My Running Playlist

REMEMBER!!! Pay for your tunes people….

 

It Takes Two: Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock

List of Demands: Saul Williams

Rubber Doll: Lords of Acid

Showstopper: Toby Mac

Run (I’m a Natural Disaster) Gnarls Barkley

Unstoppable: Toby Mac

Power Trip: Lecrae

Too Close: Alex Clare

Thunderstruck: AC/DC

I Wanna Go: Britney

The Power: SNAP

Without You: Usher

When It’s Over: Sugar Ray

The Show Goes ON: Lupe Fiasco

What You Waiting For?: Gwen Stefani

Ignition: Toby Mac

Our God: Chris Tomlin

I Lift My Hands: Chris Tomlin

No Chains on Me: Chris Tomlin

Awakening: Chris Tomlin

Cray Button: Family Force 5

Cray Button (feat. Lecrae): Family Force 5

These are top players on my list and help keep me going when I’m really not feeling it.

Check them out in your iTunes store OR wherever you purchase your music!

Get a new song or 2 and try a new workout this weekend :)

Have a Healthy Day!

Michelle

OH, and if you’re in the middle of making yourself a runner, time your songs so the faster ones come on every 2-3 songs. Then you’ll know when those particular songs come on, you better up your pace! This is a great trick to build endurance and psyche yourself up for your run. Feel free to share your favorite songs in the comments!

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Weight Loss Tutorial: Calories VS Portions

Hey guys!

I’m filming a series of weight loss tutorials and have been taking on questions from the world of losing weight. Feel free to comment with any questions YOU have and keep your eyes open for more videos!

Nutrition for the Next Generation

Friday Fit Facts!

Welcome to FRIDAY!!!!!

 

Since it seems to be everybody’s favorite day of the week, I thought we would go over a few fit facts. Think of them as THE LAWS OF FITNESS

  1. Calorie counting is so 1980′s. PORTION CONTROL is KING! If you want to lose weight, gain definition, or just look better naked then stop counting calories. Your calorie intake should vary daily, depending on lifestyle. Focus on keeping portions small. You should be eating enough to hold you over for 3-4 hours max.
  2. Nutrient dense wins every time. The more nutrient dense a food is, the more energy it gives the body, the more calories you burn.
  3. Diet foods are OUT! “Fat Free”, “Sugar Free”, “Zero Calorie”: all of these terms need to leave your diet completely. Diet foods were made for the sake of convenience and offer no nutritional value, These are among some of the most highly processed foods in the aisles.
  4. Hydration is necessary: Drink a bare minimum of 80 ounces of pure water per day, more if your sweating or looking to lose pounds.
  5. Exercise punishment does not work. Fitness revolves around the overall total health of your body. If you punish your body with a grueling gym workout for 2 hours, only to be bed ridden for 4 (or worse, prone to bingeing) you’ve done more harm than good. Consistency is key, punishment is lame.
  6. Motivation is fleeting and should not be counted on. I am not “motivated” to work out everyday. The fitness fairies do not visit my dreams and give me awesome energy. It’s a CHOICE. I consciously decide that this is a part of my life, period. If you struggle here (and I know you do because I NEVER hear the end of it) I have 3 words of advice: SUCK. IT. UP.
  7. Stop comparing yourself to others. A vision board is fine and respect for athletes is awesome, but trying to “get that______” is unrealistic. Simply be the best YOU! That’s more than enough :)
  8. Follow a fit example. Starlets that starve and tummy tuck queens should not have a place in your inspiration. Find fit people to hang out with and form bonds with people who have accomplished what you are after.
  9. Realize you will never get “there”. Weight is a terrible goal, but health is every changing it’s form. Strive to be your healthiest self and celebrate each little achievement along the way.
  10. Don’t lose your sense of humor!!!!! PLEASE, stay sane during this process. This really is a lifestyle and lifelong journey. Don’t take set backs as stop signs, remember to laugh at yourself, and keep putting one foot in front of the other!

We’ll break down some more rules next week, but until then…

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt! Just like Orange Leaf…only better :)

 

 

If you know me then you know I have a slight obsession with frozen yogurt :)

All of the frozen yogurt shops that are popping up all around don’t make it any easier. Now, I know these shops offer the whole “It’s yogurt, so it’s better for you” excuse, but in reality frozen yogurt has just as much sugar (sometimes even MORE) as regular ice cream. PLUS, in order to get some of those flavors you have to use artificial flavors and colors: both of which are under speculation for causing cancer in lab rats.

So what’s a froyo loving girl to do?!?!?! A little treat from the shop won’t kill you. Just don’t get me started on the extra bad things we put into our bodies via the condiment bar (Lord, save us from ourselves!). I have been on a personal and professional mission to recreate the art of froyo, in a healthy way :)

My first couple of recipes are listed in the blog, and it is much easier if you invest in a frozen yogurt machine. They are relatively cheap and easy to acquire. You can always blend and freeze the old-fashioned way as well.

My favorite Orange Leaf FROYO: Peanut Butter

In blender combine the following:

  • 1 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • 1/2 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup organic, low sugar vanilla yogurt (you can get both of these in Kroger brand)
  • 2 teaspoons all natural vanilla
  • 1/8 cup natural sugar (you can omit this or opt for Stevia, but cut it to about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of all natural peanut butter***

Blend until smooth, pour into froyo maker and in about 25 minutes you have rich, creamy, peanut butter froyo.

1 serving is about 1/4 cup. Do you know the average person’s serving of froyo? 1.5 cups at minimum. Yeah, that’s why all that running isn’t resulting in weight loss….mind your servings people!

Per serving your getting about 15 grams of protein with less than 8 grams of sugar. All pure awesome!

***PLEASE NOTE: When I say natural peanut butter, I mean that when you look on the ingredients (which you should ALWAYS DO) it should say PEANUTS. At times you will see salt and that is fine. If you cannot pronounce it, put it back. And yes, you should have to mix it. Don’t be lazy, that extra mixing is a great bicep workout ;)

Eat healthy, stay lean

Michelle

It’s the Little Things

There is one common theme that I am noticing amongst my clients and fitness fans alike: We ALL LOVE FOOD!!!!

Am I right?

Well, you know what? You SHOULD love food. As a matter of fact, God gave us food so that we can be nourished and enjoy life. Just on a side note though, I’m not so sure God gave us Twizzlers…but I sure do enjoy them :)

I think there is a lot of food confusion going on in the more affluent parts of the world. You read that right, but I’ll explain: if you have enough food to actually cause worry over what you should and shouldn’t eat, you my friend are affluent. We worry over carbs and fats, count calories like devoted mathletes, and even wear devices that tell us how much we move because we honestly don’t know! OK, I have been guilty of ALL.

There is hope for each of us though. It’s a little something called Intuitive Eating. I counsel with this theory and have had raging results for myself and lots of clients. And guess what? We all need it so I’m going to be focusing on this for several blogs. Why? I think we need to bring the enjoyment back to our nourishment. It is the way God intended. think of the people trudging around the desert. God sent manna and I’m sure it was the best tasting, we’re not totally sure what it was, stuff on Earth! Enjoying our nourishment (should we be the ones that are not having to worry over it) is a gift, and it is my intent to bring it back.

Mindless Eating is one of my most flipped through nutrition books. the funny thing is this is not a book of calorie counting or anal retentive meal plans (there is such a thing). it is a book that brings the reality of the situation into light. We are such a get-it-done-yesterday society that we are often just stuffing food in so we can stay awake. We use it to fuel more than it actually does and we often use food for comfort as well. The sadness of this reality is that to an orphan in Ethiopia comfort food is ANY scrap that will reach his belly….

In our culture, we have recently begun to deal with the effects of too-much. Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities (all different) are beginning to run rampant. Why? Scientists speculate it is because we have never before had such a wide variety of foods available at any time, to anybody day or night. Think about it: you can now get any food delivered straight to your doorstep, no matter the time. Most of us make use of this convenience due to our busy lives, but according to scientists we have “convenienced” ourselves into a serious lack of real health.

I know what your thinking: “I can’t feed a village with MY food and my life won’t slow down anytime soon“. This may be true, but you and I are not meant to leave in an eternal food fight on Earth. We shouldn’t need a third-party to tell us what to eat. So what are we to do? Information is power and I intend to provide you with that. Each week we will discuss a small change that can be made to the diet to help bring about health. The 10 Pound Challenge will cover food in just a bit more detail, but strict meal plans are off-limits. It’s time to take back our right to enjoy our sustenance as it was intended.

So, are you up for the challenge?

Michelle

Money Matters: Getting Your Waistline and Your Wallet in Shape

 

Hello Fit peeps!!!

This will be a great day for those who think fitness must be bought! I have a secret for you….it’s FREE!!!!! It’s true, the best things in life really ARE free!

You may ask, “How can this be?” I understand the confusion. We are inundated with infomercials about weight loss products (hello??? BeachBody, though they have great products, are the #1 infomercials), weight loss supplements, weight loss food sprinkles, and even weight loss perfume. SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!? And have you ever noticed that these blast out right when you are feeling your most helpless? Like late at night when you just polished off the ice cream, or in the car as you’re pulling away from the drive through? It’s not you sister (or brother), these ads make up over 60% of ad space.

So, what’s a fitness seeker with a tight budget to do? Here are a few easy tips to help get you started off in the right direction:

  • Water is FREE!!! And super important.
  • Eat simple. Pick foods in the produce section that are in season. you’ll know they are in season because they are the CHEAPEST.
  • Stay away from the dollar menu. Just don’t. You may think it’s cheaper, but studies show that people usually end up spending MORE than they would if they brown bagged lunch.
  • Buy sale items in bulk. When bread is on sale, buy 2-3 loaves and freeze them. Frozen veg is great to have on hand for quick meals as well and tuna is always cheap.
  • Take up walking or running around your neighborhood or at the local park. You can find suitable shoes without breaking the bank, just be willing to try on many pair and check out local sales.
  • Love workout DVDs? Have your girlfriends over for a DVD swap. Have everybody bring a fitness DVD to the house then people can pick which one they’ll use. Do it again every 4-6 weeks so workouts are always changing. Even better, have a recipe swap too!
  • If you’re a class person, just about every gym offers 5-7 day class passes. You simply download the pass at their website and take it in. You can try out new classes and meet new fit friends.
  • Check out local health and fitness expos. These will usually be full of local vendors and they ALWAYS have discounts for services.
  • Learn to love YouTube. Most fitness professionals have a YouTube channel. If free workouts aren’t available, you can at least glean some massive amounts of knowledge.
  • Host a healthy cooking class. I offer these locally and the hostess always gets to share in the fun for free. Most nutritionists will do the same. Your participants usually between $10-$15 to cover foods used, plus everybody gets to eat AND take home any leftovers.
  • Look to your local community center for free information classes on nutrition, exercise, weight loss, family health, etc. Most centers are always open to trainers, nutritionists and fitness experts sharing knowledge PLUS they usually give discounts on their next class just for attending.
  • Consider group training. Training with a friend is more fun honestly AND you can split the cost of training.
  • Check out your local fitness clothing stores (Athleta and Lululemon for example) for totally free classes offered WEEKLY at the least.
  • ALWAYS ask if you can try one class for free.
  • Consider gathering a group of friends to make a menu and trade-off making dinner for each others families. This can lower your overall grocery bill by 40% and open you up to new recipes.
  • Give Hulu a try. Type in health and fitness and you’ll find a whole channel full of goodies.
  • Check out these sites for fitness tips AND free workouts!
  1. www.toneitup.com
  2. www.peak313.com
  3. www.yogatoday.com

Oh! And don’t forget to sign up for the Drop 10 with a Friend challenge too!

Whew! How’s that for a start? Fitness IS affordable and well within your reach, so the money excuse is no longer going to fly with you because you’re better than that ;)

One last trick: if you are already a workout DVD babe and believe that is the BEST way to fitness for you, you can check programs, such as Team Beach Body, where you can get paid to get results. Be very mindful that all of these programs do require an investment and work like a business so do your research and think about if it really is right for you.

Keep checking in for more Fit Tips and have a healthy day!

Michelle

Portion Distortion Revisited

All of my nutrition counseling sessions revolve mostly around the portion control issue. The fact of the matter is that we eat more with our eyes than our stomachs. We see good food and we pounce and attack. Studies have shown this to be even worse when we are in the presence of friends and family. Oddly enough, we can eat up to 50% more than we intended if we are around people who make us uncomfortable (think of a judgmental family member). The theory is that we are trying not to say anything rude, so we close the talking hole :)

So, if we live in a land of excess, how do we accomplish portion control? Well, we simply apply a little bit of thinking to the equation.

First we must establish what too much food can do to our health:

  • Excessive weight gain. That’s a given, and sadly one of the lesser evils.
  • Increased inflammation. Too much chronic inflammation can lead to diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Obesity and obesity related diseases.
  • Loss in bone density.
  • Metabolic syndrome.
  • Loss of muscle mass.

These are a few of the side effects, but I’m really not trying to scare you here! The best part about all of this is a lot of these things (metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes included) can be reversed with just a few simple switches.

Here are a few ways to keep your portions in check, no matter what you’re doing:

  1. Get a hand on it. Remember that your hand can serve as a great guide for portions. For example: at a family BBQ you should need both hands to carry your plate :) Seriously though, your protein is the size of the inner part of your palm, carbs are 1 tightly closed fist, fats are the last thumb knuckle, and veggies are 2 big open palms (sans the fats from frying or dressing).
  2. If you’re eating out, share your meal or have the waiter box 1/2 of it before it comes to the table.
  3. Eat off of smaller plates instead of large dinner plates.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Most signs of hunger are actually signs of dehydration.
  5. Weigh and measure all your food for 2 weeks. Past that point you can eyeball portions.
  6. Take a bite, take a break. After placing a bite of food in your mouth, lower your utensil and enjoy the food! Wait 15 seconds after swallowing to get another bite. I know it sounds crazy (and I really struggle with this one!) but not only does it help you notice when you feel fuller sooner, it also helps you avoid stomach issues and certain cancers. That’s worth it to me!
  7. Eat at least 1 meal per day at home. Bigger is better in the food biz and we are always looking for more bang for our buck. That is exactly what has gotten us into this sickly state. By committing to eating 1 meal per day at home (or pack it and take it with you), you can reduce your risk of disease and prolong your life.
  8. Watch the alcohol. We all have good intentions when we begin our meal, but alcohol lowers your will power. If you’re eating out, order your drink AFTER the meal is over as opposed to before it begins. Dining in? Have your nightcap at a time when the kitchen is closed. Personally, if I have washed all dishes and started the dishwasher I won’t dirty up another plate for a midnight snack.

These are a few simple tools to use. Remember, recent studies show that by reducing your daily calorie intake by 20% you can reduce inflammation by up to 60%. That’s good enough for me :)

In good health,

Michelle

Find Zen in Your Kitchen: Remake Your Dressings

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During the warmer summer months, salads become a staple for a few reasons. They are cooling, tasty, easy, and readily available. The only problem with salads are the dressings.
Don’t leave yet! If you’re struggling to reach your weight loss goals or simply wanting to be healthier, salad dressings aren’t off the menu.
If you eat out, simply ask for your dressing on the side and try to steer clear of the creamy dressings. Are there any Olive Garden fans out there? Sadly, that salad if the worst thing on the menu, sans the fried foods. The fat and calories are quite high for the nutrition offered. No worries! Simply order a house salad, dressing on the side so you can control the portion. Viola! You can breathe easy.
Now, in your kitchen there are loads of ways to play with your salad. If you’re making it a meal, try adding fish, chicken, beans, or eggs (not all at once please!). Put loads of color in your salad by hitting up the veggie bar or precut veggies at your local grocer. Got a sweet tooth? You can add fruits, both fresh and dried, moderately.
Dressings can be really easy once you learn your base. Pure extra virgin olive oil is a fantastic base for light dressings. Remember light refers to color in olive oil, not calories.
To your oil you can add balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon or lime juice. Fresh herbs such as rosemary, tarragon, basil, oregano dill work wonders in light dressings.
If you like your dressings a bit creamier, try low fat Greek yogurt. This lends a creaminess without the saturated fats, plus you get a little extra protein. My new favorite dressing is a low fat, low calorie, high nutrient Honey Lemon Ginger Dressing. It’s so easy, anybody an whip it together.

Take fresh ginger (about a thumb length)
Peel and run through food processor to grate.
In separate bowl add:
1 tablespoon low fat lemon Greek yogurt (I use chobani)
1 tablespoon natural honey
Mix together with ginger, toss with salad

This dressing can be saved in a container in fridge for a week.

One other wonderful salad topper is hummus. Simply take your hummus of choice , toss into sturdy greens like arugula or kale, add lemon juice and a little olive juice (from jarred olives) and mix. Top with a few olives and some colorful peppers for a satisfying and super quick lunch.

Always remember to be flexible in your kitchen. Try different things and learn what works for you. If you come up with a rockin recipe, share it! And always have a healthy day!
Michelle

What If We Really Were REAL…

I’m coming off a testing and rewarding trip to the She Speaks Conference in Concord, NC. The whole trip up there we had tunes from Chris Tomlin, Britt Nicole, Lecrae, Toby Mac, Jaime Grace, and Mandisa. The song What If We Were Real, by Mandisa, kept playing over and over. If you haven’t experienced it, check it out HERE. This song became the theme of the trip and opened up some tight spaces in my own mind.

It made me beg the question, “What if we really were REAL?”

Do you understand the weight of that question? You see, I was at a conference for Christian speakers and writers, all women. In fact, 650 women. That is a LOT of estrogen in one venue! My first morning was challenging to say the least. I entered with the anticipation of a school girl. I was ready to open up and make new and lasting friendships. This anticipation was quickly met with glares and stares, followed by shuns when I attempted to speak. Was it in my head? I would have thought that except when I placed my back down next to another woman in the foyer and said, “This looks like a great place to dig through our goodies”, to which she responded, “Sure”. Then she promptly packed up her bag and walked away. I found her at a chair in the back of the hotel. Not in the mood for making friends I assume.

So what was the deal? Was it Satan himself making me feel as though I didn’t belong? In reality, I don’t think Satan even has to try in this arena anymore. Women are so full of insecurities and judgement that it frees up the darker forces to focus on bigger things… What if that could change?

So, what would real look like? I spoke with a publishing agent at the conference and at the end of our brief time she thanked me for being willing to be so transparent. She stated that she had not seen that kind of real transparency in a long time. Being real takes a level of vulnerability that most of us are unwilling to tap into. We carry the weight of the world and the expectations of perfection on our shoulders to the point where we couldn’t point out real if it was on our nose! We live pre-rehearsed lives, always thinking of our reactions and the worst case scenarios. What is real?

What would happen if we were open to admitting our insecurities? What if we fessed up to feeling less than stellar? What if we chose to state that we are intimidated? What if we admit that when we see a beautiful woman who seems to have it all together, we feel less about ourselves? And, what if we confess that when we see that same woman with toilet paper stuck to her shoe, we feel a bit better?

I have found in my short life that women can hold other women down far better than any other force on Earth. Think about grade school and junior high. OK, stop crying, it will be ok…. :) WHat if WE could initiate a change in the world? What if we all woke up one day and began behaving a little differently? What if we let the real shine through?

My daughter had to deal with her first run of female competitiveness and nastiness this past school year. I had to lay the harsh reality that it does not end after school is over. Think about it: why is it so important for females to have a gaggle of friends? We NEED teammates!!!! We need to know that we have some double X’s on our side. Why do we struggle against each other?

Perhaps it is the innate and primal need to be loved. I have a little eye opener on that one: there is NOBODY and NOTHING on this Earth that can love you more than your Heavenly Father. Seek FIRST, then everything you need will be added. It took me several decades to learn that. So, why do we as women judge harshly? Philippians 4 gives us the instruction on how we should speak. We are to let no harmful speech escape our mouths, but only that which builds others up. In other words, if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all. Why do we struggle?

Now, I know you’re probably saying that you do build others up, but my question is this: do you build up those outside of your circle? Better yet, do you build up those you differ with? Even more, do you build up yourself?

I know I have given a lot of food for thought here and I promise it will not go unanswered. Throughout the following weeks we will be looking into our hearts and starting our own revolution. This will be a revolution to end all revolutions in my opinion. It is time to put down the fiery words and pick up our inheritance that is promised. It is time for a true change that rips throughout an entire generation. Are you ready to change the world? It starts in the heart of each of us.

Michelle