Your Health…Your Way!

The power to live a healthy life is inside you. That was the theme of the Phoebe Sumter Women’s Health Conference I spoke at this past weekend. Hundreds of women gathered at Georgia Southwestern College to learn how to take control of their health. There is no way I could turn down the opportunity to impact these women’s lives. My intention was to inspire and empower to change.

lmp at health conference

I spoke from the topic of “Your Health…Your Way.” I like to come from a place of practicality. It’s so easy to get caught up in trends and comparing ourselves to others. Whether it’s taking a spin class, crossfit, or hot yoga. Every fitness craze isn’t for everybody. So, you have to figure out what works for you. Most importantly, you have to find a strategy that is sustainable. If you choose something that is too difficult to maintain, you’re more likely to quit.

Since it’s about a lifestyle change and not about a “diet”, I want to offer some practical strategies for eating and working out. I call it my Eat SMART, Workout HARD plan.

Eating SMART is about “mindful” eating. It forces you to pay attention to what you’re eating. Eating SMART means to eat with the following guidelines:

  1. Simple ingredients – read food labels to ensure you recognize the ingredients and can pronounce the names. If you don’t recognize it, don’t eat it. Also, look for words ending in “ose” (fructose, dextrose, sucralose, lactose, etc.). These are all synonyms for sugar.

  2. Measure your portions – be mindful of portion sizes. Measure your food if possible, at least until you get a better understanding of appropriate portion sizes.

  3. Accessible Snacks – keep healthy snacks handy. If you’re unprepared and end up hungry, it’s more likely that you will grab the first thing you can find. That’s usually not healthy. So, keep healthy snacks accessible at work, in the car, and at home.

  4. Real foods – limit processed foods and replace them with whole, real foods. Add fresh fruit or veggies to every meal – fruit with breakfast and include leafy greens with lunch and dinner.

  5. Tasty foods – add flavor to your food by using fresh herbs and spices. Experiment with different herbs like cilantro, parsley, thyme, dill, etc. They are good replacements for table salt. Also, use spices like cayenne, paprika, cumin, etc. These are great ways to add flavor without using heavy sauces or cheese.

These are great starts to get you on track to living a healthier lifestyle. In conjunction with eating SMART, you should avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast; stop eating at least two to three hours before you go to bed; make sure you include proteins, carbs, and fats at every meal, and drink plenty of water.

I know the typical recommendation is to drink two to three liters of water per day, but if you’re doing “Your Health…Your Way” I want you to make this work for you. Start where you are. If you’re not drinking any water at all, add a glass with each meal and build your way up.

In my next blog I will share with you what it means to “”Workout HARD.” In the meantime, you can get ready for summer with my new 21- Day Jumpstart Challenge. It begins June 1st. This will be a group coaching program with no more than 12 participants per session. So, REGISTER NOW!

How to Gain Momentum and Reach Your Fitness Goals

For the past month I have been working with a trainer to try to get ready for the New Year. There are some things I want to accomplish professionally, and for me, the success of those endeavors start with me being fit. I want to be my best self as I launch out into unchartered territory. If I feel secure with myself it gives me the confidence to pursue my dreams.

leapingimage

Prior to starting this process I was feeling really disconnected. I actually sought out a trainer to help me get some motivation and gain some momentum before the New Year. I had been working out and eating right, but for the most part, I was just going through the motions. That led to a plateau. I was no longer making any progress on my own. I might be a health coach, but I certainly find myself in situations where I need a little inspiration and motivation. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t be there for others, including my clients.

I know if I’m accountable to someone I tend to do much better. I also know if I’m paying for a service, I perform better. I don’t believe in wasting money so I have to get the most bang for my buck. I have to get the results I’m paying for.

I struggled the first couple of weeks. I floundered around trying to get into a groove. I needed to get accustomed to working out in the mornings again, and most importantly trying to track my eating. For months I’ve been winging it. That was not working for me.

Now that I’m a month into this process, I’m learning some lessons that are helping me get some footing and hopefully make some traction before I wrap this up this month. So, I wanted to share some of those lessons. Here are some things that make it easier to accomplish your health goals.

  1. Have a plan. It’s important for me to structure everything. I schedule when I’m going to workout and when I’m going to eat. Having a schedule helps me avoid getting off track. Also, plan for the unexpected or scheduled deviations. If you know you are going to be getting home late or traveling a lot, pack your meals and your snacks. This will keep you from getting hungry and avoid fast foods.
  2. Track your food. Logging my food is the best thing I can do for myself. Writing down everything I eat helps me avoid eating bad food. For me, I find it less appealing to eat a bag of potato chips when I know I have to log it later. When I don’t write down my food I tend to underestimate how much I’m eating.
  3. Get plenty of rest. If I’m going to be successful with my strenuous workouts I have to get my rest. If I’m working out at 6am, I can’t stay up until midnight. Recovery is so important when you’re trying to lose weight, and especially build muscles. Research shows that people who get inadequate sleep weigh more because they tend to snack more on sugar and caffeine to help them get energy.
  4. Make small sacrifices now to get big results later. I have to say no to things that will interfere with my eating and workout schedule. I know that I can’t alter my schedule too much because it’s so hard for me to get back on track. Therefore, I consider it a small sacrifice to skip a few events or dinners with friends so I can feel great later.
  5. Count every victory. I have to admit that I get really frustrated when I don’t see big gains on the scale. I’ve had those moments during this process. But I have to still acknowledge other gains I’ve made. I’ve lost inches in my waist and hips. I’m stronger and getting more tone in my arms. These are things that encourage me when I want to give up.

I’m using these lessons to help me complete this process. I hope you can adopt some of these lessons for yourself. Just remember, change is not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve only been at this for a month. I never intended this to be a quick process. I understand that it’s a journey and there will be highs and lows throughout. Nevertheless, I have decided that I will stick this process out as long as it takes for me to hit my goal. I won’t quit when I’m tired, I’ll quit when I’m finished.

By the way, if you need a little extra support to gain some momentum to reach your 2015 goals, I will be offering a 21-Day Jumpstart Challenge in January. Check it out. If you feel it’s for you, I hope you’ll join us.

Now, I want to hear from you. What do you do to help you stay on track when you’re pursuing your goals?

How to Get Through the Holidays Without the Weight Gain

We are less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving, which signifies the official start of the holiday season. That means people will be spending, partying and eating way too much. Then as the New Year rolls around most people will vow to lose weight and get in shape.

scale with santa hat

So, I suggest we get proactive. I’m not saying you should forgo the great food over the holidays. Let’s face it, the food is one of the best parts of the holidays. Just don’t over indulge. In order to do that you need a plan. I’ve come up with a list of seven things you can do to avoid the holiday weight gain.

1. Eat a good breakfast. Don’t make the mistake of saving your calories until Thanksgiving dinner. You end up starving yourself and then eat way too much. If you eat a good breakfast and some nutritious snacks throughout the day you won’t be starved at dinner and you will eat less.

2. Decide your “must haves”. What are your absolute favorite indulgences that you cannot do without? Is it sweet potato pie? Macaroni and cheese? Fried chicken? Whatever it is, make the decision that you will indulge on those foods. Knowing that you will be able to have it without the guilt eliminates the desire to overindulge. Most people tend to binge eat on foods they feel are off limits.

3. Lighten up where you can. To make allowances for your indulgences, cut back in other areas. Put more veggies on your plate- instead of starches, drink water instead of sweetened beverages, and eat on smaller plates. Most importantly, avoid going back for seconds.

4. Make sure your meal is balanced. In most households people are just loading their plates with everything that has been prepared with no regard for balance. I know in my family it’s not unusual for someone to have potatoes, corn, cornbread dressing, and mac and cheese on one plate. That’s way too many carbs in one sitting. Ensure you have carbs, proteins and fats on your plate. Just by adding proteins and fats it’s going to keep you full longer and keep you from craving more sugars and starches later.

5. Don’t eat everything just because you can. Just because it’s all there in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat everything. Only get what you need or just get the foods you really want.

6. Skip the leftovers. One of the biggest problems with holiday eating, especially Thanksgiving, is the amount of food that is left over. As a result, people are eating heavy meals throughout the weekend. If you’re hosting the dinner, make sure you give your guests food they can take home so you’re not left with all the excess.

7. Get in some activity – I know it’s a holiday, but that doesn’t mean you should take a holiday from your workout. This is the day you absolutely need to hit the gym or the park for a quick run. In fact, most gyms are open half the day on Thanksgiving. Even if you don’t get in a typical workout in the morning, you can at least take a brisk walk through your neighborhood after dinner. Grab a couple of family members you want to catch up with and take a couple of laps.

These are some simple, practical things you can do to be proactive and avoid excess weight gain. If you take the right steps and have a plan before the holidays begin, you will have less weight to lose in the New Year.

Of course, once the New Year kicks off, I have a plan to help you “Get Lean in 2015.” My Get Fit FAST – 21 Day Jumpstart Program will kick off on Monday, January 5th.
I will also be teaching a Tabata Bootcamp beginning Wednesday, January 7th. I’d love to have you join us.

Registration information for both events is posted on my website under Upcoming Events.

Question: Which one of these tips do you think will be most helpful to you?

Forget the Fad Diets – 4 Easy Steps to Get Fit FAST!

Get Fit FAST labelSummer is officially over and we’ve entered the fall season. As the temperatures are getting cooler I’m already starting to crave warmer, more comforting foods. I was recently thinking I need to become proactive with my eating and workouts in preparation for the cold months ahead. The goal is to avoid the extra weight I typically put on in the winter. That’s when it dawned on me that all year I’ve been trying to lose the “extra weight” I gained last year. I feel like it has been a year of ups and downs with my weight. So, it got me to thinking. I had to ask myself – “why is that?” I feel like I keep losing and regaining the same five pounds.

I’m a health coach and fitness instructor, so this should be easy, right? I know how to lose weight. The truth is, we all do. When it comes to losing weight we all know what to do.  Take in fewer calories, and workout more. It’s not rocket science. But weight loss is about so much more than what we eat and how much we work out. Food is the most abused drug. It’s our comfort when we’re lonely, our companion when we’re bored, and our reward when we’re successful. We have to learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food in order to achieve long term weight loss success.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all the ups and downs. I want balance. I need it. My weight fluctuations have been a reflection of my inability to gain balance in my life. I know if I’m having a problem, then others can relate to it too.  That’s why I often use my life experiences – the good and the bad- as a catalyst to help others.

The solution for me has been to design a plan for myself that I can do no matter what. I’m not into fad diets and quick fixes. They only work for a season. Ultimately, I always end up in the exact same place I started – trying to lose the same 10 pounds. So, I had to come up with a way to manage my weight without feeling deprived and like I’m always dieting. The key to success in any program is that it’s sustainable. Plans that are really restrictive are difficult to sustain.

That’s how my recent eating plan came to be. I wanted to create a system that is simple and will produce results. I developed a Get Fit FAST approach. It’s a 21- day jumpstart program. It’s designed to help people incorporate healthy habits into their busy life without it being a disruption. It focuses on simple strategies that can be easily implemented. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle plan.

The best part of this plan is it goes beyond eating and working out. The group coaching aspect really helps you identify self- sabotaging habits that have prevented you from achieving consistent, sustainable weight loss in the past. That’s really the beauty of this program. We go beyond the surface.

The FAST approach is 4 steps:

Step 1 – Eat FRESH foods at every meal.

Step 2 – Make sure your foods are ACCESSIBLE.

Step 3 – Make sure the ingredients of your food are SIMPLE.

Step 4 –Make sure the food is TASTY.

Other components of the program include a nutrition plan, a fitness plan and group support. When people have a support system and accountability for their actions they tend to do much better.

It’s also a virtual program. You can do it from anywhere. Location is not a factor.

If this sounds like a plan for you and you’re ready to make a change I encourage you to join us for the next challenge that is kicking off on October 1st. The registration deadline is Monday, September 29th.

If you’re really ready to end the cycle of yoyo dieting in your life and make life long changes, you should REGISTER now.

So here’s my question: What do you think has prevented you from accomplishing your health goals?