Lost over 150 pounds

Client Success Story: Over 150 Pounds of Loss

Age: 34

Timeframe: 1 Year

The new year seems to bring a shift in our minds…a fresh start to make intentions for the year ahead. As a coach, I’ve learned that the great majority of the population struggles with that one single part, the START. Going from zero to one is sometimes the biggest struggle in a person’s health journey.

One client made that commitment to start and never EVER looked back, and lost over 150 pounds (yep…you read the right!).  She began her transformation alone and then reached out to me when she realized her journey was about more than food.  It was about mindset, about overcoming her fear of food, about awareness and being an example as a mother and wife.

It’s been incredible to be a part of her transformation. The pictures she is willing to share are mind-blowing.  What they don’t capture though is how her internal transformation has been.  These pictures don’t show how she feels about herself now: how proud she is, how committed she is and how empowered she is on her journey to here.  She has made this journey eating REAL FOOD, no fancy gimmicks, just simple real food with balance, purpose, and awareness.  Her face in her progress pictures alone shows her transformation in confidence and happiness.

Her story is inspiring and is shared with the intent to help you realize that you too can make this journey…all you need to do is START!

Here is her story:

“Never in a million years did I think I would be sitting here sharing my “success” story. I have tried and failed so many times in the past.

My eating disorders started back in high school.  I had such an unhealthy relationship with food.  Now, I love food as many others do.  However, I always chose the unhealthy foods that left me hungry and wanting even more unhealthy foods.  This, of course, led to the weight gain.

In high school, I started taking diet pills. Then I would work out like crazy in the gym and wouldn’t eat for days at a time.  When I would eat I would purge. The weight would always come off initially.  The minute I stopped taking the pills and went back to my old habits, my weight came right back on, plus so much more.

I then went on to try a weight loss center which helped me for a short while I was trying to lose weight for my little sister’s wedding. However, this diet was just not sustainable and it wasn’t a balanced either. I never even made it to the maintenance phase. So, once again I put all the weight back on and then some.

 

Making A Permanent Change

In December of 2016, my husband and I decided that enough was enough!  We deserved so much more and so did our two little girls. The needed to see what their parents were capable of and really see what a healthy balanced life looked like.  So, in January 2017 I started my journey at my heaviest weight EVER! I couldn’t believe that I had let myself get to that point but as a mom, I allowed the excuse of “I am just too busy and I just can’t put myself first.”

In January I severely cut my calories down to 700 a day.  I was working out 7 days a week and was exhausted and just felt terrible all of the time.  My little sister had talked to me about tracking my macros for a long time but I just wasn’t ready.  In late January something clicked and I knew if I didn’t make a drastic change, I wouldn’t be able to say I lost over 150 pounds.

Working With Amanda

This is when I reached out to Amanda.  I instantly felt the connection with her and knew this was it. This was my time! I started working with Amanda in May 2017. Amanda monitored me for a couple weeks and then began to bump up my numbers.  She has always been so mindful of my past relationship with food so she pushed me but NEVER to the point that I felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore.  She also suggested I cut a couple of days out of the gym, focusing on quality over quantity in training.  Amanda knows best so I followed her instructions.  Even after increasing my intake and lowering my number of days in the gym, I was still losing the weight.

 

Where I’m At Now

I have had rough days as I’ve lost over 150 pounds, but I’ve gained so much!  My thinking has completely shifted and I am learning that this is not an all or nothing lifestyle.  I have learned so much about myself and just how hard I can push myself along the way.  My girls and my husband are my driving force.  My girls now have a mom who can go out and play, has the energy to run and play sports with them all while seeing me lose the weight in a healthy way.

They help me cook, we grocery shop together so they can learn what it means to make the healthy choices at a young age. I have the most amazing support system.  From Amanda to my husband, my girls, my parents, and sisters. I am just beyond grateful to all of them.  I have been able to make such an amazing lifestyle change.  As of November 30, 2017, just 11 months into my journey, I have lost over 150 pounds (it’s actually a grand total of 172 pounds!).  I cannot wait to see what is in store for me in 2018!

I wake up every day and thank God for giving me this amazing opportunity with Amanda and for my support at home.”

What a difference ONE year makes.

 

Are you ready for change?

Click HERE for more stories of transformation and inspiration.

 

If you want to begin to make changes on your own and become the best version of you, check out my Kickstart e-course here.  Contact me HERE to work together one-on-one.

 

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AWalk

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26 Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Health in 2018

26 Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Health in 2018

 

I was attending a kid’s birthday party not too long ago when I began small talk with another parent. It’s that forced conversation that happens often at parties with super nice people you may never again see in your life.

 

The conversation typically leads into, “What do you do?

 

When I respond with the fact that I run my own nutritional coaching business most respond with something like. “Oh man, I shouldn’t eat in front of you” or “I’ll pass on the cake today since you are here.”  This conversation was no different.

 

Here is the deal. I don’t judge (at least I try really hard not to). We are each responsible for our actions.  We are each responsible for the consequence of our food choices, both immediate and in the future. So I created a list of the top 26 things you can do right now to change your health in 2018.

A Quick Breakdown

From this discussion, I am often launched into a Q&A session of nutritional philosophies and perspective.  The reality is that there are small and powerful things you can do that can change your life.

 

But why doesn’t everybody do them?

 

Because it is freakin’ overwhelming, that’s why!

change your health 2018 pinterest

 

Where do you start?

Do I eat Carbs?

Should I exercise 2 or 7 seven times a week?

All of these things are unimportant until you target in on some fundamental things you can do that are simple to implement to begin that road to success.

 

These are things you can do RIGHT NOW to change your health because they are tiny steps that can enact long-term change.  Don’t ever think that you can bypass the small changes to get to the big ones because they are a waste of time.  Everything you do in life starts small and becomes GREAT.

 

Prepare Your Own Food

This is one of the easiest things you can do right now to change your health in 2018. Bypass the regular trip to McDonald’s a few times a week and just begin to make your own food.  Don’t stress yet about what the food is.  Take the time to make it, be proud of it and you will see that you miss out on all the hidden fat and carbohydrate sources we are exposed when people who don’t have our health in mind prepare our food.

Create Accountability

Accountability looks different to everyone.  You can create accountability by having an accountability friend, through the use of an app like MyFitnessPal or through a coach.  Creating accountability is the #1 variable of nutritional success.

Throw Away Trigger Foods (for now)

Clean out the pantry, throw away the Oreos and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and get rid of temptation…for now.  If you can’t moderate yet, then don’t leave the temptation dangling in front of you every day.  Once you gain greater food awareness you can work those things back in sparingly and you will appreciate them that much more.  You will also find that you crave them less.

Drink More Water

Water is powerful, and you need it to survive. So drink more of it.  You will feel better, move better, and you will drive cellular balance.  Aim for roughly .5 ounces per pound of body weight as a starting point. But, you can always drink more if you would like.

Eat Real Food

Taking the time to eat real and whole foods that make you and your body feel good will not only be beneficial to you, but it can really change your health in 2018.

Add 1-2 serving of vegetables into your day

If you start with this simple effort, you will begin to notice that these 1-2 servings of veggies replaces a less micronutrient dense option and helps you reduce your macronutrient intake.

Plan Ahead

Take time to think ahead about the day in front of you.  Defrost a lean protein for dinner, pack leftovers for lunch and make sure your veggies and fruits are washed, peeled and chopped so they are at your disposal.  If you don’t plan ahead you are likely to opt for convenience every time. So instead, make healthy choices convenient for planning and prepping.

Move Your Body

Go outside and move your body for 30 minutes a day 3 times a week. Not only is it great to increase caloric expenditure, but the endorphin release will make you a happier person all around and will increase energy levels. You can even start off by simply walking around your neighborhood. There is bound to be an exercise or workout that you find yourself enjoying.

 

Learn Portion Sizing

Invest in a nutritional strategy that teaches you how to understand portions.  This is a skill set that is priceless and will bring you long-term success as you work towards trying to change your health.

Eat More Protein

Adequate protein intake is an extremely important variable to nutritional success.  Work to include protein-packed snacks into your day to increase your protein intake.

Log Your Food Intake to Become More Food Aware.

A great step to help you change your health is to be aware of what you need and how much you need. The use of an App like MyFitnessPal is powerful in learning food awareness.

Get More Sleep

Sleep is often overlooked as a powerful weight loss tool.  Sleep allows the body to rest and digest and promotes healthy weight loss. You can try to change your health by just eating whole foods and exercising, but learning to change your health as a whole (and focusing on other ways to be healthy) will be beneficial in the long run.

Reduce Stress

Stress can affect even the healthiest people. Reduce yours through exercise, deep breathing and doing more things that make you happy.

Pay Attention to Hunger Cues

Eat slowly, engage in conversation, dive into the flavor and listen to the cues your body is sending you. This will also help you begin mindful eating practices.

Invest in Understanding Nutritional Labels

If you really want to change your health in 2018, invest in understanding nutritional labels. That way, if you have to have convenience, or if you want to indulge without feeling guilty, you’ll know what you’re looking for.

Always Have Healthy On the Go Snacks

Be prepared with snacks when you leave the house.  Don’t let a lack of planning leave you opting for something that isn’t going to support your goals.

Resistance Training

Don’t be afraid to add resistance training to your fitness regiment. It won’t make you bulky (unless you work really hard to do that) and it’s a great way to switch up your workout routine and change your health.

Create a Weekly Menu

This goes back to planning ahead, but I can’t stress it enough! Creating a weekly menu also helps you reduce stress and is great for the budget so it’s all a win-win situation.

Make it a Family Affair

A healthy life is a journey your children deserve too.  Bring them into the kitchen and make them a part of the experience. Set them up for a lifetime of nutritional success. You’ll change your health, and they’ll be able to change theirs too.

Rethink Your Drink

Liquid calories can be an extreme source of sabotage.  Rethink your Coke or Venti Mocha and replace it with water, sparkling water, cold brew or tea.

Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People

The saying goes that we are most like the people we spend our time with.  If the people around you aren’t supporting your goals then find people who will.  It makes your journey feel better when rising tides lift all ships.

Set goals

Write your goals down, don’t just think about it.  When you write your goals down success is more likely to happen.

 

Identify Your “Why”

You must have a driving force behind your choice to change your health. It doesn’t have to match anyone else’s why, but being meaningful for you can help you push through barriers or obstacles, even when you want to give up.

 

Reward Yourself

Nope, I am not talking about rewarding yourself with cookies :). But with positive self-talk, maybe a new outfit when you hit a target goal, or with some type of self-love currency in your life at that moment.  Hard work deserves celebration.

Realize it Isn’t “All or Nothing”

This is perhaps the hardest part for many of my clients.  If you have a bad meal, bad day or a bad week, it’s time to put it behind you.  Don’t allow one moment of struggle turn into weeks and months.  Progress is made through consistency.

 

If you want to change your health in 2018, it’s possible, and these tips are all easy to start implementing. But most of all, cultivate an attitude of loving yourself so much that you deserve be healthy, happy and fit. Period.  When you are ready for more, I’ll be here ready to push you forward!

 

Ready to kickstart your health right now?

Check out my Nutrition Is For Everybody e-course HERE.

 

Which tip from the above list are you going to start with?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Client Success Story: The Weight Lifter

Client Success Story:  The Weight Lifter

Age: 33

Timeline: 1 Year

 

There is a general misconception that when someone isn’t at their ideal weight that they over consume calories.  More often than not the exact opposite is true.  I’ve had hundreds of clients who come to me with frustrations from living in a heavy calorie restricted diet for years. Many times it is unintentional and sometimes, is not.

This signals the body to go into “emergency mode” and store what little food the body is supplied as fat.  The only answer to lose weight: take on more fuel to drive loss.

This week’s client came to me in this place.  She wasn’t eating enough, especially for her volume of training, and needed to shift her perspective from the notion of “less being more.”  She did that and did it amazingly well, dropping two weight classes as a competitive weight lifter (that’s over 20 lbs) and looks and feels better than she ever has. She recently competed in the American Open Series and qualified for the Finals this winter. Her passion, work ethic and follow through is inspiring and I am grateful to call her a client and friend.

 

Here is her story:

 

“What a trip!  Miami was hectic, humid and amazing all at the same time.  There wasn’t a second to slow down and really enjoy everything that Miami has to offer but we sure got to experience a TON of weight lifting.  Overall a super successful trip for the team and for me personally.   But success never comes easy!  This past year I’ve worked hard to gain strength while cutting weight.

 

I have officially been working with Amanda for one year this August.  When I started I weighed around 150 lbs and was competing in the 69kg weight class.  I wasn’t comfortable or confident at this weight, so we set some goals to get me to the next lowest weight class which is 63 kg.  Our goal was slow and steady which would allow me to continue training hard.  I competed a few times at the 63kg weight class this past year, but I felt like I could do more.

After discussion with my weightlifting coach Brian, as well as Amanda, we decided to drop to the next weight class which is 58kg.  Our long term goal was to compete in July at my lowest weight class.  With the amount of training I do every day (1.5-2 hours, sometimes more) it was incredibly important that I eat enough to prevent muscle breakdown and fatigue.

 

Along the way, I’ve fallen off the wagon, gotten back on and fallen off again.  I messed up, wouldn’t track, failed to send my numbers, gave up on weighing myself because I didn’t want to see the number on the scale.  The best part about having a macro coach is the accountability.  When Amanda doesn’t hear from me, I know she will definitely be following up by text, email or in person.

 

 

She helps encourage me, talks me off cliffs and gives me meal ideas when I can’t figure out what to eat to fit my day.  She is always there to remind me that I don’t have to throw away the whole day or week or month, just because I messed up one time.  I’m not perfect.  I love ice cream, pizza and cookies and struggle with self-control when it comes to food.

 

When July came around (WAYYYY faster than I felt like it should) I was slightly above my goal weight, but wasn’t worried at all because Amanda was in constant contact with me about my daily weights and food intake, especially when it was coming close to game time.  Cutting the last few pounds (kilos, whatever) of weight can be tricky, especially as a female with cross country travel and time zone acclamation as well as an evening weigh in.

 

When July 28th finally came, I was perfectly on weight, slightly under actually. I never felt overly hungry or tired.  At 6pm I weighed in at 57.66.  I was able to compete as a 58kg lifter for the first time and on a national stage.  I felt good, not weak or fatigued at all and was able to take 8th place in my weight class out of about 60.

 

So what have I learned through this whole process?  Be Consistent.

 

When I track consistently and weigh in regularly I see the most significant results.  I tend to really buckle down right around competition time when I really need to make weight and I never have a problem reaching the weight I planned.  I’ve also learned that with the proper guidance you can lose weight and get stronger with more food, not less.

 

I’ve lost 20 lbs this year and PR’d every single one of my lifts.

What’s next?

Maintenance and more food.  Which means I will need to be accurate in my tracking and make sure I eat all the food I’m allowed in order to help me gain some strength so I can compete at the American Open Finals in December!”

Want to read more client success stories like this one.  Click HERE to read more about my clients’ amazing transformations.

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Client Success Story: The Power Of Team Work

Client Success Story: The Power Of Teamwork

Ages:

Her-33

Him-32

Time:16 weeks

It is really cool as a coach when a spouse begins to have so much success working with me that it inspires the other to take action.  I began working with my first client after having her first child.  I could totally relate to the place she was in; she was desperate for change and to get her confidence back.  And she did just that–and beyond.

She had such great success that her awesome hubby began to work with me as well.  He too jumped in full force and worked hard to overcome a busy work life that required lots of travel.  I have been impressed with his journey because of he such an example to so many men out there that it isn’t about perfection and giving up what you love in life.  Instead, it is about week-to-week progress and learning to leave the “all or nothing” mindset behind.

 

Here is her story:

“My whole life I’ve felt trapped in a body that I didn’t love or respect.  I would be skinny, chubby, fat then thin again time and time over.  I would lose weight by undereating and exercise to the extremes.  Then I would lose my steam and gain everything back 2X’s.  This was my cycle for as long as I could remember.

Then I had my son and thought I will never lose this weight.  I tried all my old tricks to lose the baby weight, but this time was different.  My body was staying the same weight no matter what I tried. Nothing was working.  This is when I decided to reach out to Amanda.  I honestly felt ashamed and embarrassed as I have known Amanda since high school.  I finally wrote an email asking for some help.  She simply said, “we need to just wake your metabolism up and you need to eat more food!”  I said, huh?

More food, this is never going to work.  But I trusted the lady and did what she said!  I tracked my macros the best I could, eating more food than I had been, and within 5 months lost 25lbs.  I’ve never felt so healthy in my life.  I used to think potatoes were going to make me gain weight because I had this perception that carbs were the devil.  Now I’m eating 170 grams of carbs, 54 grams of fat and 105 grams of protein and potatoes every day!  Never in my life did I think I could eat all this food and sustain a healthy weight without fluctuation.

Amanda’s approach is kind and supportive.  I never felt pressured or uncomfortable in this process with her.  She has a way with her words to motivate and encourage in the perfect way.  I thank her for her knowledge and persistence with me.  Oh, and did I mention I’m a bakery owner?  Yes, I work with baked goods all day every day. So, if I can meet these kinds of goals, I know anyone can with the help of my girl!

 

Here is his story:

“I have spent a good portion of my life believing I was invincible. In that regard – I have given my body a ride of its life, eating, drinking, smoking, and simply put – not taking care of myself. I reached a tipping point when I turned 30.  I found myself getting sick after eating pounds of garbage, hangovers got significantly worse and my body was aching like it has never done before. Couple that with an extra 35 pounds of “baby weight” I gained after our son was born; I was a ticking time bomb.

While I continued to procrastinate getting into better health, I watched my wife shed weight and begin to really start feeling good again while working with Amanda. After some “persuasion” from her, I decided to contact Amanda and get on a path to better health.

I have tried numerous diets in my day but they always ended with me binge eating after it was over and packing on MORE weight than I ultimately lost. Not this time! I have found a new way of life through Amanda. While I can still enjoy some of the junk food I use to crave, I now understand the importance of meeting my target numbers and eating more balanced. Knowing that I have to follow up with Amanda weekly and give her my log makes me want to execute and not let her down. She has consistently given me positive feedback while keeping me straight when I would fall off the path.

Now that I have shed nearly 30 pounds, my body hurts less, I have no more stomach aches and I am even getting more active due to feeling great and wanting to live a better lifestyle. Who knows where I’d be right now if I wouldn’t have made that one call to Amanda. I am sure glad I did.”

 

Want to read more client success stories like this one.  Click here to read more about my clients’ amazing transformations.

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Client Success Story: 40 And Fabulous

 

Client Success Story: 40 and Fabulous!

Age: 40

Time Frame: 16 weeks and counting

 

I’ve grown my business through word of mouth.  Nothing is more satisfying as a coach than to have a client refer their family and friend’s your way because you served them, supported them and took them beyond what they thought their goals were.  This week’s client success story came to me from another amazing client, eager to make a change.

What began as performance goals became so much more.  Her performance in the gym has surpassed her own expectations and so has her entire transformation.  She set a goal to be 40 and fabulous and she nailed it!

Here is her story:

“My relationship with food has always been love/hate, I love to eat but hated how I felt afterward.  The only exercise I enjoyed for years was dancing.  I never learned a balance of good nutrition and moving.  While poor eating habits didn’t seem to have much of an effect on my weight while I was younger, they most certainly did as I got older and became much less active.  My childhood was filled with convenience food, fast food, and way too many sweets.  I never learned the value of eating nutritiously.  And I paid the price in my 20s and 30s.

In 2010, a friend of mine asked me to join her in a boot camp.  I loved it!  I was happy I finally found something other than dancing that I enjoyed.  Through the boot camp, I learned some better eating habits.  But, even then my healthier eating habits were still pretty restrictive.  I did have some success with the boot camp and was feeling good about my success.

Then I got pregnant.  I pretty much ate anything I wanted.  I had Red Robin 2-4 days a week and a large vanilla ice cream cone from Dairy Queen every other day.

I gained over 50 pounds and I ended up with high blood pressure the last 2 months of my pregnancy.  After having my daughter, I struggled with postpartum anxiety and depression and felt so insecure about not being able to lose the baby weight as quickly as I wanted.

I tried to go back to my healthier eating habits but found it challenging to cook with working full time and caring for my baby.  I was drinking more and eating processed and fast food more than I cared to admit.  By October of 2013, I wasn’t far from my weight at 9 months pregnant.  I weighed nearly 200 pounds.

 

In the summer of 2014 after several months of yo-yo dieting, cutting my calories and losing some weight, I hired a personal trainer.  I had great success with her fitness wise and learned to love working out!  Over the next 2+ years, I worked out with a couple trainers and took a Barre class at my gym but I still wasn’t getting what I wanted.

I decided to try Orange Theory Fitness and I fell in love with it!  It was exactly what I needed for my fitness routine.  However, years of horrible eating habits really showed.  It was very difficult for me to make it through an OTF workout with feeling very fatigued, nauseous and like I was going to pass out.  I thought I needed to add more classes but obviously, that didn’t help.  I knew I had to change how I was eating.

That’s when I contacted Amanda.  My cousin-in-law had great success with her and I figured she was exactly what I needed to achieve my goals.  And I am so thankful I found her.  In the four months, I’ve been working with her, I’ve lost 25 pounds and I exceeded my expectations on my performance in the gym.

I’m running faster and lifting heavier than I ever thought possible.  Coaches comment on my performance every session.  I push myself harder than I ever thought possible.  I have more muscle definition than I ever thought I would have.  I feel confident and much less insecure.

Best of all, my mindset on nutrition has completely changed.  It’s such a freeing experience.  Even though I track and weigh and measure, I don’t restrict anything!  I just plan for what I want then work around it.  And that is the most liberating feeling in the world.  I actually enjoy eating now.  I look at myself in the mirror and I feel proud of what I see.  I have never been able to look at myself in the mirror and feel proud of my the body I see.

 

 

I turned 40 in August.  I set a goal for myself at the end of last year that I wanted to be the healthiest and fittest possible version of myself as I entered my 40s.  With Amanda’s coaching, I met my goal.  Actually, I far exceeded it.  Her mentoring, positive reinforcement, encouragement and sheer passion for what she does has been instrumental in my transformation.

Amanda has not only helped me change physically, but she has also helped me change my way of thinking about food.  I never imagined how much, not only my body, but my mindset would change before I started macro tracking.  I’m incredibly grateful for this experience.

 

Want to read more client success stories like hers?  Click HERE for more.

 

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Client Success Story: The Fighter

Client Success Story: The Fighter

Age: 34

Time Frame: 12 weeks

 

There have been many times in my own life where I’ve faced adversity and was given a choice to become a victim or fight a battle.  None of these compares to the adversity that this client faced in a blink of an eye.

She’s a friend who I felt extremely honored to guide in her “come back” journey.  But much more than that she is an inspiration to me, a reminder of perspective and above all, she makes me be more intentional in my own life.

Her story is humbling and unique and will likely make you want to be better every single day.  She put in hard work to push herself to the limits and realized food was a powerful tool for her success.

 

Here Is Her Story:

 

“It was January of 2017 when I finally made the choice to stop trying different nutritional approaches that (no matter how strict I was) never delivered. I know I’m kind of an odd case as a female who has been trying to put on mass for the last few YEARS with tough luck. The first official mass diet I tried after failing at “DIY” macros, was with Renaissance Periodization and I LOST 10 POUNDS in the first 3 weeks. Not the direction I was going for, but I was holding onto this idea that if I kept following the instructions, my body would follow too. At the end of the 12-week cycle, I was up 4 pounds from my original weight. It became obvious to me that nutrition is not one-size-fits-all.

 

 

This is when I made a mental shift that really dictated my decision of working with Amanda. I had been so consumed with the idea that the more I weighed, the stronger I could be. But, like with a lot of things, I don’t really fit into the “normal” box. I’m a hard-gainer. I had to get dialed in with timing and consuming macros that adjusted to my training goals whether it be hypertrophy or absolute strength phases.

Weightlifting is a sport about discipline and mental fortitude – and it was something that sort of shaped my perspective at a time when I was trying to pull my life back together.

 

Because, just when I fell in love with weightlifting, I found out I had cancer and needed brain surgery. As I got back in the gym and started to recover, I found out that I needed another full-on brain surgery. To say I was angry or hopeless is a complete understatement.

My life became surreal and I struggled with PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, and this fear that I was slipping away to crazy land. BUT, I kept my regimen and showed up at the gym because I wanted to show my kids and husband that I was determined to heal. Once I got my balance and grip strength back, I was on the lifting platforms constantly… dead lifting weight that I used to push press.  But I steadily improved and got to a point where I felt like maybe I could be competitive.

You only live once, right?

 

This is where my journey with Amanda really helped shape my goals. I have to laugh a little bit when I look back on all the crap I put her through. First, I started out cutting the fluff from my unsuccessful mass (that didn’t even give me any strength gains!) to another mass, to another cut when I realized that even though my lifts were going up, my body weight was still closer to the lower weight class.

 

Somehow, despite my macro ADD, she kept performance at the forefront and I was stronger than ever as we headed to the American Open Series in Miami, Florida! I say “we” because even though she was back in Arizona, we were in constant communication about my unfortunate water retention which almost cost me the chance to lift. I had to do some last minute sweating under the careful eye of my weightlifting coach, but we made weight, barely. Thanks to their combined effort, I got to lift on a national platform!

It was an incredible milestone that I plan to improve upon with Amanda’s help. Weightlifting has made me stronger in every way and I’m grateful for the process. I now know that success is not just dependent on the effort put into training, but also in nutrition and rest (she even made me log my sleep!).

The ups are good, but the downs mean better things are coming… if you work for it.”

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

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Menu Ideas To Inspire You #1: Fall Edition

Weekly Menu To Inspire You #1: Fall Edition

The BIGGEST struggle my clients, and many of you, share that holds them back from nutritional success is meal prep, menu ideas and planning.  It takes times, energy and thought, all of which we just can’t seem to squeak out enough energy to make happen.

 

The reality is though–it is a game changer when it comes to nutritional success.  When your weekly menu is set, you are much more likely to feel compelled to stick to the plan and prepare your food at home.  In addition, meal prep keeps money in your wallet instead of overspending on halfway decent restaurant meals.  What I’ve found is that when we go out it really feels like a “special” meal out and we enjoy it much more.

 

Nothing Fancy

Meal planning doesn’t have to be fancy.  I think that is where many people fail.  They scan the interwebs for tasty looking meals that require everything under the kitchen sink and then feel completely overwhelmed.  Instead, start simple and think of what ingredients lend themselves to multiple meals in the week so that ingredients don’t get wasted in your frig.

Each family has their own unique way to menu plan from chalkboard menus to digital planning guides…find what works for you and stick with it (not just for a week).  Your lifestyle, number of mouths to feed and food preferences will greatly dictate that routine. My goal is to take the “thought” out of the planning and provide you with a list of meals that will remove one piece of the puzzle.

 

Getting in the mindset of planning ahead rather than facing the 6 o’clock scramble after a busy day of work and overtired children is not the ideal time to have to come up with a dinner plan from scratch.  Do yourself a favor and become proactive in your planning.

 

This week’s menu ideas are inspired by Fall.  It’s the season of squash, soup and cooler weather (unless you live in AZ like me).  Several of these recipes require chicken breast or ground turkey.  One of the simplest ways to simplify your mealtime prep is to do “prep ahead protein.”  I love to get the protein work out of the way and prepare chicken in the Instant Pot, slow cooker or grill and then use it for several meals in the week.

Menu ideas to inspire you:

Monday: Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls

 

If you are like us, Monday sometimes leaves us like a deer in the headlights trying to recover from the weekend.  Make Monday easy so you start off with a huge win in the meal prep box and it drives some momentum into the rest of the week.

 

 

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday with Turkey Tacos

Photo courtesy of www.drhyman.com

Why not join the Taco Tuesday trend and make this a theme each week with a unique twist.  These tacos are fresh tasting and are delicious on my favorite, butter lettuce.  You can easily add in corn tortillas as well.

 

Wednesday: Skinnytaste Blissful Butternut Squash

Photo courtesy of www.skinnytaste.com

 

Soup Night is an easy night and cozy night for the fall and winter weather.  Soups can cook all day long in the crockpot or have some quick turnaround time in the Instant Pot.  This recipe is a great one to add your prep ahead protein in order to work for a more balanced plate that includes protein value.

 

Thursday: Steak and Potatoes

Photo courtesy of www.skinnytaste.com

Okay..well kind of.  These two paired look so amazing!  The great part is this may take a bit more prep time (not too much) but could be made in bulk for lunches for the next few days!

 

Friday: PaleOMG BBQ Chicken Casserole

Photo courtesy of www.paleomg.com

 

When you hear casserole…don’t you think to comfort food?  I know I do and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Even though it adds a big veggie component, your family won’t even notice because it is that yummy.  You can prep this ahead too and pop it in the oven an hour or so before you are ready to eat.

 

Saturday: White Turkey Chili

Photo courtesy of www.thekitchn.com

The weekend derails people from mealtime success because we deviate from routine and want to just relax.  So plan ahead for that and use the morning time when we typically have more energy to put some ingredients in the crockpot, leaving no excuse for dinner time.  This recipe is awesome because you can doctor up the seasonings and add even more veggies for micronutrient bonus.

Sunday: Sunday Funday Fajita “Nachos”

Photo courtesy of www.fitfoodiefinds.com

We are football fans and use Sunday to stay in our PJs, veg out and be together as a family.  We love to have football foods that are fun and that involve the whole family.  This recipe ups the health game and used sweet mini peppers as the vessel for delivery but can also be substituted for a more traditional homemade corn chip.

 

Post in the comments below your favorite recipe from above.

Did you make any tweaks or changes…I’d love to hear what you did!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

nutrition-ecourse

 

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Progress Is In Imperfection

Progress In Imperfection

I have a friend in my life who has the most amazingly creative brain.  From her sense of style to her home decor, her eclectic edge is stunning. That creativity carries over to her ability to plan an event with such a unique and funky flair that it blows my mind. In fact, she is paid professionally to do this and does it well. Everything in her life echoes that same creative, event planning style that I just simply admire.

For years, I’ve desperately wanted that “flair” too.

But…I am just not that girl.

I never will be.

And that is okay.

 

Seeking Feedback

I recently surveyed my clients and newsletter subscribers. I asked them a series of questions about my service to them, their current struggles and what content best supports their needs.

 

It’s nerve-racking to collect that data because it exposes all of your flaws and shortcomings through the eyes of those who trust you.  However, I know in order improve as a coach and business owner I must attack my weaknesses and confront them head-on.

 

The following question was asked in the survey:

“What additional content would you like to see provided on my blog and other social media platforms?”

 

One response hit me in the gut.

 

The response read:

“You seem flawless from my perspective, so when you share how real you are it’s extremely relatable.”

WOAH!  

I came to a screeching halt…it was a huge throat punch.  The fact that a subscriber shared that with me was eye-opening as I am guilty of seeing only my flaws.

The truth is, I drop my kids at school with sleep lines, no makeup, in workout clothes and disheveled.  On most days I feel like the ‘hot mess express” coming in HOT (not hawt).  I often look at other moms, dads, families with the same sentiment.  They look like they’ve got a life so put together when I feel like I am at the deep end of the pool treading water.

What I realized is that each of us has our strengths.  We each have that “thing” we thrive on.  That thing that makes us whole, that gives us purpose and that those that surround see as our gift.  Another person’s strength can be so glaring when we know it is not our own.

 

My girlfriend has the creative planner gift.

 

My gift is food.

My Food Game

Food…really? That’s my strength?

 

Well kind of…..

 

My gift is the ability to see food with a purpose.  To teach people how to find balance in their food intake and in their food mindset. I love food, I have a passion for nutrition and health.  Combined with my affinity for helping people, they all have come together to become my “thing.”

 

The Truth

I realized that from an outside perspective my progress, results, and day-to-day shares on social media may give the perception of “perfection.”  But all that glitters is certainly not gold.

 

But here is the reality…I am far from perfect.

 

There are days I have ZERO vegetables.  

 

There are days where I track my macros extremely “haphazardly” because…well… LIFE.

 

There are times I drink too much wine.

 

There are days, in a row, where I just can’t get to the gym because too much stuff has piled up on my plate and I am exhausted.

 

There are days I’d rather be in my PJs by 5.00 pm so I abandon my plan and get take out.

 

There are days I step on the scale and feel defeated.

 

There are days I fill my brain with negative self-talk.

 

There are times where I can’t keep my face out of the cashew pecan butter or ice cream.

 

There are a whole lot of days that I am not perfect.

 

The Difference

We all have our “thing.” But we spend far too much time focusing on other people’s strengths because we see them as our own weakness. As a result, our “thing” is buried down inside while our joy is stolen from us.

 

We all have days of imperfection. The fact of the matter is perfection isn’t even realistic.  If we hold ourselves to a constant standard of perfection, we will be disappointed over and over.

 

How do we move past imperfection in our weaknesses to make progress?

 

The answer is consistency.

It’s the ability to not allow a few hours of imperfection turn to days and then weeks.  It’s the ability to realize that life provides so much grey, we can’t always live in the black and white.  I have cultivated the strong ability to put the past behind me and rely on consistency, not perfection, to guide me toward my goal.

 

In fact, I thrive on it.

 

I have the ability to realize it isn’t about perfection it is about progress. That simple fact is what drives success.  I want people to know I am never perfect.  But I am working hard to be better and make progress towards whatever goals I have, fitness or business related.  Sometimes that goal is as simple as just “maintain” because life is spinning around me and I have to sacrifice something to make it all happen.

 

I leave my MyFitnessPal diary open to clients because I have zero to hide.  I want them to see what I eat, even hold me accountable and realize I too have moments where I am not perfect.  But those “moments” stay just moments.  I’ve put in the work to find balance in life and in the goals I have physically and mentally.

Power

If you have a bad day, a bad meal it’s meaningless in the big picture of life. Each day is given to us as a fresh start to put our experiences, good and bad, behind us and move forward.  Results don’t come in a year or even two. Instead, it’s a continual work in progress over time and is always ongoing. Do you know what consistent work over time is?

Power.

It’s the power of enabling yourself to operate in the “grey” of life.  For many, learning to evolve from an “all or nothing” approach is a huge mindset shift.  It’s a skill applicable to all aspects of life.

When Nutrition Is Not Your Thing

Nutrition doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.” Having consistency to reel yourself back in after those rough life moments takes energy, grit and inside work. Healthy eating that supports your goals is a challenge for many people in life.  You must begin to realize that your progress will come by making small consistent changes over time.

 

Nurture Areas That Aren’t Your Thing

I spent a long time working to get here.  My goals changed, life happened but still…I got there.  Others got there faster and some are still working to get “there.”  I am imperfect…covered with stretch marks, scatterbrained, at times filled with negative self-talk and none the less, an average mom like so many others.

Consistency and effort over time have gotten me to this place and it will get you there too.  Embrace your “thing,” nurture the areas that aren’t your “thing” and welcome the imperfection in it all. Progress is in the experience, not perfection.  When we each are willing to share our “thing,” our passion…then we inspire others to be better as well.

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

5 Reasons Homemade Food Is Better

5 Reasons Why Homemade Food Is Better

 

As a society, we are failing.

 

We are failing to make our health a priority.

 

We are failing to even assess our health.

 

We are failing in medicine.  Medical practitioners are so limited by time and money that they fail to practice preventive medicine.

 

We are failing by not slowing down and continually giving into convenience.

 

We are failing because we argue about which nutritional strategy is “right” rather than helping find something that works long-term for each person.

Number One Investment

A trip through the drive-thru offers such convenience that we are willing to choose speed over quality.  We are willing to buy pre-packaged hard boiled eggs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because even those require too much time in the kitchen.

I’ve learned, through my own experience and also by coaching my clients, that there is one investment we can make in our life that will pay huge dividends to overall health.

 

That investment is to prepare your own food.

Yes..I am talking about giving up the time to do other things that are far less important like watching Netflix and spend some time in the kitchen to make good old-fashioned homemade food just like grandma did.

Don’t get me wrong…I am not talking about fancy.  My meals are never fancy but they are homemade almost 95% of the time.  Homemade means starting from scratch (or just about scratch) to create a meal that provides macro and micronutrient value.  It means passing on convenience because you love your body (and your family’s) that much.

I can hear it now: “But Amanda…you are crazy!  I don’t have time.”

I call B.S.

 

It isn’t that you don’t have time, it is that you don’t make it a priority to have time for it.  If you calculate the hours you spend trolling the internet, catching up on your Netflix shows and waiting in line at drive-thrus and restaurants, I am willing to bet those would stack up to a few hours of solid meal prep time during your week.

There is no greater preventative investment in your health than in your nutrition.  You may feel great now but you are setting yourself up for failure by not making changes for your future. Not just for you but for your kids too.

My heart aches when I see young children already on the brinks of obesity who simply had no choice but to follow on the heels of their parents.  We have an obligation to keep our kids safe, protect them from outside harm and provide them the tools to do this on their own as well.  Food is no different.

 

Want some homemade recipes delivered to your inbox?

5 Reasons Homemade is better:

1. Higher in volume, lower in calories

Simply put, making food at home offers more bang for your buck.  When eating out or buying pre-packed food, there is so many more hidden fats, preservatives, salt and sugar.

When comparing similar items made at home versus store/drive-thru bought, you are able to consume more food for the same nutritional value.

Let’s look at some examples.

 

Example #1: Tortilla Chips

For one serving of Mission tortilla chips (1 oz/12 chips), there are 7 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein.

I can make my own tortilla chips at home using 2 Mission tortillas which yield 16 chips for only 1g of fat, 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein.

 

There is much more hidden fat in the pre-packaged chip not to mention a plethora of ingredients that aren’t included in the plain tortillas.  You can eat far more when they are homemade for a lesser caloric value.

 

Example #2: Overnight Oats

Oatmeal is an easy morning breakfast.  Overnight oatmeal has taken breakfast time by storm because it is an easy prep ahead option.

Quaker has even now created their own version of Overnight Oats. Within one container of oats, there are 10 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of protein when prepared as suggested.  You can prepare your own oats at home with fresh fruit, almond milk, yogurt for again a lesser caloric value.

 

Example #3: French Fries

McDonald’s french fries have 19 ingredients.  Yes, 19.  Mine at home has 4: real potatoes, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Occasionally I get crazy and add a 5th…garlic. By the way…they still taste awesome.

 

In a medium McDonald’s french fry there are 16 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of protein.  This compared to making 4 ounces of fresh fries at home that are baked in the oven with fresh spices and a small bit of spray olive oil which will have roughly 1 gram of fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fat.  You can eat almost double the quantity of homemade french fries for the value of one medium french fry at McDonald’s.

 

2. More micronutrient density

Micronutrients are those substances our body needs in trace amounts for growth and development.  When we buy processed foods or Fast food, the method used to prepare these food items often strips the food of these nutrients.

Buying fresh vegetables, fruits and meats allow you to prepare the food in such a way to preserve these nutrients.

 

3. Saves cash

I highlighted the comparison of eating at McDonald’s versus at home in a previous blog post on how to save money on real food.  It costs roughly $15-20 for one meal for a family four at McDonald’s, that would be an average of $45-60 per day and then an average of $1350-$1800 per month to eat out.  We are a family of four and our monthly budget for groceries is $900 and it is 95% real food.  Making your food from scratch DOES require more time.  In the long run, though, will cost you far less money.

 

4. You are in control

When you eat out portions are ridiculously more than we need. It is easy to be tempted by the food in front of you and eat way more than needed. Not only that, you can’t control exactly what you want and often end up having to be the “picky” customer to get you want.

Homemade meals allow you to get it the way you want in the quantity you want it.  You are more aware of what you serve yourself which may have a positive impact on weight loss if that is your goal.  Making a homemade meal gives you 100% control of the outcome.

 

5. It’s a family affair

You don’t have to go it alone.  It isn’t up to one person in the household to make changes.  It is a group effort that involves the little people in your life too.  The buy-in from the whole family to begin to cook and eat at home is far greater when it becomes a teamwork atmosphere.

 

Allow the family to create meal ideas together.  Shut off the TV, turn on your favorite Pandora station and meal prep together.  Most of all, sit down together at the table and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

Put It In Action

The reasons for shifting to home cooked meals are glaring.  It takes behavior change and investment to actually put this shift into action.  The great news is that the value of home cooked meals is becoming more clear for younger generations, the twenty-somethings, as they are spending more time in the kitchen according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.

 

Be an advocate for your health and take control of what goes into your body.  Enjoy a quality meal out now and then for an alternative dining experience.  BUT…don’t get pulled into the temptation of convenience.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

I’d love to hear from you:

 

How often do you cook at home?

 

What is the hardest part of making homemade food?

 

Post your replies below!

 

 

 

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Client Success Story: Progress Is Greater Than Perfection

Client Success Story: Progress Is Greater Than Perfection

Age: 40

I feel lucky to have taken such a gamble in life, leave my teaching profession and be able to do what I do now.  The thing I miss about teaching is the true connections I had with special students along the way.  I’ve come to find that there are certain clients that just connect with you and can be open, honest and are ready to do the deep dirty work to change their life physically and mentally.  This week’s success story is one such client.

I’ve connected with her deeply and her progress has come in so many forms.  Her transformation is impossible to capture in a photo.  Yes, she has lost weight but all of her change has come from really doing work on the inside.  She came from a dark, challenging place and dug deep to regain her confidence, take risk in the gym and get way outside her comfort zone to finally find real happiness.

 

Here Is Her Story:

“Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky in life. I know I am truly blessed. I have a great job, a wonderful husband, healthy children, and supportive friends and family. People might look at me and think she has everything she could ever need to be happy! Well, here’s the problem: I wasn’t happy. I really disliked what I saw every day in the mirror: the reflection of someone who was unhappy, afraid of not meeting expectations, and wondering if my best would ever be “good enough”.

A Period Of Self Reflection

I blame myself for most of my issues. You see, I admittedly am a type A personality, and as a result my whole life I have been goal driven, demanding perfection in all areas of life. I wanted to be the perfect daughter, student, and health care professional. Failure was not an option. I thrived on having many balls in the air, and I felt like I could juggle anything.

I applied this same mindset to other areas of my life. When I felt I needed to lose weight or participate in sports, I figured out a way to do it no matter what the cost. I just wanted to succeed. However, as the years flew by, my responsibilities changed.

I became a mother and a wife, my goals became harder to reach, and with each achievement the satisfaction I expected to feel became less momentous. I worked harder to reestablish that feeling, stacking on the challenges and responsibilities, and without knowing I began to set myself up for failure. I was not used to being unsuccessful and I’m not going to lie – it felt horrible.

Where we go stems from where we begin…

Over the years I have come to understand that life is a partnership between external and internal worlds. It’s human nature to find ourselves working to change our outside world in an attempt to achieve “happiness” or the “perfect life”, but as we concentrate on the outside factors we can change, we often forget to work on our inner selves.

So, like most people, I began to search for a “better life”. Two years ago, I moved to Phoenix. Unfortunately, right after I moved I went through a year of challenging medical issues. I was unable to workout, and fell into a deep depression.

Weighing in at nearly 175 lbs (on my small frame), I was at my highest weight and in the worst shape of my life. I knew something had to change. I took a big step and decided to take on CrossFit. I have never regretted that decision. Over the last year, I gained a second family and a new lease on life, but most importantly, CrossFit led me to Amanda.

Don’t get me wrong. Amanda is an excellent macros coach. Over the last 10 months, she has helped me gain a healthier relationship with food and taught me how to manipulate my intake safely to meet my goals. She has been supportive, honest, and genuine. However, to me, Amanda has so much more to offer than just her knowledge of food. She is more than just a macros coach. She was and still is a life changer. 

A Change In Mindset

Through regular communication, Amanda helped me realize that although I could manipulate my external world to create my perception of a “perfect life” that I myself was remaining unchanged. She showed me how we all play a part in our own happiness and that nothing ever truly changes until you change yourself. You have to face yourself head on and put a STOP to self-limiting and toxic ways of thinking.

She helped me discover that you have to be willing to accept yourself just as you are before you can start working towards transforming into that person you want to be. She helped me realize it’s okay not to be perfect, we are going to fail sometimes, and that in each so-called failure there is an opportunity to grow and try again.

You Are Your Own Compass

Amanda also taught me that you can only reach your goals if you truly believe in your own ability to change. You must have self-determination and can’t just hope for the best. She helped me see that in any transformation process, you are going to get out of it what you put into it. Amanda has always been able to kick me into gear when I needed it most, while still be a gentle listening ear and keeping me in line.

She warned me going into this process that there would be times when it would seem to come along seamlessly and others where I might feel I was drowning in quicksand. I experienced all of this and she was right there to help me. She was never more than a phone call or email away. I have had ups and downs throughout this entire process in life and the gym. She reminded me that this was all part of the process of transformation, and as I gained faith and self worth, I would find it easier to implement and maintain change- she was right!

A Bright Future

But most importantly, Amanda has taught me that transformation occurs through daily individual actions. There’s no quick fix – change has to be sustainable. There is no final goal to be reached.

Transformation is a LIFELONG process that takes time, dedication, and support from everyone involved. Amanda has helped me change my mindset in life and given me the tools I need to set and meet realistic goals. I am so grateful for her guidance. Because of Amanda, I know I can work every day to get closer to the person I want to be. I am able to comfortably reflect on where I’ve been and how far I have come. I am, for the first time in a long time, truly happy.

Click HERE to read more client success stories that will inspire you!

Are you ready to start somewhere and make a change? Click HERE to learn more about how to make small steps to big progress!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk