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Work Hard, Be Kind

This is it—my first big blog post. I have been  so nervous about this post.  For months I was in blog purgatory. Should I? What would people think? Would there even be interest? It was the encouragement of my client base, my friends and above all, my husband that led me this direction. Then, I had a moment, an epiphany if you will. You know the kind that feels life changing—like the planets aligned to send you a sign. I was listening to an Amy Porterfield podcast when she interviewed this amazingly spunky social media marketer. The person interviewed said…”isn’t it better to have 2 people who believe in you madly than to be followed by many, who barely believe?” It was in that moment I realized, who cares about anybody else. If I follow my passion, my heart and who I am, the rest will fall into place. So—here I am, vulnerable as ever, sharing my passion.

My Passion

I pondered how to begin my blog, what would be the most important to open up with? I realized that my audience needs to know where I came from and what led me to this point to truly understand the origin of my passion. Nutrition is personal. To some, like a religion. And just like religion, there are a million interpretations of what nutrition should look like. High fat, high carb, low fat , low carb…what is truly best? What I’ve come to realize…it’s all the best if it works for you. The act of bettering yourself is what truly matters at the end of the day. In a world of so much craziness and tearing each other down, the gift of kindness is one that we all have to give. The gift to support each other in our attempts to be better. Nutrition and living a healthier lifestyle is no different.

 

Work Hard Be Kind

”Work Hard, Be Kind…” It is our family’s motto. So much so that I whisper it to my kids as they head into school, so much so that it hangs on a banner in our kitchen and so much so that I had a shirt made to spread it to others. I feel like life can really be that simple.

So–it’s become my mission. To support people in their attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. To show people how to eat real food and find a healthy balance to enjoy something they love each day too. To spread nutritional love and support anybody and everybody who is trying each day to better themselves.

 

My Childhood

I grew up in a house where soda, Little Debbie’s and homemade noodles were a staple. It was no fault of my parents; honestly I think children of the 80s all had a similar experience. This health awareness revolution didn’t start until much later. Like most girls, I’ve always been self-conscience about my body but my parents never failed in making me feel beautiful. College became my true exposure to the importance of health. I was on my own, the controller of what I put in my body and the consequences it came with. I became obsessed, in an unhealthy way, with working out and eating. Part of it was being away from home and the other was the beginning of my desire to find a healthy, sustainable life.

After being Pre-Med and getting my degree in Life Science with a Physiology emphasis, I decided teaching was my path not doctoring (is that a word??). While completing my masters, I also became certified in group fitness. Along with teaching high school science and coaching basketball, I taught Spin, TBC, Step aerobics, etc. in order to help others find a fun way to be active. At that time, I had an unhealthy relationship with food. If I knew I was going to a social event I would jump on the treadmill for hours. If I indulged in Coldstone, I immediately had to go for a run. I joked and told people “I run to eat.” Little did they know—I really wasn’t joking. I punished myself for loving food—and I know many of you can relate.

 

When Nutrition Trumps Fitness

It wasn’t until after marriage and our second child that nutrition really began to trump fitness. I realized that my bad nutrition would never out due the calories I burned on that treadmill. I wasn’t cute and pregnant. I gained over 60 lbs with my daughter and dialed it back to 40lbs with our second. After two babies, my 20 something body was gone and I hated the new one I had acquired.

My body changed externally and internally. Through pregnancy I had acquired autoimmune changes that made me gluten intolerant. This diagnosis led me to the Paleo diet. I loved it, became obsessed with it and lost much of my baby weight with it. Then, I became the “Paleo Nazi.” I was the one at the party everybody thought they had to justify their eating habits to. I’ll be honest—I judged people for their food choices like I had an awakening they hadn’t yet experienced. I look back and hate myself for it. What I don’t apologize for is the knowledge that turning to a Paleo life gave me. It taught me food quality matters. That any “diet” should focus on whole foods made of mostly vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts and seeds. But what the Paleo diet is missing—is reality. I never let myself indulge and was truly miserable for it. I would watch friends enjoy chips and salsa and other treats at parties and be miserable. I was afraid to leave it for fear of weight gain and those dreaded “carbs.” I desperately needed freed. Freed from food guilt.

 

Much Needed Change

I was in need of a change. I had plateaued—I was unhappy with my health, my body, my athletic performance and my burden of not feeling honest about food. I began my own work with a nutrition coach, who later became my mentor, and it truly changed my life. Flexible dieting, or macro tracking, has been the most freeing food experience of my life. It is moderation to a tee. It has showed me, more than ever, that whole foods should be the bulk of your diet because they are truly the “biggest bang for your buck.” It has showed me that being on either extreme of the nutritional spectrum has no sustainability. Food is amazing. Food is meant to be enjoyed…in a way that meets your own personal goals that only you know. It has showed me that nutrient timing is critical to maximize your results. Most of all—it has showed me that I can enjoy the things I want because I am the driving force behind my own nutrition. Food is not WHO I am. Food is FUEL.

Here I am now: many clients coached, hundreds of pounds lost, personal records crushed and so many healthy relationships with food reestablished. I am only motivated more to continue to guide others in their journey. Watching my passion to support and encourage clients cultivate their success is gratification beyond words. What started as a small side hobby has turned into something that I truly feel inspired to do each day. Good nutrition and changing your food lifestyle is addictive. I can’t wait to continue to help others feel that same addiction.

So—here I am, “AWALK”…working hard, being kind and spreading nutritional love. Can’t wait for you to join me and take “AWALKmyway.”

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!

(Want to learn how to fill your body with food you enjoy like burgers, but still look and feel your best? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

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

 

5 Simple Tips to Make Healthy Living Easier

Make Healthy Living Easier

When trying to eat healthily, sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Even if you’ve been on the healthy living journey for a while, it can be difficult to stay motivated, make the right choices, and stay the course. So how can you make healthy living easier and more enjoyable, while still living your day to day life? Here are my top 5 simple tips to make healthy living easier!

Clean Out Your Pantry

First things first, let’s clean out the pantry! Get rid of any cookies, chocolate, ice cream, candy or whatever really makes you overindulge and feel bad about your body, mind, and journey.  No, this won’t be forever. It will be until you can have better acquisition of your goals and gain a sustainable eating pattern.

By cleaning out your pantry (and fridge!), you are giving yourself the opportunity to start fresh and really get in the mindset of being healthy for the long haul. You won’t be tempted by foods that aren’t the best for you, and you’ll also have the opportunity to buy plenty of healthy and delicious options to choose from.

Prep Your Produce

It’s time to chop up your veggies and fruits! Turn up your favorite Pandora station and spend an hour or two just preparing raw veggies and fruits.  Wash and cut up your produce and store them in containers so they are ready to eat. Also, make sure to store your fruits and veggies properly, so nothing goes to waste! You will have no excuse other than to enjoy the delicious and healthy bounty in your fridge and pantry.

You can also use mason jars to store so they stay fresh and at your disposal, and these are also great on-the-go options. If you have kids, get them involved! You are their first example of what a healthy eating lifestyle looks like.

Let them tear up the lettuce, chop up the strawberries, and rinse the celery. Keeping them involved in the kitchen builds their confidence and shows them that healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming.

Meal Plan

Take some time at the beginning of the week to plan it! Take 30 minutes to plan a rough outline of your lunches and dinners before you even set foot in the grocery store. If you plan before you go grocery shopping for the week, you will have a focused mission and are less likely to purchase less nutritious (and more expensive) options.

Remember, you don’t have to make meal planning complicated. Keep it simple when you first start. Protein, Carb, Veggies/Fruit. That’s it. When you get more experience or time in the kitchen, then you can experiment and go all out!

(Want to learn how to fill your body with real food to look and feel your best? Check out my Feel Amazing Naked challenge by clicking here.)

Cook Extra

Along with meal planning and prepping, go ahead and make an extra serving or two when you cook! By portioning out an extra serving or servings of the protein, carb, and veggies you plan to prepare for dinner, you’ll have some extras leftover for lunch!

You’ll be able to enjoy your delicious creation the next day, with no added prep or cook time. Plus, this will keep you from having to order out or choosing an unhealthy option at work or home, and it will save you money. Who doesn’t love saving money on healthy food?

Keep It Simple

Along with keeping meals simple with choosing a protein, carb, and veggie, keep it simple in the preparation of these items. Cooking doesn’t have to be fancy or gourmet for it to be delicious and nutritious. Let’s face it — we’re busy. We have jobs, kids, households to run, and more.

We don’t usually have the time or energy for complicated meals anyways. And if you have kids, trust me, they won’t be tough food critics. They’ll just appreciate the fact that they get to have the dining experience with their family. Plus, you’ll have extra time with your family if you aren’t spending hours in the kitchen, and that’s always a better option.

So those are my 5 simple tips to make healthy living easier, and they won’t take much time at all to get started! You don’t have to be perfect to be healthy, you just need to get going and give it a little effort.

Do you have any healthy living tips?  I’d love to hear them and add them to the list!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

The Awesome Couple

“First of all let me say this has been an amazing 10 months for both my husband and I.  Honesty we had little to no expectations and went in blindly trusting Amanda.  I was bored of Paleo and I was at the point where I was not seeing any more changes in my body composition.  We wanted something different.  I am the “that” person – we all are right? We are busy – plates full, work full time, full-time mom of 3 and Crossfitter…and for extra fun I train for marathons.

I have been truly fascinated from a metabolic standpoint that I went from 1400 to over 2000 calories and lost 15 pounds.  It’s actually crazy – most “outsiders” don’t believe me. So when people ask, “Is it easy?”  or say “I don’t have time for that” my comment is it’s not easy: it’s work, commitment, and consistency. But nothing in life is easy. But this is SO worth all the effort. Now 10 months later it’s becoming second nature and it’s “easy”.  I love the flexibility.  It is actually freeing to me.

Lastly, as with any lifestyle change, one of the most important things for success is accountability- that’s Amanda. I felt accountable to her, confident that I could trust her on this journey. We are so thankful for all her help!”

-Vanessa,

M.D./Mom of 3/Crossfitter

Want to read more client success stories like these?  Click HERE!

Stronger Than Ever

“I thought that exercise was enough to lose weight but quickly realized without good nutrition to back up all that hard work, I would get nowhere.   Macro counting was tough at first.  I had no concept of portion sizes.   Once I got the hang of the portions and my awesome nutrition coach Amanda educated me on some great recipes, types of foods to buy, and where to buy them things fell into place. While some would say that weighing & measuring everything and prepping meals is too time consuming, I say in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t.  I have three kids and my own business and I still always find time to plan and track.  That little bit of extra time is so worth it!

With the macro counting, I can see how my body reacts to things like eating out, drinking alcohol, working out, and even my cycle.  I see how eating out two to three times a week seriously impacted me.  Even eating at places with “good” food like Chipotle would affect not only the scale but how I felt the next day.  That doesn’t mean you can never eat out.  After all, it is called “flexible” dieting.  You can eat out, go on vacation, and even blow it one day but getting back on track and keeping consistent 90% of the time is the key.

How am I now?  Migraines are gone, insomnia gone, acid reflux and ulcers gone, fatigue- only when I do a huge kick butt workout! Best of all, I am currently 46 years old at 161l bs and a size 8 and dropping!  I can run and play with my 7 year old and not be out of breath, fatigued or in pain.  I am stronger now than I have EVER been.  I am in the best shape of my life and getting better every day.   My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner!”

-Michele

Mom, Business Owner

Crossfitter