Nutrition

How do you feel about food?

Well Cardio month sure went by in a heartbeat, and now it is time for nutrition month here at 50/50. If you look to the internet, the media, or even ask your friends and loved ones you will get wildly different opinions on what constitutes a “healthy diet”.  The subject of nutrition is one of the most controversial and most emotional dinner table conversations, rivaling both politics and religion. Many of us are always looking for the “best diet”. I have news for all of you, there is no one “best diet”. There are many different eating strategies that will meet your nutritional needs and help you reach your goals, be it increasing muscle mass, decreasing body fat, or maintaining your healthy weight. In fact, recent research has found that one of the reasons many “diet plans” are effective is that they result in people being more mindful of their food choices. In some cases, the mindful eating effect may be more important than the particular requirements of the diet.

This week I want you all to focus on how your food choices make you feel. There is no right or wrong. Try to avoid thinking about “eating clean” or “good food versus bad food”, simply observe your choices and your body’s feedback. For example, I have recently cut way back on sugar and have noticed that my energy level and mood are more stable. My Starbucks mocha habit was having a negative effect on my day and my wallet, and to be honest I haven’t been missing them since cutting them out. Simple observations like these can really make a big difference in our daily habits. If remove some of the judgement from our food decisions, we are more open to really noticing how our bodies respond to various foods and tailoring our diet so we feel our best. Some of us feel our best eating eggs and bacon for breakfast and others feel best with a plant-based diet, neither is inherently right or wrong and both can be done successfully. If you feel really inspired, maybe even keep a food journal this week, no, not calorie counting, just an account of what you ate and how you feel. This simple step will result in more mindful eating and most likely better nutrition.

70 Classes?!

With 70 group exercise classes on the schedule, and 9 amazing health and fitness specialists, we have everything you need to reach your true potential. Need some added attention, accountability, and a structured plan inside the gym and out? Give personal training or small group training a try! With so many options, so many avenues, and decisions to make each and every day – why not set up a complimentary consultation? Katie, Jay, Jamie, and Justin are available to meet and mentor you on all of those little decisions you’re forced to come by. They do matter and we’re here to help!

So take advantage and sign-up for your consultation today!

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Inside Katie’s Kitchen

Many times, people will ask us what we eat during the day to get an idea of foods that might be healthy for them. Verging slightly from my regular routine of Katie’s Corner, I thought I would bring to you one of the most vulnerable parts of my house-my kitchen! So I sifted through items in my own refrigerator and pantry and am presenting them to you here in hopes that you are able to get an idea of items that might be great for you to eat for meals and snacks. This is not intended to be a guideline for your own diet, but I do think it’s helpful to get an inside view of someone else’s kitchen. I’ve made notes here and there, but if you have specific questions, please reach out to me in the studio or by emailing me at katie@energiastudios.com.

Staples:
Ziploc or Tupperware Storage Containers in various sizes
Olive Oil
Spices
Mozzarella Cheese
Goat Cheese- I like cheese.
Sliced Almonds
Spicy Mustard
Real Maple Syrup- I’m from the South, so I feel the need to clarify the “real” part.

Most of these items you’ll want to use sparingly, as they can be high in calories, but they can provide bursts of flavor even when used sparingly. Healthy food does not equal bland food!Items that you don’t want to use sparingly in this list, however, are the storage containers. Plan your meals in advance and portion them into these, so that you have grab-and-go options for lunches or snacks during the day. I cannot stress this point enough-planning and preparing your meals in advance are the keys to staying on track and in your ultimate success. You will spend less time planning and prepping your meals in advance than if you wing every meal.

Breakfast:
Berries
Fage 0% or 2% Greek Yogurt
Go Lean Crunch

This breakfast combination is what I have most every day for breakfast. I can carry it with me to the studio when I have an early-morning training and not feel like I have to wolf down my breakfast before I leave for the day. When I have more time and am feeling a little fancy, I will have two of the three proteins listed below with half an avocado and salsa. And pepper. Lots of freshly cracked pepper.Smoked Salmon
Eggs
Lentils
Avocados
Salsa
Lunch:
Lentil or Split Pea Soup
Egg White Salad prepared with Greek Yogurt and Mustard
Curried Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt, Curry powder, Halved Grapes, Sliced Almonds, Cracked pepper
Wheatberry Salad
Loaded Sweet Potato
Many of these things, I get pre-prepared at my grocery store of choice, Trader Joe’s, though sometimes, I will make lunches ahead of time, i.e. the Curried Chicken Salad. I cook the sweet potato in advance and will load it with any combination of chicken breast, cheese, avocado, black beans, or sautéed veggies.
Dinner:
Chicken Breast
SalmonBrussels Sprouts
Heirloom or Cherry Tomatoes
Spinach
Mushrooms
Beets
Quinoa
Quinoa and Brown Rice Pasta
Black Beans
Chick PeasI make the side items in bulk at the beginning of the week and portion them into those storage containers I have been speaking so highly about. That way, I can pop home, cook my protein and heat up the sides in the meantime. And I have a healthy, nourishing meal to eat at the end of a long day.
Frozen Staples:
Turkey and Bison Burgers
Mixed VeggiesSnacks:
Hummus
Cauliflower, Carrots, and Broccoli
KIND Bars
Almond Butter
Apple/Pear
Air-popped PopcornSnacks are such a necessary thing to prepare in advance, and again, grab-and-go options are essential so that you don’t find yourself at the vending machine in the middle of the day.

Desserts:
Dark Chocolate
Greek Yogurt Sorbet with a teaspoon of honey

Yes, I eat desserts! Just in moderation.
Drinks:
Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
This is a low-calorie option for something other than water.
Your challenge this week: Plan, prepare, and portion your meals ahead of time, and ask us for help if you need it!

Quick Guide to the Nutrition Label

1) Serving Size: Start from the top! Serving size is where the main deception lies. Something may appear to be worthwhile when in reality, you are eating multiple servings. Always multiply all nutrient values by the total number of servings you are consuming. A serving is typically much less than you’d think!

2) Calories: Total calories are important. If something is excessive, you’ll know it right away. Your body can only handle and break down so much at once. An overload could lead to fat storage. Keep meals small and often, not large and sparse.

3) Fat: There are good types of fat (essential fats) and bad types of fats. Saturated fats and trans fats can lead to weight gain, clogged arteries and, increased LDL (poor cholesterol). At a whopping 9 calories per gram, it’s important to limit excess consumption. As a general rule, we rarely recommend more than 15 grams for a meal and 5-7 for a snack.

4) Fiber: Fiber is one of the most important nutrients. Fiber helps to eliminate toxins, increase digestibility, and keep you full longer. Aim high. >25 grams for women, >35 grams for men.

5) Sugar: Here’s a task. See how many foods you can find that are higher in fiber than they are in sugar. Not many. Nowadays, almost everything is full of high fructose corn syrup. It’s in our breads, our cereals, our meats, everything. Be careful! There is no use or need for excess sugar.

6) Sodium: Sodium is packed into sauces, canned goods, deli meats, and snacks. It’s everywhere. More often than not, it’s used as a food additive to aid in preservation. You’ll find that your sodium levels will drop off if you start eating natural foods. Low sodium reduces your chances for high blood pressure.

7) Vitamins and Minerals: Always try and get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from food sources. Fruits and veges are your best bet!

8) Chemicals: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If a simple product is loaded with ingredients, why take the risk? Processed foods are mechanically or chemically altered. Enriched, fortified, hydrogenated, bleached, and bromated all mean that the original source was tampered with.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!

If you’re like most people, the holidays are a time of mixed emotions. You’re excited and anxious to spend time with family, and you’re dreading the extra weight that you know you’re bound to gain. Are these holiday pounds inevitable?

Lean in close to catch these seven secret ways to help you fend off extra weight through the holidays. And once you’re done, don’t keep it a secret. Go tell somebody!

Holiday Secret #1: Listen to Your Body

It may not speak quickly enough all the time, but you know your body is constantly telling you things. Sometimes it tells you to stop a certain activity before you get hurt. During the holiday season, it tells you to put the brakes on your eating before you go beyond the point of no return. When your body tells you it’s full, listen up! A single bite after you’re full will lead to extra calories and eventually, extra pounds.

Holiday Secret #2: Confine the Holidays

For some, holidays become weeks and even months of poor eating. Be careful to avoid this pitfall by digging into your holiday foods only on the actual holiday. Treat the other days like normal days—even if you’re off of work. And when the holiday is over, let someone else take the leftovers home and go to your own house without any pudding or gravy in tow.

Holiday Secret #3: Eat First, Party Second

You read right—it’s good to eat before heading out the door. Have a healthy, well-rounded meal at home with fruits, vegetables, and your protein source of choice. And drink a tall glass of water. Why? So when you get to that holiday party that is overflowing with cookies, cakes, candies, and calories, you’re not hungry for it. Your stomach is full of healthy goodness and has no room for the fattening stuff.

Holiday Secret #4: Plan Your Escape

Getting away from food isn’t easy. If you expect to be able to walk away from delicious thigh- and gut-growing foods without any forethought, think again. Before walking into a potentially fattening situation, plan out what you’re going to eat and take your own dish to share if necessary. Any time there is a particularly difficult eating situation, make plans an hour or so after the dangerous-to-your-diet event begins and excuse yourself.

Holiday Secret #5: Exercise Everywhere

One of the best excuses to gain weight is that you have to travel to visit family and don’t have access to your personal trainer. Well, guess what? Just because your trainer isn’t staying in the hotel with you doesn’t mean you aren’t accountable! Scope out the area where you’ll be traveling and take advantage of whatever exercise opportunities are available. There may be a gym or pool at your hotel, a pay-as-you-go gym, or a nice park nearby where you can walk or run with or without family members.

Holiday Secret #6: Pay Attention to People

Holidays are about family and friends…right? Then stop focusing on food! When you go to a party, there is no need to hang out by the food table when there are people all around you! Ignore the grub and go for the meaningful stuff that you’ll remember and cherish. Besides, it’s much easier to talk without munching and you even listen better when you’re not stuck thinking about how good the next bite is going to be.

Holiday Secret #7: Drink Instead

No, this isn’t a license to drink as much alcohol as you can find. Doing that will add lots of useless calories to your waistline. Instead, do your best to make friends with a glass of water everywhere you go. As you mingle with your water glass, you’ll find it challenging to grab more than a couple of finger foods here and there, and the fact that it is water will help you remember to watch what else goes in your mouth!

Wouldn’t you love to make 2016 the year that you transform your body?

Wouldn’t it feel great to throw out all of your fat clothes? To look forward to bathing suit season? To be given a clean bill of health from your doctor? And to be showered with compliments by family, friends and that special someone?

It’s all more possible than you think.

But you’ll need to take massive action.

REGISTER FOR THE NEW YEAR, NEW YOU CHALLENGE

Go on, do it now and secure your spot before the New Year’s rush.

Top Tips for a Successful and Healthy Holiday Season

By: Marit Harney RD, LDN, CPT

Everyone is aware of the fact that eating and exercise habits tend to decline around the holidays, leaving most of us 2-5 pounds heavier by the time we hit January.  Many of us fail to lose all the weight and continue to slowly pack on the pounds year after year.  I’m sure you’re also aware of the many reasons WHY this happens to so many people, but maybe you didn’t connect the dots on all the factors that contribute to this unwanted behavior change. Below I have listed some of the most common factors for overeating or binge eating around the Holidays.

  • Family drama increases emotional stress                                                 download
  • Over committed schedule increases physical and emotional stress
  • Treats are flowing off every table you look at! Willpower is a finite power. The more you call upon it, the weaker you get.
  • Social acceptability or feeling obligated to eat or drink certain things. Maybe it’s time to create a new “norm” for yourself. After all, you deserve to be supported by those around you who care.

I have a proposition for you:

Let’s do things a little (and I mean a little, if that’s what’s do-able) different this year to minimize the damage

I’m phrasing it this way, because it’s realistic and cumulative in terms of beneficial effects. Year after year, if you do things just a little better/ different, you can slow or avoid the steady creeping weight.  What you won’t be doing is thinking that you will “stick to your healthy diet through the holidays and workout every day.” That’s not going to happen. Let’s get real!

Here are some practical tips to help you navigate positive changes during the holiday season. Take a look and consider doing the ones that seem the easiest this year. This does not mean do all the things on the list! You may also consider which of these changes may have the greatest impact on your habits, and start with that one thing. Once you have identified the thing(s) that you plan to work on, write it/them down.  I encourage you to also write your plans in the comments section below this article. This will

Help create a sense of community, support and accountability with others like you! 

  1. Load your plate up with the good stuff like veggies and meat.
    • Leave a little room for indulgences that your wouldn’t normally have. Moderation > deprivation.
  2. Get rid of junky leftovers ASAP
    • Either avoid having them by sending them with someone else, or give them away. Honestly, I don’t feel bad about throwing away food that will sabotage me or others. Don’t pawn off your problem foods onto someone else who might be struggling with willpower.
  3. Consistently eat a solid breakfast
    • This will set your mind and metabolism up for success for the day. I suggest a smoothie with a clean protein powder, almond or coconut milk, spinach, berries and ground flax. Eggs and veggies are always a good option as well.
  4. Sprinkle in exercise and make reasonable goals
    • Plan your exercise time for when you actually might have some time (wknds or days off) and get it done first thing in the AM. On the other days, aim to move your body as much or as often as you can. That might mean walking for 15 mins, doing 20-50 jumping jacks, squats, pushups or planks whenever you have a free moment. Exercise does not need to be done all at once. Fit in a little here and a little there, on your busy days.
  5. Practice yoga for 15 mins per day or do some form of stress management
    • Adding this practice into your daily routine can help you cope with stress, leaving you less reliant on treats and alcohol. This WEBSITE provides free multi level and time frame yoga classes that you can do at home! Also check out the Headspace App on your phone for a free 10 day for 10 minutes, guided meditation program.
  6. Drink lots of water
    • Properly hydrating will help regulate your appetite, give you more energy, and keep your metabolism humming along.
  7. Limit treats on days when you don’t have a party or “eating commitment”
    • Save your treats for when it matters at get-togethers.
  8. Bring a dish
    • Bring a healthy (or healthier) option that you and others can enjoy so you aren’t deprived
  9. Limit your use of willpower when possible
    •  Evaluate temping situations and decide if avoiding it is possible or reasonable. Save your willpower for when there is no avoiding a situation.
  10. Play up the non- alcoholic beverages
    • Ask for seltzer, a splash of juice (optional) and some lemon or lime in a glass with a straw. No one will know you’re not drinking a mixed drink. At a sit down dinner? Just say alcoholic drinks give you heart burn.
  11. Choose your treat if you’re having one
    • Either one alcoholic drink or one dessert. Choose red wine when possible.
  12. Recognize your trigger foods and avoid completely
    • It will make things easier later, if you make this one decision now.
  13. Make your goal to eat mindfully, not complete avoidance or deprivation
  14. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t meet your expectation 100%
    • Learn from your mistakes and move on. Harping on it will not change a thing! Let it go-

So what things will YOU be working on this year? I want to see them written below!

MaritHarney.Com

15 Quick Tips to Streamline your Results…

If you’re on a mission to tone up and stay strong through the Holiday season, then it’s really important to try and hone your fat loss and minimize potential fat storage. And we all know, there’s a whole lot of “potential” lurking around us. Losing pounds feels good, but if those pounds are precious muscle, then you’re actually hurting your overall ability to achieve your desired results. In order to maximize healthy weight loss, let’s try and manage our calories more effectively, to avoid those massive ebbs and flows that inevitably come around this time of year.

Weight Management Tip #1: Keep Track

Your willingness to track your food intake is equal to your desire to lose weight. Being serious about losing weight means taking note of every meal you consume, making sure these calories contain enough protein, and stopping when you meet your daily allowance.

Weight Management Tip #2: Always Eat Breakfast

Possibly the most fundamental eating tip of all time, a healthy breakfast with a good protein source will help your body utilize good calories throughout the a.m. hours, letting you get to lunch without being tempted by that mid-morning office treat.

Weight Management Tip #3: Avoid Getting Too Hungry

Dieters often fast until they can’t take it any longer. Unfortunately, many poor choices are made in the heat of the hunger moment. Keep healthy (high protein and low carb) snacks nearby to stave off hunger and drink plenty of water to avoid eating when you should be drinking.

Weight Management Tip #4: Underestimate Your Routine

Yes, you just worked your butt off in the gym for an hour… But you probably didn’t burn as many calories as you think. To keep from overeating immediately after a workout, grab a bite within 30 minutes, but make it a small bite. And drink plenty of water. Then wait. Your brain needs time to tell your body it’s full.

Weight Management Tip #5: Stay Home

Your favorite restaurant may be calling your name, but don’t listen! By cooking your own dinner at home, you’ll sidestep a variety of pitfalls that occur while eating out.

Weight Management Tip #6: Reduce Alcohol Intake

It helps you relax and—if you drink red wine—can offer health benefits. But alcohol also comes with a lot of useless calories. To avoid having more calories to burn than necessary, skip the bar and grab another glass of water. You can notice the theme here! Most people do not drink nearly enough water this time of year, because it’s not hot. Our bodies still need that consistent intake, regardless.

Weight Management Tip #7: Redirect

Sticking with any sort of plan gets hard, even one as simple as this. The next time it gets unbearable, grab your phone and walk out of the danger zone (your kitchen) and call a friend or loved one. Ask how life is going or plan a movie night—just talk about whatever will take your mind off that temptation that will ultimately ruin your efforts.

Weight Management Tip #8: Hit the Hay

Remember when your parents gave you a curfew because “Nothing good happens after midnight”? Well, it still applies. Get to bed to avoid late-night snacking and help your body function its best!

Weight Management Tip #9: Go Green (First)

There are lots of good foods out there that you need—lean meats, dairy, etc. But don’t let these be the bulk of your diet. Start your meals with something healthy and green to keep your carb count low, and belly full.

Weight Management Tip #10: Weigh Yourself

You might not like the idea of jumping on the scale, but if you don’t weigh yourself, you may not recognize your progress. Just as you should keep an eye on your calories, you should also count your pounds and make adjustments to your eating and exercise routines as needed, based on how your body responds. Listen to it!

Weight Management Tip #11: Disconnect Diet from Life

Life, in general, comes with those ups and downs. Your diet should not. When stressed, don’t go to the vending machine. Put on your walking shoes and get going.

Weight Management Tip #12: Keep the Burn Going

Working out is not supposed to be a walk in the park. To push your body to its true potential and to burn more calories, don’t take long breaks between lower weight and body weight exercises. Rest no more than 30 seconds after each exercise to keep your heart rate up.

Weight Management Tip #13: Goodbye Sugary Sweet

Everyone needs a quick sweet on occasion. Make sure yours is natural, whole fruit rather than regular old sugar. Every day, it seems more research is showing that refined sugars and high-fructose corn syrup increase your likelihood of weight gain more than anything else.

Weight Management Tip #14: Move Now!

Maintaining a consistent, challenging exercise program is essential for your overall health and well-being, but don’t let that be your only exercise. Build 15-minute windows throughout your day during which you can take a brisk walk, stretch, or just generally move around a bit. You’ll be more alert at work, energetic, and motivated.

Weight Management Tip #15: Don’t Give Up

You may think it’s too easy a tip to list, but very few people have the will power necessary to keep with a program long enough to see the desired results. Commit yourself today to being one of those few. If you’re not yet a personal training client, it may be the perfect time to really experience the difference when you decide to finally put yourself first.

Let’s simplify your weight loss

The main reason that you’re not happy with your weight is because of what you eat.  It’s hardly your fault. Have you ever stopped to notice how many times you’re bombarded by food marketing each day? Ads come at you from magazine pages, T.V. commercials, on websites and billboards, each boasting of cheap, convenient and tasty ways to cure your hunger. The question “What’s for dinner?” has never been more complex than now. Extensive menu options and large entrees have distorted your concept of a proper meal, and before you know it you’ve fallen into the trap of the chain restaurant, the drive thru, and the take-out line. But wait – truly healthy eating is simple. First you need to block out the blizzard of food marketing around you.

Remember that advertisers want your money, and they don’t stop to consider if the food they promote will expand your waist – that’s your job. It’s safe to say that, with few exceptions, any food that you see marketed should be avoided. When was the last time you saw an ad for grilled white fish, steamed broccoli and a side of brown rice? So what does truly healthy eating look like?

A healthy meal contains lean protein, fresh vegetables and a modest serving of whole grains.

Just as importantly, a healthy meal does NOT contain:

  • Refined sugar / corn syrup
  • Fried / fatty food
  • Full fat dairy food
  • Processed food with chemical additives

Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you decide to eat when you first wake up will set the tone for the rest of your meals that day. Try these healthy options:

  • Scrambled egg whites, sliced tomato and whole grain toast
  • Whole grain oatmeal, sliced fruit and a protein shake
  • Homemade breakfast sandwich: Multi-grain English muffin with lean turkey slices and egg

Healthy Lunch

It is important to plan your lunch ahead of time in order to avoid turning to a fast food joint or vending machine. Pack your lunch the night before and carry it with you. Try these healthy options:

  • Dark baby greens topped with chopped chicken breast and diced tomatoes
  • Albacore tuna (packed in water), mixed with finely chopped cucumber over brown rice
  • Homemade sandwich: Sprouted grain bread with lean turkey slices, lettuce, tomato and mustard

Healthy Dinner

Dinner is the meal where most people splurge and eat far more calories than they should. Eating at home is the first step in reducing your dinnertime calories. Try these healthy options:

  • Grilled white fish, sautéed spinach and whole wheat couscous
  • Baked chicken breast, steamed broccoli and brown rice
  • Try the recipe for Rosemary Lamb Chops below

While healthy eating is a huge factor in achieving your ideal weight, exercise is the other half of the equation.  Your exercise routine should be challenging and should be done on a regular basis.

I know that you have more than enough in your life to think about without having to plan your own exercise routine. Leave that job to us—call or email today to get started on a personalized fitness program that will leave your body no choice but to shed those unwanted pounds, in spite of the holidays!

Dealing with food cravings

You wake up each morning with every intention of eating well today.

You’ll skip the drive thru line on your way to work. You’ll refuse to get fast food with co-workers at lunch. You’ll boycott the vending machine in the mid-afternoon. And you won’t even think about having dessert after dinner.

But then your cravings kick in…

Your friend drops by with a big fluffy muffin and a latte for breakfast. A group of co-workers invite you to that greasy Mexican place down the street for lunch. Cookies are passed around at the mid-afternoon staff meeting. And after dinner your significant other surprises you with a bowl of your favorite ice cream.

You tell yourself that tomorrow will be different.

Tomorrow you won’t give in to food cravings.

But then tomorrow comes with its own special circumstances, and cravings get the best of you once again.

Why Do Food Cravings Always Win?

Let’s face it, we live in a world where food temptations are everywhere…which leads to cravings, which leads to eating things that we shouldn’t, which leads to pounds gained, etc., etc. Again. And again. And again. Until you’re so fed up with your body that you don’t even know where to begin to get yourself back on track.

Stores display the most tantalizing junk food items right where you can easily reach them. TV commercials for greasy, fattening foods portray them so scrumptiously that you literally salivate. Sugary snack items have full-page, glossy pictures in your favorite magazines. And as if all of these weren’t enough, the people in your daily life are another (constant) source of food temptation.

To make matters worse, you’ve been conditioned since childhood to have a positive association with the act of indulging in your cravings. You use food as a reward. You use food as a source of emotional comfort. You use food as a way to relieve stress. And quickly these associations and uses of food become habit. A habit that’s not easily broken.

New Technique to End Food Cravings

Food cravings don’t need to have the upper hand on you anymore. Here’s how you can fight back using your most powerful asset: your brain.

Remember that your mind is an amazing thing. Once your mind is made up about something it’s nearly impossible to change it.

Try This Powerful Mind Exercise: Imagine that you are peacefully floating down a river on a raft. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you are having a fun, relaxing time. You feel wonderful about the river because it’s making you feel happy.

Now change perspectives for a moment. You’re now in a plane flying over the river and the raft. Instantly our eye is drawn to an enormous rocky waterfall. Then you look back to the person floating on the raft, having a wonderful time, headed straight for the treacherous falls.

With this new perspective of the river, do you think that you’d agree to get on a raft and take your chances floating toward the falls? Laughable, right? You’ve seen the hidden danger of the river. You know it leads to pain and suffering.

Now your negative association (watery death) with the river has replaced your initial positive association (relaxing fun).

This is the key to overcoming food temptations and putting an end to food cravings: building negative associations in place of existing positive ones. I’ll break this process down for you in two steps:

Step One: Create a STRONG Negative Association with Unhealthy Food

You may not have realized it, but up until this point you’ve placed unhealthy, fattening foods on a pedestal in your mind. As long as the wrong foods are on that pedestal you’ll continue to give into your cravings and will continue to gain weight.

Take the wrong food off that pedestal by listing off everything negative about them…

  • These foods make you unhealthy.
  • These foods cause weight gain.
  • These foods drain your energy.
  • These foods kill your confidence.
  • These foods lessen your quality of life.
  • These foods damage your love life.

Every time that you feel tempted to eat an unhealthy food, focus on your list of negatives. Kick the junk off the pedestal and put something healthy in its place.

Step Two: Create a STRONG Positive Association with Wholesome Foods

Now that your mental food pedestal has been cleared, put truly wholesome food items on it. Juicy fresh fruit, crispy vegetables and savory lean meats are the place to start.

List off the things that you love about healthy food…

  • These foods make you healthy.
  • These foods promote fat loss.
  • These foods boost your energy.
  • These foods build your confidence.
  • These foods improve your quality of life.
  • These foods enhance your love life.

I encourage you to immerse yourself into the world of healthy, wholesome foods. Browse the aisles of your local natural foods store. Stroll through a farmer’s market. Pack healthy snacks to bring to work. Clear your kitchen of junk.

Use the technique above consistently and you will soon find that healthy, wholesome foods are your favorite. And craving the wrong foods will be a thing of your past.

Is this you?

A woman sits at a restaurant studying the menu with a furrowed brow. She has begun an exercise routine and knows that her frequent meals out could slow her weight loss results if she isn’t careful. When the waiter comes she is still deep in thought over what to order. “What can I get for you?” he asks with a smile. She looks up and frowns, no closer to arriving at a decision. On a whim, self-conscious, she blurts out, “I’m trying to eat healthy but I have no idea what to order. What do you think I should try?”

The young waiter looks startled but quickly rattles off his idea of a healthy meal. “The eggplant and roasted pepper pasta is filled with vegetables. You could try that, with a salad.”

The woman smiles. Yes, eggplant does sound great. A salad alone just doesn’t do it for me. So she orders the veggie pasta with a side salad and a diet soda, then sits back to enjoy a slice or two of bread.

200 grams of carbohydrate and 1,450 calories later, she’s just derailed her entire week of workouts, but leaves feeling satiated and satisfied with her choices. Does that sound like a well-educated, empowered consumer? Little does she know, her eggplant was pan-fried in oil, the same oil her pasta was coated with. Everyone has their idea of what it means to be healthy, to eat healthfully. But, who’s right? Who can we actually trust?

Before I entered the fitness world, during my high school years primarily, I consistently worked in restaurants. I’ll spare you the horror stories (unless of course, you ask!). I will tell you that we used to get in an entire log (about 20 pounds or so) of 75/25 red meat that was simply sliced up and tossed onto a greasy flat-top grill, to simmer in it’s own fat…yikes! If anything is going to cause cancer, that meat would have my vote. On top of the grill cleaned nightly with harsh, skin-deteriorating chemicals. I know, I know…I said I would spare you! I don’t know the answers, but I can, however, promise you that the same virtually fat free, hormone free, chicken breast you can cook at home can and will often contain in excess of 15 grams of fatty tissue. Why? Flavor, of course! Why spend more money on a better quality piece of meat that may not taste as good? Fortunately, we have some great restaurants around here…but who actually knows what goes on behind the scenes?

It is said that 80% of your weight loss results are derived from diet, and the remaining 20% from exercise—so you can see how important it is for you to stick with a healthy eating plan.

Now that we are all horrified on a harmless Tuesdaymorning, let’s forget the scary stuff for a minute and use the following quick tips as your guide to eating out right, when you need to:

Appetizers

Appetizers are a great way to start out a leisurely meal, but can also derail your good intentions with a quickness.
Don’t Order:

  • Anything fried. Fried foods are a favorite, but will do damage that even the most intense workout won’t undo.
  • Creamy dips. These are filled with fat and usually come with something fried to dip in it.
  • Bread. It comes smothered in cheese or seeped in butter, and even when it’s plain it fills you up with more carbohydrates than your body needs.

Do Order

  • Green salad. Ask for very light dressing and no croutons.
  • Antipasto. A plate of thinly sliced meats, olives and cheese will start you off with some protein.
  • Lettuce wraps. These are delicious, protein-filled and low in carbs.

Beverages

Calories in drinks are sneaky because they don’t fill you up. This means that you end up taking in far more calories than you bargained for.

Don’t Order

  • Regular or diet soda. On one hand you’re drinking corn syrup through a straw, on the other you’re drinking chemicals that cause you to crave sweets. It’s a no win situation.
  • Sweet cocktails. Many restaurants are advertising sweet cocktails –resist the urge. Sugar plus alcohol equals loads of unneeded calories.
  • Sweetened tea. You may feel righteous for ordering iced tea, but if it’s sweetened then you may as well be drinking fully loaded soda.

Do Order

  • Water. Don’t laugh! Water is the best beverage of all.
  • Unsweetened iced tea. Don’t ruin it by adding that packet of sugar. Learn to enjoy the natural sweetness to the tea.
  • Red wine. Stick to one glass, and drink responsibly.

Entrees

This is where the real damage is done. When you order something carb-loaded you leave the restaurant feeling heavy and lethargic—you may not even realize this until you start eating better and experience the light, energetic way you’ll feel after eating a healthy meal.

Don’t Order

  • Pasta. I don’t care if it comes with red sauce or white sauce, meat or veggies.
  • Pizza. Another dish that has far more carbohydrates than you need. If you’re craving the pizza toppings then simply order those over a salad.
  • Burgers. If you really want a burger then ditch the bun and the fries, and have your patty wrapped in lettuce. And maybe ask the waiter if it came from a long, tube-like log of nasty – I wasn’t kidding!

Do Order

  • Lean meats with vegetables. Fish, steak, chicken, take your pick and pair it with green vegetables. Always, always ask how it’s prepared. Advocate!
  • Salad with protein. Ask for very light dressing and make sure you have a nice piece of protein on it.
  • Soup and salad. Stick with broth based soups that contain protein and pass on the breadsticks.

You’re so close to your goals. you just may not realize it yet. So now ask yourself…is eating out worth it? If you do your homework, you can come to that determination well before you get to the restaurant. Moral of the story, ask the right questions and you’ll be just fine.