If someone would have only told me these things when I first began, I would have saved myself so much frustration and time.

There are moms making adorable wooden signs, men making knives and people offering all type of services who have felt that same sinking pressure in their chest to get their $#*% together in their small business endeavors.

 

Learned The Hard Way

Here is the honest truth, I think the best of people.  I assume if they commit to paying for a service they will.  But I got to a place where I realized that wasn’t happening.  I was holding up my end of coaching but I had clients that were not.  Worst part is I had to come to the realization that it was my fault.  I was holding them accountable in their nutrition but not in their financial obligation to me.  I just sometimes felt bad asking them to pay.  So, I continued to serve them and they took greater and greater advantage of me.

I needed a tool to give them a gentle reminder and I needed to do a better job of tracking it.

 

And so I did.

I started with FreshBooks.

 

I had researched many software programs that could help me track expenses, profit, create invoices that were super user friendly for both me and my clients. I wanted simple, nothing fancy, with a very streamlined inputting option. After much research I gave FreshBooks a go with a Free 30 Day Trial.

 

It changed everything in my business.  My stress of organization faded fast, clients paid every invoice and my time was freed up to focus on them and becoming a better coach.  (#winforeverybody) Not to mention it was easy to learn and implement into my business immediately.

 

I am a business owner but food is my passion!  Visit my library of Free Resources for nutritional tips, recipes and grocery shopping lists.

 

Highlights Of FreshBooks

 

All In One Place

I love to see the big picture of things.  I love that you log into FreshBooks and you have a dashboard view that shows where you are in real time.  What your expenses are to date, what your income is, what invoices are outstanding.  An easy to see line graph provides a quick snapshot of all the details.

The App

This is the biggest game changer for me.  Having an app to verify invoices and payments has been awesome but the major bonus has been the option to input expenses while on the go.  You simply open the app, select the expenses tab and add each expense right then and there.  Even more awesome is you can take a picture of the receipt and enter it along with the expense so you have it for tax purposes and confirmation.

 

 

Credit Card Acceptance

A big one that sent me in search of an alternative to PayPal was the ability to accept credit cards.  Many clients were miles from me, didn’t use PayPal and wanted a simple way to pay.  They made the request and I wanted to make their life easy.  The ability to accept credit cards increases the guarantee for punctual payment.

Automatic Invoices

I started my business using PayPal.  It was easy and simple.  But even a business account with PayPal lacked a major necessity for me and that was automatic invoices.  Initially I had to generate each invoice by hand to send to clients.  It was time consuming and pulled my attention away from more important aspects of my business.  With FreshBooks you can create automatically generated invoices that will be sent out on the date selected.  However, FreshBooks still integrates with PayPal and provides clients the continued option to pay from there as well. You can also look at each invoice to verify client receipt and whether or not it has been viewed.

 

Late Notices

You can also select the option with each clients to send late notices.  You have the ability to choose how many days after the invoice due date for the notice to be sent and can turn the feature on or off as needed. I never want to be an annoyance to a client.  However, I appreciate receiving reminders myself when an email gets lost or my mind spaces a payment.

 

Processing Fee

The processing fee per transaction is comparable to PayPal, anywhere from 2.9-3.5% of the total amount depending on the type of card used.  For Visa and Master card, the fee is 2.9% of the total amount + .30 per transaction.  For AMEX, the fee is 3.5% of the total + .30 per transaction.  The great part is those fees are automatically moved into your expenses so you don’t have do them by hand.

Cost

The cost for a basic FreshBooks account is $15 for up to 5 active clients, $25 for up to 50 active clients and $50 per month for up to 500 clients.  It is an extremely affordable and worthwhile business expense.

 

A Few Hiccups

When clients pay from another source such as PayPal, you must go in by hand to confirm payment for Profit & Loss reports.  Not a huge deal at all.

In addition, their bulk action options are a little challenging.  I’ve found to make changes to all invoices you must go into each invoice directly to guarantee successful changes. These few hiccups are an easy oversight for me.

 

If you are a small business owner, I strongly encourage you to invest in options that will allow you to put your time into the things that matter most in your business and grow it in the direction you want.  FreshBooks allows me to do just that.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

Senita Athletics Spring Review

Senita Athletics Spring Review

The summer hit us hard.  Wait…I meant spring:(

In AZ we went from winter coats and beanies to booty shorts and tanks in a matter of days.

I am not ready to fully commit to summer.  I still need a few months of keeping my house open to the spring breeze, picnics in the park and gorgeous morning runs until I am confined to either the swimming pool or inside an air conditioned building.

What I am slightly excited about is busting out my summer workout gear and exposing my skin to a bit more vitamin D.  Maybe you can totally relate..there is something special about feeling the sun on your skin in the middle of a workout that really makes me feel alive.

 

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Senita Fall Review

When the weather was cooling down last fall, I had the opportunity to review Senita Athletics Clothing.  An AZ based company that creates affordable workout clothes that look good, feel good and move good.  I love the Denali Starry Night leggings they sent me and the review was a major hit with my readers.  So much so, they reached out and asked me to review some adorable Spring workout gear that is available just in time for the HEAT!

Since then more Senita additions have joined my workout wardrobe, including my most favorite, the Criss Cross leggings in pine green (pictured below).  I get the most compliments on them and you can wear them with street clothes as well (double win).

Booty, Booty, Booty Rocking Everywhere

I love me some booty shorts.  But not the kind that are so super short that I might have a cheek slip out when I squat.  They are cute on some girls, but my legs are long, and they just don’t seem to fit me right.

I am always on the hunt for some booty shorts that fit my booty snug, hold me in and have the right inseam length for just the right amount of booty, but nothing more (lol).  It is HOT in the summer in AZ and too much clothing makes you feel like you are trapped in an endless sauna.

When Senita sent me their Rio shorts I was excited to give them a go and test them against a few other favorites I own. These shorts have a 3.5 inch inseam which is just right for my comfort level with long legs.  I love the upper thigh pocket so I can slip my phone into it to listen to music while I run or lift.

The price is $22…less than half of what I have paid at a competitor for essentially the same shorts.  I can’t justify the $50+ price tag at all for shorts that offer less.  Although I find that their crops run on the larger end and recommend a size down, these shorts were true to size and fit me just right.

Tie Back Tee

I am currently obsessed with shirts that you can throw a cute sports bra or bralette under for a little accent to a gym outfit.  One of my favorites is a tie back shirt.  I have seen a few tie back shirts out there by expensive brands that I could never bring myself to spend that much money on, unless it was second hand.

When I saw Senita had a tie back tank that just dropped on Instagram I knew I had to have it. And it sits right at the top with the other brand name competitor styles.

When it arrived I busted open the package and was pleasantly surprised by the feel of the fabric.  It was super soft, stretchy and not a light cotton feel like I expected. This tank is only $20.  I think they could stand to charge a bit more in all honesty.  I love it and would buy it in more colors.  I love the cut in the front and the fact that you can wear it tied or undone too.  It paired nicely with my Sarah Sports Bra in Bahamas print too, the first piece of Senita clothing I ordered because I loved the print.

Check our Senita and add their gear to your wardrobe!

Work hard Be Kind,

AWalk

All opinions in this review are my own.  I was provided workout gear in exchange for my honest product review.

Thank you to Senita for the great partnership and super cute gear.

Thank you to  my lovely friend “E” for snapping some great pics too!

Are Ghost Servings Killing Your Progress?

Are Ghost Servings Killing Your Progress?

I love food.

Like A LOT.

If I could eat all day, I would be the happiest girl in the world. I have never been the girl to order a salad on a dinner date (just ask my hubby) or the girl to leave any food on my plate at the end of a meal. I embrace my love for food fully.

However, it could easily get out of control and has at some points in my life. Food has controlled my emotions, my relationship with the gym and my confidence until I found balance by tracking my macros. I love the food freedom flexible eating brings and it works!

Gaining Weight

I’ve been in a weight gain phase for months. Let’s call it a “massing” phase to sound much cooler. I have gained 10 pounds over the last 4 months and maintained it in an attempt to spend time focusing on my strength, adding size and my personal relationship with the scale versus what I see in the mirror. It has been more amazing than I imagined. But also more difficult to gain weight with intention than I expected.

Ghost Servings

The truth is, I was eating lots of food. Often times because I was trying to gain weight I would find myself taking a few extra bites here, a few extra handfuls there and a huge mental justification for it. I was “massing”…duh!

But gaining or not, that extra food disrupts the consistency I worked so hard to maintain. One bonus indulgence of peanut butter and I had added eight grams of fat to my day.

The truth is those “ghost servings” can seriously kill your progress.

I realized I needed to own up and face the music of my choices. Honesty was calling and I needed to answer.

Here Is Why

Imagine you are at a party with a plethora of tempting food options. You stay close to the grilled chicken skewers and fresh fruit and veggie tray for the most part. Then you decide you’ve got some room for chips and salsa. Soon, the 8 chips you accounted for turns into 24 and you’ve went from consuming 7 grams of fat to 21 grams of fat, a difference of 150 calories in a matter of 10 hot seconds.

The same is true at home. It is so easy to begin to make your kids that Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich they love for lunch with a side of fruit and chips. After you make the sandwich you lick the peanut butter smothered spoon and then take a few bites of each kid’s sandwich to make sure “it’s just right.” And boom…ghost serving sabotage.

Or how about when you scoop out that tablespoon of hummus or nut butter that really is more like a tablespoon and a half but you only account for just a single?

In your heart you know the choice you made, but chose only to record what fits. If what ends up in your stomach doesn’t match what ends up on paper then you are doing yourself a huge disservice.  A few little bites aren’t the the true problem.  Repeated, daily ghost servings could be adding hundreds of additional calories a week and thus killing your calorie deficit for loss.

Self Reflection

Tracking your macros only works if you are honest about what you take in. You can play food Tetris in MyFitnessPal all day long and make it look perfect. At the end of the day though progress doesn’t lie. If you aren’t seeing the changes you expect it is likely that you too need to make a personal call to the doctor of honesty.

I remind my clients often that short term sacrifices bring long-term gain. The purpose of flexible dieting is to give you food freedom but it takes hard work and consistency to see the journey through all the way to the end. Most of all, it requires honesty about the food choices you are really making.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

Data doesn’t lie. As a coach, I’ve seen loads of data come in from clients that show me their ghost serving intake is high. They send these perfect diaries on paper but the scale weight and other qualitative feedback just doesn’t match up.

When we truly connect and have that deep moment of self reflection, I can see in one week that progress shift when clients get rid of those ghost servings and dial it in.

All Too Frequent

If you find yourself a victim to ghost servings all too frequently then it could be a great sign that you need to increase your intake. Sometimes if we give ourselves a bit more play on intake, the notion of feeling restricted dissipates and you actually see more progress because you can still work within your macro framework without those ghost servings. Don’t be afraid to eat more to drive results.

If you are reading this and are starting to feel that inner voice of reason start to speak to you, then maybe you need a little push to greater accountability. If you begin to record everything you eat including those ghosts servings you will see the difference in what that intake looks like. You will bring back that momentum of progress and push forward with a greater sense of appreciation for accuracy.

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk

 

Looking for some great travel tips to take on the road?

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5 Ways To Avoid The Gym Trap: Work Harder In The Kitchen Than In The Gym

5 Ways to Avoid The “Gym Trap”

 

Standing in front of my daughter’s school for afternoon pickup, I was approached by another mom.

 

Other Mom: “Are you a personal trainer? I am looking for someone to come to my house to train me a few times a week. I just can’t lose weight like I used to after having my son a year ago.”

 

Me: “I am not a trainer. I am a nutrition coach.” She went on to ask more questions and I responded with answers about macro nutrition, effort and a general focus on kitchen effort.

 

Other Mom: “Oh no…that is way too hard for me,” she replied. “I don’t have the discipline and time to pay attention to my diet. I’d rather just go to the gym.”

 

I politely wished her great success in finding someone to work with and hoped she got the results she was looking for by “just going to the gym.”

 

Here is the deal people…that just won’t get you where you want to go.  The best results come from a combination of work in the kitchen and in the gym.  I was frustrated.  Frustrated for her because I wanted so badly to tell her that if she would actually invest in fueling her body that the gym pressure would be relieved.  That if she invested time and hard work in learning how to form good eating habits that she wouldn’t fall victim to the “gym trap.”  That her money would be better spent on good quality food and finding someone to show her a sustainable eating approach than on a personal trainer.

What is the “Gym Trap”?

The gym trap is something I am all too familiar with.  It is that black hole of treadmill running, back-to-back cardio classes and lifting to try to justify the late night pizza and beer sessions and all day chips and salsa benders.  Oh, I’ve been there many times and can 100% relate.  I used to pig out on Barro’s pizza and wings and Cold stone ice cream and then go run for hours to try and find balance.  It wasn’t healthy and it never worked.

Here is what I’ve realized:

2 hours of cardio in the gym is much easier than 12 hours of daily discipline in the kitchen for most people.  It used to be for me too.  But it never bred real results.

 

You Can’t Out-Train A Poor Diet

It is a saying I’ve heard in the past but never truly listened to.  I was oblivious for a long time thinking I was eating to fuel my body only to blow that hard work with repeated binging habits.  No wonder I was getting nowhere no matter how many miles I ran or how much weight I lifted.

 

If You Don’t Know Where You Are, Then You Don’t Know Where To Go

Here was my problem:  I really had no idea of what my caloric intake was.  I thought I was eating “clean” and that my binges were so minor they wouldn’t affect my progress.  “It’s only one day” I thought.  I will work out even harder this week. And that pattern repeated itself over and over again.

I had resolved myself to thinking that the girls in fitness magazines were content with starving themselves. I was never gonna be that girl I thought, I love food way too much for that.  I pretended to be content with where I was, act confident and eat on.

When I actually began to look deeper into what I was really eating it was eye opening.  In fact my 3 mile moderate paced run was burning roughly 300 calories and was completely negated by my 2-3 tablespoons of almond butter a day habit because I really had no food awareness.   I had no idea how much each scoop of nut butter, although a great fat, was adding up to. Or how much each pump of mocha syrup in my coffee really meant to my body. No wonder I saw ZERO progress?

 

If I didn’t know what I was actually eating how could I ever reach my goals? 

 

It is so basic.  I was a science teacher for goodness sake.  I taught my students every year that we had to have a baseline to measure against to understand if the variables we are changing are actually affecting the outcome.

Why would my diet be any different?

I had to go back to the beginning and find out my food baseline until I could ever know how to make progress.

I encourage you to do the same.  Begin to track your intake by writing it in a journal or even better recording it in an app like MyFitnessPal to truly see where you are.  My clients gain so much value in that very first step of becoming food aware by learning what they are really putting into their bodies.

 

Basic Principle of Scale Loss

The most basic principle of losing weight is a discussion of calories in versus calories out.

If you eat more than you use then you won’t see that scale shift.

That includes your daily fitness activity, your own metabolic rate but also your resting metabolism, called N.E.A.T.  All are critical components to scale progress and contribute to that calorie out component.

Find What Works For You For The Long Haul

Once you know where you are, you can begin to hunt for that diet lifestyle that works for you.  Not the one that lasts 30 days and then you gain all the weight back.

The one that actually teaches you how to become “food aware.”  The one that teaches you how to navigate life through vacations, social situations and date nights.  It gives you skills to make choices in those situations to support your goals.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to finding nutritional sustainability.  The value of knowing where you are and what you are putting into your body is a perfect springboard to finding the size that does fit you.

 

Food Awareness Is Priceless

I know that tracking food for the rest of your life using an app is not for everybody.  But here’s what is: learning food awareness so that you know how to eat balanced portions, create meal balance, plan ahead and become a proactive eater over a reactive one.

I have seen clients pay over $500 per month for weight loss centers and supplements.  Their success is extremely short term until they enter back into the real world eating real food.

Like learning any new skill, food awareness takes time and effort.  But I guarantee its value is lifelong and priceless.

 

Enhance Your Relationship

Ok not what you’re thinking…but close.

 

Working out should be a stress reliever.  A thing you enjoy doing not a thing you do to justify or offset food intake.  By being in control of your food you enhance your relationship with the gym.

 

I have been a chronic exerciser my whole life.  My freshmen year of college is when it began.  I was in a new place, with new food, new people and a major fear of gaining the “Freshman Fifteen.”  I didn’t realize it then but I was obsessed.  I was running through the snow to the gym to only run more on a treadmill.  It did relieve my stress but the heavy feeling in my chest if I missed a day was a burden.  I carried that feeling with me for a long time until I finally found a sustainable way of eating.

 

When you combine diet and exercise your results are enhanced.  But what I’ve found is that when my diet was finally in check I didn’t feel so obligated to exercise. I began to enjoy it even more.  Working out finally became something I chose to do and not always something I felt I had to do.  Now if I miss a day, I have zero anxiety about it and that feels so liberating.

 

By gaining control and putting the effort into how you fuel your body you too can avoid the “gym trap.”  Think about your relationship with fitness and food and where your energy is best spent.  Invest those hours of hard work in the kitchen too so it pays dividends the rest of your life.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

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On-The-Go Snack Bars Worth Buying

On-The-Go Snack Bars Worth Buying

Post may contain affiliate links

You are on the go every day.

Aren’t we all?

You need that something you can grab real quick to hold you over during the middle of your shift, while you are out in the field or between patients or clients.  Bars have turned into a staple in many diets.  I need them occasionally too even working from home.

 

Some Are Crap

Here is the real deal…some of them are crap.  They are filled with a ton of junk to make them taste good and mask what is really in them.  I’ve spent some time eating them (hey, it’s dirty work…but somebody has got to do it), working out after eating them, reading their labels and checking their cost to bring you my favorites that don’t break the bank and aren’t complete junk.  I enjoy them at different times in my day and for very different reasons.  Some are great for pre-workout, some are great as meal replacements and sometimes they just satisfy a sweet craving.

 

I compiled my list taking into consideration a few things: ease of purchase, taste, texture, ingredient list, size and cost (under $2 per bar). All of the bars I mention below are gluten-free (because that is how I roll) and can be purchased at most local health food stores or via Amazon.  I also included the Fooducate ratings (for my own curiosity).  If you haven’t checked out Fooducate do so here, it is a super cool resource.  I will mention that no bar will be able to receive an “A” rating because they are a processed food (not in original form).

 

The opinions in the review are all my own, as no product line has paid me for their advertisement.

 

On-The-Go Bar Options

Pure Organic

These bars are great for plant based eaters and carnivores alike.  They taste super yummy and have some simple ingredients. They are sweet, more like a treat option and have a chewy texture made with all real, plant based ingredients including dates and nuts.  As far as bang for your buck though, the protein value is minimal with only 5g per bar.

Protein Source: Brown rice and pea protein

Ingredients To Note: All real food organic ingredients

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost: Less than $2 on sale

Size: 1.7oz (48g)

Macros in the Bar: 7g F/28g C/5g P

Fooducate Rating: C

Certified Organic, Gluten Free, Non GMo

 

Vega Protein+Snack Bars

Another great Vegan option out there is the Vega bar.  This bar is also made with plant based ingredients including dates and nuts and a host of plant based bonuses.  They are rich in taste and also on the super sweet side.

Protein Source: Organic sprouted whole grain brown rice protein and pea protein

Ingredients To Note: The ingredient list is long on these bar, mostly familiar and pronounceable.  There is organic sugar added in but the cool part is there are many plant additives for micro nutrient density.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost: Less than $2 on sale

Size: 1.7 oz (49g)

Macros in the Bar: 9g F/24g C/ 11g P

Fooducate Rating: B

Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMo and Vegan

 

Rx Bars

These are my favorite for a host of reasons.  Each bar is made up of egg whites, dates and nuts primarily with other small additions for flavor variance. You can go to the Rx site and find them for a great price or shop them here on Amazon. My favorite flavor is Maple Sea Salt, although harder to find.  The texture of the bars is firm and I always feel satiated after eating one because of the density.

Protein Source:Egg whites and nuts

Ingredients To Note: Their slogan is “No BS” because there is literally no junk in them with less than 6 real food ingredients per bar.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Size: 1.83 oz (52g)

Macros in the Bar: 10g F/22g C/12g P (a few flavors have a lower fat content as well)

Fooducate Rating: B+

No gluten, no soy, no diary and no added sugar

 

Nugo Dark Bars

This bar is a treat!  They have several delicious flavors, my favorite being the Salted Caramel Pretzel. In all honesty, it’s heath value is not high.  When I have a craving for something sweet I will have a Nugo Bar as a little Pre-workout treat.

Protein Source: Soy Protein Isolate

Ingredients To Note: This bar has an ingredient list that is inferior to others mentioned in the post.  What I do love is that it is a gluten free bar I work in every once in awhile to enjoy a treat.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost: Generally always under $2

Ingredient Notes: This bar does contain a larger sugar content than others mentioned within.

Size: 1.8oz (50g)

Macros in the Bar: 5g F/28g C/10g P

Fooducate Rating: C

Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMo and Vegan

 

Nugo Slim and other Nugo Options:  Worth the mention, is Nugo’s newest bar called the Nugo Slim.  It is a lower fat version (only by a few grams) with similar ingredient list.  However, the taste is strong of sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners to me.  For the small shift in macro nutrients, I’d rather eat the real deal.  They have a host of other bars as well, with a varying degree of ingredients and quality.

OatMega Bars

I discovered this bar years ago when preparing snacks for a family Disney trip.  I hate eating at theme parks because the food is often average in taste with above average prices.  We try to pack our lunch in and eat only one time in the park or in Downtown Disney.  I remember being so hungry and busting out my first Oatmega bar and it was love at first bite.  My favorite flavor is the Chocolate Peanut Crisp. I love lots of girlfriends that say the Mint Chocolate is the best but I am not a fan of mint chocolate anything (tear).

Protein Source: Grass Fed Whey

Ingredients To Note: High quality, mostly organic ingredients including responsibly caught fish oil additives.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost:  Just under $2 on sale

Size: 1.8oz/50g

Macros in the Bar: 7g F/21g C/14g P

Fooducate Rating: B

 

GoMacro Bars

I love the name…totally genius move on their part amidst the macro craze.  But when you pick up the the bar to read the label you realize…wow…it is a ton of macros.  To me, it is more like a meal replacement bar rather than a snack. This bar is great for someone who finds they need foods that are a big bang for their buck because they have a small appetite, can’t eat a large volume in one sitting or who might be in a gaining phase and have has lots of food to fill.  My favorite is the sunflower butter and chocolate flavor called “Protein Purity.”

Protein Source: Brown rice and nut butter (mostly)

Ingredients To Note: They use mostly all organic ingredients, even fair trade chocolate when included, with no artificial sweeteners.

Where You can Buy: Sprouts or Amazon

Cost:  $2 on sale

Size: 2.3oz/65G

Macros in the Bar: 8g F, 38g C, 10g P (macros in Protein Purity)

Fooducate Rating: B

Certified Gluten Free, Soy Free, Non-GMo and Vegan

 

Overall a quick bar can be a great hold over when you are in a bind and on-the-go.  However, there truly is no substitute for real food.  Most bars contain a sweetener, even all natural, which can make the bar option even more enticing. Eat in moderation of course.  The biggest trade off is that most good quality bars contain a higher fat to protein ratio because of that quality.  So plan for it and make it work for your goals.

 

Do you have a favorite Bar I need to eat?

Comment below or message me here to share.

 

P.S. Looking for other macro friendly foods or all around real food ideas to add to your grocery list?  Click HERE to get my grocery list for one of my favorite shopping destinations, Trader Joe’s!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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How To Eat Healthy In Disneyland

7 Simple Tips to Eat Healthy In Disneyland

Disney Fanatics

I married into a Disney-loving family.  My husband has really amazing childhood memories of his trips to Disneyland.  It is inevitable that our children will have them too, as it is near and dear to his heart.  As an adult…I get the attraction.  There is something indescribable about seeing the amazement and wonder in your children’s faces when they lock eyes with their favorite Disney character.  Or when the Electric Light Parade passes by and they can’t contain their excitement.  Some day, that innocence will fade, so I am with him.  Let’s enjoy that magical moment while it lasts.

 

Disney Bender

In 2015, almost 18.5 million people visited Disneyland in Anaheim. That is a whole lotta corn dogs! For the average Disney goer trips to Disneyland mean a 3 day binge on corn dogs, pretzels and Mickey shaped ice cream treats.  But that binge just leaves you feeling YUCK.

 

Disney Does Most Things Right

You can’t dispute Disney does everything right.  Well, mostly.  The one thing they could improve on is food selection.  Don’t get me wrong, they’ve made major strides.  Like anything though, you can’t be a victim to choice.  Instead, you have to be a victim to your own success and plan for your adventure to the Happiest Place on Earth.

When I began to track my macros years ago, we had a Disney trip planned. I’ll admit I was both terrified of how I could manage to stay within my numbers and also so excited to put my hard work and food awareness to the test.  I’d already managed to make Disney food happen gluten free, now I was determined to make it happen within the framework of my goals.

 

For Macro Tracker and Non-Tracker Alike

Although you may not be a “Macro Tracker” yourself.  The take home from this post is food awareness.  This post will help you navigate Disneyland with heightened food awareness and a greater sense of success having “survived” and still maintained your nutritional goals.

 

How to Navigate Disneyland With These 7 Simple Steps

(And Still Hit Your Nutritional Goals)

 

1. Eat Breakfast Outside The Park

I think this one is a necessity on so many levels.  Depending on the season, the park opens somewhere between 8 and 10am.  Who wants to spend their first hour at the park, when things are less busy, eating?  Not us!  That is our time to get on as many rides as possible before the crowd arrives.

Eat breakfast at the hotel if offered.  Many hotels near Disney recognize this need and offer great buffet or made-to-order options.  We love staying at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Anaheim South because of their made-to-order omelet options, fresh fruit and a host of other selections to start the day.  Not to mention it is fun, budget friendly and well located. Don’t be afraid to ask for things that meet your needs like egg whites.  They may not advertise their availability but often have them standing by.

If your hotel doesn’t offer breakfast, then prepare a simple meal in your hotel room of oatmeal, hard boiled eggs etc.  I have vivid memories as a child of my mom bringing in an electric skillet to prepare some amazing hotel room breakfasts that saved money and were better for us.

 

2. Bring In Your Food

Disneyland’s food policy permits you to enjoy your own food in the picnic areas just outside the gates.  However, one look around you can see hundreds of people enjoying snacks they packed in to save money, time and health.  I’ve never been asked to take my food elsewhere.  They do permit you to bring in food if you have a specific dietary need or allergy which is really the grey area that allows almost everyone to bring in what they like.

My suggestion is pack food that will help you maintain a lean intake as you are likely to eat more fat in your meals out when needed.  Pack things that are protein packed!

 

 

 

When my family goes, I pack lunch meat, hard boiled, eggs, fruit, fruit and veggie squeeze pouches and usually some type of bar as a snack. Check out my vacation travel post (you can download the ebook here) for a long list of snack ideas that will work perfect for Disneyland.

3. Find the Hidden Snack Places

Disney has done a good job of late to have path side vendors filled with fresh fruits, some veggies and not so sugary laden snacks.

But protein packed snacks are still hard to come by, as is the case during most travel.  My favorite go-to protein snack is Bengal Barbecue in Adventure land in Disneyland.  They have some awesome chicken, beef and even bacon wrapped asparagus skewers.  A simple, and cost effective, way to snack on something to keep that protein up.

Pickles? (They deserve their own heading)

Since I was a child pickles have been my jam!  I once ate an entire jar in one sitting.  Then, I puked them up all night on the bathroom floor.  Lesson learned…pickle moderation.

But a gigantic pickle from the Main Street General Store or another vendor is another great option to fill you up without breaking the macro bank.

 

4. Choose Your Dessert Wisely

Yep–how could I not mention dessert.  A sweet treat in Disneyland is almost a requirement, right?

Two words…Dole Whip.  The Dole Whip is a must in the Disney Parks, especially in the late afternoon when the weather heats up.  It is a non-dairy soft serve yogurt indulgence and brings back so much nostalgia located at the Tiki Hut in Disneyland.

But do you know what the macro nutrient value of the Whip is?

To no surprise all carbs, 18g per ½ cup on average, and zero fat or protein (questionable here).  If you make it a Dole Whip Float then add in extra carbs for Pineapple juice.  Not a horrible choice to cure that Disney sweet tooth for sure. A local yogurt shop even carries the “Dole Whip” flavor which brings back Disney memories for sure.

 

5. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

One reason many people feel exhausted after a day of Disney is not always screaming children and over stimulation.  It is often dehydration.  It is easy to move through the day with a “do everything” attitude that you forget to drink water.  Take advantage of Disney’s newer water refill stations and bring your own water bottle to refill all day FREE.  Not too many things are free at Disneyland so drink as much as you can.  It makes that pricey ticket more worth it (lol).

 

6. Disney Check Meals

Disney had done a great job of advertising the new “Mickey Check” program. My kids have have come running to me to tell me all about Mickey’s desire for them to eat healthier after seeing television commercials.  Well done Mickey, well done.

But what does this really mean?  Disney’s Mickey check seeks to help families find healthier options both inside and outside the Disneyland Parks and Resorts.  To receive a Mickey Check a meal or snack must meet certain nutritional standards.

Although the dietary guidelines don’t provide specific macro nutrient information, they are a better selection for both kids and parents alike.  You will find Mickey Check items in most sit-down restaurant selections within the park and lots of brands at home.

 

7. Plan Your Big Meal

If you are going to eat out at one of Disney’s restaurants for a nice dining experience during your time at the park, pick it wisely.  Plan ahead and look at what each restaurant has to offer. Making a reservation will save you time and will guarantee you healthier options to support your goals.  If you wait until your family is HANGRY you are likely to settle for something for less healthy and less filling in the heat of the (hangry) moment.

 

My favorite place to eat at the Disney Parks is just outside the Park at Tortilla Jo’s, a Mexican food restaurant.  In fact, Mexican food is one of my regular go-tos because I can control the ingredients and navigate gluten free options more easily.  They have amazing fajitas and other options for the entire family.  My kids love the balloon artist that can make the most amazing Disney balloon characters (seriously..the are talented.)

Enjoy your next Disney stay a little more aware and lean!

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk

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