,

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.

 

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

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What I Eat In A Day: Daily Grub Diary #4

Daily Grub Diary #4

Summer has come and gone !  I spent the entire summer trying to find a groove in my work-life balance.  Early mornings were my necessity to maximize my days with my kids. Now that I have almost mastered that balance…we have another “new normal.”

I’ve realized new normals come often in life and we can chose to whine about it OR we can chose to kick it’s BUTT.

I chose the later!

 

Why I Ate In A Day

Wednesday, July 26th

Wake Up: 4.30 alarm clock leads me directly to COFFEE! Lately I have been replacing the butter in my coffee with coconut oil!  Throwing it back to my BP days for sure, but much lighter on the serving.

 

Breakfast:

Breakfast has slowly become my favorite meal of the day (my husband loves that). I actually used to hate breakfast because I didn’t get very creative in the kitchen with it.  Once I worked towards discovering new foods I love for breakfast…it was on!

 

I was in desperate need of grocery shopping  and ate zero veggies all day the day before. S0 I stocked up started getting them in early that day.

 

I used my KitchenAid  spiralizer and made a huge batch of zucchini noodles for the rest of the week.  While those spun, I also sliced 2 ounces of baby creamer potatoes that I had already meal prepped in my Instant Pot.  Then, I sauteed them in the pan with a slight spray of olive oil until golden brown.

 

I created zoodle nests (still raw) and topped each with potatoes and a runny yolk.

A big filling breakfast for 10F, 15P and 15C. And while I was at it, I prepped the same for the next day’s breakfast! While things cooked, I also laid out shrimp and lean ground beef to defrost for our dinner.

 

Lunch:

Today was a working lunch.  If I was deep in the middle of client emails, writing or projects so I reached for an easy protein packed lunch.  Today it was my favorite tuna from Trader Joe’s atop a bed of arugula (add in those greens) along with Milton’s gluten free rice crackers.

Want to download my Trader Joe’s Shopping List?

For a little sweet something after I ate, I also reached for my obsession right now… a Figgy Pop.

Today I worked out in the afternoon which isn’t my favorite time of day.  I just feel more fatigued and slow because it isn’t my regular routine.  The 8-9 am window is my jam.

 

Pre-Workout Snack

For a pre-workout snack I prepared one of my go-tos.  A rice cake with 2 tablespoons PB fit (mixed with water to create a creamy texture) and ½ sliced banana.  However, I’ve been really enjoying Lundberg’s newer rice cake stackers.  They are more thin and crispy and I like the overall crunchiness much more.  I feel like it’s a faux chip.

Dinner

Dinner was exceptionally amazing if I do say so myself.

The kids (and us too) love the homemade chips I make.  Tonight I decided to make tostada shells instead.

While the meat sauted in pans, I followed my homemade tortilla chip recipe (sans the cutting step) and allowed the shells to bake in the oven.

 

 

One of the main reasons I was inspired that evening to make tostadas was because a friend had also brought me fresh sweet corn from a farm in northern Arizona. I popped it in the microwave for about two minutes to soften it up and then cut it off the cob into a bowl.

 

Next, I added in fresh chopped cilantro, a dash of salt and lime juice to create a fresh, flavor packed salsa to go on top of the tostadas.

 

As a “glue” for the tostada fixings I also mashed avocado and mixed in plain Greek yogurt to spread it a bit further (roughly 1:1 ratios).  The flavor is still rich in avocado taste but higher in protein and lower in fat content for more volume.

 

Evening Snack

I still mentally enjoy a snack after dinner.  I get great questions about what time frame is too late to eat.  It is really a loaded question and depends on your normal schedule, meal size and type of food making up the snack or meal.  Late evening meals of indulgent proportions that are not nutrient dense are vastly different in effect than consuming a nutrient dense, small portioned meal prior to bed.  Research suggests that there may be positive effects for eating meals closer to bedtime as well.

 

I personally try to leave my digestive system to rest for 12 hours a day and typically try to finish my last snack before 7 to 8 pm and don’t eat breakfast until 7 to 8 the following morning.

 

I had just made fresh Cashew pecan butter the day before so I saved for some of it as a treat during the day.  I topped it with a few Enjoy Life Chips and boom…I was completely content!

 

Want To Download My Costco Shopping List?

Click HERE to download it now!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

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Client Success Story: The Warrior

Client: The Warrior

Age: 42

Timeline: 12 Weeks

 

Confidence is one of the most powerful tools in our personal “self toolbox.”  It can push us to do extraordinary things and it can tear us down into a million pieces.  When we lose our sense of self through a major life event it’s extremely difficult to get it back.

Nutrition is more than scale weight and before and after pictures.

It’s about rediscovering the confidence you have inside so that it shines on the outside.  This week’s client success story faced a battle that so many women face today. She did it with strength and grace but not without struggle.  The amazing part is that she dug deep, invested in herself when it was behind her and now feels (and looks) the best she ever has.

 

Here is her story:

“One of the biggest things cancer does is strip you of feeling like yourself.  It wrestles you into becoming less of you and more of it.  It tries to diminish who you strive to be and it leaves you feeling beaten up, tired and worn.

About this time last year I was feeling pretty good and doing well.  I was probably the fittest I had ever been, having committed to clean eating and CrossFit.  We had just returned from watching some of the fittest people on the planet compete at the 2016 CrossFit Games.  Not even a week later I felt a big hard lump in my breast and well, the rest is sort of a blur.

Mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, xrays, MRI, and doctor appointment after doctor appointment.  Cancer quickly becomes a full time job.  Two surgeries followed by mandatory 8 weeks recovery after each one  left me with a very sedentary life especially compared to what it had been.

When I was finally able to work out again I found I had zero energy.  I can remember on multiple occasions having to sit out half way through the workout.  That had never happened to me before, not even when I was a CrossFit newbie.  Scale the workout-yes.  Sit out- no way.  I was heavier than I’ve ever been and had lost most of my muscle definition.

As much as I tried on my own, I could not get my body to let go of even a single pound.  My body had been through a trauma and it was not cooperating with me any longer. My fitness was a priority to me and I was not about to let cancer take that from me.

So at the end of my rope, I contacted Amanda.  And she began to work her magic!  She knew my metabolism needed reset, she knew I wanted to lose weight, and she knew it was important for me to have the energy and stamina to get through my workouts to rebuild my strength and cardio.  And she helped me achieve all those goals, in an amazingly short amount of time!

She always told me what to expect in the coming week so I never had to worry that things weren’t headed in the right direction.   She always encouraged me and made me feel like I was succeeding.  And above all, she always set the example with her own nutrition.  It truly felt like she would just send me a magic formula and if I followed it my goals were met.

Yes, I dropped over 15 pounds!  But honestly even more satisfying than that was the way my body composition changed.  Every week I saw significant change in how my body felt at the gym, how it looked in the mirror, and how my clothes fit- even on weeks when the scale didn’t move.  I felt like myself again and that has been huge for someone who at times wondered if I would always feel broken.

This hasn’t been a diet, it’s been a life change.  I no longer eat mindlessly or out of boredom.  I don’t make excuses that it’s okay if I overeat just because the foods I’m choosing to indulge in are “healthy and clean”.  I no longer expect my body to perform when I have not provided it with the proper fuel.  I see food and my nutrition as I should- a way to eat a balanced diet in order to live the life I want.  I still eat delicious food and a lot of it.

Honestly, I’m eating more calories than I ever have.  Ask my family how many times I say, “Look how much food I get to eat!”.  But I understand now the relationship between what I put in my body to get the results I want- whether that’s weight loss or more energy or achieving my goals in the gym.  I even succeeded in not gaining any weight on my vacation at the beach!  How often does that happen?  No vacation guilt or regret, and yes, I fit some treats in too.  It feels good to eat good!

It’s been about 12 weeks since I started tracking my macros with Amanda.  I reached my original weight loss goal in about 7 weeks and set a new goal after that!  In a few weeks I will be turning 43 and shortly after that I’ll be celebrating one year cancer free.

I can honestly say I am living my life as my best self.  I feel like I have my feet under me again, and I’m so excited to see where this leads me next.  I am healthier, leaner and stronger than I was even before my diagnosis, and for that I am incredibly grateful. “

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

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5 Reasons Sprouted Bread Is Better (And Back To School Sandwich Ideas)

5 Reasons You Should Switch To Sprouted Bread

 

The great carb debate is never ending and poor bread gets a major bad rap.

But like all things–education and quality are key.

 

I remember growing up watching Iron Kids bread commercials and trying to desperately convince my mom that I needed it.  The power of advertising and targeting kids is strong.  What I have realized as a nutrition coach is that adults are really no different.

 

Although I keep a gluten-free diet, my family does not. I don’t keep our house 100% gluten free for several reasons.  The biggest reason is that I don’t want to force a sensitivity upon them by never exposing them to gluten.  I want them to be able to grow up and have a cupcake at a birthday party or a snack at school without being too afraid to eat it.  I do limit their exposure and select items that limit their need to digest that.  Sprouted bread being one of them.

 

Traditional Breads

Both white and wheat breads are made from the berry of a wheat plant.  Whole grain bread is derived from the entire plant (endosperm, bran and the germ) while other breads are made from only the endosperm (the starchy middle).  In both cases, the portion of the plant is ground into flour and combined with other ingredients to yield bread.

 

Because the grains used to create bread are highly processed into flour that makes them more readily broken down in the digestive track and then absorbed into the bloodstream.  When carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the digestive tract this may cause a spike in insulin response thus making it a much higher on the glycemic index.

 

What is Sprouted Bread?

To create sprouted bread, the whole grain is soaked until germination which causes the release of enzymes that break down both carbohydrates and protein.

Why Is Sprouted Bread Better?

1. Easier Digestion

The interesting thing about sprouting grains is that it jump starts the digestion of proteins within the grain.  These proteins include things like gluten which makes sprouted breads much easier on the digestive track for those that have sensitivity to gluten.

2. Nutrients Are More Available

The problem with regular highly processed bread is that it contains phytic acid, sometimes referred to as the “anti-nutrient.” Phytic acid keeps the nutrients within the bread locked up and unavailable for absorption.  By soaking grains and allowing them to sprout before consumption the Phytic acid content is reduced and makes the nutrients more readily available for absorption.

In addition when grains becomes highly processed, nutrients are lost in translation.  The less processed the bread then the greater the nutrient availability.

3. Increased Accessibility To Fiber

Studies show that when grains are sprouted the fiber content of the plant tissue (like cellulose) is increased.  Bonus for us is that the outcome is a fiber rich product.  Sprouted breads then provide a higher fiber source option.

 4. Lower on the Gl

Sprouted bread also ranks lower on the glycemic index, a scale used to rank a carbohydrates impact on blood glucose levels.  Foods lower on the GI don’t impact blood sugar levels as much as those carbohydrates that have a high GI ranking.  Consuming foods with a lower GI help to maintain more steady blood glucose levels which offer a slew of health benefits including hormone and insulin balance.

5. Improved Macro Nutrient Profile

As mentioned above, because the grains are sprouted their protein access increases and carbohydrate content slightly decreases. Because of that, the macro nutrient profile becomes even better.

 

How Do You Know If The Bread Is Sprouted?

Buyer beware of sneaky marketing to make you think what you are buying is sprouted when it really isn’t.  Read the ingredient profile and look for them to be listed as “sprouted.”  Two of the most popular and accessible are Dave’s Killer Bread (this is one you can buy at Costco and is on my Costco shopping list.” And the very popular Ezekiel Bread.

Application To Other Grains

Sprouting grains isn’t just a benefit in bread, but can also be captured in other grains we eat as well. There is a list of intriguing research that shows the value of sprouting grains before consumption.

Sample Sandwiches For Back To School

With kids headed back to school, healthy lunch options are at the forefront of parents’ minds.  The sandwich is an easy kid approved option.  I challenge you to up the health game of that sandwich this school year and years forward.

My kids and I came together to create some awesome sandwich options that they have tested and love.  All of which are on sprouted bread.  To add a little kid fanciness we used a Pampered Chef Cut and Seal for an uncrusted look that makes this healthy option even more “kid cool.”

 

Sprouted Bread Kid Approved Sandwich Options

I let my kids be the chefs of their lunches often in the kitchen.  Involvement equals buy-in.  They are the creative minds behind all of the following filling ideas that are placed within two slices of sprouted bread.  We’ve also used our awesome LunchBots stainless steal containers for years for easy lunch packing.  The reusable  snack and sandwich pouches pictured above are handmade in the Phoenix Area by Chic Baby Creations.

 

Peanut butter, Apple and Honey

Simple Variations:

Sunbutter and Honey

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Almond Butter and Berries

Peanut Butter Banana

 

 

 

 

Hummus and “Cucs”

Simple Variations:

Hummus and Carrots

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ham and Salami

(or other high quality deli meat of choice)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even more cool is you can prep several of this sandwiches ahead of time and store them in the fridge or freeze ahead.

 

 

There are a zillion nutrition books about the health of grains all of which share conflicting perspective and research.  My opinion is that moderation and quality are key.  Finding balance in your intake, and that of your children, is a priceless skill.

Looking for my more macro friendly recipes?

Click HERE to down load my Free Recipe book!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Macro Tracking: A Skill Set For Long Term Success

Macro Nutrition As A Skill Set

 

If you have been remotely dabbling in the nutritional world you know that macro nutrition is trending.  Has been and still is.  And there is a reason…it is effective.

 

Over the last few months I have had several clients that have joined my roster after dumping hundreds (even thousands) of dollars a month into weight loss clinics that offer a “get skinny quick” approach to nutrition.

 

These clinics offer a pill, a wrap or a shot paired with a hugely restricted calorie diet to provide clients with fast weight loss.

 

And many times…it works…for a hot second.  Then these clients head out into the real world, surrounded by food, family and friends and the weight comes right back on…in a hot second.

 

Why?

Because they never truly learned from the experience.  They didn’t invest in acquiring any skills to help them gain food awareness, learn balance or the use of a “food budget.”  They were never taught how to live around food and find balance in doing so.

 

Tracking your macros is not meant to be a “get skinny quick” approach to eating.  Instead it is the development of a skill set that helps you identify how to fuel your body and life among food.

 

Macro versus Micro-Nutrition

We all “do macros.”  No matter what nutritional lifestyle you live you eat food filled with carbohydrates, fats and proteins so thus, you eat macro nutrients.

 

The focus of identifying a macro nutrient ratio that works for you is the goal of tracking macros.  The body loves to maintain homeostasis.  When you provide it with the same consistent food stimulus and maintain a level caloric intake, it rewards you.  Consistency breeds progress.

 

In addition, micro nutrients are a large piece of the overall health component too.  It is often the forgotten piece of the health puzzle.  It’s one I’ve grown passionate about pushing because it is all too often overlooked.

Looking for some simple REAL FOOD recipes?

Click to download my FREE recipe e-book!

Just because you can “slay” your macro counts doesn’t mean that you are slaying your micros.  Micro nutrients are things like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that maintain so much of the body’s overall health.  We get our micros from our macros.  Which implies that macro nutrient quality does matter.  Without a diet rich in whole foods, there will be micro nutrient deficiency.

 

You Can’t “Diet” Forever

There is a general misconception that tracking your macros means you will live with your head buried in your phone for the rest of your life.

WRONG! (insert buzzard noise here)

For some who thrive on accountability you just might.  And if that works for you I say “heck yes”.

 

But for others that isn’t sustainable.  What is sustainable is investing time in learning to understand macro nutrient value and portion size by weighing and measuring to acquire the skills necessary to begin to eyeball the portions your body needs to maintain your goals. Day-to-day practice becomes habit and may help you eat intuitively down the road.

 

Why It Works

When 2 out of every 3 adults are considered to be “obese” in the U.S. then clearly there is a misunderstanding in the energy balance needs of our bodies.

 

There is no “magic” behind tracking macros (although many of my clients would disagree…lol).  The “magic” is a scientific approach to fueling your body with the right quantity of fuel for your goals.  It is creating a caloric deficit or surplus, driven by goals, and having such great food awareness that you have the power to shift in whichever direction you want and need.   Beyond that, it is day-to-day consistency that yields progress.

 

Macro tracking is effective because there is not an “off limits” food list.  In fact the learning curve when you begin tracking macros is HUGE because most clients realize that junk food consumes a majority of their daily macro budget if they eat it.  The more whole, real foods you consume the more food you have to enjoy in a day.

 

Over Restriction Breeds Non-compliance

I’ve been there.  I followed a strict Paleo approach to eating for years after I discovered I had gluten sensitivity.  There was so much value in that experience, including the knowledge I gained in food quality and awareness.

 

The problem was that it restricted so many foods.  When I had a desperate craving for something that wasn’t  on the list of approved foods I would have a non-Paleo bender of tortilla chips, hummus, and gluten-free pizza.  My caloric intake quadrupled over a weekend and then I wondered why I was constantly starting over on Monday.

 

Once I discovered a balanced approach to eating I found myself consuming more real-foods, heavy on micro nutrients, than ever.

Why?

Because I wasn’t tempted by restriction and found a balanced way to have a small bit of something I really looked forward to each day and my cravings faded.

 

What’s even more amazing is I crave those foods less because they aren’t “off-limits” and I don’t feel the pressure to deny myself.  It’s kind of like when your parents tell you can’t date the “bad boy” when you are a teenager.  The more they say no the more desperate you become to find the “Danny Zuko” of your school and make it official. (shameless Grease plug…I was obsessed with that movie growing up.)

Goals For My Clients

I strive to teach my clients balance with a focus of three main goals I hope for them to achieve:

 

Goal #1: Adopt the 90/10 Rule

90% whole, read foods with that leftover 10% being something you love.  That 10% allows you maintain the other 90%.

 

Goal #2: Focus on longevity.  

Although you might have a short term goal you are head strong in achieving the end result is for client to fly solo in their nutritional journey when they are ready.  If they restrict themselves to no chocolate, no bread, no “insert your favorite guilty pleasure here” then there is no longevity.

 

Finding balance in being successful in social gatherings and eating out is part of longevity.  Learning to approach those situations with purpose and a plan is a lifelong skill with great value.

 

Goal #3: Practice makes progress, not perfection.

I know it’s a total cliché but it’s true.

 

Just like a sport you have to practice to become successful.  If you want to be a better 3-Point shooter you must practice shooting 3-pointers often.

 

Similarly, if you want to learn how to eat in the “real world” to achieve your goals you must practice and expose yourself to situations where those skills are put to the test.  You must prove to yourself you have the skill set necessary to move through life and maintain your goals.

 

Invest in learning about the tools that will make you successful for life.  No thirty day crash diet filled with complete restriction and appetite suppressants will teach you how to learn to eat real food.  Slow, steady progress is still that…PROGRESS.

 

It’s Not For Everybody

I get it 100%. Tracking macro nutrient intake may not be for you.

 

What is for you is learning the skills necessary to maneuver through life with balance.  Learning to fill your plate with a handful of lean protein and carbs and lots of veggies isn’t intuitive for everyone.  Invest in learning to make your health a priority in a way that is sustainable for you.

 

I did.  And it has made all the difference.

 

Looking for my more macro friendly recipes?

Click HERE to down load my Free Recipe book!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Guest On The Money Peach Podcast

Money Peach Podcast

I was extremely reluctant to take my business to social media.  Then I realized–if I don’t, I will never provide the value I am capable of.

 

I was also nervous to be on my friend Money Peach‘s podcast.  I finally decided that it was time and I am so glad I did.

 

Take a listen to his podcast (he is awesome at what he does) and hear more about my story to now.

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Client Success Story: The Marathoner

Client Success Story: The Marathoner

Age: 33

Time Frame: 16 Weeks

 

Before and After

Before and after pictures “sell.”  I get that more and more as a coach and I personally think it sucks at times.  When someone is looking to make a nutritional change it is often scale driven.  I love it, as a coach when I have a prospective client whose primary goal for making nutritional changes is performance driven.  Whether it is to establish new personal records dead lifting, in a race or just in life, non-scale related goals are ones I really enjoy helping clients pursue.  They are often the undiscussed victories that can be even better than a scale goal.

 

When this client came to me ready to attack her next marathon using a nutritional strategy I was ecstatic.  She has realized that fueling her body for performance was a missing link and she was ready to invest in herself to reap the benefits. Her goal was to crush her marathon with a change in the scale as a byproduct.  Needless to say, both happened and she’s never looking back!

 

The moral to her story is that nutrition isn’t just about a number on a scale.  It’s about listening to your body, zoning in how you actually feel, where you feel empowered and the entire big picture of health.  Often when we spend time really fine tuning the non-scale victories we find that weight loss comes along with it.

 

Here Is Her Story:

“I began my journey with Amanda in January 2017 in preparation for my fourth marathon.  I had run three full marathons as well as several half marathons previously, however, I always felt like something was missing.  Longer runs would leave me completely drained in the energy department and I would most definitely need to rest/nap afterwards.  I found that I would “bonk” energy-wise around mile 20 and struggle through the last 6 miles of the race.  I would be very sore the next day, making sightseeing in new cities I was running in uncomfortable.

 

Greater Accountability

As a Crossfitter, I had heard the buzz about “tracking your macros” and saw the results it could provide- improved body composition, PR-ing lifts, flying through WODs with amazing energy.  I began to track my macros on my own just to see if it was a lifestyle I could follow.  I’ve always enjoyed eating healthy and meal prepping has been a habit I’d been doing for some time due to my work schedule.  I found that I could make my day look great in My Fitness Pal and meet all of my numbers then would eat cookies/snacks and not log them (silly, I know).  I knew I needed someone to help hold me accountable and having Amanda review my log weekly provided just that.

In just a few short weeks of working together, I noticed that my runs were becoming easy and the time it took me to recover was almost non-existent.  I could go for an 18 mile run and turn around and go for an 8 mile run the next day without soreness and with continued energy.

 

Food As Fuel

Fueling my body properly for training including pre-workout and post-workout meals was clearly what I was missing.  I learned what types of food made me feel the best and tried to stick to natural, whole foods to eat while running such as dried fruits and applesauce rather than gels and blocks I had previously used.

The day of the race, I felt more prepared for a marathon than I ever have before.  My pre-race nutrition was solid, my snacks were prepared and I was ready.  I felt amazing throughout the race and did not have my usual “bonk” at mile 20.  And the next day, no soreness at all – even went for a 3 mile hike!

 

Nutrition Was Key

I can’t believe it took me four marathons to realize that changing my nutrition was the key to my success.  This way of eating is not just a change I will make when training for an event, but a permanent lifestyle change.  I was convinced marathon number four would be my last but just signed up for number five!”

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

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Costco Shopping List

Costco List

Costco.

 

Enough said right?

 

When I mention Costco it ignites a fight or flight response, you vision money leaving your bank account and battling for a parking spot among a sea of retirees.

 

It’s true…it does the same for me.  However, I don’t think we can dispute the fact that they offer some really amazing bang for your buck foods and have come a long way in food quality.

One Trip Per Month

Personally, I limit myself to one Costco expedition a month to fit within my budget.  I plan for it and have become the master of Costco execution leaving with real food options that support both our micro and macro nutritional needs.

 

After my awesome feedback from my Trader Joe’s Shopping List I had many requests for more of my favorite things.  I decided to tackle Costco first.  Just like my TJs list you will find that my choices are always gluten free with a few “gluten-rific” options that my family is able to enjoy.

 

Beyond The Staples

Costco does a an amazing job of carrying high quality organic products nowadays along with many sources of organic lean proteins.  Although I will highlight some of my favorite Costco “gems” this list includes more than the staples of your weekly grocery shopping list to things that are “must-haves” of the stock.

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Must-Have Produce

 

 

 

 

Baby Creamers:I love prepping these in my Instant Pot and turning them into smashed potatoes or breakfast potatoes under a runny yolk

“Love” Beats: So yummy sliced atop a fresh salad

Fresh Start Smoothie Blend: with summer in full effect I keep this berry and kale combo in the freezer

Frozen Veggies: Costco keeps an amazing frozen selection of organic veggies to keep in the freezer for your last minute meal options

Cocktail Cucs:I am all about buying veggies my kids love.  For some reason cute little cocktail cucumbers are more popular with my kids so I snatch them up

Cauliflower Rice: (A two pack that allows you to eat one and freeze the other.  It freezes great!)

Butter Lettuce: My favorite lettuce and you can’t beat the price at Costco

Zucchini Noodles (bran new to Costco): Great for a last minute addition to dinner

 

Must Have Lean Protein

Kirkland Turkey Burgers

Don Lee Farms Chicken Patties: These are nice for an “I have nothing prepped” kind of night.

Organic Chicken Broth: I keep chicken stock on hand as a sub to saute and steam veggies and meats.  It adds flavor and keeps fat down if needed.

Rotisserie Chicken: They keep this as far away as possible to get you to walk to the back  of the store while filling your cart.  I use it to make chicken salad or as a quick protein source.

Shrimp: Great to have on hand as a very lean protein source.

 

Must Have Carbohydrates

Dried Mangoes: One of my favorite post-workout snacks

Figgy Pops: A great pre-workout snack or snack in general.  I recommend these as a great snack for my clients who are endurance athletes while on the road

Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice

Millet and Brown Rice Ramen: (literally only millet and brown rice…say what??)

Milton’s GF Crackers

Organic Raw Honey

Organic Maple Syrup: My fave coffee sweetener.  Something I have a wee bit of each day in my morning coffee.

And if you can find them…I also love

Sweet Potato Fries

Path of Life Quinoa and Kale

Must Have Fats

Nuts: I am a major nut butter junky and have found Costco’s selection of nuts to be superior when I make homemade nut butters

Nut Butters: almond, peanut, and occasionally cashew

Coconut Oil

Avocado Oil

Flax and Chia seeds: in bulk makes the cost so good (but sometimes hard to find)

Kerrygold: I use this in my coffee each morning..can’t beat the cost here

Must Have Snacks

Noosa: throw this (or any Greek Yogurt) in the freezer for 10 minutes and you have a lower fat version of cheesecake-ish dessert.

Organic Hummus: A must-have to get my kids eating more veggies

Organic PB Fit: I love this to have on hand to add to a shake, or atop a rice cake as a snack

Lundberg Rice Cakes: My favorite rice cake in a 3 PACK!!! Yeah–but hard to find.

Squeeze Pouches: All types including apple mixed fruits, veggies and Chia seed. Love this for a quick real-food pre/post workout snack or for the kids lunches.

Kind Bars: a nice option for a gluten free treat, far lower in sugar than most similar bar.  Great crumbled atop yogurt as a granola option.

Lara Bars:  a great two pack of my kids’ favorite flavors Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie.

Acai by Sambazon: A seriously delicious summer treat.  When my bananas are about to go bad a slice them up and put them in the freezer for the acai base.  Then use a few pouches to whip up a yummy acai ice cream and top with granola, berries, honey, and whatever else you want.

 

Down Fall

Costco has one major downfall and that is their inconsistency in stock.  I often fall in love with a product only to go back and discover they no longer carry it.  I can travel only a short 10 minute drive from one Costco location to another to find they don’t carry the same items.

If something you want isn’t at your local Costco ask a manager.  They are often willing to investigate and see if they too can get it in. Please Keep in mind some of the items are seasonal and vary by location. Most pantry items are easy to find year round at all locations. Prices may also vary by location.

 

The Upside

Their return policy is pretty much no questions ask.  You can take back any product you are dissatisfied with including foods items you’ve sampled.  I’ve taken back produce that went bad too quickly in my perspective and I get a fresh replacement.

 

Want To Download This List To Take To Costco?

Click HERE to download it now

 

Did I leave off one of your favorite, real food Costco favorites?  Please comment below and let me know what I need to add to my list!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

Cashew Pecan Nut Butter

Cashew Pecan Nut Butter

 

I am not joking…this is delicious. You are going to make it and swear that the sugar fairy dumped loads of sweetness in there when you weren’t looking.

 

But Pecans…WOW!  Their sweetness really comes through when you emulsify them. Pecans, paired with cashews and a few spices makes what many of my friends refer to as “Nut Butter Crack.”

 

Nuts are amazing way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet necessary for great hormone function and energy supply. The taste is just a lucky byproduct.

Download this recipe and more in my FREE Macro Recipe e-Book Volume 1.

 

AWalk’s Homemade Cashew Pecan Butter

 

Ingredients

2 Cups Pecans

2 Cups Cashews (unsalted…unless you prefer more of a salty finish)

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

 

  1. Place pecans and cashews in a food processor. (I have a 14 cup Cuisinart and use that thing all the time.)
  2. Lock lid in place and begin to blend for roughly 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stop blending and use a spatula to mix butter that has begun to stick to the sides as well as the oil that has begun to form at the center.
  4. Add cinnamon and vanilla.
  5. Put lid back on and mix for another 2 minutes.
  6. Repeat step 3.
  7. Blend for another 2 minutes. Butter should be warm and a bit runny.
  8. Pour nut butter into a Mason jar or other storage container and store in the refrigerator.

 

Total Macros in 1 tablespoon:

Fat: 8.5g

Protein: 2.8g

Carbs: 2.5g

Fiber: 1g

 

Looking for my more macro friendly recipes?

Click HERE to down load the entire book!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Client Success Story: “50-ish Is The New 30”

Client Success Story: “50-ish Is The New 30”

 

Age: 47

Time Frame: 1 Year

 

Father Time

No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop time.  We have the choice to allow the aging process to deter us from making life changes with the “it’s too late mindset” or use it to drive us to find a better, healthier quality of life.

I am so grateful that the client I am highlighting this month realized she no longer wanted to walk the path of inactivity and unhealthy habits.  Instead, she made the choice to become the best version of herself at almost 50 years old.  She is a case of the chronic misunderstanding that less food=greater results.  The most exciting progress she has made is shifting her mindset to food as fuel.

This month I am excited to highlight a client who clearly makes 50 look like the new 30.  She is an inspiration to all women and proof that age is no excuse to never stop working on yourself.

 

Here is Her Story:

“At the age of 47, I have had 17,155 days to make decisions. Decisions that led to habits. Habits that led to reflections and reflections that led to insights. Those insights helped me realize I didn’t want to just exist because I was aging. With 50 looming near like the Grim Reaper, I felt a new sense of urgency in deciding if I was going to watch my body wither away or fight Father Time with all I had.

 

We Are Responsible

That decision was easy to make but I knew if I wanted to see real changes, I first had to accept that I was ultimately responsible for every one of those thousands of decisions. What I had done in my past in relation to my health and fitness goals was never entirely met. I realized that I had sabotaged my own progress by rationalizing every excuse to miss a workout or follow a meal plan.

If I was going to do this 100%, I needed to change my mindset. No longer would it matter if the holidays are coming, a vacation or simply a bad day. The time was now and I needed to stop getting in my own way.

 

I decided to join a gym that was completely different from what I had done before. Somewhere that pushed progress and had the structure I needed to remain consistent. I stepped out of my comfort zone and a CrossFit gym became my new home the second I walked in.

The atmosphere itself was unique from anywhere I had been. Members that were actually sweaty and out of breath. Pushing themselves to perform without giving up.  There would be no mindless cardio for hours. If you were there, you were working hard.  The coaches and members encouraged each other to keep pushing themselves. The positivity and kindness from all was addicting and created an equation that proved results in their commitment and physiques.

 

Missing Piece

I found the missing piece to my fitness puzzle with Coach Amanda. Not only was she a strong leader as a coach but she also trained others in nutrition. As I watched my fellow members begin to shed pounds, build muscles and increase strength and endurance, I knew I had to take the next step.

Amanda accepting me as a client was like winning the lottery.

I had found someone who was knowledgeable, promoted accountability and continually encouraged you to strive forward. She helped me not just track my intake but to understand what nutrients I need to actually fuel my body for performance. I learned how to plan ahead to promote success instead of guilt. She builds you up so you become accountable to yourself.  This was a crucial part of the process for me as I had to become comfortable in social events to make choices that supported my goals.

 

 

Not only did I lose 15 pounds and 3 pants sizes (smaller than I was in High School), but I lowered my cholesterol by 47 points and have 0% visceral fat (that awful stuff that accumulates around your organs and causes illness).

I am stronger, faster and more confident than I have even been.

The hardest part of this journey is that I wish I could take more people along with me.  I want others to understand what it is like to feel incredibly healthy on the inside and actually look in the mirror and love who you see.   To never want to crop a photo because it is proof of your progress.

I’m not afraid of tomorrow. I welcome it as it brings even further results.

 

My advice to anyone considering making changes is this. Do it now. There will never be a better time to build a better you than today!”

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

Awalk