How to Avoid Overeating This Christmas

Hello Lovely :)

It’s a rainy Wednesday on my side of the world, but I am enjoying it none the less. I’m finishing off a little protein and some pre-workout pretzels (cause DIETS don’t jive with me)

on-a-diet A little perspective helps ;)

As I’m doing my daily thing, I am reminded of the plague that can entrench all of us this time of year: overeating. It seems to be the bane of our existence on this side of the world (and in other well developed countries), and I get the HOW-TO question with every major holiday.

So, as an early Christmas present to YOU I present my top tips to avoid overeating:

1. Stop overdoing. This may seem odd, but most of our overeating comes from a severely packed schedule. We over commit, rush ourselves and our families from place to place, and leave precious little time for anything other than shopping, errands, cards and wrapping. In my personal opinion that very thing can skew our perception of Christmas altogether and leave us empty and wanting. Now, we are hungry, tired, emotionally drawn out and vulnerable to poor food decisions. The FIX: monitor your time and give yourself permission to not do EVERYTHING. My friend Pamela wrote a fantastic article to help you out here.

stress-free-christmas

2. Make some time to MOVE…..but don’t set crazy expectations. Getting 30 minutes of movement in each day will help to lower cortisol, level blood sugar and improve your outlook on life BUT it needs to be something you enjoy and something that makes you feel good. If your particular brand of workout is more like punishment, then your stress hormones will actually shift into overdrive and you’ll be more likely to over consume the sweets.

3. Realize some treats are OK and expected. Don’t take a one way trip to overindulgence by setting the NO SUGAR standard for the Christmas season. Be realistic and know that there are some treats that you will allow yourself to ENJOY <<<<<<<< the key word there. No guilt, no stress, no punishment.

harry potter sugar Don’t be that person…….

4. Make some alternatives. If you’re in the market for baking goodies or making treats this Christmas, try creating healthier version of the same thing. I adore Lori Harder and she has some awesome Holiday menu items that keep the flavor but in a healthier version. This way you can indulge and enjoy, guilt free.

lori harder

5. Try a little damage control up front. My personal favorite tips are to make sure you get enough protein in the tank, so focus on the turkey OR consider having a whole foods protein shake before a party or get together. Also, I love starting each day with a super simple green shake that packs a serious nutritional punch. I take 8 oz coconut water, 2 oz aloe, a couple handfuls of mixed greens, 1/2 a lemon (juice), 1/2 cucumber and a touch of honey. This sets you up for success first thing.

6. Final thing here, so hang with me! Try to avoid an ONGOING intake of trigger foods. The best way to do this is to not allow it in the house OR use my personal fave and don’t open the bag until Christmas! Treats are cool, but mindless eating doesn’t help anybody. Sugar tends to trigger cravings for more sugar, so try to plan ahead when you know you will indulge.  A great way to squash the sugar bug is with herbal teas. You can try any variety you like, but I prefer peppermint or chocolate hazelnut tea to give my sweet tooth a break.

Christmas sweet tooth

With those tips you should be able to enjoy your Christmas festivities without the ever looming guilt some carry around this time of year. Food should NEVER have that effect on you. Remember, there’s nothing you can do in one day, one week, or even a season that can derail you for good.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!!!!!

Michelle

Carlson-7825

 

 

Tips for the New Year

Is it too soon for this????

Ok, hear me out. Right now my news feed is bombarded by well-meaning fitpros telling me how many jumping jacks I have to do to burn off that Reese’s peanut butter cup I just ate (totally joking! I never eat just one…) and how to stay lean during the holidays and so on and so forth. It’s enough to make me feel as though my accomplishments over the year just weren’t enough and now I have to be an overachiever through Christmas too. So, I thought about how helpful a look back can be to determine your next step forward.

resolution

All too often I see goals and resolutions based upon what people feel they didn’t accomplish in the past year. In my line of work, I lot of people resolve (yet again) to lose weight….without many specifics other than that. Sometimes we resolve to eat better, workout more or be more mindful with our finances. While none of these are actually BAD, they don’t give you a clear target where you can aim your focus and energy. PLUS, they can leave you feeling a bit like you failed in the process.

Unlike the weight room, this is not a place for failure.

What’s the solution? It’s pretty simple and only requires a few minutes of your time.

You’re going to make a gratitude list.

You’ll put pen to paper and write out the things you accomplished this year and are truly grateful for. See, the problem with resolutions (I honestly never set any) is that they don’t take into account the ebb and flow of life. Your life can vary widely from one day to the next right? Sometimes a wrench is thrown into even the best of plans and we have to alter some things. You can be the most consistent person on the planet, but I promise not every day goes your way. BUT there have been good moments right? I bet some have even been great or at least bordering greatness. Think outside the box a little bit and get personal. I’ll share a few of mine with you (don’t steal them!) to give you an example of what I mean.

In 2015 I…

  • Discovered my discipline was stronger than I thought by prepping for a figure show.
  • Overcame my absolute biggest fear (judgement) by walking onstage at a figure show…and I didn’t come in last :)
  • Made it to almost all of my kids functions (that’s big since I work evenings.
  • Grew in my daily quiet time and Bible reading.
  • Started writing a book I felt called to write over 3 years ago.
  • Was pretty consistent with date nights with Alan.
  • Tackled reverse dieting like a boss.
  • Learned to give my body a break….sometimes.

There’s more to it, but it spans pretty much everything in life. I’ve also kept up with coffee dates with my dad, which has had a tremendous effect on my own life.

How does this help with your goal setting?

Think of it this way, nothing good can come from a negative place. So, if you’re only looking at what you didn’t accomplish then you won’t start 2016 looking forward to anything. It will be the same grind all over again. By looking at what you have been able to do and what you have been blessed with, you can set more mindful intentions to your year.

Now, I do have a little suggestion about the weight loss/workout/eating goals: make them non-scale related . (I wrote a whole post about that HERE). Setting a physical goal or the goal to try different foods or cooking techniques will be far more rewarding in the end.

I encourage you to sit down and try this today. I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but now is the perfect time to look back and be grateful.

Merry Christmas,

Michelle

P.S. If having more fun with your workout sounds like a goal for you AND you are in my area (Houston, Baytown, La Porte, Deer Park, Pasadena, etc.) the 2016 boot camp is coming! Sign up for the newsletter to hear all the details :)

What’s in a number?

As I sit here trying to get my first meal of the day down (it’s 10 a.m. and was a long night) I am full of certain wonderings….

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and the fact that I have been forced to slow down has only made that worse. My health has taken a bit of a hit, but that’s not the point of this particular post.

What I have noticed is an extreme fascination with numbers. People who contact me are on a quest for a certain number. It is ALWAYS the scale…..and once I bring up the fact that the scale weight can actually be a bit subjective (you’d be hard pressed to find 2 scales that actually gave the same weight), most women will change the scale number to a clothing size number. Insert eye roll.

Did you know that there is no longer a discernible sizing system? True story. My own closet is full of different sizes and none of them tell me a lick about who I am as a person. You see, the size of the garment depends on who the designer is selling to AND where the garment will be sold. So it’s not your body that determines the size, but rather the designer, store and ultimately consumer. Before you get down on designers, I beg you to put several of the same size women in a lineup…..no 2 will look the same. And that goes for weight as well.

women and weight

Now, I totally get it if you are hefting around 100 extra pounds and feel the NEED to drop some just to be healthy. I have been there! And you’ll get it, just don’t stop moving :)

No, this is more for those obsessed with taking off some poundage. I mean, I have met more women who voice concerns over weight than women who are concerned if they are raising their children to survive in the world….no lie. Women who think if they could just reach that goal weight that life will somehow be magically delicious, to quote a popular leprechaun. Women who are so busy bouncing to the next thing that they don’t realize what they are missing right now. This is a disease of the mind that has to stop.

If my weight can differ by 2-4 pounds on any given scale, then what is it anyway? Is there even a need for weight? Well, certainly. I was weighed yesterday and I’m glad they did. It makes prescribing medications much easier. PLUS. if there is a large spike OR drop in weight it can indicate an illness. On a side note: a sudden drop in weight is almost always worse in the health department. The saddest thing is I also know women who are actually envious of others who have dropped massive amounts of weight due to illness. A diseased mind knows no bounds….

Am I telling you to give up on reaching your elusive weight loss goals?

Well, yes….and no.

There is a better way to see progress. SO, if you can hang with me for just a moment more, I’m giving you the top tips to tracking progress :) and some freebies at the end (WOOHOO!)

  1. Set a physical goal that has nothing to do with numbers. Don’t say you want to lose 20 pounds because then every upscale will send you into a pit. Instead, set some physical goals that have nothing to do with numbers (including lifting!). Stuck doing “girlie” pushups all the time? Aim to do your pushups with great form on your toes, then reverse engineer your way to that goal. You can do the same thing with pull ups, running, squats, lunges, cardio training, etc. Maybe there is an advanced class at your gym you want to try, but realize you could get injured in your current state. Make a plan to increase strength and cardiovascular efficiency. The same can be done for mud runs and adventure races. The options for non-scale goals are truly endless, so pick one.
  2. Take pictures, not measurements. I stopped doing weight and body fat this year. I’m still weaning some clients off of it, but the 2 can both be very subjective to your stress levels as well as water and salt intake. So, I prefer to use tape for clients and I truly encourage everybody to take pictures. I know this can seem like a horrifying suggestion. Even I struggled during my contest prep and that was the leanest I had been in a while. I promise, you will start to see the changes before you even move the scale or have baggy clothes. I use a photo collage app on my phone to place pictures side by side so I can actually see changes…..and I love it! I do this with clients as well and send them the collage while pointing out what I see. It works! And pictures are more honest than a scale will ever be. Try to get your pic in the same place, same lighting, and same clothes each time. How often? Once per month should do it ;) Consider enlisting a trainer (I do this with ALL online clients since I don’t see them very often) to help you out and take a peek at your pics.
  3. Aim to change ONE thing about your nutrition per week. We tend to be all or nothing when trying to reach a goal. The problem with this approach is it is more shocking to our system than anything else. And systems don’t like to be shocked. So, instead of throwing everything out and dieting down the hard way, make one nutrition change per week. This has been shown to help you KEEP those changes for life. I usually have everybody start with water. Then, most of my girls are told to focus on getting protein in since we tend to dig the carbs. Then, we start a food journal and pay attention to what we’re eating. After that, we can start to eliminate what doesn’t serve us and make healthier choices more naturally.

See? All 3 of these things will help you get to your goal without ever having to step on a scale outside of the doctor’s office.

Now, here are a few of my PERSONAL tips for fat loss (especially during the holidays). Take what you like, leave the rest :)

  1. Stop snacking. I know this seems crazy BUT I am totally starting to notice that more and more people are struggling to lose weight (I mean, it’s hard, but it seems like it’s gotten harder). We can trace a lot of this back to the snacking sensation that started heavily in the early 80′s. Your metabolism does NOT burn hotter if you keep eating. Contrary to popular opinion, science doesn’t back this one up. So, set your meal times and enjoy them. Three per day with a post-workout snack has been shown to suffice AND you don’t feel deprived.
  2. Consider closing your eating window. I too am a reforming snack-a-holic (we meet around the clock by the chocolate) and I have had to retrain my brain and body about fuel. One thing that helps is a smaller eating window (referred to as intermittent fasting). I choose to eat for about 8 hours per day and pack my 3 meals into that time. The meals are larger and more satisfying than scrawny snack meals. It’s not for everybody, so check into it first.
  3. Make your workouts count. Don’t be an all or nothing, 2 hours a day in the gym person. This time of year that is just piling unrealistic expectations on yourself and you don’t need any more of those. Opt for circuit training and full body workouts that are about 30 minutes in length. If you were a part of the Slimmer Summer challenge, those circuits are PERFECT for the busy holidays! You can also try YouTube for some ideas or check out some of the streaming workouts offered by Beach Body and the Daily Burn.
  4. Get some sleep. Cortisol levels can get way out of whack this time of year, so commit to a bed time and aim for 7-9 hours per night.
  5. Plan down time. You need a hobby that doesn’t tear you down. Try a new yoga class, have coffee with the girls, check out a book store, take a walk, meander through the mall, etc. Whatever YOU find rejuvenating, plan it into this month.

Have a very Happy Holiday season and I’ll be seeing you with some Christmas cheer very soon!

Michelle

Holiday Fat Loss NOW!

A few weeks ago I stated that I would be losing a bit of fat on Instagram…..and it’s in full swing.

SO, I thought it would be helpful for you to see how I go about this and for me to drop some educational bombs on fat loss fundamentals.

Let’s get down to business……

fat-loss_2 She looks thrilled with her apple doesn’t she?

OK, fundamentals FIRST.

  • You MUST obtain a muscle base before fat loss can occur. Don’t try to fast forward this part ok? If you have not been strength training regularly, then earmark what I’m doing here and come back to it in a few months.
  • You still have to eat.
  • Your workouts MUST be intense….not long.
  • Train thoughtfully and recover well.

My own personal goals are pretty easy and pretty cheesy…….I want to fit into jeans :) that’s one of them. Plus, I want to side step the inflammation I deal with and I want to increase my mobility since I have lost quite a bit. The majority of my workouts are based in my home gym, but I’ll give you some workout recommendations at the end of the post. PLUS, I post one of my workouts each week too, so you’re golden.

rockin abs This was  couple of years ago when I was intermittent fasting regularly. I have since put on about 11 pounds of MUSCLE (cue flex) :)

Eating.

I love food. Not in an unhealthy way mind you, I simply love what can happen when you marry the food that works with you and the eating style that works with you.

DISCLAIMER: I am about to tell you the eating style I choose. This is because it has always worked in the past to help me shed unwanted fat (not to be confused with weight) and squashed my inflammation. This is NOT a way of saying everybody should eat this way. Always do your homework before you embark on dietary change. If you have any chronic medical conditions, consult with your physician.

I am a happy intermittent faster. I’ll post more about the ins and outs of that later, but for the purposes of THIS blog I am simply telling you what I do.

I prefer a 16/8 fast, meaning that I fast for 16 hours and feast for 8. Pretty simple. I break my fast at 10 a.m. which is usually when my workout ends, and I have my final meal about 6 p.m. This works really well with my client schedules and responsibilities as well.

What does it mean to fast and feast?

I still drink coffee in the morning with a splash of non-dairy creamer, but stay below 50 calories. I drink 10 grams of BCAA’s while taking Debbie to school and 10 more during my workout. My workout duration is MUCH shorter now, but also more intense. I am using MMA conditioning training to help address imbalances and really tighten up my body. My workout ends around 10 a.m. and I will break my fast with a post-workout meal. That is usually a scoop of whey protein, 1/2 scoop of casein protein, and a piece of fruit. Then I’ll have a larger meal about an hour or so later. Depending on the day, I may have 2-4 more meals varied in size. I am eating intuitively and making sure I am getting my micronutrients in as well as my macronutrients. A breakdown of most meals is on my INSTA account.

More details on all the surrounds IF will be talked about soon.

Wrap a bow on it:

  • Fat loss requires a muscle base and I have spent the last 2 years piling muscle on.
  • I am EATING using intermittent fasting 16/8 protocol and choosing healthy foods even while some treats sneak in.
  • My workouts are shorter and more intense, really focusing on core.
  • I am also recovering smarter, utilizing nutrients as well as foam rolling, trigger point therapy and daily doses of yoga.

Hang with me and watch things change :)

Michelle

OH, side note: I have also ditched dairy and alcohol (during the holidays!!!!) due to the fact that they have been causing slight allergic issues. How can you tell? Pay attention to your food and how you feel!

 

HOW TO bounce back from an overindulgence

So, I’ve noticed something at the gym this week: PEOPLE.

People everywhere……

The gym has expanded in number for 2x what it was when I left Saturday morning, AKA: Halloween.

Gyms and fitness centers see a spike in attendance between Halloween and Thanksgiving, only to be followed by a severe drop until the New Year.

It’s an interesting turn of events usually brought on by one common thread: overindulgence. :)

Guilt by food is fascinating to me because I can now look at from a different vantage point. I too was riddled with guilt following every Reese’s peanut butter cup and loaded cheeseburger, but things have changed as I see things for how they are. Want to join me? Read on for some tips on how to bounce back from any overindulgence.

  1. Realize that 1 meal, or 1 day, or even 1 weekend will not completely derail ALL progress. If you are CONSISTENT with your workouts, you’ll be OK. Treats can even help the fat burning process along if you are in a fat loss stage that requires lower calories (I try to stay away from those personally…).
  2. The more you think about it, the worse it gets. We rarely give the mind credit for how powerful it really is. If all we focus on is a “misstep” in the nutrition game of life, then our body will remain focused on that instead of the all-consuming task of building muscle or burning fat. So, take a deep breath and, like a favorite Disney character….let it go.
  3. Use your overindulgence to your advantage. You have some extra energy stored up now, so use it. Take this opportunity to ramp up your strength training, try out that new class, or test out your endurance. Food is fuel and even treats can be useful when you’re working on your fitness.
  4. If you are like me and follow carefully calculated macros (cause nerds like us dig that), you can usually factor your treats into your macros and move on with life.
  5. Be prepared. Don’t be a statistic of the holidays due to being ill-prepared. Keep foods on hand that give you energy and either limit yourself to a certain number of treats per week OR sprinkle them into your macros throughout the week.

The way I want you to see it is this: health and fitness is a large scale project and any slip up is just a blip on the radar. Dust yourself on and move forward, no tedious cardio sessions required.

If you find that you do have some serious issues with food and feel as though you LOSE CONTROL, consider signing up for the Fall Challenge and learn to live and eat in balance.

 

 

My Christmas Wish for you…..and a Tip to Start the New Year on the right foot

Merry Christmas!

As this will be my final post of 2014 (we all need a vacation), I have a few thoughts to share. No glitz and glamour…..just realness that can only shine through during this blessed season.

I have a wish……

My wish for YOU this Christmas is that you will realize you are worth it and you contain boundless potential. Stop saying you’ll feel better after you lose the weight OR stop overeating OR maintain a fitness routine……You have exponential worth RIGHT NOW, just as you are. If you are drawing breath each day it is because the world needs something ONLY YOU can give us! So stop hoarding it and waiting to “fix” what you see as broken in your life. You are exactly where you need to be to make a difference.

The #1 Tip I can give you for a prosperous New Year….

Stop comparing. Don’t waste time comparing your physique to others, the weight you lift to others, the amount of time you spend in the gym to others or your jean size to others! Start 2015 out compelled to improve on all the greatness that is YOU and share it with the world. Find YOUR distinctive purpose and chase it with all your might.

Our family wishes you and yours and blessed and Happy Christmas!

Michelle

 

Welcome to December! Stay FIT this month.

December is upon us!

You have already experienced the feast that is known as Thanksgiving (and I hope you enjoyed it) and have possibly begun the quest for gifts and goodies throughout the stores this past weekend.

As holiday music fills the air and the scent of pine trees and cinnamon fills our noses, stress and a sense of being overwhelmed can also fill our spirits.

One sure-fire way to combat stress is by working out.

stressed workout

BUT, for some of us the thought of adding one more thing to our to-do list causes MORE stress, not less.

What is a stressed out person to do?

Easy, follow a few simple suggestions to thrive this season…

flexible santa

1. Be flexible.

Yes, this can pertain to yoga, but we’ll discuss that later. What I’m talking about now is being flexible with your schedule and your eating. Christmas is the WORST time to try to be super strict, because it’s almost impossible to stick to a strict eating and training regimen. When we do fail, we feel like a failure and it compiles even more stress onto our plate. This is the perfect time of year to try some new workouts, check out flexible dieting and look into some new gym classes. All of these things will help keep you focused and motivated without the drama.

2. Don’t skip workouts.

Just because you can’t get in a whole hour or make it to your normal class is no excuse to give in and wait until the New Year (BUSTED!). You can get efficient workouts in less time than you think AND many workouts can be done in your living room. Check out my YouTube channel for some easy to follow workouts, Plus here are 2 others that are slightly more challenging:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ZuzkaLight

https://www.youtube.com/user/charliejames1975

3. Take it to the Mat.

Consider a bit of yoga to get your heart, body and mind calmed down and centered. Trouble sleeping? There’s yoga for that. Can’t wake up after a late night? There’s yoga for that. Feeling a bit sluggish from all the sweets? Yep, yoga can help. Yoga can even detox from those extra special drinks during the holiday season. If you can make it to a live class, all the better, but you can get the benefits of yoga in 10-20 minutes a day. Check out these 2 channels for my best yoga picks:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFKE7WVJfvaHW5q283SxchA

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ZldqU8Sj7jpB2N36kO79A

christmas fit challenge

4. Take a Christmas Fit Challenge

These are ALL over the internet and social media. Check out some of the ones floating around Instagram and get started. Most of these take less than 5 minutes to complete and will keep you on track to your goals.

5. Take advantage of the slow season.

This time of year is extremely slow for most trainers and studios. In light of this, many will offer reduced fee and sometimes FREE classes or sessions. So check out your local studios and trainers and see if you can take advantage and get re-inspired to be your best self this season.

Remember, the best gift you can give this season is a healthy YOU. Take some time to care for yourself and you’ll be better prepared to care for others.

Merry Christmas,

Michelle

7 Steps to become FITTER through the Holidays

 

Christmas Plank 2013

 

Those who enjoy the regular benefits of eating well and working out can often succumb to the joy of the holiday season with absolute vigor….which can quickly turn to regret. There’s no reason to lose gains, or gain fat, this holiday season. Now, you have the tools of the trade to stay on track and start your New Year fitter than ever.

1.Honor the ROUTINE.

Holiday parties, work deadlines, family responsibilities, endless shopping lines, you name it; it can all disrupt our tried and true schedule. Did you know that sticking to a schedule not only makes you more productive, but will also lessen your stress levels? Plan ahead to make sure you can honor your schedule. You workouts may be shorter, but making sure you move each day will pay off in the long run.

2. Be Prepared.

There is nothing worse than Christmas shopping without money in the bank right? So why would you go out without making sure you have the foods you need? We all know that nutrition is the cornerstone of our health, vitality and energy, so start preparing for the season of overindulgence now. Prep your meals for the week in advance and take advantage of handy coolers and carriers. When you’re planning a shopping trip or dinner, look over the menu first and plan ahead as to what you will eat. Remember, treat meals can be an advantage, but a treat season will leave you feeling like a bloated whale by January first….and then you have to fight the resolutionists for your spot at the rack.

3.Be realistic with your expectations.

You wouldn’t stand around and wait for a piece of equipment at the gym right? Please say no. Of course not! You would take a look at your program for the day and re-write it a bit to keep your workout going. The same thing can happen during the holidays. You may need to switch up your workout time to accommodate family responsibilities or just bad weather. If you can’t make it to the gym, have a body weight workout ready to go in your living room. Too stormy for a run? Give HIIT training a try. Think outside the box and drop the “all or nothing” attitude during the holidays. It will lessen stress and improve results.

4. Move every day.

Make a commitment to do SOMETHING every day. A little too much wine or a few too many sweet treats can take its toll on our energy. Sometimes the gloomy winter weather can leave us feeling a bit low. One sure fix is to get up and move every day. If you find that you battle with low energy during the colder months, try these tricks to spice it up:

  • Take on a group class at your local gym
  • Enlist a workout buddy
  • Try a boot camp
  • Head to a different gym. Many chain gyms offer memberships that will get you into ANY gym. Use this during this season to get a new energy and maybe even play on some new equipment. Sometimes all we need is to change up what we see each day to give the brain and body a fresh energy.
  • Take your training outdoors….if weather allows.

5. Maximize Your GAINS.

You know there are a few key foods you WILL NOT give up this holiday season. Grandma’s pumpkin pie? Your aunt’s homemade dressing? Anything smothered in either gravy or chocolate? Well, you should also know that you can use these foods to your advantage. Look at your workout split now. Take the time to train, let’s go with LEGS, before the big feast. This way, you can utilize the copious amounts of fuel you’re taking in to make some serious changes in your physique. Hit back the next day to capitalize on the extra carbs you know those yams packed in and reap the benefits of nutrition knowledge. The point here is to not just sit on your butt eating all week….move your butt and then you can “fuel” those awesome muscles.

6. Recreate Traditions.

I used to spend most Thanksgivings eating till the elastic on my waist band wanted to give out and downing an entire bottle of wine. This served two purposes: 1) It made the entire event more tolerable, no matter the drama :) and 2) It made me appear to still be “normal” in the eyes of my loved ones. What isn’t normal is the amount of time and energy wasted on recuperating from a holiday binge. Just thing of the sweet shoulders you could be building instead of trying to burn off wine and pie! So, I now bring healthier dishes and fruits and veggies to snack on. If I have wine I cut it with a little tart cherry juice. This keeps me from drinking so much and has the added benefit of lessening the soreness from the sweet leg workout I did earlier that morning. Check out the Bodybuilding.com recipe database for some GREAT finds on healthy fare.

7. Take a scheduled time out.

We can’t sustain ourselves for that long. Even the most outgoing of people need a little time to recharge. If you happen to be an introvert, like myself, then you will need to schedule a time out once a week. I know you think your gym time should suffice, but trust me here, you need something more. What can you do for a time out? You could soak in a bath, cuddle with the love of your life (that could be your teddy bear, we don’t judge here), treat yourself to a movie of choice, have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, stay in your house in PJ’s all day, go for a walk in nature, schedule short walks after dinner, sit by the fire, start reading that book that has been sitting on your side table for months, etc. The possibilities are endless and totally up to you.

Christmas Plank Fail 2013

 

As you can see, you can make it through the holidays stress-free and looking even better in your jeans….as if that’s even possible. Don’t get caught up in the drama, but enjoy the season. Focus on all you do have instead of what you still lack. Find someone to encourage. And remember that the world is a much brighter place with you in it…if you allow your light to shine.

Christmas Muscles 2013

 

PORTION CONTROL: Your best tool in surviving the Holidays

 

The Holidays are upon us and that usually causes 1 of 2 responses when it comes to fitness:

  1. Fear and dread thinking about trying to “control” everything and maintain our results.
  2. The generalized “CHUCK IT ALL!” feeling where you just give up and decide to start over, yet again, New Year’s day.

What if there really IS a better way?

Watching your portions can help you keep your waistline and your energy levels in check, whether you eat at home OR out and about. Pay attention to HOW MUCH you eat and you will have a harder time gaining weight this season.

Here are some more tips on monitoring your portions, but still enjoying this season:

  • As the video states, SLOW DOWN. Don’t be the first to get your food and don’t be the first to finish.
  • If your Thanksgiving meal is served buffet style, leave some white space on your plate. You can still enjoy the foods if they are in smaller portions AND the starving children in Africa are still starving when you overstuffed yourself…so stop that.
  • ALSO, make the commitment to yourself to be a ONE-TRIPPER. Get what you really like (avoid the stuff you hate) and only go around once.
  • If your meal is served at the table, don’t sit by a trigger food. If you’re placed there, pass it down and fill its spot with a less-likely-to-binge alternative.
  • Know ahead of time what you will splurge on.
  • Eat plenty of lean protein to keep your blood sugar stable.
  • Try to avoid alcohol. It will lower your inhibitions and before you know it, 3 pieces of pie don’t sound too bad at all.
  • Take a walk after dinner instead of plopping down on the couch.
  • Go outside and play with the kids (though a trampoline after a big meal would not be advised).
  • Get a workout in that morning as studies show we eat healthier when we workout.
  • Enjoy the conversation, don’t feel the need to eat just because others are eating.
  • Watch out for sugary drinks, opt for water instead.
  • Can’t decide which dessert? Serve yourself small portions (1-2 bites) of each on a smaller plate.
  • If you have people who point out your eating habits (OH, so you’re too good to eat…?) I have found 1 key phrase that gets them off my back: “If you feel the need to pick apart my eating habits, then I will be more than accommodating to pick apart yours….” Judge not, lest ye be judges people.
  • Do a little yoga before bed that evening to reset the system. Make sure it includes plenty of twists to detoxify the system.
  • Plan to workout the day after, even if it’s a light workout at home.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. I have NO intention of logging every morsel on Thanksgiving OR Christmas day. Enjoy the spirit of the season and don’t let food be a stressor.

Keep up with more Holiday tips with the newsletter ———>>>>>>>>

Have a Happy and Healthy Day!

Michelle

Enjoy the Season

Healthy Holidays to all out there!

What do you do to enjoy this time of year?

Do you have family traditions?

In our family, we have managed to keep some of the old and create some new ones along the way.

We buy fresh trees each year, and each year I vow to get a fake one for next year. :) Hey, traditions are important!

I bake goodies for those who surround us all year long: the mail man, the garbage men, our neighbors, our church staff, the staff at our bank, the UPS guys (they frequent this house), etc. Now, my kids are old enough to lend a helping hand in the baking process and particularly enjoy working in the quality control department.

Each year brings about shopping, time spent with family, Christmas pageants, looking at Christmas lights, decorating the tree and reading stories. We also spend loads of time watching Christmas movies and we exchange the gift of brand new pajamas each Christmas Eve (thank mom and dad!).

All of these are wonderful traditions, but for some, Christmas is not always a time of joy.

Many have suffered loss this year and mourn as Christmas approaches. I can relate and may I offer a heartfelt virtual hug and the knowledge that the days will get easier and joy will begin to come back.

Others find financial straits to be holding them back from joy this year. Remember that the true joy of Christmas is found in the heart, not the pocket book. To those who have been blessed with more, I encourage you to seek out those who could use some love and a hot meal…then provide those needs.

Some simply suffer from not feeling good enough. Perhaps you feel as though you just take up space. You are still here for a reason and you can find it through the ones you surround yourself with everyday.

Now, there are those of us who experience anxiety as Christmas approaches. We know the New Year is close at hand and that we have yet to tackle last years resolutions. Or perhaps we dread the “morning after” feeling of over-indulging at parties. And to those, I truly relate :) So I hope to offer a few bits of healthy advice to make the season more joyful.

  • The average weight gain during the holidays is actually 3 pounds. Why do I tell you that? The perceived weight gain for most is over 10 pounds. It takes a lot of fudge and sugar cookies to gain 10 pounds, so relax. You’re going to be fine.
  • Movement ALWAYS helps…so long as it’s fun. Let’s face it, if it is not your “JOB” to be fit then it is hard to get your workouts in during this busy season. Did you know stressing about working out will actually pack on pounds, not burn calories? So chill out! Move a little every day. Walk to the store from the farthest parking space, take the stairs, stretch when you get out of bed, do a little jump rope in the bathroom at work, whatever! It all adds up and is good for overall mood boosting.
  • Limit the alcohol, up the water. I love some good wine at Christmas! It just makes everything more magical right? LOL However, it can wreak havoc on your health and overall mood. So set a limit before you indulge and make sure you drink a glass of water for every glass of Cabernet (or whatever you may choose).
  • Take a time out. You may actually need that 30 minute nap you’re craving. Perhaps your body would prefer a slow walk over a run. Choose this time of year to nurture your body as opposed to punishing it.

Through it all, remember that you are your best self when you take care of yourself. So be gentle, be kind and enjoy.

Merry Christmas!

Michelle

For quick bouts of movement Monday-Friday, check out my Twitter page and have it delivered to your phone.