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Scale Obsession

The dreaded scale. Sometimes I just want to take that thing and throw it as far as possible. Some days it is my best friend. I know the scale obsession feeling well. I’ve been there and have allowed the scale to determine my perception of progress. I am here to tell you — that little piece of metal and plastic is merely a device to collect data and I want you to get to the point that you can agree. Did you hear that?  A tiny little device can determine your mindset for the day?  That is over starting NOW!

When you embark on a nutritional journey or program you have to find a way to assess the outcome. The scale is easy to use, and many people resort to it because the scale should tell you everything, right?  It doesn’t judge you subjectively, it gives you concrete, black and white data every single morning. You can’t talk it into subtracting some digits or adding them. Instead, its consistency day to day can give you some extremely useful information.

However, the scale alone is not your greatest indicator of progress. The scale obsession has to stop. Understanding and taking time to assess and celebrate your other progress indicators is key to your physical AND mental success.

Your Health

I know shocking, right? Your own health is a serious indicator of success. How do you feel when you eat, after you eat? Are you eating quality foods or falling victim to taste all the time?

What’s your overall health panel like? Having a baseline of health history to judge against once you embark on a nutritional journey provides so much great insight into your health.  There is more to “health” than we can actually see with our eyes. For example, the scale may have you thinking you’re overweight. But if it’s all muscle, and if you feel good because you’re eating healthy and wholesome foods, wouldn’t that mean the scale is wrong?

(Ready to stop putting your health on the backburner? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Food Awareness

I use the term food awareness with my clients all the time. It is honestly one of the tools I find most valuable to people in their sustainable relationship with food. It’s taking time to understand a nutritional label, not just read it. It is using that information and applying it to their own life and nutritional goals. If you have gained that ability through a nutritional program then that is a HUGE indicator of nutritional success.

Food awareness is more about knowing what you’re putting into your body, vs. trying to stick to a calorie goal. A low-fat coffee cake isn’t healthy just because it’s low-fat. Bananas are calorie and carb dense, but they’re healthy for you. See where I’m going here? Food awareness is important, especially when you’re looking to take care of your body long-term.

Your Performance

Athlete or not, you perform in some way in your life. Maybe it is having enough energy to keep up with your kiddos or being able to climb ladders to install light fixtures. No matter what it is, you have to perform every day in your life. And I know you want to do it well. How you feel during this performance is a huge indicator of success. Do you barely have enough energy to get by or are you ready to take on the world still late in the day?

Being in control of your intake in order to perform at the top of your game feels so good.  Sometimes you don’t even realize your performance is lackluster until you take time to document it, reflect on it and make changes towards improving it.

Your Composition

The real change that is important is what you see in the mirror not what the scale says.  I encourage before and after pictures to all my clients. And no, they don’t have to be shared in social media for the entire world to see.  Instead, they are your own private progress indicator that can truly show your body transformation.

Your Confidence

Confidence trumps composition any day in my opinion. Gaining the ability to love you for you, the body you walk with every day and the power to ignore those that think otherwise is a gift of maturity. This confidence, in my opinion, is really the greatest indicator of your success.

Sometimes we slave over food prep, plan everything perfectly, and think “Yes — this is the week for some awesome weight loss!”. But then you step on that scale and you are in total denial. “Up a freakin’ pound?  You’ve got to be kidding me!”. Trust me, I know that statement all too well because clients send me that frantic email all too often.

It is virtually impossible to control all the variables that play a part of weight loss. The sheer error in tracking intake, changes in daily expenditure, efficiency in energy creation and absorption, training recovery, gastrointestinal fluctuations, and the list goes on. It takes some serious scientific equipment to even get a close gauge of your personal expenditure.

(Want to build your confidence and love what you see in the mirror? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Way Back…Back into Time

Take yourself back to your freshmen year of high school and basic science. You spent time learning about data correlation and trending way back then (trust me you did, I taught this course for 10 years and not much has truly changed).  You learned that data collection can be all over the place. Plotting points on a  graph often reflect ups and downs over time. It’s the overall trend, or you may remember the “line of best fit” that truly shows your scale trends. That is why collecting that scale data is key. It gives us a whole bunch of data points for which to assess long-term changes.

best-fit-graph

When you step on that scale I want you to see it as merely data collection. Don’t give it the power to control your destiny that day. Celebrate and take note of all of those other successes you are having through your journey; the compliment someone gave you about how great you are looking, how freakin’ awesome you felt after or during a workout last week, your decrease in cholesterol, and how you feel about yourself right now!

Have you ditched the scale before? How did it make you feel?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

10 Tailgate Tips For Healthy Eating Success

Do you ever get excited about the football season? I always am at around, well, um… the end of February every year! We love football at our house!  Just the sound of it in the background makes me happy. My husband played football for a bit in college, and having a game on takes me back to our college days together and the total thrill of the game.

The Tailgate

For many people now, football season takes on a whole new meaning. It is a major social event. Whether you are watching the game on the big screen at home or have season tickets, now football is all about tailgating. Throwing a football around, eating BBQ, and drinking a few adult beverages seems to be a prerequisite for the full football experience.

But — when the tailgate starts at 10:00 am and kickoff isn’t until 3:00 pm, there is a lot of room for that tailgate to take a turn towards a nutritional nightmare. But, have no fear! There is still a way to enjoy every moment of that tailgating experience and still stay on track with your nutritional goals.  

(Want to focus on your health and make it a priority? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

With 17 weeks of regular football season play, plus post-season playoffs, there is a whole lot of time for football and tailgating to come in between you and your nutritional goals. So, don’t make any excuses.  It is possible for you to find a sustainable way to enjoy watching your favorite team and the social element that comes along with the big game. Don’t be a victim to your Sunday FUN-day. Instead, follow these 10 simple tips for tailgate tracking success.

10 Tailgate Tips For Healthy Eating Success

Pre-Plan

It’s the name of the game — literally. You have to plan ahead and pre-log your food to stay on track. Ask ahead and find out what’s going to be cooking on the grill and save a space to enjoy the meal you want. If you know in advance what choices you will have, you will come out with greater success.

You can also plan ahead if YOU are the one catering for a group of people. Find ways to cut out the crap that you’d rather not eat. For example, use greek yogurt instead of mayo. Go without the bun if you plan on eating a few hot dogs or burgers. Add a side salad to the menu. Making healthier choices is easier when you pre-plan for them.

Bring Your Own Food

The great thing about most tailgating is that it’s potluck style. You can bring along a dish you love so that you know exactly what you are eating! For me, I love bringing some fresh and cut up fruit with a delicious dip. Or, I’ll bring some veggies in foil packs that can be thrown on the grill and enjoyed with burgers and hot dogs. This allows me more control over what I put in my body, and also allows me to enjoy the “not so great” foods in moderation. 

Eat Lean Leading Up To It

If you plan to really enjoy yourself and tailgating is your “go ham” moment then eat lean leading up to it. The morning of, prepare yourself an egg white omelet with lots of veggies and lean Canadian bacon. Stock up on greens and other veggies to fill you up with a lean lunch meat option like deli turkey, ham, tuna or chicken breast. Make a smoothie. Just fuel your body with healthy foods so you can indulge a bit at the tailgate. 

Pick A Lean Meat

Meat on the BBQ screams Tailgate. Choose one that you know will support your goals. Choose chicken breast, a lean pork tenderloin, salmon, or a lean cut of beef over a higher fat option like ribs or ribeyes. They taste amazing on a grill or in a smoker just like their full-fat sister options when done right. And on top of that, if you go a little overboard, it’s a lot easier to recover from the chicken breasts than it is a huge rack of ribs! 

Don’t Let Peer Pressure Bully You Into Giving In.  

OK — you are an adult and you should know how to say no!  You, however, must have the willpower to do so. Don’t blame your friends for your poor choices. They are not in charge of your health and well-being, you are. Be willing to stand up for your goals and follow through. They will respect you more for it.

Plan For Adult Beverages

Alcohol is part is of the tailgate experience for most. Don’t be so restrictive to say you won’t have a drink. All you need to do is choose a light beer, or higher proof alcohol and sparkling water to keep carb values down. Plan for it and then stick with it.

Bring A Dip and Chips-“ish”

Tailgating breeds snacking. Chips and the dips we dip them into tend to be an easy talk-while-you-eat option. Pretty soon five chips can turn into a bag and NOOOOO! So, make and take your own. Use a Greek yogurt-based dip to spare the fat of sour cream or heavy cream and mix in your favorite seasonings like a dry Ranch Mix or Onion Soup mix and serve with Pop Chips, veggies, or homemade corn tortilla chips.

Pack Fruit

Fruit is a simple and healthy option that still gives you that snacking feeling and can even satisfy your sweet tooth. And bonus — you know there is nothing bad or guilty about eating fruit. You can even add a vanilla greek yogurt dip as a treat on the side.

Keep Your Protein Up

Make sure to eat your protein. Protein is usually scarce at social events. Be sure to hit that protein goal by planning ahead and maybe finishing off the night with a small quantity of a protein supplement to hit your goals! Plus, eating more protein will keep you satiated, and less likely to reach for those not so good for you snacks. 

Stick To The Plan

Seriously, the simplest of all tips and yet, the hardest to do. Maintain your willpower and keep your eyes on the prize.  Be a “weekend warrior” so that Monday ends up being a day of progress and not regret.  

(Ready to stop putting your health on the backburner? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

 

Football season lasts 5 months. That is an opportunity to make progress for 5 months or allow it to determine your nutritional fate. Show up to your tailgate owning your goals and I promise, others will follow.

What are some of your favorite healthy tailgating recipes?

Work Hard Be Kind,

Awalk

Do You Know Your Food

I had a recent conversation with a friend who was so excited to tell me about her “fat-free” olive oil spray. I remember thinking —huh? It’s olive oil; made of only one macronutrient… fat. After some discussion, I helped her to realize that the serving size listed on the can was for a 2-second spray. The reason the manufacturer could claim that it was “fat-free” on the label was that there wasn’t enough fat in one serving to have to label the fat content. Then I realized — if she didn’t understand that, there are many more people just like her out there!  It made me want to ask, do you know your food?

Do you know your food?

How well do you know your food labels? Do you know what’s really in your food? Are you familiar with the terms that many brands and companies use to entice you to buy their products? Let’s put your knowledge to the test!

(Ready to get in the habit of knowing your food and nourishing your body? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Product Labeling

Fat-free, sugar-free, and low-fat are all labels you find commonly on foods. But do you really know what these common food labels mean to the food you are putting into your body? I dug a little deeper into the Food and Drug Administration’s website to find out exactly what a product must contain or not contain to acquire these labels. Here are my findings.

“Sugar-free”:  When a label says it is “sugar-free” it means the sugar has been replaced with another artificial sweetener made through a chemical process. The FDA requires that sugar-free products labeled sugar-free have less than 0.5 gram of sugar in a serving. Sugar-free sweeteners and sugar alcohols like aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, xylitol, sorbitol, or maltitol may be some of the ingredients you read on labels replacing sugar and lowering carb calories. Because of their lower carb offerings “sugar-free’’ foods are very popular. However, their nutritional risk may outweigh their rewards based on an article released by Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health (1).

“Non-Fat”: To be considered non-fat the product must contain less than .5 grams of fat per serving. In other words, a 2-second spray of olive oil can be considered non-fat… even though olive oil is a fat.

“Reduced Fat”: When something is “reduced fat” that just means that it must contain at least 25% less fat per serving than the food it is referencing, typically the full-fat sister version. The way the fat content is reduced varies greatly depending on the food type.

“Vitamin Fortified”: A fortified food simply has vitamins, minerals or other nutrients not normally present in the food added to it during processing.  This is typical because processing them takes out any minerals and vitamins that existed. Fortification began long ago when large-scale public health concerns led to the need for vitamins and mineral increases due to major deficiencies. As it stands right now, fortification still exists on a sliding scale dependent on culture and location (2).

Knowledge is Power

If you truly KNOW your food, you can make informed decisions about what you put into your body.  Labels can be deceiving and manufacturers sometimes take advantage of labeling loopholes to entice shoppers. As you progress through your nutrition and life journey, I believe it teaches you a lot about your own food boundaries. As adults, we make important health decisions, not just for ourselves, but for our entire family. For me, my choices aren’t just about me. They influence my children and my husband. My choices can also impact their health either negatively or positively. With those decisions comes both reward and consequence. So, I challenge you to read your labels and get to know your food.

Fooducate

At the early stages of really investigating food quality, I discovered a great resource called Fooducate. It quickly became one of my favorite tools. It gave me more insight into the foods I was eating or interested in eating during the learning process.

Fooducate offers a website filled with great info, but the app is where the real power is. Fooducate offers a “health tracker” to log your daily food intake. It is incredibly close to My Fitness Pal, which I also love. The feature that I love from Fooducate is their “Food Finder” option. It allows you to scan the food and will then give you a food quality rating of A-D. The rating is based on nutrient density, ingredient lists, amount of processing, and a few other variables. I encourage you to download the app. It really allows you to evaluate the quality of the foods you purchase regularly.

Fuel for My Passion

This very topic is what motivated me to take my passion to social media and the internet. I want people to think about what they are fueling their body with and find a sustainable balance with that knowledge. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is meant to give you goals to hit on a daily basis to guide you to the progress you are looking for.

In my opinion, a healthy lifestyle is not meant to be a system to consume foods that have no nutritional and beneficial content that allows you to manipulate more foods into your day because of their chemical composition. Moderation is key and having these foods occasionally can be a valuable enhancement to sustainability, but shouldn’t be a frequent addition to your day.

(Want to focus on your health and make it a priority? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Sustainability in leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t come from living at either end of the restriction or glutton spectrum. Sustainability comes from finding a lifestyle that works long-term, that helps you gain power through knowledge about what you are eating, and that gives you confidence in yourself. Knowledge truly is power, and I want you to have power in your choices.

Are you surprised to hear about food labeling? What do you look for when choosing food products?

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

Resources:

(1) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/artificial-sweeteners/

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3319130/

Click HERE for more of the FDA’s labeling information

Are You a Weekend Warrior?

Oh, the weekend. Two full days of no routine, little to no accountability, and a whole lot of opportunity for whatever the heck you want to do! My weekend calendar usually consists of a kid’s birthday party, family dinners, and errand running. Somewhere among all the business of the weekend comes FOOD. Food can easily consume your social life on a weekend or be a faint memory because of your jam-packed schedule. However, without a plan, your weekend can quickly halt your week-day nutritional progress.

You can stop the cycle

I’ve seen the cycle of losing motivation and jumping off the nutrition bandwagon often. The cycle basically goes like this — five days of awesome weekday eating and exercising, and then over the weekend, two days of haphazard. Then, Monday rolls around, which starts the cycle all over again. And the worst part? You weight the same as you did last Monday. This cycle continues over and over again…with little to no weekly progress. Be honest with yourself, are you being a weekend warrior? Or are you a weekend victim?

Don’t be a victim

Weekends are a challenge for even the most committed. It’s even harder when you’re just starting out on your wellness journey. We all have those social gatherings, birthday parties, and date nights. And sometimes, we just need a break from our weekday routines. But that leaves us tempted.

So, put those excuses aside. Don’t be a victim to the weekend and allow it to sabotage your results and goals. The hardest thing for me as a coach is to watch my clients fall victim to this cycle and literally come to a standstill. I know it’s even harder for my clients. That’s why it’s important to understand how the cycle works, and use the tips below to overcome it and become a weekend warrior.

(Ready to start taking the steps you want to take to become an everyday warrior? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

5 tips to help you become a weekend warrior

I am destined to help you become a weekend warrior.  Here are my 5 tips to use when you start to find yourself falling victim to your weekend.

Plan for the social event

Think about any events that you’ll have over the weekend, and start planning for them in advance. Where are you going to eat? What will be available to eat? Can you make substitutions or order something off the menu so you can stay on track with your goals? By asking yourself these questions, you can then gauge your responses and make healthier decisions. For example, if you know the BBQ place won’t provide the healthiest options for you, you may want to eat something at home and then enjoy an appetizer while you’re there. Plan ahead so you can be prepared!

Leave a cushion

I like to leave some extra cushion in my day too just in case I eat a bit more than expected. For this, you can check out the restaurant menu in advance or even call if you have questions about their nutritional information. I would hate for you to overindulge when it could have easily been avoided.

Say no!

Sometimes, it’s just easier to say no thank you to the food being offered at an event. When you are in control of your food, you just simply get more of it. It is actually nice sometimes to step back and put conversation or friendship at the forefront of a social gathering rather than the food that surrounds you.

Fill up on a great meal at home before heading to the gathering so the desire for food doesn’t even exist. At the very least, fill up on the healthier and more nutritious options (like veggies and hummus) and say no to those options that you know won’t help you reach your goals.

Keep the Adult Beverages in Check

Alcohol is a huge temptation in social settings. Remember, you don’t really need alcohol to survive. Sure, it’s delicious, and man does it make you feel good! However, alcohol is just a filler, and it’s not going to keep you full or help you stay healthy. Plus, by drinking alcohol, you’re filling your stomach with calories that you could’ve just eaten!

I don’t know about you, but I like to eat! I’m not saying you can’t drink alcohol, but drink it in moderation — as the body responds by identifying it as a toxin and hormones react to get rid of it. If you are pushing hard for results, consider passing on it for now.

Stick to Your Plan

This is the hardest of all the tips I’ve mentioned because it involves willpower.  The power to be in control of what you put into your body is easily challenged by the power of temptation. Why is it that the food that tastes the best is often the food that is the worst for you?

To be able to say no to something that prevents you from pursuing your goals is empowering. Sticking to your plan creates that domino effect of success that allows each no to become easier. Besides, wouldn’t you rather be able to say that you stuck to your plan and are reaching your goals than say that you keep breaking your promises to yourself?

It’s time to BE a weekend warrior! 

I want you to do something for me. I want you to push hard for seven days, stick to your plan, and eat wholesome food. I also want you to exercise regularly and do some activities that you love doing. It can be anything from CrossFit, to walking around the block a few times, to attending a kickboxing class. Just take the time and stick to your plan, and you will quickly start seeing the benefits. Monday won’t hit you in the face so hard! And then, you will really begin to see that your seven days of hard work is 100% worthwhile. I promise you, it really does work.

Do you struggle to stick to your plan for the weekend? Let’s talk about it!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

Why Age Is No Excuse

If you’ve checked out my Feel Amazing Naked program, you may know that I truly believe anyone can look and feel their best, no matter their age. And the same goes for you! Age is no excuse, and here’s why.

My Own CrossFit Beginnings

I found CrossFit at the ripe age of 30. At 6 weeks postpartum, I was desperate for a fitness change to get back into shape after 2 kids and the chaos that I had now called motherhood. I was 100% intimidated, 100% nervous, and 100% addicted the moment I started. I have passionately loved the sport for 5 years now, I’m both an athlete and coach.

My Mom, A CrossFitter?

My mom is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. She has worked since she was 14 years old, has had a successful career and somehow managed to never miss any activity I was in. I remember how she put every ounce of her soul into raising me. She was a superwoman and I didn’t quite grasp that relevance until I had my own kids.

Like most women her age, she gave herself to being a mom, and as a result somewhat lost sight of her own goals, her own health, and her mojo. When my mom came to me over 2 years ago and said “I think I want to try CrossFit with you,” I said “Really?”.

I’ll be honest, I had a major internal struggle. She was almost 60 and had not been an athlete her whole life… at all (although she will tell you that 1 semester of college cheerleading qualifies)/ I was scared for her, especially because CrossFit isn’t easy. It is high-intensity, gut-checking, and both internally and externally competitive. I didn’t know if she had it in her.

To be 100% honest, I share all aspects of my life with her and this was the one place I got to escape, to push myself, to challenge myself and to feel on top of the world for a brief moment in time. I was nervous to let her into this CrossFit “cult” I belonged to. That moment of hesitation quickly faded when I realized she needed all of those things too. Needless to say, she’s never looked back.

The CrossFit Open

My mom’s love for CrossFit grew wildly. She was showing up almost every day to complete the same workout surrounded by 20-and-30 somethings with rock-solid abs and bulging biceps. I didn’t really think much about her success at her first workout or the ones the directly followed. Was I a horrible daughter for that?

Of course, I was proud and inspired by her courage but I never really paused to think about the greater significance of my mom, the “CrossFitter.” I really started to reflect on what being a “CrossFitter” truly meant to her months later, during that year’s CrossFit Open. That’s right. After CrossFitting for just over a year, and at 60 years old, she decided to give the Open a go. She had no expectations, little CrossFit experience, and really no clue. What she did have was an attitude that she COULD participate 110%. That turned out to be of more value than any experience needed.

16.5 Was More Than Burpees and Thrusters

I had the privilege of judging her for 16.5…the dreaded thruster and burpees over the bar combo (both her nemesis). I rolled out of bed early to come and cheer her on, sleepy-faced and completely unaware of the emotions that would soon take me over.

The timer counted down and she began. We had a strategy for her survival and I guided her through it. Small sets, slow and steady. She struggled, a WOD face in full effect until every single rep was done. My body shivered with the realization that this moment was so much more than any workout would ever be.  It was about her digging deep, going to a place she had little experience with, to prove that at almost 61 years old, she could.

She didn’t allowing her age in life to stop her from doing things she never had. It was a turning point for me as a spectator but more importantly, as her daughter. Tears rolled down my face as she completed the last few reps because I was proud. She was the last to finish and honestly, we were engaged in our moment together so deeply that we had no idea. For a few minutes of time, we switched rolls, and I fully embraced being the proud “mom.”

Age Is No Excuse

As if just being a “CrossFitter” wasn’t enough, she saw an opportunity to compete for the first time and took it. She joined forces with another CrossFit grandma and in a gym filled with experienced female CrossFitters, the two of them stole the show. They hit personal records that weren’t just weight based, they hit life records.

It didn’t matter how much weight was on that bar, they were satisfying deep rooted goals that most of us don’t even understand yet. With every single lift, the crowd roared and their eyes filled with shock and a clear passion for more. It was as if they were the leaders in the CrossFit Games and the rest of us just couldn’t get enough. It was a moment too hard to truly capture into words that we will all remember forever.

Reflecting

I get game gut showing up to workouts — you know the kind of nervous belly that makes you feel you aren’t sure if you have to puke or…well, you know. The amount of courage it continually takes her to show up is only magnified. And you know what? She does it almost every day. Her day actually starts at 5:30 in the morning.

She is rarely the fastest or lifts the heaviest and it doesn’t bother her in the slightest. My mom is there for other reasons, ones that far exceed either of the aforementioned ones. She’s there to prove to herself she can. She is there to be able to wrestle, swim, and get on the floor with my kids. She is there to inspire the other 50+ men and women, and for that matter, all of us. She’s a testament to not allowing age to ever be an excuse. If you ask her, she will tell you that the time she makes for this will give her so much time for life.

Why You Are Missing Out

My mom’s story alone supports the amazing life changes being active can bring.  Numerous studies done about activity in adults only further the cause.  Aside from the mental benefits of being active, research continually supports the need for activity in adults, especially those over the age of 50.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine , the benefits of a regular strength training increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce depression, increase bone density, and lower insulin resistance. Second to smoking, a lack of fitness is linked to the main reason for the early cause of death. In addition, the benefits of progressive resistance training are so powerful that research suggests they extend beyond the basic improvement of strength and cardiovascular health, and actually shift the genetic makeup of muscle. Why would you ever want to miss out on all of these benefits?

It’s A Cycle

Not only did CrossFitting make my mom aware of her fitness, it caused her to think about her eating habits too. She wants to feel good every time she gets into the gym and wants to be able to recover fast.  My mom now thinks about what she is putting inside her body. She loves the feeling of an awesome workout and knows the bigger importance of fueling her body at her age for more.  She still works a full time job, is a mom, is a grandma, and has to deal with menopause. When all of those aspects of life are supported by good nutrition and fitness, they are more rich because of it.

CrossFit Grandmas

It’s a revolution, a movement, a challenge to our ingrained aging perspective that we are too old at some point to pursue a goal. I wrote this post because I know so many women, in their middle ages and beyond, think that they are too old to invest in themselves. I am here to tell you that I’ve never seen my mom walk around with more confidence than she has now. You get one chance to live your life the way you want it, every moment, until the end. It is never too late to pursue your health; in training, in nutrition, and in mindset. Let my Mom, and the many other “CrossFit Grandmas”, inspire you to believe in yourself, reestablish your worth and achieve goals you never even knew you had.

What’s a goal you’ve set for yourself this year? Have you achieved it?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Beginner

Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Beginner

In second grade I remember being afraid to do a penny drop from the monkey bars because I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to look silly in front of my friends who could nail the penny drop.  For those of you who don’t know, a penny drop is when you hang upside down from the monkey bars by your knee pit (yes…it is a word) then plummet to earth while rotating one hundred eighty degrees to land on your feet.

 

So, do you know what I did?  

 

I played soccer, tether ball, basketball and completely avoided the monkey bars.  I never learned how to do a penny drop and honestly, I regret it to this day.  I was afraid.  Afraid to fail and afraid to admit that I was a beginner and needed help.  I have been afraid of this my entire life.  In fact, I am a bit afraid even writing about it because I am admitting it for the world to know and that feels nauseating.

 

Self Realization

I realized a few years ago this has been a theme my whole life.  I’ve always wanted to seem like I knew what I was doing.  Not because I wanted to impress anyone but because I was afraid to admit that I didn’t know.  That if I admitted I didn’t know someone would think I was a failure.  And one of the things I hate most in life…failing.

 

This self-realization came when I began to CrossFit.  I know what you are thinking…not another CrossFit obsessive story.  But just hear me out…

 

Crossfit is humbling.  You essentially try a whole bunch of new movements that your body has never done for consecutive days and realize that the athlete you thought you were, has left you.  Your body is expected to move in ways it never has and do it efficiently, effectively and gracefully.

 

I was none of those things in the beginning.  So, I became obsessed.  I wanted to be good at every single movement…in fact, the best.  I was a runner, a cardio queen, but not a weightlifter. I practiced at home and stayed at the gym extra hours to increase my skill level.  I began to throw more weight on the bar in an effort to compete with the best with a total sacrifice of correct technique.  And I did that for a long time.  Until I realized, I wasn’t really getting better.  In fact I hit a huge plateau.  I had been lifting at the same weight for months and I had no idea why. So I worked harder with the same ugly technique and got nowhere.

 

Then it came to me.  I had sacrificed technique, the foundation, the beginning, in an effort to compete.  I had to change something in order to overcome this stagnation.

 

That something was admitting I was a beginner.

 

Starting Over

I needed to start over, from the ground up, and retrain my bad habits.  I had to put my pride aside, admit my faults and become a beginner by taking some big steps back before I could move forward.

 

Can you relate?  Have you been in this place in life before?

 

It isn’t easy.  It is an ego check and honestly embarrassing.  To top if off I am a CrossFit coach.  I needed a coach with more knowledge than I had at lifting to coach me, a coach.

 

 

When I had this epiphany about myself, I began to reflect at similar situations in my life.  I began to identify moments and opportunities that I missed out on because I wasn’t willing to be a beginner.  I wasn’t willing to admit I didn’t know because my pride was too big to admit I didn’t.  I missed out on learning more in college because sometimes I felt like I knew the content so well, when in fact I didn’t truly deeply understand.  I missed out on being a better mom at times because I often felt like I had mastered certain stages of their life, when in fact I hadn’t (and still haven’t).  I missed out on being a better wife because I didn’t want to admit to my husband that I was a beginner when it came to truly, authentically, connecting to his needs. There are more, many more that I know I could list.

 

I realized that I couldn’t be a Varsity player if I didn’t have JV skills.

 

So I made changes. I didn’t want to continue through life this way and more importantly, I needed to show my kids that you have to start from the beginning to get to the top.  I was at a turning point in my career and in my life and I knew I needed to fully embrace the beginning to become who I wanted to be in the end.

So…

I began to do more yoga to give mobility to muscles that were the foundation for movement.

 

I began to break my lifts into parts before I could work on the whole.

 

I began to read more to discover truths not just hearsay.

 

I began to ask other moms what worked for them because I don’t have all the answers.

 

I began to resist the urge to say “I know” in situations where I really didn’t.

 

I began to take more classes to learn from people whose experience could add so much value to my life.

 

I began to look inward and study spirituality.

 

I began to surround myself with people who really know more than me because I needed their presence in my life to make me better.

 

I began to experiment on my body and try new things…because to fail on myself would be the best gift of experience I could have.

 

I began to try to just simply be a better listener.

 

I began to be more intentional and present.

 

And the best part…I began to learn things I would have otherwise missed out on because I was afraid to be a beginner.

 

When I stopped trying to always be “advanced” I realize that being a beginner was awesome.  I began to see growth in my life, in my strength, in my heart and in me as a person.

 

I love when people come to me and admit they too are beginners.  That they are beginners in understanding how to fuel their bodies and allow me the opportunity to guide them in that journey.  Together we learn and each time I have the opportunity to be a beginner with them.

 

“Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at your life in order to take a step forward and move on in it” -Rashida Rowe

 

Don’t be afraid to be a beginner.  Checking your pride at the door and really admitting you don’t know opens up so many opportunities for growth in mind, body and spirit.  I still wrestle with that internal habit to say “I know.” But now I am aware and work to strangle that urge (most of the time) before it is spoken.

I encourage you to be a beginner too.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

Daily Grubb Diary #2

Daily Grubb Diary #2

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It’s 2017…Already

Dang–I swear I blinked and it was 2017. My first daily grub diary was well received and gave people some simple ideas that they can incorporate into their day.  So, here I go again, sharing me…getting my grub on:)

 

Gimme All The Food

Since November 1st I have been working toward being in a surplus on intake or “massing” phase (at least that is the cool way of saying it).  Really it is just a purpose driven phase of weight gain not an “eat all the Oreos you can” kind of weight gain. I am lifting much more and cardio-ing (is that word?) much less to try and gain muscle in the process.  Not gonna lie–it has been awesome and perfect time around the holidays when life is a bit crazy for sure.  So far, I am  up 7 pounds from my starting weight and working for another few, nice and controlled.  I eat lots (don’t judge…lol) and I love it.  It won’t always be this way, but I look forward to what the pay off will be on the flip side.

What I Ate In A Day, Monday January 2nd, 2017

5:00 Am Wakeup and Pre-Workout:

I was up early this morning to hit start my lifting before coaching so my normal routine was a bit interrupted.  Usually my breakfast serves as my pre-workout as well.  I don’t typically train early so today I ate something small to top off my tank but not upset my belly.

 

Today it was leftover Krusteaz Gluten Free Pancakes.  We have a Sunday morning tradition of a big family breakfast as my hubby is coming off shift and the start of our weekend begins.  I lucked out with some leftover pancakes–yes!  On top of them I spread a current addiction of mine (thanks to a friend who knows nut butter is my kryptonite) Wildfriends Pumpkin Peanut Butter that a friend introduced me too.  Sooo good! And both were perfect for a pre-workout carb up! And of course, I enjoyed my usual morning coffee.  Before I left the house I put out chicken breast to defrost to keep me on track for dinner time.

 

 

Post Workout Snack

After my lifting session, I took my normal whey protein shake and topped it off with a go-to of mine…baby food.  I know weird right??  But it is so simple, great quality and easy if I have to work or coach right after I lift.  That morning I had one of my favs.. Happy Baby Spinach, Apples and Kale flavor.

 

 

 

Snack #2

I never leave home with snacks…not just for my kids, but me too.  Ask my husband (and my parents)…I go from zero to HANGRY real fast. A few hours into coaching I was starving and got in a quick snack, an Rx Bar.  I love these bars.  Simple ingredients–dates, some type of nut(s) and egg whites.  The fat content ranges in among all flavors from 8-12g.  The Chocolate Sea Salt and Maple are my favorite.  (Click here to check out the awesome variety pack on Amazon).

 

Lunch

Finally–it was lunch time! I have been on a major sushi kick lately.  I crave it all the time, so naturally I can’t deprive my body. I must need the Omega 3s. I love a local sushi restaurant that offers some great lunch specials. I opted for the Bento Box on this day which included 2 pieces of tuna sashimi, 2 pieces of salmon sashimi, a 5 (huge) piece California Roll, 3 oz Teriyaki chicken, seaweed salad and cucumber salad.  It was AMAZING!!!

 

 

 

A note for the trackers out there.  I believe in balance when tracking macros.  You shouldn’t have to be a victim to the scale and you shouldn’t ignore your goals either.  I eat out now and then and use my food awareness to help me make my food choices.  I know both the consequence and the reward of eating out now and then…and I am content with accepting both at the right time.  “How do I track my food when I eat out” is one of biggest questions I get as a coach.  I though I would throw in a sample of how I tracked this meal out as reference.  This is my way and I am sure there are other great ways as well.  Consistency is “how” you track while eating out is really the most important.

 

Dinner

I was in desperate need of doing some grocery shopping after the holidays so I had to get creative with what I had at home. I opted for a new recipe I wanted to make after trying it a New Year’s Eve party.  It was Gluten Free Girl’s Brussel Sprout Salad and I happened to have the sprouts and just got a few fresh pomegranate from a friend.  So delicious.  I dialed down some of the olive oil in the dressing and passed on the cheese this time and it was still soooo good.  Along with the salad, I browned chicken breast in a pan with garlic and spices and opted for some Earthbound Sweet Potatoes I had in my freezer.  The whole meal turned out so good and the kids and hubby loved it  I seriously love when I have to get creative with what’s at home and then they all love it!

 

So there it is..another day in the life of me, seeking balance and trying to fuel my body. It is never perfect but each day is mindful, consistent and different than the next.  Variety is the spice of life…literally!

 

Work Hard, Be Kind,

AWalk

5 Extremely Simple Tips to Achieving Nutritional Goals

Why I don’t make resolutions

I love the feel of a new year.  I love the internal feeling of accomplishment of another year gone by when the clock strikes midnight (that is if I actually stay awake for it).  And I love the feeling of hope of the unknown for what the new year will bring.

But I can’t honestly say I’ve never sat down and said…”These are my New Year’s resolutions.” It just seems too fluffy, too manufactured and too static.

To be honest, resolutions are intended to be so long term that you almost forgot you’ve made them. In fact, 92%  of New Year’s resolutions fail by January 15th.  Seriously…that is it.

 

What is a resolution?

The word resolution means “a formal expression of intention”.  To have the intention to do something is one thing but to actually put it on paper and take action is another.  The word resolution implies to me that you failed the year before, that you resolve to do better in the next year.

The failure from the previous year is not a failure at all, but rather experience that will drive future change and behavior in this year.

Instead of resolutions, set goals.

 

What is the difference?

You might be asking, “Is there really a difference between a resolution and a goal?”

Well yes, there is, thanks for asking.

A goal is defined as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.”  In other words, there is a tangible target that you want to hit with some type of behavior that will get you there. Goals are measurable, specific and are written down with the intention of continually coming back to them to evaluate progress.

When I was a teacher, we set goals for our students’ progress and we assessed that progress each unit to identify our students’ areas of improvement and our own.  With my clients now, I am constantly asking them the same.

As people, we should be doing that for ourselves constantly…in life, in marriage, in parenting and of course, in health.

You Need Goals

You actually need goals. People who set goals and write them down succeed in life 50% more of the time than those that don’t use goal setting. In addition, when goals are set and achieved overall well being is improved and happiness is attained as a result.  By setting goals you guarantee your life to be filled with greater success and happiness.  Goal setting is FREE, simple and requires no major supplies.  It is a no-brainer.

 

Goals are Dynamic

Throughout the year goals are meant to be dynamic, not static.  That means they are constantly moving and changing.  You might find that by February you achieve a goal set. When that happens, it gives you the opportunity to modify it and challenge yourself even more.

The moment your goals become static, you become stagnant.

When I see my clients begin to feel stagnant we work together to reevaluate their current goals and up level them for greater growth.

 

Nutritional Goals

Being a nutrition and lifestyle coach, I help my clients create their own goals related to health, weight loss and gain, performance gains, and overall life.  I know after hundreds of clients that when they communicate those goals to me in writing and we constantly evaluate progress, that their success is far greater than those who go it alone.

There are a million posts out there written about goal setting and achievement.  From my own experience and coaching practice, there are 5 keys to goal setting that must happen to maximize nutritional success.

 

5 Keys to Achieving Nutritional Goals

1. Be specific

Setting goals feels awkward sometimes.  You don’t know exactly what to say or how to say it.  Once you have a general goal in mind target in on the specific outcome you want. Just saying you want to lose weight is too vague. Will you feel like you’ve achieved your goal if you lose 1 pound?  Or do you want to lose 20 pounds?

Instead, make it specific.

  • “ I will lose 10 lbs by March 1st”
  • “I will drop 2 inches from my waistline in 8 weeks.”
  • “I will eat 1 serving of vegetables at each meal”
  • “I will workout 3 times per week”
  • “I will track what I eat all meals of the day”

Making a goal specific allows you to come back and monitor your progress.

2. Make goals measurable

Nutritional goals can be measured in so many ways:  through a body weight scale, body measurements, DEXA scans, before and after pictures, and through personal records at the gym.

When you have a specific goal, measure it by collecting data and monitoring that data to make sure it is headed in the direction you want.

Within your goals include a reasonable marker of progress to measure.  This could be quantitative data such as weight, pounds lifted and inches lost.  However, measurable data can also come from quantitive measures such as perceived energy levels, fit of clothes and quality of sleep.

3. Find somebody to hold you accountable

People have a hard time hiring a coach or asking a friend to become their accountability partner. It is almost as if by doing this they are admitting they can’t get it under control themselves.  I think those people are the smart ones.   Your results will be far greater if you have someone in your corner to get you back on track when you fall off, to assess your progress, and to ask the hard questions when you need them.  I know this from my own experience and the clients I lead.  Ask your spouse, friend or hire a coach to keep you accountable.

 

4. Make it a priority

Don’t make up excuses.  I hear it from clients often, the week was busy, we traveled, we had a party, etc. If you want your health, your body, and your gym performance to change than it has to be a priority. If it truly matters to you, you will find a way to make it happen. The effort you put in is the outcome you will get. That effort is 100% in your control. To make a change you must change the behaviors to get you to achieve that goal first.

 

5. Celebrate Progress

Often times we rely on scale weight to judge our progress.  The scale is just one indicator of progress along our health journey.  Celebrate the aesthetic change you see in the mirror, the way your clothing fits, your changes in strength and stamina at the gym, the compliments others pay you, and your overall health improvement.  It is not all or nothing.  Celebrating small markers of success help keep motivation and commitment high along your journey. If a bad day falls upon you, get right back on track the next day and celebrate your ability to identify that.

 

Be the 88% of the population that uses goal setting as a strategy for getting what you want, including nutritional success.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

,

What 35 years of experience has taught me…

What 35 years of experience have taught me…

I turn 35 this week.

I normally don’t care much for my birthday.  In all honesty, celebrating and making a big commotion about it has never been my thing.  I am not a “birthday month” or even a “birthday week” kinda girl.  I like low key, being with my family and still having my mom make my birthday meal (and I know she loves it too).

I grew to appreciate my birthday, more for my parents, after having my own children.  The birth of my own children was the most significant day of my life and I can empathize with their feelings on my own birthday.

This year has felt different.  I still don’t need a birthday week or a month…but this year I do want to celebrate. The 35th year of my life has provided me so much growth that I feel like I am beginning anew in my 36th year of life.

In my 35 years of life, I have learned to…

 

Read more

I’ve learned to invest time in reading.  I never read much as a child or even as a student, only the things I really “had to.”  Reading continues my path towards lifelong learning, it sets me up as an example to my children and it helps me to cultivate my craft as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, a friend, a coach and as a human.

Fill my soul, not my calendar

I’ve learned to say NO.  Quite honestly, it was one of the greatest gifts of knowledge I’ve learned this year.   It feels liberating to say no to things that weren’t my absolute best yes.  To say no to things that wouldn’t leave me walking away from any richer in mind, in conversation or in spirit is freeing.

A quote from a book I read this year by Lysa TerKeurst entitled “Best Yes” still remains a constant reminder of this:

“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live determines how you spend your soul.”

Be OK with being uninvited

I’ve learned to be thankful to be uninvited at times.  I spent so many years with heartbreak from not being included, from being left out and from feeling less than.  I am done with that and I am moving on with gratitude for a far less busy schedule.

Slow Down

I’ve learned to slow down.  To get on the floor and build legos, color, bake and not rush through the day trying to always accomplish my “to-do” list.  I’ve learned to actually sit and snuggle with my husband while we watch a movie instead of doing laundry or making a shopping list. Tomorrow is a new day and some things will just have to wait.

Invest in me

I’ve learned to invest in self-growth.  To read books and talk to people who challenge my perspective, who make me answer the hard questions…the ones you struggle to answer honestly to yourself.  I’ve taken time to not just do for the sake of “doing,” but really try my best to act intentionally.

Eat Quality Foods

This isn’t something that really just happened this year.  But in taking my business to social media, it has really made my passion for sharing it even bigger.  Spare no expense for quality foods in your life.

Set Goals

I’ve learned to set goals.  To physically write them down and cross them off my list.  If you don’t hold yourself accountable then nobody else will.  It doesn’t matter if you are 35, 13 or 61 you must have goals to keep you young at heart, to keep your brain active and to never allow your life to become stagnant.

Find Beauty in Simplicity

I’ve learned that I may never know how to contour my makeup or know the best beauty tricks, or how to coordinate the best outfits.  It just simply isn’t me.  I used to feel like this made me less of a woman but now I realize I just have different priorities. I love t-shirts and jeans and cut-offs. I am simple, not fancy, and I’ve finally found beauty in that.

Know My Why

The moment I feel like I am floundering I have begun to realize it’s the moment I’ve lost my “why.”  I’ve learned I have to have a “why” to drive my passion or life gets idle.  Find your drive, your reason, and when you do, things move in the direction of your heart.

Get Out of My Comfort Zone

This was my motto last year and will continue to drive me to the peak of the mid-30s.  Nothing extraordinary comes from being comfortable.  It feels good and safe but you never grow from it.  I’ve done things this year that literally made me almost vomit from nerves and then I felt so empowered after.  I’ve grown my small business and taken it to social media, I’ve put my face on live video for thousands of people to critique, I’ve written and shared things that I can barely say out loud and it feels so dang amazing.  The greatest growth really has happened outside my cozy place.

I’ve learned to do what makes me happy. Period.

 

Eat More Burgers

I used to hate them and I have no idea why.  Burgers have become my soul food. I’ve learned to enjoy them more.

Lift Heavy

I’ve learned that not doing cardio won’t kill me.  LOL.  I love running and met-cons more than anybody.  But, I’ve learned that getting strong, adding muscle, being bulkier and lifting heavier than I ever have is pretty darn gratifying too.

Accept the Mess

I’ve learned that it is okay to have a messy house.  If there are dust bunnies on the shelves, dishes in the sink and laundry in baskets that I have more important things to do.

Narrow My Circle

I’ve learned to narrow my circle.  I just can’t be everything to everybody and nor can they to me.  The definition of friend has evolved for me and is a title I use less willingly these days.  I need friends who support me, who are honest and who will call me out when I need it.  Those friends are hard to find and thus, my circle has shrunk.

Be a Beginner

I’ve learned that it is okay to be a beginner and to admit that I don’t know.  This is a hard pill to swallow for me.  Surrounding myself with people who have more experience in life than I have will only bring more value to who I am as a person.  Going back to the beginning is sometimes necessary.

Pack His Lunch

I’ve learned that packing my husband’s lunch brings me peace.  I know it’s random…but it is one of the only ways I feel like I can prepare him for battle.  When he leaves the house, sometimes I feel so empty and unsure, but if I know I helped him be ready in some way then he will come home safe to us.

I’ve learned that mortality is real.  For years I’ve ignored it.  I no longer can.

Accept Food as food

I’ve learned that food is not who I am.  I’ve found balance in my nutritional life and I will never be able to help all people find that place.  In the meantime, I hope to help as many people who will let me.

Put Family First

I’ll admit, there are times in my life both as a child and an adult that I put my family second.  That I may have chosen a social event with a friend over quality time with family.  That just won’t happen anymore.

Turn off the Radio

I’ve learned to turn the music off in the car and talk.  Our driving time is sometimes some of perfect moments to truly hear what is going on in the minds of my children.  As they get older, I know this time will become even more valuable and scarce.

Question Authenticity

I’ve learned that I can no longer subscribe to “fluffy.” Invest in confronting things that aren’t real.  I can’t preach it to my kids if I don’t do it myself.  Take time to stand up for what you believe in and for those that don’t have the courage or the confidence to do it for themselves.  I am finding peace in quality over quantity in so many ways.

Accept that I am Far from Perfect

I’ve learned that even though I’ve learned all of these things…that I am far from perfect.  I wasn’t always okay with not being perfect.  I like being perfect, being first, being the best and all those other totally OCD Type A personality traits (I know you know them too).  But the moment I accepted I will never be perfect was the moment life started to be REAL.

 

Cheers to 35 years of experience that I have gained, that I can share and that I can only hope my friends, my family, and my children will come to know as well.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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