by Emma Hammond 0 comments
The weekday breakfast is what starts our busy day off on the right, or often totally wrong foot. Most people are rushing out the door & lucky to give their bodies any fuel to power through their mornings. The standard diet is a high carb, high sugar option such as cereal, bagels, pastries & granola. I totally understand the lack of wanting to dedicate much time to dirtying up extra pans. Our brains are on so many to do's that building the perfectly balanced breakfast isn't always feasible. While I do suggest some awesome make ahead meals such as a healthy frittata, sometimes you just have to grab what's on hand & go! My husband is absolutely one of those people & for years grabbed his individual flavored yogurt, topped it with some pre-packaged granola & quickly consumed on the way out the door. Insert Emma...*evil laugh*... Overtime I started to offer him a few simple swaps to upgrade the nutrition he was getting. I knew he would not be on board with adding any more difficulty to his morning routine so instead of aiming for perfection, we aimed for homemade higher quality. Old Breakfast:
- 1/2c Cherry Vanilla Granola (Back to Nature):
- 1/2c Homemade Granola (recipe below)
Classic Homemade Granola:
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (we use gluten free)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4c honey or maple syrup (I use 2tbsp honey + 2tbsp maple)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanila
1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees & line baking sheet w/ foil.
2. Whisk together coconut oil, honey, salt & vanilla in a bowl.
3. Add oats & stir to coat throughly.
4. Add granola to baking sheet & cook for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once midway through.
5. Let cool & store in airtight container.
* I have reduced both the oil & honey for a less sweetened version which turned out great. I usually add chopped almonds to this basic mix for extra crunch!
You may not be completey ready to do a full pantry clean, ditch every food habit you're attached to or strive to be the next healthy iron chef. BUT that doesn't mean that the small upgrades over time won't add up! Change your mindset to view it as what nutrition can you ADD to your meals, instead of what has to be taken away!
Small changes over time creates consistency. Consistency trumps perfection every time!
What's one staple in your diet you KNOW is not ideal but need help to upgrade? Let me know so we can troubleshoot it together! Leave me a comment or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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I decided to start this Nutrition Roadblock Series to address the most common barriers to achieving your sustainable healthy weight that I hear across clients, friends & have personally experienced along the journey. This first topic is near & dear to my heart because I think anyone that's been in a relationship or marriage has struggled with it. My first year dating my husband was amazing! Ok yes I'm going to go all cheese ball on you but bare with me for a moment. We met via a run group going on 5 years ago now, a healthy activity right? Absolutely! But during our courtship we ran a few miles, followed by wine & dining ourselves across most of the restaurants in Savannah. For me, I had been living by myself for several years, mostly ate at home, drank only on occasion & definitely did not indulge in dessert on a nightly basis. Yet I found myself digging into the appetizer he wanted to order. Always finishing my entree just because he did. And definitely enjoying that extra glass of wine we ordered over a shared dessert to end the evening. All super romantic right? Well yes but 10lbs or more later, I was not feeling like myself or good in my body. And what about him? Yea he hadn't changed a bit. Men... After a year of dating we moved in together. I was still very much struggling to both fit in to old jeans & say no to the extra servings at dinner or dining out on a daily basis. It wasn't fair! We both ran, I went to the gym far more frequently then he did & yet even switching to more salads still wasn't making the impact on my waistline I wanted. I wasn't at an unhealthy weight by any stretch & he still thought I looked amazing, but that wasn't the point. I didn't feel good in my skin, I wasn't listening to what my body needed, I didn't stop eating when I was full or not eat when I simply wasn't hungry. It was definitely a learning curve I had to work on. So what did I do? Baby steps:
1. Communication: Yes it was uncomfortable for me to admit & I didn't want to sound like that girl saying I was fat to get a compliment. But I got 100% honest with my husband about how I was feeling & what I needed from him. I told him that constantly going out to eat was a struggle for me, that when I first said no I don't want dessert it made it hard when he insisted & that most of all I needed his support to get back to feeling my best! Also important to note, I did not BLAME him! I am responsible for my own actions & while I wanted his support, ultimately I put the food in my own mouth.
2. Evaluate: I started writing down what I ate every day to become more mindful. I used a journal to not only note what I ate, but how I felt before & after. Was I hungry or stressed when I ate? Did I say "sure I could eat" just because he asked? Did I refill my plate automatically when he did, even if I was satisfied. I worked on making notes without judgement or even making changes. I just needed to become more aware of where the problems were so I could fix it.
3. Action: It was time to take steps to slowly make better choices for ME & my needs.
~ Clean Out: first I emptied the house of any junk food that tempted me. That made the nightly ice cream habit much easier to ditch. How did my husband react? He didn't really care if it made me happy. Happy wife, happy life yes?
~ Portions: I realized my portion sizes had become as big as my husbands. That is a problem because reality is ladies, we don't have the same energy needs as our bigger male counterparts. It may feel unfair but that's a fact that's not going to change. I began eating off salad size plates as opposed to his dinner plates. Smaller bowls for soups & such. That easy swap made a HUGE difference right off the bat!
~ Dining Out: I instituted Sunday meal prep. It's wasn't the meal prep that was so important as it was taking the time to sit with my husband & discuss the week ahead. We each voiced our goals & how we could support each other. We each had a say in what meals we would make that we enjoyed & didn't leave us running for take out because we had no food in the house.
~ Simple Swaps: There were plenty of nights my husband had a specific craving that didn't really fit within my perimeters for MY nutrition needs. I got efficient at make simple swaps to keep up both happy! Spaghetti? Sure! I just may use spaghetti squash or zoodles over regular noodles. He wanted rice? No problem, I had the option of making cauliflower rice or simply doubling up on the veggies. And if he needed to go all out pizza mode, I'm a grown woman & did my own damn thing.I never went into crazy diet mode, made him feel limited & didn't beat myself up over the occasional overindulgence. Over time I started to feel better, became more in touch with my bodies hunger signals & this became our new normal. Yes, I am lucky to have a supportive spouse who is pretty patient with my needs. Not everyone does & maybe that's a red flag that needs to be considered. But I have found in most cases, a lack of honest communication & support it the problem. Couples can be each others best friends in a health journey or worst enemies. So get real with each other! Focus on the WHY behind the need to clean up your dietary intake. Is it to look good in skinny jeans (which is fine!) or to set a healthy household example? Also consider if you are being the best spouse you can be or are you just as guilty of instigating unhealthy habits. I think we have all convinced our significant other to join in on our treat to make ourselves feel less guilty. Work on changing your own habit first to be the best spouse you can be. A strong healthy team can be unbreakable! Do you struggle with mirroring your significant others eating?
by Emma Hammond 0 comments
There is nothing that makes me happier than walking in the gym to see a floor full of motivated people of all ages working out. I absolutely believe that showing up & doing SOMETHING is better then sitting on the sofa. However I also tend to see the same hard working face, walking through the same workout routine 5 days a week year after year. And guess what? They look exactly the same year after usually. Often still talking about wanting lose that last 10lbs or look more "toned" or whatever their goal may be. Frustrating right? It breaks my heart every time I see people being consistent, working what they perceive to be hard & putting in the time to no results. Ready to change that? Me too! First up, my Top 6 Common Mistakes I see gym goers making that are stealing their results. Ask yourself, is this you?
1. Not Following a Program: You walk into the gym & blankly look around at the equipment like a lost puppy dog. With no rhyme or reason you do a few curls here, maybe try out that ab machine there, 10 reps no 20? After 20 minutes of a miscellaneous mash up "workout" you hit the door. Kudos for showing up but I can promise you there are more effective ways to use that 20 minutes. Decide what your #1 goal is & find a program that fits.
2. Never Changing Up Your Plan: Wait didn't you just say stick to a program? Well yes..but it is also important to mix it up in an smart & progressive way. I see the most consistent faces in the gym hitting the same 5 machines in a row or getting on the elliptical at the same pace for 45 minutes Monday through Friday. Your body adapts to that & is not going to push to make the changes you are seeking.
3. Not Challenging Yourself with Heavier Weights: Not to hate on the pretty pink dumbbells but if you are lifting a weight you could repeat all day, it's not heavy enough. Yet again, you have to challenge your body! You don't need to go to failure every time but as a general rule the last few reps should be VERY difficult. Please don't be afraid to get bulky, that is all diet & you will not wake up tomorrow looking like the Hulk. And if you do, try to get a better hairstyle..
4. Focusing on Small Muscle Groups Over Compound Movements: I understand that everyone enjoys the burn of some ab work, tricep dips & manly bicep curls. BUT those are small muscle groups that can be worked within then more beneficial compound movements. It's fine if you want to throw a few of those exercises in at the end but the bulk of your workout should be big muscle group movements like squats, pulling, pressing & hip hinging. Unless you are a professional body builder, please ditch the abs & arms day.
5. Too Much Cardio: I'm going to leave this response a little short because this isn't the post for a cardio rant BUT doing tons of cardio every week is not going to make you "toned", feel sexy naked, have a fast metabolism, bone health & so on. In fact, doing too much will make it impossible to achieve any of that. Yes even if your goal is fat loss! Doing some is fine but balance it with strength training & gear cardio towards interval workouts for you best body yet.
6. Constantly Searching for the "Perfect Plan": You try a plan for a week & say "I don't see any difference" so you jump ship & find a new one. Results takes time, embrace the process! There is NO perfect program & many different formats can work amazingly. Especially if you are a newbie gym goer. Find one that fits your goals, lifestyle, time availability & that you can stick to. Give it a try for MONTHS, not days or weeks! I promise it will pay off.
- Write down you TOP goal. Yes I know we all want to lose 10lbs, build muscle, run a race & so on but having too many goals leaves us spinning our wheels. Decide what is most important for the next 12 weeks to start an action program to get you there.
- Talk to a Professional: even if you can't workout with a trainer, run coach or yoga instructor 3 days a week, we are here to help! Set up a consult to discuss what you'd like to accomplish, your health history, current activity level, lifestyle & let them guide you to a realistic plan you can feel good about.
- Analyze Your Lifestyle: I don't know how many times new clients start with me & say I have to workout to lose these last 10lbs. When I ask about their diet, sleep & stress? It's a hot mess. As the phrase goes, you can't out exercise a bad diet but the same goes for stressful lifestyle factors. Total picture!
In the gym, I am a big fan putting in the hard work, embracing the process & truly believe that trying to take shortcuts won't get me results! In the kitchen however, I am always seeking ways to be a bit lazy while still getting what I want. If I can skip a step or two, fine by me!! As long as the end result tastes good I am all about it. I am also relatively cheap in my grocery shopping. Don't get me wrong, I spend money on quality ingredients such as organic meats, eggs & certain veggies. Yet I still want my budget to stay on the lower side so I am often looking for ways to utilize every last bit of what I buy. I HATE throwing out food, which often leads to a bit of...creativity in the kitchen? Or as my husband call it, my special concoctions. Luckily for you this isn't that type of recipe. We found top sirloin steaks on sale at Whole Foods on Sunday & decided to cook those up but wanted a sauce to go with. We both enjoyed a chimichurri sauce at a restaurant recently & decided to give that a go. Which meant buying a big bunch of parsley, cilantro & oregano. Yes I should start growing my own herbs but I struggle with black thumb syndrome. AKA I am too damn lazy to water them daily.. Instead of wasting 1/2 a bunch of each herb we doubled the recipe & ended up with a ton of sauce. We knew we didn't want steak every night this week so my brain began wondering how to reuse the extra. I saw a packet of chicken breast in the freezer & decided that would be a perfect vehicle for meal #2. This sauce is quite versatile, super easy to throw together & filled with whole food ingredients. Basic Chimichurri Recipe:
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
- 3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, garlic, shallot, and jalepeno in a medium bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley, and oregano. Using a fork, whisk in oil. Remove 1/2 cup chimichurri to a small bowl, season with salt to taste, and reserve as sauce.*Adapted from Bon Appetit recipe.*
by Emma Hammond 0 comments
As much as I preach ditching the diet & balanced eating, the reality is if you are trying to lose weight it is necessary to create a caloric deficit. It is MUCH more complicated than eat less & move more! Quality of food matters, type of exercise is important & so many other factors that I will rant about another day. Regardless there may come an appropriate time to reduce your food intake in order to lose body fat. Plain & simple. You may even have to deal with a bit of hunger here & there while you try to find a balance between your energy out versus energy in. However you should be able to find a middle ground where you can maintain a deficit while not binging on the closet pint of ice cream if left alone for 5 minutes. This is where eating more while losing weight comes in to play.. Contrary to most people's experiences, "dieting" can be done in a healthy, safe & not completely torturous way. Yes I know because YES I have at times reduced my calories intake in order to shed excess body fat. In fact at one point I shed over 30lbs. Trainers & health coaches struggle too! In recent years I play with leaning out for special occasions, vacations or simply to self experiment with different nutrition protocols as research. The great part of my good & bad experiments is I learned a lot about how to lose body fat, keep cravings in check, maintain strong workouts, skip the starvation/binge cycle & actually achieve the results I desired. One of the top tips I still use daily to maintain my weight is VOLUME eating. Volume eating? So eat tons of foods & still lose weight?!? Well yes, kind of! I am a person who needs to chew my food & enjoy the experience of eating. I don't get satisfied off a smoothie, I am displeased with a tiny portion I can eat in 2 bites & even enjoy fairly frequent eating. Yay snacks! The issue with that is when I consume foods that are a higher caloric bang for the buck compared to their portion size. For example I am feeling a midday snack coming on. I generally aim for a snack to be in the 200 calorie range. Option A: I could eat a 2 tbsp of peanut butter that contains around 200 calories. Delicious yes? But also disappears in one quick bite which = not super satisfying for ME.Option B: A cup of nonfat plain greek yogurt w/ sliced strawberries, 1/2 a tbsp of peanut butter & a cup of coffee or tea with almond milk for just under 200 calories. Delicious, takes time to eat, has texture, protein & a bit of that peanut butter I was craving. For me this is a no brainer! The fact that I have to sit down & eat the yogurt in multiple bites as opposed to eating one big spoonful of peanut butter that let's be real, I'm likely to refill, is an easy decision. Same calories but more volume for the win! It's a part of the reason I include a big ass salad every day. I know it drives my husband crazy when he has to wait 45 minutes for me to finish a salad the size of my head, after he's done in a few bites of a sandwich. Which probably had twice the calories of my salad btw.. But the time it takes to slow down & eat plus the high fiber & volume of vegetables does the trick every time. I would much rather eat 100 calories of crunchy carrots & salsa than 5 potato chips. I get more enjoyment & satiety eating 1/2 a plate of roasted broccoli then 1 small scoop of mac & cheese. Having a big bowl of berries satisfies my sweet tooth more than struggling to eat just one bite of cheesecake for the same caloric amount. I also frankly don't have to overtax my willpower by trying to just eat half of the plate or just one bite of ice cream. Again that is what works for ME! What are great foods to help fill you up, provide you lots of texture, taste & time to actually eat? Here are a few of my favorites when I feel the urge to eat but want to stick within my intake goals: Vegetables: I choose those that are non-starchy, fiber filled & that I actually enjoy! ~ Big ass salads for meals (watch the cheese, heavy dressings & crunchy tortilla type toppings). ~ Snack on cucumber, carrots, peppers, cooked or uncooked broccoli & dip in salsa for more flavor. ~ Fill 1/2 your dinner plate with vegetables over other sides. You still get a full plate & fill up quick! Fruit: I don't believe anyone ever became obese by eating too much fruit BUT I have seen clients over do the amount they eat in a day. Hello "5 apple a day client", you know who you are.... ;) ~ Try sticking with mostly berries as a great sweet tooth satisfier. I promise your waistline will thank you for overeating berries as opposed to cookies. I love dipping strawberries in yogurt mixed w/ cocoa powder! Protein: If I am struggling with feeling full I lean towards filling up on protein over carbs & fats. That protein is more likely to fuel my muscle growth, recovery from workouts & less likely to be stored as body fat. ~ Increase the portion of leaner meats such as chicken, turkey & fish. ~ Plain greek yogurt is a great option, as I eat a full cup with 24g of protein for less than 200 calories. ~ Cottage cheese is another protein filled option, if you like that lovable curd...:) ~ Make a big ole smoothie if that floats your boat. Throw in some protein powder, spinach, unsweetened almond milk & berries for a lot of nutrition in ~ Egg Whites are another option if trying to keep calories on the lower side. Yes I prefer to eat the whole egg BUT when I am trying to lose a few pounds I am ok with a big egg white omelet filled with tons of veggies. Especially if I know I will be going out to eat that day & consuming a higher fat meal. It's about balance! Did notice that all of these options are REAL FOOD. Not 100 calorie packs of cookies or weight watchers muffins. No I am not bashing weight watchers per se but YES I do think when you are in a calorie deficit it's even MORE important that you include foods that have nutritional value. Empty calories = empty energy, satiety & so on that WILL lead you to being hungry & undernourished. Of course you can't sustain that! Why should you? In the end take time to learn & listen to what works for you. Not your friend, the magazine cover or newest trendy diet guru. If a diet isn't sustainable I can promise you it won't KEEP you at your goal. Try out some of these swaps & enjoy what it feels like to eat more, while getting the nutrition your body needs to do all that you ask it to do. Struggle with this concept? Email today & let's troubleshoot volume eating for you! Emma@healthybalancewithemma.com :)
Lately I have had the topic of goal setting on the brain. Every day I chat with my training or nutrition clients about what their goals are for the week. I want to hear where their mind is at, ask what they feel they could improved on & help them determine realistic action items to get there. I'm constantly trying different methods to help them make the behavior changes needed to achieve their desired outcome.Each person is a little different & responds to varying types of goal setting. One client may need a daily check in, specific tracking tools & a detailed program to follow. However another person may find that inflexible & become irritated by the restriction to where they rebel in the other direction. Challenging!! However I have found one awesome method that really seems to click with the majority of people. It's all about following the daily D.E.A.L. breaker principle. What do I mean? It's about determining the top 3 non-negotiable health behaviors you can at minimum accomplish every single day. These habits typically set you up for success in other choices you make throughout the day & as long as you hit them, you feel positive about staying on track. So what's the D.E.A.L.? DOABLE - behaviors within your control that can't be interfered with by schedule, job etc. ENERGY - choose actions that ADD to your life, not something else you "can't" have or do. ACCOUNTABILITY - what is track-able & specific you can hold yourself responsible for. LIFESTYLE - fit it within your lifestyle for the long term! This isn't an "until I reach X lbs". I absolutely practice what I preach & have my own D.E.A.L. breakers which I am fairly inflexible in achieving daily. Yes I said inflexible! My approach towards health is fairly laid back & I try to be patient with myself. I am not perfect in eating healthy, working out daily or keeping a positive mindset. Life is busy & being inflexible to sway with the day doesn't get me anywhere in the long run. Hence last night after meal planning, shopping & posting about it, I ended up at Jalapenos for dinner because I was too tired to cook. It happens!!! BUT what I did do was hit my DEAL:
- Drink a minimum of 8 ounces of water. For all the reasons you've heard time & time again, it makes a difference in my day & there is no reason I can't nail this one.
- Eat a large serving of vegetables for at least 1 meal. I am usually on the go & guilty of occasionally eating a few too many yogurts, fruit, jerky, nuts & other travel friendly foods. But I do not feel good when my veggie consumption dips so low. A meal with a large vegetable ratio reinforces my nutritious food decisions, regulates my digestion & makes me feel like I'm taking care of my body. Which matters!
- Move in some way. Rain, snow, heat (more common here), busy day, tired or any other excuse that comes my way may mean I can't move in the way I planned. Some days my long walk with the dog is pre-empted by rain or time that got away from me. Does that mean I can take 10 minutes to do a body weight workout, a core crusher or ever just stretch! Regardless of the activity I feel positive I did something! It makes me feel like I didn't "fall off the wagon" & that tomorrow I can hopefully move more intensely but I DID do something today. #winning
NEW YEAR, NEW MANTRA:
2015 has come & gone, New Year's celebrations flew by & here I am 10 days into 2016. I can't say I have ever been a hardcore New Year's resolutioner. I have no problem setting goals, even lofty ones! It's fun to put pen to paper & kick off a new year feeling like I have a clean slate to make anything happen. The truth is, this year I had every intention of sitting down to reflect on the past year & make a lengthy list of all the kick ass action items I would accomplish this year.Yet January 1st passed by & instead of overthinking the moment, I simply lived in it. Instead of worrying about whether I slipped up on my resolution week one, I focused on what I wanted to prioritize that day. What mattered most that day or week that would push me just a little closer to being the PERSON I want to be. While I want to work hard to check goals off my list, I also want to feel a certain way about the process. SAY WHAT?: Let's take my entire reason I took up running many years ago as an example. I didn't just want to run a marathon to cross the finish line, I wanted be the kind of person who dedicated themselves to consistently showing up to do the work. That was & still is my motivation & WHY behind the goal. Professionally I do want to grow my business to make money but it's what making a living off of training shows me that is my WHY behind the daily drive. I want to be the kind of person who is reaching people & making a difference in their quality of life. If I focus on doing the best job I can with every client who comes my way I am achieving the goal of growing my business while focusing on being the person I want to be in the process. Make sense? I connected much more with the idea of deciding what kind of person I want to be in 2016. If focus on that mantra in every action I take each day, on every to do list I make & with how I put myself out there then 2016 would be everything I wanted it to be. So I thought hard about choosing one word to be my mantra this year that was congruent with my personal, professional & lifestyle goals... Every goal I had was about putting myself out there, reaching for what I wanted & not being scared to do so. It wasn't the goals in 2015 that held me back, it was the fear or failing at something I cared about. But guess what? We are all going to fail...so what! Even when I have failed at a task I've learned something valuable along the way. It wasn't a waste. So that's my mantra for 2016...FEARLESS is the way I will make my actions congruent with my goals. Instead of asking myself did I keep that resolution, I will ask if I acted fearlessly in the pursuit. Did I not write that blog, reach out to a client, take a new course, share new information, try out a new workout, avoid a new food or even skip a workout out of fear?
- missing out
- being judged
- being wrong
- not following the crowd
- having a freaking voice
- or sharing a different outlook that people may disagree with!
QUESTION:I challenge you to share you one word theme! Ask the tough question & dig deep. Beyond the checklist, WHO do you want to be in 2016??
by Emma Hammond 0 comments