Bikini Morning Ritual and a Sample Meal Plan for Tight Skin

My rituals, or habits, play the biggest role in how my body looks and performs on a daily basis. There are a couple of things that are engrained in my daily behaviors which help me to get the most out of my nutrition and gym time.

THE GREEN SHAKE

I cannot stress enough how important this is. It brings my body into an alkaline state, making my supplements more efficient and my energy levels skyrocket. It’s best if you have a high-powered blender (Vitamix), but if not, simply run it through several times. I make mine in large batches and drink it over a 3 day period.

IN BLENDER (in this order)

2.5 cups pure water

3 cups fresh, washed spinach

Run blender on low/medium for a couple of minutes

ADD

2-3 cups romaine, washed

1 cucumber (washed and chopped)

Run for a minute

ADD

1 green apple, washed, cored and chopped

1 pear, washed, cored and chopped

2 kiwi, washed (skin can be removed OR left on for more fiber)

Run for a minute

ADD

1 banana

Small handful of parsley (if desired. Parsley is excellent for cleansing the blood)

Juice of 2 lemons

Blitz it good :)

Feel free to add the flesh of 1 ripe avocado if your diet is in need of healthy fats. If your skin is looking dull and lackluster, avocado will help.

Add more water as needed to suit your tastes.

Drink 16 ounces every morning. If you’re still hungry, opt for oatmeal.

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Sample Bikini Ready Meal Plan:

Upon waking drink 6 oz hot water with the juice of 1 lemon

Coffee or tea is fine, sans sugar or flavored creamers

Breakfast: 16 oz green smoothie, oatmeal if desired

Snack: Small handful of almonds or walnuts, 1 orange

Lunch: 2-3 cups mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. 1/2 baked sweet potato, 4 oz baked or grilled fish (or canned tuna or salmon)

Snack: 1 scoop whey protein in 8 oz water. If this falls post-workout ADD 1 piece whole grain bread OR 1 banana OR 1 cup grapes

Dinner: 2 cups steamed veggies, 4 oz baked chicken or turkey, 1/2 cup whole grain rice OR quinoa, small side salad if desired (lemon juice over).

Snack before bed, if hungry: 4 oz low-fat (2%) cottage cheese OR 1 scoop casein protein in water

Follow this plan tight (6 days on, 1 rest day with a treat…not the WHOLE day people) for 4 weeks to notice changes.

Omit breads, crackers, pastas and sweets during meal plan days. Save things like this for treats :)

Michelle

Learning a new way

Good Wednesday Morning!

Today we’re discussing food (what else?!?!) and how it really affects us.

You see, all too often we labor under the delusion that food only really matters to the tongue, so if it tastes good then we are happy with it. WRONG! Food does so much more than satisfy a momentary craving. Certain foods can help to increase digestion while others can slow it to a stand still. THIS is metabolism at it’s finest. Our bodies spend about 50% of our energy just digesting food. If our daily diets are full of foods that take the metabolism down in speed due to overhauling the digestive system (and that workout you had planned? Forget about it!), then we can spend almost 80% of our energy just trying to fix our culinary faults. Don’t worry, there is hope :)

The hope for our intestinal future lies in our food choices themselves. Choosing foods closer to their natural state will help aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients and minerals. This way we are getting what we intended to get from our foods: energy. After all, that is really what food was created for….to give us the needed energy to live. Somewhere along the line we got all confused and I’m here to try to bring us back.

Now, you may be thinking, “But eating healthy is so BORING!”. And to you I say, keep fooling yourself Einstein. That’s an excuse for you to lazy out on what you were created to do in the simplest form: take care of yourself. Just yesterday my daughter and I spent a little time in the kitchen and prepared roasted new potatoes with fresh herbs, sweet potato¬†fries, juice baked chicken breasts, white fish poached in coconut oil and ginger and lemon, mixed veggies and even some home-made bread. We even had time to run the juicer and make fresh juice for the next couple of days and some smoothies to keep in the fridge. Boring? In my opinion the brownish slab of mystery meat slapped between to sugar muffins and piled with mystery sauce lacks far more appeal….

See, part of the problem is we don’t want to spend time nourishing ourselves. We have convenienced ourselves into a health crisis, and I’m not just talking about obesity. We have highs of cancer, heart disease, inflammatory disease and even mental issues that plague us. And why? Because we don’t “have the time” to put our health and the health of our families first. Honestly, I cook every day, but never spend more than an hour in the kitchen. I prep after grocery day on the weekend and make meals easier by having a plan. It’s not some strict diet, as you can see from the foods we made yesterday. You don’t need to forgo white potatoes (we have baked potatoes, fully loaded, quite often), pasta or breads to reach your health goals. What you do need is to decide whether or not your health and the health of you family may be worth you spending a little time in the kitchen.

As long as we are on the time subject, if you have the time to watch TV, you can prepare your food. Don’t argue, you’ll lose. I hear people tell me all the time that they work too much and have no time, yet we always “find” the time in¬†our day to watch TV, hang out on Facebook, update Twitter, get lost on Pinterest, take a long bath, read a book, etc. None of these are bad, but they shouldn’t replace your healthy habits, such as preparing your own food. If cleanup is your deterrent, get others in the house to help. Note to moms: your husband and children will not wash the dishes and load the dishwasher like you do…get over it! At least they’re helping. If you live alone, create a clean workspace where you can rinse off used dishes as you prep. I have become quite apt at making one pot dishes just so that there is less cleanup and stress. It can be done!

So, consider what your digestive system would say if it could talk. By the way, it totally can. Bloating, gas, acid reflux, swollen joints, painful muscles, diarrhea, constipation, energy loss, mid-day sleepiness, foggy mind, extreme fatigue…these are ALL signs and symptoms that your intestinal systems are out of whack. Consider taking a little time to get them back where they can do their job efficiently. For those looking to be led through an elimination diet that can help restore the body’s vital energy and digestive function, resulting in increased overall energy, weight loss and less chronic pain and fatigue, I offer those services as well :)

Make it a healthy day today!

Michelle

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TLT: When Pressing Play Isn’t Enough

Good Morning!

As always, Tough Love Tuesdays can seem rough, but they are for your own good :)

It seems like nowadays everybody and their dog has an exercise video (even me!). The concept is simple: push play. Beach Body has made a fortune on selling this concept, backed by big personalities and success stories. If it truly is as simple as pushing play….why are we actually getting fatter and more unhealthy as the years move forward?

I’ll be honest, I like a good video. I like the fact that I can zone out and not have to sequence my own workout and I also utilize videos with my clients. For most, it’s easier to pop a video in for homework as opposed to checking with a sheet of paper or email. Workout videos are, in essence, convenient. However, they are flawed as well.

Some drawbacks to videos are quite evident. The first is form. If we don’t have good form we won’t get the results we are after. There are a few good vids on the market that harp on form (Chalean Extreme, Ellen Barrett, Core Fusion, for example), but many simply assume you’ll get it. Sadly, most don’t. Poor form will lead to injury and injury keeps us from finding joy in our workouts. Another drawback is that we rarely push ourselves as hard as we should. We are far more concerned with comfort and safety and won’t go as far as we need to for results. Having a trainer that you trust makes a huge difference in this arena. Videos also fail to change our mindset OR our habits. This, my friend, is where the key to true success lies.

If weight loss were truly as easy as pushing play, would there be a weight problem that is costing us billions (yep, you read that right, Google it) of dollars? Of course not! The problem isn’t in lack of DVD players or videos to suit any workout need or personality. The problem is within each of us, engrained in our being. Whether we succeed or fail…..it is upon ourselves that the future of our health lies.

The next fitness guru is always right around the corner. In the fitness world, we all scramble for the next big idea. 1 out of 5 ideas may take off, but they are generally a flash in the pan. Think about those who have been making videos for years (Tae Bo anyone?). They have to continually add and change to keep our attention. Committing to a fit lifestyle is a far cry from watching a video.

So, where are things going wrong? In my professional opinion, it’s our wiring. We are becoming more hard-wired to do things that we want rather than things that are needed or required. This behaviour is encouraged and the fitness industry has tried for years to capitalize on it, to little avail. So, what happens within our wiring to cause this shift in our culture?

  1. We are becoming increasingly more lazy. I never believed in laziness until a few years ago when a client truly opened my eyes to the fact that some people simply don’t care. The phrase “I don’t feel like it” has become a rampant infestation in our culture and will cause a downfall. Laziness is not needed and is actually a sin (see Proverbs 19).
  2. We don’t think it’s worth the time/effort. This ties into the lazy gene that is overtaking us. We fear putting forth the effort.
  3. We blindly think we cannot change. Change is available to all who work for it, period.
  4. We fear change, failure and success…all at once. We allow ourselves to be stuck where we are simply because we think we know this place. We fear moving forward and progressing because is we succeed, what more will be asked of us (again, that’s laziness coming through)? And if we fail, what will we have to do next?
  5. We don’t think we are worth the effort. We believe the lie that we are not worth the work to change. We think we are not worthy of success and so we drag on, merely existing throughout our days. This is a deadly way to live and should be thrown to the fire right away. We are meant for better! It may not be a million dollars or a size zero, BUT it is better than staying stuck in the lies we blindly adhere to. For lack of a better phrase, it’s time to put on your big girl panties and do the work!

When it comes to weight loss I see one thing as a major deterrent to change: we expect our bodies to respond in record-breaking time. You cannot treat your body like crap and then expect it to change into exactly what you want in 2 weeks, 6 weeks or even 52 weeks! Chill out! First off, show your body some respect as it is a gift and we are called to steward this gift just as we are to steward the money and other possessions we have been given.

Wrapping this TLT, I have some facts of encouragement for you :) Trust me, this is good stuff.

First, remember that although you must not adhere to “feeling like it” you do need to like it in general. One workout is not the end all for all bodies. Vary your workouts to keep from getting bored and keep the body responding. My workouts are varied from yoga to weight lifting to MMA and everything in between. Choose what works best to stimulate your body, mind and sense of self.

Second, weight loss occurs in the kitchen alone! There is no amount of punishment you can inflict on the body that will make it magically drop weight. What you eat and how you nourish your own body will allow you to let go of unnecessary weight and move forward.

Use all of this as food for thought and have a very healthy day!

Michelle