Slimmer Summer Q&A

Let’s get real about weight loss

OK, so there is this thing that has been bothering me. It’s the entire reason why so many of us feel like failures when it comes to weight loss and I have even peddled along with it. But NO MORE! There is a reality to weight loss, but we aren’t really let in on that reality are we?

  1. You cannot deprive the body into losing weight. At least, you can’t deprive it into losing weight for good. Every time you embark on a deprivation diet of ANY kind, your metabolism, NOT YOUR BODY FAT, goes down. It is better to invest some time building your metabolism up instead of falling for quick weight loss fads.
  2. There is a definite science to weight loss…and most trainers don’t even know it. Basic CPT training courses do NOT teach the science of actual weight loss. They teach trainers how to take assessments and protocol for training programs. All of this is very important, but now the market is flooded with trainers that spit out meal plans like a weight loss ATM. Then, when the meal plan fails the client…the trainer blames the client.
  3. NUTRIENTS are far more important than calories. Nutrient help insure health, bone density, longevity and quality of life. If you focus on cutting calories, you inadvertently cut nutrients, leading to more fat gain and inflammation issues as you age.
  4. WOMEN: wrap your pretty head around the fact that you need to train like a man. Start thinking like men (grunting and throwing weights optional). You don’t see too many men starving themselves to fit into a certain size or see a certain number on the scale. Build your muscle, feed your muscle. And as for the flat-out lie that you’ll get BULKY…in the infamous Disney voice, LET IT GO.
  5. Get smart. Choose your trainer wisely. This person is not just responsible for helping you shed a couple of pounds….they are responsible for your HEALTH and wellbeing. Don’t take that lightly and don’t allow them to take it lightly either. If you see them training other clients exactly like they train you, run for the door. You deserve a personalized approach to your own health. Put it on the list as IMPORTANT.

Here’s one final thing that bugs me in the “weight loss” industry (aside from the fact that it should be the health industry…but that doesn’t sell as much):

MANY people fall for fancy marketing. I have blog posts about home workouts on this very blog. I also used to peddle them, but I have since seen a few issues come to light, especially since I started counseling:

  • You ONLY see the success. Let’s take Beach Body for example (please note, they are not the only ones): they KNOW infomercials. They have a specialized team that knows exactly what to do, right down to the lighting, colors and time placement. When Beach Body develops a new program, the program gets sent to beta testing. There is a controlled group of people who sign several documents stating that they will not breathe a word. In return, they get to work with celebrity trainer, get a meal plan and hopefully, a brand new body. Here’s the question: do you see the people that didn’t succeed? You know, the ones that did it for 2 weeks and got bored, injured or just didn’t mesh with the program? UM, NO! They’ve signed contracts that disable them from saying it failed for them, therefore we only see the success. Since we only see success, when we do not finish we feel like a failure….
  • Home based training is not bad, but over promising is. When I take online clients in, they are told up front that my methods aren’t super fast…they’re built to last. Trainers and fitness companies need to step away from the flash of fast and move towards better health and wellness overall. Maintainable fitness and nutrition is what keep you fit, healthy and happy with life.

Now that my soap box can be folded up :) Here’s an eye opener for you:

Januray 13 2014   rockin abs

I know I’ve posted these before, but stay with me here! These are no filter, no fancy lighting pics, just the real deal.

Pic on the left: I was down to 1400 calories, about 80 grams of carbs (that’s low people), no breads, pastas, rice, etc. and I was working out 2-3x per day.

On the right: my calories were worked up slowly to 1700 (I’m now up to 1800 and holding steady), carbs at 150 grams, zero steady state cardio, four 25 minute sessions per week and two hour long sessions to focus on building.

I have more energy throughout the day (carbs!) and I’m leaner than when I was following a plan.

The point? Learn the facts, learn your body and stop depending on people who don’t even know what they are doing! You’re health is worth the time and investment.

Want to learn more about nutrition? Join the next Nutrition Boot Camp that starts in June.

See you soon!

Michelle

Fit Diet, Fit Body, Fit Skin

There is a recipe for everything! Although I hardly ever follow recipes, I do believe the recipe for fitness success lies within the walls of your very own kitchen. Whether you shimmy into an alley style kitchen or dance around a large kitchen with an island (my dream kitchen!), you can find everything you need to win the war on weight loss, increase your energy levels and reveal tight, youthful skin with a radiant glow. All it takes is a plan….

Step 1: REAL FOOD!

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Your first mission is to look around your kitchen and identify all sources of real food. This basically means it should have a mother or grow in the ground and Chester Cheeto is father to nobody! Throw out processed foods such as crackers (yes, even those fancy gluten-free ones you got suckered into buying), chips, breads, candy (really?? What is that doing in there?!?), sugar, flour, cereal and cereal bars, protein bars, etc. Don’t freak out on me now! You’ll be without these beloved processed foods for about 3 weeks, then you can slowly start to inch them back into your diet. Well, except sugar…we don’t need that. Replace these foods with oats, rice (brown, black, wild, basmati), quinoa, and so on. You can use sliced cucumber in place of crackers. Don’t scoff! Try it with tuna, it’s quite good plus you get extra hydration. After a FULL 21 days eating whole foods, you’ll notice a difference in your energy level AND on the dreaded scale.

Step 2: SHOPPING!

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Make a list. This will save you time, money and headaches. On the left side of the paper write the meals you are planning for the week. On the right side, write the corresponding ingredients needed. This is the simplest form of prepared list making. Search your pantry and fridge for signs that you need some staples and make sure to write those on the list as well. Remember that the cheaper the produce, the more in-season it will be. Try not to bog yourself down with fancy recipes. My goal is usually to try out 1 new recipe a week and vary dinners throughout what I know everybody like and what the season calls for. Lunches here are typically tuna or salmon and lots of salads or soups.

Step 3: PREPARE YOURSELF!

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The second step is bringing these whole foods mentioned above and prepping them for consumption. Let’s face it, if it’s not ready to go, we won’t reach for it! Upon returning from the market, set aside about 30 minutes to wash your produce and chop what needs chopping. Typically, I’ll wash apples, pears cucumbers, carrots, celery and all when I return. Cucumber and celery are then chopped and placed into containers at EYE LEVEL in the fridge. I’ll also wash berries and place them in bowls at eye level in the fridge. The clean apples and other fruits go into produce bowls directly beside the sink. I also have a bowl for onions, garlic and potatoes as well. My grocery days are usually on the weekend, so I carve a little extra time to prep what needs to be prepped. If chicken is on the menu, I pound it tender and throw it into a bowl, covering it with milk. This ensures the chicken will not dry out as it cooks. The chicken can stay like this, covered in the fridge, for up to 24 hours prior to cooking. If we’re having beans and rice (a staple in this household!), I’ll soak the beans and make a couple batches of rice in the rice cooker. Meal prep does not need to eat up the majority of your day and you should be able to get most prep work finished within an hour at most. Don’t be disheartened if it takes you a little longer on your first couple of tries…practice will make for greater efficiency!

Step 4: MAKE SOME SPACE!

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This is in regards to your workout. Since food plays the largest role in how we look and feel, I think it is important to make sure our workouts help in this process without overwhelming us. Make sure you have proper space for your workouts. Some people rather enjoy a gym setting and if you’re going to pay for a gym membership, by all means please use it! Just don’t get stuck on the treadmill. Branch out a bit. Try the free weights or maybe even check out a class. If home workouts work best for you, consider clearing some space in your garage or basement. This is why I like yoga so much, you can literally do it anywhere with a small amount of space and a mat (or towel!). When I was in Moldova, I worked out in the bathroom :) Just make sure that your space is special to you. Make sure that it is safe and you won’t bang your knuckles on the ceiling fan should you be jumping!

These 4 steps will get you started on a lifestyle that reaps BIG results. You’ll notice that your nerves will calm as your food is already prepared for the week. You’ll find that happy space for your workouts and be able to release more stress. Remember that this lifestyle isn’t about waiting for everything to be perfect, it’s about making it work for you.

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

Bikini Body Daily Meal Plan

It’s Thirsty Thursday!

Welcome to your day in the life of a bikini body meal plan :)

Now, not everybody reading this is planning on donning a bikini and I totally understand that! This meal plan is a staple in my home to keep me ready for trips and pictures. It is designed to keep the belly flat, skin tight and complexion glowing. Throw away the old calorie counter and just focus on the nutrients! You’ll be glad you did :)

There are a couple of high-tech kitchen gadgets I do LOVE: a Vitamix and a juicer. If you do not own either, I’ll give you options. Pretty much EVERYBODY has a blender, so make use of it!

Upon waking (for me that’s about 4:30 a.m.): 1 mug hot water with the juice of 1 lemon

First Breakfast (we’re speaking hobbit now): Get GLOwing Juice

Turn your juicer on and start dropping them in! If you use a blender, simply blend and strain. If you don’t have either, have 3 celery stalks, 1 small apple or pear

Ingredients:

  • about 1 cup spinach
  • 3 celery stalks, washed and chopped
  • 4-5 carrots, washed and chopped
  • 1 small tart green apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • Fresh ginger, peeled. I use about 2 inches which is strong
  • 1 kiwi, washed and chopped, skin on
  • 1 cucumber, washed and chopped
  • Optional: wheat grass

Run it through and pour over ice if desired.

Second Breakfast (this is usually about 7:30)

Avocado Toast:

Toast 1 piece Ezekiel bread OR whole grain bread of choice. I use Vegannaise (instead of mayo since it’s whole foods based). Spread that on top and top with 1/2 sliced avocado. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Don’t say no to healthy fats! You need these for tight, clear skin. Steer clear of mayo and if you want you can omit the spread altogether or use low-fat Greek yogurt.

Lunch. My favorite protein packed humus and salmon salad

  • 1-2 cups arugula (or greens of choice. I like the spice in these)
  • 1 tablespoon humus
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 ounces salmon (I do use canned salmon a lot for this one)
  • veggies of choice: cucumber, tomato, cabbage, squash, etc. Make it colorful!

Place ALL ingredients in large bowl and toss. Honestly, the sheer size of this salad is enough for 2 people, but I polish it off by myself :)

Snack Time Smoothie. Mango, Kale Miracle Shake

  • Flesh of 1 ripe mango, peeled
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 3-4 kale, leaves removed from ribs
  • 1/2 banana
  • 6-8 ounces water OR coconut milk for creamier texture

Blend all ingredients together and add ice/water to suit your texture. If you’re seeking extra protein and calories (for a heavy training day perhaps) add some yogurt.

DINNER. Stir Fry Quinoa and Veggies

I do prepare my quinoa in advance in the rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove top in about 20 minutes.

In a large frying pan:

  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil, unrefined
  • 1/2 to 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • veggies of choice. I use frozen veggies that contain peppers, yellow and orange carrots, green beans, etc.

Once coconut oil melts, add onion and let simmer until almost clear. Then add quinoa and veggies and cook through. If you need more protein, add chickpeas to the oil/onion mix and brown. Delicious!

That’s my day of good eats. The foods have all the nutrients needed to keep the abs flat and the skin tight and clear. Not to mention the fact that the healthy fats help improve brain function.

Keep it clean, keep it lean and have a healthy day!

Michelle

Thirsty Thursday! Post 4th

Hi everybody!

The above video is brought to you by my son and I hope you can get some ideas on chest and ab work to help build strength and confidence.

Do each move for 10-12 reps, working through the moves up to 5 times total.

 

Did you know that the most healthy individuals on the planet eat pretty much the same diet daily? It’s true! A recent study out of NYU states that the most fit and healthy people stick to the same menu. What’s on the healthiest menus? Check it out!

  1. Oatmeal. Yes, everyday. It does a body awesome, just ask Bob Harper :)
  2. Salads with leafy greens. No iceberg here people. The more color you can get in your salad, the better!
  3. Beans and legumes. Packed with protein and fiber, these truly are super foods.
  4. Lean protein. This includes turkey, chicken, lean red meat and fish, which take sup to #5.
  5. FISH! The essential fatty acids in fish have been proven to increase joint health and aid in weight loss as well as curb craving. Remember, if it’s fried, it’s no longer food.
  6. Fruits and veggies. The healthiest people stick to a diet full of in season fruits and veg, prepared in a variety of ways.

So, now that we are all in on the real “secret”, we can better navigate our grocery stores and feed our families healthy meals. As you can see above, none of this breaks the bank either! Want more? Here’s a sample of a SHORT grocery list from my personal shopping:

  • Produce: apples, romaine, berries, melons, snap beans, lemons, limes, kale, spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, peaches, nectarines, cabbage, squash, avocado (these change depending on season)
  • Low sodium, no added sugar turkey lunch meat
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Dried beans
  • Long grain brown rice
  • Frozen fish fillets (whatever is on sale, preferably salmon or a meaty white fish)
  • Frozen veggies (great for quick meals and soups)
  • Low fat milk
  • Coconut/almond milk
  • EGGS!
  • Low fat Greek yogurt

These are basic staples in our home. As long as I have the basics, I can whip up just about anything. To keep cost low, buy proteins on sale and portion and freeze for later use. Also, your produce should be in season and you’ll know if it is by the price: the lower the price, the better the produce.

Peaches are in full season right now and I enjoy them in oatmeal almost every morning. Remember that oatmeal that is classified as slower cooking (3 minutes) is better for your digestive system and blood sugar than it’s quicker cooking counterpart.

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

1/2 cup dried whole grain oats cooked in 1 cup water

1 peach, chopped

Dash of cinnamon

1 small handful of walnuts

Drizzle of honey

Drizzle of coconut milk

Cook oats as directed. Once water has absorbed, throw in peaches and stir, placing lid on top. Cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.

Place in bowl and add walnuts and honey (both optional) and coconut milk. Stir together and enjoy with your morning beverage.

Until next time, have a healthy day!

Michelle

 

The SKINNY on Food Labels

Sample Daily Meal Plan

Hey guys! So, I know for some it’s really hard to figure out WHAT to eat, right? Below is a sample (and simple) daily meal plan that will get you started. Enjoy and remember: nutrition is 80% of HOW you look but 90% of HOW YOU FEEL. Need energy?

Meal 1 (within 1 hour of waking): 3 egg whites + 1 whole egg , scrambled with no oil. 1/2 cup steel cut oats cooked in 1 cup water, add your choice of fruit (up to 1/2 cup) and sweeten to taste if needed.

Meal 2: 20 almonds and 1 large apple

Meal 3: 4 oz tuna, 2 celery stalks (chopped), small bit of onion if desired, 1 teaspoon light mayo, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (mix all together); 10 cherry tomoatoes, 1/2 sliced cucumber, 10 whole grain crackers (or 1 slice whole wheat bread), 1 all natural cheese stick ( I love sargento cheddar, yum!)

Meal 4: 1 scoop whey protein (or SHAKEOLOGY) , 1/2 banana, 4 oz water, 4 oz unsweetened almond milk, 1 handful spinach

Meal 5: 4 oz grilled chicken breast, 1/2 cup cooked whole grain brown rice, 2 cups steamed/roasted veg (light EVOO)

Meal 6: 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese (may replace with PLAIN, low fat yogurt), mixed with small handful of fruit if needed*, one 1 oz square dark chocolate

*NOTE: if you tend to hold fat around your midsection (like I do), omit fruit before bed as it will store as fat in the nearest place…the abs.

Be sure to drink a minimum of 3 liters of water per day. This does NOT include flavored beverages.

This meal plan is super easy to follow and hangs out around 1530 calories, provided you stay within the portions. Try it for 5 days and see/feel a difference!

Michelle