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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.

Non-Scale Indicators

Here are five non-scale measures of change that show health progress is more than just the scale.

Your Health

Your own health is a serious indicator of success.I know shocking, right? 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. 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 stress all too often.

It is virtually impossible to control all the variables that play a part of weight loss. Factors like changes in daily energy expenditure, efficiency in energy creation and absorption, training recovery, gastrointestinal fluctuations, hydration, fiber, 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 reflecting over long-term scale data gives us much greater insight into your success versus day-to-day markers. 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

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

5 Ways to Better your Burger

It’s summertime so you know what that means…BBQ! In my house, we have burgers almost every week. They are simple, taste good, and can be done in so many ways. Because we have them so frequently, I am always looking for ways to spice them up and avoid boredom, and of course, maintain my macros.

Here is a list of a few simple things you can do to save the fat (or add it too) and better your burger.

better your burger

Add Veggies

Veggies are always my number one go to. My favorites are lettuce, arugula, pickles, jalapenos, tomatoes, salsa, mushrooms, and peppers, but you can use anything you and your family enjoy.

All of my favorite veggies have little to no caloric value, can be sautéd on the grill with the burgers, or can be slapped on at the end! You can also sauté them up in a pan with a light spray of EVOO or some beef broth for more flavor. The possibilities really are endless!

Grill Your Onions

I know an onion is a veggie, but I really had to talk about onions twice and give them their own section. Onions alone can completely change the flavor of your food and they really help better your burger.

Grilled onions are freakin’ delicious, and they amp up anything you put them on! Sweet, a little caramelized, but with a really nice crunch, grilled onions are the best addition to a burger that I’ve had in a long time.

So how do you easily grill your onions?

All you have to do is take big full slices of an onion, slap it on the grill with a little spray of EVOO (or, if you’re not trying to save the fat, you can sauté them in some Kerrygold butter). Boom, that’s it, and OH.MY.GOSH! They’re so good!

Add Frank’s Sauce

Just like their awesome marketing slogan says “That #$%@ tastes good on everything!”. I love using Frank’s Buffalo sauce. It’s the one I use the most often, and it adds a great flavor.

You can mix it right into the meat before grilling or pour over after. The choice is up to you! A big plus to using the Frank’s Buffalo sauce is that the macros are amazing with no fat, no protein, and no carbs per 1 tablespoon. You can’t really beat that!

Add Hummus

Okay, it might sound a little weird to add hummus to a burger, but bear with me here. I love hummus. I love using hummus on a daily basis. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients. So I thought, why not add it to my burgers? And it changed my burger game.

Hummus is such a great and easy way to better your burger, and I highly recommend trying different flavors too! It’s just an awesome spread. My favorite is the garlic style hummus. Plus, it’s macro friendly!

Feta cheese

Mmm, I love cheese. Feta is probably my favorite cheese to add to a burger! I’ve even been able to find some great lower fat options made by Athenos.

In our family, my hubby will make a pocket for the feta, then put the burger on the grill with the feta inside. When you bite into the warm, melty feta it is a flavor bomb! Plus, it helps keep the burger super juicy, and that’s always a plus!

Change The Meat

Who says you have to use ground beef for a burger? You can easily change up your meat options to give your burger unique flavor! Some of the top options I’ve tried (and recommend) have been Elk, Bison, Turkey, and a combo of them!

Don’t be stuck just making the same ground beef burgers all of the time. Granted, beef burgers are delicious, but there is nothing wrong with switching it up from time to time in the meat department. Plus, some of these options are leaner than beef, which means you can save on the fat content if you need too!

Whatever you do, just make sure you’re cooking whatever meat you choose properly and to the correct temperature. No one needs to get sick by trying out a new kind of meat. Be smart and safe out there!

So those are my super easy tips on how to create and enjoy a better burger. If your family is anything like mine, burgers are on the menu quite often, but they don’t have to be boring and uninspiring! These simple tips are just the start of all the possibilities you have to better your burger. Get out there and explore!

How do you plan on making a better burger this summer?

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda